THE LIFE AND TIMES OF JESUS AND HIS FRIENDS
Posted by vjtesoro
Recent controversial statements were made by some unknown historians attributing a statement made by Jesus of Nazareth introducing a woman among his disciples as “my wife.” Although there were no ancient texts nor evangelical truism that would point at the marital status of Jesus, the claim met a considerable number of raised eyebrows among the conservatives. As we all know, the conservatives would instantly believe anything from life in the moon and celestial living things in Mars even if science would disclose that there is nothing in the moon and Mars resembling that of life similar to earth.
What is clear and even realistic is the fact that Jesus, in his shortened life of 33, devoted himself within the embrace of a few disciples he called friends. He even proclaimed that “Greater love has no one than this that someone lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
His public ministry consisting of three years were a period he chose to live with his handful of friends. He espoused peace. He taught love. He preached humility. Along with his friends, they moved from one community to the other bearing acts of kindness and compassion. Worst, he was doing this at a time when hundreds of preachers and street magicians were also doing the same things on the roads of Galilee right at the very nose of Roman authorities who were at that moment in charge of Jerusalem.
Rebellion then was punishable by death. Romans could not contain anyone espousing rebellious deeds at a time when they want the people their subservience and absolute obedience. Most firebrands and rebels during that period time tried to hide their revolutionary streaks and plans through the language of religion. They wanted separation from the brutal and highly disciplined Roman regime.
The only space available for Jewish leaders under Roman tutelage was through lines conducted along spiritual formation and advocacies. However, in another dimension of Jewish governance, anything that would contradict religious doctrines its High Priests was reported to Roman authorities, charges filed and instantly, penalty was imposed.
This was also the period of Jesus’ active community based ministry. Unlike the multitude of preachers with their respective fanatical followers, Jesus was conducting his discourse in a subdued manner along with his chosen friends. While most of his friends would disagree on his pacific insinuations, like “If someone slaps you on one cheek, offer the other cheek also. If someone demands your coat, offer your shirt also.” (Luke 6:29), they would also subscribe and clinch on the same doctrine.
He would even dictate how his friends should bear the brunt of his ministry with the statement, “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.” (Luke 6:37)
Their ministry collided with other preachers and the competition was stiff. The field offered rivalries in terms of recruiting people to their side. Jesus and his friends would find themselves nearly at crossroads with other insurgents and dissenters. Jesus would be quick to dismiss these people and would implore his friends to “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.” (Luke 6:27)
Jesus and his friends would easily attract crowds but his words could only reverberate with trepidation among his circle. He would proclaim, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
As expected and with such doctrine of peace and amity, his friends expected that the ruling priests in their country would one day be slighted and would charge them for misleading the flock. As the hour of reckoning came, Roman authorities cracked down on their mission. Jesus’ friends, self proclaimed disciplines of his teachings, scampered away as soon as they saw a Roman contingent about to arrest them. Friendship instantly evaporated that instance.
It was only when their ministry found no fountainhead that they missed the routine of teaching that Jesus’ friends finally realized their defeat. It was the loss of their anchor that Jesus’ friends began to revive the principles of love and concern that built their friendship.
It was friendship that founded and cemented what Christianity is today.