Jesus was a.... Pretty much whatever you want him to be and the Bible proves it.
And disproves it.
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I was going to skip this week's update for the lack of inspiration - but then I got into an exchange of views in a Facebook thread yesterday - and I think it's worthwhile to look at the discussion.
The thread was started by one of our members, Kyle Rutland in response to a comment by one of his acquaintances:
Kyle Rutland: I was recently informed that those who fail to pick a god are assigned "government" as a default. I didn't like the sound of that, especially since I wasn't even told WHICH government. So while considering my options, I ran across this list. I had Jesus for about 22 years and that didn't work out. There are still quite a few gods left on the list, though. :)
GP: ...Did not say that, if you were talking about what i said. I said there is always a higher power, who some think is a god, but socialist just think is government. I then said how sad that is, for many reasons.
John Tyrrell: It's easy to see why Kyle misunderstood you as what you say makes no sense.
GP: Sure it does
DC: Jesus was a socialist and we all know where that got him.
GP: Jesus was an anarchist. He did not believe in government
John Tyrrell: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's"
Just the sort of thing someone who did not believe in government would say. Not!
GP: ...and yes, when Jesus said, "Give unto Caesar that which is Caesars" he was talking about everything that is Caesars, including government. He had no use for money, or Caesars control. He was an illegal. 
GP: I think you might want to run through the New Testament a few more times, Mr. Tyrrell. Jesus was as far from government as one can get.
GP: k...you got me, but socialists? Man, I might not be a Christian after reading that.
John Tyrrell: It was not me that brought socialism into this discussion - and my disbelief does not lead me towards socialism, but consider the implications of Acts 2 verses 44-45. 
GP: Yea, I cannot follow that there. Socialism is as far from Christ as I can imagine.
John Tyrrell: And yet the Apostles - many of whom it is claimed knew Christ either before or after the supposed Resurrection - clearly acted as socialists.
Kyle Rutland: "And all that believed were together, and had all things common; And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need." Acts 2, 44-45
Yep, sounds pretty close to socialism to me, John.
GP: hmmm. Forcing another to give up his goods is not what I am reading there. I see a voluntary act of unselfishness, not socialism.
John Tyrrell: First of all, socialism is not necessarily forced - you have a faulty understanding of socialism.
But more importantly - and in line with your understanding of socialism, I suggest you read further in Acts - particularly Acts 5  and see what happens to an individual who did not share. Seems to me this is a strong example of coercion. If you don't share - you die.
Let's leave it there - there's no point in further exposing GP's personal understanding of socialism, "higher authority," Jesus's message or anything else. The fact is that the Bible has been used to justify every kind of political and economic system from true communism to absolute monarchy - and appropriate passages can be found to support those views. But, passages can also be found with very little trouble to refute each of those views also.
By supporting every shade of opinion, the Bible really supports nothing. It is without meaning.
- Edited for brevity and clarity
- It's worthwhile / amusing to check this link out.
- Other than Kyle and me - I'll just use initials for other participants - some people need to be anonymized to protect them from themselves.
- Standard bafflegab to make Jesus' supposed words mean the opposite of what they say.
- One of the earliest pieces of advice I remember from my youth is to not start a fight with someone you don't know. This foolish challenge shows GP had not had the benefit of that advice, as his suggestion that I need to go through the NT provides the opportunity to hammer GP.
- 1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
- 13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
- 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need.
- 1 Now a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, also sold a piece of property. 2 With his wife’s full knowledge he kept back part of the money for himself, but brought the rest and put it at the apostles’ feet.
3 Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
5 When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. 6 Then some young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.
7 About three hours later his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. 8 Peter asked her, “Tell me, is this the price you and Ananias got for the land?”
“Yes,” she said, “that is the price.”
9 Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”
10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.
- as opposed to Marxism, Leninism, Stalinism etc.