A deadly weapon called blasphemy
When Jesus Christ said he was the son of god, it got a whole lot of authorities, particularly the Sanhedrin (council of priests) worried. Spies were sent to find out what this man was up to. He talked about a kingdom where every man would be equal, where there would be no suffering and no hunger. That was the kingdom of god that Jesus prom ised to the people of that land. It made the priests extremely unhappy. Their major grouse: how can an ordinary man call himself the son of god? That was blasphemy. The other major crime of Jesus was to allow himself to be projected as the king of the jews, a charge, he apparently did not defend during his trial, but rather suggested that his kingdom is somewhere else.
The priests settled down only after Pilate ordered and executed the crucifixion.
It is interesting that the premises of the temple in Jerusalem was a hot seat of active business, especially of money changing between the standard Roman and Greek to Jewish and Tyrian currencies.
One can only wonder what interest the priests would have in that. Christ objected to it and at one time chased money-changers and other businessmen out of the temple. This was not taken kindly by either business people, or the priests, who had allowed it all along.
The priests, the holiest of the holy, bayed for his blood for they perhaps saw a threat in his ideas of equality. When Jesus was put on trial by Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, he could not find much to condemn him to death. So he sent him to Herod Antipas who governed the area of Nazareth, from where Jesus came. Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and questioned Jesus, but he did not try to defend himself.
Herod then gave him a costly robe to mock the claim that he is the king of jews and sent him back.
Pilate wasn't interested in punishing Jesus, but the priests kept pushing for it. According to some Gospel accounts the governor would release one condemned man on popular demand during the Passover. He asked the crowd to chose between Jesus and Barabbas.
The priests however manipulated the crowd against Jesus and got Barabbas, apparently a criminal released instead, so that Jesus could be killed. that Jesus could be killed.
Is it not a brilliant tale or barbarism?
The holy men manipulating everything, from authorities to people, for the death of one who turns out to be holier than them.
The crowd towing the line and releasing a criminal so that Jesus, a man who did not harm anyone, was crucified. And a ruler, who did not have the courage to save an innocent man for he feared the priests and the crowds.
Isn't this a tale of everyday and every age? Why were the priests so threatened by Jesus? How did it matter whether he was or not, the son of god? The priests could have continued with their belief in their god rather than worrying about what another man was doing. Why is it that we are always more bothered about those who do not follow our ideologies rather than actually enjoying what we believe in?
The man who offered his life was then turned into a religion whose followers then let loose another reign of hell in the name of his kingdom, taxing the very poor whom he wanted to alleviate from their pain.
Questioning or not following the dominant thought is still labelled as `blasphemy' -a dreadful, morally loaded word, to subdue others and project oneself as the chosen ones. Blasphemy thus, becomes one of the most powerful weapons to tame those who may throw the light on the manipulative existence of those who hide behind the name of god.
(The writer is a filmmaker, traveller and doctor)
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