the clouds of heaven, and as being in the presence of God. It indicates, therefore, not the human weakness of Jesus, but his exalted position as supreme Ruler and Judge.
It is not surprising that for a time at least during his earthly ministry Jesus used this title of the Messiah rather than the other titles, for the title Son of Man was without the political associations which Jesus desired to avoid. It had been employed, not so much by the masses of the people, as by the circles which read the books which are called the "Apocalypses." In these books, on the basis of Daniel and other Old Testament prophecies, the Messiah was represented not as a political king, but as a heavenly, supernatural person. The title, therefore, was admirably fitted to designate the lofty character of the Messiah's person, without the dangerous political associations which had gathered around certain other titles.
Indeed for a time, in the early Galilæean ministry, our Lord seems to have kept his Messiahship somewhat in the background. Public proclamation of his Messiahship would have aroused false, worldly hopes of political upheaval. Before proclaiming himself again as Messiah, our Lord needed to make clear by his teaching and by his example what kind of Messiah he was; before finally setting up his Kingdom he needed to show that that Kingdom was not of this world. But he was Messiah and King from the beginning, and even at the beginning his Messiahship had been made known.
QUESTIONS ON LESSON VIII
- Mention some of the titles which are used to designate Jesus as Messiah, and explain their meaning. Was the title "Son of Man" ever used with reference to Jesus by anyone except Jesus himself?
- What was the significance of Peter's confession?
- Why did Jesus become less popular than he was at first?
The Prediction of the Cross
Peter's confession at Cæsarea Philippi was a triumph of faith, for which Jesus pronounced Peter blessed. Through a revelation from God, Peter had been made able to endure the disappointment involved in Jesus' refusal of kingly honors. But another trial of faith was soon to come.