Did Jesus have a world view?


#1

During an interview for “This Week,” aired this morning, Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos that “Jesus came to reconcile the world.” He further stated that “the world” then nailed Him to a cross.

My understanding of Jesus’ teachings is that His role was to reconcile the Jews. As the Messiah, He was to prepare the Jews for the coming “Kingdom of God” which would free them from Roman rule, just as Moses had freed them from Egyptian rule. I am not aware that Jesus ever told His apostles that they should go out and preach to the Gentiles, or that their mission was to start a new world religion that was to replace Judaism.

This issue, of course, is key to Catholic teachings. Can you refer me to the scripture that supports this world view by the Church? I am wondering if there is a canonical reference that supports this view. I am leery, however, of St. Paul’s teachings because his teachings did not seem to align well with the teachings of Jesus, or he addressed issues that were not addressed by Jesus.


#2

Here are just 3,Mark16:15
Matthew28:19
Luke24;47


#3

As for St. Paul, I believe his epistles are the oldest dating books of the New Testament. If you are confused about things he says, I am sure you can find wonderful help here on the forums :) However, keep in mind that he has been accepted by the early Christians from the very beginning, so he's probably safe, even if confusing at times ;)


#4

Thank you georget for the biblical reference. Unfortunately, I am still unsure of Jesus' intent. In Matthew 10: 5-7, He instructs his apostles to only teach to the Jews (for they are the favored ones?) One has to ask; Why did the disciples insist that Gentile converts be circumcised, and that they must adopt the traditions of the Jews if they want to be Christians? The disciples called themselves Christian Jews.

EQ, Thank you for your response. Much has been written about the conflict between St. Paul and the disciples of Christ. Again, the bible offers us some conflicting views. In Acts, it sounds as though Paul and the the disciples had come to some kind of agreement, like St. Paul can teach his version of the gospel to the Gentiles, and the disciples can teach their views to the Jews. But then, in Galatians 1-2, Paul is clearly upset with the disciples for teaching their gospel to the Galatians, which conflicted with his teachings.

My take is that Christ spent two years, or so, teaching His disciples and instructing them to go out and teach His word to others. Then, along comes Paul, who claims he was given an updated version of the gospel from Jesus himself, in an epiphanic moment. To me, this says that Jesus wasted two years of His life teaching His word to the disciples, when all He had to do was to download everything to Paul in a single moment of enlightenment. I stand with the disciples.


#5

Of course he did...he had a first century world view Jews at that time held....he was a man of his times...."he emptied himself, and became a servant"


#6

Pretty much all the Messianic prophecies prophesied that the Messiah and his supercoolness (and/or world conquest) will bring the Gentiles to worship God and make offerings at the Temple just like Jews, and that the same thing will happen on The Day when God judges the world.

So yeah, even if you didn't believe Jesus was God, even if you believed He was some Galilean guy with delusions of Messiah-hood, you can believe that Jesus was thinking about the salvation of the world and the conversion of the Gentiles.


#7

Jesus IS a worldview.


#8

[quote="jackplato, post:4, topic:321081"]
Thank you georget for the biblical reference. Unfortunately, I am still unsure of Jesus' intent. In Matthew 10: 5-7, He instructs his apostles to only teach to the Jews (for they are the favored ones?) One has to ask; Why did the disciples insist that Gentile converts be circumcised, and that they must adopt the traditions of the Jews if they want to be Christians? The disciples called themselves Christian Jews.

EQ, Thank you for your response. Much has been written about the conflict between St. Paul and the disciples of Christ. Again, the bible offers us some conflicting views. In Acts, it sounds as though Paul and the the disciples had come to some kind of agreement, like St. Paul can teach his version of the gospel to the Gentiles, and the disciples can teach their views to the Jews. But then, in Galatians 1-2, Paul is clearly upset with the disciples for teaching their gospel to the Galatians, which conflicted with his teachings.

My take is that Christ spent two years, or so, teaching His disciples and instructing them to go out and teach His word to others. Then, along comes Paul, who claims he was given an updated version of the gospel from Jesus himself, in an epiphanic moment. To me, this says that Jesus wasted two years of His life teaching His word to the disciples, when all He had to do was to download everything to Paul in a single moment of enlightenment. I stand with the disciples.

[/quote]

I'm confused, in all 3 verses he tells the apostles to go preach to all nations, that's the world.


#9

It seems that Jesus had a universe view, since He is the Son Of God. Every word in the Bible leads us to different interpretations to the directions we need. Jesus told the woman that touched his robe that He was sent for the Jews, but the woman said, do not even the dogs get scraps of food from the master's table, and Jesus increased His mission to all.


#10

Publisher; A good point. The Jewish world was indeed limited in size. Your quote, however, is from Paul. Once again, I am reluctant to believe that Paul would have any understanding of the mind of Jesus.

Mintaka: So, I believe you are suggesting that it was Jesus’ intent to convert “the world” to Judaism, as opposed to creating a new world religion. It’s true that Jesus practiced Judaism until his death, and attended synagogue regularly. His disciples did the same in the first century. I’m not sure who or when it was decided to break Christianity away from Judaism.


#11

Po18guy; Your view makes theology a simple subject. Accept everything that you are told. Remember the example of Jesus, who questioned Judaism from childhood, with the intent of improving his religion. I think God expects us to seek the truth and to use the ability to reason that He endowed us with. After all, every religion is managed by humans, who are capable of making mistakes. Shouldn’t we attempt to identify those errors, and to make our religion as meaningful as possible. I believe we should never stop our quest for the truth.


#12

Georget: True, and Matthew 10: 5-7 says something different. How does one choose? How do you choose which quote reflects the real Jesus. The practices of the disciples after Jesus’ death suggest to me that they were taught that only those who practiced Judaism should become Christian Jews. I can only speculate. Why is there a contradiction? Well, there are many contradictions in the bible. Many of them were caused by over zealous scribes who copied the holy books. We just don’t know which quote may have been changed.


#13

Rebeccanew: After the crucifixion, until Paul came along, the followers of Jesus did not refer to Him as the “Son of God.” During his mission, Jesus described himself as a “Son of Man” some 50 or so times in the canon. There are also some references to Him as the “Son of God.” Another contradiction? What are we to believe? Some will say that He was both. Seems like a rationalization to me. It looks to me very much like a contradiction. It doesn’t make sense that Jesus would knowingly confuse his disciples by answering differently at different times and He is never quoted as saying “I am both.” I do not claim to know the answer. Perhaps you are right.

The woman you refer to was a Canaanite woman, a non-Jew, and Jesus tried to ignore her, then he compared her to a dog. This seems very racist to me. Is this the attitude of the God of all mankind? Jesus only reluctantly helped her because of her persistence, but his attitude toward her was clear. This does not strike me as an attempt to convert her to Judaism. Perhaps you see it differently.


#14

You are leery of the St Paul’s? Well, I guess you can then pick and choose whatever books/verses you want to support your own world-view.


#15

Tafan; Please refer to Post #4 to “EQ”. It seems clear to me that one must choose between the teachings of St. Paul, and the teachings of St. Peter. I choose St. Peter. Apparently, you choose St. Paul.


#16

[quote="jackplato, post:10, topic:321081"]
Publisher; A good point. The Jewish world was indeed limited in size. Your quote, however, is from Paul. Once again, I am reluctant to believe that Paul would have any understanding of the mind of Jesus.

Mintaka: So, I believe you are suggesting that it was Jesus’ intent to convert “the world” to Judaism, as opposed to creating a new world religion. It’s true that Jesus practiced Judaism until his death, and attended synagogue regularly. His disciples did the same in the first century. I’m not sure who or when it was decided to break Christianity away from Judaism.

[/quote]

The destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem was the impetus of the separation. The followers of Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be the "authentic" continuation of Judaism, and the rabbis that sought to re-establish a Jewish identity after the one thing that gave them their identity was destroyed...the Temple.

It was durning this period that the gospels were written, and the writers put the words of Jesus "they shall put you out of the synagouges...." not as "prophesy" but as actual fact of what was occuring....with the loss of the Jewish identity, the followers of Jesus ended up being more Gentile in though and practice.


#17

[quote="jackplato, post:11, topic:321081"]
Po18guy; Your view makes theology a simple subject. Accept everything that you are told. Remember the example of Jesus, who questioned Judaism from childhood, with the intent of improving his religion. I think God expects us to seek the truth and to use the ability to reason that He endowed us with. After all, every religion is managed by humans, who are capable of making mistakes. Shouldn’t we attempt to identify those errors, and to make our religion as meaningful as possible. I believe we should never stop our quest for the truth.

[/quote]

  I understand that someone might read into Jesus' actions the contemporary notion that he "questioned Judaism from childhood, with the intent of improving his religion", but if you believe that St. Paul, who persecuted the first Christians and then in fact met with the apostles, didn't really understand Jesus, but theorists in the 21st century know that he "questioned Judaism. . . with the intent of improving his religion" . . . really now. A creative writing teacher might give high marks if you wrote a short story with that idea in mind; a literature teacher would give you low ones because you had completely departed from the texts at hand. G.K. Chesterton would have a field day in bouncing it around to show the absurdity of the view; but I'm not Chesterton, so I can only point out that you can't reasonably maintain that St. Paul had no idea, but you do, what Jesus was about.

#18

[quote="jackplato, post:10, topic:321081"]
Publisher; A good point. The Jewish world was indeed limited in size. Your quote, however, is from Paul. Once again, I am reluctant to believe that Paul would have any understanding of the mind of Jesus.

Mintaka: So, I believe you are suggesting that it was Jesus’ intent to convert “the world” to Judaism, as opposed to creating a new world religion. It’s true that Jesus practiced Judaism until his death, and attended synagogue regularly. His disciples did the same in the first century. I’m not sure who or when it was decided to break Christianity away from Judaism.

[/quote]

I don't know if you understand how radical that statement is.

**The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. "For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ*. (1 Corinthians 2:14-16)

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. (Philippians 2:5-8)*

At a very basic level, Paul and Jesus were both Jews. That alone is enough to give Paul the Jew the ability to place Jesus' teaching in context of the Old Testament scriptures, the fact that Paul was the prieminent scripture scholar of his day notwithstanding.

-Tim-


#19

Publisher; Thanks for your comments.

TimothyH; My understanding is that Paul never even met Jesus. St. Peter and the disciples lived with Jesus for a year or two. Also, St. Paul, in his epistles, scorned Peter and James and their teachings about Jesus. I do not question that Paul was a scholar, or a Jew, nor do I question his sincerity regarding his own beliefs. I question his claim to know more about Jesus and His teachings than do Peter and the apostles. Is that such a radical statement? Can you justify Paul’s hubris by quoting from his own letters?


#20

[quote="jackplato, post:15, topic:321081"]
Tafan; Please refer to Post #4 to “EQ”. It seems clear to me that one must choose between the teachings of St. Paul, and the teachings of St. Peter. I choose St. Peter. Apparently, you choose St. Paul.

[/quote]

It was St. Peter, long before St. Paul came along, who was first told directly by God that the Gentiles were now to be counted among His people. That's according to St. Luke in the Acts of the Apostles, the same St. Luke from whom we get one of the Gospels.

Yes, the disciples did initially practice "Judaism plus Jesus," but their understanding deepened over time as Jesus had promised it would. And one thing that the entire Old Testament stresses whenever it's talking about the Messiah or the purpose of the Jews having been specially chosen, is that someday all the nations (that is, the Gentiles) would come to God through the Jews and their Messiah.

Your mistrust of St. Paul is misplaced. He was an argumentative guy and had his conflicts with the other Apostles, yes, but the gospel he was given to preach was no different than theirs. We even have, again from the pen of Luke, a record of the occasion on which the Apostles and other leaders got together to work out the whole question of whether one had to become a Jew to be a Christian. Paul (who was strongly in favor of the "no" position), James the Just (who seems, from the report in Paul's letter to the Galatians, to have been the lead guy on the "yes" position), and Peter (who, again according to Galatians, seems to have been caught in the middle) all spoke, and in the end they settled on only a slightly restricted form of Paul's position.

Also, Paul was hardly the only Apostle to go among the Gentiles. History and Tradition tell us that John ended up in Ephesus (a pagan city of Asia Minor that Paul also visited), Peter in Antioch (also in Asia Minor) and ultimately in Rome, and Thomas in India (where the small Christian community still uses his name to identify themselves).

A non-believing historian might be able to draw a distinction between what Jesus actually wanted and what the Apostles ended up doing (though I would disagree), but I don't think it's that easy to draw a bright line between Paul and Peter based on the information we have.

Usagi


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.