Again, “We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him” (Pope Francis, 6/21/14)
“I cannot imagine that even a single Jew who believes in God would have a single thing against Jesus as the Messiah. Should the coming one be Jesus he would be precisely welcomed as any other whom God would designate as the redeemer of the world. If he would only come,” says Jewish theologian, the late Pinchas Lapide. But, I am not so sure that such would be the case.
If a Messiah, whom Israel absolutely knew was the Messiah, proclaimed to Israel a Divine command to put up the sword and to live in total trust of the Father and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, I think, that at best He would receive a “mixed welcome.” Most Jewish men, women and children would exclaim, “Hallelujah!” and would commence in trust (emmunah) to take the necessary actions to incorporate this Way into the fabric of their personal and social lives.
But, there would be a segment of Judaism whose response would not be so celebratory—the Jewish religious, political and economic elites, leaders, rulers and their kept sycophants, most of whom would not have the privileges they have nor be able to maintain what they have without violence and enmity. The most basic of all the privileges they would loose is power, dominative, coercive, violent power over others. The history of human beings driven by the lust for power and the self-satisfying prerogatives it makes available to them is probably the most sordid dimension of the human condition. Men and women so driven will sacrifice anything and anybody that they think stands in the way of their climb up the ladder of power or that they think might pull the power ladder out from under them—even their God or by extension their Messiah. If their God or God’s Messiah cannot be harnessed to support their lust for power or their maintenance of power accumulated, or worse, if their God is a major and irremovable obstacle to their becoming king of the hill and staying king of the hill, then God or God’s Messiah’s supremely exalted place in people’s minds and lives has to be attacked, down-graded, delegitimized, questioned, mocked, denied and if at all possible annihilated.
Every form of lust, of any desire by which a person is consumed, including the lust for power, if fed by the person and/or others, has within it the potential energy to bring the person to calling evil good, to calling falsehood truth and of brining the person to brutally attacking, and if necessary killing, his or her God, and by extension his or her Messiah. Lust, including the lust for power, drives people out of their right minds.
Once that primary spiritual battlefield, the mind, is overrun by lust, “justified” sordid behavior is logically what cascades from the person into human existence to work its corrupting effects, not only for a moment, but for only God knows how long. If God or God’s Messiah is on the side of one’s lust then, “Praise the Lord.” If God or God’s Messiah is opposed to one’s lust then God or God’s chosen His Messiah has to be corrected, bought off or annihilated in mind and in memory. And, if God or God’s Messiah too accurately and too acutely threatens the “justifiability” of pursuing or maintaining one’s particular lust, then what God or God’s Messiah is purposing as an alternative must be quickly taken off the table. If possible it must be removed from circulation without even giving it a try, and placed as far out of view and consciousness as possible by those needing God or God’s chosen Messiah’s moral support for pursuing the lust to which they have handed over their minds, but are unable to acquire.
That it was the Jewish religious, political and economic elites, leaders, rulers of Jerusalem and their kept sycophants, who connived to have Jesus killed, and that it was their cohorts in the local Roman power system who agreed to fulfilled these desires and killed Him, is beyond question. This is just the typical arrangement among members of the power classes; one bloody hand washes the other bloody hand. The ordinary Jewish man or woman either felt positive about Jesus or was indifferent toward Him. That the average Jewish person at the time, let alone the majority of Jewish people at the time, wanted him killed is not in the realm of reasonable possibility from anything the Gospels tell us. That the religious powers-that-be whipped up a small crowd of people during the night and early morning hours to yell “Crucify Him,” in front of Pilate, I think, is also beyond question. Power people, left and right, are masters at organizing and orchestrating small, “spontaneous,” vociferous crowds to do their bidding. So the religious and political powerhouses, who probably had more to lose if than any one else if the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth was the Nonviolent Messiah chosen by God, made the basic decision on whether He and His Way were God’s choice to save Israel. And, to this day it seems that that decision by those few power-males holds uncontested and unexamined sway among most Jewish people.
Lest it be thought that this is a level of darkness to which only the religious and political power people of Jerusalem in the AD 30s could degenerate in the protection and enhancement of their power positions, consider what the religious and political power classes of the institutional Constantinian Churches have done to the One whom they not only proclaim is the Messiah of Israel and Savior of the World, but to the One whom they proclaim is God Incarnate!
-Emmanuel Charles McCarthy (To be continued)