Who Was Jesus Essay, Research Paper
Who Was Jesus?A Humanities Essay That TeachesThe Study of The Bible AsA Historical DocumentI felt a very positive impression of who Jesus was after finishingthe Book of Matthew. I had a new image of someone who was a down-to-earth, caring individual. I did not find quotes of Jesus that claimedbeing superior to the common man, of whom sinners could not look upon(a view that most people had of their Gods for centuries before). Matthew 12:49-50, Jesus announces to multitudes that they are hismother and brothers. In that way, he puts himself at an equal level tothe people, rather than claiming to be a God above them. This reflectsthe whole attitude of the book. Chapters 6-7 of Matthew quote Jesus as he is presentingrules to live by to the multitudes. To me, all of these sounded likehints to leading a happy life for yourself. Jesus reflects a God thatdoes not expect virgins or animals to be sacrificed in His name; but, aGod that is pleased by followers that love not only God, but each otheralso. These seem like simple, logical rules to live by. But, theyreflected a time in history where that kind of love for one another washard to find because of the hardships inflicted upon the people. I find some conflict in Jesus’ actions, however. Jesus never (asfar as I know) says to ignore to commandments of God in the HebrewScriptures; however, constantly breaks the Sabbath (Matt 12:13 andothers), and gives VERY flimsy and unconvincing explanations for it. Iam not sure what his message was in those actions. Perhaps he didn’tcare? In general, Matthew was a good, entertaining story to read, with avery dramatic ending, and great character development (a littlesarcastic humor here)! I was very surprised to find much of the Book of Mark a repeat ofwhat was written in Matthew, but with a little less detail, and a fewstories omitted. Jesus goes a little overboard on the parables! Most of theparables needed to be explained to his disciples, and some of them Iwasn’t able to understand either! Although many parables have a good,inspiring morals to them, I would question Jesus as to if they were aneffective way to witness to common people. Even today, too many peopleread parables as TRUTH, rather than “just a story.” Plus, they aremisinterpreted. But, I have to tell you that an amazing coincidence happened to meafter I finished reading the Parable of “The Pearl of Great Price.” Acouple of hours later, I was watching an old episode of Star Trek onTV, and ‘Scotty’ had actually quoted the same, exact parable at the endof the show! Funny that the writers of Star Trek predict the future tostill hold the same religion as now, and 2000 years ago. Both Matthew and Mark write about the part of Pilate in Hiscrucifixion. It seems to me that Pilate was a “good-guy”, and did notreally want to have Jesus killed because he did not see anything thatHe did wrong (as compared to Barabbas, the murderer). (Mark 15:1-15)As a matter of fact, I see that Pilate tried to give Jesus anotherchance by asking the crowd to choose to punish the Murderer, or Jesus. Then, ‘washed his hands’ of this crucifixion after the decision wasmade. Why is Pilate portrayed as a ‘Good-Guy’ in these books while weknow, historically, that Pilate was NOT a friend to the Jews? After reading these books, I get the feeling that Jesus was hereto save the Jewish people, not the gentiles (like most of today’sChristians). I can’t find the spot, but Jesus seemed reluctant to payattention to a sick gentile, but finally healed her because of herfaith. Yes, he is the king of the Jews, that is said in many places. But, was Jesus here to save only Jews, or the people in all the world(like Rome, the Sumarites, etc.)? That kind of makes me feel unsure ofwhy Christianity has become the primary religion of Non-Jewish people.
My God, the expansion of the Church was incredible fromthe time of Jesus! After reading Matthew and Mark during thetime of Jesus on earth, and then reading Acts, I was shockedat the change! A few things that happen in Acts are strangelydifferent than what I had expected after reading about Jesus and Hisreligion. As I said before, I felt good about what Jesus had saidin the previous books. But, it seems that things that happenin Acts are like a contradiction to Jesus. The biggest example is theadministration of Punishment to people. Some particularly bothersomestories are: (Acts 5:1-11) The death of the husband and wife for notpresenting 100% of their possessions to the Church. And, (Acts 12:23)the violent death of Herod. Also, (Acts 13:11) blindness to Bar-Jesus. Although my Bible, in all three cases, tells that Angels or God hadpunished these people, I could believe that a different translationcould accurately suggest that the deaths were caused by people of thechurch (the translation is fuzzy in that sense). Either way, no matterwho caused the death(s), it seems that these kinds of punishments wouldnot happen if Jesus were around; He always seemed to bless those whodid wrong to Him. From stories in Acts, I can see how the power of the CatholicChurch had progressed to where it was in the 1400’s. I had always feltthat many of Catholic acts in history were direct mis-translations ofthe teachings of Jesus. Now I see, things like The Crusades could bebacked by all of the punishments I previously talked about; also, TheRich Catholic Church claiming all the possessions of poor followers canbe backed by the Apostles’ re-distribution of wealth in chapter 4 ofActs. Another thing that I thought was a mis-translation by theCatholics was the use of confession to priests by the Catholicfollowers (I felt that each indiv. should confess only to God, not toa Man); however, throughout Acts, you see the power increasing forcertain Apostles, until they were regarded very highly to everyone. And, supposedly, the Apostles say that Angels come to them often, andtell them who to go out and convert. The Pope, and other priests couldeasily put themselves in the places of the Apostles to say that Angelsdirectly command them to do things that aren’t necessarily written inthe Bible. I got a very different impression of Jesus and his religion thanPaul, after I read Jesus’ written words. However, Paul’s letter inPhilippians reminded me of the attitude from the Christian religionchurches that I have been accustomed to for years. Versus like: ‘I cando all things through Christ who strengthens me’ (P 4:13), and ‘..notlook out for your own interests, but the interests of others’ (P 2:4). However, I felt that P 2:10 showed a direct contradiction toHebrew Scripture or any sayings from Jesus. ‘…Name of Jesus, everyknee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those underthe earth.’ If Paul is implying that people are living under theearth, in hell, then he is adopting that belief without any backup, forthere is no one in hell now. People who are dead must wait for thecoming of God and Judgement day. Anyway, that is what + alwaysthought. The strongest, overall impression that I gotafter reading Matthew, Mark, Acts and Philippians, was thatthe teachings of Jesus were not very well understood/followed duringthe formation of The Church years later. Issues I discussed before,like ‘punishment and Fearing God’s wrath’, ‘wealth re-distribution’(Jesus lived as a peasant), ‘the position assumed by certaininfluential apostles’ seem very foreign to Jesus. It seems that many of the new beliefs in the New Testamentcan only be backed-up if you belive that Angels really did come to menon earth as often as the N.T. says, rather than looking to the HebrewScripture for validation. The rest of this class should be interesting. I expect somebig changes in my religious beliefs to come from it. ——————————————————————————–