Summary: Suprise! Jesus was not a Christian!
Jesus is not a Christian (Part 8 of What Jesus meant)
What Jesus was, was not nor is not what people claim HIM to be.
He was a radical taught perhaps by the Essenes in the desert,
[ Note: We are told that after the Temple incident where He was found teaching in the Temple ( And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. (Luke 2:46 )
Asking them questions - Not as a scholar asks his teacher, to be informed; but as a teacher, who proposes questions to his scholars in order to take an occasion to instruct them. In the time of Josephus, the Jewish teachers were either very ignorant or very humble: for he tells us that, "when he was about fourteen years of age, the chief priests, and the principal men of the city, were constantly coming to him to be more accurately instructed in matters relative to the law." See his Life, sect. ii. If this were true, it is no wonder to find them now listening, with the deepest attention, to such teaching as they never before heard.]
Learning and spending time on Hebrew texts that only scholars could deal with, neglecting (no doubt ) the family business of cabinetmaking. When His public life becomes controversial even his family couldnft deal with Him. While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren [ James (Jacob) Joseph, Judas, and Simon (Mk 6:3) ] stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother. (Matthew 12:46-50 )
It was the Essenes who had withdrawn from Israel, those who demanded more that mere formal observances of the law. It was a moral purity that was sought by the likes of John the Baptist (the first Baptist) and Jesus as He came into His own.
But Jesus was not educated as a Pharisee, like Paul. He entered His adult ministry from the radical ascetic movement that was critical of the Jewish establishment. The various groups of Essenes, including one strain in the Qumran community (Librarians of the Dead Sea Scrolls), were dissidents from the cult of the Second Temple (that built by the Romans tool, Herod). They believed in the restoration of the true Israel, relying on the prophets who excoriated an Israel gone astray. They were a people set apart from even the nation that was set apart by God. It was probably among such desert ascetics and scholars rather than the Pharisaical class that Jesus learned Hebrew, the learned language of His day. To learn Hebrew and study the Bible texts He had to go out among those mystics. Repeatedly in the gospels He surprises those around Him by His learning, which would show first His knowledge of Hebrew (Mt 13:54, MK 1: 22, Lk 2:47, Jn 7.15 ). His family felt that the spiritual isolation of the Essenes to the activist denunciations of the Baptist, which certainly dismayed them even more profoundly. They would have felt what families feel today when their sons or daughters join a "cult."
The gospels of Matthew and Luke spell out the meaning of His desert experience. They describe the "trying" (peirasmos) Luke 4:13 summing up a whole process - the spiritual quest during His adolescence and young manhood-under the symbol of one event the encounter with Satan in the desert.
To be continued ...
next time. . . . "The Tests"