Tag Archives: messiah

Jesus the Grifter

So, it was brought to my attention recently through the comment thread at another blog that Jesus was the ultimate con-man.

Imagine my surprise. Well, that’s it. I’m going to stop doing this blog and renounce Jesus.

Or not.

Look, I understand a lot of folks don’t buy into Jesus’ divinity. But as much as I can see how they come to their views, I find the notion that Jesus was a kook—who gathered around himself 12 easily led automatons who mass-hallucinated his return from the dead—far, far more believable than Jesus as con-man.

But hey, let’s entertain the notion for a moment. For Jesus to have been the ultimate con-man, here’s what he had to pull off (mind you, this mixes the skills sets of a grandmaster stage magician, con artist, orator, community organizer and master manipulator):

  • Jesus had to convince not only his followers, but also a priesthood and government (both of which were predisposed to think him a fraud), that he could cure obvious ailments (blindness, leprosy and paralysis).
  • He had to convince his immediate followers that he was able to calm storms in pretty much an instant, as well as cause food to multiply.
  • He had to convince a lot of Hebrews that he was the messiah and that a healer and teacher would be the messiah, at a time when the kind of messiah people wanted was a leg-breaker and sword-swinger who would get rid of the Romans.
  • He had to survive a brutal beating after being condemned to death but before being crucified, without once giving into the temptation to save himself possibly by recanting the notion that he had declared himself the son of God.
  • He had to fake his death on the cross, arrange to be buried alive, and then be spirited away before he died wrapped up in his tomb.
  • He had to convince his apostles that he could walk through a wall, after they thought he was dead, and perform other tricks and convince them they were real miracles.
  • He had to fake his ascension into heaven.
  • He had to do all of this so convincingly that his remaining 11 apostles would risk their lives for years to preach that he was the risen son of God.


That’s a lot of risk for a guy to go through for a con, don’t you think? And pretty hard to pull all that off without slipping up over a three-year period. And let’s see, for all that effort and risk to life and limb, his ultimate goal was, um…hold on…whoa…yeah.

Folks, the only reason to pull off a deliberate con that elaborate is to get something fantastic out of the deal. Power. Money. Prestige.

By being dead, Jesus couldn’t enjoy any of those things. And if he was “fake dead,” then how was he profiting or going to cash in? From the loads of money that the early church was raking in? Oh, that’s right, the early church was mostly struggling not to get wiped out by the Romans and the Jews, and it wasn’t anywhere near the fabulously wealthy thing we see with Protestant mega-churches and the Roman-Catholic Vatican.

Yeah, ultimate con-man indeed.

Don’t be fooled folks. If you want to believe Jesus was a nut (rude, but I’ll forgive you) or that he didn’t exist (doubtful, given the historical record), fine.

But con-man?

Give me a break. It sounds good as a soundbite from a non-believer and it might sound good to another non-believer who doesn’t bother to think things through.

Me, I’m not conned.

(Image: “Christ in Profile” by Georges Rouault)

Two-fer Tuesday: Jesus by Deacon Blue

As I noted recently, I mention Jesus a lot but don’t really address him directly and as a specific topic as much as I should. Who he is. Why he’s important. What you need to know about him. Today’s “two-fer” topic is another step in the right direction toward correcting that, along with my August 8 post What Jesus Endured.

As a topic, “Jesus” is pretty broad, but I guess that’s kind of the point of these two-fer’s, so that Miz Pink and I will rarely tread over each other’s points on Tuesday. What I want to focus on is what was said about Jesus in the Book of Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 2, that he is the “author and finisher of our faith.”

Author of Our Faith

To me, this one is really interesting. On the one hand, it clearly indicates that Jesus has “written” out for us what to do. He did it through verbal teachings and actions, of course, and others wrote it down later, but he’s still an author. He had written out the plot lines for our lives and let us know the things we need to do and why.

But what really makes this resonate is the statement in the Gospel of John, chapter 1, which tell us in part (in verse 14):

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

Not only is Jesus author of our faith, he is also the very Word of God in the flesh. We have the Word in the form of the Bible now, but it was fully realized in one place in the human body and godly spirit of Jesus Christ. He’s not just the author of our faith, he is the embodiment of the whole story of creation and eternity.

Finisher of Our Faith

In the one sense, you could say that this ties back to Jesus being author/story, and he is the dramatic conclusion. But more fundamentally, he is the person who corrected the basic problem of the world: the lack of spiritual connection between humans and God. It took one very special person to screw it all up (and make no mistake, Adam and Adam alone is to blame; Eve played a part but her decision wasn’t what started the ball rolling). And it took one much more special person to fix it once and for all.

There is a reason that Jesus told people “No one comes to the Father but through me.”

Jesus walked the walk, talked the talk and did everything he was supposed to. Everything that we are supposed to but don’t, he did for us.

Two-fer Tuesday: Jesus by Miz Pink

The Jews (and the Arabs, too) look back to Abraham, really. That’s were it all began seriously with God trying to get people back on the right path.

And so the Bible talks about Abraham being the father of many nations and the Hebrews being the children of Abraham and his heirs and all that. But even Abraham was living on pure faith in God and God’s plans. Abraham knew something…someone…better was coming. He didn’t know that someone would be named Jesus. Neither did King David, who also operated on faith that a messiah was coming. Or anyone else in the Old Testement who knew that a savior would come, but probably not in their lifetime.

Jesus of course is that messiah and savior. He ended up being something more and less than people expected. When he arrived on the scene, Jews had really been counting on a kick-butt messiah who would free them and elevate them and put enemies under their feet. They weren’t expecting a teacher and healer.

I think also that people knew there would be something spiritually powerful about the messiah but I’m not at all that sure they were expecting him to be the literal son of God.

And that’s what makes Jesus special. He isn’t just this very special person. He’s the son of God, and heir to everything that is God’s. Being an heir to Abraham? That’s garbage in comparison.

And here again that makes jesus something extra special because he shares that inheritance with us. He isn’t just our lord. He established himself as our brother. He makes is so we can be children of God. And that means we get to share in what is God’s. Not just passing blessings on earth but stuff that is more eternal and more meaningful.

It started with being Abraham’s inheritors, but that’s old news now. If you haven’t already, you might want to get on board with being heirs to the being that Abraham bowed down to.