Jesus Was Way Cool

Well, it’s Easter… again. As a Jew, I remain slightly confused by the concept of Easter — although I believe that it commemorates the day that Jesus brought baked ham and marshmallow Peeps to the Gentiles.

…Still, all mild joking aside, Jesus was pretty amazingly awesome. I feel uncool just typing that. You get no “street cred” for saying that you like Jesus; it’s the equivalent of saying that the Beatles are a really great rock band, and who the fuck cares about that? Really, if you want to praise a religious figure, you should go for, say, Buddha, which is way more “hip,” y’all, and which is the equivalent of talking about how great the latest Fleet Foxes album is or something.

Jesus is my favorite religious figure. Why? For one thing, he boiled down the entire message of religion to the following two rules: (1) Love God. (2) Love your neighbor as you love yourself. …That’s it. J. Christ says that those are the only two things that you have to remember. And that’s simple enough that even a retard like myself can follow it, so that’s nice.

And though Jesus was mostly meek and humble, he did have occasional moments of action movie bad-assed-ness, as in the following passage from the Bible:

Then Jesus answering said to them, “Go on your way, and tell John what things you have seen and heard; how the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached!”

Oh fuck yes. Did you see that? …Did you see what Jesus did there? That’s bad ass, y’all, and I like it. He’s all like, “Yes, I preach a message of universal love andohheydidyounotice? …Did you notice how I can bring the motherfucking dead back from the grave? You should try doing that sometime. OH RIGHT BUT I FORGOT YOU CAN’T DO THAT… ONLY I CAN.” …Nice.

_____

Also, in case you don’t like Jesus yet, well, he also stole corn. Yes, Jesus and his disciples would walk through farmers’ fields and steal their corn. It’s a true story. You could look it up. I’m not sure if this is awesome, or kind of rude, or just vaguely dumpster-diver-ish, but it is kind of a funny story. I just imagine the poor farmer waking up the next morning and yelling to his wife: “Fetch my gun, mama!  That durn Jesus got into the corn again!” …And that is pretty awesome.

_____

…I shouldn’t be praising Jesus, I guess. As I mentioned before, I am technically Jewish. (Very technically; my mom is Jewish, which means I’m stuck with it, for better or for worse – the whole thing is like a suicide pact in that regard.) Still, after slogging through much of the Old Testament, Jesus comes as a breath of fresh air, in that he’s all like “Love, blah blah blah.” Compared to long stretches of the Old Testament, where God is all like “Go forth and kill women and children in my name,” hearing someone talk about love is — words fail me — pretty cool.

And also, the final reason that I dig Jesus is this: in college I minored in Classics, which meant that I got to translate the New Testament, which is written in very basic ancient Greek. It was always scary trying to translate the New Testament, especially since I was terrible at Greek. Just turning the words “Jesus said…” into English was a freaky process for me. And what if you got what he said wrong? Would God come and strike you down?

So anyway, this is Easter. And so, in honor of Easter, I’d like to flex my shitty Greek translation skills. Since I’ve already discussed my two other favorite parts of the Bible, I’d like to present my last and most favorite part of the New Testament — which is, as we’ve discussed, a book about a humble dude named Jesus: a man who, in the words of Douglas Adams, “got nailed to a tree for saying how great it would be to be nice to people for a change.

This is my favorite part of the Bible, presented via my fairly crappy translation.  Mark 8:22-24:

In Ancient Greek:

??? ???????? ??? ?????????. ??? ???????? ???? ?????? ??? ???????????? ????? ??? ????? ??????.

??? ???????????? ??? ?????? ??? ?????? ????????? ????? ??? ??? ?????, ??? ?????? ??? ?? ?????? ?????, ??????? ??? ?????? ????, ??????? ?????, ?? ?? ???????;

??? ????????? ??????, ????? ???? ?????????, ??? ?? ?????? ??? ?????????????.

Literal Translation:

And they are-coming into Bethsaida. And are-bearing unto-him blind, and are-calling-beside-unto him so of-him he-might-have-touched. And having-had-taken-the-hand of-the-one blind he-is-bearing-him-out-unto-the-one of-a-village, and having-spewed water into the-eyes to-the-seeing-of-it, having-placed-hands-upon to-the-eyes, he-is-upon-asking-unto him, If to-anything-you-view?

And having-viewed-upon he-was-saying, I-see-the-mankind to-which-as to en-treeings I-discern-treading-about.

Actual Translation:

And they came to the place Bethsaida, and they brought to him a man born blind — and they called upon him, that he might touch him. And so, Jesus took the hand of the blind man, and led him out of the village.  And Jesus put water onto the man’s eyes, and then touched his hands to the man’s eyes.  And he said to the blind man:  “Do you see anything?

And the blind man looked up, and he said — “I see men like trees, walking around.”

_____

…This passage has always stuck with me. I don’t believe that Jesus walked on water or multiplied loaves and fishes. …But that strange statement by the blind man at the end — “I see men like trees, walking around.” It’s strange. It’s beautiful. And it sounds real. It doesn’t sound fake. It sounds like something that a blind man, upon seeing the world for the first time, might actually say. Groping for something to compare the sight of fellow human beings to, he might say that they remind him of trees; landlocked trees that he has touched and felt before — trees that are suddenly uprooted and are moving around.

It’s an eerie passage, and though I don’t believe that Jesus walked on water, etc., the passage does seem oddly convincing — in a way that is different from so much of the Bible, which so often does not seem oddly convincing. And so, did a bunch of people actually see Jesus restore sight to a blind man? …Well?  …Did they?

Anyway. Enough of these difficult questions. And now, here’s a little light music. It’s a song by Björk:

For some reason, I have always randomly associated this song with the above Bible passage, perhaps because it’s about hands, and eyes opening, and seeing what’s around you for the first time. …Look no further. It’s in our hands. It always was.

Open your eyes. Look at the world. It’s all right here, and it’s not going away. The world is alive and we’re all a part of it. …It’s a good message. It’s a message that I feel that Jesus would be down with. Why? Because Jesus was way cool, that’s why. And so — Happy Easter, everyone.  TC mark

You should follow Thought Catalog on Twitter here.

More From Thought Catalog

  • YO

    first

    • Oliver Miller

      canceraids

      • YO

        -yo, chill, I'm probably going to quote the blind man as a facebook status.
        -fav biblical badass verse:
        “and agag came unto him delicately, and agag said 'surely the bitterness of death is passed,' and samuel said, 'as thy sword has made women childless, so shall thy mother be childless among women,' and samuel hewed agag in pieces before the lord in gigal.” (1 samuel 13:23)
        -poor agag
        – <3 literal translations

      • TO

        canceraids is now a thought catalog “thing”. take note.

      • YO

        yo, who do you think you are, tao lin or something?

  • http://glorydrugstalkloud.blogspot.com/ Laurens Verdonkschot

    Feel like Jesus is way cool in the same sense that Mega Man is way cool in that they are both fictional characters that have died and come back to life which is way cool. Possibly Mega Man is way cooler because he died and came back to life multiple times, and also: gun arm.

    Feel like Judas deserves a big up for snitching on the King of Kings. How 'I don't give a fuck' do you have to be to sell out the one true Christ?

  • Gadamer-er-er-er

    Jesus is sealed up tight in a hermeneutic circle and, lo, it is a vicious one at that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    This made me guilty as a Christian that does not practice it.

  • http://www.2hsieh.com/ Andrew Hsieh

    Might want to fix that tag there in Douglas Adams, you a-title'd instead of a-href'd (:

    • Oliver Miller

      Fixed! By the way, that book holds up surprisingly well.

  • christophermluna

    Personally, I like Jesus because of his political-spiritual anarchist interpretation of those two rules you posted; you, know, the whole fight against organized religion and formal traditionalism and political forces that attempt to compel you in spite of your convictions. That's what really gets me about Jesus, and makes me kind of sad about modern Christianity.

    Oh, and re: all the walking on water and waking the dead and stuff like that… one of the coolest parts of the New Testament, to me, is when Christ basically says that anyone could do all those things that he did, if they had sufficient faith.

    Reading the New Testament without the prejudice of a Christian heritage always lead me to believe that Jesus wasn't placing himself at an immeasurably perfect distance from the rest of the world– that he was demanding, in this fire-in-his-eyes-and-heart kind of way that everyone oppose political and religious authority with faith that can “move mountains.”

    Jesus the Anarchist is why I like Jesus, though I am not a Christian.

  • Jody Fossler

    they didn't have corn then/there, so i don't know whose easter basket you've been smoking

    • christophermluna

      Not to get all exegetical/semantic and shit, but you're talking about maize. Corn http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… is a more generic term for any kind of grain, especially in King James English, which is how most people read the Bible.

      • Oliver Miller

        Yeah, I know that “corn” was a fucking mistranslation, thank you, pedants. But “corn” is funnier than “grain,” sorry.

      • http://christophermluna.com Christopher Michael Luna

        Chill, Oliver. If you read my comment, in reply to Jody's, you will see that I am trying to use my pedantry as a force for good instead of evil. I'm not attacking your article, and I thought the corn bit was funny.

        I was pointing out that corn is not actually a mistranslation, and that it just meant “grain” and is the common King James translation.

      • Oliver Miller

        ;)

      • Oliver Miller

        Shit, and I meant to reply to Jody anyway. Oh well. My over-apology still stands below.

      • Jody Fossler

        sorry, feel like a dick now. it's a funny article and you're super smart.

      • Jody Fossler

        **embarrass** // thx, mayn

      • Jody Fossler

        also: “exegetical” – NOICEEEE…

  • dylan

    fuck jesus. there, i said it.

  • riles

    Yo, wanna get married?

    • Oliver Miller

      I need to see pics or gtfo.

  • Rachel Butters Scotch

    To me, Jesus is that sweet hippie bro with the best weed that everyone wants to be friends with. I guess it's pretty undeniable that he was an actual person at some point, so that's kind of interesting as well.
    Good article, I didn't mind that dose of religion.

    • Yep

      That is not in the slightest what Jesus was. He was not a “sweet hippie bro.” He was and is the living son of God. If you were to actually look at His life you would see that He did not want us to remember Him that way. He was a revolutionary and a savior. Neutrality was never an option for Him or us.

  • http://twitter.com/blingless Dave P

    He walked on the water, and swam on the land.

  • Suzanne Lindgren

    Thanks for this. Thoughtful, frank, funny — and how often do we get to discuss religion and spirituality without people getting all freaked out and threatened? Cheers to you and Thought Catalog for creating such a dialogue.

  • http://jackd.myopenid.com/ Jack Driscoll

    Another favorite of mine in the badass-line is when he kicked the money-changers out of the temple. Busts in and makes up a whip, drives out their animals, trashes their booths, and calls them out in that way that we know and love. Check out the painting on wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… HE IS NOT HAVING IT (note also ghost child in the golden robe to the left and the two older gentlemen either conspiring or snuggling in the right rear…WTF 14th century artist?). This is far from the only reference Jesus makes to the corruption of religion in the name of profit, and I think about whenever I see televangelists. NOT COOL GUYS.

  • Chrissy

    It's a great thing to read that a person who is Jewish i.e. not obligated to love Jesus, publicly proclaim that he does. The opinions I hear about Jesus are always marred with malice and prejudice, and I can't help but admit it's always hurt my Christian heart. So, it's particularly heartwarming to read about such a 'uncool' thing as loving Christ. You've definitely garnered my respect! Thank you for having the courage to voice your opinion and sharing your thoughts! :)

blog comments powered by Disqus