Why Jesus Was A Liberal Essay, Research Paper
Why Jesus was a Liberal
I have often wondered why Christian’s vote so largely republican. They overall are conservative and very afraid of change. I see nothing conservative about Christ. He was a revolutionary and in my opinion, a liberal. He life completely changed religion and added a New Testament to the traditional laws. He did not come to say “just follow the laws and traditions and you will be fine. Don’t change anything.” He rewrote the laws and showed that although we should follow them, traditions can sometimes be bad because we don’t follow them for the right reasons. When a person is doing something just because people have always done it that way, then that person’s heart probably isn’t in the right place.
In Matthew, chapter five Jesus tells the people “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law, for I have come to fulfill it.” Why would people think that he had come to abolish the law? Because he was doing things a new way and they didn’t understand it. They were so caught up in what they thought they knew was the “truth” and the way to do things that they forgot the reasons why you should do these things. They weren’t doing them because their heart told them that they were the right things to do, but instead because the church and the teachers of the law told them what was right. He went on to say about specific laws, “You people have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement’, but I tell you that anyone is angry with his brother will be subject to judgement…You have heard that it was said ‘do not commit adultery’ but I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart.” (Matthew 5:21-28)
In this passage I think he was reminding the people why they follow the laws. Following the laws doesn’t make them righteous, their effort does. The laws are not the standard by which we should be judged, but instead just minimum suggestions to guide us. We know what is right and should do the most we can, not the minimum. In Matthew 15 Jesus says of the Pharisees, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain. Their teachings are but rules taught by men.”
He criticized the Pharisees and teachers of the law because they were to caught up in doing what they thought the law said god wanted them to that they forgot what was truly important. Loving and helping your neighbor, the most basic democratic concern.
When Jesus came he didn’t hang out with the rulers of the land or the predominant, but instead he lived and worked among the poor. His teachings were for everyone but his personal aid was not for the wealthy, but for the poor and not for the healthy, but for the sick. He spent much of his time healing the most lowly and diseased people in the land. He didn’t pay most of his attention to the majority, but instead focused his attention on the minorities. He also treated women equally in a time when it was not proper to do so. When some people wanted to stone a woman who had been caught committing adultery, he spoke up for her and said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” This was in a time when women were considered to be a man’s property and did not hold very much value.
Although Jesus’ main concern for the people was spirituality, he was also very concerned with these social issues. He preached numerous times about helping the poor and put great emphasis on it. When asked which law was the Most important he replied, “Love the lord God with all of your heart and with all of your mind and with all of your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There are no greater commandments than these.”
He also says in Matthew 5, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
He shows more compassion here for those who society looks down upon. He again proves that his main concern are the poor, whether in material things or in spiritual things. This makes me believe that Jesus would be for social programs like welfare, social security, Medicare and affirmative action.
A big tax cut like George W. Bush is offering may not make much of a difference to Jesus because his dislike for wealth was written of many times in scriptures. In Matthew 6:25 he speaks on material things, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or your body or what you will wear. Is not life more important than clothes?”
In chapter 19 he speaks to a rich young ruler who claims that he has obeyed the 10 commandments his entire life and asks what else he must do to get eternal life. Jesus replied to him “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and then you will have treasure in heaven.” Then Jesus told his disciples, “ I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
In Luke 12 he tells a parable of a rich fool after he warns the people, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed. A man’s life does not consist on the abundance of his possessions.”
Instead of rich, white republican men (which of often think that republicans are mainly concerned for) Jesus is concerned for the poor and wary of the rich. He came in a time when traditions were strong and broke them. He came to a conservative religion and brought a more liberal view. I’m not saying that if Jesus were here today he would be a registered democrat. I think he would probably be an independent and I also think he would be just as critical of our government and our leadership as he was to them. What I am saying is that in my opinion he would support the democratic cause over the republican cause and this makes me wonder why the majority of Christians wouldn’t. Maybe we haven’t changed so much from the people he came to save back then.