Martial Arts as War (MAW) and Martial Arts as Sport (MAS)—these are the two paradigms that, by and large, define the contemporary universe of the martial arts. Or so I have argued in previous essays. Now, it’s true, of course, that—as my own Master-Instructor observed to me in one of our countless conversations over this […]
Easter is upon us.
But who is Jesus? Upon reading the Scriptures, it becomes clear that the real Jesus, as opposed to the tamed, lame, and maimed Politically Correct Jesus who Christian clerics as much as anyone have been promoting for years, was the antithesis of the meek, mild mannered, nonjudgmental man of whom Christians and non-Christians alike hear about at every turn. The latter placates this generation’s political-moral sensibilities, but he hardly fits the profile of a person who gave rise to a religion claiming billions of followers.
The truth about Jesus, in His own day as in ours, is hard.
For starters,”Marcionism” was a school of thought from the second century that distinguished the God of the Old Testament from the God of the New. Though it was recognized early on for the heresy that it is, to hear many contemporary Christians, including and especially clergy, one could be forgiven for thinking that Marcionism is Christian orthodoxy.
Though God in the Old Testament repeatedly reveals His love for and patience with His people, He just as often proves that this love is not at all incompatible with bloodshed and death. In fact, judging from the Hebrew Scriptures, divine love—which is inseparable from the divine justice—not infrequently demands punishment.
In other words, the God who flooded the Earth and ordered the Israelites to slaughter every living thing among their neighbors is the babe who was born in a manger to a humble young virgin.
However, even “the God of the New Testament,” i.e. Jesus, was most definitely anything but meek and mild. Meek and mild human beings tend not to draw huge followings of fans that are willing to sacrifice their very lives for them. They tend not to polarize whole populations, command the attention of the most powerful leaders and rulers, and get themselves executed as capital offenders against the largest empire the world had ever seen (up to that point).
Jesus was neither meek nor mild by the standards of His own day. By the lights of the self-appointed guardians of secular liberal orthodoxy—both Democrats and Republicans, “liberals” and “conservatives”—He is nothing less than scandalous: Jesus, to the politically respectable, can only be judged a “hater,” a “fear monger,” a “bigot,” and maybe even a “sexist!”
After all, Jesus had the audacity to refer to a poor Canaanite woman who begged for Him to heal her daughter as a “dog.” “It is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs,” Jesus sternly informed her. It was only after the woman persisted—“Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table”—that Jesus relented and healed her little girl (Mathew 15: 21-28).
As for judging, Jesus spared no occasion to remind both fans and foes alike that He and “the God of the Old Testament” are one and the same:
“So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come out and separate the evil from the righteous and throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 13: 49-50).
“Whoever is not with me is against me…but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, either in this age or in the age to come” (Mt. 12: 30-32; Mk. 3:19-30; Lk. 11:14-23).
For His enemies, the Pharisees and scribes, Jesus reserved a furry of criticism. They were “hypocrites,” “blind guides,” “whitewashed tombs” who are “full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth” like “greed and self-indulgence.” His opponents are “descendants of those who murdered the prophets,” “snakes” and “vipers” who can’t “escape being sentenced to hell” (Mt. 23: 16-36; Mk. 12: 38-40; Lk. 20: 45-47) [.]
Yet even those who styled themselves His friends didn’t escape His wrath.
Unfaithful servants will be “cut” into “pieces” and placed “with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Mt. 24:51; Lk. 12: 41-48). Jesus informs His disciples of His plans for those nations with which He is displeased: “Then he [the Son of Man] will say to those at his left hand, ‘You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels…And these will go away into eternal punishment” (Mt. 25: 41-46).
Of the cities of Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum, Jesus likened them to the cities of Tyre, Sidon, and Sodom—cities to which He (God) laid waste. “But I tell you [Chorazin and Bethsaida], on the day of judgment it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon than for you. And you, Capernaum…you will be brought down to Hades” (Mt. 11: 22-23; Lk. 10: 13-15).
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea” (Mt. 18: 6; Mk. 9:42-48; Lk. 17: 1-2).
If Jesus were on the Earth with us right now, PETA would’ve long ago made Him into Public Enemy Number One, for Jesus, upon curing a man of demons, sent the demons into a herd of about 2,000 pigs, propelling the swine down a hill into a body of water in which they drowned. Not only, though, did legions of defenseless animals die; the livelihoods of people who depended upon these animals were also destroyed. “Then they [the townspeople} began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood” (Mt. 8:28-9:1; Mk. 5:1-20; Lk. 8:26-39).
I could continue.
Some other details about the real Jesus that we never hear:
While Jesus did indeed show great love to the poor and powerless, He also showed great love to the rich and powerful. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were wealthy and influential members of the Sanhedrin—and disciples of Jesus. The Centurion whose servant Jesus healed was, obviously, a man of means—and of power.
And, of course, God the Son, as the Christian’s Old Testament readily reveals, always extended blessings to such super wealthy and powerful rulers—and kings to boot!—as King David and King Solomon, etc.
Though He condemned some rich people, He also condemned some poor people. And, contrary to the narrative that the socialist-minded clerics of today have labored tirelessly to ensconce in the popular consciousness, it wasn’t only the rich and powerful that conspired to execute Jesus; the poor, many of the very folks to whose needs He attended with great care, turned on Him in His hour of need and demanded—demanded!—His death: According to all four Gospels, when given the choice to spare the life of Christ or that of the murderous zealot, Barrabas, the bloodthirsty crowd of mostly poor folks chose the latter.
Jesus was no pacifist: At least some of His disciples were armed with swords, and at one juncture, Jesus even commands His disciples to arm themselves. “And the one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one,” He ordered them (Lk. 22: 36). All four Gospels inform us of how Jesus burst upon the Temple in Jerusalem and cleared house by flipping over the tables of the traders and driving them and their animals out with a whip!
Jesus also used military imagery in His parables, and heeded a Centurion’s request (without admonishing him, as He admonished so many others—like Levi, the tax collector—to repent of his ways). Furthermore, the martyrology of the early church included soldiers).
To serve Jesus, we must first know Him from the idol—the false god—with which “polite society” has replaced Him.