Jesus and the Gospels

Learning about the gospels in depth is really neat because although I have been raised in a church and these stories are familiar, we don’t always analyze each of the stories in so much detail and take into consideration who wrote it and during what time period.  The diagram on page 103 of the reading is cool because it displays that Matthew and Luke have many of the same elements potentially drawn from Mark and this unknown “Q” source, but they also contain unique stories not found in the others.  This shows that oral traditions may have been more important in one time period compared to another.

I think that the Messianic Secret is a confusing subject.  The explanation that makes the most sense in my opinion is that “it was as if the message of God’s kingdom simply could not be silenced.” (103) If this is why the stories were written this way, Mark’s gospel greatly shows people’s desires to spread the good news and tell of the miracles. The phenomenon displays how despite Jesus’s demand for people not to tell others who he was, they were overcome with so much joy that they couldn’t keep it to themselves.

And poor Peter; how crushed would you be if you were a religious insider whose ancestors had waited for the Messiah, and then he finally comes and tells you he must suffer and die. I would be confused beyond belief.

I am a religious insider, but I do see good moral lessons embedded in the religious text for those that read only from an outsiders perspective. I particularly like the parable of the sower and how it compares different “soils”. I think many religions around the world share the same morals, but they use different stories, parables, and metaphors to get them across to their followers.

In the reading it mentioned that Jesus allowed women to be an active part of his ministry, so why do Catholic churches not allow women to be priests? Don’t many Christian insiders make decisions based on WWJD (What Would Jesus Do), and wouldn’t Jesus allow women to spread the good news as he did in the past and wouldn’t he have allowed women to lead a church? That just caught my eye.

 

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3 thoughts on “Jesus and the Gospels

  1. I’m with you in wondering about the roles of women in Christianity in general. My church is pretty vehement against women pastors and/or preachers, or even deacons.

    But I think it’s important to understand that Paul’s letters are treated as biblical canon alongside the Gospels, and his writings can definitely be interpreted as decidingly sexist, to put it bluntly.

    Also, while the teachings of Christ aren’t inherently sexist (I don’t think), Christianity has definitely been used as a tool to assert power over people. It was even used for a while to justify slavery. So I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the more male dominated aspects of Christianity was formed by patriarchy in order to establish a firm ground of male privilege. When you use religion in order to back something up, there’s less resistance and gives you more validation. Religion can be a powerful thing.

    1. Karina, I agree. I think a lot of sacred texts have been used to establish or validate male privilege, as you said. It is also possible to make an argument that the early Christians wanted a more egalitarian society but that the surrounding culture of the Romans pressured them into not being as egalitarian as they would have wanted…. what do you think about that argument?

      1. I think that it could be possible. Galatians 3:28 could definitely be used to support that notion. And I can see how Christian culture could have been influenced greatly by the Romans in that way. However, I really don’t see how anyone could interpret Paul’s letters as anything other than sexist. And I mean there are arguments out there that Paul was largely trying to frame an aspect of Christianity as being “submissive” to God, but I don’t know, the picture of a woman being submissive to her husband paralleling with the church being submissive to God doesn’t really seem any less misogynistic to me. The majority of the cultures in that area were pretty patriarchal, I think, so I don’t think it’s surprising that Paul himself was that way.

        Either way, his writings definitely placed doctrinal ground in order to validate male privilege. Not very surprising, as there have been plenty of religions that have used texts or stories in order to validate the same thing (the story of Pandora comes to mind).

        But I can definitely see how culture could have pressured them into not being as ‘equal’ as they may have liked to be, as different cultures have definitely influenced Christianity right from the beginning. Still, it doesn’t negate the fact that Paul was largely sexist in his writing, and if anything, saw his female companions as exceptions rather than the rule.

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