The Rev Michael Land: Jesus spoke in the Vernacular

The Reverend Michael Land is the vicar of St Mary the Virgin in Herefordshire, England. This church was used in the past by William Wordsworth and Edward Elgar. According to an article on page 5 of the Daily Telegraph newspaper (issue date: 31st July 2010) the Rev. Land is now encouraging his parishioners to move into the modern age - by swearing more. He claims to have wound down his car window and yelled: Why don't you ******* learn to drive. Why waste time on a sweet winsome gentleman, who runs a small country church, and who after all, is a long way from being in the same league as say, Benny Hinn? The reason to mention him at all is that he says: People view Jesus through tinted spectacles. The reality is that he was poor, lacked any real education and did not fraternise with the Pharisees and scholars. People today would probably be quite shocked at the language he used at that time.

So let's get this right. The Rev Land is saying that Jesus swore. So if this was the case then his language when he was on the cross would have been blue! One could imagine the thieves on either side of him venting their spleen in extremely colourful language. No doubt the crowd, which was forced to watch such a gruesome spectacle, would have encouraged them since the only way to avoid being traumatised by the spectacle is to make light of it. They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted a crown of thorns and set it on his head. They put a staff in his right hand and knelt in front of him and mocked him. "Hail King of the Jews!" they said. They spat on him and took the staff and struck him on the head again and again. Matthew 27 vv28-29. Or again: The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at him. They said, "He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Christ of God the Chosen One." Luke 23 v35. Or again: those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, "So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!" Mark 15 vv29-30.

Jesus had plenty of opportunity to vent his spleen in the vernacular but he did not. Why?

In the first place Isaiah prophesied 700 years earlier: He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent he did not open his mouth. Isaiah 53 v7. Because Jesus did not retaliate or swear so he fulfilled messianic prophecy - he was the Messiah. The apostle Peter confirms that Jesus said nothing when he says: When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate, he made no threats. Instead he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 1Peter 2 v23.

Secondly if Jesus had retaliated in any form his mission would have failed because to have responded to the crowd or the soldier who slapped him and then demanded that he prophesy as to who had slapped him, Jesus would then have been doing the will of someone other than his Father. His own words would have condemned him when he said: Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. Luke 22 v42.

In simple language: if Jesus had even once sworn at the soldiers or the crowd he would have not have been the lamb without spot or blemish. Hence to say he did swear, is to deny Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and we have another Jesus.

As for Jesus being uneducated and preferring not to mix with the elite of the day we read: When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. After the feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. After three days they found him in the temple courts sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking questions. Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. Luke 2 vv41-47. What is the value of a teacher, like the Reverend Michael Land who neither believes nor reads his Bible?

Yet the Rev. Land would have Christians swearing, which would simply be to deny that we are the salt of the earth. Interestingly, on page 17 of the same issue of the Daily Telegraph there is an article, the first sentence of which states: "A woman was arrested and taken to court for swearing at a group of youths after a brick was thrown through her window." Enough said.

2nd August 2010

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