Jesus and Paul Under Fire

Not long ago, Rick Warren made the following statement about the 2012 Presidential Election:

“I’ve never seen more irresponsible personal attacks, mean-spirited slander, and flat-out dishonest attack ads, and I don’t expect that tone to change before the election.”

When a person – be it a candidate, political pundit, blogger, or anyone else – misrepresents another mortal, it’s not so easy to spot.

Distortions often take work to recognize. They don’t stand up and scream, “I’m a distortion, a spin, a mischaracterization.”

They’re usually floated in out-of-context quotes, partial quotes, or infused words with a meaning that the authors never intended. Sometimes out-right fabrications are created to defame someone.

Now let’s walk back 2,000 years ago and ask a question.

Smearing Jesus & Paul

Consider what was being said about Jesus during His life on earth. Then ask . . . how would this play out on MSNBC, Fox, CNN, Huffington, NY Times, Washington Post (pick your news outlet) or the blogosphere.

Note: All of these accusations weren’t terribly hard to believe if you heard them in the first century. Because distortions are deceptive and they require some work to sort out.

*Jesus was accused of being a deceiver (John 7:12).

*He was accused of being an illegitimate child (John 8:41).

*He was accused of being demon possessed (Matt. 9:34; John 7:20).

*He was accused of being Beelzebub, using the power of Satan to cast out demons (Matt. 10:25).

*He was accused of being mentally ill (John 10:20).

*He was accused of being a blasphemer – witnesses were produced to buttress this charge (Matt. 9:3; 26:65; Mark 2:7)

*He was accused of saying that he would destroy the Temple in Jerusalem (Mark 14:58).

*He was accused of being an enemy to the Law of Moses.

On top of that, Jesus’ words were misinterpreted by His own disciples (John 21:22-23) and deliberately twisted by His enemies (Matthew 26:60-61).

He was betrayed by one of His followers, denied by another at a critical time, and in His blackest hour, He was deserted by most of them.

Consider the same question for Paul of Tarsus:

*He was accused of extorting God’s people (2 Cor. 2:17; 11:7-21).

*He was accused of being a false apostle (Gal. 1:11-2:10; 2 Cor. 11:16-12:12).

*He was accused of being a flatterer (1 Thess. 2:5).

*He was accused of blasphemy (Acts 24:6).

*He was slandered and his good was evil spoken of (1 Cor. 10:30).

*He was accused of being a man pleaser and a coward (Gal. 1:10; 1 Thess. 2:4).

*He was accused of being greedy (1 Thess. 2:5,9).

*He was accused of being a controller (2 Cor. 10:1-2, 9-11).

*He was accused of being a deceiver and a crafty manipulator (2 Cor. 6:8; 12:16).

*He was given a bad report (reputation) by some (2 Cor. 6:8).

*He was accused of seeking glory from men (1 Thess. 2:6).

*He was the subject of insults (2 Cor. 12:10).

*He was accused of being a “cult” leader (Acts 24:5).

*He was accused of being a criminal (Acts 16:20-21; 24:5; 2 Tim. 2:9).

All told, whether or not you stand with a candidate’s political policies or not, if they traffic in untruths about others, there’s a decent change that they won’t follow through on their promises . . . or worse.

Two Closing Points

1. Don’t believe everything you read or hear about another human being. That not only goes for politicians, but for anyone who has influence . . . including Christians.

2. If you’re doing something worthwhile, you’re going to be attacked, misrepresented, and vilified. So don’t be surprised when it happens. If you’re looking for a footnote, you can find it in Jesus.

Remember the words I spoke to you: “No servant is greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” John 15:20

It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub [the head of devils], how much more the members of his household! Matthew 10:25 

Woe to you when all men speak well of you . . . Luke 6:26

If you find this post helpful, you are free to ADD A LINK to it on your blog or website. But don’t copy and paste the post as this violates Google’s guidelines.

Subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss anything. It’s free. All Email Subscribers will receive my eBook Rethinking the Will of God (Revised) free. Also, if you are interested in setting up a new blog, click here. If you’re looking for a new hosting service or you want to buy a domain name, I recommend BlueHost, hands down.

About Frank Viola

See my About page. Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above may be "affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Google+