Thursday 18 February 2010

Politiking Jesus

Have been trying to prepare a seminar for Church History but my mind (and hands and eyes) keep drifting back to some classic Yoder, The Politics of Jesus. In particular his sparse exegesis of Luke's gospel. A community focused reading of the gospel that challenges assumptions.

I'm currently thinking through what Yoder has to say about the arrest, prosecution and execution of Jesus. In the evangelical circles in which my life and faith have lingered I've been relentlessly taught that the arrest, prosecution, trial and execution of Jesus was illegitimate and that as he was without sin, it must surely be unjust for him to be arrested.

It seems, if my tired brain gets this, that Yoder makes a different point. That Jesus was indeed without sin, but that his arrest could be legitimised by the Roman and religious leaders. Yoder's exegesis continually plucks out elements of the gospel narrative and extracts from them points that from the Roman view of the time could well have been seditious or incendiary; in total amassing to political insurrection.

Indeed I'll not read the cleansing of the temple in the same light again, the weight of the events in the eyes of the society leave a lasting mark. Nor will I look at Pilate's advocacy for the freeing of Jesus in the same way!

(p.s. not sure of the blogging etiquette regarding references to books, but basically the first 60 pages should do it!)

1 comment:

Stino said...

I would think a VERY strong argument could be made for Jesus' arrest being legitimate in the eyes of the Jewish Authorities. Temple clearing, blasphemous claims and a long, tense relationship with authority would have seen to that.
Not so sure that the Romans would have a strong case, but I think that films like Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ really help with the understanding that keeping the peace was very important. Think what you'd do with a few hundred Roman Soldiers against an uprising in the city...
Helpful insight though!