Jonathan Merrit on his blog “Faith and Culture” wrote an article titled: “Setting the records straight on Jesus, the Friend of Sinners”. Lots of opinion, studies including from columnists, Bloggers have been done on the matter.
Although some of my Christian friends have already categorized me as confused, I want to, once again, challenge what Christians have been promoting about Jesus, and how they have avoided showing the world who Jesus really was.
If a member of the Christian church questions the way things are being held in the said church or a passage from the called Bible, this person will most likely be isolated because the status quo of any church will never acknowledge anyone who wants to highlight its wrong side. Doesn’t this characteristic seem familiar with what happened with the status quo of the Jewish leaders back in Jesus’s time?
The purpose of this lecture is to emphasize the reason why Jesus, the one the Christian church doesn’t talk about, is actually the one that really matters.
Who was Jesus? Why was he killed?
Let’s understand that many things that we are told about Jesus from the new testament, especially the 4 gospels, have the purpose of justifying the idea they wanted you to believe about Jesus. In other words, those things may have been exaggerated or fabricated. I am going to put them into context and try to seize the essence of the information they provided, taking into consideration other historical documents about what happened in Israel, 2000 years ago.
because I may refer to these writings doesn’t mean I am promoting everything they reported; among those things, we have stories such as his birth, his resurrection, etc.
John the Baptist was leading a movement, and Jesus took over when John was killed. Actually, that is what eventually occurred without interpretation. Jesus could be easily identified as a revolutionary man, who thought that Israel was suffering because the Jewish leaders weren’t complying with God’s will. They were hypocritical, judgmental, selfish, pretentious, and overall false people preaching one thing but doing the complete opposite. He was a dreamer of a better world and he wanted to show that it was possible if men could simply love each other, instead of preaching or pretending that religious beliefs could turn this world into a better place. Jesus, without denying his Jewish identity, stood up against the Jewish establishment as well as the Roman empire that was not working in favor of humanity, in favor of the poor, the women, the oppressed, etc.
If Jesus didn’t promote a religious way for this world to be a better place, why then, do Christians do so in his name?
Don’t you think that if Jesus was alive today, he would stand against the Christian churches, preaching one thing but doing the complete opposite? Why with so many Christians, there is no real love between men? Christians among themselves don’t even love each other.
The best part of Christianity is that Christian leaders and followers are most likely ready to die for saying that they believe in Jesus or for talking about Jesus than to simply be like Jesus.
It has been proven that whoever records occurring events they have been part of, are unable to take away their own way of thinking from their writings- meaning that they cannot distinguish the difference between their own thoughts, and their recounts of that gathering. We are going to dig deep into the thinking of those who wrote about Jesus and convey that somehow their writings are connected to their Jewish perception of reality.
First and foremost, supposedly, they were all Jews. Jews do have a traditional view of people: righteous vs. wicked, where the first are the ones observing/following God’s law, and the second are the ones violating it, also called sinners.
That is exactly the reason why we found many people called “sinners” throughout those writings; and while Jesus basically associated himself with “sinners” according to their view, they emphasize their writings on the sinners’ need to repent in order to receive grace through Jesus, whether to simply show that Jesus made no such distinction. Any bible scholar will have difficulty in proving otherwise.
Again, the actual/historical Jesus made no such distinction, instead, he was fighting against this type of distinction: Jesus’s main message was that all men are equal regardless of their status, beliefs, origin, race, gender, etc. However, those writers were not able to reproduce the full Jesus because they kept believing in such distinction; keep in mind, that when the Gospels state: “Jesus associated himself with the wicked, the sinners,” that was their own understanding. In fact, Jesus himself considered these people just as valuable as anyone else.
All the new testament writers were forced to report some of Jesus’s acts that are against their beliefs, but in the end, they twisted their conclusion to their original Jewish belief. By calling Jesus the “friends of sinners” the writers of the new testament found a way to twist Jesus’ work. But it is clear when we dig into the events, any simple observer would conclude that is not how Jesus saw these people they called sinners. The best way to understand my point is to look at Jesus’ actions as a human who simply cares for his brothers, not with the eyes of a Jew. We all know that the immediate disciples of Jesus after His death didn’t have the same perception of Him which was manifested through their writings. This is clear evidence of why there are multiple interpretations of the same writings that give us so many doctrinal views. However, the predominant view is that God loves us all, but we are all sinners and we need to repent in order to benefit from God’s grace through Jesus. The only fact here is that No one, not the disciples, nor the Vatican or the other denominations did or are doing what Jesus did. Am I wrong, bible scholars?
If any Christian leader talks about the woman caught in adultery, he/she would end up quoting Jesus saying to her: “Go and sin no more”; actually there is no proof that Jesus actually said that since all of them left, including those writing the event. How did they get what Jesus told this woman? Oh please, don’t come with the inspiration part. That was something that actually took place at a certain place and time with people witnessing and among them those who wrote the story. The only person that could report the story to the end is either Jesus or the woman. As we know, Jesus didn’t write, and we don’t know if this woman wrote the story or not, exactly because the early church leaders wouldn’t promote any female writing as normal.
If you ask the Christian church leaders what would Jesus do with gays, they will soon refer to some writings of Paul or others to show you that it is unacceptable, but if we go back and look at the Historical Jesus, we would clearly see a Jesus that embraces them like his brothers, eat with them and show them, love. He will not condemn them nor ask them to be different so that they may receive his grace. What matters to Jesus is the fact that we love each other with no set pre-concepts as it has been the case with the Jewish establishment.
Of course, the Jewish establishment would never accept someone of Jesus’ type who also pretends to be the way, the life, and the true saying that no one gets to the Father but through Him…Somehow, Jesus placed himself in a bad situation, according to the writers.
Nevertheless, let’s not focus on whether or not Jesus is the Messiah, in fact, according to a deep and accurate presentation of The Real Messiah part 1 and 2 by Dr. Michael Brown ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBSRiwy4T7k), the Messiah as it is announced to the Jews cannot be Jesus. Anyway, Judaism doesn’t promote Jesus at all. The Muslims don’t believe he is the Messiah either, nor do they believe he was resurrected. The only people who promote Jesus are the Christians but their focus is anything except on what Jesus really stood for. For example, they introduced the concept of eternal life only through Jesus when he comes back, the forgiveness of sin only through his blood.
I deeply believe if the focus was on what Jesus stood for and how to keep it up, the Christians who have decided to promote Jesus would have done a better job in this world, and the world would have been a better place.
Now let’s look at the reason why Jesus was killed.
Jesus’ revolutionary movement against the Jewish establishment forced them to go after Him. His rhetorical responses to each of their questions when they wanted to use scriptures and laws ashamed them as well. Obviously, Jesus was a martyr. In addition, there are other facts that without any doubt give Jesus the number one in this world: His birth divided the two historical periods of time, lots of miracles have taken place in his name. Anyone who truly puts his faith in Him and claims His name may see answers, deliverance, healing, etc. Anyway, this is not surprising since miracles take place in the name of many other historical figures. People who face persecution from other wicked spirits may find lots of blessings through Jesus. I personally have great references.
But again, if individually, few people can benefit from the spiritual claims of Jesus’ power, it is also true that the majority don’t.
The Christians who have had and continue to have the desire of being like Jesus, the majority of them, wouldn’t even try to become the friends of sinners, at the same time they are claiming to be followers of Jesus, I simply don’t get it.
If Jesus was killed because of his vision for humanity by religion, why did they create another religion on his name? The reason is simple, since the beginning, the same disciples didn’t want to understand Jesus’ vision, they would have to do what he was doing which they never wanted. So it was easier to use the name of Jesus to establish a new religion than to simply do what Jesus was doing such as becoming “friends of sinners”.
The fact that they called Jesus “a friend of sinners” is a sign that they don’t want to be like Him. They were the ones looking at it that way, Jesus was being normal with human beings as his equal, but in their eyes, there was a distinction, those human beings were sinners, not equal with them, not entitled to the same privileges. Now, after Jesus died, they are the ones representing Him, they are free to interpret Jesus’ actions their ways. They don’t want to be friends of sinners, they want the sinners to repent, to accept Jesus, etc…Keep in mind, bible scholars, throughout Jesus’reported actions, He was associating himself with sinners, (That is how the Jews usually call those who supposedly don’t behave as they should, according to the law of Moses) not asking sinners to repent nor to accept him. Anyone claiming to follow Jesus has no other choice than to do what Jesus was doing.
So Jesus was killed because He was a sinner according to the law of Moses, and one of the sins he committed was Blasphemy. He was claiming He was God or the Son of God, that is blasphemy and the sentence for this sin was death. The death of Jesus was legal, according to the law of Moses. Christians don’t want to say that because they built their religion on the death of Jesus as a sacrifice. What matters to Christians is the way they interpret the death of Jesus, not the work of Jesus, simply because they don’t want to be like Jesus, they don’t want to be “friends of sinners.” The message of Christians is that Sinners have to repent, but that has nothing to do with actually what Jesus was doing and what He stood for.
In other words, if Jesus was alive TODAY, surely he would stand against Christianity, the same way he stood against Judaism, he would call Christians leaders ” hypocrite” the same way he called the Jews leaders, preaching one thing but doing the exact opposite.
Surely, the Christian leaders would react the same way the Jews leaders reacted against Jesus, maybe the Christian leaders won’t kill Him the same way because there is no such law, but they would call him “false prophet” ‘Antichrist”.
For Example, Jesus would never wait for Obama to be president to facilitate equal sex marriage right. Jesus didn’t wait for the feminist liberation movement to have women with the same right as men, Jesus didn’t wait for the UN to declare that slavery was a crime against humanity to show that the real master should rather serve than wait to be served. Jesus made it clear that the only reason why we have poor people is because of rich people that somehow had stolen from others. The Christian church leaders stood against all these examples unless they were forced to accept some of them.
The Jesus they don’t talk about is the Jesus we should call ” friend of humans” based on everything he did and stood against. Jesus is the friend of anyone whom the right has been violated one way or another. Can we say the same for Christians? What role are Christians playing in the suffering, the misery of the people besides giving them “hope” when they are not the ones violating those rights?
As I said earlier, Jesus until his last breath was a Jew, although he stood up against Jewish oligarchy. I have been a Christian all my life, and I do identify myself as a disciple of the real Jesus, the one Christians don’t want to talk about. Although like Jesus as well as all other martyrs before or after him, I am not able to change this world, I am still promoting that it can be a better place if collectively we embrace this road. If Christian leaders want to do a better job, they simply have two things to do:
a) Change the focus when it comes to talking about Jesus. It really doesn’t matter to talk about his birth, his resurrection, his second coming, at the end of the day, he was killed for a reason. Also, the entire world would never unite around those beliefs. The focus on who he really was based only on his retold actions taken without any oriented interpretation, and what he stood against are the unique things that matter and can bring unity around the world.
b) If Christian leaders want to promote Jesus’s values, first they have to show the example by selling everything they have and distribute to the poor and then encourage everyone else to do the same. When we look at the assets of the Vatican along with other Christian denominations, it is obvious that they don’t want to be like Jesus. They need first to convert all these assets into help for the poor; they need to tell the richest people in this world that what they have doesn’t belong to them, no matter how they have gained them. They need to be a defensor and a protector for the oppressed, the abused, the orphans, the disabled, the weak, the unfortunate, the rejected, etc. They need to show respect to anyone’s right to be and then promote the same respect and tolerance.
If another world is to come, let’s make this one a better world first. The best life one can have is the one he/she has, it cannot be the one that he/she will have in a certain future. And Jesus didn’t stay at one place saying to people: ” Wait until I come back I will help you” Noooo, He helped everyone he could when he was on earth. We know Christian Leaders are wrong when they focus on when Jesus comes back instead of doing and promoting exactly what Jesus was doing. A real God should be a God of logic, this world becoming a better world for all makes more sense than to promoting and/or talking about another futuristic one.