Who is Jesus? Who was Jesus? Does it make any difference thea Jesus was a Jew? Does Jesus’ “Jewishness” change the way we read the Gospels? Who were Jesus’ first hearers? For whom were the Gospels intended?
The first time I was confronted with these questions was when I picked up the book Jesus and the Victory of God by N.T. Wright. In his introduction, Wright notes,
For many conservative theologians it would have been sufficient if Jesus had been born of a virgin (at any time in human history, and perhaps from any race), lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, and risen again three days later.
In other words, Wright suggests that many people see Jesus’ life as simply a series of inconsequential events that led to the important part (the Cross?) Could it be that there is more to Jesus’ life than that? Wright’s thoughts here forced me to reconsider the ultimate question of our faith, “Who is Jesus?”
Certainly, there is no better place to turn to for answers to these questions than the Gospels.