(Roman News Network)—Six months into his public ministry, Jesus of Nazareth sent shock waves through the Jewish community with the publication of his recent remarks about the morality of adultery. In a wide-ranging article published in a local Judean newspaper last week, Jesus described how he chose not to endorse the traditional punishment for adultery but instead told the adulteress, “I do not condemn you.”
The interview also revealed how some of the Messiah’s conservative followers are concerned by his break with time-honored traditions such as the ceremonial washing of hands before meals and the prohibition of picking grain on the Sabbath.
While it was originally published in Aramaic, the article has been recently translated into Greek and Latin and, as a result, has made headlines around the empire. The Alexandrian Daily News proclaimed, “Blunt messiah tells flock to quit yammering about tradition and adultery,” while the Gaul Gazette simply said, “Jesus of Nazareth: Leave Adulterers Alone.”
The Messiah’s startling comments are just the latest in a string of incidents that have left his conservative followers nervous about the direction of his public ministry. Chief among these were his comments about the controversial issue of the Roman occupation of Judea. Unlike some of his predecessors, whose strident anti-Roman rhetoric earned them a place on an imperial crossbeam, the new Messiah has expressed a remarkably open attitude towards the Roman occupation of Judea.
As reported in the Tiberian Times, Jesus of Nazareth said that in regard to the Roman tax policy for the region, Jews should “Give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” Along with his support for the imperial tax in Judea, Jesus of Nazareth has confounded his conservative critics by befriending tax collectors and has even elevated one of them to the level of an apostle.
While his Jewish followers have been made uneasy by his recent press coverage, several Roman commenters have been quick to embrace this unconventional Messiah. The poet Saletanus at stoneslate.com boldly announced that “Jesus of Nazareth is a Roman” and the senate went so far as to send the Messiah a greeting by courier that read simply, “Dear Jesus of Nazareth: Thank you. Signed, Roman citizens everywhere.”
Unfortunately for his would-be Roman supporters, Jesus of Nazareth has also made public statements (such as his reference to the Roman authorized monarch King Herod as “that fox”) that seem to contradict their hopes that Jesus will radically change Jewish attitudes toward the Empire.
Indeed, his chief spokesperson, Peter, recently said in an interview that the Messiah has been badly misquoted by the media and that he is still a faithful Jew who is fulfilling God’s covenant with his so-called “chosen people.” But before finishing the interview, the apostle, upon seeing an advancing Roman cohort, broke into a cold sweat, claimed to not know who Jesus of Nazareth was, and then fled into the hill country.
So how will Jesus of Nazareth’s unexpected statements and bold actions affect the Jewish population in Judea? One Jewish commenter in a Roman forum simply said, “He may not be the Messiah we thought we should have, but I think he is the Messiah God thought we should have, and that’s probably what should matter most to us.”