Friday, June 02, 2006

Which Sex Killed Jesus, 2nd Draft

This is my part of the second draft of our co-written paper on the responsibility of males for the killing of Jesus. The sections on the Pharisees and wealth are heavily revised and I've added a section on the twelve chief male disciples. My co-author will be working on the introduction and conclusion over the next couple of weeks.

Which Sex Killed Jesus?
Bernadette Barton and Ric N. Caric
Morehead State University

1. Introduction
In this religiously conservative time, when the radical Christian right is making a shameless grab for converts, and Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ grossed $370 million in 2004, and fear of terrorism, hurricanes, rising gas prices, and gay marriage fuel a rising cultural hysteria, let us explore a question that emerged again in the public discourse with the press and popularity of the Passion of the Christ: Who killed Jesus?

Rather than the reactionary Anti-Semitic response that “the Jews” killed Jesus, we will demonstrate in this paper that there is a much more visible group to whom we might intellectually and morally assign the blame for the death of Jesus. Indeed it was while watching the Passion itself on video, and fast-forwarding through the goriest scenes, that a more empirically plausible answer to the question of Christ-killing forcibly struck us.
Men killed Jesus.

A male betrayed him (Judas), a man sentenced him (Pontius Pilate), men tortured him (the Temple and Roman soldiers), the men among his followers denied him (Peter), and men executed him (Roman soldiers). It was all men, all the time when it came to the brutal torture and murder of Jesus. The question then is rather men as a sex had a general interest in killing Jesus that would have been part of the motivation for the actions of those men involved in the arrest and execution.

Drawing on a combination of biblical and historical references, and feminist theory, we will explore the role men played in the death of Jesus and argue that, in doing so, Jewish men, Roman men, rulers, soldiers, religious leaders, farmers and fishermen all participated in suppressing the anti-masculine orientation toward self-sacrifice promoted by Jesus. The ministry of Jesus challenged the patriarchal super structure of the time, assaulting male and class identity and privilege. As a result, Jesus made enemies of those men whose privileges he condemned as opposing the kingdom of God. This includes the fathers of his disciples he recruited away from family enterprises, men who possessed wealth and property, all those men who sought to uphold male honor through the ethic of revenge, the Pharisees and Scribes who enforced the religious laws, the high priests who managed the financial enterprises of the Temple, and the Roman authorities who counted on their subjects to pursue their self-interest. Among the disciples, only Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus to the authorities, but the rest betrayed Jesus in their own ways by denying Jesus (Peter) or refusing to bear witness to either the message or the divine status of Jesus. Thus, they too were implicated in the murder. Perhaps the men who killed Jesus did so in the name of all men.

To understand the potential for tension between Jesus and men, the following questions are most salient. Was there anything about the person, bearing, message, or actions of Jesus that would provoke men in general? Conversely, what psychological qualities, customs, interests, education, and sexuality of the period might encourage men to be hostile to the message of Jesus and therefore predisposed to kill Jesus or a figure like Jesus? Stated more simply, “What is it about men that would make them Christ-killers?”

2. Religious Authority

Jesus did not explicitly criticize patriarchy. He did, however, radically devalue aspects of material life that bolstered the interests and values of males. In Luke 7:36-50, for example, there is an account of a visit by Jesus to the house of a Pharisee named Simon. The Pharisees were a widely respected religious movement that focused on upholding Sabbath regulations, purity prescriptions, and dietary restrictions. Widely respected for their piety and accepted as the authoritative interpreters of biblical law by the Jewish population, the Pharisees differentiated themselves by carrying phylacteries to hold the Torah and wearing special robes. As Jesus sat down to his meat with Simon the Pharisee, a woman “which was a sinner” came into the house with a box of expensive alabaster ointment, stood behind Jesus weeping, “and began to wash his feet with tears.” Then, the woman wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair before kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment. According to Luke, Simon thought to himself that Jesus should have known that the woman who touched him in this way was a sinner. Recognizing Simon’s thoughts, Jesus compared the Pharisee unfavorably to the woman.

Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for
my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs
of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in
hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but
this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.[1]

In this gentle rebuke, Jesus indicates that he valued almost everything about this woman’s behavior over Simon’s. Perhaps most importantly, Jesus valued her sinning over the Pharisee’s piety. Because of the weight of her many sins and her corresponding need for forgiveness, the woman “loved much” and showed that love through her service of washing Jesus’ feet with her tears, wiping his feet with her hair, and then kissing and anointing his feet. For Jesus, love showed itself most forcefully in a willingness to subordinate oneself to God and others. Desperately in need of forgiveness and animated by a faith that Jesus could provide that forgiveness, the woman eagerly devoted herself to caring for Jesus’ feet. The woman’s love for Jesus recalls several of the important themes of the four narratives of Jesus’ ministry. The abjectness of the women’s behavior and her overpowering need for forgiveness recall the first of the blessings in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew: “blessed are the poor in spirit.” In much the same way, the menial character of the woman’s care for Jesus’ feet and her “tainted” reputation as a sinner correspond with the Jesus’ dictum that the “last shall come first and the first shall come last.” Finally, the woman’s washing of Jesus feet was the model that Jesus adapted when showing his own love in John’s account of the Last Supper by washing the feet of his disciples. Of all the figures, he encountered in his ministry, this sinning woman was the one that Jesus embodied most in his own conduct.[2]

To the contrary, Simon did not seem to have sinned very much. At the same time, there was much in Simon’s conduct that was contrary to Jesus and his doctrine. Not feeling the weight of sins like adultery and not being burdened by a need for forgiveness, Simon had little love for Jesus and offered him nothing in the way of loving service that Jesus so highly valued. According to Jesus, “to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.” Instead, Simon was focused on the issue of reputation. Because the woman had a reputation as a sinner and therefore would have been seen as “unclean,” Simon seemed to believe that she should not have been allowed into the presence of a holy man like Jesus. Simon also wondered about Jesus, thinking that “if he were a prophet, he would have known what manner this woman is that toucheth him” and, presumably, would have sent her away in shame. From the perspective of Jesus, however, this concern for reputation revealed Simon as engaging in public display rather than a manifestation of sincere piety in his observation of the Law. The same was the case for the Pharisees in general. “But all their works they do for to be seen by men; they . . . love the uppermost rooms at feasts and the chief seats in the synagogues and greetings in the markets, and to be called Rabbi, Rabbi.” Carrying the books of the Torah, tithing, observing dietary restrictions, and efforts to ensure that the rest of the Jewish population observed those restrictions were all ways that the Pharisees built up a social capital of respectability among their fellow men.

For Jesus, the general respect with which the Pharisees were held in Judea was condemnable. Referring to the Pharisees in Luke, Jesus stated that “ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” Thus, the role of the Pharisees as the authoritative interpreters of the Law among the Jewish people, their efforts to enforce religious prescriptions on the population as a whole, their influence on the management of Temple ritual, and other indications of their respectability made them “unclean” (or abominable) in a way that was worse than the sinful woman who Simon wanted removed from his house. The woman’s consciousness of her many sins led to the desperation that incited her effort to serve Jesus and be forgiven. Her sins—her uncleanliness—could be redeemed. However, Simon’s sense of self-satisfied authority made him impervious to the kind of faith that Jesus demanded and was thus beyond redemption. Jesus also conveys a sense that everything Simon and other Pharisees did to build their reputations was tainted with a sinfulness that was greater than transgressions against the law that the Pharisees guarded against. Because the Pharisees were seeking to justify themselves “before men,” their education in the Law, following of ritual prescriptions, carrying the Torah, and wearing of special robes all served to take them farther from any kind of sanctity or spiritual cleanliness. From the point of view of Jesus, Simon was a monster of presumption, an “abomination in the sight of God,” by the time he began to sat down to meat with Jesus. It was because of this presumption that Simon the Pharisee could not love Jesus in the manner of the woman with the alabaster ointment. As a result, Jesus could not forgive his lack of love in the same way that he forgave the woman her many sins.[3]

Being a Pharisee was also a privilege of masculinity in that it was one of the many kinds of religious status that were reserved for males and from which women were excluded. Being a Pharisee, Sadducee, scribe, priest, or chief priest was an indication of a religious avocation that differentiated men like Simon from the Jewish population as a whole. Having this kind of religious avocation was also one of the ways in which men as a sex differentiated themselves from women as a sex which was excluded from these avocations. The fundamental way that religion privileged men over women was in the household where male heads of households had a sanctity as the heads of family ritual while women were associated with pollution. In fact, the ritual dangers associated with women led Jewish society to work out various strategies for enclosing and controlling women. Considered to be under the authority of their fathers and husbands, women were excluded from almost all public functions and largely confined to their houses. Considered to be “unclean” during menstruation and following childbirth, women were isolated within households for seven days when they had their periods and for considerably longer times when they gave birth to children (especially girls). In this sense, the religious sanctity enjoyed by Simon and the other Pharisees was a heightening of the spiritual capital enjoyed by all males because they were men. Thus, although Jesus did not criticize the gender supremacy component of the Pharisee religious avocation, he was condemning a critical dimension of male supremacy when he condemned the Pharisees for their sense of their own religious sanctity and declared his preference for those who were polluted and attainted.[4]
The opposition between Jesus and the Pharisees started early in his ministry. When Jesus healed a man in Capernaum by saying “son, thy sins be forgiven thee,” the scribes (interchangeable with Pharisees in the New Testament) thought to themselves “Why doth this man speak blasphemies? Who can forgive but god only?” Jesus laughed off the criticism by claiming that he could just as well have said “arise and take up thy bed” and followed with other provocations to Pharisee fastidiousness. Unlike the Pharisees, Jesus and his followers did not fast. In fact, they ate and drank heartily and associated with known sinners like tax collectors (or publicans), lepers, and the sick who would have been viewed as becoming chronically “unclean.” At the same time, the inherent taintedness of women like Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome was heightened by their public presence among the followers of Jesus. Then, Jesus upped the ante by defying the injunctions against working on the Sabbath and healing a man in a synagogue on the Sabbath in defiance of the Pharisees in attendance. This prompted the Pharisees to begin plotting to have Jesus killed as well as continuing their disputes with him in the hope of catching Jesus in blasphemous statements that would justify his execution. Local Pharisees also contacted their allies among the Pharisees and scribes of Jerusalem and the followers of King Herod Antipas for assistance. As a result, the Jewish political and religious establishment quickly mobilized itself to violently oppose the threat posed by Jesus to religious authority. The Gospel of John makes this point most strongly by emphasizing that Jesus could not travel in Jewish territory because of the religious establishment’s efforts to kill him. According to John, concern about Jesus reached to the chief priest Caiaphas who worried that the popularity of Jesus would lead the Romans to crush the whole Jewish nation and indicated that Jesus would have to die for the sake of the people as a whole.

Jesus challenged the authority of the Pharisees in three ways. First, Jesus defied their claim to be the authoritative interpreters of the Law. Citing King David and referring off-handedly to God himself, Jesus denied that the Law of the Sabbath meant what that people could do no work or that people should not associate with those deemed “unclean.” He even argued that the Pharisees themselves did not believe in such an extreme prescription given that they themselves would free a sheep that had become entangled on the Sabbath. Second, Jesus insisted that the primary relationship between a person and God was through him as the Son of God rather than through the Law. In this sense, Jesus was not only questioning Pharisaic interpretations of the Law, but radically reducing the value of the Pharisees as interpreters of the Law. Third, Jesus declared that it was those who were most debased according to the standards of the Pharisees who stood most closely to him and to God. From the point of view of Jesus, it was those who were excluded from the ritual sanctities of Judaism who were most immediate to his care. Another good example of Jesus’ care for those outside Jewish religious sanctity was his encounter with a Syro-Phoenician woman. When traveling on the borders of Tyre and Sidon, a Syro-Phoenician woman came to ask him to cast a devil out of her daughter. Jesus initially brushed her off by saying that it was “not meet to take the children’s (Isreael’s) bread and cast it unto the dogs (the Gentiles).” But, when the woman replied that “Yes, Lord: yet the dogs under the table eat of the children’s crumbs,” Jesus relented and healed the daughter. Like the woman with the alabaster ointment, the Syro-Phoenician woman’s faith in Jesus’ power to heal was connected to her embrace of her debasement as a non-Jewish woman. For Jesus, this embrace of debasement sanctified the woman and he gave in to her petition in a way that he would never have relented to the questions and the demand of the Pharisees.
Jesus was just as violent in his threats to see the Pharisees to damnation and greater damnation. In Matthew 23, he launched a long denunciation of the Pharisees and scribes that Anthony J. Salderini calls the “seven woe oracles.” Seven times, Jesus pronounced “woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites” as he expanded the scope of his condemnation. For Jesus, the Pharisees were hypocrites in the larger sense that their observation of the details of the Law was like a “whitened sepulchers” but are within filled with dead men’s bones, and all uncleanness.” By their greed, the Pharisees had devoured widow’s houses and their false teachings had condemned those who followed them to damnation by making their followers just like them. More portentously, Jesus claimed that the similarity between the motivations of the Pharisees and those who had killed the prophets meant not only that the Pharisees had been implicated in the murder of the prophets, but that they, and, implicitly, their followers, could be linked to all the murders of the righteous from Abel forward. By the time Jesus established himself in Jerusalem, he and the religious authorities had become like two enemy armies warily stalking each other as they prepare for battle. The Pharisees were seeking to kill Jesus in the name of all of the understandings and prerogatives associated with orthodox Jewish religion. For his part, Jesus was threatening those who followed the conventional masculine paths to sanctity with damnation and greater damnation and demanding a model of painful humility and service best exemplified by the woman with the alabaster ointment and better manifested by women in general than males.[5]

3. Wealth

Wealth was another area of male privilege that came under attack from Jesus. If Jesus condemned the accumulation of social capital through religious authority, he condemned the accumulation of property, possessions, and money even more. According to Jesus, everything that men devoted to their property (and their families) was taken from God and God revenged himself by condemning them to the fires of hell. Unlike the Pharisees, scribes, and chief priests, the men who monopolized wealth in Jewish society did not respond by seeking to have Jesus killed. However, the Gospels portray the religious authorities as representing the interest in wealth as well as social reputation. Consequently, when the religious authorities had Jesus arrested after he drove the money changers out of the temple, they were acting on behalf of all men of wealth and property as well as religious orthodoxy. Like religious authority, wealth was an area of male privilege that those who killed Jesus were defending as they had him arrested, tried, and executed.

Jesus’ objections to wealth were cast very narrowly. He apparently did not believe that the pursuit of wealth necessarily involved selfish or unethical behavior. Jesus did not disapprove of profit and he did not seem to believe that the wealthy were necessarily animated by vices like greed, or that the rich exploited their fellow men, lacked consideration for the poor or laborers, or despoiled the earth. Instead, Jesus criticized wealth for the ways that the accumulation and possession of wealth shaped a man’s posture toward God. There were three principles involved in Jesus’ critique of wealth: 1. the accumulation and possession of wealth competed with God for men’s loyalties; 2. the labor involved in gaining wealth was a form of self-reliance that took men away from dependence on God; 3. the enjoyment of wealth (and the prestige associated with wealth) was contrary to the model of suffering that Jesus sought to promote. For Jesus, God and human wealth were incommensurable and Jesus reacted more harshly to the possession of wealth than he did to sins against the commandments like adultery.

In Luke 12, Jesus posed most of these criticisms in relation to a parable beginning with an account of a man and his barn. Talking with a company of men, Jesus warned a man who asked him to intervene in an inheritance dispute about “covetousness” and launched a parable about a man who planned to enlarge his barn as a way to expand on the point.
The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: And he thought within
himself saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my
fruits? And he said. This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater;
and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul,
Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink,
and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be
required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is nor rich toward God.”[6]

The rich man seemed to have been proposing a kind of semi-retirement for himself. He was the owner of the land that provided him with his wealth, had been accumulating an estate for years, and was now intent on enjoying his possessions. Having so big a harvest, the rich man couldn’t keep his surplus in his current barns. So, he proposed to build larger barns for his “fruits and goods” and to live on those goods—“to take his ease, eat, drink, and be merry.” The rich man’s self-satisfaction was peculiarly male. Owning agricultural property was almost entirely a male privilege during the Biblical period with widows who had no sons as the major exception to the rule. As a result, the rich man was enjoying the fruits of a planning, supervision, and accumulation that only men could enjoy and his sense of self-sufficiency was enhanced by the fact that he would have had a freedom to which women did not have access. Where the rich man was head of his household and only subject to the laws of the Roman state and god, even wealthy women were subject to the authority of their fathers or husbands. The rich man’s wife could not make decisions regarding the construction of new barns. She could not “eat, drink, and be merry” without her husband’s consent. The rich man’s daughters could not marry without his consent. Thus, the rich man was planning on enjoying his success as a man.
However, Jesus posed God as interjecting himself into this revere to punish the rich man for his complacency. God seemed so visibly affronted by the man’s satisfaction that he spoke to him directly. From the point of view of Jesus, the rich man’s extensive possessions and his self-satisfaction mirrored each other as forms of the “fullness” that Jesus had condemned earlier in Luke (“But woe unto you that are rich! For ye have received your consolation. Woe unto you that are full! For ye shall hunger.”) At the same time, Jesus would have viewed the rich man as devoting himself to cultivating his land, calculating his investments, and supervising his laborers rather than devoting himself to God. Thus, the wealth of the man was condemnable because it demonstrated that the rich man had been serving mammon in contempt of God. “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” By devoting himself to mammon and accumulating wealth, the rich man showed that he despised God. At the same time, Jesus condemned the rich man for denying to God of devotion and loving service that was rightfully God’s. Because the rich man was serving himself rather than God, God obtained revenge by killing the man, stripping him of his possessions, and forcing him to contemplate other men owning his wealth. “[T]hen whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself and is nor rich toward God.”[7]

Jesus then radicalized his stance against wealth by announcing an invocation against labor. “Therefore he said unto his disciples. Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on.” Given that God provided food for the raven, decoration for the lilies of the field, and clothing for the grass, Jesus asked why men should not count on God to provide these things without their having to labor. “Seek ye the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you.” For Jesus, labor was questionable because it involves a self-reliance that is in opposition to the ideal of human dependence on God. This is universalizes the condemnation of wealth. Not only should men not take the devotion that is due God for the sake of accumulating wealth, they should not take away from God even the attention that is required to attain a subsistence. Jesus demanded that men should count on God for food, clothing, and shelter rather than their own efforts. As Jesus continued to comment on the parable of the rich man and the barn, he called on men to “sell that ye have and give alms.” Instead of accumulating wealth or laboring for themselves at all, Jesus called on men to be “yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding . . . and will come forth and serve him.” Instead of enjoying what they produce, Jesus wanted men to be waiting anxiously for God to come to them so that they can serve God. “And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.” This was the only way that men could give God all the devotion that was due him and avoid God’s eternal punishments.[8]

In many ways, what Jesus was seeking from his disciples with the parable of the rich man and his barn was the same kind of loving expectant service from men that he received from the woman with the alabaster ointment. In the case of the woman, that service was washing and anointing the feet of Jesus. In the case of the apostles, that service was the waiting up for God to come to them for their assistance. For Jesus, this submission and service was specifically feminine. God was the “bridegroom” and men and women were collectively “the bride.” Ultimately, Jesus condemned the possession of property that allowed men to command the labor of other men and women, the property that allowed men to claim that they had abundance here on earth rather than heaven, and the labor that allowed men to depend on themselves rather than God. For males to be in the position of the human bride to God’s bridegroom, they needed to stop superintending their wealth, give their possessions away, and stop working for their basic needs. As long as men tried to be a “bridegroom” themselves, they were lost and damned. It was only by giving up specifically male ambitions that they could hope to love God as completely as God demanded and thereby avoid the violence of God’s judgment.[9]
It might be argued that Jesus did not condemn the rich man with the barn specifically for his wealth. However, in Luke 16:19-26, Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who is condemned explicitly for his wealth.

There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Here, the rich man is condemned because he was “clothed in purple and fine linen,” “fared sumptuously every day,” and “receivedst thy good things.” Unlike the rich man with the barn, the rich man in purple was not cited for reveling in his wealth and property. Rather, it appears that possessing wealth is an indication that a man is “comforted” by his riches in the same way that Lazarus was comforted in the bosom of Abraham. In a similar way, Jesus talked in Mark 10 of viewing a rich young man putting his “trust” in wealth rather than God because he refused to give his riches to the poor and pick up his cross to follow Jesus. As a result, the rich young man was extremely unlikely to be allowed into heaven even though he obeyed all the commandments concerning adultery, honoring his father and mother, and the like, and evinced a strong desire to follow Jesus. The fact that he decided to keep his wealth rather than sell it was an indication that he put more “trust” in or got more “comfort” from his wealth than he did from God. The same was the case with the rich man in purple. The mere fact that he enjoyed his wealth enough to keep it meant that he had a more positive disposition toward his wealth than he had toward God. Consequently, he was condemned to be tormented eternally in hell.
To the contrary, the beggar Lazarus seemed to have been taken into the bosom of Abraham simply because of his degraded condition. Jesus rather lovingly expounds the detail of Lazarus not only being covered with sores, but that the sores were licked by the dogs. Given that the dogs approached him like he was an inert carcass, it can be said that Lazarus existed in a state of living death—unable to provide for himself, completely dependent on others, unable even to keep the dogs off him. As was the case with the woman with the alabaster ointment and the Syro-Phoenician woman, Lazarus’ despairing condition was favorable for redemption in a way that was impossible for the wealthy. Because he was unable to act as a “man” to either earn his living on his own abilities or enjoy himself in a world of his own possessions, Lazarus was bereft of the enjoyments of this world. Consequently, he found his comfort in the bosom of Abraham, i.e. God, whether he had a faith or not. To the contrary, those men who found comfort in the world were doomed to the flames. “Woe unto you that are rich for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6: 24)

Jesus not only attacked property by promising eternal damnation to the rich, he chased the vendors out of the Temple almost immediately upon entering Jerusalem. Angry that merchants, money changers exchanging roman coins for shekels, and others had set up business in the Temple, Jesus upset their tables and drove them out before beginning to preach. The underlying issue for Jesus was the large amounts of money coming into the Temple from the “temple tax” or tithe paid by Jews both in Judea and abroad. Jesus believed that the Pharisees substituted the giving of tithes for the “weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith” that should have been the focus of their piety. At the same time, he believed that all of the religious authorities were becoming greedy for the wealth of the people and that wealth rather than God was becoming the focal point of the Temple. This is what Jesus was denouncing in his extensive questioning of whether men should swear by the gold, the altar, the Temple, or God. For Jesus, the religious authorities had put their trust in “riches” in a manner somewhat analogous to the various rich men that he condemned. Consequently, when the chief priests and the scribes renewed their plotting after the incident with the money-changers, the text of Matthew implies that they were seeking to execute Jesus in the name of a general commitment to wealth—the wealth of the religious establishment but also the wealth of any male head of family who had accumulated property through his own labor or superintending the labor of others.[10]

4. Family.
Strong as the attack of Jesus on wealth was, it was not nearly as powerful as his assault on the ties within families. According to the four narratives of his life, Jesus viewed the affective bond among families as a much greater threat to a person’s devotion to God than wealth. Likewise, the family bond that Jesus attacked most strongly was the bond between sons and their fathers. As a result, Jesus continually reminded his followers and potential followers of the overriding need to abandon their families to follow him. Those who were working for their fathers were called away from their father’s enterprises. If a potential follower were preparing for his father’s funeral or wanted to say good-bye to their families, Jesus demanded that they forget any debt of affection to their families and follow him. In fact, he demanded that he followers complete the break with their families by hating them. At the same time, Jesus expected the families of his followers to seek revenge on their children for leaving, and on Jesus for taking them away. Indeed, the violence that Jesus expected families to exercise in retaliation for the abandonment of their sons and daughters was an important element in shaping Jesus’ idea of his own suffering and ultimate execution. In this sense, the revenge of the fathers would serve as a model for the revenge of the mankind as a whole.

Jesus signaled his attitude toward family bonds at the beginning of his ministry when he called James and John from their father Zebedee’s fishing boat where they were mending nets with Zebedee. James and John had been under their father’s authority in the family fishing enterprise and their labor was most likely an important part of the father’s success. One or both of them would have been heir to their father’s property as well. In calling the men away, Jesus indicated that they were under an imperative to separate themselves from their family and that neither their father’s authority nor any affective ties between the sons and the father should have any weight on their conscience compared to Jesus. It could be argued that the Gospels pose James and John as leaving their father because they immediately recognized his divinity, but a basic characteristic of Jesus’ divinity emerges in the account. For Jesus, obligation and love were zero-sum games. If the men felt obligated to follow Jesus, they had to leave Zebedee and leave him “immediately” as if Zebedee had no legitimate claim on them. It was either Jesus or Zebedee with no compromise that might allow James and John to help out their father at all. The same is implied with love. If the men were to love Jesus, they had to withdraw their love from their father, giving Zebedee no notice and making no departing gesture of any kind, let alone the “kiss” that Jesus had rebuked Simon the Pharisee for not giving. It seemed that Jesus was demanding a monopoly on the love of James and John.[11]

The family ties of his followers and potential followers posed two kinds of problems for Jesus. First, family connections were similar to property in the sense that they were a form of attachment that prevented men and women from fully devoting themselves to God. Family connections were also like the property of the wealthy and the prestige of the Pharisees in that they could serve as a form of capital (or wealth) that people could store up in this world rather than becoming wealthy toward god through loving service. Second, families involved forms of love that competed with the love demanded by Jesus. Where Jesus thought of a proper love toward God as emerging from a sense of bereftness and pointing toward martyrdom, the Gospels portrayed the love of family as a complex web of mutually reinforcing blood ties, the care of the sick, fraternal love, cooperation in the household, and loyalties along hierarchical lines. For Jesus, family was not just an alternative to God as a target of one’s attachment; it was an alternative principle of love that had to be rejected.

In Matthew 10: 34, Jesus proclaimed that:

I came not to send peace but a sword, for I am come to set a man at variance against his
father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in
law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me, and he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”

What puts son against father, daughter against mother, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law was the conviction that a person’s coming to love for Jesus would require the withdrawal of love from families. Jesus announces that he sends a sword rather than peace to families because he has concluded that any love directed toward him would have to be taken from families. In Matthew, the opposition between Jesus and families was relative to the extent that he demands that men love him more than their fathers, mothers, sons, or daughters. However, Matthew also implies an absolute priority for Jesus when he suggests that love for Jesus would be such a shock on families that “a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.” The same message is proclaimed in Luke 9 when Jesus encounters a man who wants to follow him but also wants to return home to bid farewell to those at his house. Jesus replies that “no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is it fit for the kingdom of God.” In Luke 14, Jesus gives the priority of commitment to God over commitment to family a particularly harsh twist.

“if any man come to me and hate not his father and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.[12]

Jesus not only demands that men withdraw themselves from their families, but makes hatred of their families the standard by which he judges the legitimacy of their commitment to him. Jesus expresses a similar belief that families would seek revenge on his followers in Luke 21 when he tells his followers that “ye shall be betrayed both by parents, and brethren, and kinfolks, and friends; and some of you shall they cause to be put to death. And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”[13]

It is the absoluteness of this withdrawal of love that turns the closest relatives of the followers of Jesus into enemies. This expectation of mutual hatred can be understood in terms of exchange and debt. In Matthew 10: 34-38, love is portrayed as a mutual relationship in which the parties adapt several roles and exchange many kinds of things. A man can be simultaneously a son who loves a father, a husband who loves a wife, and a father who loves a son. Indeed, Jesus portrays families as webs of different kinds of love in which a wide variety of mutual services, gestures, tokens of affection, and rituals are exchanged and in which a wide variety of meaningful events are shared (weddings, funerals, births, coming of age ceremonies, etc.). When a man or woman comes to love Jesus, the new follower takes him or herself out of the web of family involvement. Therefore, the new followers were not giving their relatives the love that family members thought was owed them. The new followers were no longer giving family members what was due them as their fathers, mothers, sisters, or brothers. Perhaps more important, the new followers stopped receiving the acts of love that had allowed their relatives to function and experience themselves as “fathers,” “mothers,” “brothers,” and “sisters.” Jesus himself emphasized that he no longer considered his mother Mary to be his mother or his brother to be “brethren.” His viewed his “family” only in terms of those involved with him in his ministry. Thus, family members became the enemies of Jesus followers out of vengeance for the sense of rage and bereftness they felt over no longer being able to be father, mother, brother, or sister.
Unlike religious authority and wealth, men did not have a monopoly over family affections. Consequently, fathers, husbands, and brothers would not have been the only people who had reason to despise Jesus for breaking up their families. Sisters, mothers, aunts, and daughters-in-law would have had reason to hate Jesus as well. Nevertheless, the New Testament provides several reasons to conclude that Jesus focused his attack on families on fathers in particular and males in general. First, Jesus singles out fathers for scorn in calling on a young man to follow him. When the young man asked to attend his father’s burial before setting off, Jesus coldly replied “let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God” (Luke 9: 60). Here, Jesus not only expressed a casual contempt for the unconverted (and therefore “the dead”), but a thorough-going derision of any loyalties, respect, reverence, or attachment—in other words, love-- that the young man would have had for his father.[14]

Second, Jesus banned many of the behaviors by which males sought to defend their family’s interest and honor. When Jesus spoke out against the ethic of revenge in the Sermon on the Mount by demanding that men “resist not evil,” he was banning a large portion of the behaviors through which men defended families and themselves. In traditional societies like ancient Judea, the “honor” of a male head of household was the honor of his family. Upholding a family’s “honor” meant avenging insults and assaults on the family just as much as it meant maintaining and increasing a family’s property and social standing. By insisting that men “bless them that curse you,” Jesus implicitly condemned those who avenged insults against their own and their family’s honor. By insisting that men “turn the other cheek,” Jesus implicitly condemned any kind of revenge on those who attacked either them or other members of their families. By insisting that men give those who sued them more than is asked, Jesus implicitly condemned any effort by heads of households (who would have been the only ones to have the right to sue) to defend their families economic interests as well. In the Sermon on the Mount, the condemnation of revenge is part of Jesus’ effort to urge men to stop judging others and broaden their sympathies from merely loving their “neighbors” to loving their “enemies” as well. The same applies to the strongest attachment of men—their families. As part of his effort to detach men from their families, Jesus insisted that men treat their enemies and the enemies of their families with at least as much consideration as they treated their wives, sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers. Otherwise, they were traveling the broad way that “leadeth to destruction.” In this sense, the imprecations of Jesus against families applied especially to the men who had the right, duty, and privilege to defend the interests and honor of families. As a result, Jesus would reasonably have expected the vengeance of families on his followers to come primarily from the men.[15]

As fathers and the heads of households, males also would have been the ones who represented the interests of the family in seeking revenge on Jesus. In John 17, Jesus emphasized that “thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.” In a similar way, human fathers were “in” their wives, sons, daughters, and mothers in the sense that all of their actions reflected on the father as the head of the household. Likewise, wives, sons, daughters, and mothers were “in” male heads of households to the extent that their prominence and social standing derived from the prestige of the father. In this sense, all of the wounds from the betrayal of the family by the young men and women who followed Jesus would have been gathered in the figure of the father as the head of the household. It would have been the father who would have been responsible for reporting the followers of Jesus to the local religious authorities, betraying them to the Romans, or causing them to be put to death. Mothers, daughters, and sisters would have felt the loss of a brother or son to Jesus, but it would have been the male head of the family who would have been responsible for carrying out the family’s vengeance. Because the families were the strongest principle of competition for the love that Jesus sought to direct toward himself, Jesus expected families to be the most implacable agents of revenge on him and those who followed him. Representing those families would have been the men who served as patriarchal heads of household.

4. The Apostles
The male disciples were also highly implicated in the killing of Jesus. Judas initially betrayed Jesus to the Temple authorities while the other male disciples abandoned him. Peter denied Jesus three times as he sought to avoid being arrested while the others fled from the scene of Jesus’ arrest and stayed away while Jesus was being executed. Only the women among Jesus’ followers accompanied him as he was being marched to execution and stayed at the site where he was being crucified. The key to the betrayal and abandonment of the male disciples was their loyalty to male privilege. Having been faced with the conflict between the message of Jesus and the principles of social prestige, wealth, and family throughout their time with him, Peter, James, John, and the other male disciples chose their allegiances as men over their faith in Jesus. For Jesus, the followers around him were his family. The fact that his closest male disciples chose the priorities of men over Jesus was just as much a mortification of his person as his arrest, interrogation, scourging at the hands of the Romans, and crucifixion on the cross. Like the Pharisees and other religious authorities, the most prominent male disciples were representing the interests of all men as they played their part in the killing of Jesus. .
In a sense, the twelve male disciples were a discouraging test case for Jesus. He personally recruited them, taught them his doctrine, manifested his divine powers through continual healing and exorcism, gradually introduced them to the full nature of his claim to divine status, and conveyed his powers of healing and exorcism to them as well. However, the male disciples neither adapted Jesus’ doctrine as their own nor understood Jesus’ pronouncements concerning his own death and resurrection. Instead, the male disciples were as focused on their own reputations and prestige as any of the Pharisees whom Jesus denounced. They boasted that they wouldn’t let Jesus be killed, argued repeatedly among themselves about who should be “greatest,” and petitioned Jesus to be allowed to sit by his side. Rather than adapting the model of loving service exemplified in the story of the woman with the alabaster ointment or finding sanctity in being the “least” among men and serving others, the male disciples sought to inflate their own importance through their association with Jesus in the same way that the Pharisees sought to magnify their importance through observance of the Law. Proud, ambitious, greedy, and uncomprehending all the way through the execution of Jesus and its aftermath, the male disciples chose masculinity over Jesus.

When Mark portrays Simon and Andrew as leaving their nets as soon as Jesus walks up and bids them to leave, it is a powerful image of men recognizing Jesus’ divine status. However, the extent of that recognition comes into doubt and it is the doubt rather than the recognition which predominates as the story moves toward the execution of Jesus in Jerusalem. In Matthew, Jesus initially served as a kind of strolling healer who healed those who were sick and cast out devils from those who were afflicted. “And his fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with diverse diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic . . . and he healed them.” (Matthew 4:24) Peter, Andrew, John, James, and other male disciples saw all these miracles and heard Jesus preach “the kingdom of god” to “great multitudes.” Jesus even cured the wife of Peter. Nevertheless, the faith of the disciples initially seemed to be limited to Jesus’ power as a healer. When a storm came up as they were crossing the Sea of Galilee, the disciples became so deathly afraid that Jesus rebuked them for lack of faith. “Why do you fear, o ye of little faith.” Then, when Jesus calmed the storm, the disciples still “marvelled . . . that even the winds and the sea obey him.” Like the multitudes themselves, the disciples had faith in Jesus as a healer and understood the power to heal as being connected to prophecy. However, they were shocked when they saw Jesus manifesting a heightened power.

At that point, Jesus began to perform greater miracles. First, he transferred his powers to heal the sick and cast out devils to his chief male disciples and dozens of other followers so that they could begin their own missions to the cities of Palestine. He also walked on water and provided food for five thousand people out of seven loaves of bread and some fish. Finally, Jesus took Peter, James, and John to a mountaintop where he was transfigured into a celestial being with Moses on one side of him and Elias on the other. In many ways, however, each of these heightened manifestations of his divinity entailed disappointment. When Jesus appeared besides a boat walking on the water, he invited Peter to come out with him, but ended up chiding him for lack of faith when Peter’s doubts caused him to begin sinking. Peter had confidence in Jesus as long as he was being held up on the surface, but his faith in the power, hence the divinity of Jesus, held little weight compared to his long-established expectations concerning natural processes like gravity. The same lack of faith in the weight of Jesus’ divinity manifested itself in relation to the loaves and fishes as well. Even though they had seen Jesus derive food for five thousand people from a few loaves and fishes, the male disciples still became disconcerted because they had not brought bread with them for a subsequent trip. “Do ye not understand, neither remember the five loaves of the five thousand, and how many baskets ye took up: Neither the seven loaves of the four thousand, and how many baskets ye took up?” Unless they were actually witnessing a miracle, the male disciples expected to go hungry if they forgot to buy food.

The failure of the male disciples to have a full faith in the divinity of Jesus began to have an impact on the ministry of Jesus as he moved toward Jerusalem. When Jesus came back down the mountain with Peter, James, and John, he was immediately approached by a man who had taken his insane son to the disciples but found that they were unable to cure him. According to Jesus, the immediate cause of the failure to cure the boy was the lack of faith of the disciples: “Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you. If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” (Matthew 17:20) For Jesus, the disciples’ lack of faith in their ability to cure diseases and cast out devils stemmed ultimately from their lack of faith in him and frustrated his plans to have numbers of disciples fanning out to spread his message. At the same time, Jesus viewed the disciples’ lack of faith as exemplifying the faithlessness of the whole generation of the Jewish people. “O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” (Matthew 17:17)

The “unbelief” of the disciples left them unprepared for Jesus’ next step, the annunciation that he was the son of God and that he would be arrested, tortured, and executed in Jerusalem before rising from the dead the third day after his execution. They were prepared to acknowledge the prestigious character of Jesus’ divinity. Thus, when Jesus asked what he was, Peter readily answered, “The Christ, the Son of the Living God,” for which Jesus promised that Peter would be the rock on which Jesus’ church would be built. (Matthew 16: 16-19). However, the male disciples seemed to have viewed the proclamation of Jesus’ divinity as an opportunity for them to cash in on the social capital their association with Jesus had given them. In Matthew, the mother of James and John approached Jesus to ask her sons to be allowed to sit on the right and left hand of Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark, James and John themselves petitioned Jesus. The spirit of ambition gripped the other disciples as well and they fell into arguments concerning which one was greatest that had not ceased as late as the evening when Jesus was arrested. In a way, Peter was the most obstreperous and uncomprehending, arguing with Jesus himself that Jesus would not be allowed to die and later bragging during the last supper that he would die with Jesus if he were condemned to death. Mark emphasized that the other disciples agreed that they would be willing to die with Jesus as well. The disciples had become much like the Pharisees in valuing prestige, power, and their connections while forgetting all of Jesus’ sayings about the damnable nature of such priorities and the priority of the socially marginal in creation. Indeed, responding to Peter’s claims that Jesus would not be allowed to die, Jesus addressed Peter in the same language he used against the Pharisees. “Get thee behind me Satan: thou art an offence unto me; for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (Matthew 16: 23)

In one way, Jesus tried to use the ambitions of the male disciples as “teaching moments” in which he defined the kingdom of God in terms of humility and suffering. When he first heard the disciples arguing among themselves over who was greatest, (Mark 9: 32, 35), Jesus taught that those who should desire to be “first” would end up “last” and began to emphasize the favor with which the naïve attitude of little children was received. “Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of god as a little child shall not enter therein.” Likewise, Jesus responded to the petitioning of James and John to anointed the greatest of his followers by stressing that his “kingdom” was not like that of the Romans in which “the great” exercised authority over the others. Instead, Jesus taught that the “chiefest” of the disciples would be the “servant of all.” (Mark 10:44) Jesus stressed that he himself came to minister to or serve others and give his life as a ransom. Following the transfiguration, these kinds of teachings were coupled with parables and stories which emphasized the throwing down of the religious authorities and the rich and the sanctity of those who were debased. In Matthew, Jesus turned away the rich young man who would not give away his wealth to the poor (Matthew 19:16-24) and announced to the chief priest and elders of the people that harlots and publicans (i.e. tax collectors) would be going to heaven before them (Matthew 21: 32), and pronounced his lengthy condemnation of the Pharisees and scribes in Matthew 23.

However, the chief male disciples did not learn. When Jesus pronounced the doctrine of his death and resurrection, the male disciples routinely expressed their confusion and lack of comprehension. When Jesus announced upon his entrance to Jerusalem that he would “be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked and spitefully entreated, and spitted on . . . and they shall scourge him, and put him to death and the third day he shall rise again,” the disciples “understood none of these things.” (Luke 18: 31-34) This complete lack of comprehension extended to the last Passover meal and beyond. Central to the last meal was the intense ambivalence between Jesus announcing his own sacrifice for the sake of the chief male disciples and his further announcing that one of them would betray him. Jesus broke the bread and declared that the bread was his body “which is given for [the disciples] and then after the supper took the cup of wine and stated that the cup was “the new testament of my blood which is shed for you.” Finally, Jesus revealed that one of the men at the table would betray him. There’s a strong sense in which this was the crucible for the male disciples. Would they grasp the message of Jesus as a god who sacrificed himself for them and demanded that they sacrifice themselves by taking up their crosses as well? Or would they the male disciples show a greater faith in the things of men and the world as they had shown many times before?
At this moment of truth, the faith of the male disciples was in the things of men like personal prestige and power. After inquiring about who would betray Jesus, the disciples began to dispute over “which of them should be accounted the greatest.” This was too much for Jesus who spent the rest of the supper desperately haranguing the men. First, Jesus discussed how “he that is chief” would be serving others rather than having others serve him much as Jesus the Son of God served them. “I am among you as he that serveth.” Then, he turned to Peter and talked about his hope that he would “strengthen thy brethren” after he was converted. Peter responded with proud blustering about how he would go to prison or death with Jesus, a train of thought which Jesus cut off by saying that Peter would deny him three times before morning. Finally, Jesus reminded the men of how he had once sent them forth without “purse and scrip and shoes” and was willing now that he found them so uncomprehending that they would take their scrip and buy a sword. When the men produced two swords of their own as if they were going to fight, Jesus finally proclaimed “it is enough” and left the room altogether.
According to Luke, when Jesus went into the Garden of Olives, he was followed by all the disciples except Judas and they stood about a stone’s throw off as he prayed in “agony . . . and his sweat as it were great drops of blood falling to the ground.” The best analogy to the state of agony in Jesus was the state of agony that characterized the woman with the alabaster ointment, lepers, beggars, and the dying men and women that Jesus had healed during his ministry. At this point, Jesus was feeling the weight of the sense of pollution, ostracism, betrayal, or impending pain and death that had characterized all of these people in their states of sanctity and faith. In the terms articulated by the Gospels, Jesus was fulfilling his mission by preparing to become the least of the least, a condemned and crucified criminal. While Jesus was praying, the disciples fell asleep in Luke’s account. According to Matthew and Mark, it was Peter, James, and John falling asleep after Jesus had asked that they stand watch over him. Judas Iscariot was bringing the chief priests and the Temple guard back to arrest Jesus, but the other disciples were betraying Jesus as well because they were oblivious to the suffering of Jesus in the same way that they had been oblivious to the doctrine of Jesus as he had been enunciating it. When the disciples ran away after the arrest of Jesus, they were not acting as cowards even though they were afraid. They were running away because their higher commitment was to their own lives as men rather than to the faith in the redemptive sacrifice that Jesus had taught them seemingly in vain.

According to the biblical accounts, the male disciples had nothing to do with Jesus until Jesus appeared to them well after his crucifixion. They did not appear in the crowd that urged Pilate to spare Barabbas and execute Jesus, follow Jesus to the cross, bear witness while Jesus was being crucified, visit the tomb, or believe that Jesus had been resurrected when they received the initial reports from Mary Magdalene and other women. If they had believed in Jesus and his doctrine, the male disciples would have at least considered accepting their own martyrdom along with that of Jesus. Jesus had taught them that “whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life shall preserve it.” (Luke 17:33) However, because their primary commitment was to the male privileges of social prestige, authority, and religious sanctity, the male disciples rejected the concept of divinity taught to them by Jesus and then abandoned Jesus in his hour of need. In betraying Jesus to the Temple authorities, Judas Iscariot had a direct hand in the process of killing Jesus. However, the rest of the disciples contributed to the death of Jesus by leaving him bereft of his closest friends and isolating him as he faced the power of the Jewish religious authorities and the Roman administration. In this sense, the killing Jesus was a complete triumph of the forces of male privilege.

Jesus was killed because his ministry was an assault on three core areas of male privilege—religious authority, property, and family. Male privilege created a capital of external wealth, social respect, and self-esteem that Jesus viewed as attaching men to the world, preventing men from devoting themselves to god, and creating alternative principles of love. As a result, Jesus offered blistering criticisms of the Pharisees, scribes, priests, and the wealthy. He then generalized the principles behind these criticisms to prescribe other kinds of male behavior like labor, property accumulation, and revenge. Jesus was also implacable in his demands that the men who followed him abandon their families. And to lend the utmost in practical consequences to his warnings, Jesus threatened his targets with the constant specter of hellfire and damnation. As a result, when various descriptions of men—the Pharisees, scribes, temple priests, temple soldiers, Roman authorities, and Roman soldiers—killed Jesus, they did so in the name of all men. Even Jesus’ disciples were implicated deeply in the crucifixion. Judas betrayed Jesus to the Roman authorities, Peter denied Jesus three times, and the rest of Jesus twelve closest male followers seemed to abandon him in his hour of need. When faced with the choice of joining Jesus in martyrdom or adhering to the world of male privilege, the male disciples all chose male privilege and patriarchy. The only followers who stayed with Jesus through his death were women like Mary his mother and Mary Magdalene and indeed it was women who were privileged to receive the first news of the resurrection. Where the male followers ultimately identified with the general male interest in killing Jesus, his female followers were in a better position to grasp the message of resurrection.

[1]Luke 7: 44-46, The New Testament of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ with Psalms and Proverbs, Commonly known as the Authorized (King James Version), National Publishing, 1968. All subsequent New Testament citations from same edition.
[2]Matthew 5:3; Matthew 23: 11-12; John 13: 4-5.
[3]Matthew 23: 5-7; Luke 6: 25; Luke 7:47. In Luke 18, Jesus makes a similar comparison between a Pharisee and a tax collector. For popularity of Pharisees, see Timothy A. Friedrichsen, The Temple, a Pharisee, a Tax Collector, and the Kingdom of God,” Journal of Biblical Literature, Spring2005, Vol. 124, Issue 1, 109-110.
[4]For efforts by the Pharisees to extent dietary prescriptions, see

[5]Matthew 23: 11-12.
[6]Luke 12:16-21.
[7]Luke 6: 24-25; Matthew 6: 24;
[8]Luke 12:22; Matthew 6: 25-30; Luke 12:38.
[9]Matthew 9:15.
[10]Luke 8: 31-37; Matthew 23: 14, 23.
[11]Matthew 4:21.
[12]Luke 14:25.
[13]Luke 21: 16-17
[14]Luke 9: 60.

[15]Matthew 5: 39-44; Matthew 7: 1-2, 13-14.


At 2:48 PM, Blogger Cleo said...

Completely bereft of originality or insight.

Next on Ric Caric's research agenda: "Water. Is it wet?"

Conclusion: "Yes, it is wet, and here's 20 pages of rambling gibberish to explain how I reached that earth-shattering conclusion."


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