Religion & Spirituality:Christianity
Investigating Jesus - Part 17
The Gospel writers attributed Jesus as a teacher (Mark 5:35; John 7:15) despite his lack of formal requirements usually attained by rabbis. The Gospel writers also refer to Him as a prophet (Luke 7:16; John 6:14), and he was recognized as such by people (Mark 6:15; Mark 8:28). There were three main groups of people that Jesus interacted with and taught.
The Crowds: When Jesus taught large gatherings of people, it was always based on evidential facts and it was always as Luke described “good news” (Luke 4:18), because God gave it to Jesus. Crowds recognized that Jesus had a confident manner of speaking (Mark 1:22). It must be noted that in the presence of crowds, Jesus didn’t actively reveal who he was (Mark 1:44; Mark 3:11-12; Mark 9:9).
The Disciples: Many of Jesus’ recorded teachings were to his disciples, but also amid crowds, such as the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:1; Matthew 7:28). However, on more precise requirements of discipleship, or about Himself or the future of God’s Kingdom, Jesus usually only taught his disciples concerning his true identity, even though they failed to grasp it (Mark 8:27-33).
The Religious Leaders: Because of Jesus’ popularity and the activities he was involved with; the religious leaders soon took notice of Him. In all ways, Jesus respected the Law of Moses and Moses authority (Mark 1:22). However, Jesus also gave his own unique interpretation of the Law and the Teachings. So much o, that this attracted the opposition of the religious leaders who had taught a different interpretation. An example of this is in Jesus interpretation of the Sabbath (Mark 2:23-38); the healings he performed (John 5:1-18); fasting and ritual cleanliness (Mark 7:1-5) and for consorting with sinners (Luke 7:34).
Jesus criticised the religious leaders for amongst other things: their lack of compassion and the weighty burdens they placed upon others (Matthew 23; Mark 12:38-40; Luke 11:37-54) These burdens and weights, which were put upon people by the religious leaders, were used as a measure of control over those people and also for the gain of the religious leaders and authorities. Alas today in the 21st century when we see even within the Church today, signs of such spiritual abuse. I know because I have met and counselled people who have been affected by abusive Church leadership.
Next episode, we will start looking at what Jesus taught about Himself and who he said that he was.
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