Thursday, November 23, 2006

Was Jesus a Christian?

This seems like a silly question but as I grew up in the Bible Belt of Southern Virginia I always assumed that Jesus was a Christian. I never even thought that he was actually Jewish. He was, in fact, a Jewish rabbi who attended Temple and observed Jewish traditions and celebrations.

There are many that feel Jesus never intended to create the Jewish offshoot called Christianity, but merely intended to reform Judaism, and there is evidence to support this line of thinking.

Christians (with whom I number myself) point to the Great Commission as evidence that Jesus asked his disciples to go forth throughout the world and baptize in the name of the father, son, and holy ghost. (Matthew 28: 16-20). This is great evidence supporting that Jesus did in fact intend to create a Jewish offshoot.

The story, however, starts to get fuzzy when you consider that Matthew was written in the late 1st century, some 20 years after Mark, and borrowed much of its content from Mark. There is extensive evidence that Mark was written after 70 CE as it references events that happened prior to 70 CE. Ok, so you say "So What". Well, in the earliest known Greek transcripts of Mark, (Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus), the great Commission is not included. This means it was added after the fact, and the Matthew and Luke accounts now come under a bit of scrutiny as well, since they borrowed from Mark.

So what exactly was Jesus's mission on earth, and was it/will it be fulfilled? Another question, is when is the Second Coming supposed to take place? According to many scholars, it should have taken place nearly 2000 years ago, but that is another post.