The Jesus We’ll Never Know

The quest for the Historical Jesus has failed. But our faith is founded on something deeper.

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Overview

In the Christianity Today article “The Jesus We’ll Never Know,” author Scot McKnight points out that we all tend to remake Jesus in our own image. Depending on whom you talk to, there is not just one Jesus, but many. McKnight lists several currently in fashion: There is the “Jewish Jesus,” who through historical studies has been set in his Jewish context. He is “the Jesus who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and, according to the witness of many, was raised again.” Then there is the “canonical Jesus,” as interpreted by the writers of the New Testament. This Jesus was “interpreted … [in] terms like ‘Messiah,’ ‘Son of God,’ and ‘Son of Man,’ … [and] the agent of God’s redemption.” Next we have the “orthodox Jesus,” the one further interpreted by the creeds and traditions of the church as “God from God, Light from Light,” and so on.

Finally we come to the “historical Jesus,” a figure reconstructed from the gospels using narrow historical criteria such as the principle of “double dissimilarity” to decide which parts of the gospel accounts are true and which are false. Complicating matters, each scholar has a different “historical Jesus” in mind, usually fashioned in his or her own image. Some of these scholars then worship the Jesus they have created. How about us? Given all these options, what’s a Christian to think … and believe?

Table of Contents

SCRIPTURE: Mark 4:35–41; 8:27–38; 9:1–8; Acts 9:1–19

LEADER'S GUIDE

    • Identify the Current Issue

    • Discover the Eternal Principles

Teaching point one: Jesus explodes our categories.
Teaching point two: Jesus defines his identity and mission—and ours.
Teaching point three: Jesus is the unique Son of God.
Teaching point four: Jesus demands our allegiance.
    • Apply Your Findings

    • Additional Resources

ARTICLE FROM CHRISTIANITY TODAY

    • "The Jesus We’ll Never Know", by Scot McKnight (2010)

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