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One of the problems about reading any great works is that they tend to enter cliché. There was a woman who, after reading Hamlet, thought it was nothing but a play of clichés (since the play is so often quoted, parodied, referenced, etc.). The same occurs with the New Testament.
Jesus has been portrayed in modern media as a type of wild eye hippie, who he and his followers held hands and sang kumbaya. It is no surprise that many think Jesus was a feminized nice guy who everyone loved.
But the Gospels contradict this image entirely. Jesus was a jerk. And by jerk, I mean it in the good way as in the divide between Nice Guy vs. Jerk. Jesus defied practically everyone and told the most learned scholars in that era that they were wrong. He spoke parables and never seemed to care what anyone thought of him.
“When it was almost time for the Jewish Passover, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. In the Temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the Temple, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said: ‘Get out of here.’ (John 2:13-16)
WHOA! Jesus had BALLS. He made a whip, kicked over tables, and drove the money changers from the temple!
Reader, have you kicked over tables, drove sellers away, or even begun whipping people in public? Far from being a wimp, Jesus could get angry, heaven help you if you stood in his way.
But…surely Jesus decided to bring peace and unity among all men…a type of pre-pre-pre-pre- proto-seed of the usual United Nations type dream…Let us read below:
“Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household.” (Matthew 10:34-36 NASB)
The Lukan parallels read:
“I have come to cast fire upon the earth; and how I wish it were already kindled!” … “Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; for from now on five members in one household will be divided, three against two and two against three.”… (Luke 12:49, 51-53 NASB)
“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:26 NASB)
Jesus was no diplomat but a trouble maker, a true jerk. He wanted to divide people, for the good to be good and set itself apart from the wicked. But it is clear that Jesus is not an appeaser and certainly didn’t believe in appeasement. It sounds like he wanted people to stand for their beliefs in Him even if it meant going against their family or town. Jesus cared not a whit for pussyfooting.
While it is true the shortest verse in the Bible was, “Jesus wept,” Jesus wept because his friend had died. It is a huge distortion to say that Jesus cried all the time or was some depressed Goth or hippie. Jesus told a woman, who was so busy washing and preparing things, to stop and join him. When a disciple asked about leaving to bury his father, Jesus told him, “no,” since “let the dead bury the dead.” Jesus spoke with the authority of great teacher and not as a scribe which astonished everyone. (Today, in democracies, everyone always believes they are little geniuses but back then, a peasant knew his place. Jesus was radical.)
Jesus did not try to get along with the religious rulers of his time. He openly defied them and told others to do the same. To Pontius Pilate, he never recognized his power but told him, “The only power you have has been granted from my Father above ” This Jesus was the total opposite of a Nice Guy; he was the greatest jerk History has ever seen.
“But Pook!” you might say, “He did not use violence or act like a thug! Truly, he cannot be said to be jerk like.” But people LOVE those who commit violence and act like thugs. Just witness the beautiful women visiting maximum security prisons or the current media frenzy in America around the supposed killer of the Ramsey girl. No wonder the crowd freed Barboras. Two thousand years ago, at the height of the Roman Empire, violence and force were common and the way. To be a jerk then was to defy that social template. And Jesus kept defying again and again and again.
Far from being loved by everyone, Jesus was greatly despised. No wonder the political swords went out for him. And it is no wonder why certain people relished his torture and eventual crucifixion. While Jesus has been displayed as some pretty boy with a girlish aura and long hair, I suspect he had more of a testosterone “bad ass” sense about him.
For you struggling Nice Guys out there and those who are trying to purge Nice Guyism from their systems, remember that Jesus was a jerk, not a Nice Guy. He was assertive, he never appeased. He did not wilt when it came to conflict. He stood up and defied.
I smile when someone points to a situation and says, “Do what Jesus would do.” Imagine their surprise when I pull out a whip!
“Ecce Homo!” Behold, the Man.
Indeed. He acted, lived, and died not as a wimp but as a man. It is far past time for Christian males to abandon wimpiness and embrace Jesus’ fine example of pure masculinity.