Was Jesus a gracious, gentle and humble as Christians like to claim or was he intolerant, self-important and frequently wrong? What do the gospels say?
He’s intolerant and self-important when:
He insists people should love him more than their own families (Matthew 10:37).
He says he’s not a peacemaker but intends creating strife (Luke 12:51).
He claims anyone who doesn’t follow him deserves to be burnt (John 15:6).
He wants the world to be destroyed by fire (Luke 12:49).
He commands people not to call others ‘fools’ (Matthew 5.22) but tells those he doesn’t care for that they’re ‘swine’, ‘dogs’, ‘snakes and vipers’, ‘whitewashed tombs’, and, yes, ‘fools’ (Matthew 7:6; 15:26; 23:33; 23:27; 23:17 & Luke 11:40).
He deliberately speaks in riddles so that people won’t understand him and won’t find forgiveness (Mark 4:12).
He tells his followers to love their enemies but says he’d have his own killed (Luke 19:27 & Matthew 13:41-42).
He endorses slavery and the cruel treatment of slaves (Luke 12:47-48).
He says people would be better off if they cut off their hands, plucked out their eyes and castrated themselves (Mark 9:43-48 & Matthew 19:12).
He endorses the Jewish law that demands the death penalty for those who disrespect their mother and father (Matthew 15:4-7).
He disrespects his mother (Matthew 12:48-49).
He tells people not to get angry but loses his own temper (Matthew 5:22 &Mark 3:5).
He callously kills a herd of pigs and, in a fit of pique, destroys a fig tree (Matthew 8:32 & Matthew 21:19).
He takes a whip to people (John 2:15).
He tells his mates he’ll soon be king of the world and promises them that they’ll rule alongside him (Matthew 19:28).
Are these the marks of a tolerant, compassionate man? Or the characteristics of an unpleasant, delusional megalomaniac?
As for frequently wrong: first, the false promises –
I will do <em>whatever</em> you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:13).
Very truly, I tell you, if you ask <em>anything</em> of the Father in my name, he will give it to you (John 16:23).
These signs will accompany those who believe: …they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover’ (Mark 16:17).
Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” But strive first for the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:25-7.1).
and then there’s the failed prophecies –
For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels… I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom (Matthew 16:27-28). Just in case we don’t get this the first time, he tells us again in Matthew 24:27, 30-31, 34 and in Luke 21:27-28, 33-34.
Did he return with the angelic host and establish God’s kingdom on Earth before his disciples died? He did not.
Christian zealots unable to accept the evidence of the gospels themselves will no doubt have a hundred and one clichéd, implausible excuses for Jesus’ many failures: ‘he was speaking metaphorically’; ‘you lack the spiritual insight to see what he really meant’; ‘you’re quoting him out of context’, blah blah, blah.
All I ask is that they please, please don’t inflict these excuses on us here when we’ve heard them all so many times before.