British journalist Dominic Lawson has his knickers in a twist because some other journalist on BBC compared Nelson Mandela to Jesus Christ. Frankly I don’t think Jesus would have been offended. I don’t know why some Christians have forgotten the simplicity and humbleness of Jesus as He is described in the bible. Examples of His humility abound. “Blessed are they who … come down into the depths of humility and [are] baptized. …“Yea, blessed are the poor in spirit who come unto me, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. …“And blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. …“And blessed are all the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (3 Ne. 12:2–3, 5, 9;). His disciples asked Him, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus called a little child to come to Him and chided them, saying: “Whosoever … shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:1, 4). We Christians are often taught to ask the question, what would Jesus do? Do you really think He would get all hot and bothered about one of His mortal brothers or sisters being compared to Him? He might actually think some of us were listening when he preached.
Lawson went on to criticize the comparison by pointing out that Mandela had short comings. The twelve year old Jesus stayed behind when his parents left the temple of Jerusalem. After three days his parents found him. His response to their questions about his whereabouts was he was seeing to his father’s business. That pretty much says mind your own mom, I got this covered. In my household Jesus would have been on punishment. I guess Jesus getting ticked off in the temple and throwing people out was not considered a frailty. Of course there are those that would say Jesus was getting angry for God. That sounds like the same rhetoric used by some fanatical Muslims to justify killing those who do not share their beliefs. That type of thinking was behind the Crusades. Every group wants to justify their holy war. I never will understand why we mere mortals think we need to fight battles for God. If we believe God is almighty why in heaven’s name would He need us to fight His battles? It’s all too confusing and of course whenever human beings are author, designer, etc. of religious doctrine it is confusing. It is messy. There are passages in the bible in which Jesus denies that he is God. Yet most Christian religions are built on the premise of Jesus as the only begotten son. In the Aramaic translation of the New Testament Jesus states he is the living God. So even the translations of the New Testament don’t agree. There are some things that are constant in the books we Christians hold so dear. Jesus got angry. He spoke harshly to his disciples, especially Peter. He was flippant at least in one instance with his parents. Therefore he wasn’t perfect. If we truly believe He was human, we have to accept that he might have had a few faults but would he really care if another good person, who suffered for the sake of justice and stood against evil, is compared to him? We Catholics have our way of giving credit to good people who pass on. We make saints. So maybe a compromise on behalf of the soul of Nelson Mandela is just to honor him as a saint, a man of goodness.