Puzzle of His Conduct. Why was Jesus such a party person?
Study and Discussion Questions
- The ascetic and the hedonist. John the Baptist was never accused of being a party person; Jesus was. Can either of these men be examples for us in this respect? Compare Matthew 11:2-19, Jesus comments on John, with the story in Matthew 9:10-13 where Jesus is eating with sinners and tax collectors. Are some Christians called to be ascetics but others to be gracious, pleasure-loving hedonists?
- Honor your parents. Jesus behavior when he was “lost” at the temple (Luke 2:41-51) seems to be less than respectful of his parents. How can one justify Jesus’ behavior? Shouldn’t he at the very least, have told them his whereabouts?
- Violent miracles. There is no record in the Gospels that Jesus ever killed anyone or even laid a hand on anyone. As Reynolds Price notes with reference to his cleansing of the temple, “When Jesus cleansed the temple, he attacked the furniture, not the people. Still, Jesus did perform two “violent” miracles, one involving the figs (Matthew 21:18-19) and one involving the pigs (Matthew 8:28-32). In addition, many of Jesus’ stories included violent judgments on those who fall short of the mark. How can we explain a gentle man who tells violent stories?
- Jesus as model and example? Paul offered his Corinthian church members a choice between the stick and love in a spirit of gentleness (1 Cor 4:21). In the same letter the contrast between gentle beauty of the love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13 and the harsh judgments of 1 Corinthians 5 is startling. Do the contrasts in Jesus’ life suggest the same kind of dichotomy? If so, what does that tell us about the way Christians should live in a troubled world?