Did Jesus Die For Your Sins?
As with anything anyone writes, this is my personal opinion based on the research I have collected. Having been a Christian and then deconstructed my faith by historical analysis, one of the surprising conclusions I’ve come to is that Jesus’ original friends and followers did not believe that Jesus died for their sins. Except for Peter, who was eventually swayed by Paul’s claims.
This article is to explain why I (as well as many others) think that.
The Jesus Movement that James Led
James was the brother of Jesus, and one of the three leaders of the Jerusalem church along with Peter and John — the heart of the early Jesus movement.
It seems that the Jerusalem church believed that Jesus was the messiah, and although he had been killed, he had been resurrected before ‘the great resurrection of all souls’ while the rest of the dead still ‘slept’.
Jesus was now waiting in heaven with God, to help God bring his kingdom to Jerusalem, and they must follow his teachings… And that was it. The rest of their teaching ran closely with devout Judaism, with a focus on what Jesus had taught while he was alive: they must keep the law according to its truest and purest understanding, being purer than the corrupt Pharisees. Absolute Torah-keeping, because God was about to break out of heaven to rescue them from the Romans, and would judge them by their deeds.
Paul’s New Claims: Christianity
Paul was a Pharisee from Tarsus (a very diverse and cosmopolitan city), who a decade or so later, claimed to have had spiritual revelations from Jesus, where Jesus told him that he should lead everyone in the true message of Jesus. Paul switched from controlling Jesus’ followers by persecution to wanting to control the cult with a new mission (preach to Gentiles) and new theology.
Part of that new theology was that Jesus died for the forgiveness of people’s sins and that no one needs to follow the Jewish laws anymore. There are strong indications that this ran contrary to what the pre-existing Jerusalem church taught, and that gospel attempts to say otherwise, are propaganda.