Jesus Was Guilty

Jesus Was Guilty June 4, 2024

Icon from Salisbury Cathedral

Jesus was guilty. Yes, I know we say Jesus died without sin. Still, it is possible to be guilty and without sin. The present age is not different from any other in this fact. We often hold people accountable for actions we lack the courage to do. We participate in the sins of other people including the majority opinion. This is the point where Jesus was guilty. Actually he was guilty on several points.

Jesus Was Guilty For Not Condemning Rich “Collaborators”

Jesus, in the canonical gospels, does not condemn the rich for being in collaboration with the Roman enemy. If it is already difficult for the rich man to be part of the kingdom of heaven (easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle) then there is no point in claiming such a person was “the enemy of the people.”

Jesus Was Guilty For Not Condemning the Masses

The Sanhedrin court in John condemns the majority of the people for not knowing the law. The masses do not follow their rightful law-knowing leaders because they are misled because they do not read their bibles. Therefore, reason the leaders, the mob is accursed.

He Did Not Make One Group His Priority

Jesus did not make one group of people his priority. He did not condemn Mary for using costly oil instead of giving the money to the poor. He did not make the people of his hometown of Nazareth the most important. Jesus did not grant favored Apostles special status. Jesus ate with tax collectors giving the appearance of being a collaborator with the Romans. A roman centurion’s faith was used as a better example than all of Israel.

Jesus Broke Social Boundaries

The Samaritan woman at the well is engaged by Jesus in deep conversation. Jesus uses a Samaritan as the savior of his story.  He even taught a rich playboy could be redeemed by a father.

Jesus Did Not Accept the Immorality of Elites

Herod Antipas jails John the Baptist for condemning adultery with his brother’s wife. Jesus did not support Herod either. Jesus dines with sex workers and does not think their lives were worse because they were not of the royal house. It may be their lives were more honest.

He Was Guilty Of Not Teaching Armed Rebellion

Jesus did not teach armed rebellion as the means for national salvation. First century Jewish people knew well the stories of the Maccabean revolt against their Greek oppressors a few centuries before them. The stories were part of the popular political imagination of most people. The Zealots and other Jews looked for a Messiah to lead a holy war against the Romans (and the rest of the world.)

Jesus Was Guilty of Not Caring About Money

Money had Caesar’s image. It belonged to Caesar. Jesus refused to try a dispute over inheritance. The father in the parable of the prodigal does not care about the money that was lost just the son that was lost. The older brother and every preacher/teacher retelling the story focuses on the lost inheritance.

Jesus Taught Reward Was Not the Point

The parable of the workers in the vineyard troubles a lot of people. Everyone receives “the usual daily wage.” The daily wage is for the daily food. Receiving a reward is the not the point of our actions. If our actions gain us the daily provision that is enough.

Jesus Was Guilty of Not Only Talking about Sinfulness and Spiritual Salvation

Jesus did not “stay in his lane.” He speaks on many issues involving daily living, human relations, faulty teachers, and faithless leaders. He talks about the sinfulness of the people to whom he is speaking. Jesus does not tell people about the sins of others. Salvation is spiritual and physical too. It is not simply about getting to heaven when we die.

Jesus Was Guilty of Not Cooperating

Jesus did not cooperate with the authorities. Today we would say he showed mild contempt for them. In his trials before the High Priest, Herod Antipas, and Pontius Pilate, Jesus refuses to answer direct questions except for ones that establish his identity. He does not defend himself against charges made against him. The lack of cooperation upsets Pilate who looks to Jesus to provide him a means of acquitting him. Jesus does not cooperate with Roman law because in doing so, he would legitimate it.

He Does Not Give A Command Performance

Jesus is guilty of not performing on command. He produces no signs or miracles when people demand to see them. Jesus does not prove anything to the devil except he resists temptation. He does not condemn the woman taken in adultery. Jesus does not fall into carefully placed rhetorical traps. He rarely explains himself.

Jesus Was Guilty of Dismissing Honored Traditions

Jesus did not let his disciples go hungry for the sake of sabbath tradition. He condemned any traditions and traditional interpretations that caused people to suffer. Traditions that benefited one group of people over others were considered paying lip service to the Law of God.

Jesus Was Guilty of Not Supporting Biblical Family Values

Jesus argued the provision in the law for divorce was about the hard-heartedness of males toward their wives. He opposed the practice. Jesus also dismissed blood relationships. He claimed those who hear the word and keep it are his true brothers, sisters, and mother. Jesus warned his teaching and witness would set parents against children and enemies will be found in one’s own household.

What Can You Do?

Let’s be honest. What would we do with such a person? If we are faced with an individual who does not support our own prejudices, goals, and institutional loyalties, we tend to mark that person as our enemy. In the southeastern United States, we might angrily claim “hanging is too good for him.” You cannot simply ignore his influence. A person like that is too dangerous to be left alone. Would we argue for exile, the death penalty, or life without parole? Jesus was guilty of things too many of us condemn other people for doing.

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