Jesus was an itinerant Jewish prophet from Narzareth who wandered around the land of Palestine during the first century C.E. proclaiming the arrival of the Kingdom of God. Like the Jewish prophets of the Hebrew Scriptures, he spoke out against the abuses of the priesthood of the Israelite religion, but on the grounds that the Law of Moses was not to be trifled with by human beings and that Yahweh would come to the defense of the weak and downtrodden. Also akin to the ancient Jewish prophets, Jesus often used brain-teasing parables to make his points, most likely to avoid allowing immoderate individuals to seize upon his often radical views too easily. In particular, he seems to have consciously styled his ministry in large part on that of the Old Testament figure Elijah, declaring himself to be the final Elijah-like prophet of the end times which many Jews in his day looked forward to the arrival of on what they thought was the basis of their Scriptures. He was apparently known as a miracle-worker in his own day and age, declaring that "if it was by the finger of God" that such wonders took place that the coming Reigning of God over this world was now be broken in by his ministry and making itself felt now in the freedom given to the Israelites from their often-torturous ailments.

Unlike his asetic mentor John the Plunger, Jesus was in his own day prohibited his disciples from fasting and was often called a glutton and a drunkard for the apparently wild celebrations he seems to have held as a way of annoucing the glories of life in the soon-coming Reigning of God over this world. Furthermore, he seems to have been purposedly undiscriminating in these celebrations, holding table fellowship with tax collectors and other sinners considered outcasts by mainstream Israelite religion, apparently trying to gather together all of Israel as a nation against the sectarian movements which threatened to divide Israel's unity in the face of their Roman oppressors. Even more strange for a pious Jew of his day (and in this case, something also without precedent in the prophets of the Old Testament), Jesus seems to have had many unchaperoned women within the train of disciples who followed him around Israel, and to have taught them at least the rudiments of Jewish law (considered an invitation to the attacks of "the evil one" by many Jews of the time). However, it also seems quite probable that Jesus lived a celibate life, as the historical records are completely silent on data concerning Jesus's proposed wifedespite naming many of his women followers in a manner quite unusual for his day, and also because of the following stark phrase which most likely reaches back to the historical Jesus himself: "Some are born eunuchs, other are made eunuchs by men, and some eunuch-ize themselves for the Kingdom of God. Let him who can take this, take it," (quoted from its current position within the Gospel of Matthew, though not verbatim and with its probable original emphasis).

Jesus absolutely prohibited his followers from divorcing the wives they might take, excepting cases of incest, and from taking oaths of any kind. He apparently took a common-sense approach towards taking the Sabbath (namely, that one should hold it, but not under conditions which directly threaten the lives or well-being of others), and to have been studiedly indifferent to the question of the purity rules of the Jewish Scriptures. It is uncertain whether he really is the source of the command to "love one's enemies" (though its similar starkness to his other more assured phrases does incline many towards thinking that he probably is), but the historical Jesus is almost certainly the source of the ranking of "loving God with all one's heart" and then "loving one's neighbors as oneself" as the first and then second highest commands within the Mosaic Law. However, the idea that all the rest of the commands of the Law hang upon those two commandments as their key is probably a product of Matthew's theology, and does not go back to the Jesus of Nazareth himself. He appears to have rountinely went to the Temple of the Jewish religion in Jerusalem to celebrate the holidays on the basis of the lunar calendar of mainstream Judaism (even celebrating the then relatively new Jewish holiday of Hanukah) and to use the religious pilgrims as an audience for his message.

In the final week of his life, he finally assented to the wide-spread conception amongst his audience that he was of Davidic descent by entering into Jerusalem upon a donkey (something that the Jews of his time expected the Messiah to do based on the Scriptures). He then caused a commotion in the Temple during the Passover celebration by viciously denouncing the proceedings as profaning the name of God to the world and whipping the sacrificial animals the merchants were exchanging for Caesar's idolatorously-graven coinage (and probably exhorting a profit off their fellow Israelites on the grounds of helping them to avoid the risks of following the clear demands of the Law, in accordance with general human nature) out of the Temple. This was probably a declaration of his Davidic role vis a vis the Temple of priviledging the demands of the religious cult of the nation in the secular conduct of the nation, which he understood the highest demands of to be "love of God" and then "love of neighbor", neither of which were being followed in the Temple's proceedings. The symbolic destruction of the Temple thus acted out was probably intended to declare God's stern disapproval of this deplorable situation, and to call Yahweh forward to ultimately defend his people's culture directly now that he had prophetically initiated the extension of "love of God" and "love of neighbor" as the highest commands of justice into all areas of Israel's life, the general resurrection at the beginning of the Reigning of God over the world thus securing their interests as God's chosen people beyond any suffering the Romans could try to impose upon them (incidentally, this was a doctrine which the sect of Sadducees, who for the most part were the ones who controlled the Temple and who allowed such things to take place, did not believe in). But because of his demand for the Temple to be embody God's justice and thus a worthy house for the prayers of the nations, he was soon condemned by the Sanhedrin under the charge of blasphemy for implicitly declaring for himself (a lowly peasant from Galilee) the powers of the Annointed Messiah of Israel, and turned over to the Roman authorities for death by crucifixion, which the Romans mockingly did under the nationally-humiliating title of "The King of the Jews" in order to quelch any sense of insurrection against the powers of the Empire and its leadership of the province which may have otherwise occurred as a result of Jesus's deeds.

This did not exactly work out the way that they had hoped. In the few days between his symbolic destruction of the Temple and his coming crucifixion, Jesus became aware that the authorties were seeking to take his life. Rather than trying to find a way out of his dilemna, Jesus called his inner circle of twelve disciples together for a solemn last meal, cryptically telling them that the bread was his body broken for them, the wine was his blood poured out for them, and saying that he would not taste wine again until the coming of the Kingdom of God into the world. In this way, he commemerated their community meal as his last prophetic act, assuring himself through it that by faithfully resigning himself to the effects his ministry had upon the world that the eschatological purpose he served would be fulfilled, and that he would soon be resurrected to life in the coming Kingdom.

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