The Kingdom of God Movement

The "Q" Gospel, which we discussed above, gives us insight into the earliest periods of Christianity.

Most of the place names mentioned are in Galilee and so it is thought to have come from that area.

Aside from ascribing most of the sayings to Jesus, there is very little about Jesus in the "Q" Gospel.

There is little narrative of the events of his life and nothing about his death and resurrection.

It contains the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, the Lord's Prayer and some of the Parables.

The target audience is clearly the "poor".

"How happy are you who are poor: yours is the kingdom of God." Luke 6:20

Notice that all you have to do is be poor to belong.

It is a simple, clear and practical religion.

"But I say to you who are listening: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you... pray for those who treat you badly." Luke 6:27

"Treat others as you would like them to treat you." Luke 6:31

The Lord's Prayer

One thing that has struck me about the Lord's Prayer is how Jewish it is.

While I don't think many Jews say the Lord's Prayer, there is very little in it specific to Christianity or offensive to Jews.

It is not a prayer to Jesus, but to God, the Father.

It praises the Father, asks for sustenance and forgiveness promising to forgive others and asking for protection from evil.

Perhaps the most Christian element is "your kingdom come;" Luke 11:2 Which refers to the Kingdom of God on earth.


So, what are we to think about this.

It is likely the Kingdom of God Movement predated Jesus, as he joined it by being baptized by John the Baptist.

It seems likely that many of its teaching were bundled together and attributed to Jesus after the fact.

Doing this would enhance Jesus as a great teacher as well as give more weight to the teachings themselves.

We often think that Jesus released us from the strict observance of the Old Testament Law, but it is more likely this movement never bothered with it.

The Kingdom of God movement seems to be a reaction to the strict Pharisee teaching.

Return to "Origins of Christianity"

(c) 2004 Thomas F. Swezey All rights reserved.