Christianity in the Apostolic Age

By George T. Purves | Go to book overview

II
THE ORIGIN OF CHRISTIANITY

7. CHRISTIANITY originated in the appearance among the Jews of Jesus Christ, and specifically from the belief in his Messiahship created by the events of his career, his teaching, and his unique personality. It did not, however, become an independent movement until shortly after its Founder's death. The gospels show that the immediate object of Jesus during his life was twofold. On the one hand, he offered himself to the Jews as one who had come from God to establish the kingdom of heaven, inveighed against current Judaism as a false interpretation of God's commands, and summoned the people to accept him as the revealer of the true religious life. On the other hand, foreseeing from the start their rejection of him (see John ii. 19; iii. 11, 14, 19; Luke iv. 24-27; Matt. viii. 10-12; xii. 39, 41; Luke xi. 49-51; Matt. ix. 15; John vi. 51-56; Matt. xvi. 21-23, etc.), he addressed himself to the task of attaching to himself and his teaching a nucleus who should carry on, after his death, the establishment of the kingdom. But he did not organize them into a separate society, save by the appointment of the twelve apostles. These he constituted his personal representatives and the official heads of the new Israel ( Matt. x. 40; Mark iii. 14, 15; Matt. xvii. 19; xviii. 18; xix. 28, cf. Mark x.

-9-

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