Thursday, April 9, 2009


While most people see Jesus as a religious leader- a savior - it is undeniable that Jesus was also a political leader of his time. Palestine, as present-day Israel was known during Jesus's time, used to be an occupied province of the Roman Empire, which was then divided into Galilee and Judea. It was then being administered by the ruthless and disciplinarian Pontius Pilate with the cooperation of Jewish puppets like King Herod and the religious elite - the Pharisees.

During the time of Jesus, the Jewish people were under the oppressive rule of the Romans. To make matters worst, their own leaders curried favors with the Romans to remain in power and religious leaders engaged in lavish lifestyles out of the taxes they exacted from the people, in addition to what Rome demanded. Poverty was massive and the Jews were restive of their unfortunate lot.

This made the Romans particularly strict in maintaining peace and order in their occupied territory. They saw to it that any dissent, or what they perceived to be as one, is promptly suppressed, such as the arrest and beheading of John the Baptist when he started attracting massive following out of his teachings on repentance and baptism.

Enter Jesus of Nazareth. Son of a carpenter or a mason, as some historians speculate, Jesus grew up as a poor boy in a small village where he saw poverty everywhere. This, historians believe, might have been one of the major reasons why Jesus grew up to advocate for the poor that infuriated those in power and led to his crucifiction.

Jesus introduced revolutionary ideas that ran conter with the conventional wisdom of the time. He brought hope and promise of a better life to the poor that gained him mass following, which made the Romans and religious elite uneasy. While the message of Jesus was spiritual in nature, such as by promising to the poor the Kingdom of God, everlasting life, love for one's enemies, those in power saw his growing ministry as a threat to them - an erosion of Roman political authority and religious influence of the Pharisees.

In a real sense Jesus was a political leader because he espoused ideas that run counter with the estabished order. The line between religion and politics was blur during those days; in fact Jerusalem, then considered a religious mecca for Jews, was the center of both religious and political power. But unlike most political leaders who went against the establishment, Jesus did not advocate the overthrow of the government nor called on the people to rebel against the Pharisees. He did not call for civil disobedience, rather he asked them to give what is due to Ceasar. He even proclaimed that he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. But those in power thought otherwise.

However the Romans and Jewish religious leaders viewed Jesus, his teachings endured and spread like wildfire that even his death and the passage of time could not contain. The irony is that the Roman empire - under whose power and authority Jesus was executed - eventually embraced his teachings and adopted Christianity as its official religion. Today about two billion people, around one-third of the world's population, are Christians. Amazing how a poor boy from a small village could become the center of a world religion.


  1. very poorly written. The writer had poor knowledge of the socio-economic condition of the time of Jesus. Bu I agree that Jesus was a polltical leader.

  2. Very well written. The writer had rich knowledge of the socia-economic condition of the time of Jesus, but I disagree that Jesus was a political leader.

  3. the story is very well weritten, and accurate on every account.