An Interview with Jesus
By: J. Marlando
I have chosen a challenging topic because the historical Jesus means so many things to so many different people; to fundamentalist Christians, he is the son of god and the world’s savior; he suffered and died for our sins. At the same time skeptics want to know that if this is true why then must they die?
The Mormons have a kind of conflicting view—they believe that Jesus was fully human but had superhuman powers—that is, that he had powers not only over the elements but of life and death itself. I see a paradox in this. Then there is the question about Jesus’s ascension—according to Mormon doctrine the Celestial Heaven is the highest heaven but it is taught that a man must be married to reach it. Mortal men who do not reach it can never become gods so was Jesus married? Note too that there are no heavenly places for women to become goddesses but of course the “church” is historically a patriarchy.
And speaking of patriarchies, Muslims actually hold Jesus in great respect and believe in, what else, the virgin birth. In all of the 3-big religions—Christianity, Judaism and Islam—virginity is extremely important. Well, actually I think the Jews are far more open minded about virgin brides than the other two but historically a woman’s body has always been included in the dictates of organized religions. What of course is interesting is that The Greek Dionysus, the Persian god Mirtha, Osirus of Egypt, Baal of the Babylonians, Adonis the Syrian god and Krishna, the Indian god were all born of virgins too.
A great many Buddhists believe that Jesus was what they term a “Bodhisattva” or, in other words, a person dedicated to helping all human beings. Other Buddhists acknowledge Jesus as a person who was enlightened.
Jesus seems to reflect just about everyone’s vision of a holy man regardless of one’s faith—even the atheist who denies that Jesus ever was, acknowledges Jesus as being denialble. There are some Jews that believe Jesus was an effective cultist during his times, even a holy teacher, just not the messiah. All Jews absolutely deny the crucifixion as a historical event.
First of all crucifixions were not even a Jewish form of punishment, it was a Roman punishment although quite a few Jews were crucified for breaking Roman law back then. Could Jesus have been one of them? The problem is that the Romans kept exquisite records and there has been nothing found to indicate that there was a Jesus executed during those times or even confronted by the local Roman governor, Pilate.
In any case, as a writer who has done quite a few interviews over the years, I have often wondered what it would be like to interview the Jesus of history. As someone who has been a student of religions for a long time I of course have my own views of what such an interview would reveal. And so, with this in mind, it took me a lot of contemplation to decide if I wanted to write such an interview or not. “Why stir up a hornets nest,” as some would say.
Well, first of all, I do not ask anyone to believe what I believe because I think that’s a whole lot of what is wrong with our world—when others don’t believe as we believe we make them the enemy. Certainly the Crusades were a perfect model for this kind of cruel human action. Jesus would have been appalled by the Crusades, by the inquisition, by the bitterness between peoples of so-called faith and all the horror stories that have occurred in God’s name. In fact, here’s a quote that might interest you: "Hence today I believe that I am acting in accordance with the will of the Almighty Creator: by defending myself against the Jew, I am fighting for the work of the Lord."
Yes, you’re right, that came from Adolf Hitler.
With this in mind, we will begin.
I didn’t have to wait long—I was told that I would find him sitting out on the patio. I was a bit nervous. After all, I hadn’t interviewed a celebrity for a very long time. As soon as I walked outside I saw him, his back was to me and he was obviously looking out over the Pacific Ocean. It was a beautiful day and the sea was calm and inviting. He motioned for me to come forward without turning around, without seeing me as far I know. Well, I couldn’t stand there forever.
I walked to the table and sat down. “I’m here to interview,” I said.
“Yes, I know,” He smiled and offered me a glass of wine.
“Thank you,” I toasted.
The interview began:
M: You look different than you look in your pictures.
J: Yes, well, I am a Jew, not Laurence of Arabia.
M: You’re not as tall as I expected.
J: Neither are you.
M: The first question I’d like to get out of the way is, what exactly did you mean when you said that you and the father are one?
J: That God is everywhere; in all things. He is the lion and also the lamb.
M: Then you are not the son of God?
J: In that a deity miraculously impregnated my mother, no. That myth came directly from Mithraism.
M: What the heck is that?
J: When Rome was turning…well, Christian—I’ll talk about the name later—anyway, when Rome wanted to develop a national religion and take the power away from the so-called Pagan religions of the times Mithraism was most popular among the people and even had been for some of the emperors. In fact, Catholicism—the Church of Rome—took many of its sacraments directly from the Mithraism—certainly baptism and communion with bread and water was, if you will, originally a Pagan practice. In fact, the sign of the cross comes from the Egyptian cross which was a phallic symbol with an obvious symbol of femaleness to it. It was called the ankh.
M: You know a lot of stuff.
J: I’m supposed to. I’m Jesus!
M: So you’re saying that the Church of Rome and the Mithra-religion were in competition?
J: There were a great number of religions at the time—my own Judaism worshipped the God of Abraham but there had always been many religions practiced in the Roman Empire. By the time Christianity was being popularized there was already a strong population of Mithraisms. And there were still those who were faithful to the old Etruscan faith as well.
M: I always thought that the Romans simply lifted the Old Greek gods and renamed them.
J: Rome’s history of religions is far more complex than that. However, it is true—the official religion of Rome renamed the Greek Zeus, Jupiter, Artemes became Diana and so on but an extremely strong influence over the Roman people—rich and poor, common and elite—was the old Etruscan religion that had its roots in very ancient time (a very long time before my own time) and was a warring religion that worshipped both gods and goddesses.
The old Etruscan priests interpreted divine will through natural acts such as lightening or the flight of birds and so forth. The Etruscans had a great many rituals and believed in a great many deities that appealed to the Roman mentality and a great many studied the literature of the Etruscans. But we are taking quite a leap from my life to the events leading up to Christianity. What was it you wanted to talk about?
M: Both actually—That is, you and Christianity! After all, you are Jesus Christ, the founder or, perhaps I should say originator of the Christian religion?
J: Let’s get this straight: The term Christ arrives from the Greek “Christos” which means messiah” in the Hebrew Bible. To say Jesus the Christ is to say Jesus the messiah. In fact, as I am sure you are aware last names, family names, were not used even a thousand years ago. Mostly last name identification was connected to what a person did or where he was from like Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus Carpenter! Anyway, with that aside, I am not the founder of Christianity or any other religion and never intended to be. I was born a Jew—recall, my mother was Jewish!
M: Yes, the mother of God!
J: Ah yes, the mother of God, the Queen of Heaven…Our Lady!
M: And (I smile) your mom!
J: I was actually referring to the Egyptian Isis who was given these very titles a great many centuries before Christianity decided to have their own queen. My own mother was a person of much love and understanding though; a good woman with a heart of gold.
M: Are you saying the Queen of heaven is Isis?
J: No. I am saying that the very terms kings and queens of heaven arise from stories and Mythologies made up by people. Remember, the old rulers used to claim to be gods themselves and so the kingdom of heaven became an extension of earthly kingdoms in the minds of people. That image has remained even to this day. I will talk about the kingdom a little later though. Right now, I am reminded of a problem I confronted when I was teaching. One of my major goals was to debrief people from their indoctrinations not exchange them…This is exactly why I insisted on saying that the Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.
M: Then you actually said that?
J: Yes, that was one of the few things they got right or didn’t change to fit their own agendas.
M: Something else you said that I never quite understood is that you didn’t come to bring peace on earth, but a sword. And something about a man’s enemy becoming those in his own household.
J: I spent my entire life preaching love, tolerance and forgiveness and now I am supposed to have supported the Crusades and inquisitions with a statement like this. But I have been credited for so many things that supports the will of man and not God’s.
M: You’re saying that supports the desires of the church and of Rome?
J: The aim of the Church of Rome was to be the world church—indeed, Catholic means universal. And, if you count Protestants they are globally quite a massice insitution in numbers.
M: But of course you can’t count Protestants. They broke from Catholicism.
J: Yes, but their fundamental beliefs are certainly from early Church propaganda and Roman mythologies. Take baptism, for example, which always reminds me of the terrible scare tactics that was once used: Augustine, the intellectual of Catholicism and the one who gave the world guilt and shame, also taught this. He said: Unbaptized infants would spend eternity crawling about the floors of hell. Now that would send most mothers directly to the priests would it not? How cruelly coercive was that to boost membership?
M: But even you said—unless one is born of water and the spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
J: Spirit of Spirit, if it be your will, give me over to immortal birth so that I may be born again and the sacred spirit may breathe in me.
M: So are you saying, that’s what you really said?
J: No, that was the people’s prayer to Mithras and from whom the Church of Rome took the idea from. Remember the Church of Rome was doing everything it could to convert the so-called Pagans to Christianity so Christianity adopted a great many Pagan beliefs.
M: What then is the significance of baptism?
J: Well, from older Jewish tradition, baptism was a ritual for the cleansing of the spirit and a new devotion to God. Then Christianity came along and announced that God had actually sent John the Baptist to prepare the world for my coming. John was quite the character, by the way, an eccentric really who met a sad and terrible fate. After all, he was truly a man of the best intentions. I think, however, what he wanted most was to return the Jews to their old ways of worship; he kept insisting that they repent.
Anyway, lots of people were baptizing back then. In fact, baptism goes, as I say, back to paganism. It is also well known that baptism was practiced by the Qumran community; a retreat of the Essenes that I am known to have been associated with but, in any case, my point is that baptism has always been about cleansing the body and soul.
Incidentally, the ancient Egyptians used to baptize their dead as Mormons still do today which I find interesting.
M: The idea was to be born again?
J: Yes, but this too was an important ritual of Mithraism—however, they didn’t baptize in water but instead they baptized in bull or ram’s blood. Nevertheless, the idea behind it was to be, as you say, born again.
M: Can a person truly be…well, born again?
J: That is far more complex than it sounds and has many meanings: You are, in effect, born again every time you change your mind or make a decision. With that aside, however, what I actually said is that we must all come into this world in order to enter the kingdom.
The kingdom is inside and outside us, not in some unknowable place—it is everywhere and it is beautiful until people recreate it to suit themselves corrupting the world with their greed and arrogance. For example, I greatly resented the Roman occupation of Palestine…
M: Yet you said, render to Caesar, the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.
J: Actually, I would never suggest that people should pay taxes to one and tithing to the other and that is what that message is all about is it not? People that know me know what I think of Roman rule and anyway, I have always been too much the rebel to support such obedience’s—my goal was always to feed the poor not to build great houses for the powerful.
M: I wasn’t going to bring the rebellion part up but didn’t someone say the son of man came eating and drinking: behold a gluttonous man and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.
J: (Smiling) yes, some did say that about me.
M: Well…was it true?
J: I followed my heart, not the absurd mores of my era—Indeed I did prefer walking with the so-called sinners over the pious and pompous. It was, after all, amidst the sinners that I found great compassion and yearnings for God but also there was the salt of real tears and the joy of hardy laughter not the pretentiousness of the elite in the community.
Sometimes, while in those poorer sections, I would be asked to forgive their sins but I surprised them by not hiding behind a mask of judgment and critical appraisals—I told them to merely go and sin no more, that they were already forgiven. After all, the past is gone, tomorrow has not arrived—what we do now is what’s important! But there was something else: most of them only believed that they had sinned because they had broken some rule or protocol. Like so many crimes sin is, if you will, merely legislated. But I tell you that real sin and real crime is synonymous.
I ask you, what is sin and what is crime? To commit either one must take away the freedom of another in some way. The thief and the murderer does this but the thief or the murderer is not always the bandit in the shadows; he might also be the one who wears the gowns of justice or be the rule maker himself. The thief and murderer wear a thousand masks and hides in many costumes. He or she is ever as apt to be the rich and powerful as he or she is to be the poor and desperate.
M: Are you saying there is no crime or no sin if there is no victim.
J: This is exactly what I am saying. Let those who hear, hear.
Oh, I almost forgot! To answer your question, I was not a drunkard or a glutton…However I wasn’t a holier-than-thou type either. I had always felt a lot of disgust for those people who walked around praying in public and acting like living saints; as if they have some deeper knowledge of God than other people have.
I will share this with you. No one is closer to God (and so to the truth) than little children who make the two one, the inside the outside, the upper side the underside and the man and the woman a single one—yes, they know God better than all others because they exist in a perfect state of not-knowing. As it is with God, they simply are. It is our kind who names God. And once God is named, God is given an image and it is the image that is worshiped thereafter and not God at all. Do you follow me?
M: I think so but if I do I’m afraid I must confront you on an issue,
J: Go ahead.
M: If you are saying God cannot be named, you, yourself, called him “the Father.”
J: We talked abou t this earlier: While it is true, I called God the father, I did this with the intent to demonstrate, in a way they could understand, the God-ness in all of us. This was my meaning when I said the father and I were one.
M: The metaphor was misunderstood?
J: It was not a metaphor at all, it was meant to give them a realization.
M: I do not think what you meant has been realized by very many even in these times.
J: No. God is still being used as God was in the days of the old god/kings ten or fifteen thousand years ago, as a tool of coercion and control by the pious and pompous.
M: You sound a little angry?
J: No, but the truth is that I find the pomposity of piety as irritating as any other kind of arrogance. How dare any human being to judge another in terms of righteousness. As I once said to those kinds of hypocrites, take the beam out of your own eye and then see the speck in your brother’s eye.
M: Judge not, less thee be judged.
J: Let those without sin cast the first stone.
M: I love that one!
J: Me too!
M: Can we go to the topic of the kingdom now?
J: Yes, if you wish. What do you want to know about the kingdom?
M: I understand that you never taught that it is located in some remote place unseen and unknowable but always in the here and now, is that correct?
J: Yes. I said that each of us should seek the kingdom of heaven first and thereafter all the rest would be added.
M: That sounds so simple until one really begins to think about it.
J: The kingdom of heaven is within you and outside of you. Yet, many people say it is a place somewhere beyond our experience. Indeed, for a great many people heaven merely replicates the working of the mundane world where kings sit on thrones and live in grand palaces. God is the, I am; the all. God does not dwell in the kingdom, God is the dwelling itself! Yet, God can be called Truth and the truth is within us. Have you not heard that it is the truth that sets us free?
The kingdom is inside everything that lives and outside everything that lives too but recall, the outside and inside are also one. It is only the apparent that separate the two! Think on this.
M: The eternal and divine is within us then?
J: Yes. Anything that lives cannot die. Before Abraham I was!
M: Before continuing, I must say, this is excellent wine.
J: Thank you, I made it myself.
M: So when you are saying the kingdom is within, is the kingdom merely a metaphor for God?
J: God is the breath and the life; the awakening of even the stones and grass beneath your feet. God is love and light; movement and rest; the outside in and the inside out.
M: You said that you and the father are one.
J: Yes, have I not already explained this? We are all one!
M: Even you and I?
J: As I keep saying, we are the same it is only our differences that are apparent.
M: You are not always easy to understand but I do remember what you say.
J: I wish others would do the same. I frankly resent the fact that I have been made an icon for religions and my meaning and purpose has so often been corrupted.
M: For example?
J: The examples seem endless but here is a blatant one: Recall that I said, the kingdom of heaven is within us.
J: Now Mathew puts something different in my mouth and in the doing I contradict what I say in order to support the church. Just listen to this: The disciples came unto Jesus, saying, who is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And Jesus called a little child onto him, and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say onto you, except ye be converted (note the term “converted”) and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in heaven. And who so shall receive one of these little ones in my name receiveth me. But who so shall offend one of these little ones which believes in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
M: I’m not really following you.
J: In this speech I am made to say the Kingdom is somewhere out there, a place that one must gain entrance to; the idea of a heaven being a reward for obedience and conformity to dogmas and doctrines. The pagan is being warned here not to teach their children anything but Christianity or, if he does, it would be better that a millstone was hanged about his neck. Do you understand what I am telling you?
M: Fear tactic?
J: Yes, obedience on earth in exchange for rewards in heaven. The tricksters of leadership used this control mechanism at the advent of so-called civilization. Even today it is taught that the way to God is through the church doors but I tell you the way to God is turning inward and listening to your own heart. The heart, as metaphor for your entire self-awareness, is where God truly dwells.
M: Do you think people will be upset by this.
J: Let those who hear, hear!
M: This has been a most interesting interview.
J: Yes, it has. I will remind you, however, that the Savior-god is a very old myth. For example, Osiris of ancient Egypt is said to have done many great works for mankind only to be betrayed and murdered by the powers of evil. It was said that he descended from the tomb and went into heaven. Savior-gods have been very popular in mythologies because life and death are such a mystery to people. I attempted to shed light on those mysteries but I was merely weaved into a new mythology and, as you know, kept there.
The truth, however, is that once people began taking God out of Nature and creating him into their own image—a sovereign above all sovereigns—we simply created our own desperation. This, by the way, began with the ancient Sumerians at least fifteen hundred years before I came into this world. I believe that this transition started in the third dynasty of Ur, long before the dynasty of Babylon came into being. The philosopher Descartes would confirm the removal in the 1600s modern times. I don’t know if this interests you but it is somewhat important to know.
M: Yes, I am interested. I am a history buff at heart!
J: Well, the Sumerians had nearly always bowed to a supreme monarch but that monarch was always their earthly ruler claiming to be the son of some deity.
M: The sun god for example.
J: Yes, exactly.
M: Jesus, you’ve given me a lot of time. I thank you for this interview—and you have certainly given me a great many things to think about. I would like to ask you this however: What was your major purpose during your years as a Galilean teacher?
J: I suppose if I were to summarize I would say I first wanted to bring cohesiveness into the world; the making of two into one! In the world that I grew up in, there existed devastating gaps—vast chasms between the rabbi and the people…between the rich and poor…between grownups and children…and between males and females…and between rich and poor. The entire culture was being dictated to by the pompous and pious while more and more beggars were occupying the streets.
M: They were the homeless of your day?
M: I’m sorry, go ahead, I interrupted.
J: There were more and more beggars occupying the streets, more human suffering, more hunger and all the while the self-righteous few were growing their own wealth and preaching their own goodness. For me, even as a child, the Temple was God’s House and I had the desire to return it to God.
M: You were dissatisfied by the…the status quo, so to speak?
J: Everything in my society was based on some law—not only Roman law but the Jewish law was even more demanding in both public and private life. I resented the Romans, yes, but I also resented the constant demands made by my own religion. We have already talked about my view of the Sabbath but this is but one example of my discontent and yes my resistance to worldly authority. Anyway, as happens when one speaks publicly I began attracting a following. Incidentally, another reasom that my following was condemned was because it included women. Women at the time were considered socially and humanly inept but I knew that we males and females were also the same and that our differences were also only apparent.
M: What was it you most wanted to accomplish with your following?
J: My major goal was not to bring love into the world as is so often said, but to reveal it; God’s love is the essence of life itself and is everywhere: In the new born, the blossoming flower, the earth and the heavens; it is heard in the song of birds and the trickle of water; in the laughter of people and yes it is seen in you and in me. In other words, God’s love sparks the breath of life from his unconditional love!
M: It is man that make up the rules?
J: In one translation of the New Testament, I am quoted saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe the gospel. Someone must have realized that there were no gospels when I was teaching and so they changed it to, repent to gain the good news. The operative word, however, is repent.
In Acts, it is said that Peter said, “repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.” As you well know, I never called for repentance, I simply said go and sin no more. It is the church that calls for repentance and teaches there is salvation in suffering and sacrifice. Can you imagine anything more ungodly and unloving than this? I shake my head at the very concept of sacrifice.
To sacrifice is impossible: No matter what one decides to do, he or she has clearly chosen to do one act over another. If a poor parent, we will say, gives her child the last slice of bread in the house, she has not made a sacrifice for not have eaten half of it herself. She has decided that it is more important or joyous to her that her child be nourished than herself. All human action is based on this premise and nothing more.
The sacrificial altar has always been for the pleasure of the old god/kings and high priests. I recall reading once of how a very poor woman was praised more than anyone else in her church because she had such devotion to her faith that she put her last pennies into the collection plate. How God loves this woman, eh?
What is this really saying? It is saying build the wealth of the church at any cost—give give, give even if you are the poorest or the poor because God will reward you in heaven. It is upon this rock that the church (that all organized religions) is built. ButI tell you, God wants you to have pleasure not pain. There is no salvation in suffering; first of all this is a concept to keep the poor from rising up against the elite of church and state.
I ask you, how could a truly loving god make suffering the price of salvation or eternal joy? I tell you only a god created in man’s image would do this. Indeed, the sacrificial lamb belongs to the demagogues of the world. Indeed, one never sees the dictator go hungry, only the people starve nd struggle. And, I will add that it is typically the people who die for the causes of the dictators, those who fight the wars from behind the safety of stone walls.
M: Speaking of wars, do you think the world will ever become a more loving and peaceful place?
J: Every wise and holy person who has walked the face of the earth has pointed the way to a better, kinder, more secure, happy and loving world. It is such an apparent and easy solution that has been given time and time again. Indeed, it has been said by Christianity, and by Judaism; by Buddhism, Taoism and by Hinduism—to simply treat others as you would be treated.
The problem is that people tend not to do this even in their homes much less their communities or nation with nation. Yet, I tell you, if each of us only did this much, world hunger, war and all hatred would simply go away.
M: I will thank you now for this interview ut with this final question: is there anything that you would like to add as a final word or message?
J: I would most of all like people to know this: God loves you! It is those who make up the rules that condemn you.
M: Thank you, Jesus…oh, one last thing—for those who will be seeking you, how can they find you?
J: Split wood: I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.