So someone made the "if only Jesus had remembered his safe word" joke around me today. Again.
Look. I walked away from an Episcopal seminary because I lost all belief. But I had it. So I am aware of both sides of feelings on the issue.
But whether you believe that Yeheshuah bar Abbas was the Son of God, God himself, a revolutionary, a kook or a scapegoat, it's really irrelevant.
It's reasonable to believe that somebody fitting that description, whatever he was, got scourged, nailed to a piece of wood, and hung to die of entire body cramp. Crucifixion is no joke, it's considered one of the most evil ways that humanity has ever devised in terms of closing someone's medical account.
It's also reasonable to believe that said person KNEW that his actions would lead to this particular doom. Almost as much as I would expect, if I was to speak publicly against the Chinese government in Tian An Men square, to "disappear". Or as sure as vaulting the fence at the White House would lead to a rather rapid death by lead induced ventilation.
In a day and age where too many people have a belief only as long as following through with those convictions is convenient, and one's general sense of what one is meant to do or not do is abandoned as soon as it gets REMOTELY difficult, the notion of someone VOLUNTARILY being skinned alive with a metal and leather flail and then nailed to a crosspiece in the burning Israeli sun is... well, remarkable.
It's personally irrelevant to me whether you believe he did it cause he was crazy, he was trying to overthrow an unjust system, or he was trying to reconcile God and Man. The man died a hideous death he had every reason to believe he would die and met it with a measure of courage and stoicism that is hard to imagine. Scourging, crucifixion, whipping and suchlike would not have been an abstract concept to him, as it is to us. Do keep in mind people supported Singapore caning believing it to be a judicial version of a spanking and not the very real, takes months to heal brutality that it is. He would have entered cities past moaning half-dead corpses nailed naked to trees, he would have heard the screams of sentences being carried out in the public square.
And regardless of why he did it or who he was doing it, I have to admire that he did. One is welcome to believe what he or she wishes, and have any objection whatsoever to the abuses of religion and/or a particular church. Whatever blows your hair back. I didn't object to the person's joke, it makes no difference to me. But....
As for me, wherever he may be, and whoever he was, I'll tip back a beer to him, humming the Doobie Brothers. Jesus is just all right with me..... that is a man who believed in SOMETHING, and followed it through to a very bitter end.