When it comes to weirdness, Jesus Christ has nothing on his old man. While Yahweh was looking for excuses to drunkenly wrestle Moses, Jesus was usually preaching about love, tolerance and forgiveness. The key word there is “usually.”
Yes, Jesus also has a few moment of strange behavior in the New Testament, and indulges in a few other bizarre habits as well. Ignoring some of the odd things he said (he really didn’t care for traditional families and endorsed stealing from your employer, apparently), here are the weirdest things Jesus actually did, according to the Bible.
1) Paying Taxes Passive-Aggressively
Jesus famously said “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s,” indicating that a separation between religion and government would be best for everybody. Earlier in his career, though, he wasn’t above making it a little tough for “Caesar.” When a group of tax collectors came around and asked for their yearly payment, rather than simply pay the men, Jesus told Peter to go to the sea and start fishing. Once he had caught a fish, Peter was supposed to open its mouth, where he would find a coin inside, and he was to use that to pay the tax collectors. While forcing Peter to spend his afternoon finding money in fish sounds a little bizarre, it must have been more aggravating for the tax collectors who were handed money that reeked of fish. (Matthew 17:27)
2) Going on a Rampage
Perhaps the most famous of Jesus’ anger issues occurred when he came across a temple to his dad, and found it full of moneylenders and animal-sellers. He was furious at this sacrilege, but he didn’t just get mad—he effectively Hulked out, flipping over tables and knocking over chairs. And then he stood guard at the door, to make sure no more jerks came in on non-worshipping business. As for as reasons for Jesus to be angry go, this is a solid one, but admittedly it doesn’t seem much in line with the “turn the other cheek” and “love your enemies” guy. (Matthew 21:12-13).
3) Killing a Tree
The most baffling Jesus-related moment in the New Testament is unquestionably when the Son of God found himself a touch peckish while he was traveling. From Mark 11:
The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry.
Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.
Then he said to the tree,“May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.
You are reading this correctly: Jesus killed a tree. He was hungry, the fig tree had no fruit, and Jesus was so pissed off at this he cursed the tree, and it died.
Now, there are only two explanations for the tree not having fruit: 1) the weather had been bad, possibly from lack of rain, which prevented the tree from bearing fruit. This would have been totally God’s fault. The other option is crazier: 2) Figs just weren’t in season. So the tree was only obeying the natural rules that God had set, and Jesus, throwing a very uncharacteristic temper tantrum, murdered the tree for not somehow bending the rules. Please note that at this point in the book of Matthew, Jesus had already performed several miracles including restoring sight to the blind, restoring the ability to speak to the mute and, making money appear in fish. So it stands to reason he could have made the tree produce fruit if he’d wanted to… but instead, he really wanted to kill the tree. Maybe the tree was a sinner of some kind?
4) Admitting He’s Making This Hard on Purpose
Of course, many Christians will point out that “Jesus Murders a Fig Tree” is a parable, an allegory that contains a deeper message or truth beyond “Fuck Fig Trees.” The problem is that when Jesus spoke in parables, the Bible is pretty clearly about saying “So Jesus told us this parable” instead of “Jesus did this specific action that apparently we’re supposed to figure out a deeper meaning from.” Either way, it’s not like Jesus spoke in parables in order to be understood. From Mark 4:
And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.
And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables:
That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.
If there is another interpretation of this other than Jesus essentially saying “I don’t want to be too clear otherwise everyone will get into heaven” I would love to hear it. Maybe it’s also a parable?
5) Refusing to Wash His Hands
This is apparently why Jesus was a carpenter and didn’t work in the service industry. From Matthew 15:
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked,
“Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?
For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’
But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’
They are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.
Yes, the Pharisees threw a little shade at Jesus for not washing his hands before dinner, and Jesus immediately retorted with the fact that they weren’t killing their unruly children, like the Old Testament had explicitly ordered.
Now, again, we have two options here: 1) Jesus was indicating that not everything written in the Old Testament necessarily needed to be followed by modern society, or 2) he was genuinely upset that the Pharisees weren’t killing their children. Throughout the New Testament, you can find Jesus bringing up the word of God, but also encouraging people not to follow the Old Testament to the letter—so it honestly could go either way.
6) Spitting on Blind People
To be fair, Jesus only spat on the eyes of blind people in order to perform the miracle of restoring their sight (Mark 8:23) although there was time that Jesus spat on the ground, made some mud, and then rubbed the mud in the blind man’s eyes to heal them (John 9:6). Seeing as Jesus could heal people with a touch and kill trees with a word, was it 100% necessary to do all that spitting, too?
7) Murdering a Whole Bunch of Pigs
If you thought the fig tree had it bad, please enjoy this actual event and non-parable from Matthew 8:
When he arrived at the other side in the region of the Gadarenes,[c] two demon-possessed men coming from the tombs met him. They were so violent that no one could pass that way.
“What do you want with us, Son of God?” they shouted. “Have you come here to torture us before the appointed time?”
Some distance from them a large herd of pigs was feeding.
The demons begged Jesus, “If you drive us out, send us into the herd of pigs.”
He said to them, “Go!” So they came out and went into the pigs, and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the lake and died in the water.
So let’s set the scene. A herd of pigs is hanging out, eating things, and basically just chilling. Down the road, maybe a pig or two happens to hear an argument between a man and two thugs, but it’s not their concerns, so they’re minding their own piggy business. That is, until two demons appear in their midst from out of nowhere, terrifying all the pigs so badly they run off a cliff into the sea and drown. This herd of pigs—some versions of the Bible say there were 2000—were all scared to death by demons, all because they had the misfortune of being nearby.
Shockingly, the pig-owners were not thrilled:
Those tending the pigs ran off, went into the town and reported all this, including what had happened to the demon-possessed men.
Then the whole town went out to meet Jesus. And when they saw him, they pleaded with him to leave their region.
Yeah, I imagine Jesus blew his chance to convert these people. Anyways, I’d tell you to say a prayer for these poor, innocent pigs—but who would you pray to?
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