Great Men Of God Essay, Research Paper
Throughout history our society has chose to recognize and remember certain individuals that have had a dramatic influence on our lives. Some of these individuals were of an evil nature, such as Hitler, but I would like to believe that the majority of the people we remember were the ones that had a positive influence on history, such as Jesus Christ and Martin Luther King Jr. I would like to reflect on the men who served a higher power that they called abba, father, or as we would recognize today, God.
Jesus Christ is worshiped around the world as being the savior of all mankind. His birth was a miracle because he was born from a virgin. Taken from the Holy Bible, in Matthew 1:18-25, it states that Mary (the virgin) was to marry Joseph, but before they were married, she found out she was pregnant with the Son of God. Joseph was a man of good morals and was ashamed when he heard of Mary being with child. He planned to divorce her in private so she wouldn’t be disgraced. An angel from God came to Joseph in a dream and told him, “’Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” Joseph awakened and obeyed the angel of God, and He and Mary were married. “But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.”
In a radio interview with the host Bob Edwards of the Morning Edition, and his guests Bruce Metzger, Professor, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Michael Coogan, Professor, Stonehill College, they discussed the history behind the story of Christmas. In their discussion they brought up the fact the Jesus was called “Jesus of Nazareth” but that the messiah was supposed to be from Bethlehem. They go on about the fact that if he was born in Bethlehem, then why is he called Jesus of Nazareth. Why Jesus would be from Nazareth and not Bethlehem, has led us to many questions and a lot of possible answers, such as, according to Michael Coogan, the idea that Jesus might have been from Nazareth all along.
In my opinion, I see the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John) to be very repetitious. I also think though, that if something is said more than once, that the person who is saying it wants it to be remembered because it is important. Jesus’ life and death are described through out the gospels numerously. Meaning that his time on this earth was very important, and that he should be remembered.
Throughout his life, Jesus performed many miracles. Examples of these miracles can be found in the Holy Bible in the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John). I would have to say that my favorite miracle performed by Jesus would have to be when Jesus fed the four thousand, in Mark 8:1-13. Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd and felt compassion for them. He wanted to provide food for everyone so they would be strong enough to travel back to their homes. They only had seven loaves of bread and a few fish, but after Jesus gave thanks and broke the bread, he told his disciples to pass out the food, and they did. When everyone was finished eating there was seven basketfuls of broken pieces left.
Jesus Christ lived a short, yet extremely meaningful life. Starting with his miraculous birth, his life was full of awesome displays of God and ended with a gory triumph. His death was why he was sent to earth. In Matthew 27:22-26, it tells of when Jesus was being judged by Pilate. It states that Pilate, who was the governor at that time, said, “’What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?’ Pilate asked. They all answered, ‘Crucify him!’”
“‘Why? What crime has he committed?’ asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify him!’” Pilate knew his efforts weren’t getting him anywhere. Rather they were causing the crowd to get excited. “He took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood,’ he said. ‘It is your responsibility!’” Everyone responded, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” Barabbas was set free to the crowd, and Jesus was “flogged” and “crucified”.
Flogging was a punishment well known in Roman execution. The instrument most commonly used was a whip, short in length with several single or braided leather thongs varying in length that contained sharp pieces of sheep bones or tiny iron balls. For this punishment, the man was stripped naked and tied by the hand to an upright post. Two soldiers, or one who alternated positions, would flog the back, buttocks and legs of their prisoner. Depending on the character of the soldiers the severity of the flogging could vary. The purpose of flogging was to weaken the victim to the point where they were just about to collapse or die. Often times after the flogging, the soldiers would jeer at the victim .
By custom the condemned man was forced to carry his cross, after being flogged, to the place of crucifixion. In Matthew 27: 32-34 it says, “As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross.” Jesus was probably so severely beaten that he could not carry his own cross.
“They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The place of the skull). There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed will gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.” Once the victim reaches the place of crucifixion- in Jesus case it was Golgotha- he is given a drink of wine mixed with myrrh, also known as gall. Gall is considered a mild analgesic. Jesus’ hands and feet were nailed to the cross. It took around nine hours for Jesus to die on the cross according to Matthew 27:46. The death itself was completed and Jesus’ body was placed in a tomb and buried. Three days after his death there was a violent earth quake and Jesus arose from the dead. He was more than a great man of God; he was the Son of God. His life was a symbol of perfection to all who knew him. While sharing the truth of life with people on this Earth, Jesus knew he would die. He was willing to die for what he believed in, which is something most of us would not even consider doing.
Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was raised in the African-American Baptist church. One of the distinguishing beliefs of the Baptists is religious liberty. It “is important to Baptists who assert that man is free under God in all matters of conscience and has the right to embrace or reject religion, to choose or change his faith, and to preach, teach, and worship publicly and privately, with due respect to the rights of others.” The King family was very adamant about their faith and religion.
As a young boy, King was displeased with the emotional aspect of religion and was unsure of interpretations from scripture being taken literally. In spite of this, he thought very highly of “black social gospel proponents,” like his father, who looked upon the church as a tool to better the lives of the black population.
Martin Luther King Jr.s claim to fame began after Rosa Parks (a Montgomery civil rights activist) refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person. Black residents started a “bus boycott” and chose King to be the president of this newly formed “Montgomery Improvement Association.” King was well known throughout the nation because of his outstanding public speaking skills and “personal courage.”
In the book The Measure Of A Man, King speaks of the story of the prodigal son taken from the Bible out of Luke chapter 15: 11-32. He says, “Jesus told a parable one day, the parable of the prodigal son. He talked about a boy who left home and went away into a far country, where he wasted his substance and even his character. Then a famine broke out, and this boy ended up in a hog pen.”
“There are many insights to be gained from this parable,” King states.
“One, I think, is this: that man is not made for the far country of evil. Whenever he moves away from his Father’s house he finds himself facing a famine, and he finds himself frustrated and disillusioned. But the parable does not end there. That’s the beauty of it. We read that one day the boy came to himself and decided to rise up and go back home. We watch him as he travels up the dusty road that he had once come down. He had a little speech that he had made up: ‘I am not worthy of being called thy son.’ But he did not get a chance to make that speech, because a loving father saw him from afar and ran out to the boy with outstretched arms, saying, ‘I am happy to have you back home. Come home, I still love you.”
King is demonstrating through this quote, the love of a father will never fade. I believe he is using this example of the father and son relationship as an example of God’s love. I think if we ever walk away from God and then later realize we can’t make it without him, God Will meet us down that dusty road with open arms and welcome us home.
King expressed a great love through his words. But while he was standing on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968, he was shot and killed, by James Earl Ray. His death caused a great mourning all over the nation. Even before his death he announced, “We’ve got difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now. Because I’ve been to the mountaintop. I won’t mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will.”
King was a man who spoke his mind, and heart. He wasn’t concerned about what he wanted, he merely wanted to do God’s will, and be a stepping-stone across the river towards freedom.
“And he’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the Promised Land.”
“So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. ‘Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Martin Luther King Jr. was a man of God. His purpose was to open the eyes of our nation and force people to realize that segregation and discrimination are not something our God desires. He himself said, “I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you…” He knew that someday, his people would be thought of as equals in America. He also knew that the possibility of his death before it happened did exist.
Jesus Christ came to this earth to save mankind, and Martin Luther King Jr. was born to set his people free. Both men were great heroes for the human race, but Jesus and King, in my opinion, are quickly becoming lost in history. I feel that in the schools, speaking from past experiences in history classes and other classes as well, they don’t focus enough on the great people of our history.
When I was a little girl, maybe nine or ten years old, I remember going to church and sitting in Sunday school. I learned a lot of wonderful bible stories and developed a sense of faith. I believe that without faith, the sense of trust, Martin Luther King Jr. would not have been able to take such a dramatic stand for his rights as an American and a human being.
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