We must be careful when we speak of Jesus. There are four canonical gospels and they present four different Jesuses. Nevertheless, it is interesting to note, as Chris Keith does in Jesus Against the Scribal Elite: The Origins of the Conflict that Jesus was aware of discrepancies in Israel’s scripture and used such discrepancies to his advantage.
In light of Torah’s significance for first-century Judaism, it can hardly be a surprise that Jesus and the scribal elite often argue over Moses and the law in the Gospels. For example, in Mark 10:2, the Pharisees ask Jesus if divorce is legal. Jesus asks in response, “What did Moses command yo?” He then exploits a discrepancy from within the law. According to Deuteronomy 24:1-4, divorces is legal, but according to Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, which Jesus cites in Mark 10:6-8, man and woman are joined in such a fashion that divorce is prohibited. In the Matthean parallel of this text (Matthew 19:3-010), Jesus answers straight from Genesis 1:27 and 2:24, with the Pharisees asking about the Mosaic exceptions inDeuteronomy 24:1-4 (Matthew 19:7).
The main task of liberal Christianity is to love the world as God loves the world, however, part of our mission also is to point out discrepancies within scripture to keep the Christians honest about the nature of the church’s book and the complexity of the interpretation.
The author of Ecclesiastes was not the most optimistic chap on the block. The author of Ecclesiastes wrote:
The words of the Teacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
2 Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
3 What do people gain from all the toil
at which they toil under the sun? (1:1-3)
I’m not willing to say all is vanity but I have (in a fun way) informed my wife that she has a bleak future. After I die, one day she will end up in a nursing home and, not having me to assist her, will not be able to find the remote. She will be yelling, “Where’s the remote? Where’s the remote? Somebody get in here and help me find a remote!”
Have you ever been in an assisted living center and heard a senior (out of their mind) yelling for help? If so, that’s the scenario I have in my mind. My wife is of sound mind now but when the remote can’t be located she – she is not happy. I can only imagine her at 95.
Let us remember that life is hard and life is stressful. At a minimum, let us try not to make life more difficult or stressful for people. Hopefully, like Jesus we can participate in the healing of people and the easing of their burdens. And, by all means, we can help the love of our life find the remote until we breathe our last.