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How well do we really know Jesus?

For all questions, start by asking “What are the facts?”

Posted 26 December 2021

Earlier today, I gave my 65th "Thought for the Week" on BBC Radio Manchester.

Given the date, when I started planning the "Thought" I was clear that it should be about Jesus, who I have spoken about a couple of times in previous "Thoughts" around Christmas. See "Jesus continues to inspire us today" and "Why don't Muslims talk about Jesus more?"

While some "Thoughts" almost write themselves, others need real effort to wrangle them into shape. This was one of those. You can hear and read it below.

Thought for the Week

Hear my "Thought"

Due to the pandemic, I always pre-record the "Thought for the Week" and send it to the BBC in advance. Accordingly you can hear my recording below.

Read my "Thought"

Yesterday was Christmas Day. The official birthday of Jesus of Nazareth. I say official birthday, because we don’t know His actual date of birth.

Jesus is the most famous man who ever lived. But how well do we really know Him?

There are some letters in American politics we don’t see over here. “WWJD?” What would Jesus do?

Not surprisingly, the answer is always the same as what the person asking the question already believes!

For supporters of free market capitalism, Jesus was one of them. For supporters of socialism, Jesus was a socialist. It’s easy to see in Jesus what we want to see.

To avoid that, we need some facts.

What did Jesus look like? Nobody knows for sure. However, He was a Jew born in Bethlehem. My guess is that He looked like any other Middle Eastern Jew.

We know He believed in Judaism because He taught in synagogues. That means He ate kosher food. He observed the Sabbath. That’s clear not just from His being Jewish, but also from His response when criticised for healing a woman on the Sabbath.

The same applies to every other question.

You can leap straight to the answer that you already want. Or you can learn to ask the question: “What are the facts?”

That would be the best possible habit to develop in 2022.


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