Wed, Jul 24, 2024

A REAL LOOK AT JESUS OF NAZARETH. A look from the Textual Criticism.

  • 08/15/2022 - by Rev. Jesús Manuel Mejía Quiroz

Jesus was born during the reign of Emperor Augustus, probably some years before the beginning of the Christian era. It is not possible to specify the exact year of Jesus' birth, but it is likely that this birth took place towards the end of the reign of Herod the Great (died 4 BC). He grew up in Nazareth of Galilee. The birth of Jesus in Bethlehem is witnessed only in Mt. 2 and Lk. Jesus is from Nazareth and is known as the Nazarene. It is the majority opinion of scholars that Jesus grew up (and possibly was born) in Nazareth. He belonged to a large family. He had blood brothers and sisters, several of whose names are preserved in the Synoptic sources.

It seems that his parents, Joseph and Mary and their brothers had not adhered to his preaching before his death, later one would become a leader of the community whom we know as the brother of the Lord.

That Jesus had brothers is something that is supported in the New Testament with historical plausibility and has difficulty been accepted by independent exegesis. He was a deeply religious subject. Although the conversion of Jesus is due to the teachings of his teacher John the Baptist. Jesus had an intensely and enthusiastically religious personality, which is deduced from the testimonies of his followers or so-called disciples of him and the deep love of Judaism. His religiosity was fully Jewish. He was born, grew up, lived and died a Jew. The image of the Synoptics presents a Jesus who adheres to the religious beliefs and practices of his people (observance of festivals, frequenting synagogues, acceptance of the sacrificial rites of the Temple, the Hebrew Bible as the foundation of his religious and cultural heritage). he is Jewish and consistent with the practices of the community of his time. The Jewish character of Jesus' piety, doctrine, ethics and sensitivity is recognized by the Gospels.

He was baptized in his maturity by John the Baptist; He took from John the Baptist some of the main motifs of preaching from him. The teaching and religious self-understanding of Jesus are taken from the teachings of John the Baptist, from whom he, having probably been a disciple, inherited various traits. This harmony in the personality and the message of both preachers responds to the criteria of two great religious leaders of their time and contradicts the evangelical tendency to turn Jesus into a unique character. He had Juan as a teacher. John's thinking and leadership influenced the later thinking of Jesus. He assembled a group of disciples, whose core was symbolically composed of the twelve disciples.

Jesus spoke and acted as if he were a prophet, God's eschatological spokesman. The center and raison d'être of his preaching was the announcement of the coming of the kingdom of God. He confined his preaching to Israel. He believed that the establishment of the kingdom would not depend on men, but on God. He understood the kingdom of God and then announced it as a reality

Comprehensive in nature, it was not merely spiritual, so his message had political implications. The kingdom of God that he preached included the idea of a judgment, which implies both the salvation of some and the damnation of others. He performed actions that he and some of his contemporaries considered extraordinary, such as exorcisms and healings. He put the moral aspects before the rituals.

He maintained polemics of a religious nature with other Jewish religious groups or movements of his time. From Galilee, Jesus went to Jerusalem on Passover, either to celebrate the feast, to preach or await the establishment of the Kingdom, although not to die. He starred in an incident in the Temple. He was arrested and it was decided to execute him for reasons of a socio-political nature. He died in the time of Tiberius, crucified along with several, probably two seditionists, by the Romans. It can be said, regarding Jesus that there are no enigmas, but in any case ignorance on our part due to the scarcity of the historical source inside and outside the New Testament. I must say that the critical reading of the Gospels and of the information related to John the Baptist in Flavius ​​Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews XVIII 116-119) allows us to obtain a vision that is significantly different from the current or common opinion transmitted by the Christian world. Jesus of Nazareth was always and entirely a Jew of the first century, without Christian ornaments, without glory of resurrection.

Jesus did not intend to found any new cult; he wasn't even a reformer of his religion. He only intended that the law of Moses be fulfilled in its essence and depth, without falling into religious fanaticism we can affirm that Jesus remained faithful to his religion (Jewish) until the last day of his existence and consequently did not intend to found any church. Jesus presented himself as Israel's messiah in a Jewish sense. He never stopped being a Jew, indeed, even his earliest followers were Jews. Jesus loved his Judaism, I love his religion and never acted against his Judaism.

Although the image of the real, human Jesus is not valid for faith, this reconstruction is a continuous warning to theology and Christology that he cannot stand still as a complete whole. On the contrary, the investigation of the real Jesus is a continuous stimulus for theological renewal in the search for new paths and bridges that enrich the Christian faith.


We know little about the life of Jesus, we do not have exact information about Jesus' family, we know little about his faith community, his education and socioeconomic status, his possible marital status (single, married). For many Catholics, B.-. FAMILY ORIGINS.

We know little about the life of Jesus, we do not have exact information about Jesus' family, we know little about his faith community, his education and socioeconomic status, his possible marital status (single, married). For many Catholics, Anglicans, Orthodox, or Christians it is annoying to talk about the dogma of the perpetual virginity of Mary, annoying to talk about the family and brothers of Jesus. The brothers of Jesus, «is that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were truly. This judgment arises above all from the criterion of testimony based on the New Testament passages: Paul, Mark, John, Flavius ​​Josephus and perhaps Luke, and Acts 1,14.

The Apostle Paul speaks of James as the brother of the Lord who followed Jesus in his time, tradition clearly distinguishes between blood brother (adelphós in Greek) and anepsiós, "cousin". The same goes for Josephus. Similarly, with Mark and John, because in the New Testament there is not a single case in which adelphós can mean "cousin" without a doubt, and there are many adelphós in the sense of brother, therefore we cannot deny that Jesus He had a large family, with several brothers and sisters.

It seems clear that Jesus was an ascetic, celibate at least during his ministry, intensely devoted to prayer, and that he maintained an exemplary testimony of life. The beginning of the public life of Jesus of Nazareth was that he was attracted by the preaching of John the Baptist, he had himself baptized by him and thereby fully accepted his views. If at that moment he had already had a clear project, Jesus would not have assumed the baptism of John.


The first project of Jesus of Nazareth consisted of assuming the theological thoughts of John, which in turn were framed in the plot of the eschatological hope of Judaism of the time: Divine judgment is raised. Juan stages it preaching in the desert, this place is where the people must begin a new exodus towards the promised land, salvation.

Baptism will signify Israel's new entry into the promised land. The definitive stage of this process will be the implantation of the kingdom of God. John the Baptist did not think of an end to the world as we would imagine it today, but of a real transformation in the social, political, economic and religious aspects of the earth and the people of God. The Baptist announced the saving presence of Yahweh for his people. But the person who carried out this transformation would not be himself, the announcing prophet, but someone else. The gospels do not say clearly who he was, but only that John the Baptist thought he was "one greater than himself", that is, perhaps the Messiah, or else a human being with very special divine help.

Only the later Christian tradition will later see Jesus in this "greater" character. The Baptist was a special character and more important than Jesus. I can affirm that there are no substantial differences between the two characters in terms of their message (John/Jesus) and in terms of the reception of sinners. Jesus was also not only a preacher of salvation, but also of the harsh punishments of God and condemnation where he constantly invited the gaze to the Torah.

The second project of Jesus; When Juan disappeared from the scene due to his violent death, Jesus was not discouraged, but began a second project: the mission in Galilee, chronologically the largest and sufficiently documented. Jesus undertook this independent mission with new ideas, while always retaining the basic structure of the theology of John the Baptist.

Jesus discovered that, following the murder of John, God had decided to advance his liberating activity of the people with a new dimension. And that the agent in charge of proclaiming this divine decision was Jesus. Here we must situate the beginnings of the messianic consciousness of Jesus. Apparently, already the imprisonment of John provoked in Jesus the idea that God would act energetically in those moments in the person of Jesus.

It was then that Jesus began to proclaim and stage the message. For this reason, the mission of Jesus of Nazareth did not take place in the desert (as in the Baptist), but in the land of Israel. It was no longer a time of preparation, but of the presence of the liberating and definitive event of God. This did not begin with the Great Purifying Judgment, as John had announced, but with the irruption of the transforming action of the sovereign God, which Jesus designated as the "kingdom of God." The "kingdom of God" was a symbol that designated in Jesus a reality that had the same fundamental character that harbored such a "symbol" in the Israelite hope. It was the unique and definitive liberating event with which God was going to transform the history of Israel and, through it, the end of the history of all peoples.

Jesus' strategy was far from being a strategy of power, that is, of influencing the socially powerful classes. It was rather a strategy of meeting with the lost people, but chosen by God, who needed the healing and renewal of their vital roots and the entire fabric of their existence. The change in the temporal and geographical horizon of the mission of Jesus with respect to that of John also required a change in missionary strategy. The people did not have to go to the desert to receive a baptism Jesus and his disciples did not baptize, but traveled the earth to hear the message or the announcement of the kingdom of God.

This was the meaning of Jesus and his collaborators, who walked through the villages of Galilee and its surroundings. In other words, Jesus and his closest followers or later called his disciples were the workers in the harvest, and Israel was the people of the promised land to whom the message and the holy teachings of the Torah had to be announced. The basis of this project was the belief in the restoration or renewal of Israel, decided by God, whose symbol was the twelve disciples, symbol of the twelve tribes of Israel that were going to be restored, since ten had been lost. The staging of the missionary tasks would no longer be in the desert but in the Israelite land, where the main agent of the proclamation was Jesus of Nazareth. The renewal of the people would have a global character, establishing a way of living for the people in accordance with the will of God. As a sample, the new spiritual family was established, the one that listened to the divine will in Jesus. The cures, miracles and exorcisms of Jesus were the sign of the liberating presence of God.

Third project of Jesus; The third project arises from the failure of the mission in Galilee, which provoked an interior crisis in Jesus. The apparently hopeless situation of failure led Jesus to the conviction that this was the sign that God was hastening the definitive stage of the renewal of the entire people of Israel. Instead of being a wave from Galilee that would also inundate Jerusalem, the kingdom of God would begin in the capital and from there spread more rapidly throughout the holy land. Its realization depended on the reception or not of the Jewish people and the religious authorities.

If the reception was positive, especially by the authorities, the definitive establishment of the messianic kingdom in Israel would take place, the immediate prelude to the kingdom of God throughout the land of Israel.

Rev. Jesús Manuel Mejía Quiroz.

Anglican Bishop.

Anglican Catholic Church of Peru