Chapter 10 – Jesus Declares His Identity

In Chapter Ten of Jesus of Nazareth, Ratzinger examines how Christ Himself understood His own identity using as a starting point the titles that Jesus applied to Himself in the Gospels. The first such title is “Son of Man” and the second is “Son.” The Son of Man is the title Christ most uses to refer to Himself, a title applied exclusively to Him. Through this declaration, Christ no longer remains one individual, but rather “makes all of us one single person with Himself, a new humanity.” The title “Son of God” was a political title of the day, but Christ destroys that connection and reestablishes the title as one of special relationship with God the Father. The level of knowledge the Son has of the Father demonstrates their level of equality with each other. Ratzinger closes out the chapter with an examination of the many “I AM” statements found in the Gospels, noting that all of the terms that follow it receive their full meaning in Jesus.


I felt Ratzinger provided thoughtful insights into each of the declarations that Christ makes about His own identity. Linking the titles found in the Gospel to their connections in the Old Testament help aid in the understanding of Christ as the fulfillment of the prophecy, as the fullness of divine revelation.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 10 – Jesus Declares His Identity”

  1. Benedict takes a very logical approach to Jesus’ identity by examining the terms Jesus uses to describe his own identity. It seems like it is so obvious of an idea that we skim over and forget to really examine it. Personally, I thought his section on the “I am” statements was very fascinating. By going from the scene of the burning bush to Isaiah, Benedict points out that Jesus is takes all of the meaning encapsulated in these two episodes and applies it to himself. Jesus does not claim to be just some wise man, but that the mystery of the one God is personally present in himself.

  2. Thanks for your summary and analysis, John. I agree that Ratzinger’s insights on the titles provide deeper understanding of Christ’s identity and mission. I really appreciated his take on the “Son of Man” title, as both concealing and gradually making known His mystery. Further, I especially like when he combines the theological and the relational (an important skill for us who aspire to be priests). I loved his elaboration on the “I am” statements, where he adds: “He just is, without any qualification…. He is always there – for human beings, yesterday, today, and tomorrow.” That preaches!

  3. Great summary! When in high school, I had a teacher try to tell me that the title “Son of Man” was Christ’s way of trying to point out that he was not divine; if only this book was around back then.

    But seriously, I do believe that these titles are important in helping us understand who Christ truly is. Without them, it would be easy to assume that he was just another prophet.

  4. What I like best about this reading was that these titles can sometimes be thrown out there interchangeably. The chapter was a good read for it’s clarification and usage of the terms in the Bible.

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