Updated: Apr 20, 2020
What does Jesus teach that's so controversial people are willing to die and kill over it? Jesus turned the religious world on its head. Outside of the miracles he performed (healing lepers, sight to blind, paralyzed walk . . . etc.), the shock and awe were over the words he said. Jesus claimed authority from God.
A degree gives you authority. You're given a certificate or degree proclaiming the authority of the institution. Your authority comes from the University or College you attended. In the same way, disciples studied under a Rabbi (religious teacher) until they assumed that Rabbi's authority. Disciple literally means learner (mathitis in the Greek). When Jesus was asked, "With whose authority do you do (say) these things (Luke 20)?" you now understand what was being asked. You also now understand he was saying some controversial stuff. It was not common knowledge or an understanding of what had been taught since the formation of Israel.
Jesus did not "disciple under anyone". I mean he apprenticed under his father as a carpenter, but suddenly at the age of 30 he starts teaching some very new and insightful interpretations of the Torah (Jewish law). Jesus stated his authority had been given to him by his Father (Matthew 11:27; 28:18). He was NOT talking about carpenter tools. Jesus' father was God (Matthew 1:18-25). We can get into that pregnancy another time. I know, it's a lot to throw out there. We need to take this one step at a time, stay on topic.
Jesus taught life free from religious practice. He taught radical forgiveness. He taught to love your enemy. The last would be first and the first, last (Matthew 5-7). See what I mean by turning the religious and world teachings on their heads? Power comes from sacrifice, not death and violence. He taught justice, forgiveness, mercy, and love to the point of death.
Above all, Jesus taught and showed there is life after death. He was executed and came back to life. You and I fear death because it's the end. Dictators rule and draw power with the threat of death. All you have worked for and built in life can be taken away with an act of violence.
Jesus tells us it's not the end. He shows it when he returns from death. His point: Death is not the greatest power, sacrifice is. In order to find peace and harmony we must put others first. We must value the lives of others over our own. We must value one another.
This is why Jesus taught us to love our enemies. We make mistakes, or act out of ignorance, this is why it's so important to forgive. We are to forgive as we wish to be forgiven. Peace is worth the sacrifice. Vengeance doesn't bring peace. It's not about the physical. It's about spiritual and mental health. You don't show it through clothing or tattoos. It's shown in love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control, against these there's no law (Galatians 5:22-23).
This is what made Jesus radical. There is no way to show dominance through pious living. When you're heart is changed you no longer want to dominate. You don't want power, you seek peace.
Power is the result of fear, violence and death.
Peace is the opposite. It's the result of sacrificial living. It's the result of finding value in others.
May you find peace.
In His service and yours,