In this video clip Lloyd Geering reminds us that Jesus wanted his listeners to think for themselves: not to accept without question what was told to them. It seems that it was Paul who elevated Jesus from being completely human to being a divine figure – something that the early church was quick to latch on to.
For those who find a 7 minute clip too long, here’s what I believe to be the important points:
Jesus was not a divine figure. Jesus was a human person.
Jesus as the divine figure is a creation of the church.
Jesus seemed to be able to speak with authority that they were not used to and it was because of that they were led eventually to attribute to him the authority of God.
The first to regard Jesus as divine was St Paul who had never known Jesus in the flesh.
The Gentile Christianity which was promoted by Paul, was a distortion of the primitive figure of Jesus.
It was his teaching that really impressed people. For example the prodigal son and the Good Samaritan were characters that he created and he spoke to people with such freshness and power that they couldn’t help feeling he spoke to them with the authority of God.
There never was a sermon on the mount.
The parables are stories which often have an unexpected ending, which were told by Jesus to get people to think for themselves. This was a new way of teaching. In some respects [it] is the key to the modern world: that is thinking for oneself, dealing with the problems, not looking for someone else to find the solutions for you, but to find your own solution.
We should always be questioning our tradition because it’s only by questioning that tradition develops and grows and matures in one’s own lifetime or in one’s own generation.