Jesus did not judge but tried to save
In his latest book, entitled I Judge No One: A Political Life of Jesus, David L. Dusenbury looks at why Jesus was judged for a political crime, who said "I judge no one". At the talk organized by the Danube Institute, he discussed with David Martin Jones and Geréby György László the book that he wrote to try to explain why Jesus refused to act as a civil judge.
“One of the most politically prominent figures in human history was an impoverished, prophetic man, condemned as a political criminal, who himself never acted as a civil judge, was never included in civil cases, and when asked to act as a civil judge, refused to do. The only trial in the life of Jesus that ended in a judgment was his own”, said the book’s author.
He cited two Bible stories, ending with Jesus refusing to judge in these cases. He remained the “judge of the heart”, not involved in people’s disputes or politics.
Dusenbury explained that he wrote his PhD about a Syrian bishop from the 4th century who firmly believed in human freedom, which he considered a central part of the Christian heritage. The author believes that Jesus does not judge but that he came to save everyone – he came with a call, and we decide whether to respond or not.
György Geréby focused on that deep knowledge on which the book is based and then asked: “It ends with the fact that Jesus came to save, but from what?” He recalled that Jesus saved humanity not only from sin in Paradise but also later on, at the moment when the nations were born, in the story of the Tower of Babel. Dusenbury recalled the Gospel of John, which tells of the death of Jesus, who came to earth to unite the scattered children of God. Therefore, we cannot say Christianity has turned away from society and politics.
“He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:51-52)
Talking about the political and philosophical line, it was pointed out that Jesus did not imagine his kingdom on earth; he proclaimed a kingdom of love while accepting that political power on Earth sometimes takes the form of tyranny.
“So at the heart of the real political world of Jesus is an assumption that not all power comes from God, but of human devising,” he explained.
“In the political philosophy he’s advancing, he makes very clear that a kingdom that is at all divided will collapse,” he highlighted.
Responding to his discussion partners, the author said that Jesus did articulate a unique philosophy that did not seek to overthrow the existing state order – Christianity offered a transnational worldview that emphasised togetherness and cohesion. Jesus articulated a moral message that went beyond the political circumstances of his time.
Photo: Vasarnap.hu/Krisztián Szennyes