The Bible Journey
Acts 1:12–26 (KJV) Following Jesus’ death and resurrection, his disciples remain in Jerusalem until they are infused with the power of the Holy Spirit on the Feast of the Transfiguration on the Day of Pentecost. They gather in the upstairs room (the guest room) “where they were staying” to discuss their plans (Acts 1:12). The remaining eleven disciples, as well as several female followers and members of Jesus’ immediate family, gather to pray. Matthias is chosen to take the place of Judas as one of the twelve apostles (who represent the twelve tribes of Israel) (see Acts 1:21-26).
At the beginning of his teaching ministry, Jesus had relocated to Capernaum, which was the principal fishing port on the Sea of Galilee (seeMap 15,Matthew 4:12-13Mark 1:212:1).
When Jesus came to Capernaum, it is possible that he utilized his carpentry abilities to make and repair the several huge wooden fishing boats that were located in the city.
Fishermen from Capernaum included Simon (Peter), Andrew, James, and John, as well as Thomas (Didymus), Nathaniel, and at least two additional disciples (see John 21:2-3).
- Nathaniel (Bartholomew) traveled all the way from CanaanGalilee (see John 21:2 andMap 15).
- He made a joke about Jesus originating from a little Galilean hamlet in the middle of nowhere: “Can anything good come from Nazareth?” he wondered.
- Simon’s wife and mother-in-law resided at the family house in Capernaum with their children and grandchildren (see Mark 1:29-30).
- They were given the appellation ‘Boanerges’ (‘Sons of Thunder’) by Jesus (see Mark 3:17) Philip was originally from Bethsaida.
- Tax collector Levi (Matthew), the son of Alphaeus, resided in Capernaum and worked as a publican (Latin for “publicanus” or “publican,” which means “public servant”) (see Mark 2:13-17).
- Levi (Matthew) resided in Capernaum, which is where the story begins (Mark 2:15) JudasIscariotwas not a member of the Galilean community.
- He dealt for the money of the disciples, purchasing food and distributing presents to the destitute (see John 13:29).
In addition to being a fisherman and a valiant disciple (see John 11:16), Thomas (nicknamed “Didymus”) was a skeptic who took a long time to accept the fact that Jesus had been raised from the dead (see John 20:24-28).
“Zealots” were Jewish nationalists who were “zealous” in their opposition to the Romans, who had assumed direct control of Judaea in 6AD and were attempting to retake it (see the feature onJewish Nationalistsin Section 21).
A number of affluent women who were healed by Jesus went on to become disciples, and they contributed to Jesus’ financial support by using their own resources (see Luke 8:1-3).
She had traveled from Magdala, which was located on the western coast of the Sea of Galilee, just north of Herod Antipas’s city of Tiberias, to see him (seeMap 15and the feature onThe Jesus Boat at Magdalain Section 4).
She may have been a member of Herod Antipas’ court because her circle of acquaintances included Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the superintendent of Herod’s household who resided in Tiberias, and other members of the royal family.
It was in Tiberius that Joanna resided (Luke 8:3).
(see Luke 10:38-42, John 11:1-2Map 15).
When Mary poured expensive scented oil on Jesus’s feet (it was customary for the oil to be poured on someone’s head), she broke with tradition by wiping his feet with her long hair, despite the fact that it was against the rules for respectable women to loosen their hair in public (see John 12:1-8).
- Joseph, a distinguished member of the Sanhedrin – the Jewish council – was originally from the city of Arimathea in the land of Judaea (seeMap 15).
- He went to Pilate and requested for Jesus’ body, which he then placed in his own new tomb (see Luke 23:50-54).
- When the members of the Jewish council (the Sanhedrin) sought to condemn Jesus, he issued a stern warning to them (see John 7:50).
- Nicodemus was a Jew who lived in Jerusalem (John 3:1) JohnMark lived with his mother Mary in a huge family house in Jerusalem, where they raised their children (see Acts 12:12).
- They were a well-to-do Jewish family with several servants, one of which was Rhoda.
- Mark might very possibly be the ‘young man’ who sneaked away after Jesus was arrested, as described in Mark’s own story (see Mark 14:51).
- (see Colossians 4:101 Peter 5:13).
St Mark’s Church, which can be visited in the Armenian Quarterof the old city of Jerusalem, was built in the 12thcentury on the foundations of an earlier Byzantine church believed to have stood on the site of the home of John Mark and his family.JosephBarsabbas (also In the role of the twelth apostle, Matthias was chosen to take the position of Judas Iscariot (see Acts 1:21-26).
Fig.6 Jesus’ followers go on their journeys. Continue to the next page
Category:Followers of Jesus – Wikipedia
This category contains articles on the apostles, disciples, and other followers ofJesus of Nazareth who have contributed to the site.
This category contains the following 5 subcategories, for a total of 5 subcategories.
- Mary Magdalene (2 C, 47 P)
- Mary, mother of Jesus (9 C, 34 P, 1 F)
- Mary, mother of Jesus (2 C, 47 P)
This category contains the following 30 pages, out of a total of 30 pages. It is possible that this list might not reflect current changes (learn more).
- Disciple (in Christianity)
- Disciple whom Jesus loved
- Disciples of Jesus in Islam
- Disciples of Jesus in other religions.
- Joseph of Arimathea
- Jude, brother of Jesus
- James the Less
- James, brother of Jesus
- Joanna, wife of Chuza
- Joseph of Arimathea
- Among those who have died are Mark of Apollonias, Martha, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Bethany
- Mary of Clopas
- And Mary, mother of James and Jesus.
- Simon the Leper, Susanna (disciple), Salome (disciple), Samaritan woman at the well, Seventy disciples, Salome (disciple)
“oldid=1065906418” was retrieved from the database.
Followers of Christ
Those are the opening lyrics of one of our most treasured songs, which was sung by the Tabernacle Choir this morning: “Come, follow me,” the Savior said. If we follow in his footsteps, we will be one with God’s own beloved and born Son, and no other way can we achieve this. 1 It was a Scottish convert named John Nicholson who came up with those remarks, which were inspired by the Savior’s very first call to His followers (see Matthew 4:19). Many of our early leaders had little formal education, but they had a deep love for our Savior and the plan of redemption.
- 2 Throughout this conference, we have heard lessons that encourage us to follow in the footsteps of our Savior, whose life and teachings serve as a model for every believer of Jesus Christ.
- I will go through some of the instances and teachings found in these four books of the Holy Bible, and I will ask each of us, as well as all other Christians, to evaluate how this restored Church, as well as each of us, qualifies as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- Having been baptized (see Mark 1:9), He began His ministry by baptizing others, and He and His followers baptized others as well (see John 3:22–26).
- Jesus began His sermon by pleading with His listeners to turn from their sins (seeMatthew 4:17).
- Throughout His mission, Jesus issued instructions to His followers.
- Keeping His precepts, he claimed, would necessitate His disciples abandoning what He described as “that which is highly prized among men” (Luke 16:15) and “the tradition of men” (Mark 7:8; see also verse13).
- It was eventually revealed that the disciples of Jesus would be “a distinctive people,” as the Apostle Peter said (1 Peter 2:9).
A number of people style their lives after worldly customs because, as Jesus stated about some of the people He taught, “they valued the acclaim of men more than the honor of God” (John 12:43).
They range from worldly practices such as political correctness and extremes in dress and grooming to deviations from fundamental values such as the eternal nature of the family and its function.
Always, they were to be followed through on.
Savior, may I come to know and love thee—Lord, I would be willing to follow thee.
As President Thomas S.
Following Christ is not a one-time or sporadic activity, but rather a lifelong commitment and way of life that is applicable at all times and in all places, regardless of circumstance.
It has been revealed to us via contemporary revelation that He instructed His people to partake of the symbols in memory of Him (see Joseph Smith Translation, Matthew 26:22–24; Joseph Smith Translation, Mark 14:21–24).
In his teachings, Jesus stated that “men ought to pray at all times” (Luke 18:1).
We pray in all of our worship services, just like other Christians do.
We also encourage our children to pray frequently for themselves and to pray together every day in the morning and evening.
The Savior appointed twelve Apostles to assist in His Church, and He gave them the keys and authority to carry on after His death (seeMatthew 16:18–19; Mark 3:14–15; 6:7; and Luke 6:13).
Some of those whom Jesus asked to join Him did not reply right away, preferring to ask for a delay in order to attend to their family commitments.
Many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints adhere to the priorities Jesus preached.
Jesus taught that God created male and female beings and that a man should leave his parents and cleave to his wife (see Mark 10:6–8 for more information).
In the well-known parable of the lost sheep, Jesus taught that we should go out of our way to find any members of the flock who have become separated from the rest of the flock (see Matthew 18:11–14; Luke 15:3–7; John 10:11–12).
Monson has placed a high value on this approach, as seen by his inspiring example and teachings on saving our fellow men and women.
And near the conclusion of His earthly career, He remarked in one of His major teachings, “A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” In John 13:34–35, Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are my followers, if ye have love one toward another.” To be able to love one another, Jesus taught that when we are injured by others, we should forgive them (see Matthew 18:21–35; Mark 11:25–26; Luke 6:37; John 13:34–35).
We all know of inspirational examples of Latter-day Saints who have shown love and forgiveness to those who have done us wrong, even when we have done them grave harm.
“As a disciple of Christ, I had no option,” this merciful man, who was then acting as one of our bishops, stated just two days after the catastrophe and while still extremely grieved, remarked, “I had no choice.” (5) The vast majority of Christians follow Jesus’ teachings and donate to the poor and needy (Matthew 25:31–46; Mark 14:7).
- Our members make considerable contributions to charitable organizations, as well as personal service and other offerings to the impoverished and needy in their communities and worldwide.
- Our fasting in order to aid the hungry is a charitable act, and when done with sincere intentions, it can be considered a spiritual feast.
- By utilizing cash provided by charitable members, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints provides food, clothes, and other necessities to people all around the world in order to alleviate their suffering.
- Following the 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami, we mobilized a large relief effort that resulted in the donation of $13 million in cash and materials.
- Large gifts of different resources, as well as about 300,000 hours of work in cleanup operations by around 28,000 members of the Church, were made to the victims of Hurricane Sandy in the eastern United States as part of our humanitarian response.
- Nearly 30 million individuals in 179 countries have benefited from our assistance during the last quarter-century.
- Our Savior, in His final scriptural instruction, instructed His followers to spread His teachings to every country and every creature on the face of the earth.
We dispatched missionaries across the seas, east and west, even when we were a poor and struggling small church with only a few thousand members.
We have missionaries serving in more than 150 countries and territories around the world.
Following our Savior’s teachings and example will lead us to the Father whom our Savior addressed as “my Father and your Father; and.
According to that design, we are all the children of our heavenly parents.
We are informed in the New Testament that we are “heirs.
In any case, we can see that obtaining this ultimate goal in eternity is only attainable if we follow our Savior, Jesus Christ, who taught that “no one cometh unto the Father but by me” (John 14:6).
And so, in the final verses of our hymn “Come, Follow Me,” we sing:Is it enough simply to know that we must follow him below, while traveling through this valley of tears?
… For thrones, dominions, kingdoms, and other positions of authority Then, throughout eternity, we will have enormous glory and happiness if we heed his words, “Come, follow me.” 7 I bear witness to the deity of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, whose teachings and example we aspire to emulate.
In the name of Jesus Christ, I bear witness to the truth of His message, as well as to the divine mission and authority of His restored Church, and I pray for you.
What is a Follower of Jesus?
Guest As I read the early chapters of the Gospels, I see Jesus speaking the same command to almost everyone he meets: follow me! For decades Christians have understood this to mean “say a prayer of repentance and commitment to Jesus, attend church regularly, and live a generally good life”. There is a problem with this. Jesus never led someone through a ‘sinners prayer’ followed by a command to attend church services. No, he said, “follow me.” What he meant was “forsake all that you have put above and before me; devote yourself to living life my way, according to my teachings, and my example.
- Let me show you a better way to live – free from the trappings of hypocritical living and dead religion.
- He wanted them to live a life that was all about him – a life that says “It’s not me that’s living my life now – it’s Jesus.” Being a follower of Jesus is to put him at the center and to make him the supreme ruler of all that you are and all that you do.
- Jesus gave the keys to following him to his disciples.
- Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.
- And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Being a follower of Jesus means:
WE RECOGNIZE HIS AUTHORITY IN AND OVER OUR LIVES
We recognize him as Lord and submit to him. We accept that he has entire control over the situation and that we have diluted control. We followed in his footsteps. Our leader does not follow us; rather, we follow him.
WE MAKE DISCIPLES
It is important to note that disciples are instructed to go and create disciples. The act of asking people to follow Jesus is an essential part of becoming a disciple of Jesus. We are his witnesses, charged with the responsibility of spreading the gospel and demonstrating what he is like to the rest of the world. Disciples grow in maturity and number.
WE GET BAPTIZED
Baptism is a public declaration of our allegiance to Jesus and his teachings. He enlisted the help of his supporters to baptize new converts. New believers in the early Church were required to go through this process after putting their confidence in Jesus and becoming his disciples. When we examine the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the epistle writings, we cannot help but conclude that baptism was not a choice for people who would follow Jesus; rather, it was an expectation he placed on those who would follow him.
WE OBEY JESUS’ COMMANDS
The disciples were instructed to both teach and follow Jesus’ instructions. Following Jesus’ teachings will bring immense joy and great happiness to the follower of Jesus. It is crucial that before we can teach others to obey Jesus, we ourselves must first demonstrate our own obedience to him. Every disciple of Jesus is, by nature, a leader – we are to lead others into obedience to Jesus and submit to his way of life – which is the finest and most beautiful way to live one’s life. To be a good leader, we must first be good at what we do.
As Christians, we must apply the teachings of the Bible to our lives in a way that glorifies Jesus and sets him at the center of our priorities. Simply simply, followers of Jesus are those who follow him.
WE GO TO THE WORLD
We proclaim Jesus to a world that is lost, broken, and hurting. Throughout his life, Jesus preached the gospel in public places and to people. Today, we appear to be committed to keeping the gospel contained within church structures, while Jesus accomplished the inverse. God’s loving kindness and practical love were exchanged in marketplaces, next to swimming pools, in town centers, on mountain tops, on beaches, at a watering well, on a road, and in a variety of other settings, including dinners, parties, and sitting in temple courts, among other places.
Are you seeking Jesus in order to hear where he wants you to serve him: Is it in your local community for the long haul, or somewhere else entirely?
Is it because you want to relocate to a town where there is little or no Gospel impact and voice?
Throughout Jesus’ ministry, his disciples sought his knowledge, insight, and guidance. They followed Jesus wherever he led them and went where he instructed them to go. They had faith in him to the point that they would submit to his authority. They didn’t always grasp what he was saying. They made a blunder. They had learnt their lesson. They expanded in size. They strolled alongside him and conversed with him. Following his ascension, they began preaching the gospel. They whisked him away to see the rest of the world.
- Follow this up with a study of Acts to observe how the earliest disciples followed Jesus and remained loyal to him and his teachings as time went on.
- To be able to govern every aspect of their life, Jesus is seeking for followers who would follow him and make him the most essential element of their lives in order for him to have complete control.
- A shelf stacker by trade, Stuart McCormack has also held positions as a bingo caller, archivist, and Youth Minister.
- Kairos Network Church in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, is where he co-leads “Vintage,” which is a missional community that is a member of the Kairos Network Church family.
- When he is not working, he may be found tweeting @STU7P or blogging at gospelpraxis.weebly.com.
The Jesus Movement
How Jesus’ followers reacted in the days following his death was a sobering experience. Professor of Classics and Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of Texas in Austin, L. Michael White is a scholar who specializes in religious studies. THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD The death of Jesus must have been a terrible blow to the movement that had sprung up around him. More to the point, nothing happened, rather than that a Messiah could not die. Unlike what they might have imagined, the kingdom did not arrive immediately.
- They appear to have dispersed, but it does not appear that they took long to come to the conclusion that something had happened to warrant their attention.
- It is yet unclear what transpired during the resurrection.
- He was the crucified and rising Lord of the universe.
- Whether or not he considered himself to be a prophet or a messenger of God, his perspective alters when he himself is raised from the dead by God.
- As though he were the Messiah himself.
- It’s likely that it’s during these early days following Jesus’ death that the movement begins to rebuild itself around his memory.
- Although it appears to have spread swiftly among his followers, the oldest version of the movement is still considered to be a sect within Judaism in its current form.
They are adherents of a Jewish apocalyptic tradition, which they follow.
It is a Jewish movement, to be sure.
At least one of these appears to be based in Jerusalem, but it’s possible that there are more scattered around the surrounding region.
It is therefore necessary to view the initial years of this movement as little pockets of sectarian activity that were all focused on the identify of Jesus as Messiah.
It’s difficult to say in all circumstances.
At Jerusalem, it appears that James, Jesus’ brother, was the group’s leader for the next generation, according to the evidence available to us.
There’s a woman by the name of Mary who comes to mind.
CHARISMATICS ON THE ROAD TO SUCCESS One of the first evidence of the Jesus movement is what we like to refer to as “wandering charismatics,” or itinerant preachers and prophets, who continue to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is at hand, presumably carrying on the tradition of Jesus’ own teaching.
So, they are meant to perform miracles and treat the ill for free, but it appears like they were begging for food instead of doing so.
Even in Paul’s day, we learn that he comes across individuals who are traveling from Judea and bringing a different sort of gospel message, and it appears that these are the same kind of roaming charismatics that we hear about in the early phases of the movement following Jesus’ death and resurrection.
- What is the behavior of sects?
- A sect always emerges within a society with whom it shares a fundamental set of ideas, but it must find a method to distinguish itself from the rest of the group in order to survive.
- That tension manifests itself in a multitude of ways, including disagreements over doctrine and practice, as well as differing conceptions of purity and piety.
- Wayne A.
- THE INTRODUCTION TO THE JESUS MOVEMENT Where did the first followers of Jesus, the cults, if you will, share characteristics with other cults in the pagan world and where did they diverge in a very significant way?
- One of a number of sects that we are aware of that originated around the same time period.
- However, it is precisely this that remains a mystery and continues to pique the interest of historians.
They didn’t leave a mark on history, so what made this one different?
EXPLAINING THE TERMINOLOGY “KING OF THE JEWS” Were the disciples of Jesus making an amazing claim about him, or were they just making it up?
In a way, the tale of Jesus’ disciples begins with what Pilate said about Jesus, which was ironic given the circumstances.
What is the most likely interpretation of this?
And he wishes to convey a caustic remark to the recipient.
Because it is humiliating, it is intended to put a certain spin on what is taking place in the eyes of the general public that witnesses it.
How do we cope with this, not only the end of this life, but the disgraceful end of this life?
Incredibly, they asserted, “Hey, Pilate was correct – Jesus was really the King of the Jews; and moreover, God has verified this claim, that Jesus is the King of the Jews, by rising him from the dead.” Attempting to communicate that difficult reality marks the beginning of the Jesus movement as it is correctly known today, which would eventually become Christianity.
- That marks the very beginning of everything.
- It clearly does not imply “King of the Jews,” in the manner that a century later, Bar Kochba would attempt to be King of Israel and rebuild the political kingdom of Israel, which had been liberated from the Romans, would mean today.
- As a result, the early Christians, in the manner of respectable Jews, began to explore the scriptures for any indications that may be concealed within that no one had before found.
- Consequently, it all begins with this type of interpretative process, which can go many various routes depending on the situation.
- Morison Professor of New Testament Studies and Winn Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the Harvard Divinity School, Helmut Koester is an expert in the field of New Testament studies.
- The four gospels of the New Testament contain passion narratives, which tell the story of Jesus’ agony and death on the cross.
- Ancient people were aware that there was such a thing as the Gospel of Peter, but they were unaware of its existence.
- It was not until the end of the twentieth century that a papyrus, which had been a small amulet worn around the neck of a soldier and which had been placed in his tomb, was discovered.
- However, it is recounted in such a way that it is reasonable to conclude that it was not reliant on the canonical gospels that we currently have.
What is particularly interesting about this Gospel of Peter is that it demonstrates, in some instances more clearly, the direct dependence of the passion narrative on prophecy and psalms as well as suffering servant stories from the Hebrew Bible, and as a result, it provides us with an insight into the development of the passion narrative in the first century.
- Instead, it was that these texts from the Hebrew Bible were already a part of their regular reading of texts, and that they were already a part of their religious ritual.
- The disciples of Jesus must have been immersed in those scriptures and must have brought a knowledge of the explanation of suffering on earth with them that was already a part of their worship life, their talks with one another, and their thoughts during that time period with them.
- As a result of this deep involvement in a religious tradition that was deeply rooted in the worship life of Jewish communities, these stories about Jesus emerge, which now use the same words and images to describe Jesus’ suffering as were used in Isaiah 53.
- In addition, Isaiah 53 is often the chapter from the Old Testament that is read on Good Friday as a prefiguration of Jesus’ death in most Christian churches, according to a recent survey.
- Do you believe that it is the prophet who portrays himself as the suffering servant?
- A distinct element of Moses’ tale is told, not as the leader who leads the people out of Egypt, but as the one who dies ultimately and who is not able to visit the Holy Land, and as the Moses who, according to the book of Deuteronomy, was not even buried in the land of Israel.
- How can it be comprehended that the upright in this world have to endure such hardship?
It was the tale of the suffering servant of Isaiah 53 that provided the solution to this question. And it is to this story, it appears, that the Christians turned very early in their development in order to gain an understanding of what Jesus’ suffering and death meant and signified.
How did followers of Jesus come to be called Christians?
Why was it that followers of Jesus came to be known as Christians? According to legend, Antioch, the capital of the Roman province of Syria (which is now part of the Turkish district of Antakya), was the place where the term “Christian” was originally connected with early adherents of the faith. “And it was at Antioch that the disciples were first addressed as Christians” (Acts 11:26). Obviously, the concept of being a disciple of Jesus Christ is associated with the name “Christian.” In classical times, the followers of a leader would identify themselves by adding a descriptive extension to their leader’s name to distinguish themselves from others (ianus).
- Similar to the name “Christian,” the term “Christianus” (of Latin origin, but Hellenized) was used to describe those who followed Jesus Christ.
- ² Chrism is also the Greek word for Christ, and it literally translates as “anointed one.” ¹ The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible is a picture-based reference work on the Bible.
- Abridged version of this article is in the book, What People Ask About the Church, which was written and copyrighted by Dale A.
- Without exception, all biblical quotations were taken from The New King James Bible, published by Thomas Nelson Inc.
- You may use this content for your own personal use as long as you provide proper credit to the author.
- Many of our works are also available as free pdf tri-fold booklets, which may be downloaded for personal use from our Online Catalog and printed as needed.
- This book is also available from Amazon in a revised and updated form.
These 12 Men Shaped Christianity—But Were They Real?
A total of 12 apostles are named by Jesus Christ in the Bible, and their missionary zeal is credited with the quick growth of the early Christian church. However, there is little proof of the existence of the Twelve outside of the New Testament for the majority of them. When authorTom Bissell goes out to determine if the Twelve Apostles were real historical persons or just characters in a literary narrative, he writes about his journey inApostle: Travels Among the Tombs of the Twelve. During his journey, he walked for 500 miles along theCamino de Santiago pilgrim route in northern Spain, visited the location where Judas Iscariot is said to have hanged himself, and searched fruitlessly for a mysterious monastery in Kyrgyzstan, where the bones of the Apostle Matthew are believed to be buried.
(Learn why the Virgin Mary is considered the most powerful lady on the planet.) Speaking from Vancouver, Bissell reveals why the Monty Python film Life of Brian served as an influence for his book as well as how his views on Christianity have evolved as a result of the experience.
If there had been aNew York Timesbest-seller list in the first century A.D., which column should the New Testament have appeared in? Fiction or nonfiction?
If you look at it from the perspective of the first century, I’m not sure that difference would have made a lot of sense. There was no difference made between evangelical propaganda and what the authors really thought to be true in their writing. From a modern perspective, it’s difficult to regard the Gospels as unadorned, true depictions of the life of Jesus. Back then, there was no such thing as a journalistic instinct. Their ideas that magic and divine were at work in the world won out over the facts and evidence.
You grew up a Catholic, but then had a crisis of faith. Wind the clock back and explain how that inspired you to write this book.
Instead of experiencing a crisis of faith, I simply read a couple of books that made me realize, “Wow, none of this stuff is probably true in the way that I had assumed it was.” Despite this realization, I remained deeply interested in the stories of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament as a whole. My biggest inspiration for this book, however, came from the film Life of Brian, specifically the scene where Brian is fleeing from the Romans and jumps out of a tower into a marketplace full of gabbling prophets who are all saying nonsense, and so he just starts reciting random stuff to attract an audience and becomes famous.
You say that, “Christianity’s special appeal is largely furnished by its claims of historical legitimacy….yet the existence of the faith’s most crucial eyewitnesses is uncertain.”
One or two of the names reported in the New Testament are most likely those of real persons. There was almost certainly a Peter and a John, almost certainly a James (Jesus’ brother), and almost certainly a Thomas. Apart from the gospels themselves, there isn’t anything historical that can be used to establish their historical existence. As a result, I believe they are a combination of reality and fiction. In the early history of Christianity, one of the great mysteries is that we know a decent little about Paul and that James the brother of Jesus was a genuine person.
In other words, you have these 12 individuals who were the earliest disciples of Jesus, yet there is nothing written about them in any secular source.
You begin your search in Jerusalem for the final resting place of Judas Iscariot, whom you call the “electromagnet of wickedness.” Tell us about that journey—and whether you believe Judas was a real historical character.
That is a really difficult question to answer. In accordance with legend, however Scripture is unclear on this point, Judas hung himself in the Hinnom Valley, which is a stony, desert-like valley located in the southern section of Jerusalem and known as Hakeldamain the Hinnom Valley. You get the distinct impression that the location is cursed when you visit. That is the significance of these stories. You can sense the years of anger and contempt that have been directed at this individual who betrayed Jesus.
The question of whether or not his given name was Judas is a considerably more difficult one to answer.
There are several additional Jesus stories where the gospel authors appear to be singing from the same song sheet.
However, I believe they had far less raw material to work with when it came to Judas, and as a result, they each approached it in their own manner. This seems to me that he was more of a literary figure than a real-life individual.
In 2006, a team of translators and scholars working for National Geographic published the so-called lost “Gospel of Judas.” Did this shed any further light on the subject?
The Gospel of Judas was an item of Sethian Christianity, a very confrontational style of non-mainstream Christianity that flourished in the first and second centuries, respectively. Their Judas, they imagined, took a little different route than the more traditional Judas. Judas is both a source of censure and a source of illumination for them at the same time. This group of people believed in a deity who was radically distinct from the proto-orthodox Christians of their day. The Sethian Christians despised the apostolic authority paradigm that was followed by the majority of Christians.
- And some of them were just bizarre.
- You, on the other hand, traveled there in search of Matthew’s grave.
- Despite the fact that central Asia does not appear to be the most Christian-friendly region of the globe today, there was a significant Christian population in the region until the Middle Ages.
- They were Christians from the Middle East who had been traveling eastward for centuries.
- A Russian archaeologist claimed to have discovered it in 2006, which prompted me to go on a hunt for it.
- However, it was one of my favorite excursions because it was so difficult to locate and because it was one of the most fascinating places I have ever been, despite the fact that my quest to locate St Matthew’s relics came to an unsatisfying finish.
You call the Apostle James a “particularly elusive character.” In 2002, anossuarysurfaced in Israel, which appeared to confirm his identity. Is there any truth to it?
We know for a fact that James, Jesus’ brother, was a genuine person. In the first century, a Jewish historian named Flavius Josephus makes reference to him. The ossuary, according to some, is genuine; however, the inscription on the wall, which reads “James, the Brother of Jesus” in Aramaic, is not. Although no trace of his remains has been discovered, he was certainly a well-known character in the first century, as evidenced by the fact that he appears in a great deal of early Christian material.
My lack of experience with archaeology and my lack of training in the field lead me to assume that James may have had a hidden tomb complete with an ossuary, but I’m ready to accept that possibility.
The difficulty with James, on the other hand, is that he contradicts everything that orthodox Christians believe regarding the virgin birth.
I believe that James existed, that there is a high possibility that he was Jesus’ older brother, and that he was the most influential figure in first-century Christianity after Jesus.
The virgin birth, on the other hand, does not make a whole lot of sense. Generally speaking, the acknowledged rules of the cosmos do not cease to operate.
Did your journey end up convincing you of the historical veracity of the Apostles? Or just make you even more confused?
It didn’t move me at all, to be honest. Some people hold the belief that just believing in something is beneficial. This is one of my pet peeves. That is something I have a difficult time embracing because what if you believe in something monstrous? The ideas that emerge from the monotheistic Abrahamic religions are rather disturbing from a modern point of view, and this is especially true for the Jewish religion. These practices, including the way they treat women, the way they regard children, and the way they perceive authority, have little or no place in today’s secular society.
Anyone who appreciates opera, cinema, or literature isn’t likely to be compelled to put into question the meaning that religion provides.
Among the many ways in which the Western culture opted to educate itself what is meant by community and storytelling, as well as by truth, friendship, and loyalty, the Twelve Apostles’ stories constitute a significant part of the process.
In order to be in a better position, we should endeavor to reach a consensus on the relevance of meaning that may be obtained from literature or works of imagination.
This is not meant to imply that everything is a hoax; rather, it is meant to imply that we may take comfort from another person’s endeavor to bring order to the cosmos.
The length and clarity of this interview have been adjusted for readability.
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