Did Jesus (PBUH) Claim that he is the Expected Messiah?
if many of the contemporaries of jesus (pbuh) claimed that, he is the expected messiah, as they claimed the same before about john the baptist, did jesus himself (pbuh) claim or even tell his disciples that he is. did he (pbuh) fulfill the prophecies about the expected messiah?
once he asked his disciples about what the people say about him, then he asked them "and he asked them, “but who do you say that i am?” peter answered him, “you are the christ”. and he strictly charged them to tell no one about him. and he began to teach them that the son of man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed." (mark: 8/29-31). he strongly forbade them to say that about him, and he told them that he would be subject to conspiracy and murder. there is no doubt that, this was not what they expected from the "victorious messiah". in other words, he explained to them that he was not the victorious messiah who they were waiting for; whom they were sure would bring victory, triumph and perseverance, not to suffer pain and death.
luke confirms, "peter answered, “the christ of god”. and he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one". (luke: 9/20-21). by doing so, jesus (pbuh) forbade the disciples to attach the title (expected messiah) to him. it was not because he was afraid of the jews, since he had informed them that that conspiracy would happen. therefore, it was meaningless, if he was the "expected messiah", to deny it. he forbade them because what they said was not the truth.
peter, the head of the apostles, refused to accept that jesus (pbuh) was the man who was subject to pain and death and not the "expected victorious king", he went on to blame jesus (pbuh) for announcing such news about himself.
let us see what matthew said regarding that scene:
"from that time jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. and peter took him aside, and began to rebuke him, saying, “far be it from you, lord: this shall never happen to you”.
jesus answered him seriously:
“but he turned, and said to peter, “get behind me, satan: you are a hindrance to me. for you are not sitting your mind on the things of god , but on the things of man.” (matthew: 16/21-23).
peter was shocked and so were the rest of the disciples, for, they heard him say:- “and i, when i am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself”. he said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.” (john: 12/32-33). then they expressed their objection to this idea about the suffering messiah, and they asked whether jesus (pbuh) was talking about himself.
"so the crowd answered him, “we have heard from the law that the christ remains for ever. how can you say that the son of man must be lifted up? who is this son of man?" (john: 12/34), they were shocked to hear the truth from jesus (pbuh); the truth that destroyed their chimera that he is the great victorious messiah.
priest al-khudary agrees with us that jesus (pbuh) was not the "victorious messiah" awaited for by the jews but he was the spiritual messiah. then he alerted to us, "to a very important fact that jesus (pbuh) had always tried not to show himself as the messiah to the people, it was the reason why when he saw any gaps from which the people would see him as a messiah, he would close them".1
father matta al-meskeen, an egyptian scholar, says:- “the disciples had collected evidence during the life of jesus (pbuh) that was enough to confirm to them that he was the messiah; however, every time they tried to proof this implication, jesus (pbuh) forbade them… the scholars were exhausted that jesus (pbuh) constantly hid his identity as the messiah, and they had to say whatever they could about him". 2
jesus (pbuh), from time to time, kept denying that he is the messiah. “when the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, “this is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world. perceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, jesus withdrew again to the mountain by himself." (john: 6/14-15). why did he escape? indeed, he was not the "expected king", but they insisted on making him so because of his miracles, and because of the hope and longing within themselves, that he will save them from the injustice and cruelty of the romans.
priest al-khodary said: "the enthusiast group was waiting for the political messiah. when they saw jesus, who was preaching the near kingdom of god, they thought that he was truly that political messiah, for that they wanted to make him their king and leader. thinking that he could gather and support them, but jesus used to leave alone and head to the mountains, because his kingdom is not in this world, and he does not need this kingdom that causes people to fight and to kill.”1
philips said to his friend nathaniel: "we found what moses wrote about in the torah and the prophets jesus son of josef who is from nazirah ……….".
nathaniel went to jesus (pbuh) and asked him, "nathanael said to him, rabbi, you are the son of god; you are the king of israel. jesus answered him, “because i said to you, “i saw you under the fig tree,” do you believe? you will see greater things than these." (john: 1/49-50). jesus (pbuh) answered him by a question, and told him that he will see more miracles. he did not tell him that he was the expected king.
in pilate’s palace, he denied that he could be the jews’ expected king as they claimed and rumored. "jesus answered, “my kingdom is not of this world. if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that i might not be delivered over to the jews. but my kingdom is not from the world." (john: 18/36). his kingdom is spiritual, which is in heaven, it is not the expected kingdom of the jews; the material timely kingdom feared by the romans, "it is known from the prophecies that the messiah will be a king and a priest". 2
his innocence from this accusation clearly proved in pilate’s palace, who asked him saying, "and they began to accuse him, saying, “we found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to give tribute to caesar, and saying that he himself is christ, a king." (luke: 23/2), it is unlikely to consider the answer given by jesus (pbuh) as a confession, as he said to him, “you are saying so not me”, and pilate was convinced of his innocence and said: "...i find no guilt in him." (john: 18/38).
in the gospel of john, jesus (pbuh) explained to pilate that the reason of his message was to bear witness for the truth, and not be a king of human beings. he said:- "you say that i am a king. for this purpose, i was born and for this purpose, i have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (john: 18/37).
among those who realized that, jesus (pbuh) was not the expected messiah was judas iscariot. who - as seen by the priest al-khodary - betrayed jesus (pbuh) because he was a member of the enthusiast group who dreamed of the appearance of the victorious messiah. he was disappointed, and he became suspicious as to whether or not jesus was the messiah. “when they came to capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to peter and said, “dos your teacher not pay the tax?” he said, “yes.” and when he came into the house, jesus spoke to him first, saying, what do you think, simon? from whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? from their sons or from others?” and when he said, “from others” jesus said to him, and then the sons are free. however, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. take that and give it to them for me and for yourself." (matthew: 17/24-27) 1
others realized that jesus (pbuh) was not the expected messiah. knowing jesus’ origin, family and tribe, while the expected messiah is a stranger and not known to the jews. "some of the people of jerusalem therefore said, “is not this, the man whom they seek to kill? and here he is, speaking openly, and they say nothing to him. can it be that the authorities really know that this is the christ? but we know where this man comes from, and when the christ appears, no one will know where he comes from." (john: 7: 25-27) that is because the expected messiah is a stranger to the children of israel.
jesus (pbuh) confirmed the authenticity of the sign they mentioned about the absent messiah, he said:
"so jesus proclaimed, as he taught in the temple, “you know me, and you know whence i come from? but i have not come of my own accord. he who sent me is true, and him you do not know. i know him, for i come from him, and he sent me.” ……. yet many of the people believed in him. they said, “when the christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?" (john: 7: 25-31) jesus (pbuh) mentioned that he is a messenger sent by god, and that he is not the one they are expecting, because they do not know that one.
those he had spoken to believed in him, and they understood that he is not the expected messiah. let us look at what john said, "yet many of the people believed in him. they said, “when the christ appears, will he do more signs than this man has done?" (john: 7:30-31)
jesus (pbuh) is a descendant of david as mentioned by matthew and luke, and his people repeatedly called him by that name. "and when he heard that it was jesus of nazareth, he began to cry out, and say, “jesus, son of david, have mercy on me." (mark: 10/47), (see matthew: 1/1, 20/31) and luke: 18/28, and many other verses.
the expected messiah or the next king is not a descendant of david, as jesus testified: "now while the pharisees were gathered together, jesus asked them a question, saying, “what do you think about the christ? whose son is he?” they said to him, “the son of david.” he said to them, “how is then that david, in the spirit, call him lord, saying, “the lord said to my lord, sit at my right hand, until i put your enemies under your feet”? if then david calls him lord, how is he his son?” and no man was able to answer him a word, nor from that day do any one dare to ask him any more questions." (matthew: 22/41-46). jesus (pbuh) openly testified that he was not the expected messiah.
jesus (pbuh) cannot fulfill the prophecies of the next great king, and cannot be a king on the throne of david or anyone else. he is a descendant of the sinful king "jehoiakim son of josiah", one of jesus (pbuh) grandfathers as mentioned in the book of chronicles (1). "amon his son, josiah his son. the sons of josiah: johanan the firstborn, the second jehoiakim, the third zedekiah, the fourth shallum." (chronicles (1): 3:14-15)
jehoiakim was a grandfather to jesus (pbuh) (as mentioned in the holy bible), matthew dropped the name jehoiakim from jesus’ ancestry list, between josiah and his grandson yeknia.
god forbade the dominion from descendants of jehoiakim according to the torah, "therefore thus says the lord concerning jehoiakim king of judah; he shall have none to sit on the throne of david, and his dead body shall be cast out in the heat by day and the frost by night." (jeremiah: 36/30). how can the christians - who claimed that jesus (pbuh) is a descendant of yeknia the son of the sinful jehoiakim - believe that the person who fulfills these prophecies is jesus (pbuh)?
pondering upon the biography of jesus (pbuh), his words and his habits, will prove that he was not the next king or the expected king. he was never a king of the children of israel even for one day; his message did not contain any secular salvation for them unlike the awaited prophet. instead, jesus (pbuh) often escaped fearing the assault of the jews; so, how can we compare him to the victorious king? the king who will defeat his enemies by the will of god, and whom the planet will bow to and to his nation.
the coming prophet will smash and defeat the kings and nations of his time as told by jacob. "the scepter shall not depart from judah, nor the ruler’s stuff from between his feet, until tribute comes to him; and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples." (genesis: 49/10).
prophet david said about him:
"gird your sword on your thigh, o mighty one, in your splendor and majesty. in your majesty ride out victoriously fro the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; let your right hand teach you awesome deeds. your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you. your throne, o god, is forever and ever. the scepter of your kingdom is a scepter of uprightness." (psalms: 45/1-6).
jesus (pbuh) paid his taxes to the romans "when they came to capernaum, the collectors of the half-shekel tax went up to peter and said, “does your teacher not pay the tax?” he said, “yes.” and when he came into the house, jesus spoke to him first, saying, what do you think, simon? from whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? from their sons or from others?” and when he said “from others,” jesus said to him, then the sons free. however, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.” “(matthew: 17/24-27). how could we compare a taxpayer with a king that nations will fall under his feet and comply with his rulings?
jesus (pbuh) refused to be a judge between two men; so, could he then claim authority and dominion? "someone in the crowd said to him, “teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” but he said to him, man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you? “(luke: 12/13-14).
even if the christians insist in conflicting with the bible by saying that jesus (pbuh) is the promised victorious king, the one that nations will obey, and that all this will happen on his second return, the angel refutes this claim’s prophecy mentioned to mary. he told her that jesus (pbuh) would only be a king of the house of jacob; as such, the maximum extent of his kingdom is the nation of israel. "and he will reign over the house of jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." (luke: 1/33). the promised messiah “and to him shall be the obedience of the peoples” (genesis: 49/10), and "your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; the peoples fall under you." (psalms: 45/5). the promised messiah’s kingdom is greater than the kingdom of the children of israel.
i need to mention here, that god's promise to the children of israel of the coming king on the throne of david, was with a condition of their obedience to god and to their deeds according to his will. just like many other promises to them. for, god almighty does not take side with any of his creatures, giving them what they do not deserve.
the promise has been broken many times, and then god rejected them forever "o god, why do you cast us off forever? why does your anger smoke against the sheep of thy pasture? remember your congregation, which you have purchased of old; which you have redeemed to be the tribe of your heritage. remember mount zion, where you have dwelt." (psalms: 74/1-2), god rejected this tough cruel nation, and the rejection was eternal, the promised king will not be from them, because they did not keep their covenant.
the story of the samaritan woman may create confusion. when she went to jesus (pbuh), seeing his miracles and hearing his words, she told him that she believed that the messiah will come, and he answered her that he is the messiah, "the woman said to him, “i know that messiah is coming (he who is called christ). when he comes, he will tell us all things. jesus said to her, “i who speak to you am he." (john: 4/25-26).
i have no doubt that this phrase is a fabrication. the text contradicts the habits of jesus (pbuh), because none of the disciples - including john who wrote the story - had heard the conversation. they did not know what the subject of the conversation between them was. "jesus said to her, “i who speak to you am he. just then, his disciples came back. they marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “what do you seek?” or, “why are you talking with her?" (john: 4/26-27), so they never really heard there conversation and they did not ask him about what went on between them.
the clearest evidence proving that the story is a fabrication is that the woman, who saw his miracles and jesus (pbuh) said to her what they claimed, did not believe that jesus (pbuh) is the expected messiah. she never heard that from him. if she did hear it she would have believed; instead, she left and started to spread the news about his coming. she was not certain that he was the expected messiah. “so the woman left her water jar, and went a way into town and said to the people, come, see a man who told me all that i ever did. can this be the christ?" (john: 4/28-29).
accordingly, it is very clear that jesus (pbuh) did not claim that he was the expected messiah, even if his contemporaries claimed this to be so, those who longed for the arrival of the great savior sent by god to defeat his enemies.
in his book "jesus", boltman was correct when he said:- "jesus did not consider himself the messiah". many modern scholars agreed with him, as told by bishop bernar bartman, they said:- “jesus did not consider himself the messiah; it is the disciples who gave him this title after his death and resurrection, a title that he strongly rejected during his life on earth".
we conclude with what charles gene pier said, "the firm conclusion of the researcher’s studies is that, jesus never claimed that he is the expected messiah, and he never called himself the son of god". 1
1 history of the christian ideology, by priest hanna gerges al-khodary, phd. (1/272)
2 the gospel according to luke, by father/ matta al-meskeen, (392), the father thinks that the reason that jesus was hiding his identity "to be able to finish the service of the son of man or the suffering servant".
1 history of the christian ideology, by priest hanna gerges al-khodary, phd. (1/238)
2 the bible according to luke, by father/ matta al-meskeen, (715)
1 history of the christian ideology, by priest hanna gerges al-khodary, phd. (1/236), and look in the holy bible dictionary (1090).
1 look up: christianity, beginning and development, by charles gene pier (50), history of the christian ideology, by priest hanna gerges al-khodary, phd. (1/280, 282).