My emails The Only Salvation Message Jesus Taught and The Salvation Message was a Parable not a Commandment! challenged members of his audience’s beliefs about salvation. That was his goal! It is important to always anchor words you read or hear to reality by linking them to the time and place they were communicated. Jesus taught salvation parable in Matthew 25 around 27 CE at the Mount of Olives.
At that time Christianity did not exist and
Jesus was not speaking to Gentiles.
The people he challenged were all Jewish.
One other point modern readers must clearly understand is that no one in the Jewish audiences hearing him viewed Jesus as being “the God” or “a god.” Members of his audience were trying to figure out if he was “The Anointed One,” an apocalyptic messianic figure. They believed that the arrival of the Anointed One signaled that the Great Day of Judgment was very near.
His words were not viewed as new divine commandments. Almost everything he taught was related to positions other Jewish sects were teaching or responses to challenges they were making to things he taught. His salvation parable was directed at positions of the three largest sects in Judea:
● The Sadducees taught that “there will be no resurrection and Great Day of Judgment.” Only the Written Laws in the Torah (first five books in the Bible) are the Jewish Scriptures.
● The Essenes and Pharisees both agreed that there will be a resurrection, a Great Day of Judgment and “the righteous” will be saved from being destroyed or punished. But, the Essenes and Pharisees disagreed over who the “righteousness” would be.
● The Essenes taught only members of the Essenes are “the righteous.” All other Jewish people – and Gentiles -- are lumped together and called “the wicked.”
● The Pharisees taught “the righteous” are those who follow their Oral Laws and interpretations of the Written Laws in the Torah.
● Jesus taught there will be a resurrection and Great Day of Judgment. The “righteous” from all of the nations will be saved. No one is required to follow his interpretations of the Jewish Scriptures. The “righteous” are people that did acts of righteousness (TDQ).
The salvation message Jesus taught was specifically directed at Jewish people who were also hearing the teachings of the Sadducees, Pharisees and Essenes. The big difference between his position and theirs is this:
God cares more about the conditions of people’s lives
than he cares about religious rituals and interpretations.
In Matthew 5, Jesus directly addressed the Pharisee position:
“Unless your acts of righteousness (TDQ) exceed those of the Pharisees,
you cannot enter the Kingdom of God.”
In closing let me point out at even though Jesus was not speaking to a Gentile audience he made it clear that “Gentiles that do righteousness (TDQ) will be part of the Kingdom of God and be saved” – all nations were judged by the same standard in the parable in Matthew 25.
I never heard his salvation message at my church. When I trained to become a pastor of church, I never heard it there either. Were you taught it? So what should Christians today do? Below are my suggestions.
1. Remember that Jesus was teaching a parable not a law. Parables are less about “meanings” and more about “doing.” They are to remind and provoke people to do things. They bring to the surface unasked questions, and reveal answers the audience members have always known, but refuse to acknowledge.
2. Be more aware of the needs of people we encounter in the daily course of life.
3. Do acts of righteousness (TDQ) when possible.
4. Find out when, where, how and who changed what Jesus taught about salvation and created what we were taught.
We have an amazing opportunity to demonstrate our commitment to “truth”
by bringing transparency to our belief systems by incorporating facts.
This could inspire others to do the same! Thank you for reading this and please share and discuss it with others.
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