In ancient Rome, there were only two men in all of pre-Christiandom who were ever thought to be the “Son of God”, thought of as divine beings. One was the Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus (Julius Caesar’s adopted son, Octavian ), the other – to no ones surprise – was Jesus of Nazareth. Ideas regarding exaltation (of men to divine status) developed across centuries, through help from a miraculous thing called: belief. For Caesar Augustus, he became the “Son of God” after Julius Cesar bequeathed this status to him – an adopted son, at that. For Jesus of Nazareth, this title occurs through writings of what are now called The Synoptic Gospels. Synoptic, means similar, or synonymous. The Synoptic Gospels include Mark, Mathew, and Luke. (It is only in the book, The Gospel of John where Jesus becomes exalted to God-equivalent status, beyond being the Son of God). Jesus, himself, was also, interestingly an adopted son (Ehrman 233).
Jesus believed himself to be the prophesied Messiah, the King of the Jews. In Roman-ruled Palestine, only Caesar could appoint a king, only Caesar was divine, thus, Jesus was killed for his beliefs.
As a result of legend, and the lives of both of these men, we are living in a world that is exactly the result of our belief in them. Think back into history of all the wonderful things that have resulted from Jesus alone: The Reformation, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment Period, the United States itself, was pieced together via belief in God. The world – as we know it – would not exist, if not for belief.
Beliefs are powerful!
So, contemporarily, is there anything fantastic and great about what YOU believe in? Do you have beliefs that shake the world? If so, what are they?
I, for one, tend to be optimistic when it comes to the future, and hold the belief that working involves movement toward some betterment, however incremental, else why waste time ritualistically toiling away on something, if no belief supported the action? That would be very robot-like!
Personally, I don’t have any Earth-shattering beliefs, but I can list 5-beliefs that have never failed me.
1) I believe people are inherently
sensitive to others needs;
2) Everyone has different needs and
levels of needs, and their behaviors
are affected accordingly (e.g. a
hungry person is going to be
occupied by a search for food);
3) Self-love allows evolution of
love for others;
4) It pays to be teachable, period.
5) An education is worth your time, and
also of benefit to those around you.
You see!? There is absolutely not a single belief that I listed that can be viewed as Earth-changing as any of your beliefs in Jesus of Nazareth. In fact, if you believe in Jesus, you can very well lay claim to being ahead in the game.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but it’s in our contemporary world, drowning in all of our distractions and responsibilities, where we are susceptible to forgetting who we are – and sometimes, what we stand for. (Have you ever gotten unreasonably angry with someone only to realize something else was actually bothering you?) EXACTLY!
It will never hurt you to take a few minutes every few months to rediscover your core beliefs. From your self-rediscovery you will learn that, no matter what happens to you – negative or positive – how you carry yourself, your behavior, your response to adversity will alter your world. Your beliefs are Earth-changing.
(That’s my 6th belief!)
Start today… Write down 5-things that you believe in. Take a few minutes to Rediscover who you are. . .you’ll feel better reminding yourself of exactly those qualities that make you strong!
• Ehrman, Bart. HOW JESUS BECAME GOD. HarperOne. N.Y.: (2014)
• images: tinkering with public domain works