Two thousand years is a lot of time. That's how long of a gap we have between the historical events of the New Testament and the time we live in. Seeing as I have placed all my hopes in the hands of the historical figure Jesus of Nazareth I think it's wise to check out for myself what he taught and not just trust those who taught me. After all, the unexamined life is not a life worth living.
The purpose of this posting is to invite teachers (those with the heart to give away what they have and the skill to do it well) into a conversation about what the Gospels say Jesus taught.
Most of what I will present will be observations that I have made regarding Jesus' teaching. These observations are for the purpose of drawing a response out of you as to how you understand the teachings of Jesus. In other words, "What will you tell people that Jesus taught?"
To begin I want to start with what Matthew records as Jesus' first teaching. "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near." Here are three observations.
1. If you track Jesus' teaching throughout Matthew you will find that he rarely teaches on salvation but rather injects salvation language as simply a doorway into his constant message of The Kingdom of Heaven.
2. The lion's share of the teachings of Jesus are about the Kingdom of Heaven.
3. The invitation to repent seems to me to be Jesus' posture toward anything that is not of his kingdom. Put another way, we are invited to rethink our lives and compare everything we are and everything we do to his kingdom. The assumption is that we would lay down our previous values and join Jesus in the Kingdom of Heaven.
Be careful here at the beginning. Your decision as to the purposes of Jesus' teaching will expose you to some pretty radical ideas. Repenting or rethinking your life may bring you into conflict with those around you that you care about. Welcome to the life of the teacher!