The Man Called Jesus. Vol.4 No. 14

Beyond mystery, history and tradition have evidences to prove the claim of the Catholic Church that Jesus of Nazareth is its founder. Moreover, we are not unfamiliar with the basic facts about this unrepentant apostle of a Jewish origin, whose early life is wrapped in almost complete obscurity. He is a dynamic preacher and healer, born around the turn of the first century AD (probably around 4BC) and was crucified by the Roman between A.D.28 and 30. He grew up at Nazareth in Galilee under the tutelage of parents who are of lowly origin and also poor.
Nevertheless, his wisdom was awesome and so amazing that even at the age of twelve, he has already acquired knowledge of the written and oral traditions of the Jewish religion. The underlying principle of his belief were the basic Jewish faith in one God, the Lord of history, He is aware of God’s special covenant with the Jews, and the sacredness of the moral precepts of the Torah or Law, which his people regarded as the revealed will of God.
At some point in his early manhood, he left a call to preach the coming of God’s kingdom and began to gather huge crowds from the villages and towns in the region Northwest of the lake of Galilee – The people were intrigued and exhilarated by his unflinching sermons and mysterious healings.
His life, suffering, death and resurrection were testified by four fine journalist of the time – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Although their gospel narratives were not from a historical perspective, the theological insight they intend to convey, however, is clear. That is; Jesus, the son of David and son of God, was the long-awaited messiah who came to bring salvation to all, both Jews and Gentiles. Meanwhile, the Jewish scholar David Flusser confirmed this by expressing the historical certainty that Jesus is the ‘only Jew known to us from ancient times’ who proclaimed that ‘new age of salvation had already begun.’ Other historical source confirmed the presence of this man, Jesus in human history…
Nonetheless, Jesus not only preached the good news of the kingdom, he also gathered his followers into a fellowship. They often took their meal together celebrating joyfully their new covenant with God while they anticipate the glorious banquet in the kingdom of Heaven. He called them the light of the world, the city of God, the salt of the earth. They were a family whose common devotion to God’s will united them far more intensely than any bonds of flesh and blood. They felt a most intimate relationship with God, whom they loved to call father. And Jesus taught them to live sincerely as God’s children. Though a tiny group, poor and despised, they had the greatest of conceivable treasures. That is, the absolute assurance of salvation, a salvation not dependent on their own achievements, but on the unlimited goodness of God. He also taught them not to worry about daily necessities; that their heavenly father’s providence, which reached even to the tiniest sparrow, would surely not desert them. Not that they would be spared any of the manifold forms of suffering and anguish that life brings to everyone. But suffering and affliction were to be seen in a totally new way. Not that they were desirable in themselves but should not be considered as absolute evils. Meanwhile, he intimated them that there was no need to comprehend the unfathomable mystery of evil. And that suffering when accepted brings one closer to God, while death itself is only the prelude to union with him (Christ).
Life on God’s kingdom inaugurated by Jesus found its purest expression in prayer, and Jesus stood before his followers as a constant example of prayerfulness. As a pious Jew, he observed the three liturgical hours of prayer daily and took part in the worship of synagogue and Temple.
Moreover, he gave them a distinct prayer of their own, the Lord’s prayer, whose brief petitions to the father so perfectly express his own yearning for the ultimate fulfilment of the divine purpose in history.
On the aspect of morality, Jesus did not make a radical break with the morality of the Torah. But he prohibited divorce and encouraged complete submission to God’s will. His underlying principle of morality is summed up in his command to love. God first and all human beings without exception including one’s own enemies.
His encounter with the harlot in the house of Simon the Pharisee was an occasion to drive home this point. The woman came in with an alabaster jar of ointment while Jesus was reclining, and she began to bathe his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair, kissing them and anointing them with her ointment. When Simon reacted strongly at the sight of Jesus accepting such ministrations from a woman of the street, Jesus among other things, concluded that the woman was so loving because she was conscious of how much she herself needed forgiveness. “It is the man who is forgiven little who have little love.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” And the head of his apostles, Peter, perfectly captured this when he exclaimed that “Love covers multitude of sin” (1 Pt. 4:8).
In Sum, it could be observed that the originality of Jesus was found not much in the novelty of his ideas (for most of them were already present in the traditions of his people) but in the way he brought them together, developed and harmonized them, and above all made them real in his own life with such unparalleled intensity. This was why he was killed as well as the secret of establishing the Church as we shall see next week

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.