678: JUST JESUS #18: His authentic words by Robert Funk

Just Jesus, No God!

“God’s domain (kingdom-ed.) was something to be celebrated because it embraces everyone – Jew, gentile, slave, free, male, female.  In God’s domain, circumcision, keeping kosher and sabbath observance are extraneous. The kingdom represents an unbrokered relationship to God: temple and priests are obsolete.

Jesus had nothing to say about himself, other than that he had no permanent address, no bed to sleep in, no respect on his home turf. He did not ask his disciples to convert the world and establish a church. He did not believe the world was going to end immediately. (He) did not even call on people to repent and he did not practice baptism. He may have eaten a last meal with the inner circle of his followers, but he  did not initiate what  we know as the eucharist. In short,very little of what we associate with traditional Christianity originated with him.

When Jesus talked about this wonderful place, God’s estate, he always talked about it in terms drawn from the everyday, the mundane world around him. His language, consequently, was concrete and specific. His images were drawn from the scene he and his neighbours experienced directly on ordinary days. Much to the surprise of the modern reader, he did not develop major themes on the basis of the Hebrew scriptures. He did not cite and interpret scripture. When he interpreted the law he tended to parody the legal process. He rarely spoke directly about the temple, the priests, and the sacred ceremonies. He did not recount the epic events of Israel’s past. He did not borrow concepts from the world of ideas. There are no theological statements, no philosophical generalisations among his formulations. He did not say things like

I believe in God the father almighty
God is love
Everyone has sinned and fallen short of the glory of God
I think, therefore  I am.

His sayings on anxiety and itinerancy suggest he took no thought for shelter – he had no place to sleep, unlike the foxes and birds. Without a permanent address and unemployed – so he was a vagabond sage. On teaching excursions he depends on handouts, like a common hobo. He doesn’t take a backpack, goes barefoot, and even refuses a staff for protection.

Jesus was a secular, subversive sage: irreverent, irreligious,  and impious. He was indifferent to the formal practice of religion, He is said to have profaned the temple,the sabbath, and breached the purity regulations of his own legacy.

Jesus is one of the great sages of history, and his insights should be taken seriously but tested by reference to other seers, ancient and modern.”



Funk, R. “Honest to Jesus. Jesus for a new millenium” Polebridge Press/HarperSanFrancisco (1996) pp 41, 149, 212, 302.


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