Friday, March 24, 2017

"all the prophets from Samuel" - Christ Jesus as a Great Teacher of Morality

Mountain Area Northwest of Tokyo

Christ Jesus as a Great Teacher of Morality

The Gospel according to Luke was written in Rome while Paul and Peter were there.

Luke was intended to help Romans understand Christianity, so that the Roman authority would not regard Christianity as a dangerous cult.  However, the Gospel must have provoked some Romans and even Emperor Nero.

Luk 6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
Luk 6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.
Luk 6:26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

These passages in Luke are clearly against the value system of Romans.  The teachings of Christ Jesus introduced in Luke  were clearly against the rulers of this world including the Roman Empire.
Luke needed to define the position of Christians in relation to two political and social entities, the Roman Empire and Judaism. Regarding the Empire Luke makes clear that, while Christians are not a threat to the established order, the rulers of this world hold their power from Satan, and the essential loyalty of Christ's followers is to God and this world will be the kingdom of God, ruled by Christ the King.

So, eventually the Roman authority came to regard Christians as their enemies.  Especially Empire Nero who loved  luxury and riches must have felt that he was criticized.  And, it is very likely that some Roman officials or Nero himself read the following sentence.

Luk 12:49 I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled?  

So, when a big fire occurred in Rome, Nero accused Christians of arson.

Luke and other Gospels contributed propagation of Christianity among Roman citizens, but the Gospels also provoked Roman emperors and elites, resulting in severe persecution sometimes.

In this context, the core of Christianity is not theology but an ethic or morality, since the Roman authorities were tolerant to religions but they could not yield to a high-level of requests to abandon worldly wealth and have righteous lives.  

This applies even to today's situations.  Some people, including priests and bishops, learn well religious aspects of Christianity with detailed knowledge but do not have a high-level of morality.

Even if you have no ethic, you can learn any religion, including Christianity, as a target of your intellectual work.  However, Christ Jesus was first of all a great teacher of morality.

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Act 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
Act 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Act 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.