Saturday, April 7, 2012
John, Chapter 8: How to get stoned
Jesus goes up the Mount of Olives, only to come down again the next day. Like me, he must have found that that was the only place with affordable accommodation. In the temple, the Pharisees approach him with an adulterous woman in tow. They inform him that they caught her in the act, because they're a bunch of dirty old men, and remind him that under Mosaic law, they have to stone her to death. So what should they do? It's all a ruse, of course, to catch Jesus blaspheming. He knows it, so he ignores them and starts writing in the dirt with his finger. But they keep hassling him, so finally he says He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. (v. 7) Something I agree with John about! If only he wasn't so racist for the entire rest of the book, including in just a few verses. Embarrassed, because Jesus really did get them good there, the Pharisees and the rest of the audience slink off, leaving Jesus alone with the woman. He tells her to go home and stop sinning. When the audience comes back, Jesus informs them I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life. (v. 12) They call him a liar and he denies it and says he's not here to judge, but if he WAS, his father would be his second witness, and according to Mosaic law, if two men say the same thing, it must be true. They ask him where this father is then, and he says they don't know him. Then he starts talking about death, because when you're an apocalypticist, there is nothing more fun than talking about the end of the world. The Jews think he's talking about killing himself, but he keeps rambling on about heaven and earth and sin and redemption. But they don't get it, and they won't until he's been resurrected. He promises that people who believe in him will become his disciples and that the truth shall make you free. (v. 32) Again, this proves a head-scratcher, as none of them has ever been enslaved, so how can they be set free? This is what not going to college breeds, people, regardless of what Rick Santorum tells you. He says that believing in him will set them free, but also that they'll kill him, because they're imitating their fathers. They protest that they're not illegitimate, and god is their father. Jesus tries not to smack himself in the forehead and explains that if they really believed in god, they wouldn't kill him. He asks why they don't understand them, then answers himself that they can't hear him. He also explains that their father is the devil and they follow his example of killing and lying. Oddly, this does not win him any new converts. Rather, the Pharisees accuse him of being possessed. Jesus denies being possessed, he just says he's honouring his father, not seeking glory. He promises eternal life to his followers, which just convinces his audience even more that he's insane. He insists again that he isn't and that he met Abraham. They ask him how this is possible, and he said he met him in heaven. Finally they decide enough is enough and decide to stone him, but he escapes in disguise.