Friday, April 19, 2019


Born to raise hell
     Born into the working class, Christ’s story has been one shrouded in mystery and intrigue. From the very beginning, Jesus’ life was recorded by writers as divine: A virgin birth; declared “King of the Jews”; the Savior of mankind. It was clearly not a royal birth, having taken place in an out building of an inn in Bethlehem. And immediately, the Roman government was worried about this birth.
The gospel’s give us the only accounts of Christ’s birth, life, and death. The first book was surprisingly not Matthew, but was Mark. * (123) Mark was written some 35-70 years after the death of Jesus, by an anonymous writer. * (67) The writer was more than likely sitting in Rome, using stories that had been transmitted by oral tradition. There were no firsthand accounts of Jesus life. Josephus, a prominent historian of the time, mentioned an apocalyptic preacher who was roaming the countryside at the time, but there were numerous preachers doing so. It remains unclear who he was referring to. No one was there, standing next to the writers, telling them what they saw. They relied on orally transmitted stories.
The facts surrounding Jesus life has been argued for the last 2000 years, and will no doubt be argued the next 2000. For me, it is not the facts that are as important as the story. The story highlights what Christians should be striving for: Revolutionaries for the poor, mistreated, sick, and forsaken.
(to be continued)

·        Introducing the New Testament.” Achtemeier, Green, Thompson. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001

     Mary and Joseph left Nazareth to be counted by the census being taken by Rome in Bethlehem. They arrived to find that the Inn they had planned on staying in was full. The innkeeper, seeing that Mary was pregnant and about to have a child, allowed them to stay in an out-building, which has been described as a stable. He supplied them with blankets and linens to make their stay as comfortable as possible.
     Herod hired the three wise men to see what was going on with the birth. The baby was being described as “King of the Jews.” The word King upset him. They were basically hired as spies for the King. When the shepherd’s arrived, they were overcome with joy and thanksgiving. Rather than report back to the King in Rome, they fled to the country-side, never to be heard of again.
     In apparent response to the wise men not providing a report, Herod decreed that all first born male children were to be killed. However, there is no historic evidence to suggest this was ever carried out. Something that dramatic would definitely have caught the attention of historians.
     At his same time, another miraculous birth had taken place. Elizabeth, wife of Zackerius, was a cousin of Mary. It is reported that they actually spent about 2 together while they were pregnant. Writers of the gospels described Mary's pregnancy as an “immaculate conception,” and Elizabeth’s a “miraculous conception.” Elizabeth’s child was named John. He would come to be known as John the Baptizer, (Baptist), who would eventually baptize Jesus.
     Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus left Bethlehem and fled to Egypt. They would eventually return to Nazareth. From that time until Jesus was approximately thirty-three, there is little information available.

     It is widely believed that Jesus was a Zealot, one of the Jewish sects of Jesus’ time. The Zealots were advocating revolution against the Roman government. Christ intentionally broke many of the Jewish customs and Roman laws. It seemed clear he was not happy with the Jewish hierarchy or the Roman government. At his death, he was found guilty of sedition. Hanging on the cross was reserved for the worst of the worst. Always in public, primarily for humiliation. On the sigh hanging above his head: "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews."The persons hanging to his right and left were thought to be Zealots.Bandits. Fellow revolutionaries.

     Christmas and Easter are important times in the Christian faith. For me, Christ’s apocalyptic message represented a new beginning, perhaps in your life/faith. Regardless of our understanding, he clearly started something of a revolution. It would become known as Christianity.
·        “Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth,” Reza Aslan.

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