Which Jesus?

As the crowds gathered before Pilate’s house that morning, he asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you—Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah? (Matthew 27:17)

Relate:  Jesus was a very common name. In fact, Josephus, the famous historian of Israel around the time of Christ, records nineteen people with the name between two of his books. Four of those 19 even were high priests.

Some scholars have speculated that it was Jesus Bar Pandira who founded the Essenes. Incidentally, he was considered a “wonder worker” who made a career out of preaching end times prophecy. This Jesus upset the Maccabean king of his time and was hung on a tree on the eve of the Passover.

Then there was Jesus Bar Gamala. He led the peace party inside the besieged city of Jerusalem in 68-69 AD. This Jesus was carrying on negotiations with the leaders of the Idumeans who had the city under siege (those leaders were named James and John the sons of Susa). Unfortunately, the negotiations led nowhere and this Jesus was killed when the city fell.

There was also Jesus Bar Thebuth. He also was in the city when it fell, but this Jesus didn’t die. He actually bought his life. You see this Jesus had the fortune of being a priest. So he stole some of the goods from the temple and used the stolen goods as a bribe to save his own neck.

Jesus Bar Ananias also bears some similarities with the Jesus we know. In 62 AD he gets up in the Temple and starts saying some very disturbing things about the Temple. This upsets the Temple authorities enough that they hand this Jesus over to the Romans. The Romans whip him, declare him a madman, and then let this Jesus go. He could still be seen inside Jerusalem 7 years later during the city shouting out, “Woe to the city and the temple and the people!” It is said that the last time this Jesus shouted this he added, “and woe to me also.” Immediately a stone flung from a ballista scored a direct hit on this unfortunate prophet.

There was another Jesus who was crucified by the Romans in the town of Lydda about 75 years after the Messiah. There is also the Jesus that Paul refers to in his letter to the Colossians. The book Ecclesiasticus was written by a man named Jesus. Even the guy who led the Israelites into the Promised Land shares the same Hebrew name as Jesus. But we call his book “Joshua” to avoid confusion.

Read the rest of the blog at: http://theriverwalk.org/2021/02/12/which-jesus/

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