This past week, I had the immense please of conversing with someone about various things related to the bible. The objection that Paul and Christ were cut of two different clothes was raised, and he kindly pointed me to the site mentioned below. I believe in Scriptural Inspiration; however, I allow that there are times which we do not easily see just how inspired, or on what level the passage in question is inspired. We must also allow that we have 4 gospels, not one, not one harmonized one, but four. And not just that, but numerous other texts not recognized by the Church. Why?
Early Christianity was no more monolithic than it is today. There were communities which sprang up around the Apostles, and while I am sure the Apostles all spoke the same message, they did so in various ways, with various focuses, and to different people(s). But, in the end, we have to realize that when the canon was chosen, whether or not you see it as Spirit-led or as political motivated to protect proto-orthodoxy, the New Testament books, while having different theologies, center on one Theology, albeit with different voices.
Below is not an attempt to harmonized Christ with Paul or Paul with Christ, but to look at the common objections, with are valid to an extent, that the Christianity of Paul was not the religion of Jesus. As I said, some are valid concerns, which is why Wb and I have taken the time to answer a few of them. I am not sure if either he or I or we will get to all of them, but here we go.
(Wb has already done 1-5 which will post over the next few days, so I’ll pick up with 6.)
(6) Paul–”I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Gal. 2:20) and “who gave himself for our sins” (Gal. 1:3) and “walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2) and “even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5:25) and 1 Tim. 2:6, Titus 2:14, Heb. 7:27, 9:14) versus Jesus–”…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46, Mark 15:34) and “…My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death:… O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me” (Matt. 26:38-39). “Cup” comes from a Hebrew word which actually means “fate” or, in this case, “death.” If Jesus gladly gave himself as a sacrifice for all, you’d never know it from his words.
First, we have to understand the difference between what Paul was saying and what the author of this post understood him to say. Christ gave himself up, this much is acknowledged in Scripture, but the flesh, during the last moments, could not be categorized as ‘gladly.’ Further, we have to understand the nature of the duty and the nature of the flesh, for Christ Himself said,
Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation. For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak!” (Mat 26:41 NLT)
Further, let us examine the rest of the passage of the prayer in the Garden,
Then Jesus left them a second time and prayed, “My Father! If this cup cannot be taken away unless I drink it, your will be done.” (Mat 26:42 NLT)
There is an immediate difference here – that yes, the body didn’t want to die, but the Spirit wanted to follow the will of the Father. In the end, it had to the willing sacrifice for our sins, regardless of the ‘want to.’
Concerning the cry on the cross, we have to understand the nature of Matthew and Mark’s view of the fulfillment of the Old Testament. This verse is the start of the Messianic Psalm. a key tool in interpreting the life of Christ used by the writers of the New Testament.
Further, we turn to John’s Gospel, in which Christ foretells His death in a manner which should overshadow his last moemnets of the strength of the flesh,
This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me. You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name. (Joh 15:12-16 NLT)
Before we leave this objection, let us examine what Christ said about His duty,
Then Pilate went back into his headquarters and called for Jesus to be brought to him. “Are you the king of the Jews?” he asked him. Jesus replied, “Is this your own question, or did others tell you about me?”
“Am I a Jew?” Pilate retorted. “Your own people and their leading priests brought you to me for trial. Why? What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.” Pilate said, “So you are a king?” Jesus responded, “You say I am a king. Actually, I was born and came into the world to testify to the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.”
“What is truth?” Pilate asked. Then he went out again to the people and told them, “He is not guilty of any crime. But you have a custom of asking me to release one prisoner each year at Passover. Would you like me to release this ‘King of the Jews’?” But they shouted back, “No! Not this man. We want Barabbas!” (Barabbas was a revolutionary.) (Joh 18:33-40 NLT)
He took Jesus back into the headquarters again and asked him, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. “Why don’t you talk to me?” Pilate demanded. “Don’t you realize that I have the power to release you or crucify you?” Then Jesus said, “You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above. So the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” (Joh 19:9-11 NLT)
Christ had the power to stop it, but He did not. The rejection of Christ was pre-ordained, and He obedient. He could have had His disciples fight, but rebuked Peter for trying.