Sunday, January 27, 2008

Jesus' Tomb Found

I caught this on the news (apparently it's fairly old news) and couldn't help commenting. The actual point of my bringing this up is not to debate whether or not this is, in fact, the tomb of Jesus and his family. My point is this: What if it is?

I've never had anything against Jesus. Even if Jesus lived exactly as described in the Bible, do I believe that makes him the son of God? Not necessarily. Would that make him any less of a remarkable person? No. However, what if it turned out that he wasn't crucified? What if he lived out his days as a family man. Would that necessarily debunk the "Passion" of Jesus? I don't think so. Assuming for a moment that that part of the Bible is also true, then someone died on the cross in his place and isn't that still the point of the story? Self-sacrifice for another? What if someone believed in Jesus the man so much so that he stood in for him on the cross? What if this was the original importance of the crucifixion and was later changed by those who wrote the Bible to give the story more "oomph". "Man sacrifices himself through Divine pre-destiny to save us all" would be a better selling point for conversion than "man sacrifices self to save man beloved by most." Those who compiled the Bible (specifically the New Testament) long after the death of Jesus, so what if they were given false information (as opposed to deliberately skewing the facts)? What if you were faced with this as fact, and not merely hypothetical? Would it change how you feel? Or could you have a greater appreciation for Jesus knowing that someone believe in him so much that he laid down his own life so that Jesus could live out his own? What if this man who died in place of Jesus were a terrible sinner? What if this sinner asked Jesus to allow him to do this as penance?

Or what of the family? Say Jesus did die on the cross as written. Does that mean he did not also have a family before doing so? No. For the vast majority of people family is the most important thing to them. Would you begrudge the man who died for your sins a family of his own? How important is it to you that Jesus died a bachelor? If it is, why is it? Wouldn't his death have been more significant if he, too, left behind a son? I think what bothers people most about this scenario is the woman most commonly hypothesized to be his wife. Mary Magdalene. The purported "whore". And so what if she was? Wasn't Jesus' entire message one of peace and forgiveness? If Mary were a whore, wouldn't that make his message more believable since he practiced what he preached? And what if she wasn't? Mary was an exceedingly common name (still is) and there is mounting support for the theory that there were more than 2 Marys in the Bible.

It's odd. For some reason it's so easy for people to believe that Jesus was the incarnation of God, and that's why people were naturally drawn to him, that's why he could perform miracles and that's what gave him the strength to die for 'our' sins. That's what made him special. Why is it so hard to believe that a normal human person would be capable of such acts? Wouldn't that make him easier to follow? I think too many Christians hang on to this because it gives them an excuse for their sins. "I'm only human." No one can strive to be Jesus, because he wasn't human. He was God in human form. Right? What if God came down and told you Himself (or whatever it would take for you to be unable to refute the fact) that Jesus was just a man. Just human. That anyone could strive to be as great a man as he? What then?

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