Luke's Beatitudes Term Paper

Pages: 10 (2855 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

¶ … Jesus" is a question that is both straight forward and at the same time ambiguous. On the one hand, everybody knows who Jesus was. Simply, he is whom Christians believe to be the Son of God and who Jews and Muslims believe to be a prophet of God. On the other hand, knowing who Jesus is beyond this basic understanding is dependent on who one is asking, as Jesus is something different to every person, including between Christians. At the same time, there is the question between who Jesus was as a historical figure and who Jesus is as a religious figure.

Being the longest of the four canonical Gospels, the Gospel of Luke provides one of the most detailed accounts of the life of Jesus, from his birth through his death, resurrection and ascension. Luke pays particular attention to social issues, especially to the state of women and other oppressed groups. These topics are the highlight of such popular stories as the prodigal son and the good Samaritan. Furthermore, Luke uses a very personal style that focuses on prayer, joy and the Holy Spirit.Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Term Paper on Luke's Beatitudes Assignment

The Gospel of Luke begins with an introductory paragraph as to the purpose of the stories, stating that "many have already undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us." Thus, as previously mentioned, the Gospel of Luke provides an excellent source, and one of the only sources, for an autobiographical account of understanding who Jesus was and thus who he is today. The Gospel of Luke is one of the gospels that make up the New Testament. Like the other gospels, it too is an account of the actions and saying of Jesus. However, it differs in terms of its theological emphases, with its general focus on women, thus explaining the central role that the Beatitudes plays in this particular gospel. Thus, the purpose of the Gospel of John is to show that Jesus is God and has thus always been alive. Further, it is only in the Gospel of John that the reader gets a passage of Jesus talking at length about himself, providing a sort of insiders view of the conversations that Jesus had with only his disciples. Although critics now largely agree that the Gospel of Luke is not a reliable historical account of Jesus, it does provide an accurate account of who Jesus wanted to be.

Whether Jesus was a real individual, or human, or whether he was a divine Son of God or God himself is a question that cannot be answered. The answer is either both or it depends on who you ask. Jesus did exist, but how he existed is up to interpretation. For example, Christians believe that Jesus was not a man but in fact was divine. Jews and Muslims, on the other hand recognize Jesus as existing but see him as a human designated by God to carry forth his message as a prophet. Still others see Jesus as having no significant divine relation but instead as an influential human who was able to create a mass following by preaching a belief system centered on ideas of love and forgiveness.

It is widely believed that Jesus was born sometime between eight and two B.C. And died sometime between twenty-nine and thirty-six, a.D. However, if one reads the Gospel of John, Jesus has always existed, as seen in the Old Testament's discussion of "The Word" and that Jesus physical time on Earth was only one part of his ongoing existence. From what is known about Jesus, he was a Galilean Jew who lived in Nazarene, was widely viewed as a teacher and healer, baptized by John the Baptist, and crucified in Jerusalem under the order of Pontus Pilate (the Roman Governor) due to accusations of sedition against the Empire.

It is believed by Christians that Jesus was born from the Virgin Mary and thus was born as a miracle itself. Regardless of religious beliefs about his birth, Jesus is regarded as the sun of Joseph and Mary. According to the accounts o the Gospels, Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea after the Angel Gabriel visited Mary to tell her she was carrying the Son of God. Jesus spent his first days in a crib in a manger. Jesus grew up in the town o Nazareth in Galilee and the Gospels place all of Jesus' life as occurring in ancient Israel. (Except for brief journeys to Egypt and Lebanon).

At the age of thirty, Jesus was baptized in the Jordan River and thus began his ministering. His ministry occurred primarily in the areas of Galilee and Perea (Israel and Jordan). During Passover, Jesus came to Jerusalem where he caused a disturbance which eventually led to his arrest and death. Jesus is believed to have been crucified at Calvary and later resurrected, where he remained on Earth for forty days before ascending into heaven.

Jesus is believed to have lived a modest life. Growing up he is referred to as being a "Son of a carpenter" and thus most likely lived a simple life. He was raised, lived and dies as a member of the Jewish faith. He also lived during troubled political times, under the rule of the Roman Empire, which at that time was against the practice of such religions as that which Jesus preached. Further, his gaining of a large following did not please the Roman rulers, who at that time ruled Israel and its Jewish population.

In order to avoid political persecution or death, several times Jesus and his family were forced to flee Israel. For example, as an infant they fled to Egypt in order to escape the Massacre of the Innocents carried out by Herod, the Roman ruler.

The majority of Jesus' major activities occurred during his ministry period. However, his activities can be categorized into three phases: birth, ministry and death. His birth involved nothing more than being born and attracting the attention of the kings and surrounding shepherds as an angel announced the event as the birth of the son of god.

The next major event followed his baptism, when Jesus was led into the desert by God in order to fast for forty days and forty nights. Here the devil appeared and tempted him three times, each of which were refused by a quote from the Book of Deuteronomy.

Jesus' ministry involved numerous acts of kindness, preaching and forgiveness. Many of these acts are seen as miracles, or "Signs" as the Gospel of John refers to them. These included exorcisms, walking on water, turning water into wine, and raising people from the dead.

The major event of the ministry phase was the giving of the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus preached the New Covenant with God, which many consider his announcement of both a new religion and that he was the Son of God. The Sermon on the Mount contained the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer. It is often viewed as an extension of Mosses' announcement of the Ten Commandments as the Old Covenant with God. Interestingly, although the Beatitudes play a central role in the Gospel of Luke and in the ministry of Jesus, in the Catholic Tradition they have been largely ignored.

Jesus opened his preaching with the question of "Who do you say I am?" Since these words were spoken, religious scholars and clerics have been providing answers. In Consider Jesus: Waves of Renewal in Christology, Johnson provides a well researched history of how this question has been answered. However, the main point of the book is to show Johnson's belief that this historic answer to this question has been male-dominated. Instead, in this work, Johnson outlines her Christian-feminist philosophy and applies it to providing her answer to Jesus' question of "Who do you say I am?."

Essentially, the Beatitudes, as told in the heavily feminine Gospel of Luke, answers the above question. However, as Johnson and such scholars as Mark Allan Powell and Timothy Johnson argue, this message has largely been reworked into a more traditional masculine approach.

Johnson's theory is best stated in her conclusion, where she states, "Out of our own experience of salvation, our own telling of the story, our own praxis and prayer, we must name Jesus Christ again and claim him again for our own people, so that a living Christology will be handed on to the next generation into the twenty-first century." This statement best summarizes her argument that the concept of Jesus has been misused by history. In other words, if one reads the ministries of Christ, they all involve the traditionally feminine characteristics of genuine humanity, liberation of the poor and oppressed, loving ones neighbor, equality and dignity of all, finding truth, and preserving all of God's creations. However, as Johnson's thorough research of Jesus' evolving historical role shows, these fundamental feminine qualities have been replaced with Jesus being a masculine leader that has been used… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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