Free «Reflection» Essay
In this course, the most interesting fact for me was that Jesus is an incarnation of God and a human at the same time. He has divine wisdom, which He shares with his disciples in parables the message of which is manifold, and one can never know if they are understood fully or correctly, as they are very poetic and metaphorical. It can be said that they are the most amazing example of literary and philosophical thought of all the human history. I found this idea in a number of academic sources including Powell, and, I share it myself. Jesus easily overcomes the temptations the Satan offers Him. He possesses knowledge about the future which no person can have. For instance, Jesus knows who of the disciples would betray Him. All these are the manifestations of His divine nature. However, at the same time, He is not immune to physical pain and fear. I had really never thought about it in depth before the class, but I always had a feeling it should have been easier for Jesus to die as He was the son of God. However, from the Gospels we learn that it was as terrifying to Him as it would be to any other person. Praying to his heavenly Father on the eve of His death Jesus begs Him to pass this cup (Mathew, 26:39). And on the cross He asks: “why hast though forsaken me?” (Mathew, 27:46). This shows how deeply Jesus was suffering not only physically but also mentally, feeling absolutely lonely, betrayed and forgotten by everyone and even by His Father.
I think it is amazing that Jesus is God and human at the same time. I think it helps every Christian person relate to God better, to feel God in his/her heart. Besides, we learn how even being a human Jesus was able to love and forgive, to love everyone with no exceptions and to forgive even those who betrayed and hurt Him, who wanted His death for no reason. And, I think, it is a very interesting and important message.
What I found confusing was the fact that the message about love and forgiveness is, throughout the books of the New Testament, contrasted to threats to those who will not follow Jesus or to those who sin.
I think that the New Testament and the Christian religion were much more progressive in this respect in comparison with the old Jewish religion. Whereas the God of the Old Testament is the God of wrath, in the New Testament Jesus has an absolutely new perspective to offer. He preaches love, tolerance and forgiveness. Still, I feel that it is not enough and found some passages shocking. For instance, the recurring threat of the weeping and gnashing of teeth that will await all the sinners in hell is so powerful that it sends chills down my spine every time it is repeated; the statement is only re-enforced with the rich imagination. For me, it is hard to understand how the God of love can use fear as one of His instruments, how He can have these horrors in store for some people, who are all His creation, and for whom He promises to care. How this can be combined with sacrificing His own son for saving the humanity is something I cannot grasp.
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Another bright example of the ancient wrath in the New Testament is the story of fig tree. Jesus made it wither away because He did not find any fruit on it (Mathew, 21:19).
However, almost every scholar makes a point saying that the New Testament is indeed full of metaphors (Fornberg). Thus, my idea is that I simply fail to understand some allegories and comprehend certain things too literarily which needs to be avoided. However, as the course progresses, I hope to become wise in the sense that I would be able to see a wider picture and would be able to see behind the metaphors.
While reflecting on the further studies, which might be of particular interest to me, I came to a conclusion that I would like to learn why the Old Testament, which is in fact the basis of the Judaism, a different religion, is at the same time a significant and important part of Christianity. I find it almost incompatible with the traditional Christian dogma as well as with the message of the New Testament. I would like to know more about why it has not been rejected in favor of the religion of love, such as, for example, St. Paul represents it, and why it has remained a part of the Christian faith for such a long period of time.
My best guess is to tie it to some political events of which I am, probably, still entirely ignorant, but still, it is quite clear to me that one needs to be very careful with such conclusions. It is important to find out more about the background behind this circumstance.
In general, the very process of separation of the religions, which used to have the same roots, is a very interesting subject for investigation. This phenomenon seems to be full of mysteries and gaps, which I would really love to fill with understanding and knowledge.