The Jesus Conundrum

Thelonious Cornpepper
3 min readSep 14, 2021

A few thoughts while talking to myself

Jesus was not a Christian.

Oh, c’mon. Of course he was a Christian. The first one and the most perfect one.

No, he wasn’t. Jesus was a Jew. The theological foundations for Christianity were formulated after the death and resurrection of Jesus, mostly by the apostle Paul, who was Jewish, along with a few other Jewish writers of the New Testament.

But the Jews killed Jesus.

Well, let’s not generalize. Jesus was quite popular with many Jews, but Jewish religious leaders such as the Pharisees were upset with him precisely because he was so popular and because he was so critical of their elitist ways. His teachings were radical for his time, and the religious elites were not going to have any messiah which didn’t fit their idea of the messiah. So after getting a crowd worked up calling for his crucifixion those Jewish elites outsourced the job to the Romans. Crucifixion wasn’t a Jewish thing anyway; it was the Romans who crucified people.

So Jews killed a Jew. Jewish elites killed a Jew by having the Romans do it?

Yes.

Which means that the whole situation was an internal Jewish affair.

Yes, but the Romans got involved because Judea was an occupied country.

So for the past 2,000 years Jews have often been blamed and persecuted for the death of Jesus just because a few powerful Jews in his day didn’t like him, even though Jesus himself was a Jew and even though the Romans did the dirty work?

Yes.

That makes no sense.

No, it doesn’t.

If seems like the gospel writers try to make Pontius Pilate into a more sympathetic figure who gave Jesus the benefit of the doubt and ultimately washed his hands of anything to do with the crucifixion.

Yes, it does seem that way.

Is that accurate?

Yes and no. Pilate was a ruthless ruler who usually didn’t think twice about nailing up another Jew, but in the case of Jesus he was between the proverbial rock and a hard place. The whole situation came to a head during the Jewish holy days when there was a huge crowd in Jerusalem, and since Jesus was popular with many people but hated by the Jewish religious rulers Pilate feared civil violence no matter what he did, which is why he sent Jesus to…

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