Sunday, March 25, 2012
John, Chapter 5: Sunday schooled
Christ & Co. head for Jerusalem for Passover, which I learned yesterday, thanks to my hero Bart D. Erhman, was an act of silent protest against the Roman occupation. In response, the Romans would bring in extra legions in case the silent protests turned noisy. So you can imagine there was already some tension in the air. But before we get to the main story, the narrative veers left to tell us about a pool in Bethesda that apparently really did exist. Anyway, sick people hang around this pool a lot, waiting for an angel to come along and stir the water, after which anyone who goes in is cured. Jesus passes by and sees a dude who has been sitting there for 38 years. He asks him why he hasn't gone into the water. He
finds begging too lucrative hasn't been able to make it, because he doesn't have a helper, and when the angel stirs the water, people shove him aside in their zeal to be cured. Jesus cures him and instructs him to take his bed home. As he's carrying the bed, some nosy Jews confront him for working on the Sabbath. The guy defends himself that he's just following Jesus' orders, and they demand to meet this Jesus person. But when the guy leads them back to the pool to find him, Jesus has disappeared. They do meet again the next day in the temple, when Jesus warns him not to sin anymore. The man helpfully points Jesus out to the morality police, who decide to persecute him for working on the Sabbath.
When the god squad confronts Jesus, he says My Father worketh hitherto, and I work (v. 17) which only serves to make them madder than ever. Jesus serenely tells them he has many more tricks up his sleeve, like raising a zombie army and total control over judging people. He says people should worship him as a god, which went over so well with the Jews when Caligula tried it (they rioted). He promises eternal life to those who follow them, and promises them the apocalypse is coming up quick. He says John can vouch for him as will god, and to search the scriptures if they don't believe him. He also condemns them all to hell for not believing in him, or god, or Moses which is always a surefire way to get converts.