Jesus to Constantine essay
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The events leading to the significant transformation of the common nature of Christianity and its earlier fundamentals according to Jesus and later Constantine are of importance in understanding biblical transformations. As Jesus took pains to mould his disciples to conform into the beliefs and practices of Christianity, he met and changed many other people’s lives apart from merely influencing the growing patterns of Christianity as seen in the early church. One of the most significant interactions Jesus had was that one with Constantine. This is because this led to the transformation of Christianity fundamentals based on personal and egotistic sentiments, which Constantine sought to pursue with an aim of impacting upon Jerusalem in a great way. Constantine therefore forms a focal point during which Christianity underwent changes in the structure of the church, establishment of an implied belief system, and the setting in of the Constantine era in church’s formal jurisdiction.
Jesus’ Premier Meeting with Constantine
The events leading to the first meeting of Jesus with Constantine were essentially witnessed in an episode in which Jesus was trying to promote his ‘fish the human’ concept to his followers. In this particular event, Constantine strives to learn albeit with significant difficulty, which essentially serves to indicate and reflect a different aspect of doctrines that Constantine conforms to. This event essentially reveals itself according to the following account of events: “As can be seen in upper Galilee hills, Jesus was showing Constantine how to fish barehanded, “No! No! Centurion. Like this. Jesus was showing Constantine how to fish barehanded but with little success. The man was thick-fingered and obviously ill-schooled in the art of survival in the wilderness, at least as far as Jesus concerned. Suddenly Jesus flipped a good-sized brook trout out of the stream and well up onto the bank. See! Like that” he exclaimed with more than just a hint of self-congratulation in his voice. Constantine grunted, “So you wish to make a fisherman out of me” He covered his face with both hands and shook his head slightly. It was a long fall from centurion to a..a fisherman!” (Stuart 2009, 159).
Constantine’s Change Manifested
This event leads to the Centurion developing a growing interest and significant curiosity in the overall idea being passed to him. This is potentially because of the fact that he makes a discovery that indeed the aspect of ‘fishing’ was not merely superficially implied and therefore prods Jesus to expound further on its content. This can be seen in: “No Centurion...I wish to feed you...Tell me more about this God of yours,” said Constantine showing curiosity. Curiosity is a fine trait thought Jesus; it shows intelligence and the insight necessary to see through the clutter of the times” (Stuart 2009, 159-160). In an effort to please Jesus and show an interest in this new aspect of fishing the Centurion strives to emulate the acts of Jesus demonstrations but he appears to be making a meaningless effort in essence. This leads to Constantine’s snorting although he could no faults could be pointed at him for the degree and effort he strived in trying to scoop the fish out of the stream using his hand, which elementally elevates his success as a fisherman to a stubborn zero (Stuart 2009, 160). The change and interest to adopt these new doctrines is manifested when Constantine makes an effort, which finally leads to his successful catching of the fish, and this shows the change progressively setting in as he does not express any signs of giving up in any way. “Constantine scowled back at Jesus who quickly turned away and pretended not to notice his friend’s frustration. He made a silent vow that he was going to catch this turtle through the stream. Huge plumes of spraying water sparkled beautifully in the sunlight and offered a fine counterbalance to the grunts and curses, Jesus thought...Finally, Constantine caught a good grip on the turtle’s shell and hung for dear life” (Stuart 2009, 162).
The Turning Point of Constantine: Shifting Loyalty
Constantine eventually appears to be giving in to the teachings of Jesus, which is a positive sign that primarily leads to the neglecting of his initial mission commissioned upon him by the rulers of the land. His actions when he hears Herod’s men coming fundamentally shows his immediate development of an affection of Jesus after which he threatens to eliminate them from existence in order to save himself and Jesus from the rulers. This can be seen in: “They are the men I was commanding. Herod’s men on loan from Rome. They are dangerous. They cannot return to home without...As Constantine paused, Jesus filled out the thought for him. “...without my head...that’s it, isn’t it?” Constantine nodded slightly without replying. (Stuart 2009, 166). This shows the manner in which Constantine all of a sudden recognizes the opposite nature in his mission and also serves to show his shifting of loyalty from his powerful earthly rulers, to the utmost source of power for mankind, in this case referring to the deity, God represented by Jesus his son. This is further seen in: “I will have to kill them all. They will hunt us forever if I don’t,” announced Constantine” (Stuart 2009, 167).
The Confession: Constantine’s Loyalty Declaration
Constantine therefore proceeds to affirm his belief in the doctrines of the scriptures as promoted by Jesus’ teachings. Constantine therefore declines from supporting the soldiers sent by Herod and instead chooses to support Jesus by prospectively adopting a protective notion of Jesus. This can be seen in: “These men are as dumb as donkeys. They only understand the sword. However, I will talk to them. I will talk to them. I will concoct some tale or other. But I tell you this, boy Jesus; I fell that I have been sent to protect you from the savage men. If these men down below do not listen to me or do not believe me, I warn you that I will put them to the sword where they stand” (Stuart 2009, 167).
Distinction between Christianity and Paganism
In an effort to analyze the development of Christianity as more powerful force than the previous forces expressed in paganism, it appears that Jesus ensured that no distinction was fundamentally made in welcoming all parties to the scene. In addition, there is an element of Christianity promoting an aspect of co-existence among different individuals and their significant similarities in the practices, which can be attributed to having been adopted from Judaism. This can be seen in: “The rabbis at Yavneh had no desire to exclude anyone, let alone the Christians. Still, through three centuries, from the time of Jesus to Constantine, Christianity was unlike all pagan religions, for it more closely resembled Judaism” (Gruber 2006, 24).
The Ultimate Transformation of Constantine
Despite the fact that Constantine develops an increasing popularity regarding his involvement with scriptures and Christianity it still appears that there is a part of him still sharing the previous beliefs, which he fundamentally entrusted his faith. This is seen in: “Constantine was still wavering between Christianity and idolatry when a luminous cross appeared to him in the heavens, bearing the inscription, “in this sign shall thou conquer.” He became a Christian, and triumphed over his enemies, who were at the same time the enemies of the Faith” (Butler 2008, 288). Constantine’s becoming of a Christian elementally via the transfiguration of the cross’s image serve to make him adopt the notion of being the next messiah.
The Discovery of the Cross
The discovery of the cross leads to the development of a feast signifying the final crucifixion and elevation to heaven of Jesus. The existence of the cross therefore becomes primarily a major concern due to the ties it had with the onset of Christianity at that level. This can be seen in: “A few years later, his saintly mother having found the cross on which Our Savior suffered, the feast of the ‘Exaltation’ was established in the church; but it was only at a later period still, namely, after Emperor Heraclius had achieved three great and wondrous victories of Chosroes, King of Persia, who had possessed himself of the holy and precious relic, that this festival took a more general extension and was invested with a higher character of solemnity” (Butler 2008, 288).
Constantine’s Religious Perspectives
Constantine tended to explore the utilization of certain forms of signs to represent other forms of the deity that were initially non-existent following the established trends in society. This can be seen in: “To Constantine, the insignia of Mars must have seemed like the most invincible of all signs, supreme over all gods because it was involved in the utter destruction of Jerusalem, the home of the God of Zion. In other words, because the Roman army, using the emblem of Mars himself had utterly destroyed the house of God of the Jews, Mars, must be the greatest of all gods and his sign” (Gibbs 2003, 177).
Constantine Changes Jesus’ Doctrines
Constantine potentially chose to strengthen his ideals and further strengthen development of Jesus’ doctrines and perceptions. “The question of the deity of Christ was completely irrelevant to the earlier Jewish Christians. The important question for the Hebrews was how to do the will of God and so avoid breaking the covenant. The manner of who Jesus was had long been settled. He was the son of God of the line of David, and therefore the rightful heir to the covenant promises, the messiah. Constantine overturned those things that had been settled, by acting like and being acclaimed as the new incarnation of Christ, and as God’s commander in chief (Gibbs 2003, 174)
Constantine was of course defied after his death, with no apparent protest from the church he had ‘restored’. Even his alleged ‘conversion’ he was referred to as divine, immortal and related to the gods” (Gibbs 2003, 174)
In addition, these changes manifested themselves in the different forms of dressing, and expression. This lead to the adoption of pagan related practices in the process of signifying his personal goals. Yet from the time of Constantine, church was the major focus of Christianity, its central pivot. More so, the entire structure of Constantine’s church, the bishops (vicars), diocese, and synods were an invention of the pagan emperor Diocletian using the traditional college of pagan priests of the Senate. This strange church structure was the focal point of the Christianity from the time of Constantine- yet church is a word which has no precedent in the bible, and there is no bible teaching on the nature of church (Gibbs 2003, 174).
Constantine’s Concept of the Cross
In a bid to develop a different meaning on the cross’s inscription Constantine developed a different element of the cross that would potentially lead to the creation of confusion to the common believer and hence the recurring concept. This can be seen in: “This means he saw Jesus and the God of Zion as utterly vanquished by the gods of Rome. His XVPX was an insult to what we think of as Christianity, the faith of Jesus. It was only much later, that the ‘cross’ of Constantine had somehow to be made to fit the concept of Jesus. Having ‘adopted’ the Christian faith, and thereby gaining full control of it. Rome was obliged to use the Christian texts, which of course mentioned Jesus. People would question what has XPI or XVPX to do with Jesus? XPI coincidentally spells the first three letter of the word Christ-XPI in Greek and this became the official explanation” (Gibbs 2003, 177).
Constantine Disowning Jesus
It reached a time when Constantine wanted to distant himself from his close association with Jesus in a bid to cement his superiority over other associations known to the common person. “However, this is not convincing considering that Constantine himself never mentioned Jesus, and even after his victory and supposed conversion to Christianity, established himself as the incarnation of Apollo and ‘Savior of the Human Race’ in his victory statue” (Gibbs 2003, 178). The further adoptions of this potentially confusing signs aimed at distancing his achievement from Jesus and cement the notion that he was indeed superior. “If there was any link between the XPI of Constantine and Christ, it was in honor of Constantine, who seems to have thought that he fulfilled all prophecy of Rome and of the God of the Jews. The Christ implied was Constantine himself, not Jesus. Besides, the word ‘Christ is simply the English translation of the Greek word for anointed’. There is little significance in the word itself (Gibbs 2003, 178).
The Church According to Constantine
Constantine’s personal aim to introduce a new element and perspective into the overall ideology regarding the emancipation of religion led to introduction of significant changes into the operational framework church during this time “The style of Constantine’s church was based not only on the theology of Jesus or Paul, but on the conversion experience of Constantine himself. Whereas the bible is quite explicit on the cause and purpose of repentance, righteousness, justice, and entering into a covenant with God to live according to his will, Constantine was ‘converted’ for purely selfish motives. He used god simply as a benefactor to help him defeat his enemies and enhance his own wealth and power” (Gibbs 2003, 183). Therefore by introducing these aspects, his major aim was to scrape off the era of Jesus as having influential in the overall idea regarding the element of him being the savior.
Constantine fundamentally changed the initially concept of the church through the
Significant introduction structural changes into the mannerisms, and operations of the church at that time. For instance, “Conversion was merely a belief about god and a willingness to include him among one’s allies. For almost 1600 years, the same mediocre means of salvation was adopted by the church. It was merely necessary to confess a belief in Jesus to be saved and to be a member of the flock. Constantine’s church transformed the gospel from one of action where we are to as God commands to a gospel of mere belief” (Gibbs 2003, 183)
Contrary to Constantine’s fundamentals the Gospel according to Jesus promoted a different set of beliefs which were essentially aimed at building the normal human’s interaction with society, people, and its elements. This can be seen in:”...Jesus in stark contrast is quite explicit about who may be called his people. Not those who confess his name ‘Lord. Lord’ will be counted among the sheep, but those who live as he lived. Those who give a drink to the thirsty. Those who visit the prisoners, feed the hungry, who care for the sick and the stranger, Mat 25: 31-46” (Gibbs 2003, 184). In addition to this Constantine’s church tended to accommodate different characters in due disregard of the establishment of reconciliation. “Another great difference between the church of Constantine and the community of Christ was that Christ invited sinners to repent and be reconciled to God. Constantine’s church was not so particular and welcomed sinners and pagans alike. Instead of repenting, now they had to do was confessing a belief in the deity, as Constantine had done” (Gibbs 2003, 184)
The changes which Constantine essentially introduced into the general aspect regarding the ideologies of the scripture as promoted by Jesus can be seen in various instances. The fact that Constantine sought to exploit the centrality with which his followers going by the changes administered contrary to the initial concepts further serve to show his mission to use it for his own good. Constantine therefore forms a focal point during which Christianity underwent changes in the structure of the church, establishment of an implied belief system, and the setting in of the Constantine era in church’s formal jurisdiction.