While the first portraits of Jesus and his teaching were recorded in the Four Gospels of the New Testament, additional ancient texts have expanded our appreciation of him, through what are commonly called the Gnostic Gospels which is misleading as their authors were not Gnostics. In the 20 centuries since Jesus was first among us, many authors have helped us understand him both contextually in terms of the First Century and now.
In the First Century, Jews continued to hope for a Messiah to re-establish an independent realm of Israel, long promised by God and foretold by the Prophets as recorded in the Old Testament. The Gospel of Matthew reports that Jesus asked his disciples who people said that He was. And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, but others Elijah, and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. Jesus said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered, ”You are the Messiah, the Child of the living God.” (16:13b-16) The first time Jesus acknowledged he was the Messiah was during his long conversation with the Samaritan Woman at the well (John 4:4-42, especially John verse 26) which is detailed in my book, Women Who Knew Jesus.
It was after his awful painful death by crucifixion, when Jesus first appeared to Mary Magdalene and some of her women companions, and later to the disciples who had hidden in the Upper Room, that the reality of God’s power in Jesus to attain victory over death, led others to proclaim that he was God’s Anointed One, which is the meaning of the word Messiah. His continuing presence among us is affirmed daily.
If you want to explore a contemporary view of Jesus, join the thousands who have rediscovered their faith in him in the writings of New Testament Scholar, Marcus Borg, in his bestselling book, Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time.
Rev. Dr. Bonnie Ring shares how women during the time of Jesus have portrayed how Jesus is as present today as in the past and will continue to be forever.