Jesus's Words

The Cult of Paul

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Contrast #05: to whom they most readily preached...

Another marked contrast between Paul and Jesus is readily seen in their preferred audiences, with Paul frequently speaking to those with whom he was already familiar, for instance, Come, let us return and visit the believers in every city where we have already proclaimed the word of the Lord and see how they are doingActs 15:36 and Jesus seeming to share his message openly with any and all nearby. This is not to say that Paul only preached where it was comfortable to do so(He clearly didn't - see Galatians 2 et al) or that Jesus never chose to purposefully engage a particular group or gathering,(He most certainly did - see Matthew 21 et al) and yet it is revealing nonetheless to note that for the most part Paul seemed to enter into religious dialogue in private arenas he had already visited(previously established churches, like the ones at Lystra, Iconium and Antioch in Acts 14:22-27 - churches where he strengthened the souls of the [already won] disciples, and like the one in Jerusalem mentioned in Acts 15:4, 21:17-18.) and/or places in which he felt comfortable;(local Jewish synagogues, like the one at Salamis noted in Acts 13:5, the one at Thessalonica mentioned in Acts 7:1-2, or the one at Beroea referenced in Acts 17:10.) speaking to audiences he already knew(like those present in the home of Lydia mentioned in Acts 16:40.) and/or those who were predisposed to accept his message.(like the "believers" in Macedonia mentioned in Acts 20:1-2.)

Jesus, on the other hand, is frequently shown preaching in public to large gatherings of people who were unfamiliar to him(Matthew 13:57-58, Mark 6:4-6.) - people who had come to him instead of vice versa.(Matthew 4:25, 8:1, 18, 13:34, 14:13, 19:2, 20:29, 3:7-8, 32, 5:21-24, 9:14, 10:1, 46, Luke 5:1, 7:11, 8:4, 42, 9:11, 11:29, 14:25, 18:36, 23:27, John 6:2.) He is also often shown interacting with those who are considered to be disliked or despised or "undesirable" or "unclean"(e. g. lepers in Matthew 8:2-3, Mark 1:41, Luke 5:13, prostitutes in Luke 7:37, John 8:3-11, Samaritans in Luke 17:11-19, John 4:7-40, Pharisees in Luke 7:36, and tax collectors in Luke 15:1, 19:7-10) and doing so with a message that was in and of itself less than comforting to those listeners. For he championed a kind of self-sacrificial Love that was active, not verbal; a Love that required actual courage to manifest, not mere religious piety, saying, If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me,Luke 9:23 and Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my [all-Loving] Father,Matthew 7:21 and Truly I tell you, unless you change and become humble again like very young children, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven.Matthew 18:3-4 He also encouraged others to abandon all their attachments - both to the ease of material wealth(Matthew 6:19-21, 19:21-24, Mark 9:35, Luke 12:15-21, 14:33.) as well as to the comfort of familiar relationships.(Matthew 12:50, 19:12, 29, Mark 3:33-35, 10:29, Luke 14:26.)

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