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Investigating Jesus/Yeshua

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This week, Round Table has Report No 3 from Palestine, a colony in the Roman Empire. Our (fictional) reporter there covered the execution of the man from Galilee, Yeshua and his followers’ meeting with him after he had died. The report today is a search and a probe to find out where this Galilean leader came from. What gave him his God consciousness, his class character and his compassion and courage? Was he born so? As our reporter put it: To understand Calvary, you must study Yeshua, and to study Yeshua you yourself must get in between God’s people and empire.{{more}}

THE BACKGROUND

OF YESHUA

It seems that even in his youth, the boy Yeshua was quite “power conscious.” The tradesman home he lived in was a poor home. The family had lost its title to land and had to get a living by tradework. Even fellow villagers used to look down on “Joseph’s boy and his siblings” (Luke 4:22 et al). Discrimination was in his face. It was also in the spirit of his people. The Hebrew people felt bigger than any other people, because they had monopoly ownership of the One and Only God and Emperor. They were special. And yet during the 1500 years or so before Yeshua, when they came together as a community, they had only about 200 years as an independent nation. Some of their proudest moments were under their king, David. Otherwise they were colonies, and other forms of tribal and tribute politics. Political and religious domination therefore was like their diet for centuries. In this context Yeshua’s people developed a culture of lament, yearning for God’s liberation, actual patriotic, anti imperial war, and spiritual, intellectual retreat from material and political things.
 
The hurt of domination, the hope for liberation and a heart searching, longing to be God’s servant for his people’s sake were part of the social formation of faith in Yeshua. This conscious child once stayed away from his family and friends for days and reportedly told them “…Don’t you know I am looking into my Father’s affairs.” (Luke 2:49) This young Yeshua, who would be executed on a Roman cross, saw many examples of the cruelty that the Roman colonisers heaped on his people. He heard quiet stories of the rebellion of his people against the authorities of Greek and other foreign empires, and he knew that God, the King of Kings, the Emperor of Emperors was a different kind of Emperor. He felt the call to establish a different kind of rule, employing a different kind of official and servant, embodying a spirituality of love and mutual respect and dedication – an empire of God’s people. In a sense, Yeshua was a normal, respectful and sensitive child who may not have been too different from his peers. The report in Luke’s gospel (Luke 2:51) put it this way – in Jamaican language.

Referring to his parents: “im du writing dem tel im fidu”

Reporting on his person: “Jiizas gruo op big. Im did brait an av not sens.”

On his social and spiritual formation: “God did api wid

wa im a du an di piipl dem did api tu.”

There is something autonomous about the background of this Yeshua whom they scandalised. He evidently did not drop down from the sky as a saviour, but grew up with his feet on the ground, his hand passing the nails, washing his face, feet and hands in the morning – no angels did that for him. Friends and family and synagogue/church were his routine; hurt and happiness shaped him; and deprivation and domination surrounded him. Obviously these things were integrated into his personality and his conversation with God, and God’s bonding with him in his consciousness. He would later tell his villagers these words from Hebrew prophets. “God’s Spirit has come to me, because he has chosen me to tell the good news to the poor…” His call is anti or trans imperial. As we continue to investigate Yeshua in our next report, I want to probe how he looks at “the poor,” God’s people, and the Empire’s agents.

Any question or comments, contact cogosop@gmail.com.

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