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Teachings of Jesus The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth for the Sons and Daughters of God 1.

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Presentation on theme: "Teachings of Jesus The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth for the Sons and Daughters of God 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 Teachings of Jesus The Kingdom of Heaven on Earth for the Sons and Daughters of God 1

2 Job and Jesus Job: I followed all the rules. – God replies: I am above your rules. Recall Jewish law-bound kinship society. – Tension between letter of law and spirit of kinship Jesus teaches: – the letter of the law should express – the spirit of loving kinship Recall Confucius: li and jen – Which is primary: the inner spirit or the outer behavior that expresses it? 2

3 Essence of religious ritual "Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” Matthew 5:24 = Critique of external religion: li without jen 3

4 Stages of religious evolution 1) external ritualistic religion: – Job follows all the rules, but externally 2) inner spirit recognized by a revolutionary teacher – The prophets criticized hierarchical inequality from the time of the kings in the name of kinship – Job forgets the true inner feeling of kinship that the rules/laws express 4

5 3) The Jewish religion has become an external religion but with a revolutionary message contained within it – The spirit of kinship from the time of Abraham and Moses – And the prophets who denounce the inequality of the kingship society 4) Critique of the external religion in the name of the teachings of the founder – Jesus criticizes the loss of the inner spirit – following in the path of the Jewish prophets of old 5

6 Problem of the death of Jesus Jesus does not become the King of Israel (=he is not the Messiah-Christ, “Son of God”) – He is crucified – the shameful death of a criminal – On his cross: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” – (= Roman joke) One reply: God sacrifices his own Son to save sinners from their deserved punishment = Isaiah’s suffering servant (literal interpretation) is a prophecy of Jesus 6

7 Two interpretations of early Christians 1) “Orthodox” position of St. Paul and others: Why was Jesus crucified? To save sinners, to “expiate” (pay for) their sins 2) “Gnostic” interpretation: emphasizes Jesus’ teachings, not his death – He is a teacher of the way of spiritual liberation – Like Socrates, Lao Tzu, Krishna, Buddha – He dies because he spoke truth to power, and they killed him for it (like Socrates). – It’s his teaching, not his death, that is important. 7

8 “Orthodox” interpretation of early Christians Stresses importance of external events of Jesus’s life: death and resurrection “Orthodox” position of St. Paul and others: why was Jesus (the Messiah, the Son of God) crucified? – “God put [Christ] forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.” Paul to Romans 3:25. 8

9 “Gnostic” interpretation Jesus is a teacher of the way of spiritual liberation – Like Socrates, Lao Tzu, Krishna, Buddha He dies because he spoke truth to power, and they killed him for it, like Socrates but also the Jewish prophets (Isaiah suffering servant) It’s his teaching, not his death, that is important. – The resurrection: symbol of inner liberation, enlightenment available to all The person who understands these teachings “is no longer a Christian but a Christ.” (Gospel of Philip, 67:25.) 9

10 Council of Nicea 325 CE Early Christian pluralism – Gnostic teacher Valentinus (100-153) – almost elected Bishop of Rome in 143 CE. Emperor Constantine converts to Christianity (313) – Calls Council of Nicea to unify Christianity – “Gnostic” beliefs are condemned and outlawed in 326 CE – Texts buried; rediscovered at Nag Hammadi Egypt in 1945. 10

11 Orthodox: Who, what was Jesus? Council of Nicea, 325 CE – Creed or Beliefs 1) Jesus is the Son of God = true God of true God, equal to God the Father 2) sent by God the Father to suffer and die 3) in payment for our sins 4) so that those who believe in these ideas, are baptized, and follow the rules of the Church … 5) can be saved from eternal hellfire (=divine justice) and enjoy happiness in the afterlife. 11

12 Gnostic: What did Jesus teach? Creed of Nicea does not cite Jesus’s teachings: – e.g. “love your enemies” Does Jesus teach the ideas of the Nicene Creed? 1) The only Son of God – equal to God the Father, – along with the Holy Spirit, – The Trinity: three persons in one God 2) Savior of sinful people incapable of saving themselves because of Original Sin of Adam/Eve? 3) Happiness in an otherworldly Kingdom of Heaven? 12

13 1) The Sons of God “You have heard that it has been said, ‘You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you... That you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for he makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 13

14 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?... Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5: 43-48.) 14

15 Be as perfect as God ?? “Perfect” = All inclusive, condemn no one Love your enemies = have no enemies => All are God-like “children” of God and so perfect Jesus’ basic message: realize who you really are! You are a Son/Daughter of God Recall Hinduism: Atman is an expression or avatar of Brahman, but we forget our true nature 15

16 Jesus makes himself God John 10:33 "It is not for a good work that we stone you but for blasphemy; because you, being a man, make yourself God.” Critics of Jesus say that he calls himself the Son of God “This is blasphemy!” 16

17 Does Jesus say he is God? Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, `I said, you are gods'? If he called them gods to whom the word of God came … do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, `You are blaspheming,' because I said, `I am the Son of God'? =We are all “divine” expressions of God. 17

18 Gods and Sons of God Psalm 82:6, to the unjust judges: I say, "You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you; nevertheless, you shall die like men, and fall like any prince." Also see 2 Samuel (or Kings), the Lord God so designates King David: “I will prolong for ever his royal dynasty; he shall find in me a father, and I in him a son.” 7:13-14. 18

19 The Sons of God Jesus is the “Son of God” But others who receive God’s word (i.e., teachings) are called “gods” and “sons of God” The prayer Jesus teaches: “Our Father” = We are all sons and daughters of God, the Father or Source of all life 19

20 Empowerment “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God...” (John 1:12) What does “receive him” mean? =Understand and follow what he teaches And then we will realize that we too are “sons of God,” and this will empower us. 20

21 2) How overcome sin? “Prodigal Son” squanders inheritance in “riotous living” (Luke 15) Returns, feeling small and guilty; hopes for a little to eat But he is greeted with joy by his father, celebration – no punishment – no mediator or savior is needed It is the “faithful son” who is criticized >We are sons/daughters of God who forget this and need to remember our true selves Sin = Separation (from God, each other, nature) 21

22 Follow the teachings of … the lilies!... Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on.... Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet... Even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 22

23 Have faith in … ourselves Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?” Matthew 6:25, 28-30. =We are not hopeless sinners deserving punishment; we think we are. Have faith in what? Our own beauty and inherent goodness as sons/daughters of God! If lilies are splendid, even more are you. 23

24 Jesus: Consider the lilies 24

25 Recall Buddha’s Silent Sermon

26 Faith = trust Jesus: trust in God as your Father = You are the Son/Daughter of God!! Why do you worry about the future? Don’t get stuck in the past: wrongs done to or by you. Forgive others and yourself. => Live in the fullness of the present moment – Recall: Being is, non-being (past and future) is not (Krishna) 26

27 “Little faith” Not primarily doctrinal – acceptance of ideas or “beliefs” as in a Creed – (e.g., that God exists) -- but an attitude of trust that as sons/ daughters of God, we are being cared for, here and now, like the lilies So don’t worry so much about tomorrow. 27

28 Ask and you shall receive “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to whom who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:7-9. 28

29 Nature of prayer Prayer: Not pleading, begging; but in consciousness of your dignity and right as a son or daughter (image, expression) of God. – The Prodigal Son did not understand that though he abandons his father, his father would never abandon him. Faith/trust that we can have whatever we really want as Sons/Daughters of God. Don’t pray for ego desires. You win the lottery: others lose. (See: Jim Carrey, Bruce Almighty) 29

30 Healing sickness, working miracles: we can all do it He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. Luke 9:2.... He who believes in me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these... John 14:12 Peter too walks on water… until he loses his faith/trust that he can do it. 30

31 3) Otherworldly Religion? “[Jesus] promised eternal life and happiness to the poor and downtrodden people of colonial Judaea if only they would keep their faith in God.” Spodek, 322 = Kingdom of God is in the next world (as in the Nicene Creed) 31

32 What is the Kingdom of God? “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Mustard is smaller than any other seed, but when it has grown it is taller than other plants; it becomes a tree, big enough for the birds to come and roost among its branches.” Matthew 13: 31-2 32

33 Where/when is the Kingdom? =The “kingdom of heaven” will grow like a mustard seed – Starts as tiny seed: small numbers of people who love each other as sons/daughters of God – This grows over time to cover all the earth – =here and now through our own consciousness and actions 33

34 The Kingdom of God is within “The Kingdom of God is within you.” Luke 17:21 Not external kingdom of the expected Messiah/ deliverer, like Moses or Cyrus Not primarily otherworldly afterlife But here and now: a growing mustard seed Through inner trust (“faith”) – In one’s basic connection with God – in common brother/sisterhood with all others 34

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