He is Annoying to Us and the Censure of Our Thoughts

The bible is always surprising me. The other day I came across this amazing text in the book of Wisdom. In the passage the wicked are complaining about God's "righteous one." With its messianic overtones, Christians obviously apply the text to Jesus:
Wisdom 2.12-15
Let us lie in wait for the righteous one, because he is annoying to us;
he opposes our actions,
Reproaches us for transgressions of the law
and charges us with violations of our training.

He professes to have knowledge of God
and styles himself a child of the LORD.

To us he is the censure of our thoughts;
merely to see him is a hardship for us,
Because his life is not like that of others,
and different are his ways.
So much poetry in this text, making it a great Lenten meditation. Simeon prophesied over the baby Jesus that he would become a "sign of contradiction." Jesus is also a "stone of stumbling," a "scandal," an "offense." To these familiar NT descriptions I can now add the language of Wisdom 2.

Jesus, the Righteous One, is annoying to us, because he opposes our actions. Jesus is the Censure of Our Thoughts.

Because his life is not like our life, and different are his ways.

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11 thoughts on “He is Annoying to Us and the Censure of Our Thoughts”

  1. Yes!

    I love the word "annoying" from the NABRE translation used in the post.

  2. I love that text.  I introduced it to my teens while we were going through the Gospel of Luke a couple of years ago.  Good fodder for conversation and seeing the narrative in a different light.  We also use it in our Good Friday stations of the cross meditation.  

  3. I don't know so much about Jesus ever truly being "Annoying" but Robert Powell playing him on screen sure the hell was!

  4. I found it interesting that the very next words after the passage you quoted connect to one of your big projects : "We are considered by him as something base,/ and he avoids our ways as unclean."

    It's long been a claim of some Christians that the real annoyance and censure found in Jesus, and his followers, lies in exposing some of the world's actions as unclean. I wonder how your appreciation of Wisdom 2:12-15 might connect to your seeming rejection of the "unclean" language as it used in Wisdom 2:16.

  5. The Book of Wisdom is really interesting, esp as it was written about the time of Christ, or a smidge before.

    Also interesting is the illustration - absent the crown of thorns, this Jesus could be a fashion model, long eyelashes and all - the first thing I thought of was the "Jesus my boyfriend" song lyrics :-)


  6. Too funny. I tend to agree with you, but when I was young I caught that mini-series during the Easter season when it came out in the late 70s. I think it aired in '77. I was ten or so, and I remember the show had a profound spiritual effect on me (even if the Jesus was a bit spacy and blue-eyed). To this day I find the soundtrack haunting, if only for nostalgic reasons.

  7. As I argue it in Unclean, Jesus re-interprets uncleanliness to be failures of mercy. So, for example, failures of the kinds we see in Matthew 25 are what makes us unclean. Basically, he sides with the prophets in deconstructing the Levitical purity codes. God desires mercy, not sacrifice.

  8. As a good ol' Evangelical I've never touched the Apocrypha - all I know is that some of them have the BEST names for bands or heavy metal albums (Bel and the Dragon, Ecclesiasticus etc.). But that's a really thought-provoking, healthily-discomforting bit of poetry right there! It's going to stay with me all day.

    Also, why is Freddie Mercury dressed up as Jesus? ;)

  9. Sorry. So it seems like I got this wrong--you don't object to a view of Christ (or Christians) "avoiding" the "ways" of people who are "unclean," you just want to make sure that we center our view of uncleanness around failures to stand up for the marginalized/ oppressed?

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