John Kilgallen, «Jesus First Trial: Messiah and Son of God (Luke 22,66-71)», Vol. 80 (1999) 401-414
Luke, according to the Two-Source Theory, read Mark. At the first trial of Jesus, that before the Sanhedrin, Mark has together, "Messiah, Son of God". Luke has intentionally separated the two titles. The present essay finds the explanation for separating Son of God from Messiah in the Annunciation scene of the Gospel. It is Lukes intention that the reader understand Son of God in a way that admittedly the Sanhedrin did not. The laws of narratology indicate that Luke 1,35, a part of the Lucan introduction, be used by the reader to interpret Son of God at Luke 22,70.
But not only does Luke reduce his focus solely to the Messiah-Son of God question. Luke, knowing Marks story, intentionally separates the question about Messiah from that about Son of God3. Now, with ones attention on the structure Luke has chosen for this trial story, and aware that Luke has chosen to present only the Christological question, one recalls an earlier structuring along the same lines as we find here, in the Annunciation story which opened the Gospel description of Jesus. There as here, Luke has presented a three-stage procedure by which to stress the Messiah-Son of God aspects of the identity of Jesus. The comparison is noteworthy.
1. In the Annunciation story, there is first presented a description of Jesus as Messiah of Israel (Luke 1,32-33). This description parallels the Sanhedrins opening gambit, "If you are the Messiah, tell us".
2. Then, in the Annunciation story, Mary offers a statement which will provoke a second response from the angel (Luke 1,34). So in this trial, Jesus will prophesy about the future and so will lead the Sanhedrin to a second intervention in the form of a question.
3. Finally, there is, both in the Annunciation (Luke 1,35) and in this trial scene, the key reference to the title "Son of God", placed intentionally at a distance from the title "Messiah".
(As a minor comparison, one may note how in each scene there is structurally the same type of alternation of voices: 1. the lead; 2. the reaction; 3. the lead again.)
That these three steps structure both the Annunciation and the trial scene before the Sanhedrin is clear and surely intentional. Is the purpose behind these two examples of the parallel structures the same? Consider the point of the double identification of Jesus in the Annunciation scene. It serves to condition the title "Messiah": to give the title a sense it never had in Tradition before, while at the same time assuring a definition to Jesus that exceeds the usual meaning of Messiah. The double identification by the angel also serves as an ongoing abiding interpretation of the adult Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, again with the understanding that Messiah and Son of God are quite different in what each says about Jesus. Considered from the point of view of literary device, this double