The basis of emotionally desiring to stone Jesus

Would any normal person feel emotionally charged towards killing a mentally sick individual who declares to be God? The Old Testament Scriptures carried laws that condemned those blaspheming against God’s name. This suggests that even the mentally challenged deserved to be killed, without mercy. According to common sense, were such laws fair? Why did God institute such laws to govern His people, anyway?

“And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. The entire congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16 NKJV).

This was not the only law that could be regarded as not considering the mental state of those considered to be offenders. We have to explore the reasons behind God not considering the mental state of the offenders. God required the ruthless killing of those offenders without considering the extenuating circumstances. The Israelites were not allowed even to question the fairness of such laws. Consider the man who instinctively touched the arch of the covenant, to prevent its tumbling.

And when they came to Chidon’s threshing floor, Uzza put out his hand to hold the ark, for the oxen stumbled. Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against Uzza, and He struck him because he put his hand to the ark, and he died there before God. And David became angry because of the Lord’s outbreak against Uzza; therefore that place is called Perez Uzza to this day. David was afraid of God that day, saying, “How can I bring the ark of God to me?” (1 Chronicles 13:9-12 NKJV).

This man died for violating God’s law that specifically stipulated that only the Levites were to carry the Ark of the Covenant. Why did God enforce such ruthless laws, under those circumstances? No one could question God’s Justice, even though possibly disturbed by such occurrences. Even King David became perturbed by that phenomenon. But who, among fallible humans, could question God?

“For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.  ‘The man who commits adultery with another man’s wife, he who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress, shall surely be put to death. The man who lies with his father’s wife has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death. Their blood shall be upon them. If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death. They have committed perversion. Their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:8-12 NKJV).

This describes the condition of the Old Covenant, as applicable to the Israelites. Failing to confront such laws, assumed as necessary to please God, portrays hypocrisy, among Christians of today. The subjection to such laws is what caused the predicament that caused the Israelites to kill Jesus. Anyone blaming the Israelites would be a hypocrite, as not different from the Pharisees who killed Jesus. Adulterers were also condemned by stoning to death.

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do you say?” This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:3-11 NKJV).

The law required both the adulterer and the adulteress to be stoned. But those Jews brought only the adulteress, leaving out one with whom she committed adultery. The law was being applied selectively. This is common with humanity. In Zimbabwe, judges ferociously apply laws against opposition party members, but they exercise leniency towards those offenders of the ruling party.

Jesus did not summon the adulterer to also face stoning, alongside the adulteress. The instant striking of Uzzah, for touching the Ark of the Covenant, portrays God as being merciless. It is therefore important to confront this apparent duplicity, if indeed committed to Christianity. The law against adultery was one among many, expected to be obeyed without fail.

Although having failed to exercise fair justice, those bringing the adulteress for stoning were, at least, conscious of the existence of God’s laws, quoting written statutes, according to that covenant. The disciples were expected to be more righteous than the Pharisees. Jesus ought to have demonstrated the application of God’s laws by authorizing the stoning of the adulteress.

For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one title will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled. Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:18-21 KJV).

Jesus’ followers can be assumed to be those zealously committed to the original application of that law. Blasphemy is most serious when considering the fate of Uzzah, after carelessly touching the Ark of the Covenant. However, in the law against blasphemy, the Jews included additives:

And whoever blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death. All the congregation shall certainly stone him, the stranger as well as him who is born in the land. When he blasphemes the name of the Lord, he shall be put to death” (Leviticus 24:16 NIV).

Their hypocrisy can be observed in how they zealously intended to stone Jesus. They claimed to be guided by the above Scripture, which excludes God’s child. Independent observers saw a highly religious group agitating for Jesus’ stoning. Their emotional behaviour is what sold them. Truthful people are not emotional. Those Jews were assumed to be on the Lord’s side, but their zealousness was a mere showoff to outsiders.

My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one can snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him Jesus answered them, “Many good works I have shown you from My Father. For which of those works do you stone Me?” The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ’? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’?” (John 10:29-36 NKJV).

If sincere in their emotional accusation of Jesus, they would have confronted Him with a Scriptural rejoinder, displaying their unwavering commitment to God’s laws. Rather than accept correction, they venomously remained with their hatred of Jesus. The basis of their emotional venom was stranger than fiction. Jesus is the one who ought to have displayed emotional anger, as He represented God in human form.

Truthful people also occasionally express emotional anger, but their dramatization remains controlled. At one stage Jesus demonstrated His emotional anger, turning tables and beating people at the Temple. The significance was a prophetic fulfilment, conjectured in the cleansing of His currently projected spiritual Temple. Everything done by Jesus was under God’s instruction.

Compare Jesus’ behaviour with Peter’s attempted murder of one of the High Priest’s bodyguards (John 18:10-11). Without spiritual conviction, any human being is susceptible to behaving like Peter and those Jews. Christians are instructed always to love and forgive their enemies. Emotional behaviour is impossible to control, when under provocation. No one can control anger, when under provocation.

One’s hidden iniquities are what drive such a behaviour. However, it is impossible for anyone with a clean heart to feel provoked. Ordinary people support those calling for revenge when appearing as justified. The informed can realize that such a manifestation displays that the complainant would also be guilty of the same offence.

The axiom: “A man with a clean heart can never be hurt,” glows. it is untrue that those desiring revenge would be free from the highlighted offence. There is a lot hidden in people’s hearts. Many people appear clean in the eyes of ordinary people, yet carry mind-boggling transgressions. The fact that a person would have not been publicly convicted does not grant him the license of innocence. This truth was unveiled when those Jews brought a woman caught in adultery, before Jesus.

So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more” (John 8:7-11 NKJV).

Such complainants always have something to hide, as long as emotionally obsessed with condemning the offender. This can be ascribed as one of the laws of this universe. A guiltless person does not condemn other fellow human beings. This is why Jesus’ teachings are laden with forgiving others, more than any other of His commands. Jesus even included the principle of forgiving in the prayer model that He advocated.

“For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV).

The true definition of a Christian lies in the ability to forgive everyone, regardless of the magnitude of the committed offences. Behind this comes the willingness to learn from anyone, whether Christian or not. Without the application of these two principles, there would be no love to talk about. Proud people hold the assumption of being the only ones remaining with the monopoly of wisdom and knowledge.

But, why did Jesus provide such difficult laws like the one that got Uzzah killed, without trial? God’s laws are as perfect as all His laws are known to be perfect. In other words, there can never be time to reason with the electric voltage, when carelessly handled. This is the condition to which humanity is subjected. The Israelites had to contend with those laws, as long as they directly associated with God.

However, Jesus came with grace, so that through His death, on the cross, humanity can now access redemption. Humans remain under such uncompromising laws, until the end. The few people who are embraced in Christianity are the only ones under the protection of grace. What is required of them is the application of the principle of forgiveness, in their daily lives.

A Christian is neither saved by his ability to understand difficult Scriptures nor saved by performing commendably benevolent activities. Conducting one’s life in the most commendable ethical manner is also not what saves. Humility and willingness to learn from God, through God’s provided channels, are what serve true Christians. Those Christians hold nothing to lose, as having surrendered everything, to becoming Christians.

Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. Most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope, in a simple conversational tone.

The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99

Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com  for $6.99

 

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