Jesus's Words

The Cult of Paul

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Conflict #08: Paul equating the "Gospel" with Jesus' resurrection vs Jesus defining his "Gospel" as Salvation via Love...

Another highly pivotal discrepancy between the writings of Paul and the teachings of Jesus Christ centers upon their theologies starkly divergent centers — namely, the very different ways the two defined and preached the foundational essence of their ministries; what the biblical manuscripts call "the gospel".47 On one hand, Paul announces his own unique "gospel"(Romans 2:16, 16:25, 1 Corinthians 4:15-16, 15:1, Galatians 126-7, Philippians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 1:6.) — namely, the message

  • A) that Jesus Christ was/is the Messiah,(Acts 13:32-33, 18:28, Romans 8:3, Galatians 4:4.)48
  • B) that Jesus Christ rose from the dead after his crucifixion,(Acts 13:29-31, 17:2-3, 17:30—31, Romans 1:4, 7:4, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.)
  • C) that anyone who worships Jesus Christ as the only Son of God will be granted eternal salvation in heaven after their bodily death. Paul states, Let it be known to you therefore, my brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you; that by Jesus everyone who believes is set free from all those sins from which you could not be freed by the Law of Moses,Acts 13:38-39 If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.,Romans 10:9-10 and in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a human being, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a human being; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.1 Corinthians 15:20-22. See also Romans 6:5, 1 Corinthians 8:6, 10:4, Philippians 3:10—11.

On the other hand, the Gospel of Jesus Christ expressed a very different message indeed. Yes, first and foremost it is fair to admit that the "good news" mentioned in the Synoptic Gospels was often described in terms that were vague at best. See the good news of the Kingdom,Matthew 4:23, 9:35 the good news of the Kingdom of God,49Luke 4:43, 8:1, 16:16 the good news of God,Mark 1:14-15,50 the good news of Jesus Christ,Mark 1:151 this good news,Matthew 26:13, Mark 14:952 and simply as the good news.Mark 16:15,53 8:35, 10:29, 13:10—13,54 Luke 4:18,55 7:22, 9:6, 20:1

Fortunately for all those interested,(Christians and non-Christians alike) there are two other instances in the Bible where Jesus speaks to the nature of his Gospel — two instances where he actually did so with remarkably clear specificity. The first of these two mentions is found when he tells his disciples, As you go forth, proclaim [this] Good News: the Kingdom of Heaven is even now at hand.Matthew 10:756 As such, this verse shows that the first portion of Jesus' two-part Gospel is his contention that his followers are to focus not on the future but rather on the Here and Now — essentially the truly good news that The Kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they be able to say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'Look, there it is!' For, in fact, the Kingdom of God is [already] within you.Luke 17:20-21. This is the only instance in the entire New Testament where Jesus speaks both specifically and non-metaphorically about Heaven. Even more importantly, the second facet of Jesus' Gospel is is shown when Jesus describes how his followers(and indeed, the rest of humanity as well) could attain entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven of which he so often spoke — saying, The Love of many will grow cold, and yet the one who endures [in Love] to the end shall be saved. And this Good News of the Kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations.Matthew 24:12-14. See also Luke 6:46-49

So in essence then, it can now be readily and clearly seen that whereas Paul's "gospel" concentrated on tempting his adherents into "saving" themselves by worshiping Jesus as the Messiah,(The one and only Son of God — a status Jesus repeatedly denied and indeed firmly decried.) Jesus' very different "Good News" encouraged his followers to live fully blissful lives by selflessly Caring for others. Indeed, as has been touched on previously, Paul was undeniably a man of faith57 — believing without a doubt that Jesus was the incarnate resurrected Son Of God,(Acts 9:20, 17:18, 24:21, Romans 1:1-4, 1 Corinthians 2:1-2, 2 Corinthians 4:5-6, Colossians 3:1.) that Jesus was the Messiah and as such the one true source of spiritual salvation,(Acts 9:22, 18:5, 18:28, 19:17, 28:30-31, Colossians 2:8-9.) and that the only individuals who had access to said salvation were those who worshiped Jesus Christ faith-fully — those who believed with their hearts and professed with their mouths that Jesus was the Heaven-sent Savior of all those who adored him accordingly. For Paul, that faith in Jesus' divinity was enough for salvation, and indeed that faith was the only viable path thereto.(Acts 16:29-31, Acts 28:23, Romans 3:21-25, 4:5, 5:1-11, 5:17-18, 6:4-5, 7:22-25, 8:1-11, 10:9-10, 14:8-9, 2 Corinthians 5:14—15.)

Of course, Jesus would have none of such nonsense, renouncing any hint of his own special divinity at every turn.(Mark 10:18, John 5:41, 7:16, 8:50-54, 12:44.) He repeatedly told his followers that they possessed just as much divine potential as he did,(Matthew 5:9, 5:44-48, John 10:34-35, 14:12, 14:20.) he rebuked disciples and demons alike whenever they claimed that he was the Messiah — the one and only Son of God,(Mathew 16:20, Mark 5:7, 8:30, Luke 4:35, 8:28, 9:20-21.) and he rejected all temptations to public reverence or personal leadership(Matthew 20:28, 23:12, Mark 10:44-45, Luke 22:24- 27, John 13:12-15.) — including calls from his followers to become king,(e.g. John 6:15.) announcements from regional leaders that he was a king,(e.g. Luke 23:3.) and even promises of immortality and unlimited royal power from Satan himself.(Matthew 4:1-11, Luke 4:1-13. Interestingly, these were very same gifts that were awarded. to and received by the messianic "Son of Man" in Daniel 7:13-14.)

Finally, and in full harmony with the Gospel of Jesus Christ — the Good News as he defined it and shared it during his ministry, the Scriptures show that Jesus wanted others to worship God by emulating his selfless Way of Living and his humble Way of Loving — stating quite plainly that his followers were to Let your light shine before others so that they might see your good works and give glory to your Father in Heaven,Matthew 5:16. It can be helpful to remember that, for Jesus, "Heaven" was an internal essence.(Luke 17:20-21.) Love your God with all your heart [and] Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these,Mark 12:30-31 cf. Matthew 22:35-40 My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and enliven it,Luke 8:21. The word appropriately translated here as "enliven" is the Greek term poiountes, Strong's #4160. that his listeners were to do just as I have done for you... If you understand these things, blessed are you while you do them,John 13:15-17. See also John 3:16-21 just as I have Loved you, so shall you Love one another. By this will others know that you are my disciples: when you show Love for one another,John 13:34-35 Abide in me just as I abide in you... My Father is glorified by this: that you bear much fruit and [thereby] become my disciples,John 15:4—8 and Keep my commandments [and] this is my commandment: that you Love one another just as I have Loved you.John 14:15, 15:12

Jesus didn't ask for us to become theologians or biblical Scholars, and he certainly didn't want us to. worship him or become devoutly religious or even regularly go to church. No, What Jesus wanted us to do above all else was simply to follow him; what he wanted us to do was to boldly emulate his Way of selfless Love.

47: The term "gospel" is primarily found in the three synoptic works of Matthew, Mark, and Luke — and either reflects the Greek words euaggelion, Strong's #2098,(When spoken of directly as a noun.) or euaggelizo, Strong's #2097.(When being announced as a verb.) It is sometimes translated as "good news" in various verses, owing to its more literal translation from the Greek.(eu = "good" + angelos = "messenger" + ion or izo, suffixes.) Historically this term was used during the time of the Roman Empire to herald the establishment of a new kingdom(e.g. often whenever a military engagement came to an end) and allow all those who had been conquered to pledge allegiance to the new ruler and thereby be spared. In this context, the initial words of Mark(the first Gospel penned) are dramatically striking, announcing the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ — thereby proclaiming Jesus' legitimacy as a ruler of the day and implying that he had in some way conquered the Roman Empire. In Old English the term was originally written "godspel",(again, for "good news") and yet was changed for whatever reason to the "gospel" we read today.

48: Aside from these more direct references thereto, Paul also subtly alludes to his belief in Jesus as divine; doing so by speaking of him while directly alluding to Old Testament verses that spoke of or referred to God.(See Romans 10:13 — alluding to Joel 12:32; 1 Corinthians 1:31, 2 Corinthians 10:17 — alluding to Jeremiah 9:24; 1 Corinthians 2:16 — alluding to Isaiah 40:3; and 1 Corinthians 10:26 — alluding to Psalm 24:1.)

49: And remember what Jesus said later in the Gospel of Luke about the nature of his "Kingdom of God" — namely, that it resided within us.(Luke 17:20-21.)

50: NOTE the very similar language used both here and in Matthew 10:7 — namely, "the time is fulfilled" in the former and "the Kingdom of Heaven is even now at hand" in the latter.

51: NOTE that the Greek manuscripts of this particular verse conclude with "a Son of God", not "the Son of God."

52: Both verses refer to the courageous generosity of women(possibly the same woman) anointing Jesus with oil.

53: This is the first penned mention of The Great Commission.(See also Matthew 28:16—20, Luke 24:47, John 20:21.)

54: NOTE that the words the one who endures to the end will be saved in verse 13 directly reflect the extremely important similar passage in Matthew 24:12-14.

55: This is the only time that Jesus is seen publicly reading from the Hebrew Bible in the Gospels, importantly — and appropriately — doing so to bring good news to the poor.

56: It is admittedly true that neither the majority of the ancient manuscripts nor the King James Version of the Bible contain the words "this/the Good News" in this verse, and yet this does not make the NRSV(or any other similar translations) inaccurate for inserting them. Indeed, the very same Greek word translated as "proclaim" (kerusso, here conjugated as keryssete, Strong's #2784) is also found in Matthew 4:17's Jesus began to proclaim: Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, Matthew 4:13's Jesus went throughout Galilee proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom, and Matthew 9:35's Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom — all verses relaying a similar message, all in similar contexts.

57: And this, despite his unusual(and seemingly contradictory) statement, the only thing that counts is faith enlivened by Love,Galatians 5:6 with the word translated here as "enlivened" being the Greek term energoumene, Strong's #1754,(often translated as "working") —— a term that is without question one that describes operation, activity, and accomplishment, not more thought or feeling.

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