Jesus’ movement will disrupt the Jewish system very, very profoundly. He is going to turn things upside down and inside out. The world will never be the same. Literally. But there is a precision to his every move.

He will not be baited into their traps; he will not be sidelined as a member of “this group” or “that position.” Guilt by association is an easy trump card in public life. If you can label your opponent as Right Wing or Liberal, Fundamentalist or Charismatic, you don’t even have to argue your case. Your fellow partisans will dismiss the culprit with righteous indignation. Branding someone prevents them from ever being able to prove they are innocent, state their case. It’s a cheap and effective ploy that’s been around a long time, a particular favorite of the religious. Tar and feather ’em.

Jesus won’t be tricked into it. He circumvents the Roman loyalists and anyone looking for a reason to report him to Caesar by saying, “Give him what is his.” He keeps himself firmly established as a good Jew by adding, “And give God what is his.” Brilliant. Have you taken notice of how smart Jesus is? And cunning as a snake.

 

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