Another reason that people accept Jesus as God is because they see him as being perfect. This we shall show as another illusion. Actually, there are more scriptures that talk about the perfection of the saints than that of Jesus.
There are two scriptures referring to perfection in relation to Jesus.
Before we go on and discuss perfection it is important that we understand the word as it is used in the Bible. There are three basic Greek words that are translated as "perfect" or "perfection" in the King James Version. The first and most popular is TELEIOO and the corresponding TELEIOS. This word does not really mean perfection as we think of the word today but more literally means "to finish, accomplish, or complete."
The second word is KATARTIZO. This word means to complete or finish, but in a different sense. TELEIOO has the implication of finishing a new work or effort one has taken on whereas KATARTIZO implies a restoration to something as it was in the past. Both words imply wholeness, but the first through a new task, the second through a restoration.
The third word is AKRIBELA and derivatives thereof. This is the closest Greek word to our modern word "perfect." It means: "to do a thing precisely and exactly correct." Paul used this word in reference to the way the Jews taught the law:
"I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the PERFECT (exact) manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as YE ALL ARE this day." (Acts 22:3)
When the Bible believing people of today talk about Jesus being perfect they usually use the word in the same sense that AKRIBELA was used. That is they think that Jesus obeyed all the laws "exactly." They think of his perfection in the sense that he never made one mistake, that he never broke one commandment and exactly obeyed every injunction from the Bible. He was beyond reproach.
Actually, AKRIBELA was never used in the Bible in association with Jesus. The ones who were seeking for perfection, exactness, or AKRIBELA were the ones he continually called "hypocrites." The Pharisees, Sadducees, the Doctors of the Law, Scribes, in other words, the basic religious people of the day were continually accusing Jesus of not being AKRIBELA or perfect enough in obeying the law.
The scripture says:
"THE LAW MADE NOTHING PERFECT, but the bringing in of a better hope (Christ) did; by which we draw nigh unto God." (Heb 7:19)
The word for perfect here is TELEIOO and is the one used in connection with the perfection of Jesus and has nothing to do with obeying the law thus the law cannot create TELEIOO, or the perfection of Christ.
Why do orthodox Christians say that Jesus was perfect because he obeyed all the laws when the Bible says "The law made NOTHING perfect"?
Why do people worship Jesus and revere him as God because he exactly obeyed every law and scriptural injunction when the Bible says:
"that NO MAN is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, the just shall live by faith. And the law is NOT of faith: but, the man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." (Gal 3:11-13)
Here Paul boldly states that Jesus was not perfect (or AKRIBELA) because he broke the law by his very death. The Old Testament which Paul quoted stated that anyone who was hung on a tree (or cross) was "accursed of God." [See Deut 21:23.] Therefore Paul explains that if righteousness comes by the law then Jesus was cursed because he was crucified on a cross made from a tree.
Why do you suppose it was in the plan of God that Jesus violated the law of perfection (AKRIBELA) to the extent that he was to be "accursed of God" by his very death? After all he permitted it to happen. Was it so we would look forward to something else besides a black-and-white interpretation for our salvation? If this is so, why do we put Jesus on a pedestal by saying he never broke a law? Why do we think of him as AKRIBELA (perfect) when he was not?
One of the main reasons that Jesus was rejected by the Jews is because he was not perfect or exacting enough for them in keeping the laws of God given through Moses. He did not have the black-and-white attitude of the typical pious person. He realized that there is a time and season for "every purpose under heaven." (Eccl 3:1) He knew that no carnal law could be written that was correct in every circumstance and taught that on the principle of love "hang ALL THE LAW and the prophets." (Matt 22:37-40)
Paul reinforced this and said:
"For he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law." (Rom 13:8) He also taught us not to be concerned with "the letter (of the law), but the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life." (Rom 3:6)
In other words if one follows the law of love, or the spirit, he may wind up breaking the letter of the law and the prophets. Almost everyone, for instance, would be forced to break the letter of the law under a ruthless dictatorship. If authorities came looking for one's child to execute him what parent would not lie to some degree to save his child from unjust suffering? In this case a lie breaks the letter of the law, but fulfills the law of love. Exceptions as this can be found for every commandment as was well illustrated by Solomon when he said there was a time for every purpose under heaven.
Those who persecuted Jesus were of the mentality that believed one should obey the law regardless of who was hurt because the law was the law. On the other hand, Jesus guided his life with the question: What action can I take that will produce the most good and show the greatest display of love? These two modes of thinking are in great variance and a clash was inevitable.
The sin that Jesus was accused of most frequently was that of breaking the Sabbath. Here is an example:
"At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the Sabbath day (they were harvesting corn). But he (Jesus) said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat (David broke the law by eating the sacred bread to save his life), neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests. Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the Sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath, and are blameless? (Then priests had to work to offer sacrifices). But I say unto you, that in this place is one greater than the temple (The Christ). But if ye had known what this meaneth, 'I will have mercy, and not sacrifice', ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man (all of us are sons of men) is Lord even of the Sabbath day.
"And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue: And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal upon the Sabbath days? That they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the Sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the Sabbath days. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him."
Here the Jews thought Jesus was far from perfect because he allowed the harvesting of grain and worked at healing on the Sabbath. Both of these actions were considered to be contrary to Jewish law as written by the prophet Moses.
On another occasion Jesus healed a man blind from birth on the Sabbath and the Pharisees said: "This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the Sabbath day." (John 9:16)
On two occasions Jesus cleared the money changers out of the temple. He scattered the sheep, oxen, and birds. He overthrew tables, scattered money all over and caused considerable loss of revenue, destruction and distress to the workers there. In today's society he would be violating at least a half a dozen laws of the land, and he undoubtedly broke a few there too, but again he did it in obedience to the law of love and respect for his Father whom the temple was supposed to honor. Again we see that Jesus was not perfect, or AKRIBELA, in obeying the letter of the law.
The greatest sin that Jesus committed in the eyes of the Jews was that of blasphemy. This was particularly serious because it carried with it the sentence of death. The law read: "And he that blasphemeth the name of the Lord, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the Lord, shall be put to death." (Lev 24:16)
The word "blasphemy" comes from the Greek BLASPHEMIA which literally means "a hindering or hurtful statement" or "a harmful unfounded statement." To receive the death penalty the Jew had to make a disrespectful or insulting statement against God, his name, or something sacred that was associated with him. One of those things was the temple. One could be put to death for blaspheming it. This was the first life threatening "sin" that Jesus committed.
After Jesus cleared the money changers out of the temple (some probably thought this was disrespectful and blasphemous): "The Jews said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." (John 2:18-19)
In reality he was referring to his body which would be resurrected, but he intended them at that time to think he was talking about the temple. This created the grounds for an accusation brought against him at his trial. A witness stated: "This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and build it in three days." (Matt 26:61) Even though the witness slightly misquoted Jesus this statement of the Christ was still bordering on blasphemy according to Jewish law. They certainly felt that he made an unfounded statement, but this was not enough to make them consider taking his life.
Next Jesus did something that Jews considered to be much worse than making light of their temple. In the act of healing a sick man Jesus said: "Man, thy sins are forgiven thee. And the scribes and Pharisees began to reason, saying, who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?" (Luke 5:20-21)
By far his worst offense in Jewish eyes was the fact that he identified with God and called himself a Son of God. He said: "The works that I do IN MY FATHERS NAME they bear witness of me [...] I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones to stone him." (John 10:25, 30-31)
Here we see that the Jews felt he was guilty of blasphemy and could justifiably stone him to death. Jesus continues as we have previously quoted to tell the Jews that men were called gods in the Old Testament and that it should be no big thing that he would call himself a Son of God. Then they tried a second time to kill him, but he escaped.
Jesus sealed his fate when he committed blasphemy (in Jewish eyes) in front of all present at his trial. Here he gave them what they wanted to hear: a reason to put him to death.
The high priest asked Jesus: "I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death." (Matt 26:63-66)
In addition to breaking Jewish laws and customs even to the point of securing for himself the death penalty Jesus also disregarded the moral standards and customs of the Jews. To them he did not appear to be righteous or even religious. In fact, he offended so many people's religious values that he said: "And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me." (Matt 11:6)
Jesus relates the accusations against both he and John: "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine; and ye say, he hath a devil. The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!" (Luke 7:33-34)
Jesus was accused of three things:
He was probably called a glutton because he frequently attended dinners and parties. Undoubtedly he did not eat to excess, but he seemed to give the appearance of this evil. Furthermore, gluttony is condemned in the law of Moses. (See Deut 21:20-21)
He was called a winebibber because he was seen drinking wine on occasion. It was doubtful that he got drunk, but just the fact that he was seen at social events drinking wine gave rise to the imaginations of his Jewish accusers. Jesus was probably expected not to touch wine because he was supposed to fulfill the following prophecy of the Christ: "And he (Jesus) came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene." (Matt 2:23)
Concerning a Nazarite the scripture says:
"He shall separate himself from wine and strong drink, and shall drink no vinegar of wine, or vinegar of strong drink, neither shall he drink any liquor of grapes, nor eat moist grapes, or dried." (Numbers 6:3)
If Jesus truly was called a Nazarene he would be greatly open to criticism if he were to touch wine, or even fresh grapes. Furthermore, non Nazarites are told not to drink wine: "Ye shall drink no wine neither strong drink forever." (Jer 35:6) Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging." (Pro 20:1)
Furthermore, Jesus went against the literal word of the prophets at Cana when he performed his first miracle by changing the water into wine and serving it to the guests: "Woe unto him that givest his neighbor drink, that puttest thy bottle to him...." (Hab 2:15)
Now some religions think that Jesus drank fresh grape juice, but no serious scholar accepts this for there is no evidence of it. There was no way to store fresh grape juice in those days.
Thirdly, Jesus was strongly criticized for being a friend of publicans and sinners. A publican was a tax collector and Jewish opinion was much lower toward them than the public today have toward IRS [Internal Revenue Servie] auditors. They were looked upon almost as traitors. The sinners included prostitutes, "good time Charlies," and other non pious, non synagogue-attending people of various grades.
Though it may not have been against Jewish law for Jesus to associate with some of these people, it did nothing for his image. He even "loved" Mary, a lady who a Pharisee thought was too great of a sinner for Jesus to be seen with. The Christ, however, was not big on doing things "to be seen of men" as the hypocrites, and he associated with whomever he pleased and countered his objectors with: "The whole need not the physician, but the sick."
-- End Of Part Thirteen --
Copyright 2001 by J.J. Dewey, All Rights Reserved