The Teachings Of Jesus Christ Essay

The Teachings Of Jesus Christ Term paper

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He was the greatest man who ever lived. A carpenter s son, with no wealth and little worldly education, he stands as the dominant figure of Western civilization and towers over all world history. Yet, he is not well understood. According to the Christian religion, he presented himself as the Savior from sin and the way to eternal life. And the corollary to his teaching was that those who did not believe in him would be damned to hell forever. But would the messenger of God s compassion have taught such a brutal doctrine? It is doubtful. According to modern theological scholarship, he was one of many possible things ;a failed eschatological prophet, a failed revolutionary ;an itinerant miracle worker who healed nothing more that psychosomatic illnesses. But could such an ordinary, even pathetic figure, as presented by modern scholarship, have inspired his followers to such heights of devotion? And could such a one have changed the world forever? It is unlikely. So exactly, who was Jesus and what did he teach? Jesus came proclaiming the Kingdom of God. But unlike John the Baptist, or many others of his day, he did not envision the Kingdom of God descending miraculously from Heaven. The arrival of the Kingdom would not mean the end of the world or the destruction of Israel s enemies. Instead, he said, The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed ;nor will they say, Lo, here it is! or There! for behold, the Kingdom of God is in the midst of you. (Luke 17:20,21) The Kingdom had already arrived, and it was a spiritual community consisting of Jesus and all those who centered themselves in God. Yet, there are many contradictory passages in the Gospels in which Jesus was said to have predicted an apocalyptic arrival of the Kingdom. For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of man be in his day. (Luke 17:24) It is also reported that Jesus predicted to his disciples, But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death before they see the Kingdom of God [and the Son of Man coming in the glory of his Father and the holy angels]." (Luke 9:26,27) Obviously, the prediction of a worldwide cataclysm within the lifetime of some of the disciples proved wrong. So what should we make of these passages? It is most likely that they are a later addition by the Church ;a Church undergoing severe persecution, which wanted to be rescued. It is this desire to be rescued which produced the book of Revelation. Jesus always described the Kingdom of God in the here and now. He said therefore, 'What is the Kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his garden ;and it grew and it became a tree, and the birds of the air made nests in its branches.' (Luke 13:18) Jesus planted the seed. And in the beginning, the movement was tiny, like a mustard seed. But in time, the Kingdom would spread and grow, as more and more adopted the teachings of Jesus and reoriented their lives away from the world to God. The Kingdom of God was always meant to be a this-worldly movement that would bring a measure of Heaven to earth through the lives and actions of those who lived in God.

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