Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What DID Jesus Do? ... J. D. Longstreet

What DID Jesus Do?
A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet


How did Jesus feel about someone who would deliberately hurt a child?  Here are His remarks about that as recorded by the physician Luke:  "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones."  ...  Luke 17:2  (The New Testament)

OK.  Seems clear enough to me!  

I have never favored the limp-wristed Jesus of the left.  To equate Jesus with a hippie of the 1960's is, well,  just repugnant to me.

I mean, come ON, folks!  He was a carpenter by trade.  A man with calluses on his hands.  (Some scholars now say that the original Hebrew or Aramaic word has been misinterpreted and that Joseph,  Jesus' father, was really a "stone-cutter" by trade.) 

It does not matter to me. He (Joseph) was a working man and Jesus was reared as a working man who knew hard labor and grew into a tough, tenacious, muscular man. He was, most likely, sinewy -- a young man possessing more than ample physical strength and of moderate weight. He would have been rugged and physically powerful.  He was not a lightweight!

Oh, and Hollywood -- it is extremely unlikely that Jesus had blond hair and blue eyes. 

He ran with a rough crowd, too. One or two of those guys would gut you from the Adam's apple to the groin  -- in a heartbeat.  They included former government bureaucrats to rough, tough, cussing, spitting, scratching fishermen -- and we haven't even mentioned the known thief and schemer in their midst.  Hey!  HE was the treasurer of the bunch!

Much is made of Jesus being meek and mild.  His words, as recorded in the scriptures, certainly lead one to believe that he spoke in quiet, gentle, tones. But that was not always the case.  Plus, we have ONLY the words recorded.  We don't have any idea what he said when a scribe was not listening and making mental notes.  

There is one incident so different, so out of character for Jesus, that all four gospels of the New Testament record it.  I refer, of course, to the incident with the money-changers in the temple.

The carpenter from Nazareth lost it!  He went ballistic!  He threw a fit, if you will. 

Here is how the disciple (John) who is said to have been closest to Jesus recorded the event:    "And the Jews' Passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise. And his disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."   John 2:13-17

OK.  Now some say that Jesus did not "lose his temper" in the temple.  They claim it was pure "righteous indignation" that caused Jesus to raise such a ruckus.  They are what I like to call: WRONG!

Here's why I say that:  I understand a man with a temper.  In fact, I have very little use for a man who dose not show a little fire every now and then.  An act of righteous indignation does not speak to me when describing this incident.  It leaves me flat.

On the other hand -- when approaching his Father's house, he sees men buying and selling animals  exchanging money, selling doves for sacrifices , basically turning his Father's house into a barnyard, a flea market, and a hock shop, Jesus flips out. 

Spying some cordage lying about, he plaits a few strands hurriedly together, making a short but very effective whip, and he wades into them, slashing right and left with the whip, knocking over cages, crashing tables to the floor, scattering coins in every direction,  creating a maelstrom of fury for a few seconds -- all the while booming at them in the voice of a hillside preacher to get out!  He serves notice that they will not make his Father's House into a den of thieves.

Now, see --  THAT speaks to me!   Admittedly, I have trouble with the "turn the other cheek" bit, but THIS?  THIS -- I can relate to.

Jesus is often referred to as an itinerant preacher because he moved around a lot.  There was good reason for that.  In fact, there were at least two reasons for that.  One: he needed to carry his message as far as was possible (in the area) in the limited time that he had to live, and he was under surveillance by the authorities.  In other words, he was attempting to stay below the radar of the temple priests.  He was, for all intents and purposes, on the run from the law.

And yes, dear reader, Jesus' boys were packing. Well, they weren't packing "heat" because "heat" hadn't been invented yet.  I am satisfied that had guns been available -- at least Saint Peter would have had at least one on him.  Concealed carry, of course.

What they had were swords.  Not the broadsword with which Hollywood is so enamored, but a short sword similar in some respects to the Roman Gladius, but more akin to the American Bowie knife. (Named for its inventor, famed American gambler Jim Bowie, who died at the Alamo.)

The "sword" the boys of Jesus' posse possessed were "up close and personal" weapons. You could easily kill, gut, and skin an animal -- or a man -- with the same utensil.  It was, to say the least, uh, practical.

Now, you anti-gun types might not want to hear this, but Jesus KNEW they had those swords.  In fact, he directed them to get one, if they did not already own one, even if they had to sell their coats to purchase a sword.  For the record, here is what Jesus instructed his men:  "And he [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], “But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one. For I tell you that this which is written must be fulfilled in Me, ‘And he was numbered with transgressors’; for that which refers to Me has its fulfillment.” They said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.” And He said to them, “It is enough.”  Luke 22:36-38     

Later, when Jesus was arrested, Peter whipped out his trusty sword and took a swing at Malchus, the slave of the High Priest, and whacked Malchus' right ear clean off! 
Jesus told Peter to put his sword away, Peter did, and the swordplay ended there.  You may read the entire account in the 18th chapter of John in the New Testament.

As a side note, THAT Peter, the one with the sharp sword, quick temper, and bad aim, is the same Peter the Church in Rome is said to be founded upon.

My point is this: Had Jesus, himself, needed a sword, He would have had one.  He didn't need one.  He was, after all -- God.   Peter, and the boys, NEEDED weapons and they had them -- not only with Jesus' knowledge but upon his direction.

I bring all this to the fore in this commentary because we are having another national argument about gun rights in America and someone always inserts Jesus as pacifist into the debate.  Allow me to disabuse you of that incorrect assumption.  Jesus was no pacifist.  In fact, He, himself, said: "I come not to bring peace, but a sword."  Matthew 10:34 (New Testament)

We have no record of him actually ever physically using a sword in his 33 years on earth.  It will be his NEXT visit when he appears as a conquering warrior king. 

The point is --  you now have the personal entreaty from Jesus, as recorded in the scripture, for ownership of a weapon ... even if you have to sell something of extreme value to possess one.

America's Founders were religious men. They KNEW these stories, this scripture about Jesus, far better than, I daresay, most Americans today.   They were also practical men.  They had to be. They understood that the experiment they were founding had no chance, at all, unless the people had the right -- and the means -- to defend it.
In the not too distant future the UN Small Arms Treaty will come before the US Senate for ratification.  Americans need to understand that if the Senate ratifies that treaty, it will make the Second Amendment  to the constitution null and void! The constitution itself makes clear that any treaties ratified by a 2/3rds vote of  the US Senate become a part of the "supreme law of the land" ... period!

Check it out:

Article II, §2, cl. 2, U.S. Constitution, says the President:

    … shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two-thirds of the Senators present concur…

Article VI, cl. 2 says:

    This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
(Emphasis added)

Seems pretty clear to me.  If the US Senate ratifies the UN Small Arms Treaty Americans will lose their right to own and bear arms.

So, what WOULD Jesus do?  Well, based purely on the written record of his actions and words in the holy scriptures, in MY opinion, He'd support the Second Amendment and He would NOT support ratification of the UN Small Arms Treaty.

As I am most assuredly NOT a televangelist, Jesus rarely speaks directly to me.  As a result, I had to do a little light research to arrive at my conclusion.  I would suggest that you do the same.

Jesus was assuredly NOT a wuss. He understood the necessity of the means of self defense.  After all, the RIGHT of self-defense is a God-given right, not a privilege granted by the state. It just seems to me, with that in mind, that He would expect His followers to do all in their power to insure that the powerful among us are offset by the counterweight of an armed citizenry.

© J. D. Longstreet 

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