FAST FOOD: Ninth Helping
Who murdered Jesus?
In the last two FAST FOOD Helpings in response to the above questions I wrote that Jesus was murdered by “a minuscule number of Jews and Romans, spiritually and psychologically disordered as a consequence of the Fall—as are human beings universally in various ways.” In yesterday’s FAST FOOD Helping I identified the “minuscule number of Jews and Romans” as the religious elites, “the upper echelon of a professional religious cabal” in Jerusalem at that time. I also noted that they had the assistance, maybe begrudging assistance, but nevertheless assistance of their elite counterpart in the secular domain, namely, Pilate.
The English scholar of comparative religions, the late S.G.F Brandon, authored some books dedicated to proving that Jesus was a Zealot, a member of a violent revolutionary Jewish group that wanted to remove Rome from Palestine, by whatever method or degree of violence and deceit it required. The preeminent American Catholic Biblical scholar at the time, the late Rev. John L. McKenzie, reviewed Brandon’s works along these lines and concluded, “Brandon has convinced almost none of our colleagues…and despite the paraphernalia of scholarship this is essentially a work of fiction.” I raise this in response to the position, still held by some, that it was primarily Rome that wanted Jesus dead, because He was a violent revolutionary who threatened Rome’s rule in Palestine. But as McKenzie notes, “If Jesus was a violent revolutionary, he was the most inept violent revolutionary known to history.” The fact that only Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane and then not by Roman soldiers but by the armed servant of the High Priest, Caiaphas, is pretty solid evidence that the Romans did not perceive Jesus as a threat and were not plotting to kill Him or interested in killing Him, until after He was turned over to them by the sacral aristocracy of Jerusalem.
But, why did the religious elite, who had all the power, glory, prestige, money and connections with the secular elite that come with being the religious elite, lust to destroy the Nonviolent Jesus, who healed a few people and taught a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies to a few more? What threat did the Nonviolent Jesus pose to the professional holy men of Jerusalem that was so life and death serious, that He had to be done away with? Why were the doors of the dark side of their psyches thrown so completely open over and over again by what the Nonviolent Jesus said and did? Why the ongoing, near compulsive, irrational, red-hot, murderous rage toward a person who had neither arms nor army that could harm them? And why by men whose lives were spent in the domain of religious thought and ritual, indeed, who were the local experts on correct religious thought and ritual? Is there something hidden in a sacral aristocracy qua sacral aristocracy that is being revealed by the murder of Jesus? Something important, of which human beings must become aware, because it is important for the peace and salvation of each human being and for all humanity?