- Created by: Tasmin
- Created on: 10-02-20 17:32
How does Jesus have authority?
Authority has no single meaning and usually works in three different ways:
Take the question: why does Einstein have authority in physics?
- because he is more experienced and has a greater understanding of the world
- highly knowledgeable and skilled in their field
- authority transferred by proxy e.g. soldier acting on behalf of country
Without recognition, those who had authority are nothing. Recognition is key.
In christianity Jesus is regognised as a fundamental source of authority but its hard to know how in the beginning how his authority was recognised.
The Gospels demonstrate how his authority was challenged and disputed and how he questioned the authority of Roman and Jewish accusers.
There are three areas in which Jesus is seen to have authority:
- Jesus as teacher of wisdom and morality
- Jesus the liberator
- Son of God
Jesus as teacher of Wisdom and Morality
For Wittgenstein Jesus = the "living word"
Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote in his diary "I am on a path of great discovery. But will I reach it?" after reading Leo Tolstoy's Gospel in Brief in WW1
Gospel in Brief demonstrated that the significance of Jesus' life lay in his moral teaching therefore for Wittgenstein christianity was about living life honestly, not about redemption and the afterlife. Jesus' authority was in his role as a teacher of wisdom.
Unless an idea can be lived, practiced and experienced it has no value. Jesus affirmed this authentic human living (how to live in this world) through his teachings:
- peace with all men
- love strangers like your own people
Wittgenstein was impressed by Jesus due to his:
- commitment to truth
- courage to speak against hypocrisy
- simple lifestyle
- acceptance of his death
Jesus' moral teaching:
Was Jesus a moral reformer or a moral revolutionary in regards to the Torah?
In Sermon on the Mount Jesus presents as the new Moses going up a mountain to deliver a new law. On the subject of prophets he states:
"I have come not to abolish them but to forfill"
Forfill could have two meanings:
- returning Torah to its original purpose (reformer)
- New order and radical departure from old order (revolutionary)
Four examples of Jesus' moral teachings:
1: Metanoia = repentance / radical change of mindset / heart (desire to change a whole way of life) e.g. Parable of the Lost Son (Luke 15:11-32) the son asks for forgiveness. Forgiveness for a sin "seventy times seven"
2: Motive and Inner Purity
Jesus taught that morality is about developing one's character and requires rigerous analysis of motives
e.g. Sermon on the Mount: "You have heard it said "you shall not commit adultery" But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already commited adultery with her in his heart."
This demonstrates a very high moral standard - the aim of moral life is perfection: "Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect" Matthew 5:48
3: Personal Responsibility