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It’s evident that Jesus had a Messianic self-understanding, but that means more than the fact that he was anointed. Any prophet or priest could claim that. No, Jesus’ anointing is more than that—there is a divine sense. He is God’s Son.
That’s the importance of the parable of the wicked vineyard tenants. In this story told by Jesus, the vineyard owner leases his place to tenant farmers, but when the landowner sends servant after servant to collect his share, the tenants beat them. Finally, the owner sends his beloved son, and they kill him.
When the parable is interpreted in its context, we see that the vineyard owner is God, the tenants represent ancient Israel, and the servants symbolize the prophets. The point is clear: God sent his Son. Otherwise, Jesus would just be one more messenger, one more prophet. No—God sent his Son, and that Son is Jesus.
—Adapted from interview with Dr. Craig Evans
Taken from “Did Jesus Believe He Was God’s Son?” from Zondervan (used by permission).