Benedict I. Chapter Ten: Jesus’ Identity

         In an examination of who Jesus is, we may turn to the testimony of those present during his earthly ministry. Correctly he is called: “Christ,” “Lord,” “Son of God,” and “King of the Jews.” But, what does Jesus call himself? We find Jesus attributing two titles to himself: “Son of Man,” and “Son.”

            Firstly, “Son of Man.” In the Gospels, “Son of Man” is found only on Jesus’ lips. This is attributed to the fact that “Son of Man” was not used as a messianic title at the time of Jesus. The only access Jews had to the title was the vision of Daniel of the four beasts, the Son of Man, and the Ancient of Days. But Jesus gives a new meaning to the vision: he is the new Kingdom of God, the judge, and he is equal to the Ancient of Days (the Father). Additionally, in Jesus the titles “Son of Man” and “Suffering Servant” are newly connected, making the judge of the new Kingdom compassionate and connected to the suffering humanity.

            Secondly, Son. Here Jesus gives us his “primordial identity”: the Son who receives all from the Father, who knows the Father, and thus is in perfect communion of being with the Father. Different from the political connotations of the kingdoms at the time of Christ, “Son [of God]” here refers to a new communion extended to all humanity through, in, and for Christ.

            From these two titles Jesus ascribes to himself, we hear a call to discipleship: we should let ourselves be drawn into the new Kingdom of the Son of Man, and, through the Son, we should be drawn into communion with the Father.

4 thoughts on “Benedict I. Chapter Ten: Jesus’ Identity”

  1. One of the points you brought up from the reading, which I enjoy about Pope Benedict’s writings, is his consistent turning back to the unity and communion of the Trinity, and how we are taken up into this mystery through Christ. The delving into of the title ‘Son of Man’ by Benedict has helped me to further understand this enigmatic title for Jesus, I found it especially helpful when he explains how Daniel used, “the image of the Son of Man to represent the coming kingdom of salvation – a vision that was available for Jesus to build on, but which he reshapes by connecting this expectation with his own person and his work.”(p.327)

  2. Reading Pope Benedict XVI’s Jesus of Nazareth is truly delightful. Particularly, I enjoyed his insights regarding Jesus’ title “the Son of Man.” This was a title that I had not understand very well. “Son of man” means simply “man” and according to the Pope, and in Jesus’ time this title was not used, except with some allusions in the book of Daniel. However, this title was used by Jesus in a way that had a specific intention: “Jesus both concealed his mystery and, at the same time, gradually made it accessible” (p.324). I like this title, because as the Pope says “In the Son of Man, man is revealed as he truly ought to be.” Excellent synthesis Alec.

  3. Wonderful analysis Alec! I particularly enjoyed your thorough explanation of Pope Benedict’s presentation of Jesus’ identity as “Son.” The person of Jesus, by his relationship to the Father as his Son, also beckons us into into a deep communion with the Father. Because Jesus is who he is, our very reality and existence itself is forever changed.

  4. I was intrigued by the designation “Son”. This connotes an heir. To be the Son of God means to be one begotten of the Father, and heir to all that he has and is. It also reflects the divine relationship between the two persons. The unity of knowledge and wills is also essential to understand the Identity of Jesus.

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