Why Did Jesus Die?
The BreakPoint answer (given the week before the debut of the movie Passion of the Christ): Jesus died for our sins - whether we are thieves on a cross or students in school. His death paid the debt we owe so that we do not have to face eternal death.
The article offers religious insights from discussing five groups of people present at the Crucifixion.
The importance of this interpretation of the ‘Passion’ is that the historical Jesus must be denied. This movie relies on a mythical story. The Romans crucified Jesus because he was fomenting rebellion among the Jews. He was their leader, that could even claim a bloodline to David. The Romans recognized this ‘claim’ by placing the inscription above him “King of the Jews’ (see any of the Gospels: Matthew 27:37, Mark 13:26, Luke 23:38, John 19:19). That was the crime requiring this punishment by the Romans. Jesus was killed by the Romans for his treason, not because of some fable that he died for the sins of all people, including those living in the 21st century.
I have not seen the movie Passion of the Christ. I have read about its graphic displays of what amounts to torture and such violent movies have no appeal to me. I have read how its plot line implies the Jews were complicit in the act (a common interpretation dating back to the early Christians who had to distinguish themselves from the Jews that were in open rebellion in the 1st century and to dissuade their Roman patrons across the empire from treating them with similar suspicion). Historically, while there might have been some Jews that would have cooperated with the Romans, the Jews were certainly not going to just ‘give’ the Romans their religious leader. The Jews became so militant, when James superseded Jesus as the leader and was subsequently killed, that eventually the Romans had to send a number of legions to Palestine to put down this rebellion.
The observation that the Christian religions began with the interpretations of the life of the Jewish religious leader in the First Century who was crucified for refusing to submit to the Roman rule is always amazing.
Jesus was actually contemporary with Confucius in China. Both could be said to offer religious teachings, including standards for moral behavior. Even the cartoon series South Park sought in an episode (The Passion of the Jew) to make a point that emphasizing the death of Jesus is a distraction to understanding any of his religious teachings. Perhaps the Bible might offer insight into human events thousands of years ago. However, the reliance on someone’s interpretations of those events as the basis for a religion makes for a story like a shepherd and his sheep - followers that will blindly go where told to go, unquestioning the basis (historical or ethical) for those instructions from the leader.
The original link in case the article ever returns to Breakpoint:
created - Mar 2005
last change - 03/06/2005
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