Religion is a complicated and controversial turf to play on, admittedly. But as a Christian, I always worry that there is too much culturally subjective abuse of the interpretation of Scriptures, and consequently too much needless judgement of others. Because as far as the story goes, Jesus was a lot of things that, though we justify with glory today, was scandalous during his time. Let’s just draw on a few.
He was a revolutionary and a rebel against the social norms of the day. He taught stuff that were contrary to the laws that Moses had given them. Don’t forget it was consensus that Moses’ laws were from God. He even broke the law on Sabbath and did things that the law had instructed not to. He was disrespectful towards the leaders of the time; he called the King a “fox”, ridiculed the lawmakers and called them names such as “hypocrites” and “coffins”. He was a known friend of thieves and prostitutes, and was seen at parties with them. He physically assaulted some traders and destroyed their goods.
At a time when state and religion were one, Jesus claimed to be God, the son of God and ascribed to himself some hideous metaphors such as “living bread and wine”, encouraging his followers to drink his blood. Goodness! That was crazy stuff! The legend goes that Jesus was murdered by the state even though he was innocent. Well, as far as the times were concerned, he was not innocent! To claim to be God was equal to high treason. Because no “man” could be God, or so proclaim to be, in then Israel. I doubt you could get away with that even now. In a sense, Jesus was executed for an attempted coup d’état on God, who was regarded the spiritual king of the Jews. Of course, we Christians believe strongly differently!
Christians argue that the Jews did not accept Jesus, because they set their expectations of the promised Saviour wrongly, and interpreted the Scriptures and prophecies literally. Oh, you think? Yet, many Christians believe that Jesus will literally come from the skies “in his glory”, just like the Jews expected him to come from the royal family, not as a carpenter’s son!
Remember he came unto his own, but his own did not receive him? Exactly! If Jesus was among men today, most Christians would be the most zealous to denounce him, and possibly “murder” him all over again. In fact, if history is precedent enough, then I may drunkenly conclude that if Jesus was among us today, most Christians will never, ever, accept him. He was a Jew, yet the Jews did not, and still do not accept him as the promised saviour, even today! Of course, the Jews have their reasons for that! So what makes you think Christians would recognise and accept him, for what we claim he is, or expect he is, if he was among us today!
In my insignificant opinion, Jesus had a simple message: love all, judge none, and hate none! He aptly told us that love was the most significant feature of him. He underlined that his ministry is for those who were considered “sinners” by the then society. In essence, if Jesus was here today, he would reject you for the same people you scorn with your moral permutations. So who are you to judge! It doesn’t matter what the Bible says, Jesus said there is no law greater than love. That is why he was a rebel of his time. He over-rid the canonical laws of Moses with that of love.
What is God? God is love! What is love? Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.
Love never fails! Peace!