New Testament Module
Choose and discuss two images of Jesus from the New Testament. What is their relevance today?
Word Count: 1528
Throughout the New Testament we are presented with various images of Jesus Christ, this is in no small part due to the wealth of his personality and the many aspects of this we are introduced to through the Gospels and in Paul’s letters. This essay will discuss and analyse two of these images: “The Teacher and “The Healer.” Whilst discussing what these images tell us about the person of Jesus, a link will also be made to the relevance of each image to the contemporary reader. Before analysing each image it is of interest at this point to note how the two images to be discussed are interlinked when Jesus’ early actions are described in Matthew 4:23: “And he went about all Galilee teaching in their Synagogues and preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.” It will become apparent in the body of this essay how close the relationship between these two images is. The first chosen image is that of “The Teacher.” Although most people would choose different terms to describe Jesus, such as Messiah or Lord, in fact the image of Jesus as a teacher has been widely used – namely by Jesus’ own disciples and in fact himself (Pray 2014). Many people would describe Jesus as the greatest teacher of all time, his teaching was the true word of God and the power of his teaching cannot be denied due to the fact Christianity has spread throughout the world; through the work of missionaries thousands of people continue his teaching today. In order to understand this image it is necessary to examine prime examples of the teaching of Jesus from the New Testament. The longest and most famous piece of teaching from Jesus, even if it is the least understood, comes from the Sermon on the Mount (Stott 1978). According to the gospel of Matthew Jesus saw crowds coming and sat down on a hill; he did not design his teaching for his disciples only, it was inclusive of all and he encouraged people to go and spread what they had heard (Harrington 1991). Jesus taught to anyone who was willing to listen and this is still wholly relevant in life today. Churches are inclusive communities where anyone is welcome to come and hear the word of the lord and those who hear that word are encouraged to continue the mission of Jesus and pass on that good news. The fact that Jesus went and sat down on the hill was a sign he was going to teach, great crowds were following him due to the stir he caused at this, the beginning of his ministry healing and casting out demons, people would have been very interested in what he was about to say. The moral teaching which occurred in this instance, the Beatitudes and Commandments, still inspire and challenge people today (Kendall 2011). A further image of Jesus teaching the crowds is referred to by Charpentier (2004). He outlines how Jesus pitied those who are hungry and who have followed him into the desert. He teaches them as he believes this is their “most important hunger” (pg 64). Here Jesus is leading by example, it is possible to still learn from these examples in society today, and we can all strive to live like the person of Jesus. It is through the images studied above that we see Jesus the teacher as a very human person, someone with admirable human qualities and characteristics, a role model; an image which still stands in today’s society for teachers everywhere. Perkins (1990) furthers the notion that the followers of Jesus did not only learn by listening, in fact much of their learning came from observing what Jesus did and said in various situations. Charpentier (2004) also supports this and points to the large proportion of miracles occupying the gospel of Mark; it is through these actions that Jesus showed the Kingdom of God was near. However a different image of Jesus...
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