Why do we not have writings directly from Jesus?

(Jeremiah Schuler) #1

Why do we not have writings directly from Jesus?

(SeanO) #2

@jeremiahschuler We do, but they are not the kind of letters we might expect - Jesus chose the apostles to be His living letters, written not with ink on tablets or paper but on the heart of men by the Spirit of God. Jesus left us living letters - witnesses of His glory.

2 Corinthians 3:1-3 - Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, like some people, letters of recommendation to you or from you? 2 You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone. 3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

Acts 1:8 - But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

(Jimmy Sellers) #3

@SeanO was right on the money.
I would only add to that, that written letter must be read and must be taught but letters written on the hearts of men need only be observed and if obsevered than then need only to be emulated.

(Jeremiah Schuler) #4

I found this to be a very interesting perspective. Thanks!

(Jeremiah Schuler) #5

Here is what @mike.day said in response to my same question to him.

Hi Jeremiah,

Thanks for your question! I am not sure I have a complete answer on this one, so let me shoot from the hip and offer a few preliminary thoughts.

Firstly, when we consider the evidence it is very likely that Jesus was literate. Three passages in the Gospels suggest Jesus could read:
(1) In Luke’s Gospel, Jesus stood up to read from the scroll of Isaiah (Lk 4:16-20).
(2) In John’s Gospel, we are told Jesus bent down to ‘write’ something with his finger in the dust (Jn 8:6; though this may have been nothing more than doodling and so is inconclusive about his literacy).
(3) In John’s Gospel again, it is asked of Jesus: “How is it that this man has learning, when he has never studied?” (Jn 7:15). Craig A. Evans in his book Jesus and His World points out the importance here: “Literally, they have asked how he ‘knows letters’ (Gk grammata oiden ), ‘not having studied’ or ‘not having learned’” (p. 202).

Evans offers a conclusion: “Although there is no unambiguous evidence for the literacy of Jesus, there is considerable contextual and circumstantial evidence that suggests that in all probability he was literate” (p. 206).

The question then is: assuming Jesus was literate, why did he not write anything himself? Here we get into a bit of conjecture. It seems that Jesus had a very specific focus to his ministry - that of proclaiming and demonstrating the Kingdom of God. After a successful day of healings, Jesus removes himself from that situation to refocus on the core of his mission. He says to the crowds: “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose ” (Lk 4:43, bold mine). Perhaps this singular focus accounts for his lack of direct written testimony. Or perhaps the intention the whole time was for his apprentices to take up that responsibility at some point.

We are conjecturing a bit here, but the good news is that we have written evidence about the person and ministry of Jesus from credible, eyewitness sources (his disciples). This meant that while Jesus was getting on with his specific work of the kingdom, they were watching, listening, perhaps even recording what they witnessed.

I hope this helps to stir further thought, your question certainly has for me!

(SeanO) #6

@jeremiahschuler Sure thing - the Lord Jesus grant you wisdom as you seek His face. Good question!

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(Rose Amer) #7

Love your question but I dont have an answer that I can put in words here. I asked this question several years ago when I was not a Christian but understand it now after 24 years of my Christian walk. The only one direct writing from God that we know of, is the Tablet of 10 Commandment that God gave to Moses on Mount Sinai which of course he (Moses) broke and now lost forever. Anyways I believe God want us to use our freewill, our logic and reasoning to find answers for the questions & explore it for ourselves. Christianity to me is more like a living faith that shapes and reshapes with your understanding of who Jesus is and what He has done for you, for me personally. It is not a set of dos and donts. If we had his writing we would have changed everything into the law of Jesus Christ, which many Christians still do. In Islam Quran is considered a very sacred book and before you touch it you must do certain things/practices. If you rip a page or mistakenly write on it, it is considered a great sin. The book is an idol for Muslims. One of the commandments that God gave is not make an idol before Him. The book is not to be worshiped but the one who gave the book, whose words and deeds are written. It does not matter who wrote them, the only reason they were written down is for you and me to see Jesus and God’s plan. Jesus came to set us free not to put us in chains and bondage. I hope this makes sense.