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Jesus, the Unprecedented Human Being

Giosuè Ghisalberti

Does Jesus remain concealed by the very traditions intended to portray him? History and theology define Jesus to be a 1st-century Galilean or the son of God, a man limited by his time and place or exalted as the Messiah and Christ. He has been recognized as a Jewish rabbi or the prophet of a coming apocalypse. The quest for the historical Jesus and theology’s Christ of faith may both be essential and undeniable in the history of scholarship. Secular historians and the Christian church have made their claims. Jesus’ self-conception, however, has been neglected, his consciousness largely ignored. A new interpretation of the gospels presents Jesus as a unprecedented human being who will "utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world" (Matt. 13:35) and make their meanings significant for the here and now. Jesus’ life from the virgin birth to the resurrection can neither be reduced to history’s scepticism nor theology’s affirmation. Is it possible to re-imagine the life and words of Jesus? He reveals himself to be a "first-born" who makes possible the second act of creation for every individual no less than for the social world.

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4 The Son of Man

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Jesus has been away from the family home and the village of Nazareth for some time, leading a new life, with a new sense of purpose and with a calling now guiding his every act, thought, and word as he walks “throughout the surrounding region of Galilee” (Mark 1:28). The momentary uncertainty after John’s arrest has been overcome. He has chosen his disciples, an odd group of fishermen, a tax collector, and a zealot; there are also a significant number of followers who are part of an extended group, coming and going as life demands and occasion allowed. These other followers do not seem to be given the distinct privileges of the immediate disciples, who at times are shown unique revelations intended for them alone. Some of the extended followers are identified, as the women who take care of him and his disciples in times of need, with hospitality and food and other support. Jesus, his disciples, and other followers, seem to be constantly moving from place to place, for the sake of an expanding ministry and also to elude the authorities who are now aware of his message – at once perceived to be blasphemous by the Jerusalem leadership and politically seditious. Any anti-Roman message that could be proven, with witnesses and credible testimony, would lead to his arrest and trial. “The Pharisees went and plotted to entrap him in what he said” (Matt 22:15). His fame has made him an object of interest and suspicion....

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