by Vaughn Klingenberg
- 41. Now His parents used to go up year by year to Jerusalem at the Feast of the Passover.
- 42. And when He was twelve years old they went up as was customary at the time of the Feast, and,
- 43. after staying the full number of days, when they started back home the boy Jesus remained behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not discover this,
- 44. but supposing Him to be in the travelling company, they proceeded a day’s journey. Then they searched up and down for Him among their relatives and acquaintances;
- 45. but being unable to find Him they returned to Jerusalem, making anxious inquiry for Him.
- 46. On the third day they found Him in the Temple sitting among the Rabbis, both listening to them and asking them questions,
- 47. while all who heard Him were astonished at His intelligence and at the answers He gave.
- 48. When they saw Him, they were smitten with amazement, and His mother said to Him, “My child, why have you behaved thus to us? Your father and I have been searching for you in anguish.”
- 49. “Why is it that you have been searching for me?” He replied; “did you not know that it is my duty to be engaged upon my Father’s business?”
- 50. But they did not understand the significance of these words. [The Gospel of Luke, Chapter 2]
I am interested in Jesus the child and Jesus the man. It is my contention that were Jesus to return to earth today–with the same message he bore when he walked throughout Palestine two thousand years ago–that he would immediately be vilified and branded a self-hating Jew and anti-Semite (and probably a racist and a Holocaust denier as well).
In a certain, very narrow sense, there would be some merit in this charge, but as is typically the case in these circumstances this ultimately bogus charge would fall under the informal fallacy of logic entitled “half-truth,” a demagogic rhetorical device difficult for your average person, unschooled in logic, to untangle.
True, depending on the Gospel, Jesus is at times contemptuous of Jewish Scribes, Sadducees, Pharisees, and the Jewish High Priesthood in Jerusalem. Also, both true and very significant, the Jewish priestly Establishment only begins in earnest to plot the assassination, by Roman proxy, of Jesus after he threatens their financial livelihood when he throws the money-changers out of the Temple in Jerusalem.
With all this in mind, let us look at some of the salient events in the life of Jesus and look afresh at what he has to teach us today. Try to strip away the generations of politically correct and Establishment sanctified orthodox views of Jesus and see him in the light of his own age, and in ours.
To begin with, was Jesus a Jew? The unthinking reactive Pavlovian response from most people, Jew and Gentile alike, would be, “Of course, he was born of Jewish parents!” Judaism is a racist religion and Jesus has the appropriate racial pedigree to consider himself authentically Jewish–end of story.
But not so fast. In order to be considered a full-fledged Jew–one who could fully participate in Jewish religion and culture—one had to go through the Jewish male rite of passage known today of as Bar Mitzvah.
Only then, after this rite was performed around the age of puberty, could one, for example, read from the Torah, be counted in forming a minyan, possess property, be legally married according to Jewish law, and testify in a rabbinical court. Historically, according to some rabbis, the first documented Bar Mitzvah occurred when Abraham set out a great feast on the day Issac was weaned (Genesis 21:8). Crucial to this evolving Jewish rite of passage process was being interrogated by rabbis in order to test the candidates knowledge of Jewish law and customs.
Most significantly, in the passage from the Gospel of Luke quoted above, we do not have the rabbis interrogating Jesus but just the opposite: Jesus is interrogating the rabbis! Jesus isBar Mitvah’ing the rabbis!
In what would be a proto-Bar Mitzvah ceremony when Jesus was at the appropriate puberty age of 12 to undergo this Jewish rite of passage he, in fact, challenges and tests the rabbis who, under ordinary circumstances, were to challenge and test him!!!
Since Jesus was never properly Bar Mitvah’ed he never becomes a full-fledged member of the Jewish community in spite of the fact that both of this parents are Jewish. Of course someone might here claim that because Jesus was God that it is only right that He teach the rabbis and not they Him, but, as I said, I am interested in Jesus the human boy and man.
Besides, the fact that Jesus as God teaches the rabbis only goes to show the superiority of Jesus’ message of loving inclusiveness (see, for example, the parable of the Good Samaritan where a Jewish Priest ignores an injured Jew lying half-dead on a road only to be saved by a non-Jew, the Good Samaritan. Luke 10: 29-37).
In sum, since Jesus was never Bar Mitzvah’d, he never became a full-fledged member of the Jewish community, and this omission was both conscious, deliberate, and significant.
Now, let us look at a sampling of Jesus’ own words and he chastises and excoriates members of the Jewish community, in particular the Sadducees, Pharisees, Jewish High Priests, and the Sanhedrin (i.e., the full assembly of the elders of Israel, see Acts 5:21).
Jesus said to them [the disciples), “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sad’ducees”….”How is it that you fail to perceive that I did not speak about bread? Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and the Sad’ducess.” Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of the bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sad’ducees. Matthew 16:6 & 11-12.
“For I [Jesus] tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20
Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you, but not what they do; for they preach, but do not practice….
They do all their deeds to be seen by men; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called rabbi by men.” Matthew 23: 1-3 & 5-7.
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you traverse sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.” Matthew 23: 13-15.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of extortion and rapacity. You blind Pharisee!…” Matthew 23: 25-26.
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!….You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” Matthew 23: 29 & 33.
“The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed….”
Luke 9: 22.
SANHEDRIN (a Jewish religious court composed mostly of Sadducees)
Finally, we must not forget–even though most all Christian denominations today try to minimize or cover up this fact, especially at Easter–that the Jewish leadership in Jerusalem deliberately orchestrated the crucifixion and murder of Jesus so that direct blame would not fall on them.
They used the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, as their proxy to author the death of Jesus. Pilate was certainly reluctant to crucify Jesus (see Matthew 27:11 ff.). He recognized that he was being used by the Jewish hierarchy to dispatch Jesus. Pilate went so far as to admit that he found no fault with Jesus.
He would scourge Jesus and even recognize the practice of freeing a condemned murderer during the Passover, but Jews in the audience asked for the murderer Barabbas be freed and not the innocent Jesus. When Pilate hesitated to condemn Jesus to death, Jews in the crowd shouted (dishonestly and hypocritically) “We have no king but Caesar!”
With the Jewish leadership branding Jesus as King of the Jews they placed Pilate in a dilemma: either he free the innocent man Jesus and have it reported to Rome that he behaved with treason by letting a troublesome populist upstart would-be king go free (and thereby jeopardize both his position as well as possibly his life) or he acquiesce to the immoral demands of the Jewish leadership and condemn Jesus to crucifixion, a penalty reserved by the Romans for political dissidents and political rebels. (Stoning would have been the orthodox method employed by Jews to punish and kill religious heretics.)
Of course, as we all know, Pilate admitted he could find no fault with Jesus and washed his hands to symbolically relieve himself of responsibility for condemning Jesus to crucifixion. And, as they say, the rest is history.
One sometime sees the bumper sticker on cars stating “My God is a Jewish Carpenter,” no doubt posted there by persons who flatter themselves as being deferential to Jews and inclusive religious cosmopolitans.
The simple fact of the matter, however, is that if one recognizes Jesus as God a more accurate bumper sticker might better be, “My God is a self-hating Jew and Anti-Semite.” Jesus did express contempt for Jews, not just those in positions of leadership but also the more commonplace Jews who, because of their ethnocentric Jewish morality, would not see or acknowledge the good in non-Jews (again, see the parable of the Good Samaritan, where Samaritans were seen in ancient Palestine as the traditional enemies of Jews).
Curiously, while professed faiths such as Christianity acknowledge the universal brotherhood of humankind Judaism does not. I challenge anyone to cite one–one!–major Jewish holiday that celebrates loving the universal oneness of humanity. Passover does not. Purim does not. Hanukkah does not.
Rosh Hassanah does not. Instead, Judaism is a racist, ethnocentric religion and celebrates a culture of victimization (typically at the hands of non-Jews). The Jewish Old Testament glories in take-no-prisoners genocide and slavery, and its heroes are would-be fratricidal fathers (Abraham), deceitful brothers (Jacob/Israel), and philandering and murderous kings (David). Is this truly the religion Christianity wants to call its brother-in-faith?!!!
Of course all that I have recounted here is forbidden to acknowledge, especially in the politically correct mass Media what with its dominant Jewish moral vocabulary. As Karl Marx, a Jew, astutely noted:
“The ruling ideas are the ideas of the ruling class,” and this is no better exemplified than in the Jewish dominated mass Media which inculcates self-serving parochial values in the hearts and minds of an uncritical and guileless Gentile audience.
Our moral vocabulary in the West is a Jewish moral vocabulary whereby the worst that one can label another person is an anti-Semite because deliberately associated with that loaded pejorative term are the notions of being a racist, an apologist for the mass murder of innocents (i.e., Jews), and, simply put, the epitome of pure evil–or so the purveyors of Media disinformation would have the largely ignorant non-Jewish public believe.