Friday, April 06, 2007

Jesus the Revolutionary

With Easter upon us it's time to remember one of the great revolutionaries of history. It amuses me how many Christians have little understanding of what Jesus was like in reality.

Supporter of the status quo? Not that dude. He had no connection to institutions and little truck with them. His followers for the most part were laborers and homeless guys. (The Gospels contain instructions for begging.)

Jesus knew how to be in-your-face. His entrance into Jerusalem on an ass was a provocation. As was his chasing money lenders out of the Temple. Jesus so little fit into his own time and place he was crucified.

Jesus detested rules and legalisms. He fought the narrow-minded thinking of the scribes and Pharisees of his day who believed life or God could be catalogued and quantified.

Many commentators have noted the cosmic significance of his encounter with Pontius Pilate. The man of truth, of anarchy, of future change met the bureaucratic legalistic servant of Empire. "What is truth?" Pilate asked like a postmodernist, having no understanding of the person he was sentencing. They lived at the same time but were separated by a gulf of ideas and upbringing.

"The son of man came eating and drinking." "--a winebibber and a sinner" he was called, who hung around disreputable sinners. I suspect if Jesus were alive today he'd not be living in posh towers of luxury but hanging with the anarchists in West Philly.

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