There has never been a man like Jesus. He is considered to be the most unique person of all time. Jesus’ teachings have influenced many people and have changed mankind. According to Marcus J. Borg in Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time, Jesus was in a way four different people fused into one. He was a spirit person, which is a person with a deep unexplainable connection with the spirit of God. Jesus was a teacher of wisdom. He used parables and one-liners to teach about the Kingdom of God.
These parables and aphorisms are the only direct connection we have with the historical Jesus. We get to read what came from him directly and we get a better sense of whom he really was. Borg also describes Him as a social prophet, which is characterized as a person that has conflicts with authority, that criticizes the elites of his time, and that promoted a different “social vision.” The last identity that Borg gives Jesus is that of a movement founder.
He started a renewal movement for Judaism that went past the social barriers of his time.
We do not know much about Jesus until he was about thirty years old. We do however know that Jesus was a Jew, which is surprisingly not known by quite a few Christians. He grew up in Galilee and spoke Aramaic, or Hebrew. The Torah was his primary reading in school and he probably became a tekton, a Greek word that means carpenter. Borg explains that Jesus probably went to follow a prophet named John, but when John was arrested he carried on with God’s Word. The historical Jesus was nonmessiac, which means that we do not know if He thought of himself as the Messiah or the Son of God. His message always pointed away from Himself and towards God. Borg give some major impressions of Jesus and what kind of a person he was. For example, Jesus was a right and left-brained thinker. He was an eloquent speaker that was great at debate and story telling. Jesus was not always liked. People would try to trick Him with questions, but he always managed to come back with an amazing answer. He used extraordinary actions to make statements, like eating with social rejects and the diseased. He was an amazing healer that always had a crowd. Jesus healed Simons mother-in-law, a Roman officer, a servant, a crippled woman (just to name a few) and even raised the dead. Another thing that we know about the historical Jesus was that he did not live a long life and died in his thirties.
Jesus was a remarkable teacher. His main teachings were of God’s kingdom, prayers, wise and foolish lifestyles, and love and forgiveness. Jesus challenged people to question their values and that is why He was an effective teacher. There were many ways that Jesus would teach the Kingdom of God. He would wander around, heal, and eat with people. He would have table fellowship with anyone because He refused to see any abnormalities in someone. David Kantor explains on his website that Jesus had very effective techniques to teaching. One technique was social contact with people to draw them into the story with questions. Another technique that He used was telling parables and using symbolism. Jesus made the heroes of the stories that he told a person that the people detested. He always built on what the people already knew and did not over teach. He taught with authority and used memorable illustrations to reinforce his point.
Jesus’ teachings were more influential that any part of His life. Stephen Johnson explains on his website that the essence of Jesus’ teachings were “love and unselfish social service.” In teaching people the Kingdom of God and how He led His life, Jesus led people to God. There were five main teachings of Jesus. He taught the “Fatherhood of God,” which is that God is our Father that loves all as a whole and as individuals. He knows us all, knows what we are thinking, and gives us the free will to know Him back. Jesus taught the “Brotherhood of Man,” or to “love our neighbors as ourselves.” He said that through exercise of faith we can experience God’s kingdom. Jesus characterized the Kingdom of Heaven in many ways, one example is Him saying, “the Kingdom of Heaven is within you.” Another teaching of Jesus was the importance of an individual’s personal relationship with God. He taught that God’s love is perfect and taught the importance of forgiveness. Jesus said, “Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.” He taught that there are many ways to be a religious person. You have to be holy as your God is holy and be compassionate as your God is compassionate.
When Jesus first started teaching, he went to Galilee and read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah and said, “God’s spirit is on me; he has chosen me to preach the message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to get the burdened and battered free, and to announce ‘this is God’s year to act’.” This story from the Book of Luke show that Jesus was sent from God to meet the deepest needs of the people and spread His Word.
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