January 3, 2009
Jesus comes and teaches people how to live a life that is pleasing to God and informs them that the reason this life is pleasing to God is because it produces universal brotherhood. All men, his own tribe included, reject and crucify him and God raises him from the dead to authenticate his teaching. Certainly those who believe this will seek to accord with his teaching. Others who do not believe this, but who have heard his teaching, may also seek to accord with his teaching. He welcomes all (viz. Zachaeus and the thief on the cross, neither of whom knew anything about a resurrection).
According to Paul, those who believe this (death and resurrection), no matter what they may be guilty of, and who strive to accord with his teaching will have the joy of knowing that they shall also in fact accord with his teaching, i.e., they shall not fail to be pleasing to God and shall become brothers and sisters to all people. Eternal life is already theirs.
I donâ€™t know if it is so critical to love Jesus as much as it is to imitate him; but those who strive to imitate him and who believe the Death and Resurrection will possess joy unspeakable and love him with an immeasurable love.
It is also easy to understand how it is that the Council of Jerusalem placed no requirements on the Christians from among the gentiles (Acts 15). Consistent with the teachings of Jesus it was clear that the dedication to an imitation of Jesus would mean a commitment to rule of universal neighborly love and that would be sufficient for all actions pleasing to God (Matthew 7:12 and Romans 13:8-10).
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