He’s the frontman for the leaders of the church. He’s the fall guy and the reason for anything a church does. But Jesus really isn’t Jesus, he’s some form of you.
Jesus may have been real and walked this earth, but I am pretty sure the Jesus being taught in most churches is a construction of their own imaginations and desires, they are seeing what matches up with their own images.
I know I am right about this – I have had some time over the past week to see a history within America, and in the West, of the changing face of Christianity. I saw the south and north argue over slavery and segregation – and each side represented by their lawyer, Jesus. Also denomination splits in early America into the 1900’s became part of the normal Christian landscape – each with their version of Jesus and what ‘he really meant’. One cannot look at all of this and find a clear picture of Jesus – since it is severely convoluted.
One has to admit the obvious, Jesus is a construct of each denomination’s desires and reflects themselves, not what Jesus actually was and did. This is why someone can justify as a Christian the death of an abortion doctor, because they want it and they can put an excuseable face on their notions, Jesus. Slavery, homophobia, segregation, church splits, anti-Jewish sentiments, and any issue can also be lumped in this category. Jesus ain’t Jewish, Jesus is American that hated communism in the 50’s, felt we needed to mesh politics and religion, cares about prayer in school and the 10 commandments in front of courts, etc. It’s not such a crazy thought to ask ‘who is Jesus’ with all the insanity about who many think he is?
I read the bible. I like Jesus. But Jesus isn’t Western in his mindset or feel when I read him. He is Jewish, from the Middle East, practicing Judaism and upholding Torah and Prophets. He is not a messianic Jew, he is thoroughly a Jew and loving it. He believes in the Shema and One God, that God being His Father – the father of all Israel. Jesus never heard of Christianity nor Paul. Jesus claims were to messiah type ideals within the land of Israel, which did include a concern for Gentiles. Jesus had a mother and brothers and sisters, was not born of a virgin, believed in the idea God was active in humanity, seen a need for ‘renewal’, and functioned like a prophet figure (and should be read with this in mind). Jesus bought into ideas of his time, things that were constructs (influenced) of time amongst Gentiles. In fact, messiah was a theology developed over time when faced by problems outside Judaism and dealing with a more global national identity (ie: exile). In a nutshell, Jesus was a Jew, not a Lutheran, not a Methodist, not a Baptist, not a Catholic, etc.
What hasn’t changed about Jesus is he probably would of been killed today as he was in his own day, by people claiming to know him. I would say he is being crucified daily by churches across the country who use his image to justify their own behaviors, behaviors which mirror nothing about Jesus in scripture. If Jesus does come back, what will be his words for the church? Good intentions sure, but interpretations and structures that seem to betray his every vision. I won’t ‘pretend’ to speak for Jesus on the subject, you decide what your version of Jesus will say.