Jesus the Messiah: Tracing the Promises, Expectations, and Coming of Israel’s King.
Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic. Pp. 527. Cloth. $36.99Thanks to Kregel for the generous Review Copy.
With the publication of Jesus the Messiah, Drs. Bateman, Bock, and Johnston have thrown their respective hats in to the ring that is Historical Jesus studies (HJS). For some, the area known as HJS may seem foreign. What began in the early twentieth-century with the work of Albert Schweitzer (Geschichte der Leben-Jesu-Forschung; ET: Quest for the Historical Jesus), and further continued with the works of Bultmann, Käsemann, Vermes, Meier, Crossan, Wright, and others, the so-called “Quest for the Historical Jesus” has seen much ink spilt in its determination to paint an accurate picture of the historical Jesus.
This area of study can be notoriously difficult to nail down. Each contributor to the Quest paints a different picture of Jesus, one that is colored and influenced by an authors own presuppositions. For example, there is the eschatological prophet; the sage; the Stoic philosopher; the social reformer; the charismatic healer; and so on and so forth. But each of these of portraits of Jesus has only blurred the view of the Jesus of the Bible, thus making this Quest all the more challenging and all the more necessary.
Fortunately for us, Bateman et al. have provided the reader with a comprehensive look at Jesus from the beginning (the OT) through his ministry and beyond. Jesus the Messiah is a detailed and thorough examination of what the Bible says in regards to the Messiah. In three parts: The Promise of a King, Expectations of a King, and the Coming of a King, the authors strive to put the Messianic puzzle together, and in so doing try to paint an accurate picture of both the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith.
It should be noted that this is not a book for the light hearted; it is a technical and detailed discussion of vital points in the debate. Although it contains at times technical terms that may not be familiar to some readers, along with Hebrew and Greek—something this reader greatly appreciates!— this should nevertheless not cause the reader to turn the book aside. With great pain comes great reward, and this book will indeed reward the one who perseveres with a greater understanding the Messiah and how he fulfilled the promises of the OT in his coming.
In the end, I would recommend Jesus the Messiah as a great introduction into the area of Historical Jesus study. One will find much here to commend and learn from.