Thursday, May 25, 2006
Not EVEN the Son
I had a long conversation today with my friend Brant Pitre - which reminds me to plug once again his amazing news book, Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of the Exile (Baker, 2006). One of the things we talked about is Jesus' self-understanding in the Gospels.
Typically it is assumed that Mark's Gospel evidences a "low" Christology - that is, Jesus is not described as divine. Whereas, for example, John makes several statements indicating the divinity and preexistence of Jesus (e.g., John 1:3, "the Word was God... all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made"; John 5:18, "[he] called God his Father, making himself equal with God"; John 8:58, "...before Abraham was, I am"; 10:30, "I and the Father are one", etc.) Mark (it is said) has a much more earthly view of Jesus.
One passage that is typically mentioned in this regard is Mark 13:32, "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." At first glance this passage seems to play well into the hands of those who argue that Mark has a "low" Christology.
But look at that passage again...
What is fascinating here is that Jesus places himself above the angels. No one knows the hour, not even the Son. This implies that Jesus is greater than the angels.
It is hard to imagine how powerful this statement would have been in a first century Jewish context.
Mark's Christology is a low Christology? Maybe it's time we start to rethink that proposition.