Who exactly was Jesus?
Picture the scene. It’s two thousand years ago, in a small village called Nazareth, in the Galilee region of what is now the Land of Israel. You see a little boy playing in the backyard among the wood piles and shavings. His father, Yosef, is in the workshop next to the yard and his mother, Miriam, is busy cooking. His name is Yeshua ben Yosef.
You know him better as Jesus, son of Joseph. It is time for lunch and his mother calls him. If Miriam (Mary) had called him by the name ‘Jesus’, two things would have happened. Firstly he would have carried on playing, not recognising the command and secondly the neighbours would have been astonished at Miriam’s bad attempt at Greek, a feat which was about as likely as your average cockney walking up to a pub landlord and asking for a pint of beer in his best classical Latin.
If she’d added the epithet ‘Christ’, the situation would have been even more dramatic. Because not only would he have continued to ignore her and the neighbours been astonished at her Greek, but she would also have been stoned to death for assigning a forbidden and blasphemous title to her son. That is because ‘Christ’, is the English translation of ‘Christos’, the Greek translation of the Hebrew word ‘Mashiach’, which means Messiah, or ‘anointed one’. And no Jew would dare to make a claim to that title. Well, not until this particular boy became a man and embarked on his life’s mission.
by Steve Maltz
Aired on Premier Radio on Saturday November 15th at 12:30pm