Jesus's Words

The Cult of Paul

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Contrast #13: Paul's divisiveness and Jesus' peacemaking...

This next contrast can truly come as no surprise, seeing as how condemnation by its very nature brings division - and forgiveness by its very nature engenders harmony. Indeed, for the entirety of his biblical account - no matter where Paul seemed to go - debate and dissension followed. He first preached in the synagogues of Damascus, whereby the Jews there became enraged and tried to kill him.(Acts 9:19-25.) He then escaped to preach in Jerusalem, whereafter the Hellenist Jews there tried to kill him as well.(Acts 9:29.) After his friends helped him escape to Tarsus, Paul found his way to Antioch, and yet before long bad blood began to boil there too, and he and Barnabas were sent away.(Acts 13:9-12.) Setting sail, Paul and his cohorts landed at Antioch in Pisidia, and yet it didn't take long for them to offend many of the Jews there, who then drove them out of their region.(Acts 13:13-52.) So off Paul went to Iconium - where he and his friends narrowly escaped being stoned for heresy.(Acts 14:1-6.) This led them to flee to Lystra, where Paul engaged in even more vociferous debates and was indeed subsequently stoned and left for dead.(Acts 14:7-19.) After retreating to the cozy confines of like-minded friends back in Antioch,(Acts 14:24-28.) Paul again began debating with local Jews(Acts 15:1-2.) and thereafter went to Jerusalem to confront the disciples on his primary matters of theological contention. After hearing him out, James and Peter were at first unclear as to how they should deal with Paul's fervent ramblings, and yet ultimately decided that it would be in the best interests of everyone if he were simply sent back to Antioch.(Acts 15:22-29.) After remaining there for a time, Paul grew restless and wanted to return and visit the believers in every city where we have already proclaimed the word of the lord.Acts 15:36 True to form, Paul could not agree on which members of his cadre should take part in this journey, a dissension that grew so sharp that it led to he and long-time companion Barnabas non-amicably parting company.(Acts 15:36-41.) After making his way to Philippi, Paul and his new traveling companion Silas were charged with causing a public uproar, barely escaping an angry mob only to have the local magistrates flog and imprison them thereafter.(Acts 16:16-24.) After an earthquake allowed for a most miraculous escape, Paul and his cohorts made their way to Thessalonica, where it took Paul only three Sabbath speeches to inspire the next wave of rioting.(Acts 17:1-5.) Some pro-Paul believers then ushered Paul out of the city under cover of darkness, and he made his way to Berea, where his uniquely heretical rantings created still more trouble.(Acts 17:10-13.) Paul was then sent off to Athens, where the relatively sophisticated citizenry seemed to regard him with bemused contempt,(Acts 17:15-33.) inspiring him be on his way once more. After thereafter arriving in Corinth, he began "arguing" every Sabbath in the synagogue there, causing no small amount of conflict and inspiring no small amount of derision.(Acts 18:1-7.) After narrowly avoiding sentencing at the hand of Gallio,(Acts 18:12-16.) Paul left for Ephesus, where he spent three months speaking in the synagogue before the offense taken by the Jews there became too rancid and Paul was forced to leave once again.(Acts 19:1-9.) He then went to Tyrannus, where he remained for two years, preaching his unique brand of "good news."(Acts 19:9-10.) It was at some point shortly thereafter that yet another Paul-inspired riot broke out - this one leading to the mauling of two of Paul's traveling companions by an angry mob(Acts 19:28—29.) and convincing Paul that it might be best if he left for Macedonia.(Acts 20:1.) Paul then passed through Macedonia and entered Greece, staying there for just three months before the next Jewish plot to kill him was set into motion and discovered.(Acts 20:3.) He fled and made his way eventually to Jerusalem by boat, where he once more narrowly escaped death when the Jews there tried to lynch him for his heresies, quite accurately stating: This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere to turn against our people, our law, and this place [the Temple].Acts 21:27-36 It was here that Paul cast himself upon the mercy of the Roman Emperor,(Not God or Jesus Christ, his self-professed Messiah - see Acts 22:22-30.) causing him to be transferred to Caesarea where, in true Pauline fashion, he intentionally stirred up a squabble between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.(Acts 23:6-10.) The Jews then formed yet another pact to kill Paul, and yet this plot was foiled - again under cover of darkness - by Paul's newfound Roman friends.(Acts 23:12—23.) Paul eventually made it to Rome thereafter, where he continued to preach his contentious gospel until his death by decapitation several years later.(Acts 28:24—31.)

In quite marked contrast, Jesus Christ relayed his own very different Gospel(contrast Paul's Jesus-based gospel in Romans 10:9, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 with Jesus' Love-based Gospel in Matthew 10:7, 24:12-14) with an air of calm authority - and this, even though his message was just as challenging as Paul's. Firstly, while Paul is frequently seen "arguing" in synagogues(Acts 17:2, 17, 18:4, 19:8-9.) and contending for more arguments,(1 Corinthians 11:19, 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.) Jesus is seen calmly teaching "with authority" in those same places of worship.(Matthew 21:23-27, 45-46, Mark 1:21-22, Luke 4:31-32. See also Matthew 9:35, 13:54, Mark 1:39, 6:2, 11:18, 12:12, 35-37, Luke 2:43-47, 4:15-22, 44, 19:47-48, 20:1-8, 20—26, 21:37-38, John 6:22-59, 7:30-46, 8:2, 20.) and/or serving others by healing them there.(Matthew 4:23, 12:9-13, 21:14, Mark 1:23-27, 3:1-5, Luke 4:33-35, 6:6-11, 13:10-16. See also Luke 14:1-5, John 5:14.)...Secondly, note that while Paul is most often seen to seek out his listeners and then speak with them in private gatherings, Jesus is by far most often seen speaking to larger crowds in public - with authority, not like the scribes;(i.e. not like Paul. See Matthew 7:29, Mark 1:22.) crowds who had over and over and over again sought him out, not vice versa.(Matthew 4:25, 5:1-7:29, 8:1-5, 18, 9:9, 27-32, 11:7, 12:15, 13:1-3, 14:13, 34-36, 15:10, 30, 19:2, 16, 20:29, Mark 1:32-33, 2:1-2, 13, 3:7-8, 20, 4:1, 5:21-24, 6:33-34, 54-55, 7:24, 8:1, 22, 9:15, 10:1, 13-17, 46, Luke 4:42, 5:1-3, 11, 15-19, 6:17-18, 7:11, 8:4, 40, 9:11, 37, 12:1, 14:25, 15:1-2, 17:11-12, 18:15, John 4:45, 6:2-5, 24-25, 10:41, 12:9-12.)... Thirdly, while Paul almost without exception attacked his religious opponents to the point of instigating violent conflict with them, we often see those same opponents,(Pharisees, Sadducees and scribes - see Matthew 15:1, 16:1, 19:3, 22:15-23, Mark 7:1, 8:11, 12:13, 18, Luke 7:14, 13:31, 17:20-21, 20:27, John 10:22-24. Occasionally, even the leader of the [local] synagogue as well, see Matthew 9:18, Mark 5:22, 11:27, Luke 8:41, John 8:1-9.) seeking out Jesus to ask questions or seek his counsel.... Fourthly, while it is true that Jesus' ministry was a troubling one to the powers that were;And this, despite the fact that Jesus' openly professed mission was to perfect the Law - admittedly by radically amending it and thereby bring it to completion. (The more accurate translation for the Greek word plerosai - Strong's #4137, most often read as "fulfilled" in Matthew 5:17-18.) inspiring those authorities to regularly show him hostility(Luke 11:53-54.) or ridicule(Luke 16:14.) and/or persecution,(John 5:16.) it is crucial to note that Jesus just as often went out of his way to deescalate those moments of tension11 - telling his disciples to shake the dust from [their] feet and flee similar conflicts(See Matthew 10:14, 23, Mark 6:11.) and himself flowing smoothly away from the same.(Consider when he is easily passing through an angry mob in Luke 4:24-30, removing himself from other aggressive gangs in John 8:59, 12:36, quietly leaving when asked to do so in Luke 8:34-37, sighing deeply and departing peacefully after being confronted by the Pharisees in Mark 8:11-13, calmly defusing yet another hostile band in John 10:31-40, avoiding Judea in John 7:1 when the Jews there were still angry with him, and later in John 11:53-54 taking a break from preaching entirely when tensions were at a peak.) In conclusion, while Paul believed that Jesus must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet1 Corinthians 15:25 and preached accordingly, Jesus consistently shared a Gospel of Love that was ever in harmony with his deepest sermons, most notably, Blessed are the peacemakers.Matthew 5:9

11: NOTE that, whereas Paul was clearly interested in converting others to his ministry, Jesus was only interested in awakening others to his Way. Paul ran from aggression and sought new audiences for himself, while Jesus pre-planned his ministry solely for the benefit of others - solely to awaken as many as possible to the wonders of his brand of selfless Love. And proof of this is found quite readily in the Scriptures - with Jesus only twice provoking others to the point of aggression; once in the very beginning of his ministry(Luke 4:24-30.) and once near that ministry's end.(By turning over the money-changers tables in the Temple, in all probability to purposefully draw attention to his subsequently self-organized crucifixion. See Matthew 21:12-17, Mark 11:15, Luke 19:45.) This explains why he is repeatedly shown to so easily avoid injury or arrest; why no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come.(John 7:30-44. See also John 2:4, 7:6, 8:20.)

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