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.

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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.

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…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.”

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…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.  Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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