Once Upon a Time in Israel…

As I have said before, there is a remarkable difference between what people say about the Bible and what the Bible actually says.  Because of that, the story I am about to tell you may sound a little shocking. It will especially sound shocking if you have been getting most of your theology from the comments on YouTube. My generation traded going to church for watching the Simpsons, and still somehow feel that they know as much about the Bible and the history of the church as they would have, had they studied for the priesthood. We decided that the Pope will lie to cover his tracks, but Homer Simpson we can trust. We also realized, by seeing how unwilling Reverend Lovejoy was to acknowledge his own daughter’s thieving, that the church is mainly corrupted, self serving hypocrites. Also, we decided that anyone who really BELIEVES all of this Jesus stuff is just like the Flanders family, and those people are just meant to be mocked and pitied. Everything we need to know about Christianity, we learned from television. Everything but the truth that is.

And so to fill in that gap, I now present the true story of Jesus and his church, part I:

ONCE UPON A TIME (in Israel)…

A carpenter fell in love with a girl, and they were promised to be married. But before they were wed, she was found to be with child. “Woah!” said the carpenter, “That isn’t MY child you’re with! Whose child is it?” And the girl answered, “The child has no human father, but is the Son of God.”

Now, had these been Greeks or Romans, then Carpenter might have cursed Zeus under his breath and then went on with his day. Most likely they would have sold the rights to the theater district, as they were always looking for a good dramatic tragedy. But Mary and Joseph were Jews. When she said the child was the Son of God, she meant the God of the Jews. That is a different story altogether. This wasn’t just some demi-god resulting from some god/mortal mixer. This was THE GOD in the form of a real human. As the prophet Isaiah had written hundreds of years before, “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

Before I continue, let me deal with a little misconception often brought up by our Muslim friends: The VIRGIN had conceived a child. Mary did not wind up pregnant with the Son of God as had the various mistresses of Zeus (Kids, ask your parents for details!). Mary was still a virgin when the baby was born. Thus why she is called the Virgin Queen. Oh, wait- that was Elizabeth the first. Well, you get my point.

Here’s the real shocking part of Christmas- God had come to his people. Not as a vision, or a cloud of thunder, or the words of a prophet, but as one of his people. The first time God promises to do this is in the garden of Eden. Adam and Eve have sinned, but before He evicts them, God says, “I’m going to fix this. Your salvation will be a man born of woman.” Four thousand years and hundreds of other prophecies later, God is born to a woman, the new bride of a blue collar worker, in a tiny town. Her husband had a little trouble with this story until an Angel showed up and told him that her story was legit. A visit from an Angel has the ability to clear things up now and then.

The prophecies tell us his mother would be a virgin, which you have to admit is unusual. It tells us what family lines his parents would come from. They tell us where he would be born, when he would be born, what recent changes in government would preceded his birth, his divinity, his mission, his miracles, his death by crucifixion, and his resurrection from death. The prophecies are sometimes a little hazy, but sometimes so specific that it would be easy to think they were written AFTER his life if not for the fact that we have copies which were written hundreds of years before his birth. Just read Isaiah 53 and see if you can miss the obvious references to the passion of the Christ.

The boy was called Jesus, and he lived, as far as we know, a fairly normal life. The only thing that we’re told which makes him dramatically different than other boys is that, when he was twelve years old, he was obedient to his parents. THAT’s weird.

Jesus knew who he was. If you read the Bible, he identifies himself as a Jew, and as the God of the Jews. Over and over he says “I and the Father (God) are one.” “He who has seen me has seen the father,” “Before Abraham was, I AM.” Even his nickname for himself, “The Son of Man,” is a reference to a heavenly vision of the divine ruler who, to the prophet who wrote it down, looked as a Son of Man. When he is finally put on trial for blasphemy (Claiming to be God) he tells the Jews and the Gentiles that, yes, what they say is right, he is God. Modern writers seem to have forgotten that Jesus knew he was God, but Jesus never had to wonder. He knew, and his parents knew, and his disciples knew. And if we read the bible as much as we comment about it, we’d know it too.

The first thing you need to know about the true story of Jesus is, Jesus knew who he was. He told everyone that he was the unique son of God whose sacrificial death would be the atoning sacrifice to pay for our sins and make us right with God. He wasn’t just A God, he was the God of the Jews. When the Christmas story and all the lovely, traditional songs that tell it are pondered, you find that the bloggers and you tubers have nothing on the Bible for good reading. In this case the truth really is stranger (plus a lot more joyful and triumphant) than fiction.


About rentafriend2000
Rocking my 40's with a heart full of love and muffins, science and technology. Jesus loves me and wants me to totally rock! And I am here to help.

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