Every time I transition back and forth between studying the Old Testament and the New Testament, I think it is important to take a moment and reflect on an important claim that Jesus made about Himself:
“I and my Father are one.” John 10:30 (KJV)
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” John 8:58 (KJV)
Most Christians would characterize Jesus as the patient, all-loving, compassionate “Prince of Peace.” In the next breath, they might remind you that Jesus (the Son) was quite literally God (the Father), here on earth – in the flesh. These two, along with the Holy Spirit have always been one and the same (but somehow different) – what is referred to as The Trinity. You can’t separate them. To do so is to throw out the very basis of monotheistic Christianity. As such, when you recognize that sweet Baby Jesus of the New Testament is the same jealous, vengeful, God of wrath that graced the pages of the Old Testament, things get a little awkward.
THE WINNER IS…
Many believe that New Testament scriptures like those referenced above solidify the position of Jesus (The Son) as an equal partner of the Trinity. However, this presents some problems for the “meek and mild” Jesus of modern interpretation. The problem is, when you reverse the transitive properties of the Trinity, bringing the characteristics of the jealous, angry, murderous God from the Old Testament forward into the New Testament – it actually helps you better understand scripture. Suddenly some of the most confusing and problematic passages of Jesus’ life make much more sense – no longer requiring the most authentic scriptures to be hidden in the footnotes while centuries of apologists scramble to explain “what Jesus really meant” whenever He acts “out of character” (or, at least, out of His folklorish caricature that has evolved over centuries).
By contrast, I had one of my most profound moments of confusion (even crisis) as a Christian when I came to the realization that Satan wasn’t nearly as bad of a guy as modern traditions have come to suggest. The uncomfortable truth of the matter is, when it comes to Biblical rap sheets, the little red guy with the pitchfork is a minor, powerless street thug compared to the genocidal warlord that monotheistic Christians have come to adore – The Trinity.
The reigning champion of death, madness and mayhem is still… Jesus! According to the tally found in Steve Wells’ excellent book, Drunk with Blood: God’s Killings in the Bible – the score isn’t even close. God (aka Jesus): 2,821,364 dead. Satan: 10 (Poor Job’s family – and even then, only under God’s blessing as part of a sadistic heavenly bet).
After all, was it Satan who threw a temper tantrum and flooded the entire earth, killing his own creation? Was it Satan who killed all of the unicorns in Isaiah and all of the firstborn in Exodus? Was it Satan who kept 32 virgins for himself? No. According to Jesus, “Before Abraham was, I am. I and my Father are one.”
POOR SATAN: According to the Bible, the fallen angel doesn’t even have the power to cast souls into hell. That privilege, my friends, belongs to the One and Only – the sweet, gentle, and innocent – little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.
Yet, every Sunday,
millions billions of followers join together to worship, praise, and drink the (arguably symbolic) blood of… Jesus Christ – the most deadly warlord in the universe. “He’s Number One! He’s Number One! He’s Number One!”
Indeed, He is.
= = = = =
Remember: Don’t blame me, it’s in the Bible!
We didn’t pull any punches by adding this illustration to:
Awkward Moments (Not Found In Your Average) Children’s Bible – Vol #2.