The Life and Teachings of Jesus - Acsu Buffalo

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					     Teachings of Jesus

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

                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
• Jesus teaches: the letter of the law > spirit of
  loving kinship
• Confucius: li and jen

      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
• Recall: 4 stages of religious evolution

    “Orthodox” interpretation of early
• 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)
  – “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.

         “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).
• 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,

    Orthodox: Who, what was Jesus?
• Council of Nicea, 325 CE – Creed or Beliefs
• 1) Son of God (true God of true God)
• 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.

          Council of Nicea 325 CE
• Early Christian pluralism
   – Gnostic 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

   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?
• 2) Savior of sinful people incapable of saving
  themselves because of Original Sin of Adam/Eve?
• 3) Happiness in an otherworldly Kingdom of Heaven?

           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.

• 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.)

         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 of Brahman,
  but we forget our true nature

      “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!”

      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
• =We are all “divine” expressions of God.

         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.

             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

• “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.

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

  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.

        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; 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.

Jesus: Consider the lilies

Recall Buddha’s Silent Sermon
                   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

                  “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.

       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.

                Nature of prayer
• Prayer: Not pleading, begging; but in consciousness
  of your dignity and right as a child (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. (Jim Carrey, Bruce Almighty)

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.

      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)

    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

   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

    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


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