This just in: startling new evidence that Jesus winked when giving his famous command to “love your enemies.”
You heard that right. Apparently two professors working through previously undiscovered texts from the 4th century have discovered shocking proof that Jesus intended his teaching as an inside joke and the disciples bungled it up when writing things down. (Though the sources remain unconfirmed, let’s just go with it for now and hope it’s correct.)
What a relief. I always felt that this command to “pray for those who persecute you” was unreasonable and ridiculous, but there it was, written in red, and what were we to do about it? Well, I mean I know what we did with his teaching about enemy love. We ignored it. We felt embarrassed by it. We explained it away. We sped up our reading so we could get on with teachings less weird and more obviously relevant to our personal lives. And certainly not so out of touch with the complex political realities facing us today. (I mean, clearly Jesus had never heard of zealous extremists or oppressive regimes? He’d never have said things like that if he knew what it was like to be crushed by godless rulers.)
We did what we had to do. But now, with this new discovery, we don’t need to feel guilty anymore for ignoring what Jesus said while we bomb our enemies back into the stone-age. Now we don’t need to dance around in the Old Testament in an attempt to jive our holy wars with Jesus’ seemingly non-violent stance in the New Testament. We don’t need to conjure a defense for our just actions of recompense when slighted at work or our plan to fastidiously ignore our difficult neighbour. And we are certainly off the hook when it comes to welcoming those refugees and Muslims and foreigners into our country.
All of that is gone now! Jesus wasn’t serious after all!
Now, I wonder what else he wasn’t serious about?