An image is circulating the net depicting a contrast between a white-washed Jesus and a middle-eastern, possibly East Indian-looking Jesus. Under each image, there is a list of items or dogmas that each Internet Jesus supposedly promotes. I believe these images are set up to give our modern technologically advanced and literarily duncified generation a better understanding of the historical Christ whose image and persona have been distorted by a Eurocentric version of the Jewish resurrectionist over time.
Today, I would like to list and better explain and critique these problematic ideas so that there is no confusion or misrepresentation of the Savior revealed in the pages of scripture.
Now, this is a given. Jesus was not white as we understand the term today and possibly as the term was understood then. He was not caucasian as one who belongs to the nations above the Caucasus mountain area. He was not European. He was born in Bethlehem, a small town belonging to the nation-state of Judah located in modern-day Israel-Palestine.
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.” Luke 2:1-7
It sounds like the creator of this list didn’t understand what he was writing about. The term Christian means someone who follows Christ. Christ-following himself seems redundant. Christians are mini-Christ’s. Disciples, students, followers of Jesus. This one proves to be way too redundant and unnecessary a claim.
“And when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.” Acts 11:26
Now when we think of patriotic our mind either goes to Mel Gibson or paintings of George Washington on a boat or something. Perhaps, we imagine American bald eagles hovering about, F-16 jets flying over football stadiums, American flags waving to and fro, and so forth. No. That’s idolatry. Jesus was not idolatrous. He honored his nation-state because He instituted it thousands of years before in the patriarch Abraham. Jesus followed the customs of his religious state to the point where no one could accuse him of being anti-Jewish or anti-statist. Mind you, a good Jew was a Jew who followed the civil, moral, cultural, and religious laws of the Jewish state. Jesus was very much the perfect citizen. (note: there’s a difference between being patriotic and being a nationalist.)
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17
Justice Through Retribution
I’m not so sure what this means. Justice means doing the right thing or being right within. Retribution means giving back. Jesus, as mentioned above, was no lawbreaker nor was he immoral. I believe this dogma wants to portray the idea that Jesus might’ve been an antinomian cleric, a ruleless derelict, whose purpose was to allow wrongs to go on being wrong. He not only supported retribution but those who came into contact with him were either convicted of their morally problematic lives or outright ignored his call for setting things right.
“But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, ‘Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount.’” Luke 18:8
Died For Your Sins
Wow. Now if this isn’t a misunderstanding of the biblical Christ I don’t know what is. Listen, I will quote one of the most known verses in all of biblical literature. Get ready for this one.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
And this one:
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16
And this one as well:
“ But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
Sends Sinners To Hell
No other person in the Bible spoke more about damnation and hell than Jesus. But I believe the author of this Internet Jesus Phenomenon is not very well versed in biblical literature. Let us first determine why ‘hell’ or judgment in the afterlife was instituted in the first place.
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25:41
Jesus explains to his disciples whilst standing outside the Jewish temple in Jerusalem, not long before his eventual death, that ‘hell’ is a place of God’s justice against fallen and villainous spirits. People who join these fallen spirits in this judgment are people who deny Christ’s call for purification of their souls from sin.
Silent In The Face of Oppression
This is misleading. We all understand that Europe sought to use Christianity to conquer the world (i.e., crusades and the doctrine of discovery). I do agree to an extent with the idea that the biblical Christ was misconstrued to support many forms of abuse and neglect, violence, and death. But later, when European and Colonial Christians came to their senses, they used the same scripture to abolish these institutions. This is a slippery slope argument on the use of Christ on the subject of oppression. It requires a more in-depth study of scripture and understanding of Christ.
No brainer. This point illustrates a world where sin goes unpunished and that it is better for God to recant His holy character to allow sinful people to go without justice. That isn’t justice. That’s antinomianism. That’s anarchy. Lawlessness. But, to better understand the dogma I will cite this:
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” John 2:17-21
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23
“For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23
“As Scripture says, ‘Anyone who believes in him will never be put to shame.’ For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” Romans 10:11-13
We’re all already condemned. Can’t sentence a man on death row to death twice.
Endorses Church and State
So, this one is misleading as well. Jesus, again, was not an anarchist. He was not even an insurrectionist zealot. He lived according to the Jewish customs and laws, never breaking one of them. Christians believe Jesus is God incarnate and God is the creator of laws. Mind you, God instituted the Jewish state which functioned first through a theocratic system and later through a theocratic monarch in King’s Saul, David, Solomon, and so forth. Christ, God in the flesh, is very much in favor of rulership where people in civic leadership are in tune with their Creator.
The problem is that in the Old Testament, pre-incarnation, flawed men ruled in theocratic governments. In the New Testament, post-incarnation, flawed men still ruled in the same, but the issue here isn’t church/state clauses but who is in control. Christ promises a coming Kingdom where He is the King and Ruler of all things. Only God can govern and rule righteously because only He is Righteous enough to properly weigh the scales of power and oppression.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:1-7
There’s a difference between a Christ-run state and a religious man or woman-run state.
Really? The word Christ is Greek for Anointed One, whereas the ancient writ and people called this coming King Messiah, which also means Anointed One. This ‘anointing’ only took place when crowning a new king. I mean, the whole of the book of Zachariah speaks on this.
“Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion!
Shout, Daughter Jerusalem!
See, your king comes to you,
righteous and victorious,
lowly and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zachariah 9:9
“God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords” 1 Timothy 6:15
Lest we forget, when Christ was crucified the Romans wanted to mock him and the bitter Jews surrounding the cross by slapping a sign over Jesus’s head that read:
“Above his head they placed the written charge against him: this is Jesus, the king of the jews.” Matthew 27:37
I mean, a bit of reading surrounding Jesus and the Roman Prefect who sentenced him to death by crucifixion, Pontius Pilate would be enlightening enough:
“Then Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:33-38
Again, Jesus is King but Europe and Colonial America(s) distorted His coming kingdom for a temporal one here on earth through which they could destroy others.
Upholds Tradition Family Unit
Again, a faulty understanding of scripture leads to this faulty assertation. Jesus is God incarnate. God relays to us what a “traditional family unit” is and why. In the Old Testament, a family was made up of fathers, mothers, children, aunts and uncles, grandparents, cousins, which, put together, formed communities. Jesus was born into such communities and never called them into question but spoke against the distortion of such.
“He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two but one flesh.” 19:4-5
Christ is in no rush to deconstruct the family but to promote a healthier understanding and example of it in His own life and sacrifice for His people.
Endorses Holy War
Again, the European crusades were in direct contradiction to the teachings of Christ. European Christians had come to such numbers that they influenced Roman will and power, later making themselves rulers of the Roman empire. This deadly union (man-run church/state) led to horrendous crimes committed by the church. I agree that a European-centric exceptionalist christ (small ‘c’) is not Christ at all but imperialism under the guise of Christian virtues.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of The Case Against the Internet Jesus….
Featured Image found on the Internet.