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
• 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.
• 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
• 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 . . .”
• 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
• 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
– 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
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