A student sent this to me and asked me for my response: “Jesus was a radical, nonviolent, revolutionary who hung around with lepers, [prostitutes] and crooks, wasn’t American and never spoke English; was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (cf. Matthew 6:5); but was never anti-gay, never mentioned abortion or birth control, never called the poor lazy, never justified torture,  never fought for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, never asked a leper for a copay; and was a long-haired brown skinned homeless community-organizing [non-judgmental] middle eastern Jew”

My response: “Really?”

My longer response: Jesus fulfilled the law and NEVER broke it. His correct interpretation of a relationship with God and man was a radical departure from the status quo of superficially religious and self-appointed experts. (These guys would have written about Him on Facebook too and not been able to back it up either.  They called him a glutton and a wine bibber and accused Him of being demon possessed or using the power of Satan…they were wrong too.) When confronted with this kind of sham religion He cleared the temple using a whip.  He visited the poor, the rich, the synagogue and the Samaritans. He spent time with liars, cheats, thieves, and prostitutes and CHANGED their lives.  He did not become like them to fit in with them.

He spoke Greek and Aramaic and when He quoted scripture, He often used the modern speech translation of His times….so if He lived now, he would also speak English in America. He said riches could be dangerous to our souls; but He did have rich associations if not friends. He saved a woman from the death penalty but yielded to it Himself. He told her to go her way and SIN no more. He read scripture in public and prayed in public but condemned public performance for the praise of men. He took a strong stance against immorality and taught plainly against lust and adultery. He said if you hurt a “little one” it would be better if you went swimming with a millstone tied around your neck.

When He taught about bad stewards…people who didn’t do their jobs with opportunities entrusted to them and ended up poor and unemployed they were called wicked and lazy. When He healed a group of lepers and only one returned to thank Him, He was appreciative and seems to indicate that it would have been appropriate for the others to have done the same…not actually a copay but a payment of gratitude.  In the parable of the unforgiving servant the man was delivered to the tormentors. (An approved ending for one without mercy). He paid HIS taxes. When He had dinner with a tax collector the man gave a rebate because he had been cheating. He lived at home until he started his personal ministry. He accepted appropriate hospitality (food, lodging) commiserate with the accepted customs of a traveling teacher.

One of his disciples wrote that even nature itself teaches it a shame for a man to have long hair…so I doubt he had it.  It can’t be proved. But this view is much more accurate than the Italian images of the Anglo Saxon Jesus. He did not organize the community, He called them to the Father and when His words offended people and they walked He asked His closest friends, “Will you go away too?” He taught plainly that people who had sex without being rightfully married were guilty of adultery (no shame just truth).

He didn’t meet anybody’s expectations except God’s.

– Edited from an article written by:
Lonnie Jones