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Great Commission

In world history, there has never been any other religion, founded by any other individual who have had the level of impact that Jesus did and the formation of The Christian Church. With over two billion followers of Jesus, Christianity is also the largest religion in the world. With such an impact on world history, it should be analysed whether or not Jesus ever intended this to happen. Did he intend for nine crusades to be formed and unbelievers murdered during the middle Ages? Did Jesus expect or want wars to be fought in his name? We can be assured those were not his intention.

But a more puzzling question is: Did Jesus intend for a new world religion, a religion of more than two billion people, to be formed from his words and actions during the three years that he was on this earth preaching and teaching? Or was it more the works of Peter and Paul that helped to lay the foundation of The Christian Church and that it was their intention to do so? Peter and Paul made definite contributions to the church and are important figures in church history. Believing that Jesus intended for a new religion to be started, it would have to depend upon one’s own personal beliefs about Jesus.

Paul is an important figure in Christian History. The main reason for this is that he is the author of more books in The New Testament than any other person. Paul was Jewish and by his own account, one of the chief prosecutors of early Christians. But, as seen in Acts Ch. 9 v. 1-19, Paul sees Jesus in a vision asking why Paul has seen fit to persecute Christians and asks him to stop. With this, Paul goes from one of the biggest obstacles to Christians, to their biggest ally. “The period of twelve years (45-57) was the most active and fruitful of his life.

It comprises three great Apostolic expeditions of which Antioch was in each instance the starting-point and which invariably ended in a visit to Jerusalem. ” During Paul’s trips which stretched into European soil, he was preaching the second coming of Christ and the need for a new church. Paul did say that God showed no favoritism between Jew and Gentile but that individuals would have to confess their sins and accept Jesus and the son of God and their Lord and savior. This central theme of faith in Jesus is seen repeatedly in the books that Paul wrote in The New Testament.

It is the most important belief in the Christian religion and by way of Paul’s insistence in this, an ideology that differed greatly from the Jewish status quo, is proof that Paul intended and succeeded in helping to form a new church, a new religion and that his efforts in the long run, were successful. In the formation of the Christian church, Peter is an even more important figure than Paul. Not only was he one of Jesus’ original twelve disciples, but he was the rock that Jesus wanted his church to be built upon.

“You are Peter, and I can guarantee that on this rock I will build my church. And the gates of hell will not overpower it. ” Matthew 16:18 . This is proof that Jesus wanted Peter to go and preach his word and to make converts of the world. Peter was the first of the Catholic popes and even to this day, is the longest serving pope in Catholic History according to church tradition. It was Peter’s efforts during a very critical time in the history of the church that helped to set the foundation of the Christian church.

“During this time, church buildings were against Roman law and many Christians were crucified by the Roman authorities. The author of the Acts of the Apostles portrays Peter as an extremely important figure within the early Christian community, with Peter delivering a significant speech immediately after Pentecost. ” According to the same book, Peter took the lead in selecting a replacement for Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:15) . He was twice arraigned, with John, before the Sanhedrin and directly defied them (Acts 4:7-22, Acts 5:18-42.

The efforts of Peter and Paul in trying to spread the Gospel within their own Jewish homeland as well as in other parts of the world, is seen by historians as more a matter of historical fact that a matter of faith. And even what is referred to as “the historical Jesus” meaning the secular account of his life is seen as factual and not a matter for debate. What is a matter for debate is whether or not it was Jesus that took the central role and it was his full intention in, forming a new church, entirely different than his own Jewish upbringing.

To the degree that Jesus wanted to start a new church is a source of debate and will continue to be debated for years to come. The main source of this debate is one’s view of Jesus as either being an influential teacher or the Son of God and the only way that one goes to heaven. If one believes that Jesus was just a man, than there must have been no way that he could have looked into the future and known the extent of his teachings would have on the world. He did want a church to be built and instructed Peter to do this.

And in the Great Commission, Jesus instructs all believers of him to preach to the corners of the earth. “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” Mt. 28:18-20 . These Bible verses tend to help make the argument that it was Jesus’ intention to form a new church, even by a secular Jesus.

The role that Peter and Paul had in Christian history is essential in trying to understand the role that the early church had on its society was well as the future history of the church. Peter knew Jesus personally and according to the wishes of Jesus, was the rock that the church would be built upon. Paul’s importance in Christian history can be seen in the books of the New Testament which he authored and which had a great deal of influence upon the early church as well as contemporary Christianity.

In churches all across the world, every Sunday, somebody is reading what he wrote two thousand years after it was written. By that fact alone, the efforts of Paul preaching to all nations as seen in the Great Commission came to fruition. And Peter, having been the longest serving pope according to church tradition and his recorded reign exceeding twenty five years, his role in early Christian history is important as well. Even the historical Jesus was not completely oblivious to the influence that he had on people.

With his Great Commission and placing Peter as the rock of his church, a secular Jesus may have hoped that he would continue to be influential in world history after his death through the efforts chiefly made by Peter and Paul. If one believes that Jesus is the son of God, then it was his intention to start a new religion, a new church and a salvation for all who believe in his. Regardless, it does not diminish the efforts of Peter and Paul and their place of importance in Christian history.

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