Jesus Christ is widely known as a preacher, whose activities led to the origin of Christianity. However, a section of Sociologists believes that he was an uncompromising revolutionary. To get a clear idea about the identity of Jesus Christ, one needs to know the socio-economic context of the origin of Christianity. It may be noted that protesters used his name as a slogan for mass revolts in Europe, in the 16th and 17th Centuries.
German Philosopher Friedrich Engels (November 28, 1820 – August 5, 1895) reportedly mentioned in his works that “the history of early Christianity has notable points of resemblance with the modern working-class movement“. He wrote: “Christianity was originally a movement of oppressed people: it first appeared as the religion of slaves and emancipated slaves, of poor people deprived of all rights, of peoples subjugated or dispersed by Rome.” (On Religion)
Flavius Josephus (AD 37 – 100), a 1st Century Romano-Jewish Historian and Military Leader, had mentioned the name of Jesus Christ in his publication ‘Antiquities of the Jews‘, a 20-volume historiographical work, written in Greek, in the 13th year of the reign of Roman Emperor Flavius Domitian that was around AD 93-94. Josephus had referred to Lord Jesus as the Messiah. Perhaps, this is one of the strongest proofs that Jesus Christ was a revolutionary.
According to historians, many Messiahs had appeared before Jesus Christ, and the majority of them declared war against the Roman Empire. As a result, a number of Messiahs were crucified and perished. A community of Jews, known as the Zealots, was noted for its uncompromising opposition to pagan Rome and the polytheism it professed. The Zealots were an aggressive political party whose concern for the national and religious life of the Jewish people led them to despise even Jews who sought peace and conciliation with the Roman authorities.
There are various evidence in the Gospels, from Mark to Matthew, that the Roman Emperors had distorted the original messages of Lord Jesus, as the Romans broke through the Jewish resistance, totally, and captured Jerusalem, killing millions of Jews, by that time (AD 70). Christianity, according to German Philosopher Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883), was transformed into the opposite. In other words, what was a sharpened sword of masses to fight exploitation became a weapon of the exploiters.
Interestingly, much of the original rebellious essences found their places in the Gospels. For example, Jesus Christ had reportedly said: “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword (makhaira in Greek).” (Matthew 10:34) Lord Jesus also said: “But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.” (Luke 22:36) It has been mentioned in a Gospel (John 18:10) that Simon Peter used a sword to cut off the right ear of a guard, named Malchus, to prevent Jesus Christ’s arrest. In his 2013 publication ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth‘, Reza Aslan portrayed Lord Jesus as an uncompromising liberationist revolutionary.
It seems that Jesus Chirst was a person who had made a serious and early attempt to free human beings from chains.
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