Episode 125 – Who’s the GOAT? Jesus vs. Caesar

The New Testament uses all kinds of words and phrases to describe Jesus and his kingdom. Savior. Son of God. Gospel. Forgiveness of sins. But these aren’t just poetic, flowery phrases. They’re actually concrete ideas everyone in Jesus’s world was familiar with. But not because of Jesus. They were familiar with those ideas because of Caesar. What the New Testament, and especially Paul’s writings, do is they show us two competing narratives: The gospel of Caesar in which peace is imposed by a sword, and the gospel of Jesus in which peace is offered through a cross. One is strong. The other is weak. One dominates. The other is gentle. Which narrative will you allow to order your world? By the end of this episode, you’re going to hear all those poetic, flowery titles for Jesus through a completely new lens.

Discussion Questions

  • What was your biggest takeaway from the teaching?
  • How do you feel about the fact that these ideas and titles were used by Caesar prior to the time of Jesus?
  • The gospel of Caesar and the gospel of Jesus are very different. Using your own words, describe how the way Caesar brings peace is different from the way Jesus brings peace?
  • What are some of the other “gospels” or “lords” that compete with the gospel of Jesus in our day and age?
  • If the gospel of Jesus is upside-down and peculiar when compared to the gospel of Caesar, in what ways is your life upside-down and peculiar when compared to the competing “gospels and lords” of our day?
  • How will you begin living out the truths of this teaching this week? 

For Further Study

10 COMMENTS

  1. Hello from Holland, MI
    Two questions:
    #1: Do you offer transcripts of the teaching series?
    #2: After the last series I began to wonder something. Is it possible that Jesus was not only a Rabbi but also a Pharisee? It would seem logical that He would be humanly able to say the things He did to them because He was one of them (in title) and possibly had the inside scoop on conversations and actions of the other Pharisee’s that may have taken place behind closed doors. Initially, this thought seemed heretical, but Im wondering if our Western minds may have a predetermined misconception which would automatically place all Pharisee’s in the same “boat”. Would the Pharisitical title possibly not be granted until after 30 years of age which would then change this line of thought? Just wondering if I am off base on this line of thought.

    FYI: Love the new backdrop set by the way

    • fact a Pharisee (as Paul was) and hence, many of his critiques of the Pharisees was that one on the inside. One of the things that we know about the Pharisees is that they critiqued themselves harder than those outside of Pharisaism did to them. So it would make sense for Jesus to be as harsh as he was with them if he was in fact an insider (i.e. a Pharisee himself). Obviously, we can’t know for certain, and others would content Jesus wasn’t a Pharisee, but there were different kinds of Pharisees – they weren’t all cut from the same cloth. There are even stories in the gospels of Pharisees seeking to help Jesus 🙂

  2. Beautifully said, Brad. “How did Jesus bring about His peace on the world? By dying on a cross… The symbol of Roman victory and might.”
    And that very symbol of Roman victory and might was unable to prevail over Jesus. Unable to keep Him in the grave… thus making a proclamation over the world!
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge through The Teaching Series.

  3. I am blown away…
    Not by the teaching (I’ve listened to the sermon at Discovery on Caesar and the “fullness of time”. ) but by the timing of it.
    I am going through a series at church called “and then I met Jesus”, looking at various people who have had encounters with Jesus and how it affected them.
    For this Sunday, I was being drawn to the Centurion at the cross who stated, “truly this is the Son of God”.
    The difficulty at 1st was that is all the information we have. After some prayer it dawned on me that “this is not the son of God” that he would have originally known. Caesar would have been.
    So now I need background on that. Then on Tuesday, I get blown away as some of the background needed comes to me in the way of a reminder of a new teaching at Walking the Text.
    God is great and I appreciate the teaching, now I just need to find the sources.
    God is doing great things through Walking the Text, and the message is getting out.

    • I am blown away by God’s timing as well, Chris. And the centurion in Mark is a seminal character in the flow of the book. When Mark opens his gospel the way he does in Mark 1:1, it’s a preface to the fact he’s now going to prove that Jesus is in fact the son of God, and not Caesar. And the first person to state that Jesus was in fact the son of God is a Roman centurion whose allegiance is to Caesar, and only Caesar is to be proclaimed a son of God. When the centurion says that in Mark, it’s a 1st century mic drop!

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