Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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Thank you, Laura Parra. Thank you for your incredible friendship and for believing in this book.
In this work, you will see ideas, concepts, and philosophies from my other works. I reserve the right to plagiarize my own material. Some impressions are worth repeating.
For your knowledge, I am using the Living Bible Paraphrased and also the King James one. If you are more comfortable with the King James version, please feel free to replace the same passages with that Bible. It’ll stand the test of truth.
In composing this work I tried to connect the dots in a logical way, within the gospels and Jesus’ obvious teachings—without over-reaching as sometimes certain people seem do to push their own agendas.
Thank you for joining me on this voyage. The journey to try to understand in detail the amazing Jesus.
“Keep your eyes on Jesus, our teacher instructor. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy he knew would be his afterwards; and now he sits in the place of honor by the throne of God. If you want to keep from becoming fainthearted and weary, think about his patience as sinful men did such terrible things to him.” (Hebrews 12:2-3)
Well, I heard of you a long time ago,
A Jesus supposed to be for all
And even though I’m not exactly religious,
No set dogma or boxed-in bias,
Even I, a traveler on this problematic earth,
Can still see the need to search
For your incandescent spiritual truth.
But, I have to admit I’m perplexed,
I just don’t understand
So much horror being done in your name.
In the past—hatred, the crusades, the inquisition, genocide and so forth.
In the present—hatred, divisiveness, judgement, genocide and so on.
Is this what your life meant to bring us?
Is this what you wanted for us?
So, forgive me for being a bit confused,
Especially after you preached about:
Mercy, humility, and love
“Cast the first stone if you haven’t sinned,”
“Love thy neighbor as thyself,”
“Treat others as you would have them treat you.”
How about your insistence on healing the sick?
So, where did the meaning of your love become confused?
Where have we taken the cruel path of self-righteous superiority?
But, Jesus, upon reading the gospels in full,
And not in bits and pieces along with other biblical passages
That we cherry pick and manipulate the meaning of,
It’s not you, who confused us,
Not you at all
It’s clear as unpolluted rainwater,
It’s us!—we confused ourselves.
“For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well.” (John 1:17)
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
You must be looking down upon us and agonizing. You didn’t teach us to hate on one another. You were on earth in the flesh and you taught us so very much. Did we learn anything?
Our self-awareness is sorely and tragically lacking.
Unfortunately, we compartmentalize events in history, putting them in little boxes that we don’t actually relate with our humanity like what happened to you. BUT your story is the story of humanity. One we absolutely should examine closely and learn from so that we stop repeating the same mistakes over and over again.
Sorry that we’ve often made you into a sorry Jesus instead of pleading a profound and deeply felt I’m sorry to you.
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
“and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him up in a blanket and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.” (Luke 2:7)
Apparently, so many of us haven’t learned what you taught us from the very, very beginning of your life on earth. When you came into this world you had it extraordinarily difficult right from the start. You were born in a humble place. Not in an opulent palace with never-ending servants. Not in kingly robes of costly material demanding attention. Not with a gold crown adorning your head, proclaiming your superiority.
That lesson should’ve taught us about materialism, shouldn’t it have?
Yet, we worship wealth. We may not want to admit to it or even face up to it but we’re impressed by things—costly stuff that’s supposed to tell us who others are or tell others who we are. What a silly game with stuff!
Stuff that’s supposed to validate us.
Validate us—as if God didn’t already validate us by choosing us to be here.
That’s supposed to shove our importance in front of others. An appearance of importance and not real importance like you taught us.
It can only present a veneer that suffocates our very souls.
Doesn’t your humble birth and life prove our worth is not based on such veneers
“‘The thorny ground represents the hearts of people who listen to the Good News and receive it, but all too quickly the attractions of this world and the delights of wealth, and the search for success and lure of nice things come in and crowd out God’s message from their hearts, so that no crop is produced.’” (Mark 4:18-19)
“After they were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up and flee to Egypt with the baby and his mother,’ the angel said, ‘and stay there until I tell you to return, for King Herod is going to try to kill the child.’” (Matthew 2:13)
What is it about us and power struggles? There was one so palpable from the time you were born. Didn’t you, in the arms of your family, have to flee to Egypt? Herod, the king of Judea, feared you. This puppet king of Rome ordered a massacre of infants. Insecure of his power, he wanted to stomp your light of hope out.
So, powerful people don’t give up power easily. Many of them will do anything, anything, to keep it.
Including killing you
Killing your message
Killing the truth of your words.
Those words becoming twisted, distorted, and unrecognizable from your actual teachings.
Opposite messages for an opposite Jesus. An anti-Jesus.
‘“A tree is identified by its fruit. A tree from a select variety produces good product; poor varieties don’t. You brood of snakes! How could evil man like you speak what is good and right? For a man’s heart determines his speech. A good man’s speech reveals the rich treasures within him. An evil-hearted man is filled with venom, and his speech reveals it.’” (Matthew 12:33-35)
“Three days later they finally discovered him. He was in the Temple, sitting among the teachers of Law, discussing deep questions with them and amazing everyone with his understanding and answers.” (Luke 2:46-47)
Why is it so difficult for us to take a page from your book? As you grew up you had a special ability to comprehend the Scriptures. Many of us understand things through the filters of our insecurities and fears. It’s easy to twist the words in the Bible and to find obscure passages out of context to make us assuage our insecurities. This is how distortions and illusions arise.
But you have always seemed to be able to understand God’s grace without the filter of fear.
You studied, read, and learned, didn’t you? You became informed. Opened your mind. Ate up knowledge so that no one could later twist your mind with pretzels of lies. Twist passages. Twist meanings. Twist ideas.
You became INFORMED which you would later absolutely need with the way religious and other types of leaders would try to trick you. Destroy you.
A child drinking up knowledge.
When you grew up, you became a carpenter. You built things. Made things instead of destroy them. How important was building versus destruction to you?
“When Jesus had finished giving these illustrations, he returned to his home town, Nazareth in Galilee, and taught there in the synagogue and astonished everyone with his wisdom and his miracles.” (Matthew 13:53-54)
“Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan River to be baptized there by John. John didn’t want to do it.
‘This isn’t proper,’ he said. ‘I am the one who needs to be baptized by you.’
But Jesus said, ‘Please do it, for I must do all that is right.’ So then John baptized him.” (Matthew 3:13-15)
Why do we confuse arrogance, roars, and bragging with confidence? With ability? With strength?
Just before starting your ministry you went to John the Baptist, your cousin who was preparing your way. You could’ve pounded your chest and roared, “Hey, I’m Jesus! The Jesus you’ve all been waiting for! I’m here!—bend your heads in worship.”
Instead, you got baptized. You kept your humility intact instead of going all gladiator, all alpha male, all king of the jungle.
You said you must do all that’s right. No parsing of words there. No twist and turns to your message. Just clarity.
Apparently doing all that’s right includes being true to your humble words.
‘“The more lowly your service to others, the greater you are. To be the greatest, be a servant. But those who think themselves great shall be disappointed and humbled; and those who humble themselves shall be exalted.’” (Matthew 23:11-12)
‘“Get out of here, Satan,’ Jesus told him. ‘The Scriptures say, ‘Worship only the Lord God. Obey only him.’” (Matthew 4:10)
How is it that you taught us about evil but we still don’t seem to have a clue about it? The far reaches of it? The intricate web of trickery and seductiveness? After the baptism, you spent forty days and nights in the spiritual solitude of the desert. You already knew what was to come and you must have been preparing yourself for the whole intense ordeal.
Evil reared its very ugly head with a three-way temptation. First, he told you to turn stones into food. But even when you were starving you told him that, “Man could not live by bread alone.” Second, he wanted you to throw yourself from a pinnacle of the Temple so that angels would disrupt your fall. You refused to put God through a foolish test. Third, he stated that if you’d worship him, he’d give you all the kingdoms of the world. You’d have none of that because you’d only worship God.
So, what were you saying?
That the spiritual is a necessity as much as any other need—food included. Next, don’t test the goodness of God for a power trip. God’s power is for enrichment and not for our obsession for supremacy. Lastly, only worship God—not stuff, not status, not wealth, not anything else. Be careful of not worshipping people with these things either. This type of worship—turning off the thinking process in order to adore, revere, or venerate without critical contemplation because the object of the worship represents what we think we want or what we’re told we want.
Along with this lesson about adulation, it seemed obvious you also found the kingdoms of earth unimportant. These earthly kingdoms that human beings fight for, die for, manipulate for, and obsess over.
Did you mean to tell us that even in all their glory, they couldn’t compare to a spiritual journey?
Where are our values?
‘“Woe upon the world for all its evils. Temptation to do wrong is inevitable, but woe to the man who does the tempting. So if your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. Better to enter heaven crippled than to be in hell with both of your hands and feet.”’ (Matthew 18:7-8)
“The Pharisees were indignant. ‘Why does your teacher associate with men like that?’
‘Because people who are well don’t need a doctor! It’s the sick people who do!’ was Jesus’ reply.” (Matthew 9:11-12)
What is it that we don’t apprehend about the way you chose your disciples? You didn’t choose perfect individuals with no flaws as there are no such human beings—you didn’t even pick perfectly religious persons. Why did you choose such different kinds of people to be your disciples?—of diverse backgrounds?
Were you teaching us about the tyranny of the sameness?—where ‘absolute power corrupts absolutely.’ Absolute power of the sameness that stunts and stagnates our growth as human beings. We are supposed to learn from one another, aren’t we?
Didn’t you call upon Matthew—a tax collector, a profession reviled by many? You dined with Matthew and other tax-collectors. The Pharisees, a deeply religious sect, were absolutely scandalized that you would keep such company.
But you came to heal us from so many mind games of hatred, superiority, and viciousness, right?
In fact, didn’t you tell your disciples to be careful with the evil out there?
‘“I am sending you out as sheep among wolves. Be as wary as serpents and harmless as doves.’”( Matthew 10:16)
The Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-12):
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.”
“Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.”
“Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”
Did we completely misunderstand the Sermon on the Mount? All that talk about the meek, the merciful, the ones who mourn, the pure at heart, the peacemakers, the ones striving for justice. Maybe you were speaking in some sort of code? Maybe what you really meant was that only certain people had to follow these instructions—others were free to do the opposite like hating, judging, and persecuting. Like being unmerciful, arrogant, and hypocritical. Like shutting their minds with superiority thinking that doesn’t bother to see a complete picture because of one-dimensional myopic sight due to blinders that prevent us from looking at all sides except our own. Or like being killing, WAR-riors for you—just like you instructed your disciples to be. Oops! That’s right—you didn’t give them such instructions to be gladiators for you. In fact, you would give them instructions to preach the good news, cast out evil spirits, raise the dead, and heal the sick.
Taking into account your teachings, it’s very important to empathize with others to get to your core, your heart, isn’t it? Your teachings can be summarized in the Golden rule.
‘“Do for others what you want them to do for you. This is the teaching of the laws of Moses in a nutshell.’” (Matthew 7:12)
‘“Don’t criticize, and then you won’t be criticized. For others will treat you as you treat them. And why worry about a speck in the eye of a brother when you have a board in your own.’”(Matthew 7:1-3)
What was your ministry actually about? Was it about harsh, cutting judgement for the sinners? Was it about who was superior enough to be your followers? Doesn’t seem like it.
Didn’t you travel with your ministry preaching against religious hypocrisy like superficial prayer and doing things for self-righteous sake? Hypocrisy—focusing on someone else’s issues while completely ignoring or excusing your own. This seemed a big deal to you.
How can we have empathy for others if we can’t get beyond our own hypocrisy?
“You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophecy of you, ‘These people say they honor me, but their hearts are far away. Their worship is worthless, for they teach their man-made laws instead of those from God.’”(Matthew 15:7-9)
“And what pity he felt for the crowds that came, because their problems were so great and they didn’t know what to do or where to go for help. They were like sheep without a shepherd.” (Matthew 9:36)
What is it that we don’t appreciate about the intricacies of empathy and compassion?
Didn’t you perform miracles in your grand empathy and compassion for human beings?
Didn’t you raise people from the dead, cast out bad spirits, turn water into wine, and even walk on water?
Didn’t you feed many people with a few loaves and fish?
How important was it for you that individuals share with one another? You didn’t materialize food from the air. You got the fish and loaves from the crowd and blessed the food. Then you parted the nourishment and amazingly there was enough for everyone and there were even leftovers. It never occurred to you to charge for the food, didn’t? Make money off of it.
Didn’t you heal the sick again and again? Maybe you should’ve charged money for your healings instead of doing that socialistic act.
Didn’t you once cure a man who was blind from birth? Your disciples asked you if whether the sin lay in the man or his parents that he had been born with that illness. Often human beings have a jerk reaction—playing the blame game. Self-righteous judgmental shadow thoughts. Whose fault is it? Fault—it often excuses us from helping one another. Didn’t you make it crystal clear that the man’s blindness wasn’t a punishment from God? You seemed trying to get your disciples off that earthly mindset of revenge, self-righteous criticism, and blame and onto godly love for His children—for His human family.
If your eye is pure, there will be sunshine in your soul. But if your eye is clouded with evil thoughts and desires, you are in deep spiritual darkness. And oh, how deep that darkness can be!” (Matthew 6:22-23)
‘“Wear my yoke—for it fits perfectly—and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls; for I give you only light burdens.’”(Matthew 11:29-30)
Why is your example so very difficult for us to grasp? Your love? Your warnings?
Didn’t you teach from the heart?
Didn’t you teach with simple parables and ideas, so you would be understood better? Didn’t you replace an “eye for an eye” with “turn the other cheek?”
Didn’t you explain faith?
“… For if you had faith even as small as a tiny mustard seed you could say to this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would go far away. Nothing would be impossible.’” (Matthew 17:20)
“Then he added, ‘Now go away and learn the meaning of this verse of Scripture, ‘It isn’t your sacrifices and your gifts I want—I want you to be merciful. For I have come to urge sinners, not the self-righteous, back to God.’” (Matthew 9:13)
How is it that we cling to certain ideas and behaviors so violently?
You were being questioned by the Pharisees. You demanded—learn the meaning. Learn. Unfortunately, a person can’t learn with a locked mind. “It isn’t your sacrifices I want.” Sacrifices and gifts—often the self-righteous way of claiming superiority.
“I want you to be merciful.” Imagine, mercy being way above sacrifices and gifts. Mercy—compassion, empathy, sympathy. Acting humane.
“For I have come to urge sinners, not the self-righteous, back to God.” Apparently, the self-righteous already think they’re with God. That they’re right. Think the sinners aren’t worthy of God. No mercy. But you thought differently.
Yet your disciples, like most of us, sometimes had problems letting go of certain superiority thought processes. Your disciples asked you which of them would be greatest in heaven? You responded:
‘“… Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child, is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.’” (Matthew 18:3-4)
“Then Jesus said to the Pharisees and teachers of the law, ‘I have a question for you. Is it right to do good on the Sabbath day, or to do harm? To save a life, or to destroy it.’” (Luke 6:9)
Don’t the powerful often do terrible things to keep their power? During the growth of your ministry, powerful people were becoming nervous of you. Your unorthodox ways didn’t gel with them. For example, when you healed a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath you were deeply criticized.
The different types of leaders felt threatened by you. Was it because you broke the rules when necessary that the leadership couldn’t tolerate you? You threatened the divide between Romans and Jews. The Jewish citizens were under Roman control.
To many Romans you were a troublemaker—an instigator who could cause your followers to revolt against the Roman Empire.
During this time, John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded. This of course distressed you. You went off in solitude, but the crowds followed you.
At a certain point, you told your disciples not to tell anyone you were the Messiah. You spoke about the horrible events that would eventually occur to you. Peter shot off that that tragedy would not happen to you and you reprimanded him. You made it clear that you had to keep your thoughts straight because minds could be influenced and manipulated by evil—even through well-intentioned individuals.
“Jesus turned on Peter and said, ‘Get away from me, you Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are merely thinking from a human point of view, and not from God’s.’” (Matthew 16:23)
“They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, ‘All right, hurl the stones at her until she dies. But only he who never sinned may throw the first!’” (John 8:7)
Why can’t we seem to learn the lessons of what you were trying to teach religious leaders and the Pharisees? We compartmentalize those people and don’t see how we have Modern-day Pharisees of different cultures and backgrounds. We have certain religious leaders of every religion making the very same errors you were trying to uncover then. Anti-Semitism is based on not realizing the lessons you were trying to teach us about ALL of us. ALL.
Didn’t you keep preaching forgiveness as you saved a woman accused of adultery from being stoned to death? In order to trick you, Jewish leaders and Pharisees brought an adulterous woman to you to test what you’d say since Mosaic Law called for to kill her.
It’s a not a coincidence that the Pharisees chose an adulterous woman. Adultery—a tremendous sin in their eyes. Especially from a woman. They didn’t bring the male involved, did they? In their self-righteousness they judged her and condemned her to death. No empathy at all. None.
They believed she deserved no mercy. But you believed differently—that all people are flawed and need to balance their mistakes with humility. That God’s rules were not for a gotcha mentality but to help human beings navigate through life and to get along.
“But the Sabbath was made to benefit man, and not man to benefit the Sabbath.”(Mark 2:27
“Jesus went into the Temple, drove out the merchants, and knocked over the money-changers’ tables and the stalls of those selling doves. ‘The Scriptures say my Temple is a place of prayer,’ he declared, ‘but you have turned it into a den of thieves.’” (Matthew 21:12-13)
How many times did you have to put a stop to the greed, self-righteousness, and misguidedness done in God’s name?
When you arrived in Jerusalem for the feast of Tabernacles, you were cheered. Then you were furious when you saw what was happening at the Temple, so you took action and knocked over the tables.
The Temple was no longer a place to connect with God, but a way for the powerful to make wealth and excuse their greed. Excuse it!
“When he returned to the Temple and was teaching, the chief priests and other Jewish leaders came up to him and demanded to know by whose authority he had thrown out the merchants the day before.” (Matthew 21:23)
“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘It is almost impossible for a rich man to get into the Kingdom of heaven. I say it again—it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God!’
This remark confounded the disciples. ‘Then who in the world can be saved?’ they asked.
Jesus looked at them intently and said, ‘Humanly speaking, no one. But with God, everything is possible.”’(Matthew 19:23-26)
Didn’t you make it exceedingly clear what you thought of the corrupting powers of wealth? Yet, we still worship it knowing full well we’re not supposed to venerate money. Judge others by it. Not recognize what’s deep inside of us.
If you declared that it’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, you were handing us a huge warning—a very important one.
Money means power. Power can excuse evil. Excuse horrible acts. Excuse greed. Excuse hatred. Excuse manipulation. Excuse an evil shepherd misguiding the sheep for more power. More ravenousness. More money. More, more, more.
That’s why we have that critical saying, “Follow the money.”
Your disciples were as brainwashed as anyone else there (as we are today). They were perplexed that a rich person had a slim chance of getting into heaven. They just couldn’t fathom that important individuals like the moneyed were in this position with God—not important, not validated, not admired, and not automatically deserving of heaven.
Not powerful to God.
“You cannot serve two masters: God and money. For you will hate one and love the other, or else the other way around.” (Matthew 6:24)
“Then the Pharisees met together to try to think of some way to trap Jesus into saying something for which they could arrest him.” (Matthew 22:15)
Why can’t we see what is so clearly in front of us? Why do we get so myopic in our clinging to power? To our self-preservation? To superiority thinking?
Your adversaries plotted against you. Many of your enemies were people in power, and they conspired your destruction.
Weren’t the Pharisees desperate to do away with you but frightened that the multitudes accepted you as a prophet?
Wasn’t the point you made about them not about their precise religion or ethnicity but their failure to want to understand?
Don’t we have the same failures today with people of diverse groups and religions?
Didn’t you accomplish such feats as breaking barriers by interrelating with Samaritans and Gentiles?
“But Jesus saw what they were after. ‘You hypocrites!’ he exclaimed. ‘Who are you trying to fool with your trick questions?’” (Matthew 22:18)
“Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second most important is similar: ‘Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself.’” (Matthew 22:37-39)
How important it was love to you? After trying to trick you with more questions, a lawyer asked what was the most important commandment in the Laws of Moses. It’s no coincidence that love is centered in both Commandments, is it? Not judgment. Not hatred. Not gotcha.
‘“All the other commandments and all the demands of the prophets stem from these two laws and are fulfilled if you obey them. Keep only these and you will find that you are obeying all the others.’” (Matthew 22:40)
“‘You Samaritan! Foreigner! Devil!’ the Jewish leaders snarled. ‘Didn’t we say all along you were processed by a demon?’”(John 8:48)
The Pharisees and religious leadership certainly demonized you—called you a foreigner. An other. That way they’d have an excuse in their minds to do the worst to you.
We still do that nowadays. In our obsession with the sameness we often treat one another very badly and don’t have the integrity to call it what it is—bias, bigotry, hate. Instead we double down on the tyranny of the sameness and insist we’re following God’s plan.
Were the Pharisees and leadership following God’s plan when they were lying, tricking, and demonizing you? Turning the tables and calling you the liar? Projecting who they were onto you?
“The Pharisees replied, ‘You are boasting—and lying!”’ (John 8:13)
‘You pass judgment on me without knowing the facts…’” (John 8:15)
Facts seem of such little value to some people—then as well as now. Ideology being more important to them. So they make up their own facts as the powerful did to get rid of you.
Did they tell themselves they were doing right by God? Did they ever, even for a single moment, question their own corruption?
Corrupting God’s message?
But you and God are truth, right? TRUTH. Not fake truthettes.
‘“I could condemn you for much and teach you much, but I won’t, for I say only what I am told by the one who sent me; and he is Truth.’ But they still didn’t understand that he was talking to them about God.’” (John 8:26-27)
“…Jesus said to them, ‘You are truly my disciples if you live as I tell you to, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’” (John 8:31-32)
Why if the truth shall set us free, do we so often insist on believing truthettes, downright lies, fake ideas?
Why do we allow ourselves to be manipulated for power games? Why do we insist on believing what we want to believe instead of scratching out the truth?
Are our egos so fragile?
Obsession with self-preservation?
Prefer being right in our wrong than fixing a wrong into right?
Heavy superiority thinking?
How do we get to the point of not wanting to open our eyes to the truth—to knowing the difference between truth and lies?
‘“Why can’t you understand what I am saying? It is because you are prevented from doing so! For you are the children of your father the devil and you love to do the evil things he does. He was a murderer from the beginning and a hater of truth—there is not an iota of truth in him. When he lies, it is perfectly normal; for he is the father of liars. And so when I tell the truth, you just naturally don’t believe it!’” (John 8:43-45)
“Then Jesus said to him, ‘You Pharisees wash the outside, but inside you are still dirty—full of greed and wickedness! Fools! Didn’t God make the inside as well as the outside? Purity is best demonstrated by generosity.’” (Luke 11:39-41)
Why can’t we decipher where we go so very wrong? You were patient with the sinners but not with the religious leadership.
You let them have it with a woe-to-you litany:
“Woe to you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders. Hypocrites! For you won’t let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and won’t go in yourselves. And you pretend to be holy, with all your long, public prayers in the streets, while you are evicting widows from their homes. Hypocrites! Yes, woe upon you hypocrites. For you go to all lengths to make one convert, and then turn him into twice the son of hell you are yourselves.” (Matthew 23:13-15)
“Blind guides! Woe upon you! For your rule is that to swear ‘By God’s temple’ means nothing—you can break that oath, but to swear ‘By the gold in the Temple’ is binding! Blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the Temple that sacrifices the gold? And you say that to take an oath ‘By the altar’ can be broken, but to swear ‘By the gifts on the altar’ is binding! Blind! For which is greater, the gift on the altar, or the altar itself that sanctifies the gift? When you swear ‘By the altar’ you are swearing by it and everything on it, and when you swear ‘By the Temple’ you are swearing by it, and by God who lives in it. And when you swear ‘By heavens’ you are swearing by the Throne of God and by God himself.” (Matthew 23:16-22)
“Yes, woe upon you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders—hypocrites! For you tithe down to the last mint leaf in your garden, but ignore the important things—justice and mercy and faith. Yes, you should tithe, but you shouldn’t leave the more important things undone. Blind guides! You strain out a gnat and swallow a camel.” (Matthew 23:23-24)
“Woe to you*,] Pharisees and you religious leaders—hypocrites! You are so careful to polish the outside of the cup, but the inside is foul with extortion and greed. Blind Pharisees! First cleanse the inside of the cup, and then the whole cup will be clean.” ([[*Matthew 23:25-26])
Woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders! You are like beautiful mausoleums— full of dead men’s bones, and of foulness and corruption. You try to look like saintly men, but underneath those pious robes of yours are hearts besmirched with every sort of hypocrisy and sin. (Matthew 23:27-28)
“Yes, woe to you, Pharisees, and you religious leaders—hypocrites! For you build monuments to the prophets killed by your fathers and lay flowers on the graves of the godly men they destroyed, and say, ‘We certainly would never have acted as our fathers did.’ In saying that, you are accusing yourselves of being the sons of wicked men. And you are following in their steps, filling up the full measure of their evil. Snakes! Sons of vipers! How shall you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23: 29-33
“Then Jesus said to the crowds, and to his disciples, ‘You would think these Jewish leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws! And of course you should obey their every whim! It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don’t follow their example. For they don’t do what they tell you to do. They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don’t even try to keep.’” (Matthew 23:1-4)
Unfortunately, there are times certain people who purport to be God’s most faithful go so very wrong. You called Pharisees and the religious leadership hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, and vipers. You released your full fury and frustration at them. Why? Why weren’t you as patient with them as you were with others?
Was it because they were supposed to lead the sheep to God but were protecting their own power instead? They were acting holy while evicting widows from their homes. They self-righteously followed the rules and ignored what was most important—justice, mercy, and faith. They took care of their appearances but didn’t care for their souls. Full of extortion, greed, hypocrisy, and evil. Those who thought their morals were high were actually morally bankrupt.
‘“But woe to you Pharisees! For though you are careful to tithe even the smallest part of your income, you completely forget about justice and the love of God. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave these other things undone.’” (Luke 11:42)
Hypocrites, blind guides, blindfolds, vipers.
Hypocrites—they said one thing and did another—excusing their own behavior but condemning others. Blind guides—guiding without truth. Indeed, they were so blind they couldn’t tell the difference between lies and truths. Blind fools—fools for rejecting God’s truth of love and mercy in return for Evil’s agenda of power and manipulation. Vipers—Evil seducing the masses. Lying to them but insisting it’s got the truth since evil often disguises itself as goodness. Fakes it. FAKE. Then calls goodness fake.
The leadership was trying to be saved by acts but the Bible says we’re not saved by deeds—not by merely following the rules, dotting-every-i and crossing-every-t. Yet, Jesus said a tree is known by its fruit. So, is what we do important because of what is in our heart?—instead of being important to self-righteously proclaim superiority?
And they busily plotted against you. Your enemies.
As the Pharisees kept testing you, didn’t you continue warning your disciples to beware of their mistaken teachings?
“Not all who sound religious are really godly people. They may refer to me as ‘Lord’, but still won’t get to heaven. For the decisive question is whether they obey my Father in heaven. At the Judgment many will tell me, ‘Lord, Lord, we told others about you and used your name to cast out demons and to do many other great miracles.’ But I will reply, ‘You have never been mine. Go away, for your deeds are evil.’” (Matthew 7:21-23)
“Then if anyone tells you, ‘The Messiah has arrived at such and such a place, or has appeared here or there,’ don’t believe it. For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles, so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones will be deceived. See, I have warned you.” (Matthew 24:23-25)
We often heed so little to your warnings. Or if we do pay attention to them, many of us twist your warnings to what we think/want of their truth.
Didn’t you teach about false prophets who would distort your message of love into one of judgment, hatred for other people, lies masked by the insistence of being truth, superiority thinking, and overall damage. You warned us about the future, and we paid so little attention. We failed to see the entirety of it. Only seeing an us versus them application.
False prophets? Turn a blind eye at their un-Christ-like behavior. They are following the rules. Rules above mercy. Superiority for who follows those rules.
Hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, and vipers—your words, Jesus.
False Christs will arise trying to fool people into thinking they are you. Power games. You said you won’t come back in the flesh. Why come back and be crucified again?
You predicted persecution. Who is going to persecute whom? What excuse will be used to do it? Will you be used as an excuse for it? Hate for Jesus? Is it happening already?
Persecution. We do that well, unfortunately. Persecute one another. We excuse doing it for you or God.
It’s a persecution that overextends and grabs at others—us versus them? The tyranny of the sameness. You know so much about persecution, don’t you? Persecuted by the ruling Romans who were certain of their own superiority (superiority thinking) to the others and also persecuted by those absolutely certain in their wrongness that they were doing the work of God—even lying, manipulating truth, and distorting the honesty of God. Misinformation for the masses.
Yes, all this certainness.
Certain of their right to persecute.
Certain that the ends justified the means. That the us had the self-righteous certainty to persecute the them. The certainty that the persecution of God’s children was rubber-stamped and mandated by a capricious parent/creator only interested in pitting His creation against one another.
“For there will be persecution such as the world has never before seen in all its history, and will never see again.” (Matthew 24:21)
‘“I will send you prophets, and wise men, and inspired writers, and you will kill some by crucifixion, and rip open the backs of others with whips in your synagogues, and hound them from city to city, so that you won’t become guilty of all the blood of murdered godly men from righteous Abel to Zechariah, son of Barachiah, slain by you and the Temple between the altar and the sanctuary.’” (Matthew 23:34-36)
We can’t seem to care about ourselves or our earth.
You prophesied earth-shattering events. Wars with nations and kingdoms arising against one another. Famine. Earthquakes. Tragedies. But won’t those horrors be of our own making? Destabilizing our world through leaders we pick or don’t stand up to? What about earthquakes and such? The destabilization of our environment?—like tornadoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and the like having to do with our dear earth.
Could it be you were actually giving us a hint about climate change? There are those who will fight this notion tooth and nail. But the connection of the dots may go this way:
God gave us authority over Earth—some believe absolute domination but because of Jesus’ non-alpha-male character, it sounds like we should be caretakers of the planet. Protectors of it. Guardians of our home.
Yet, we are destroying it with our own free-will. Denying what we’re doing doesn’t change what’s happening—destabilizing the environment. The only home we have.
The apocalypse. Your return in the sky.
So, Jesus, if we have free-will can we avoid the apocalypse by following your teachings? You said you didn’t know the time of the end—only God knew. You, with your prophetic abilities, didn’t know.
Can it be because the time is up to us? We actually decide our own destruction— with our own free-will? With the protection of the environment in our own hands? With the building of more bridges than bombs in our own hands? With smarts of deep thoughts and critical thinking and reasoning on how to handle enemies and difficult situations in our own hands?
If all of us are on the same boat—a teensy, tiny planet called Earth, shouldn’t all of us be trying to plug the hole instead of using superiority thinking to separate us? Wasn’t working together your way?—“Love thy neighbor as thyself.”
But it all lies in our free-will, doesn’t it? Our fate. Our glory or our destruction. Time to stop blaming God for what’s clearly in our hands.
Up to us.
“Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words remain forever. But no one knows the date and hour when the end will be—not even the angels. No, nor even God’s son. Only the father knows.” (Matthew 24:35-36)
“He [Jesus] replied, ‘It is the one I served first. For I must die just as was prophesied, but woe to the man by whom I am betrayed. Far better for that one if he had never been born.’”(Matthew 26: 23-24)
There seems so little that we reason about your loving kindness and explosive harshness. Who and what were they directed towards? Why?
During the Last Supper, you shocked your disciples by telling them that one of them would betray you. Each disciple wondered if it would be him.
Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve apostles, had gone to the chief priests and sold you out for thirty silver coins. Money. No one can serve two masters, money and God, right?
Judas left the room, having been identified as the one who would betray you. Even though Judas betraying you was fate, he still didn’t get a free pass. You said it would’ve been better if he was never born. He sold you out for currency. How many of most do the same? Sell out your teachings of mercy, humility, and love? Betray you with excuses that are really about the gluttony of greed and power.
You parted the unleavened meal after blessing it and gave it to your disciples, declaring it was your body. Then you took a cup of wine, gave gratitude for it, and shared it. Gratitude and sharing—good lesson.
When the meal had been finished, you washed the astonished disciples’ feet? When Peter objected to it, you gave him another important lesson on caring for one another.
‘“And since I, the Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example to follow: do as I have done to you.’” (John 13:14-15)
‘“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Tonight you will all desert me. For it is written in the Scriptures that God will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.’” (Matthew 26:31)
It must have been such an agonizing burden to know what was going to happen to you. The betrayals. The lies. The horror.
When Peter insisted he would follow you even to death, you told him that before the cock crowed he would deny you three times.
You wanted to make certain your disciples knew the mountains before them. The struggles with those who would think they were doing God’s service.
Those certain in their right.
Those right in their wrong.
‘“I have told you these things so that you won’t be staggered [by all that lies ahead.] For you will be excommunicated from synagogues, and indeed the time is coming when those who kill you will think they are doing God a service.’” (John 16:1-2)
“Then he returned to the three disciples and found them asleep. ‘Peter,’ he called, ‘couldn’t you even stay awake with me one hour? Keep alert and pray. Otherwise temptation will overpower you. For the spirit indeed is willing, but how weak the body is!’” (Matthew 26:40-41)
Indeed, how weak over flesh is! We are slaves to our desires, certainties, and most of all our fears. Fear of the truth of diversity—shattering the lie of the sameness. Fear of not self-preserving. Fear of not surviving. Fear of being a loser.
Fear of not being validated. You had no such fear of not being validated.
At the Garden of Gethsemane, you took Peter, James, and John further ahead while leaving the rest of the disciples. You prayed after having asked your disciples to keep watch.
You prayed with such intense turmoil that you broke into a sweat of blood. Unfortunately you found your disciples asleep several times.
Indeed, many of us may be asleep now to the evil before us. The evil of unrecognized bigotry, hatred, and superiority. The evil of Modern-day Pharisees of every background and culture—placing rules and regulations above the human family. Judgment and self-righteousness above mercy and love. Lies above truth—not telling the difference between them.
A mob sent by the Jewish leaders arrived to arrest you, and Judas kissed you to signal who you were. As they proceeded towards you to seize you, Peter severed the ear of the high priest’s own servant. But you told him to put up the sword that, “…for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.’” (Matthew 26:52)
Then you healed the servant’s ear. So, isn’t it obvious how you felt about alpha male fierceness? Peace over violence? Reasoning over knee-jerk reactions?
Isn’t it obvious the kind of human being you were? Not cunning or conniving but clear in your intentions. Clear in your meetings. Clear. Not twisting speech, mincing words, or muddying lessons. No misdirection. No kinda truths. No factoid pretzels. Just clarity. Where do people become confused by you?
“Then Jesus addressed the chief priests and captains of the Temple guards and the religious leaders who headed the mob. ‘Am I a robber,’ he asked, ‘that you have come armed with swords and clubs to get me? Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there every day. But this is your moment—the time when Satan’s power reigns supreme.’” (Luke 22:52-53)
“Then they spat in his face and struck him and some slapped him, saying, ‘Prophecy to us, you Messiah! Who struck you that time?’” (Matthew 26:67-68)
So much that’s false permeates the world. False. False. False. We don’t seem to really know the meaning of the word as we often deem false what we don’t like. What we don’t want to face about ourselves. What we refuse to change. Make truth false and false the truth so we don’t have to change our minds.
Yep, Modern-day Pharisees.
Taken before a court of priests and other religious authorities in the middle of the night, they looked to charge you and condemn you to death. You were questioned, and false witnesses, who contradicted each other in many ways, were produced.
During this time, you were horribly abused.
Then later, at a more complete meeting of the Council, you were questioned further and then convicted. However your death sentence could only be carried out by the Romans and you were sent in chains to Pilate, the Roman governor.
Pilate was very concerned with the maintenance of law and order since there had been numerous riots and bloodshed in the city. When questioning you, he couldn’t find fault in you, but the priests insisted urgently that Jesus was a troublemaker—inciting people to riot. Pilate made the decision that because you were a Galilean, you fell under King Herod’s jurisdiction. But after the questioning and battering with Herod, you were sent back to Pilate.
Notably, you didn’t answer during some of the accusations flung at you. On certain occasions, you stayed quiet when being questioned. Why? Did you think it was useless to try to reason with a locked mind? A myopic viewpoint that doesn’t want to bother to look beyond the hypocrisy of its own interests.
Pilate, fatigued with the situation, offered the mob that had gathered a choice. Either free Jesus or let go a criminal. It was a tradition that during the Passover, the Romans would free a prisoner at the selection of the people.
“Meanwhile the chief priests and Jewish officials persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas’ release, and for Jesus’ death.”(Matthew 27:20)
‘“Then what shall I do with Jesus, your Messiah?’ Pilate asked.
And they shouted, ‘Crucify him!’
‘Why?’ Pilot demanded. ‘What has he done wrong?’ But they kept shouting, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’” (Matthew 27:22-23)
Tricks, lies, distortions—why can’t we see them for what they are? How do we become so brainwashed that we can’t see the truth before us? That we can’t tell truths from lies because lies permeate our comfort zone of the tyranny of the sameness and superiority thinking that we can’t accept the truth. We become so obstinate in the delusion of what we think should be the truth.
When you were presented to the people, they would choose the notorious prisoner, the infamous bandit named Barabbas, with much blood on his hands, to go free. They were persuaded by the powerful to do so.
Persuaded. How did they do this? Did they lie? Misinform? Distort the truth? Call the truth lies and lies the truth? Spread propaganda?
Did they feel absolutely certain that they were doing right by God? Get rid of you by any means necessary. Did they tell themselves they were doing the right thing for God? Did they believe their own lies? That they were the godly ones because they followed all the rules and regulations. In their minds—you, on the other hand, broke some of them and babied the sinner instead of cracking God’s whip—putting concrete order to the disorder. This would threaten their superiority thinking. Threaten their power. Threaten their sense of self.
The frenzied mob, made rabid by leaders only interested in keeping their own power and not the people’s, believed in the delusion of should-be-the-truth. Jesus should be the true bandit, so therefore it was the TRUTH. They forced the manipulated opinion to be the truth in their own minds.
They were so convinced of their righteousness that when Pilate said, “‘… I am innocent of the blood of this good man. The responsibility is yours!’ And the mob yelled back, ‘His blood be on us and on our children!’” (Matthew 27:24-25)
Barabbas was released while you were whipped. The Roman soldiers tormented and mocked you, calling you, “King of the Jews.” They crammed a crown of long thorns on your head, placed a stick in your right hand as a scepter, and jeered as they bowed before you. Then they spat on you and beat you on the head with the stick.
While you had been tried, Peter denied you three times, as you said he would. Judas witnessed what happened to you and regretted his betrayal. Then, at the Temple, he threw down the thirty pieces of silver he had received for his treason and cried out his treachery of an innocent man. He ended up hanging himself, not being able to live with what he had done.
Betrayals against you abounded. Some would be forgiven like Peter’s and others wouldn’t like Judas’ who couldn’t forgive himself. But there were those unaware of their betrayal of God—the religious leadership. Much strife.
‘“A kingdom divided against itself will collapse. A home filled with strife and division destroys itself.’” (Mark 3:24-25)
‘“Father, forgive these people,’ Jesus said, ‘for they don’t know what they are doing.’” (Luke 23:34)
Your crucifixion was beyond, beyond horrific. A few days earlier, you had entered Jerusalem in glory, but now you left the city lugging a heavy wooden cross through streets lined by a contemptuous crowd.
On the way to Calvary, already fatigued and beaten, you collapsed more than once under the massive weight of the cross. Upon arriving at Golgotha, you were stripped and then laid on the cross where you were nailed to it by your hands and feet. Once several crosses were erected, you were placed between the two criminals.
Spectators and certain leaders heaved scornful abuse at you. Mocking you. Scoffing at why you magically didn’t get off the cross if you were the Son of God. Yet, you still asked God to forgive the people. You didn’t seem to have much patience with those manipulating truth for power games—the self-righteous leadership. Your compassion often went to the ordinary people. Did you feel for the mob that had been worked on to go against your truth? You said they didn’t know what they were doing.
After hours of agony, an abnormal darkness covered the earth for three hours from noon to 3 o’clock. You cried out, ‘“… My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’” (Matthew 27: 46)
Moments later your agony was finally over.
“Then Jesus shouted out again, dismissed his spirit, and died. And look! The curtain secluding the Holiest Place in the Temple was split apart from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and rocks broke, and tombs opened, and many godly men and women who had died came back to life again. After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the cemetery and went into Jerusalem, and appeared to many people there.” (Matthew 27:50-53)
“Suddenly there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and rolled aside the stone and sat on it. His face shone like lightning and his clothing was a brilliant white. The guards shook with fear when they saw him, and fell into a dead faint.” (Matthew 28:2-4)
Death couldn’t finish you, but our inability to learn from your life may finish us.
A wealthy man from Arimathaea in Judea named Joseph obtained permission from Pilate to take your body. As an honored member of the Jewish Supreme Court Joseph of Arimathea hadn’t agreed with the other leaders and was your secret follower. Along with Nicodemus, a Pharisee who was another secret follower, they had your body anointed with oils and perfumes, and they wrapped it in a long linen shroud. A wealthy person and a Pharisee going against the evil of power games.
You were placed in a nearby tomb that was carved into rock at the side of a hill. The tomb was sealed with a huge stone while Mary Magdalene and another Mary watched.
Fearing your body would be taken to trick the masses into thinking you had arisen, the chief priests and Pharisees set a watch on the tomb and sealed it. Yet, no one could stop you from your resurrection.
You made numerous appearances after leaving your tomb. You appeared before your frightened disciples, showing them your pierced hands, feet, and side so that they knew who you were. In an effort to stop the doubting, you invited Thomas to touch your wounds.
During the final meeting with your disciples, before you ascended to heaven, you had special guidelines for them. You assured them you’d always be with them.
“He told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this—that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.’” (Matthew 28:18-20)
‘“My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father. I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Live within my love.”’ (John 15:8-9)
We have often managed to kill your prophets and raise evil—in your name!
Through much struggle, your disciples persisted in spreading your work. They preached and healed and were persecuted, beaten, and imprisoned.
Regrettably, most of them died vicious deaths. Stoned to death. Arrested for blasphemy. Condemned by the testimony of false witnesses.
Christians were used as scapegoats and were persecuted. Even crucified. But they still did what was in their hearts—Your teachings over obsessive self-preservation and self-aggrandizement.
‘“But don’t be afraid of those who threaten you. For the time is coming when the truth will be revealed: their secret plots will become public information.’” (Matthew 10:26)
This passage is worth repeating:
“For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well. (John 1:17)
We’ve done so poorly in spreading your lessons—not just our salvation through your death, but our salvation through the wisdom of your life. Your ministry lasted three years. You knew your life on earth would be short. You taught us what you needed to teach us before you died, right? You gifted us with what you considered to be the most important lessons, right?
Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Why have we misunderstood,
Rejected so much?
We so frequently go for the rigid demands and merciless justice to assuage our fears of self-preservation. We often hand the keys to our minds and hearts to others to keep within our safety zone. FEAR. Also worth repeating:
Fear of not self-preserving. Fear of loss of power. Fear of not being validated. Fear of diversity. FEAR. Tyranny of the sameness.
So, Jesus, it often seems we miss the mark. Miss the point. Like the Pharisees did, and the Present-day ones do. That a loving Creator creates guidelines for a creation of children to be able to get along and become the best they can be. Live there truest lives of growth and spirituality.
Instead, you and God are used for superiority purposes with certain people doing all kinds of atrocious acts in your names. Killing for you. Judging for you. Being superior for you. Lying for you. Disenfranchising people for you.
BUT you said it’s not our sacrifices or gifts you want. You want us to be merciful. MERCY.
It seems that we, human beings, have a simplistic good guys versus bad guys model of the world. You tried to get us out of it by explaining the complexities of being human. The complex lies a fear. The complex lies of evil.
Yet, the mob that decided your crucifixion and the freeing of the notorious prisoner, put you on the bad guys list. Bad guys with all the negative adjectives like coward, evil, liar, criminal, loser, demon etc. The good guys list includes moral, great, brave, heroic, fearless, truth-teller, winner etc.
In this model’s simplest form forming simplistic ideas in our heads:
We, our own, are the good guys. Always the heroes in our life stories. It is the others who are the villains. The evil them. The bad guys. It’s not to say that some people aren’t dangerous. They are—from every background and culture.
But we want to believe—consequently we do—that we the good guys only do good. Even when we do bad—it’s for the good. The good of God.
So, therefore, in our refusal to be self-aware, to see any evil in ourselves, since the them is the evil, we excuse so much evil we perpetrate against others. Excuse it. Distort it. Call lies truth. Double-speak.
We admire wealth, arrogance, brute force, bullying and so on.
We scramble our minds and only see the value of your death and not the mercy of your life because if we study your life with a magnifying glass, go below the surface, we’d have to change our good guys versus bad guys mentality.
Instead, we stay put in our little areas and with the hero worship of the specific us, and declare to God in our hearts our goodness compared to the evil of others.
What is often inside of us mixing with our fears:
“I can’t help you because you’re threatening me. You’re a stranger, a dirty foreigner. I won’t accept your contributions. I’ll believe in those who condemn you because I want to believe them. They confirm my superiority to you, my need for validation, and assuage my fears of self-preservation. Let your families be separated and your children cry. It’s my children and my family who are most important here. I follow God’s rules, go to church, and pray. I’m deserving. Deserving of wealth. I’m one of the good guys. You’re a bad guy. That’s why you’re poor. Not blessed by God. Undeserving. Bad stuff is supposed to happen to bad people—even if I have to help it occur for God. For Jesus.
And even if some of us working class people are without much wealth, there are still some of us standing in our space, exalting ourselves that at least we’re not them. Superiority games.
“Two men went to the Temple to pray. One was a proud, self-righteous Pharisee, and the other a cheating tax collector. The proud Pharisee ‘prayed’ this prayer: ‘Thank God, I am not a sinner like everyone else, especially liked that tax collector over there! For I never cheat, I don’t commit adultery, I go without food twice a week, and I give to God a tenth of everything I earn.’
“But the corrupt tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed, but beat upon his chest in sorrow, exclaiming, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner.’ I tell you, this sinner not the Pharisee, returned home forgiven! For the proud shall be humbled, but the humble shall be honored.” (Luke 18:10-14)
“But Jesus called them together and said, ‘Among the heathen, kings are tyrants and each minor official lords it over those beneath him. But among you it is quite different. Anyone wanting to be a leader among you must be a servant. And if you want to be at the top, you must serve like a slave. Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.’” (Matthew 20:25-28)
One day when we’re in front of you, what will you say to us? Will your precious words go somewhat like this?—
Wasn’t I born in poverty to show you the meaning of richness of spirit, so you wouldn’t worship wealth? No kingly robes, no opulent palaces filled with servants, no material trappings of superiority for me.
Wasn’t this lesson in humbleness sufficient enough for you?
After my birth, didn’t I have to flee with my family to Egypt—refugees, strangers in another land—because I threatened the power of Puppet King Herod?
Wasn’t this lesson in power games sufficient enough for you?
Didn’t I come back to Judea as a child when King Herod died and studied scripture? Studied, scrutinized, opened my mind. Became informed so that no one would be able to twist passages, meanings, and ideas. Twist truth. Religious leaders would try to do this, but I was prepared and well-versed.
Wasn’t this lesson in becoming informed sufficient enough for you?
When the time came to start my ministry, I went to my cousin John and insisted on becoming baptized like everyone else.
Wasn’t this lesson in the virtues of humility sufficient enough for you?
When I went off to the desert to prepare for the extraordinarily tough times ahead, Evil tempted me as all human beings are tested. Flesh needs, power games, worship. I gave him a resounding NO! You need to feed your soul more than your stomach. You need God’s love more than to worship the trappings of earthly kingdoms. You need to be the valuable person God put on this earth and not diminish that value.
Wasn’t this lesson on evil sufficient enough for you?
When it came time to choose my disciples, I picked a diversity of different backgrounds, ideas, and methods. I even chose a hated tax collector and was criticized for it. They would learn from one another instead of being stuck in static sameness. I would also open salvation to everyone. Different kinds of people.
Wasn’t this lesson in diversity sufficient enough for you?
When I started preaching, I preached love, mercy, and forgiveness. Others, who insisted they were doing God’s work, sowed and stoked hate, judgment, and revenge all the while refusing to open their eyes to what they were really doing. “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” Turning a blind eye to evil.
Wasn’t this lesson on how to treat others with empathy sufficient enough for you?
I warned about false prophets with false teachings. Falseness. Deceit that would separate you and make you hate one another with superiority.
Wasn’t this lesson on being vigilant and critical of false ideas sufficient enough for you?
I let the hypocrites, liars, sons of serpents, and blind fools have it. Explosively! Their complete lack of self-awareness was shameful! Those self-righteous evil-doers misguiding the flock for their own obsession with power. Woe to them.
Wasn’t this lesson in using power for evil instead of as a mandate from God to have mercy and help humanity sufficient enough for you?
I was condemned and crucified because my message of empathy and truth threatened so many people who were obsessed with not losing their power. Crucified through lies and distortion. Manipulating the masses.
Wasn’t this lesson on lies, distortions, and manipulating the truth sufficient enough for you?
Before ascending to heaven, I told my disciples to love one another. To be good examples to the world.
Wasn’t this lesson in loving one another and giving the world good testimonials sufficient enough for you?
So, what more did you want from me?
I showed you the way. I gave you my blood—my life. I cleared your path. I showed you the way.
Please don’t get so obsessive with rules—keeping them and judging others by them. Certain ones I didn’t even mention but you so often use them to judge and invalidate one another and to justify evil acts of hate and ugliness towards each other. Keep my heart and you’ll naturally do all that I want from you. Don’t just place me at the center of your life but at your core. This way love naturally flows from deep inside you. Self-awareness takes hold. Awareness of the complexity of human beings—far away from simplistic, one-dimensional terms. Appreciation of others instead of intolerance. Appreciation and not mere tolerance.
At the center of your life, I am but a judgmental Christ who takes a measuring stick to everyone. I am but a callous Jesus who doesn’t care about the whole ramifications of actions—seeing only the obscuring in generalities and ignoring the truth in specifics. I am but a spoiled child of God with a gladiator mentality seeking glory at the cost of suffering and desperation.
I can assure you of this—I am not that Savior, unrecognizable to anyone who reads the Gospels.
So, please don’t savage my heart with self-righteous excuses, rabid hate, and superiority thinking. Stop crucifying me again, and again, and again.
Stop casting the first stone and help one another. Go beyond the judgement. See the whole picture—in color and with all the subtleties. Empathize as I showed you in the Sermon on the Mount.
Stop lying in generalities and see the honesty in specifics.
“And so I am giving a new commandment to you now—love each other just as much as I love you. Your strong love for each other will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”(John 13:34-35)
And Jesus said:
“For I was hungry and you fed me; I was thirsty and you gave me water; I was a stranger and you invited me into your homes; naked and you clothed me; sick and in prison, and you visited me.’
“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Sir, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you anything to drink? Or a stranger, and help you? Or naked, and clothe you? When did we ever see you sick or in prison, and visit you?’
“And I, the King, will tell them, ‘When you did it to these my brothers you were doing it to me!’ (Matthew 25:35-40)