Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus' lips. (John 19:28)
Why did Jesus say he was thirsty?Jesus said this as his body was in agony, gruesomely nailed to a cross. Jesus said this because he truly was suffering. He was thirsty after having been hung on the cross for hours.
Jesus called out with a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." When he had said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)
Jesus' physical body died when he "breathed his last." Once a body "breathes his last" the physical body dies and the spirit-person leaves the body.
This is literally the death of the physical body.
But until that moment, Jesus underwent a grotesque six-hour-long torture.
This is truly the lowest point of humanity. Yet this very murder of Jesus' body at the hands of men is proclaimed by many teachers as payment for our sins.
Sorry, but Jesus did not die for our sins. We still must bear the consequences of our actions. Without consequences, there is no learning experience. Consequences are part of our learning experience in the physical world.
Did Jesus die?No. Jesus never died.
Yes, Jesus' physical body was gruesomely tortured. And yes, his body suffered greatly at the hands of the institutional temple rabbis and Romans.
And yes, Jesus' physical body - though spiritualized from his relationship with God and thus not to be compared with our physical bodies - was murdered. But Jesus continued to live. Jesus never died. Only Jesus' physical body died.
It was murdered. This was a crime against God and a crime against the very relationship between Jesus and the Supreme Being. Jesus used this physical body in order to serve the Supreme Being. It was part of his relationship with God, and thus its harm by those responsible is a grave offense against both God and every person truly devoted to the Supreme Being.
So in what sense should this demoniac offense against God and God's representative, and the murder of his body be proclaimed as a vehicle for our self-centered blessed salvation?
Are we to rejoice as many rejoice over the torture and murder of Jesus' physical body, in order to be freed from the responsibility of our self-centered activities? Are we to consider this day that Jesus was gruesomely tortured, "Good Friday?"
Are we to wipe our sins upon Jesus' body and take advantage of his being tortured for hours and put to death on a cross as if he is some kind of doormat?
Is this what loving Jesus means?Is this service to Jesus? Or service to God? Is this love at all?
This is simply a grotesque form of usury - that we should somehow be the happy benefactors of someone else's suffering. As if Jesus suffered so we don't have to suffer the consequences of our sinfulness any longer.
Many of these same institutions who teach this also proclaim that Jesus is God. As if God died on the cross? God died?
As if God had to descend to the earth in order to sacrifice Himself so that we don't have to suffer the consequences of our activities?
This is a nonsensical doctrine. Yes, it might be an attractive doctrine for those who want an easy path to salvation.
Is this doctrine fanaticism?The doctrine that Jesus' persecution removes the consequences of our actions is a fanatical teaching. This teaching began with the teachings of Paul - who was not a student of Jesus. Someone who claimed to be an apostle of Jesus but only had a supposed "vision" of Jesus - a vision that was not even a vision because it was only supposedly a light and a voice.
“See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.”(John 5:14)
If Jesus' persecution would cleanse all sins, then he would have simply told the man to wait until his crucifixion and he would be saved. But he didn't because he never taught this doctrine.
Those who claim Jesus' crucifixion cleanses their sins - or driving out demons and so forth - are essentially saying "Lord, Lord" (Matthew 7:21) without doing the work to change. Doing God's will means having a change of heart, from doing my will (self-centeredness) to doing someone else's will (God's).
Over the centuries, this same institution has maimed, tortured and imprisoned many, and wiped out entire cultures in the name of this so-called mission to save people in the name of Jesus' crucifixion.
Why did the Romans take over Christianity?
Yes. The Roman government, in cooperation with an institutional temple chief priest, tortured and murdered Jesus, who came to teach us to love God and love others.
Then centuries later, that same Roman government pushed a doctrine that essentially used this very persecution of Jesus to create a false teaching that Jesus' died for our sins.
Yes, this is an institution responsible for the torture and murders of millions of people over the centuries in order to enforce that doctrine.
Certainly, this isn't the only fanatical religious institution that has murdered and tortured people. There are certainly others, other fanatical religious groups that have become what are now identified as terrorist organizations. These are also religious fanatics who have no business trying to teach us about God, who is loving and merciful.
But isn't it ironic that the very empire involved in the murder of Jesus' body then established a religious philosophy that turns around that very same murder into our saving grace? An Empire also responsible for murdering several of Jesus' disciples as well?
Of course it is ironic. Because both activities had the same purpose: Power. Authority.
First Paul persecuted Jesus' followers on behalf of Rome because this put him into a position of power. But the power of having many followers - well that is on another level. That is even greater power and authority.
And the temple high priest - who wanted to maintain power and authority over others in the form of maintaining his title as chief priest (a title that Jesus' teachings threatened) - pushed Pilate's buttons, making him fear that the Jews would get "out of control." So he sentenced Jesus to be tortured and his body murdered.
Then for the next two centuries, the Romans slaughtered hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of Jews and Christians after Jesus left the planet. The Roman government even hired spies (such as Paul) to watch early Christians - and look for excuses to kill them.
Then a few centuries later this same Roman government decides that because the people have been following Jesus' teachings and the religion is growing - that they better get in on this before they lose power.
So now we want to believe that this same murderous Roman Empire took over Christianity for some lofty reason? As though Constantine - one of the most murderous Roman emperors - suddenly had a change of heart and decided he wanted to follow Jesus' teachings?
If he had a change of heart why didn't he follow Jesus' teachings? Why didn't he allow those who were in the teaching succession from Jesus' true disciples to continue to spread his teachings?
Is this a radical theory?No. Nearly every scholar and historian have accepted this history. It is documented in Roman history.
Yet despite this clear history, most institutions today that claim to be Christian have inherited the very same Nicene Creed and other doctrines developed and (violently) enforced by the Roman government and the Roman Catholic institution for over 10 centuries.
Yes, there have truly been those who have sought to change these organizations from their power-hungry ambitions. And we can certainly give these folks credit for trying to change these institutions "from within."
But the big issue - the issue presented here - is that this power-hungry institution and its lineage of power-brokers manipulated Jesus' teachings. They may have retained a few of the sayings of Jesus within the Biblical texts (God made sure of that) - but they manipulated the texts through transcription, translation, and interpretation in such a way that presents an altogether false picture of Jesus' life and teachings.
And this is what is being put forth by these institutions: manipulated jargon that makes no practical or real sense - far removed from Jesus' teachings.
This includes the notion of bathing in the blood of Jesus. And the nonsense that after we die we will lie in our graves in some purgatory state until Jesus comes riding through the sky and takes us all to heaven - as long as we joined their church and pledged that we are saved - regardless of whether we followed his teachings. Jesus spoke specifically about this:
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" (Matt. 7:21-23)
Is God an old man with white hair?Even the concept of heaven - as mentioned here - is misinterpreted by these institutions. According to their teachings, heaven is a bunch of clouds with white-haired people sitting around playing harps.
Still other institutions have depicted heaven as people relaxing in their lawn chairs enjoying life sipping lemonade in the shade with God nowhere in sight.
These teachings have nothing to do with what Jesus taught. They have nothing to do with love of God and serving God - the essence of Jesus' teachings.
Just consider the meaning of Jesus' primary teaching:
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment." (Matt. 22:37-38)What does wanting to have Jesus die for my sins to be saved have to do with "love the Lord your God with all your heart"?
What does not wanting to go to hell have to do with loving God?
Those goals - not wanting to go to hell and wanting Jesus to die for my sins - are not founded upon love at all.
They are founded upon self-centeredness. Greed. What is good for me.
Can Jesus save us then?Yes. Jesus' life and teachings can save us. If we learn them.
Jesus, in fact, went to hell - in order to serve God. He came down to this hellish place - yes, sorry but this is hell - because he loved God and loved us. Because of this love, he came here and was subjected to torture by demons - in order to teach us, and serve the One he loved.
Jesus, in fact, didn't care about himself at all. In fact, the day before he was to be persecuted, he prayed to God:
“Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for You. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what You will.” (Mark 14:36)Jesus didn't care about whether he would be saved or not. He didn't care about whether he wouldn't have to suffer for his sins. He was willing to do whatever pleased the Supreme Being. Even if it meant his body being tortured and gruesomely murdered.
Following Jesus means understanding his mission and motives. Jesus allowed his physical body to be murdered because he was loving us and loving God. He was wanting, at all costs, to please the Supreme Being and show each of us that what he taught (love of God) was worth dying for.
Jesus didn't die for our sins: He gave his physical body - spiritualized due to his relationship with the Supreme Being - in order to stand up for his teachings: His service to the Supreme Being and his love for God.
And if we learn this lesson, and strive to follow Jesus by worshiping God, coming to know and love the Supreme Being, and loving others and trying to please God with our lives - then yes, we will be saved.
What do we really need to achieve? We need a best friend. Someone who will love us for who we are. Someone who will care for us always. Someone we can share our lives with - our Soulmate. Someone we can give our lives to. Someone we can love and work to please. This is what we really need - or rather, who we need.
This is the Supreme Being - whom Jesus came to teach us about, and ultimately save us.