It annoys me to no end when ever I read an author trying to pit Paul against Jesus. When they say I am a Gospel person and avoid Paul. Or I am Pauline and rarely read the narratives.
There can be no doubt that Paul was a Gospel person. In fact I will boldly state that his theology and writings were shaped by his knowledge of the Gospels, particularly that of Matthew and Luke. (Yes I give Matthew a priority over Mark – H.T Dave Black and well Luke was Paul’s travelling companion for many years and it’s a no brainer that Paul was influenced by Luke and Luke influenced by Paul.)
I have been reading through the beatitudes in Matthew and this morning started to read Romans, when I noticed there are great similarities between the opening chapter of Romans and the Beatitudes in Matthew.
In Mathew Jesus begins by teaching what sin is and how sin permeates through our hearts, minds and deeds. In Romans Paul echo’s the same, talking about how humanity has been filled with all kinds of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity.
But to prevent us from pointing the finger at each other, in the Beatitudes Jesus starts to conclude with his deep encouragement and warning to us not to judge others, but we are to love others and strive to ensure that we live a holy and good life.
In Romans after talking about the sinfulness of humanity, Paul drops a humdinger on the church Rom 2:1 You therefore have no excuse, for what ever point you judge the other, the are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things.
Finally Jesus concludes his teaching with the story of the wise and foolish men who built their houses on rock and sand – saying the ones who took heed of his words and acted on them were wise and their house withstood the storms, while the ones who heard and yet ignored were foolish and their houses crashed and burned. Paul repeats the same sentiment from Rom 2:12 to the end of the chapter and he concludes that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, but are justified freely by the redemption that comes through Christ Jesus.
No matter what you think of the critical appraisal of Paul and Jesus; don’t ever claim that Paul didn’t take the teachings of Jesus seriously – simply put Scripture doesn’t support your claims.