Who is This Jesus?
Written by: Robert D Brinsmead
The earliest writing about Jesus was what scholars now call the Q document written in Galilee. It contained nothing but the core sayings of Jesus. It was a Sayings Gospel – nothing more. It said nothing about the person who uttered the sayings, nothing about his parents; about a miraculous birth, nothing about a sinless life, or about great nature miracles, or an atoning death on the cross; nothing about his being the Christ. No Christology at all. There was no apocalyptic about the end of the world or the realm of the mythical, and not a word about the Church. The core of his sayings were later taken over into Matthew 5:37-48 and Luke 6:28-36.
On the one hand the sayings were about an ethic of non-violence – no violent retaliation against evil, no punitive justice against anyone, nothing but unconditional love and forgiveness for those who try to harm us. There was nothing entirely new here because there had been some enlightened souls, even among the pagans, who were able to conceive of an ethic like this. But these sayings were unique in that they contained a startling new doctrine of God as One who is totally and always non-violent – loving his enemies with unabated kindness and generosity. God’s eternal and unconditional love encompasses all of humanity alike. There never was a time when God did not love us and hold us in mind, and there never will be a time when God will ever cease to love humanity which is an inseparable one. All are held in eternal security with total acceptance in a love that is certain to triumph over all evil.
It is clear from this core teaching that this ethic of non-violence and unconditional love for all of humanity flowed from a theology of a non-violent and unconditional love. If God loves even his enemies, so should his children love their enemies. It is as simple as that.
Instead of being satisfied with this core gospel of Jesus which says not a word about himself, some of the early Jesus people began to speculate about who the person was who spoke such wonderful words. That’s where the rot started and the deviation began. It was proposed that the author of these words must be the Messiah. This led them down the path toward an elaborate Christology – a process that took about 400 years to reach the conclusion that he was God Almighty, of the same “substance” as the Eternal Father. The more the Church became pre-occupied with the who behind those words, the less it payed attention to what he said.. The more they lauded the Teacher, the more they discarded his teaching. This fact is clearly exhibited in the great Creeds of the Church that focus on his person (Christology) and devote not a single word to what he said.
It is clear from what he said that Jesus did not want any hero-worship, yet that is exactly what the Christian religion is all about. He did not want any of this “Lord, Lord,” or “Good Master” or any veneration of his person. He just wanted people to listen to his words and act on them.
So ends my Christmas 2015 reflection.