JESUS BASIC MESSAGE ...... WAS IT REALLY JUST LOVE ONE ANOTHER?
At the turn of the century, an influential German critic by the name of Adolf von Harnack, insisted that the basic message of Jesus could be boiled down to just three little statements.
Is this really true????
- God is our Father
- All men are brothers
- Individuals matter
(This same message permeates much of Christendom today with many mainline churches leaving the truth of God's word and preaching a "Love only message" mixed with alot of "New Age mumbo jumbo" and "pycho babble.")
When one examines the turmoil inside christendom today and the total permeation in our society of the insidious theory of relativism, and the abolishment of the elevation of objective truth, one can easily see how this liberal idea of all that matters is love came about.
Well, if Jesus had no more to say than that, it's very difficult to understand why Christ made such an impact, especially to the Jews of His day. A noted scholar once remarked,
"Why anyone should have troubled to crucify the Christ of liberal universalist theology has always been a mystery."
He would have been an inoffensive threat to nobody. And a nonentity, too; "love one another" wasn/t exactly a new idea, even when Jesus came up with it. It had been around for years. There has to be more to explain the colossal impact that Christ's teaching had on the people that He encountered, especially the jewish and Roman leadership at the time.
And when you look at what Jesus is on record as having said, four things stand out remarkably clearly,
First, He made great claims for Himself. He assumed that He was capable of passing final judgement on other human beings. He spoke about His relationship with God the Father in terms that mde it quite clear He didn't consider anybody else to be as close to God as He was. In fact He claimed to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament messiah and turned upside down some of the traditional interpretations of it. He literally claimed to be God. Why was this simple prophet of love so bigheaded? In the words of O.J. Simpsons lawyer ... If it dont fit, acquit. And it surely doesn't fit.
Secondly, He claimed love was impossible without His help "Seperated from me" He announced crushingly, "you can do nothing" It wasn't just a matter of everybody pulling together to build a better world (ie: Hillary Clinton's and the UN's thinking). He had to be the center of a man's life before the man's effors would get him anywhere. The pictures He painted of His own importance make this very clear. He was the Vine, and other humans were the branches, ded and usless unless supplied life by the Vine. He was the Light of the World, and men were lost in darkness without Him. He was the Bread of Life, and without feeding on Him people had no life in themselves. The bible clearly teaches that this life that Christ talked about comes about by regeneration, being born from above etc. Man on his own is totally lost and all the love he musters without Christ's help is meaningless.
Third, He predicted that His teaching would bring hatred as well as love. "I did not come to bring peace," He remarked, "but a sword. For I have come to turn 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law ....."(Matthew 10:34-35) If people tried to follow Him, they would find themselves misunderstood and sometimes persecuted by others. He was under no illusion that He could get the whole world happily loving each other. He knew that real love begins only when a person has a radical inner change, and that many people would not want Him to work his change in their selfish natures.
Finally, He talked of a final judgement, in which there would be two sides. ANd the decisive issue in the judgement would be what people had done with the message Jesus came to deliver. Those who turned their back on Him and did not believe but rejected the message would find themselves rejected by God. Jesus' message wasn't and emotional plea to the better nature of His contemporaries to pull themselves together and spread a little sunshine around. (much like the church today or as I call it Cultural Christianity) His message was an urgent warning to people of all ages, delivered with the full force and authority of God Himself.
I think we all can conclude that Jesus sounds more like God and less like an amiable GURU OF LOVE. What His message was, you find spelled our more clearly at the cross. There the hatred of God towards sin was dealt with. There the love of God and the justice of God was displayed towards a lost and dying world. This same sinful world hates to hear the message of the cross as the bible says it is "Foolishness to them that perish ..."(1 Corinthians 1:18) The world delights in hearing a message of love only with no consequences. Christ message does not teach that. His was a message of repentance, faith and obedience.
Love, love, love,
Love is all we need
You can get your theology from the Beatles or from the Word of God.
"Sanctify them through thy word,
thy word is truth."