Of course I think good men can disagree regarding just about everything involving Jesus, and I don’t consider myself any closer to the truth of the
man than anyone else, but also no farther from it. As always, I offer my point of view as just that, and certainly subject to fair dispute on any and
Since I covered some of this in a letter to TSOL, and am basically a lazy, lazy man, I’ll post it here for continuity of discussion, and to aid those
with differing opinions on Jesus to get a further idea of how much we may really
disagree. Again, offered with the admonition not to believe
everything you read, and that no opinion is necessarily better than another.
(N.B. I don’t think Jesus planned to deceive anyone, and I don’t think he expected to survive crucifixion, but it was a something of a painful
surprise courtesy of his Essene allies [Yoshe calls them “Yassidim” and the Zealots “Zahal”]. Also, while I don‘t know for sure, I‘m willing to bet
that some of the Dead Sea scrolls would tell a much different account of his life and times. The Essenes were meticulous about keeping records, and no
doubt covered his story at length. I suspect that some of this information is now in the hands of others famed for their record keeping.)
As sent to TSOL:
It's anyone's guess, of course, whether I'm closer to the truth about the man than anyone else or not. I do think it's fair to presume that anyone
who has looked into the story of Jesus will agree that if nothing else, a lot of fiction obscures whatever facts may be left for us to uncover.
I know that Paul and TSOL like to point to Jesus as an example of a "sorceror prophet", and indeed, I would agree wholeheartedly with that
assessment if I thought that half the miracles attributed to Jesus actually occurred. Instead, I am finding myself increasingly convinced as I
meditate on this that Jesus really did little except to bring hope to so many people who had long ago abandoned hope in the face of yet another
foreign occupation, and the trials and pains of life on earth that we all must face.
What was less clear to me before, but is becoming much more obvious, and disturbingly so, is that his messages and his ministry with his wife Mary (as
important a part of the team as Jesus, in my opinion, a fact lost to history) were enshrouded in many levels of political, religious and spiritual
intrigue. He was an idealist surrounded by pragmatists, and this was his downfall, of a sort.
I don't think he really understood, until after his painful brush with death, how much of a firestorm would eventually develop around him. He was a
Zealot, and an Israeli patriot, but not their leader -- that was apparently the domain of people like Joseph of Arimathea (political/financial) and
In pointing to Jesus as the Messiah who would throw out the Romans and restore the Kingdom of Israel, the Zealots sealed his fate -- and their own. If
there was betrayal surrounding Jesus' arrest, I think the blame for it lies squarely with the Zealots, who portrayed him as something he was not,
blinded as they were in their desire to restore the dignity of Israel and drive out the Romans against all odds, and at all costs.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your point of view), Jesus survived crucifixion, but not without bearing for the rest of his life terrible
and crippling disfigurements that would make him easy to identify. This was a heavy burden and a bitter turn of fate for a fugitive from a Roman death
sentence who was also feared and reviled by so many of his countrymen.
His craftsman's hands had become twisted and worthless for work, his back a bent and horrible mass of scars, his walk a limp. He had become like a
broken old man who had been in his prime only a short while before. If not for Mary's love and timely aid from her family and the Essenes, he would
have certainly perished long before he did.
I don't think he ever lived to see the religion that built up around him -- not physically, at least. But I think that his spirit, wherever it may
be, knows of this and is grieved by it.
The great irony of all this lies in the fact that despite my enduring, passionate and irreconcilable objections to the cults and questionable
practices of worship that have been built up around Jesus, I think he may have actually been on to something. While I do not consider him a
"Messiah" as defined by classic Judaism (the Romans left when they were good and ready, and not a moment before), I think he did have a message that
was worth listening to.
What was it? That the Kingdom of God is within us. Opinions about the meaning of that key phrase vary, but I take it to mean that the image of the
Creator exists in every soul. This is something that I have witnessed, in my own rather odd way, in looking within.
Seeing that we are all truly brothers and sisters, it is impossible to hate one another, but rather to understand that whether Light or Darkness mark
our paths, they come from and lead to the same place in the end: together.
Of course, all of this is just my opinions, and my stridency on the topic does not -- and should not -- be mistaken for truth. Rather, I think that's
up for each of us to determine on our own.
At the very least, I have found it more tolerable in my mind to distinguish Jesus from Christianity, a religion I am certain he would not agree with,
especially in setting him above his brothers and sisters as a god figure. Ultimately, I think he was much simpler than most people, though perhaps in
so being, more difficult to understand as a consequence.
Your mileage may vary,