|Did Jesus die that we might stay in the closet?|
Luke 18:38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.
Easter and Resurrection Sunday is over. The stone has been rolled away. What does it mean to us?
For some Christians, the crucifixion was a State santioned event to perpertuate the status quo. Yet, Jesus didn't challenge the state ie the Romans of their power. At the core of it was wealth and the collection of taxes to oppress the Jews. Yet, Jesus didn't call for any witholding of the taxes to the dismay of his supporters even though the taxes were oppressive because it paid for the Roman Army to subjugate the land.
In order to claim that the Romans killed Jesus to perpetuate the status quo would have meant that they killed Jesus because He was directly challenging the Roman state. But the bible narrative clearly indicated that the Roman authorities although violent and cruel as they were, was having difficulty to justify why Jesus should be put to death.
In fact, the head of the State, Pontius Pilate criticised the people of faith who brought the charges against Jesus in Luke 23 stating "I find no case against Him". What did the leaders of the people of faith brought against Jesus in Luke 23:1-2:-
1. He perverts the nation
2. He was the head of an anti-tax movement
3. He claims Himself to be King, to be Christ, to be the Messiah
Although strictly the crucifixion was a state santioned event, but it was essentially driven by the religious common masses. In John 19:15-16, it was the mob that called for violence and blood, declaring "Away with Him,... Crucify Him" for which Pilate, the head of the state declared His repulsion with the query "Shall I crucify your King". The religious leaders wanted the Romans to have blood on their hands by killing Jesus for them, thus getting rid of the torn in their flesh.
At the crucifixion, the Roman State then declared in John 19:21-23 that Jesus was "The King of the Jews", an ironic recognition that Jesus was their Saviour and Messiah. In other words, it was the people of faith that had killed Jesus because His claim that He was God and not because Jesus was particularly against the status quo of the State. Essentially, Rome was declaring Jesus as God whereas the Jews rejected their own.
Why the need to blame the Romans, because we live in a very real and hurting world where we frame everything in terms of power structures - the rich versus the poor, the "have not's" versus the have's when Jesus did not change the world system upside down but included a spiritual element, whether we are in the Kingdom of God, or outside the Kingdom of God. Even if we could bring down the power structures, nothing would change, because the problem lies within us - in our corrupt hearts devoid of love, grace and mercy always seeking a self righteousness from our own works. We need Christ, we need a Saviour for the Divine is not within us.
Mat 27:24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”
Jesus was killed because of religion. He claimed He was God and so the religious leaders drummed up the animosity against Jesus so that the masses who were largely poor peaseants rose up and killed Jesus. It was the religious humanity that killed Jesus, not the rich and the powerful. The State was a reluctant participant and washed their hands of any blame. So much about people of faith being about love.
Why are we so eager to blame the Roman state, because we wanted to read into the bible that Jesus was our Liberation Messiah whom they killed because He stood up for justice and equality of the common masses against the rich and the powerful, when in essence it was the common humanity whom Jesus loved and ministered to who killed Him. He died by the hands of His own people whom He had loved, and ministered to. It is we who killed Jesus because of our religious self righteousness.
Jesus was very frustrating to understand. He didn't fit the notion of the Messiah for the Christian left who wanted Him to bring down the power structures of the rich, and He also didn't fit the picture of the Christian Right where Jesus is the Liberating Messiah against the Romans to usher in the Kingdom of God to destory those coming against God. There was no army, no activism, just the message of the Gospel of God coming into our hearts. Jesus wanted to meet us at the heart level, and not at our intellectual minds or our religion of works/laws.
The most frustrating thing that Jesus did, was taking away the stone, leaving it empty and then being no where to be found. The religious people of faith have the tomb of their "saviours" as a focal point of worship. We revere statues and monuments, and the tombs of saints even the alleged small fragments of their remains. Jesus left nothing, He just dissapeared with no lasting legacy of long religious text of do/don't except the Gospel message of faith that He came to die for us, and that if we believe in Him and His death for our sins, we shall likewise "dissapear" and be with Him in heaven one day to come.
Jesus also left the status quo intact. The Romans were still there. The religious powers still in control. Nothing seemed to have changed - it seems but the disciples had changed because of the resurrection because death and fear now no longer has a mortal hold on them because the resurrection confirmed Jesus as God and Lord, and one day they too will return to Him in heaven. There is no fear for Jesus has conquered death itself.
As I left the church service thinking about the stone being rolled away, Jesus was free at last. Am I free, am I free to be who God created me as - a Gay Christian. It doesn't matter if I don't change anything, as long as I am changed inside. The difficulty was not Jesus coming out of the tomb, but us going inside the tomb to visit Jesus. For the women visited Jesus and found the angel because they have had a close fond relationship with Jesus and wanted to do the right thing to give Him a proper burial. They loved Jesus even when Hope was gone and lost. Yet in their death of their vision and future, they still abide by their love relationship with Jesus.
It is love that at the end will abide, our love for Jesus, our communion with Him that will not pass away. For we have already been resurrected in Christ in the spirit, our sins forgiven, judgement received at the Cross of Calvary. Let us enjoy Christ, for He hasn't gone missing but in each of our hearts, through the Holy Spirit of God if we are indeed of Christ. We walk without fear for God is with us. Let us come out of the closet, for we cannot change the world and the world religious system against gays if we don't die and be resurrected and come out of the closet.