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The Profession of Faith

111

440

Jesus accepted Peter’s profession of faith, which acknow­

ledged him to be the Messiah, by announcing the imminent Passion

of the Son of Man.

40

He unveiled the authentic content of his

messianic kingship both in the transcendent identity of the Son of

Man “who came down from heaven,” and in his redemptive

mission as the suffering Servant: “The Son of Man came not to be

served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

41

Hence the true meaning of his kingship is revealed only when he

is raised high on the cross.

42

Only after his Resurrection will Peter

be able to proclaim Jesus’ messianic kingship to the People of God:

“Let all the house of Israel therefore know assuredly that God has

made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

43

III.

T

he

O

nly

S

on of

G

od

441

In the Old Testament,

“son of God”

is a title given to the

angels, the Chosen People, the children of Israel, and their kings.

44

It signifies an adoptive sonship that establishes a relationship of

particular intimacy between God and his creature. When the prom­

ised Messiah-King is called “son of God,” it does not necessarily

imply that he was more than human, according to the literal

meaning of these texts. Those who called Jesus “son of God,” as the

Messiah of Israel, perhaps meant nothing more than this.

45

442

Such is not the case for Simon Peter when he confesses

Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of the living God,” for Jesus responds

solemnly: “Flesh and blood has not

revealed

this to you, but

my

Father

who is in heaven.”

46

Similarly Paul will write, regarding his

conversion on the road to Damascus, “When he who had set me

apart before I was born, and had called me through his grace, was

pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him

among the Gentiles. . . .”

47

“And in the synagogues immediately

[Paul] proclaimed Jesus, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’”

48

From

the beginning this acknowledgment of Christ’s divine sonship will

40 Cf.

Mt

16:16-23.

41

Jn

3:13:

Mt

20:28; cf.

Jn

6:62;

Dan

7:13;

Isa

53:10-12.

42 Cf.

Jn

19:19-22;

Lk

23:39-43.

43

Acts

2:36.

44 Cf.

Deut

14:1; (LXX) 32:8;

Job

1:6;

Ex

4:22;

Hos

2:1; 11:1;

Jer

3:19;

Sir

36:11;

Wis

18:13;

2 Sam

7:14;

Ps

82:6.

45 Cf.

1 Chr

17:13;

Ps

2:7;

Mt

27:54;

Lk

23:47.

46

Mt

16:16-17.

47

Gal

1:15–16.

48

Acts

9:20.

552

550

445

552

424