Recently, I read an account of an interview with author, Bruce Feiler, in which he claimed that Moses and not Jesus was the most influential figure in American history. In justifying this assessment, Feiler noted that the themes of opposing oppression and leading to a promised land, key topics in the story of Moses, are much more dominant in our history than Jesus’ lessons on the establishment of God’s kingdom and the associated virtues of love, humility, and benevolence.
Feiler’s contention about Moses versus Jesus resonated with me because, as I have noted before, John 1:17 calls our attention to the marked contrast which should exist in our minds to the difference between these two Bible characters and there respective lessons for mankind. The concepts of law keeping and the associated requirement to judge, condemn, and punish were the outgrowth of Moses’ ministry to
I have concluded myself, that much that passes for Christian in our religious society is really much more the product of Moses than of Jesus. The manner, in which the Church wants to use Old Testament passages indiscriminately in support of their theology, simply reinforces the impression that Moses is at least as important as Jesus. The counter-intuitive aspects of Jesus, which openly challenge the Old Testament concept, are largely ignored by the Church while Old Testament concepts like the tithe are conveniently embraced.
If Jesus was just Moses reincarnated, then what we call Christianity is nothing new at all. That, however, is not the reason Jesus came. His was a new, drastically different message. If not, why did He come at all? The Church can continue to follow Moses from now till the third coming of Jesus and the result will be the same, just what we have experienced to date, a failure to impact the world with real Good News.