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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

Who is Jesus? (Part 115)

March 16, 2024

Today’s reading:

John 7:40-53

     

          Those in the crowd had different ideas about who Jesus was. “This is truly the Prophet.” (v.40). “This is the Messiah.” (v.41a). Others had other ideas: that he was John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the prophets. Today people still do not know the real Jesus. Let us not consider atheists or modernists or gender ideologues, who say Jesus was just a man, or that he was married and had kids, or even that he was gay. Let us just look at Catholics and some of their misconceptions.


      One, Jesus is meek and mild, and never gets angry. Indeed, Jesus is meek, but meekness is strength under control. He did get angry. He was angry at the Pharisees who did not want him to cure on a sabbath. “Looking around at them with anger ….” (Mk 3:5). He was angry at his disciples, as they prevented the children from going to him. “He became indignant ….” (Mk 10:14). Most familiar to us was his cleansing of the temple, where he was even violent. He drove the people out, whipping them and overturning the moneychangers’ tables.


     Two, Jesus is politically correct, that is, he just accompanies and embraces sinners, and does not reject them. Indeed, Jesus came for sinners. But he did not just accept them, even dining with them, but he told them to sin no more. He brought them to repentance.


       Three, Jesus never spoke negatively about others. He just has nice words to say about people. Well, he said very nasty things about the scribes and Pharisees, calling them hypocrites, blind guides, blind fools, whitewashed tombs, brood of vipers (Mt 23). Even worse, he called Peter Satan, some time after he had just appointed him as the head of the church.


       Four, Jesus came for unity and peace, so we should just be nice to each other and not look at negatives. Jesus indeed is the Prince of Peace, but he says that he came for division (Lk 12:51) and the sword (Mt 10:34), and that there would be division even among the closest of family members.


       There are others, but let the above suffice.


 

     Misconceptions about Jesus result in conflict and division. “So a division occurred in the crowd because of him.” (v.43). This is especially evident in the Church today, between modernists and conservatives or traditionalists. Modernists just look to Jesus as love, tolerance, mercy, forgiveness. It is all about being nice and feeling good. Jesus is certainly all goodness and mercy, but he is not tolerant of sin, which keeps us away from God. He loves the sinner but hates the sin.

       Jesus is also zealous for the Kingdom of God, the authentic Kingdom, and not a man-centered one. He is a prophet who speaks out the truth, and denounces those who go against the authentic love of God and the gospel.

We must know the truth of the faith. Otherwise, modernists in our Church, especially those in hierarchical authority, just like the Pharisees (the church authorities in Jesus’ time), would say, “But this crowd, which does not know the law, is accursed.” (v.49).

     We must know the law, that is, the word of God that lays out the ways of the Kingdom. The way we actually becomeaccursed is by modernist teaching, which is contrary to Jesus’ teaching and the age-old teachings of the Church.     So know the authentic Jesus, and know his authentic teachings. Do not be deceived, especially to those pastors who are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

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