I submit that it is possible to understand the Gospel only if both Jesus and the Jews around him held to a high Christology whereby the claim to Messiahship was also a claim to being a divine man. Were it not the case, we would be very hard-pressed to understand the extremely hostile reaction to Jesus on the part of Jewish leaders who did not accept his claim. Controversy among Jews was hardly a new thing; for a controversy to lead to a crucifixion, it must have been a doozy. A Jew claiming that he was God, that he was the divine Son of Man whom the Jews had been expecting and, moreover, not being laughed out of the village for this claim, would have been such a doozy.
Daniel Boyarin, The Jewish Gospels, 55.
I’m not sure I buy most of what he says in this book, but it’s definitely interesting to read.
Since its prophets and poets can be read for texts that seem to promise the Christian Messiah, and since the Gospels and Epistles allude freely to Adam and Moses and Abraham, the significance of the Old Testament cannot be denied. And yet Christianity has tended to define itself by implied or direct disparagement of the Old Testament. The unloveliness of appropriating the sacred literature of another religion in order to put it to such use is hard to overstate.
Marilynne Robinson, When I Was a Child I Read Books
To understand that Jesus is the Messiah entails a particular lifestyle of a particular way, namely the way of Jesus.
Jesus was not just a moralist whose teachings had some political implications; he was not primarily a teacher of spirituality whose public ministry unfortunately was seen in a political light; he was not just a sacrificial lamb preparing for his immolation, or a God-Man whose divine status calls us to disregard his humanity. Jesus was, in his divinely mandated (i.e., promised, anointed, messianic) prophethood, priesthood, and kingship, the bearer of a new possibility of human, social, and therefore political relationships: His baptism is the inauguration and his cross is the culmination of that new regime in which his disciples are called to share.