Jesus and Paul Comparisons – Harder than it looks..

February 9, 2011 — Leave a comment

I am having trouble with my project of comparing what Jesus said to what Paul said.  There are several reasons for this difficulty.

  • They, for the most part, didn’t appear to address very many of the same issues.
  • There is so much baggage associated with this topic it is hard to not be prejudged by it all
  • It seems I must extrapolate the two men’s actions as well as words to make any comparison.

This leaves me with some basic questions.

  • Did Jesus leave it up to Paul to fill in his blanks?
  • Did Paul take it upon himself to create a religion around the person of Jesus?
  • Just how much did Paul really know about Jesus’ life and teachings?

In scanning the current theological thoughts about this topic there seems to be two completely opposite camps. I am trying to come to my own conclusions about this matter but it is hard to not get dragged into one of them. I’m not sure I am really ready to objectively even do this. It seems hard to compare Jesus’ “oranges” to Paul’s “apples”.  It seems to me that Paul has latched on to some of the parts of Jesus’ message and totally ignored others.  It find it strange that Jesus mentioned “the kingdom of heaven” hundreds of times in the Gospel accounts but that thought never occured once in Paul’s many letters?

Paul seems to be more locked onto the “poor miserable sinner” side of Christ than his side of love for even our enemies.  But maybe I am missing some of that? It seems where Paul is a rule maker where Jesus is about love. I can certainly understand Thomas Jefferson’s belief that Paul took Jesus’ simple message and complicated it.

Is the Christian church as it developed with Paul as a primary source really about Jesus Christ? What would Jesus say if he came back today and saw it’s current state? Would he recognize it as following his words or has it become fixated on man’s rules and traditions? I just don’t know.

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