Here's a reminder, don't wait until you're out of time on the last of the 7 stages in life (King Lear) to understand the purpose of life affirming practice : Life's short and in death 'No one get's out of here alive !' Don't sit on a bus for the first time in your 70's with the rest of us and expect deference that you've grown accustomed to whilst you drove your Mercedes for 40 years with that superior air/heir. There's really no escaping being cut to size, eventually !
Jesus may have enraged fellow Jews, some of whom really believed that he wasn't just the son of God but the King of the Jews because of the humiliation he took and his eventual torture and murder on the cross ! Why are you letting yourself be treated as a criminal? Why are you setting a precedent that even the Son of God and King of the Jews was manifesting Jewish ignominy? Why make us a target, a precedent to be betrayed and humiliated in a public exhibition of Jewish self-harm? ...and by a foreign power, the 'Romans'?? 'What does that say about the Jewish struggle against an imperial power ? Jesus would have said 'You can't settle a multi-millenia of anti-semitism by anything other than reason- you get to take all they've got and yet out think, out smart,not just by the moral high-ground but with self and mutual belief 1 Jesus wasn't just affirming the purpose of the chosen people but the smarts of the gentiles too ! As a gentile, I'm glad he had not just faith in the chosen people but in us gentiles too ! I thought we were all meant to have faith in him? But he placed his trust upon all of us!
Jesus was Jewish born and bred and had a trade in joinery who could accept the arrangement and predict that Pontius Pilate would be so intimidated by the angry group of anti-Jesus pro-pharisee Jews to let Jesus be crucified ?? So much for Roman logic !! The great Roman Empire be cowed in.. Judea? Not exactly the home of violence and hatred normally ! But in the chosen people millenia upon millenia of anti-semitism after and before Jesus' death have been persecuted pogrom med, subjected to the Holocaust, denied basic human rights of citizenship, mowed down by the English when the jews collectively honoured King Richard the Lionheart with a gift that others lied and slandered (the first naming of the term 'Holocaust'), why wouldn't the chosen people be also subjected to being publiclly humiliated and murdered like their leader and their Son of God ?? So Jesus was the true King of the Jews as a victim of the chosen people and transcended and self-transformed to make the Romans just another Empire that would sink into the oblivion of time? Might of today leads to the death of tomorrow !
Is this just another gentile misunderstanding history ? !
But what was Jesus' message, if it survived 2 millenia of trauma ? To be a leader-King of being persecuted ? No ! Exactly the opposite, on a secular level, ! He wasn't just a 'love thy neighbour as thyself' leader, but to illustrate that life is tenuous or that our grip on it is limited and largely out of our hands and that even the powerful will inevitably fall yet still rely on the dark side of human foibles and that no one can live on a ration of basic bread alone but need shelter, sustenance and their own private property of their forefathers that is home with human dignity ! The same dignity that in spite of being flogged paraded and then spat at and then crucified that Jesus opened himself to ? Or simply to reveal that everyone (no matter what their station in any epoch) no one escapes the 'judgement of death ' ! Our mortal coil is limited yet people today still think they can chase careers, money, familial success and power so much so that they miss the basic tenet of Jesus' message : Unless you face the fact of life that is more than superficially beautiful, sporadically courageous, ignorant of dependability by the true glory of honour, charity and hope in the knowledge that only half a dozen big players make any dent in human history (Mozart, Bach, Beethoven etc) means that 'You' are not important in human history or natural history, global, universal etc Humans may discover the Universe they'll never own it or truly value it ! 'You' are however free from infamy and fame, you are not irrelevant but tragic, even ridiculous unless you re-join and reconnect ! What? Too preachy or what ! What, now you've 'got to work in some worthy position for 50 years to comprehend ?' No and in part yes ! Sorry about the 21st century of paradox with a 1st century tweak, but that 's for you to 'go figure' !
On a scientific note with a promise of a new life after our biological demise why wouldn't there be something of the mind or spirit etc that transports us or transcends us and in this process can only begin if you realise your common humanity ! Not by the demagoguery of Nietzche's eternal return, but by your escaping that nightmare, especially having to make yourself a 'superman' just to make sense of human limitation ! We should say 'God is dead' because people killed him because they feared that he wasn't trying to cause a revolution in military terms but to expand that small insular mindset to reach beyond rules and human corruption ! But on the cross, he upgraded life and in his death immortalised a passage beyond the materialistic world by rising from the dead ! I mean , did the 1st century Pharisees feel curious too at any stage to see if Jesus was right ? What? Never? Not even as a prophet or leader? Or not even as a morbid fascination with the death of a Jewish sect called 'Christianity ' Was Jesus playing the long game of not today, tomorrow or yesterday in the daily human struggle? Isn't it all too human to doubt, but we are reminded that when we eat this bread and drink this cup'(according to Catholics) we are in the presence of literally and metaphorically of material existence of Jesus? That enables and liberates us to follow him into paradise by making the leap to the wisdom of working hard and to celebrate all of human life, every nook and cranny, all of it to understand why the 'Son of God' did the remarkable thing of trumping all human history and surviving by sustaining his faith in God the Father , the Son and the 'Holy Spirit ,and... us !?! And in human history doesn't every leader leave an inheritance for his people? So, why not the Christian leader ?
Every act is human but every human has the potential to defy and resist the human loop of eternal return and eternal repetition of failure and broken hearts and minds, but Jesus left us our inheritance of his and possibly our self-transformation which we have to earn throughout human history and our reflections on it ! Know thyself ? We can't even get Nietzche out of our contemporary systems, nor our egotistical up-scaling of our self-valuation!! Or perhaps Mr N is the exact launching pad to make that change? Why? How? Our human purpose 'is ' to be fallible , to defy God, to acquire nihilistic pragmatism, to give disproportionate value to what we take??! Peace of tranquillity ? A Roman Villa for Pontius Pilate? or a coastal pad in Spain for hard working professionals who rarely have time to enjoy themselves because they are working so hard to not have to work so hard ?!
If we think we've had it tough, think of a father having to witness his only son being tortured and vilified, hated by a callous conspiracy and paid-off by someone who betrayed the son,??? Imagine you are God the Father knowing the pain you will inflict on your only son and yet be helpless to defend him from hideous brutes of Imperial Romans and locals because you know the endgame !!? You are God eternal and yet you can't lift a finger ! What a distance to fall for God the Father and his only son Jesus !! They rule and yet they are victimised by those pieces of carbon data that they tipped into the tree of evolution to make humanity ???Can you imagine how tempting it must have been to not flex your powers and intervene !!? But can you imagine the pride of God the father of his son , not just that Jesus prevailed and didn't give up, and rose for the dead, but the joy of God the Father as his son delivers a church in your name ? Boundless, overflowing, immense joy !... even if it must still (2 millennia after) hurt every Easter, every year !
And yet Jesus' death gives us life to find a way back from our ego's to enjoy our humanity that celebrates our common individuality and our distinct unique collection of a multifarious way of doing so ! Enduring the hardship of watching us rise and fall continues for God, but 'your life isn't just worthwhile it is everything all of it, and nothing of it should be left that you haven't explored in spite of a General Will to de-individualise or dehumanise, but to rejoice in difference and diversity ! Buddhist teaching has argued that 'if you see Buddha on the road kill him ! That's exactly what the first Christians (who were Jewish) learnt from Jesus' crucifixion and rejoiced in it as a revelation of the 'Good News', so why not us ?
Like Nature, our world is not responding to us but to what we do, unless we learn its spiritual as well as its functional purpose ! We are not the Earth's purpose ! But we could be ! We live, blossom bear fruit and die too, and there is a well known saying that' Death is a part of life', but life is a part of death , just as Jesus' life must be a part of our death too ! Human emancipation must sacrifice both wealth and poverty and we lose someone that only by their loss do we live full lives because of them. But we know God when through his Son, 'death is not final but the end of the beginning , a beginning that has potentially been so full of hardship that the next part is down hill in comparison' ...we can only hope we've lived fully!
But we can aspire to a humanity that evades the cruelty of self-aggrandisement of self-acquisition by devious or meticulous planning not to plan for the 'right provocation !' to enlarge our portfolio etc Of course revenge or violence that is the true disproportionate of all human insatiable undesirables can be ultimately self-destructive ! Revenge beyond the count of grief is not just a part of the agony of human suffering that is defenceless against the revolving door of hate and ignorance, it is whipped-up by cynical politicians desperately trying to cover their backs and launching their cynical agendas in the shadows of prejudice and the cruelty of spinning military strategy when you know you have loaded the dice ! Jesus at least looked history squarely in the face and said and said to authority 'can't you see all human depravity of war against war will mean nothing in 100 years, except a fierce anger swelling in generations of those after the horrors of war from those who lost the most but not those who have forgotten their loss! Who is in pain longer? The man who gets closure or the man who gets to free himself of hate ? Jesus' example, I think, shows' his chosen people' that they are the living proof of both those collective experiences of all humanity , and that is why they are the chosen people to lead the rest of us out of the slavery of savagery in mutual terror' that began on October 7th 2023, and will never end the way that anyone would have hoped,. but will end in the way that everyone feared !!?