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AquilaChrysaetos

What exactly is Jesus Christ's message here?

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This has been a personal quandry of mine for some time now, and I'm simply curious as to what other people interpret this as...

"Do not think I have come to abolish the Law of the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished."

This is one of the most interesting quotes from Jesus Christ in my opinion, because he then proceeds to do the exact opposite in cases like so:

"You have heard it said, 'Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.' But I tell you. Do not resist an evil person. I f someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also."

Direct opposition of a past law.

Going on from that place, he went into their synagogue, and a man with a shriveled hand was there. Looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, they asked him, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" He said to them, "If any of you has a sheep and it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will you not take hold of it and lift it out? How much more valuable is a man than a sheep! Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath."

Changes another law. Plus if his message is that you are to do good all the time, and all work you do is meant to be for God (meaning always good), then does this mean that the Sabbath is completely abolished?

"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which Ones? the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' "

So he's suddenly selective about which of the ten commandments you must follow? And not only that but he adds another one? He only mentioned five of them here. Is this not taking away from the Law?

I simply find difficulty in this. I'm not attempting to mock Jesus, I only want to make sense of him. I agree with many of these teachings, but I don't understand if he's perfect, why he would accept the old laws of the Old Testament with him bounding to know the countless contradictions in them, as well as directly defying them and teaching otherwise.

I can only personally come up with two possible scenarios: either he didn't say them and they were added in and/or changed by the writers themselves or Constantine I when he canonized the modern day bible, he did say them but had a deeper meaning to them, or he simply said them in an attempt to maintain order as opposed to chaos and in turn slowly changed their idea of the laws as he went along.

Or, some would simply say he wasn't perfect. I for one believe he was, therefore I would love an explanation... :huh:

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So the problem you're having is that these sayings clash with the presupposition that you yourself (or our culture) is imposing a priori --- that Jesus was perfect. This theological doctrine does not get created until much later.

Second, are you sure that these are Jesus' words. Just as writers of the OT placed words into Yahweh's mouth to legitimate their own beliefs and ideologies, so too the gosples writers did with Jesus. All of these quotes are mostly likely those of "Matthew" or the tradition he inherited. "Matthew" was a Jew, and he depicted Jesus in a manner that supported what he was doing --- namely writing to Jewish-Christians who were being informed by non-Jewish Christians that they no longer had to abide by the Law. Matthew's Jesus adamantly disagrees (quote #1).

Christianity grew out of Jewish messianism/apocalypticism. "Matthew" and his community firmly believed that God (+ his messiah) would soon enter history to settle accounts -- redeem the just and punish the unjust. Imagine a community that firmly believed God was going to right the wrongs of the world tomorrow, or next week, maybe next month. ---- I'd turn my check and let the unjust one beat the **** out of me. God is coming! (quote #2)

Many Jews before the Jesus movement debated what can and cannot be done on the Sabbath. This is not breaking the Sabbath per se. The most popular was: by law a male had to be circumcised on the 8th day. Well what if the 8th day fell on the Sabbath? No matter what is chosen, one law will be broken. (quote #3)

The Jewish rabbi Hillel (?) and other Jews before Jesus too claimed that the Torah laws could all be sumed up by Lev 19:18 -- love thy neighbor. Elsewhere in Matthew the response is: first obey the Shema -- Hear O Israel that Yahweh is one, Yahweh alone --- then Love thy neighbor (quote #4)

Scholars have often noticed that Matthew's Jesus is the most Jewish of all the gospel Jesuses. He is a law-abiding Jew. Compare this to John's Jesus who is now anti-Semitic and stands outside of Judaims. These are your real contradictions.

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Well, I guess it would come down to Jesus being a man. He seemed for the most part to be a decent dude and so on one hand he promises that he is not there to abolish the Law while on the other hand, him being the decent and more up-to-date guy that he was, he knew that certain things did need to be changed or done away with - playing to the crowd it would seem.

Or perhaps it is as you mentioned: That Constantine changed the scriptures; it's a highly plausible conclusion because he was a ruler and had power and power and the exertion of control over the masses can lead men to do things in order to achieve/maintain that control and religion and scriptures are a great way (or were, rather) of keeping the people in check.

Edited by Sean93

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Scholars have often noticed that Matthew's Jesus is the most Jewish of all the gospel Jesuses. He is a law-abiding Jew. Compare this to John's Jesus who is now anti-Semitic and stands outside of Judaims. These are your real contradictions.

Well that's just my problem is that Jesus has different depictions in the four gospels themselves. Kinda makes it difficult for a believer to know exactly what to believe... :wacko:

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Matthew 19:17-19 said:

"Why do you ask me about what is good?" Jesus replied. "There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments." "Which Ones? the man inquired. Jesus replied, " 'Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,' and 'love your neighbor as yourself.' "

So he's suddenly selective about which of the ten commandments you must follow? And not only that but he adds another one? He only mentioned five of them here. Is this not taking away from the Law?

There may have been only those specific commandments in his time and before him, then sometime later someone may have added the rest in (making it a total of 10) to suit their agenda in controlling Pagan worshippers. Take a wild guess as to whom, which you've already mentioned.

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Ask Him!

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Well that's just my problem is that Jesus has different depictions in the four gospels themselves. Kinda makes it difficult for a believer to know exactly what to believe... :wacko:

Yep. And exactly why, as a believer, you can cherry-pick. Not many of them choose Matthew's Jesus though, especially his criteria for salvation in Matt 25--- feed the hungry, clothe the poor, take in the homeless, visits the orphans. THese are the saved ones and them alone!

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Yep. And exactly why, as a believer, you can cherry-pick. Not many of them choose Matthew's Jesus though, especially his criteria for salvation in Matt 25--- feed the hungry, clothe the poor, take in the homeless, visits the orphans. THese are the saved ones and them alone!

Well, as I've said before, I believe due to life experiences, not scripture. Also, I just chose Matthew's jesus at random. The same thing can essentially be seen in the other gospels too.

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Ask Him!

Okay, I know it's completely off topic, but I don't quite know whether to laugh or barf at your avatar... Although I'm tempted to barf...

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Honestly you aren't listen to his words, your reading his words written by somebody else then passed around and changed over the years to suit their needs.

Work doesn't mean simply doing stuff. Work in the don't work on the sabbath means don't do something you are force to do, take a day for yourself to do what you want. That is what rest really is. Doing something that you want. That really wouldn't be all the beneficial to the church though. Since people don't really like to sit and listen to how horrible or sinful they are(9 times out of 10 in crappy wooden pews) telling their "flock" that would make them leave.

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people don't really like to sit and listen to how horrible or sinful they are(9 times out of 10 in crappy wooden pews) telling their "flock" that would make them leave.

Thus the reason I don't go to church.

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This has been a personal quandry of mine for some time now, and I'm simply curious as to what other people interpret this as...

You ask some very good questions, and here's my take on them. First, Matthew 5:17-18 states that Jesus came not to abolish the Law but to "fulfil" the law. I think it important to know what Jesus meant by fulfilling the Law. For as soon as he says this (two verses later), he says "You have heard that it was said, "do not murder".... but I tell you that if you are angry with your brother you are guilty of murder". Did Jesus "change" the Law? Yes, but he did not abolish it. What he did was give the Law a deeper meaning. The physical Law "do not murder" has been "fulfilled" to a new spiritual meaning - be not angry with your brother ("brother", being anyone you come across, not just your blood kin).

Jesus goes on to fulfil several other laws, giving spiritual meaning to physical laws. This is punctuated by the repetition of "You have heard it said.... but I tell you....". Thus the physical rule of adultery now has a new spiritual meaning - do not lust after that beautiful woman (sorry, no more internet porn). It is in this context that your next Bible quote comes - "You have heard that it was said, "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth", but I tell you....". This Law was intended for magistrates when dealing with judicial law, back in the Old Testament. However, Jews in the 1st Century had adopted this rule to try and use it as justification for revenge. Jesus said that this was not the way to be, and in fact if someone is unjust to you then you should not seek revenge, instead you should be humble and show them your humbleness.

Your next quote refers to the Sabbath. What you read here is an example of Pharisaic Legality. You see, it was long believed by the Jews that their conquering by the Babylonians back in 590-580 BC was due to their sin and unrighteousness (that is how the Old Testament describes it). Thus when the Jews were allowed to repopulate their homeland and rebuild the Temple, the priests put preventative measures in place to ensure that they could never displease God in such a way again. They began to add stipulations to the Law to ensure that they kept the Law to the letter. The ambiguity of "do not work on the Sabbath" was added to with little stipulations so people knew exactly what did and did not comprise "work". If you saw a man dying of thirst in the street, you could not rush out to give him water for that would be work. However, if the man knocked on your door and came inside, you could offer him water as a matter of hospitality. By using these rigid laws, the Pharisees hoped that they would not break God's law, not even accidentally.

In doing so, however, they lost the intention of the Law. Keeping the Law became more important than Loving your neighbour. Healing a man on the Sabbath became wrong, no matter how much good it did. Jesus rallied against such Pharisaic righteousness, teaching love rather than strict obedience to the rules (not even God's rules, the rules of the Pharisees that were added to God's Law).

Also there is a small matter of Hebrews 4, whereby it can be argued that just as murder has been given a spiritual meaning, so too has the Sabbath been given a spiritual meaning, no longer setting aside a single day in the week to devote to God but through the deposit of the Holy Spirit we have a continuous Sabbath rest in heaven. But that's really beyond the scope of this post (which is already overly long, I think).

Finally you bring up your last quote from Jesus, where Jesus is asked which commandments to follow. He only quotes six of the ten commandments. I would not say he is "selective" in which ones to keep. Rather you need to look at a broader context. Which of the ten commandments did he quote and which did he leave out?

Commandments quoted:

* Do not murder

* Do not steal

* Do not commit adultery

* Do not steal

* Do not give false testimony

* Honour your father and mother

Commandments left out:

* You shall have no other gods before me

* You shall not make an idol

* You shall not use God's name in vain

* Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy

Do you notice what these four left out have in common and how they differ from the other six? These commandments deal with how people are to relate to God, whereas the other six deal with how people are to relate to each other. So Jesus quoted only those commandments related to people, to which the rich man declares "All these I have kept since I was a boy". Jesus then says one more thing (you didn't quote this, so I thought it would be helpful):

Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life? “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”“Which ones?” he inquired. Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’ “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
The passage then goes on to say that the man walked away sad, for he had great wealth and therefore didn't do as was asked. Selling his possessions and then following Jesus could be said to encapsulate the four commandments Jesus did not quote - since these dealt with how the man related to God. In this case, the man cared more about his money than he did about God (no other gods before me - money can be said to be a god if you put all you have into acquiring it). This is a sharp warning for us today, especially in the West, since we have so much. Do we care more about our acquisition of wealth, our internet and our lifestyle, or do we care more about God? I'm not advocating we all give up all we have and sell it to the poor, but for some people if they really are so attached to what they own, that may actually be one way to get back to following God.

In any case, Jesus was not being selective in his choice of commandments, he chose the six commandments related to dealing with other people and then hit directly at the heart of things - the man's relationship with God.

Well, those are my thoughts on the passages you cited. I hope you don't get bored reading this, I do apologise for the length. Unfortunately, it's not a quick thing to answer something such as this :blush:

~ Regards, PA

Edited by Paranoid Android
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Of course, he could be saying that the "eye for an eye" bit of the old law was a misinterpretation of what the Lord God actually told them.

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This has been a personal quandry of mine for some time now, and I'm simply curious as to what other people interpret this as...

And why exactly do you have quandary with the fictional rambings of a fictional character? Why can´t you just take it for what it is.

Edited by Zaphod222

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And why exactly do you have quandary with the fictional rambings of a fictional character? Why can´t you just take it for what it is.

It must be exceedingly easy for you to dismiss any question ever asked on Christianity. Surely a bit of curiosity must drive you to find a more expanded answer beyond "what matter is the fictional ramblings of a fictional character". Geez, even if someone asked me the motivations of Harry Potter in one of the films/books I'd be more interested to finding an answer other than "who cares, Harry Potter is fictional". Edited by Paranoid Android
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Of course, he could be saying that the "eye for an eye" bit of the old law was a misinterpretation of what the Lord God actually told them.

It is. It's equal value for equal value. The getting punched part of turning the cheek bit was learning about consent. That is how you find equal value. Getting punched in the face isn't a normally considered good thing but it is ok if you agree to it. That isn't obvious to some people.

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Hi ya AC, I think you have touched on what many people feel. There were at one time, 20 gospels, 15 apocalypses and 50 other texts about Jesus. The Bible has just a few of these which were picked to go in, so we have a limited view of Jesus. But the biggest problems are mistranslation and manipulation of the texts. It has happened in all religions, when the teacher dies eventually a committee is formed to choose the teachings for the faithful. I have 5 version of the Tao te Ching everyone is different, the worst being by a Chinese professor of language. A translator is limited by the knowledge of the subject they are translating. I used to work for a French car manufacturer and the workshop manuals they sent to us, were in parts poorly translated into English by the French, causing many bouts of laughter in the workshop. I have often wondered why people take the bible (or any other text) as the word of God for all these reasons also when people read it they understand in different ways, leading to many different sect within Christianity and they have often killed one another over their differing versions!

IMO one should read spiritual texts for inspiration only, what is better, is to try to experience the experience the teachers were talking about. I find inspiration in most religious texts, I have been practicing meditation for many years and I see this quest in nearly all of them. Why did Jesus go into the desert after his initiation by his teacher John the Baptist? To meditate, to confront the inner demon the mind, the thought maker, constantly judging and controlling. Why not try reading some of the Gnostic gospels although they suffer the same problems they offer another perspective which may broaden your outlook of Jesus’s time and meanings. There is documentary on utube called ‘the lost gospels’, it was made by an English priest, Peter Owen Jones, who approaches the subject with an open mind and is very interesting, I would have put a link but it would only be cut as it is by the BBC and copy righted, but you can view it yourself. If you like it, try some of his other documentaries like the ‘Extreme Pilgrim’, there are four. I really like one where he goes to live in the desert on his own as the early Christian monks did copying Jesus, another where he becomes a Hindu Priest and another where he joins a Buddhist Monastery. He is still a priest but also a member of the progressive Christian Association which is seems to be trying to bring all faiths together in Love and Friendship, so sadly lacking in this modern world. I highly recommend them. Take care.

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Hi ya AC, I think you have touched on what many people feel. There were at one time, 20 gospels, 15 apocalypses and 50 other texts about Jesus. The Bible has just a few of these which were picked to go in, so we have a limited view of Jesus.

Just curious, but of those 20 gospels, 14 apocalypses, and 50 other texts, how many of those chosen in the biblical canon can be reliably dated to the 1st Century Ad (and early 2nd Century). For the most part, I think you'll find that texts date to 1st Century (at worst, some of them may be early or even mid-2nd Century). Compare that to those texts left out, and how far away they are reliably dated... Just a thought :)

But the biggest problems are mistranslation and manipulation of the texts.

Not sure what you mean by this. Perhaps you can provide examples?

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Jesus goes on to fulfil several other laws, giving spiritual meaning to physical laws.

Really? I'd have to disagree here. Where is spiritual coming into play? Certenly there is an intesification or going beyond the law (in fact Matthew's Jesus is one-uping the Pharasees), but there is nothing in the text to suggest Matthew is giving these a spiritual interpretation . The example of adultery is one where the sin is moved from the act of adultery to the thought of it! It is internalized --- just to think it you have committed the sin.

Jesus rallied against such Pharisaic righteousness, teaching love rather than strict obedience to the rules (not even God's rules, the rules of the Pharisees that were added to God's Law).

Does this not contradict Jesus as fulfilling the laws? I think this is too much of a generalization, and again I would clarify, this is Matthew's Jesus. THe way Mark presents these same passages, the issue is not Sabbath, but authority.

Do you notice what these four left out have in common and how they differ from the other six? These commandments deal with how people are to relate to God, whereas the other six deal with how people are to relate to each other. So Jesus quoted only those commandments related to people...

Nice point. Matthew's Jesus focuses in on the ethical legislation. I like it. This goes along with Matthew's (notice I'm not saying Jesus') purpose.

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Maybe Jesus was just a nice guy who spoke too loudly so they done him in. As is the habit of the rich and powerful.

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There were at one time, 20 gospels, 15 apocalypses and 50 other texts about Jesus.

There may have well been more than that that we simply haven't discovered.

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Really? I'd have to disagree here. Where is spiritual coming into play? Certenly there is an intesification or going beyond the law (in fact Matthew's Jesus is one-uping the Pharasees), but there is nothing in the text to suggest Matthew is giving these a spiritual interpretation . The example of adultery is one where the sin is moved from the act of adultery to the thought of it! It is internalized --- just to think it you have committed the sin.

What I mean by "spiritual" is that the law is broadened in meaning to be not just an action in the body but a thought in the mind. Perhaps "spiritual" was an ambiguous way of referring to it, but I couldn't think of a better way. Perhaps some examples may clarify what I mean:

* Law - do not murder. Fulfilled - Do not be angry with someone, that commits murder in the heart

* Law - Do not commit adultery. Fulfilled - Do not lust, that commits adultery in the heart

* Law - Do not eat unclean foods (Leviticus 11). Fulfilled - watch your words, for what comes out of your mouth is what makes you unclean (Mark 7).

* Law - set aside a day to devote to God (Sabbath, 4th Commandment). Fulfilled - by dwelling on Jesus we constantly live in a Sabbath rest with God (Hebrews 4).

Each of these were originally physical laws. They dealt with action. Now through Jesus they are given a deeper meaning, not just a physical action.

Does this not contradict Jesus as fulfilling the laws? I think this is too much of a generalization, and again I would clarify, this is Matthew's Jesus. THe way Mark presents these same passages, the issue is not Sabbath, but authority.

How does Jesus not obeying Pharisaic law contradict Jesus fulfilling God's law?
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It's all hearsay.

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Just curious, but of those 20 gospels, 14 apocalypses, and 50 other texts, how many of those chosen in the biblical canon can be reliably dated to the 1st Century Ad (and early 2nd Century). For the most part, I think you'll find that texts date to 1st Century (at worst, some of them may be early or even mid-2nd Century). Compare that to those texts left out, and how far away they are reliably dated... Just a thought :)[/color][/size][/font]

Not sure what you mean by this. Perhaps you can provide examples? [/color][/size][/font]

Hi PA, There is a lot of debate about the possible age and authenticity of different texts from the early centuries after Jesus, some of those mentioned in the documentary ‘ Lost Gospels’ have been dated to as late as the 4 century. The dating of these texts will always be debatable. For one Jesus didn’t write any of them. The original texts must have been hand written from an oral tradition as most could not read, also any original texts that were worn/damaged after many years would have had to have been copied on to new material (velum/papyri/ etc. ) so checking the age of the materials doesn’t really prove when first written and also language changes and the difficulty of translating from one language (mainly Greek) to another is often difficult, not only because word for word translation but also style. So we cannot be sure of the age of most if not all of them. Also a lot of these texts were around at the council of Nicea. The ones like the Gnostic Gospels were not included in fact these texts of the ‘Christian Heretics’ were in fact hunted down to be destroyed, a probable reason for them being hidden. So I don’t trust dating.

Manipulation and mistranslation? Well we could argue about the meaning of the greek words like soul (see Thales meaning) or Devil or diablo/ trickster but let’s leave that for the bible bashing threads which I don’t like, I try to respect all religions, I look for the similarities not the differences although fundamentalists of any type scare me. There are problems, there must be for 1000s different sects yet they are all reading the same book. I just wish that the various religions could come together and realise they all talking about the same God. For me it is about a personal inner experience. I gain that experience from Meditation, silent reflection on the Peace we all have within. Then when I have that, all the various religious texts come to life, Tao te Ching, the Upanishads, the Vedas, the Gita, the Guru Granth sahib, Rumi’s poems, Kabir’s poems, so, so many great teachers of Love, all talking about the same thing. This may not be how you see it, that’s fine by me, I find the different perspectives inspiring. For some the texts left are enough but for some they are not.

My position is summed up rather well by the founder of Aikido in his beautiful book the ’Art of Peace’. “Each and every master, regardless of the era or place, heard the call and attained harmony with heaven and earth. There are many paths to the top of Mount Fuji but there is only one summit – Love” Morehi Ueshiba

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Of course, he could be saying that the "eye for an eye" bit of the old law was a misinterpretation of what the Lord God actually told them.

I think it is the most misinterpreted quote of the bible by far. What I personally believe is that people who use this quote to justify their treatment of others have completely missed the point - it is not directed at "others" it is directed at how we behave TOWARD others. The LAW which will be fulfilled will ensure that we are treated as we have treated others, NOT that others will be treated as they have treated us - that seems a contradiction, I know but I think it is a profound thing to comprehend.

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