(6) This last observation can be extended a little further. For other features of Jesus' teaching already noted seem to indicate that he placed a tremendous weight of significance on his teaching and expected his disciples to do so too. I think here particularly of the high priority he expected his followers to give to his call to discipleship421 and the implication of the (more contested) tradition that response to his words could make the decisive difference between success and disaster, between favourable and unfavourable judgment.422 Whatever we make of particular instances of this emphasis in the Jesus tradition, the motif resonates too closely with what we have noted above for it to be wholly dismissed.

d. Something Greater Than a Teacher?

Perhaps we need to take one step still further. At first sight, there is nothing distinctively eschatological resonating in Jesus' claim to a direct and immediate authority, that is, from God. But consider the following strands already drawn out a little way: (1) Presumably the implicit claim of direct authority is

12.27; Matt. 5.22, 28, 32, 34, 39; 8.11; 11.22, 24; 12.6, 36; 19.9; 26.29, 64; Luke 12.4, 8; 13.3, 5.

418. Mark 3.28/(Matt. 12.31); Mark 8.12; Mark 9.1/Matt. 16.28/Luke9.27; Mark 9.41/ Matt. 10.42; Mark 10.15/Matt. 18.3/Luke 18.17; Mark 10.29/Matt. 19.28/Luke 18.29; Matk 11.23; Mark 12.43/Luke 21.3; Mark 13.30/Matt. 24,34/Luke 21.32; Mark 14.9/Matt. 26.13; Mark 14.18/Matt. 26.21; Mark 14.25/(Matt. 26.29); Mark 14.30/Matt. 26.34/(Luke 22.34); Matt. 5.26/(Luke 12.59); Matt. 8.10/(Luke 7.9); Matt. ll.ll/(Luke 7.28); Matt. 13.17/(Luke 10.24); Matt. 23.36/(Luke 11.51); Matt. 24.47/Luke 12.44; Matt. 5.18; 6.2, 5, 16; 10.15, 23; 17.20; 18.13, 18, 19; 19.23; 21.21, 31; 24.2; 25.12, 40, 45; Luke 4.24, 25; 12.37; 23.43. Paten-theses signify an 'I say to you form' without 'Amen'.

419. John 1.51; 3.3, 5, 11; 5.19, 24, 25; 6.26, 32, 47, 53; 8.34, 51, 58; 10.1, 7; 12.24; 13.16, 20, 21, 38; 14.12; 16.20, 23; 21.18.

420. I echo here H. K. McArthur, Understanding the Sermon on the Mount (London: Epworth, 1961) 56.

421. Mark 3.31-35 pars.; Matt. 10.37/Luke 14.26; see above, §14.7.

422. Matt. 7.24-27/Luke 6.47-49; Matt. 10.32-33/Luke 12.8-9; see further above, §12.4e-f.

of a piece with Jesus' proclamation of God's rule. He spoke with the authority of one who proclaimed its imminence and whose mission already enacted God's reign in the present. (2) We should also recall Dodd's observation that the 'I say to you' seems to transcend the typically prophetic 'Thus says the Lord'. just as. possibly. the 'I came' transcends the prophetic 'I was sent'.423 The 'Amen. I say to you' points in the same direction.424 (3) The same inference may be drawn from the fact that Jesus' exorcistic practice seems to have embodied a similar claim to an immediacy of authority: I command'. rather than. 'I adjure you by . . .' (4) We also noted the possibility which the tradition enshrines that Jesus made explicit claim to be the of God. God's es-chatological emissary and representative.426 (5) Is there a similar implication that Jesus saw himself as the emissary of divine Wisdom427 — that is. not just as teacher of wisdom. but as the eschatological spokesman for Wisdom. acting in God's stead?428

It may be that such a line of exposition pushes the data too hard. As with the accounts of the transfiguration and the 'nature miracles'. the voices of post-Easter reflection may well have begun to drown out the pre-Easter reminiscences

423. See above. §15.6d. Davies argues that when Jesus spoke possessed by the Spirit of God it was his alternate persona that spoke (as in demon possession) explaining who it was — the spirit/Son of God — and deduces from this that some of the 'Johannine style' sayings attributed to Jesus can therefore be regarded as 'historically authentic' {Jesus the Healer oh. 11).

424. Cf. Jeremias: 'Here is a consciousness of rank which lays claim to divine authority' (Prayers 115); the 'ego is associated with amen and thus claims to speak with divine authority'; 'the emphatic ego indicates that the person who uses it is God's representative' (Proclamation 253-54). 'Here speaks a prophet — indeed perhaps more than a prophet!' (Theissen and Merz. Historical Jesus 524).

426. Mark 9.37/Luke 9.48; Matt. 10.40; Luke 10.16 (see above, §15.6c); Witherington, Christology142-43.

427. Luke 7.35/(Matt. 11.19): Jesus and John as children of Wisdom (Matthew's 'deeds' is probably redactional. to form an inclusio with 11.2); Matt. a uniqueness of knowledge and authority (see below §16.2c[l]); Luke 11.49-5l/(Matt. 23.3436): Jesus as one of those sent by Wisdom? In each case. Matthew has developed the motif to identify Jesus with divine Wisdom (see my Christology 197-204). but that step does not seem to have been yet taken in the q/Q form of the tradition (pace Witherington. Christology 49-53. who jumps too quickly to the possibility that Jesus saw himself as divine Wisdom incarnate; similarly Jesus the Sage: The Pilgrimage of Wisdom [Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress. 1994] 201-208). See further J. Schlosser. 'Q et la christologie implicite'. in Lindemann. ed.. Sayings Source Q 289-316. See also Schussler Fiorenza. In Memory of Her 132-35; also Jesus: Miriam's Child, Sophia's Prophet (New York: Continuum. 1995) 141-43.

428. See further Hengel. 'Jesus as Messianic Teacher' 75-87. noting inter alia, the close tie-in between Wisdom and Spirit — the gift of supernatural wisdom and prophetic inspiration are interchangeable (93-104).

and voice of Jesus himself at precisely the points being explored here.429 Nevertheless, as we move on to the remaining categories which Jesus rather than others may have used in speaking of his mission, we are left with two powerful impressions. One is that Jesus' mission seems to have broken through all the most obvious categories by which his mission could be evaluated; he evidently did not with any degree of comfort into any of the pigeon-holes by which observers might have wished to label him. The other is the tantalising possibility that Jesus deliberately claimed a degree of distinctiveness for his mission, for all its thoroughly Jewish character, which left both hearers and disciples struggling for words to express the significance of what they were seeing and hearing — and remembering.

But if we want to follow up the possibility of probing into Jesus' own self-understanding, there is more directly relevant data to examine.

429. Even so, Sanders does not hesitate to affirm that 'Jesus claimed to be spokesman for God' (Jesus 271, 281); 'He regarded himself as having full authority to speak and act on behalf of God'; 'not only spokesman for, but viceroy of, God'(Historical Figure 238, 242, 248). I. H. Marshall, The Origins ofNew Testament Christology (Leicester: IVP, 1976) pushed the point still harder

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