An essay donated by Ben Lomond
Jesus of Nazareth -- God's
delegated agent to the world
A reasonable starting point on any debate about Jesus of Nazareth is an understanding of Jewish OT Messianic criteria and the purpose of the NT. The main purpose that the NT came into being was to demonstrate on the basis of OT scripture that the man Jesus of Nazareth was in fact God’s anointed agent delegated to take the message of God to the world. The NT also says upon a return in glory, Jesus will rule the Kingdom of God on earth.
The basic message of Jesus was that people wishing to enter the Kingdom of God must wake up to themselves adopt ethical unselfish principles in their everyday living. However, Jesus’ message struck a raw nerve with the Temple elders - the very people to whom his message should have meant most. They considered that they held an important and special position in society as conduits of God to the world. They were so offended at Jesus whom they regarded as an impostor that they conspired his crucifixion on trumped up charges as a blaspheming, trouble making public nuisance.
This is avery straightforward proposition that repeats the OT theme of God’s prophets being harassed by men of power and status. The disciples are simply asking people to make a choice –who would you prefer, the Temple elders or Jesus of Nazareth??? To choose Jesus is to address your self to the values that he lived and died for, nothing more or less than that. Similarly, to side with the Temple elders is to see justification in their conduct. The whole matter revolves around conflicting values, and people are asked to evaluate the issues, make an informed opinion and take a side. Church creeds, dogmas and doctrines are irrelevant and only ser veto confuse the issue; they cover all cases of proving the wrong points.
Paul summed it up this way:
"I know not anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." 1Cor 2:2.
"For Jews demand signs and Greeks desire wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified,unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." 1Cor 1:22/23.
Additionally,Paul on several occasions said:
"... To this day Steadiness to both to small and great, saying -no other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say would come; that the Christ would suffer, that he would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles." (Acts 26:22).
Again in Acts 18:28:
"…he (Paul) publicly showed by the Scriptures (the OT) that Jesus was Christ."
And again in Acts 28:23:
" … he (Paul) persuaded Jesus, both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets ..."
Thievery core of all that Paul preached revolved around the crucifixion / resurrection and he saw these as principles that must be applied in an individual and personal sense. Paul expected people to endure spiritually what Jesus suffered physically.
We are expected to crucify our past living and arise a newborn creature.
"so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death." Rom 6:3.
" our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed," Rom 6:6.
All the teachings of Jesus and the disciples can be shown to be valid criteria from the Jewish Scriptures (the OT). However, the Sanhedrin interpreted Scripture as they saw fit and as suited their own vested interests. Their primary interest was not in truth but preservation of their self importance, status and privileges of office.
It was with the benefit of hindsight, after several years to think through the totally unexpected turn of events that saw the execution and departure of their leader, that the disciples brought the NT writings into existence. And the whole purpose was to reconcile the totally unexpected results of a crucified messiah with the expectations of God’s kingdom being established and ruled by a king who would restore the fortunes of Israel at his one and only appearance.
Not even the disciples knew that Jesus was to be crucified until it actually happened.
The doctrines of virgin birth, trinity, incarnation, original sin,etc. have absolutely no place in OT messianic expectancy and consequently no place in the NT which was written to demonstrate that Jesus was God’s anointed agent to the world.
The disciple John in his first and second letters bewailed the fact that in hi sown times misrepresentations of the disciple’s message were already abounding. Church creeds and doctrine about Jesus and God evolved over many centuries after Jesus and in in church synods and councils amid bitter acrimony and recriminations.
The concept of the gods incarnating into human form, along with the virgin birth and Holy Trinity sat comfortably within common pagan Greek concepts, whereas to a Jewish mind it was and remains an absolute abomination. As an example of the difference of attitude displayed toward "divine" concepts witness the contrast of public responses to the performance of healing miracles by Jews to Jesus (Matt 9:8),and by Pagan Greeks to Paul.(Acts 14:11).
I repeat, what Paul said:
"...To this day I stand witnessing to both small and great, saying -no other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say would come ..."
Originally posted on 2010-SEP-28
Latest update on: 2011-APR-03
Written by Ben Lomond in Tasmania, Australia