Saturday, March 28, 2009

Jesus the Non-Christian

I have a t-shirt in my cupboard that contians a graffiti style collage of words that describe Jesus. Way. Light. Warrior. Love. And so on.

On a night out a while back I remember a group of friends staring long and hard at my t-shirt and then laughing loud. They'd spotted what looks like a Union Jack in the artwork.
They are right to laugh.
Cos Jesus was certainly not British.

More than this though, one of the words on the t-shirt actually annoys me.
Jesus is described as 'Christian'.
Now that is just wrong.
Full on error.
Cos Jesus was certainly not Christian.
Jesus was Jewish.

Jesus never even introduced the term 'Christian' which means 'Little Christ'. The word wasn't even chosen by the earliest followers. Alternatively, it was originally an insult that just stuck.

So in order to understand Jesus, 'Christians' need to be studying Judaism. His followers need to understand Abraham and Moses and King David and concepts of slavery in exile and prophecies of freedom in exodus.
For Jesus to be seen as a great revolutionary, the 1st century social landscape needs to be considered. One where the Romans called the shots. And one where Jesus' community were lower class.

Because to fully appreciate freedom, it helps to understand oppression.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Resurrected Jesus

I've been writing a narrative surrounding the Jesus story recently - as you do.
So when someone asked me the other day, 'What you been up to?' it amused me greatly to respond, 'Oh, I just resurrected Jesus.'
Some might say I have a warped sense of humour.

But the more this phrase hung around in my head the more I thought it might have truth in it.
I mean, of course, I didn't physically resurrect Jesus.
But I did have a huge part to play in it. As did you.
I was the motivation for it. As were you.

God is love and love desires relationship.
As God's creation - as his pride and joy and majesticly, maticulously crafted workmanship - love longs desperately to have relationship with us.
Relationships are two way.
Love wants to be a two way thing.
Love desires love.

Now get this: Jesus claimed to be God - that's why he was killed.
But if for one crazy nanosecond he was actually telling the truth about his identity, that means that God lay dead in the grave.
Which is a major problem for God.
Cos we can't have relationship with a dead God.
Hence life bursting forth from the grave to comprehensively conquer death.

It is won. It is finished. The ultimate relationship is possible.
We can't earn the love.
We can't increase the love.
We can't decrease the love.
But we can accept it.
We can choose it.
And we can respond to it.