[ the actual title of this page:]


What kinds of sins
bothered Jesus the most?

[ The Scriptures are set apart
by the color maroon and by indentation.]

{ John 8: 2–11 }

"Early in the morning he came again to the temple.  All the people came to him and he sat down and began to teach them.  The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery; and making her stand before all of them, they said to him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery.  Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women.  Now what do you say?"  They said this to test him, so that they might have some charge to bring against him.

What an amazing chapter this is.  It's packed full of worthwhile lessons:
        First, if there's one behavior that Jesus couldn't abide, it was sinners playing down their own sins while playing up someone else's.  In this instance, the sin of one party (the adulteress)  was being used by a second party (the even more sinful religious right hypocrites),  to bring harm on a guilt-free third party (Jesus himself). 
        Then, there's a point so obvious that Jesus may not have felt it even necessary to emphasize. But, as the father of seven daughters, I wish Jesus had asked these sanctimonious male accusers explicitly, "Was this woman alone at the time of this adultery?"
Jesus&Adulteress         And finally, there's the magnificent way in which Jesus turns the table on the hypocrites doing the accusing, and puts the judges themselves on trial :

"Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her."   And once again he bent down and wrote on the ground.   When they heard it, they went away, one by one, beginning with the elders; and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus straightened up and said to her, "Woman, where are they?  Has no one condemned you?"  She said, "No one, sir."   And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you.  Go your way, and from now on do not sin again."

        In order to condemn those whose consciences do not condemn them for living life as gay, lesbian or transgendered people, some Christian clergy and enthusiasts feel compelled to quote and enforce little known passages of the Bible, whose meaning is far from clear.
        Likewise, when Conservative Christians cannot find any clear passages that reveal the divinity's will on such matters, they resort to "reading between the lines" of the Bible in order to condemn those whose consciences do not condemn them for practicing birth control or abortion,
        And while these latter day experts in the law are pouring over their bibles to see what they can condemn in others,   they can't seem to read all the passages right there on the lines, in which Jesus himself explicity condemns them, and spells out their many sins!

There are over 80 passages in which Jesus himself finds fault with those who were thought to be God's representatives in his day,   i.e. the priests, the "experts in the law", the "scribes", the Pharisees and the Sadducees.  How amazing it is to see the contortions that so many Conservative Christian clergy, bible scholars and enthusiasts will go through to avoid having these scriptures (all referenced below) pointed at them!  They seem to believe the scriptures were designed to be weapons which only they can use, and only for attacking others!

        Take the following. for example:
 { Matthew 23:1-14: }  

"You would think these religious leaders and these Pharisees were Moses, the way they keep making up so many laws! . . . It may be all right to do what they say, but above anything else, don't follow their example. For they don't do what they tell you to do. They load you with impossible demands that they themselves don't even try to keep." (This wouldn't have to do with things like birth-control, masturbation, abortion, clerical celibacy, perpetuating male dominance over women, would it? ). . .
        "Everything they do is done for show. . . They act holy by wearing on their arms little prayer boxes with Scripture verses inside, and by lengthening the memorial fringes of their robes. And how they love to sit at the head table at banquets and in the reserved pews in the synagogue! How they enjoy the deference paid them on the streets and to be called 'Teacher' and 'Master'! Don't ever let anyone call you that. For only God is your Teacher and all of you are on the same level, as brothers. And don't address anyone here on earth as 'Father,' for only God in heaven should be addressed like that. And don't be called 'Master,' for only one is your master, even the Messiah. . . Woe to you, Pharisees, and you other religious leaders. Hypocrites! For you won't let others enter the Kingdom of Heaven and won't go in yourselves."

Luke thought these words important enough to repeat them in his version of the Gospels {11: 37-54 }, knowing that they were already in the earlier Gospels of Matthew and Mark.
        So how can today's "princes of the church" treat these words of Jesus as nothing but a quaint "dead letter", now that they their houses of worship "churches", instead of "synagogues", and "reserved pews in the synagogue" have been superseded by ornate thrones in basilicas and cathedrals? a 'Supreme Pontiff'
        How can anyone read Jesus' demands that his disciples shun titles of honor, and never suspect that if Jesus considered "Father" and "Teacher" objectionable, he must really be upset with "Monsignor" (which is French for "My Lord"), "Your Excellency", "Your Eminence", "Your Holiness", "The Holy Father", "Supreme Pontiff", and perhaps most presumptuous of all, "Vicar of (i.e. stand-in for) Christ", the equivalent of "Vice-Messiah" !
       The entire Roman Catholic structure is based on the idea that Christ planned to establish a tightly organized structure run by a hierarchy of priests headed by a single Pope, beginning with one of his first disciples, Peter, who spent the last years of his life in Rome. This is based on the flimsiest of evidence, the most formidable piece of which by far is this one passage, recorded by only one of the four evangelists:

{ Matthew 16:15-20 }  

He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"  Simon Peter answered, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."  And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father in heaven.  And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.  I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."  Then he sternly ordered the disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah."

Now, in Luke's, Mark's and John's gospels, there is no mention of Jesus giving any special honor or recognition to Peter at this occasion.   But Mark and Matthew both reported what came next.   Every time that the Roman Catholic hierarchy claims the Matthew's account proves that Christ wanted to make Peter, and all of his successors the foundation of his Church, ask them what Jesus intended in the verses immediately following the above:

 { Matthew 16:21 - 23 }  

From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.  And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, "God forbid it, Lord!  This must never happen to you."  But he turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things."

        Isn't it amazing how seriously Roman Catholics take one verse and how little attention they pay to others no more than an inch away ?

For those interested in what Jesus taught, as opposed to what has been handed down from one person, to another, to another, to another, and on and on and on, for two thousand years, why not go back to the source himself?   In his quest to determine what Jesus himself considered of greatest eternal consequence, the following is what this Christian preacher learned by reading and re-reading all four Gospels,Open Bible with the sole purpose of taking note of what kind of behavior, on the part of which people bothered Jesus the most.  To my surprise, I found that Jesus hardly ever worried about either the Devil, or about personal sexual sin.  Jesus preached mostly to and/or about religious leaders about public sins, i,.e. sins that affect others, especially when many others are affected.
          Is it to distract attention from themselves that so many preachers rant and rave about the abortion, birth control, masturbation and homosexuality, which Jesus never mentioned, instead of attending to their own sins,   about which Jesus preached constantly ?
        Beginning with the people and topics about which Jesus preached least, (the Devil), the catalogue below progresses eventually  to a whole host of sins that Jesus condemned in the "men of God" of his day. All 7 groups are listed simply to illustrate the significance of the size and scope of the 7th group, Religious Leaders.
        (Only the first pertinent verse is indicated for each reference,   so in each case read on as need be.  Oftentimes,  a single event is covered by several of the four gospel writers,  so a single instance in Jesus' preaching can generate two or three references. )

Group I :  Jesus reprimanded TEMPLE MERCHANTS only 3 times :

  1. for desecrating the Lord's House
    Matt. 21:12 || Luke 19:45 || John 2:16

Group II :  Jesus reprimanded False Prophets, only 6 times :

  1. for trying to mislead the faithful : Mark 13:5 ; Mark 13:21 || Matt. 24:4 , Matt. 24:11 & Matt. 24:23 || Luke 21:8

Group III :  Jesus reprimanded the DEVIL only 6 times :

  1. for tempting Jesus (in the desert) :
    Matt. 4:1; || Mark 1:12 || Luke 4:1
  2. for competing with God (in parable of the seed) :
    Matt. 13:39; || Mark 4:15 || Luke 8:12
  3. Jesus spoke of "Beelzebul", but rather than examples of Jesus volunteering his thoughts on the matter, these are only instances of his opponents calling Jesus himself Beelzebul, thereby moving him to answer the charge.

Group IV :  Jesus reprimanded DISBELIEVERS 11 times :

  1. for not recognizing Christ as God's true prophet :
    Matt. 10:14; Matt. 11:20; Matt. 21:32 || Luke 7:30; Luke 10:13; || John 12:48; John 15:20
  2. for shunning the Master's representatives :
    Matt. 10:14-24; || Mark 6:11 || Luke 9:5 ; Luke 10:10

Group V :  Jesus reprimanded The CHOSEN FEW (his APOSTLES), 12 times :

  1. for being of little faith : Matt. 8:23; || Mark 4:34 || Luke 8:22
  2. for relaxing any of God's commandments and/or teaching others to do so:  Matt. 7:21; || Luke 17:1
  3. for going to sleep when it was time to be supporting Jesus (at Gethsemane) :  Matt. 26:39; || Mark 14:23 || Luke 22:40 || John 18:1
  4. for betraying Jesus to his enemies (Judas):  John 6:70
  5. for being an obstacle to Christ's mission (Peter) :
    Matt. 16:22 ; || Mark 8:32

Group VI :  Jesus reprimanded THE FAITHFUL a total of 28 times :

  1. for "swearing" to confirm one's word :  Matt. 5:34;
  2. for abusing others, even if only in words :  Matt. 5:21;
  3. for lustful intentions and/or deeds :  Matt. 5:27-30;
  4. for being smug and comfortable :  Luke 6:24
  5. for judging and criticizing what God alone can do : Matt. 7:1; || Luke 6:37
  6. for failing to live up to Jesus' teaching after having accepted and professed it:  Matt. 7:24; || Luke 6:47
  7. for putting friends or relatives before God :
    Matt. 10:37; ||  Luke 14:26
  8. for not recognizing Christ in the needy : Matt. 25:41-46
  9. for having less faith than non-believers : Matt. 8:5 ; || Luke 7:8
  10. for denying Christ before men : Matt. 10:32; || Luke 12:8
  11. for being unprepared for the coming of the Master :
    Matt. 25:1-30; || Luke 19:12-27; Luke 21:34
  12. for doing good to impress others, or only for the sake   of a reward :
    Matt. 5:46 Matt. 6:1 || Luke 6:32
  13. for unacceptable grounds for divorce :
    Matt. 5:31-32; Matt. 19:9 || Mark 10:11 || Luke 16:18
  14. for failing to be the salt of the earth or  the light of  the world :
    Matt. 5:13; || Mark 9:50 || Mark 4:21 || Luke 8:16 || Luke 14:35

Group VII :  Jesus reprimanded RELIGIOUS LEADERS the MOST, i.e. some 77 times :

  1. for ignoring weightier aspects of God's law  once : Luke 11:42 ;
  2. for being liars :  once : John 8:56
  3. for being false to the heritage of Abraham, whom they professed to honor  once : John 8:33
  4. for placing burdens, which they are not willing to carry themselves, upon others  twice : Matt. 23:3 ; || Luke 11:46 ;
  5. for preventing others from pursuing holiness twice :
    Matt. 23:13-15 ; || Luke 11:52 ;
  6. for devouring the possessions of unsuspecting widows  twice :
    Matt. 12:40 ; || Luke 20:47 ;
  7. for being hypocrites, whitened sepulchers, and/or a brood of vipers  3 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 12:34 ; Matt. 23:32 ; || Luke 13:15 ;
  8. for sinning against the Holy Spirit  3 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 12:32 ; || Mark 3:39 || Luke 12:10 ;
  9. for promoting religious traditions counter to God's purposes  3 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 15:5; Matt. 23:16 ; || Mark 7:8
  10. for questioning Jesus' authority to preach without the approval of their High Priest :   3 times, i.e. : Matt. 21:23 ; || Mark 11:27 || Luke 20:2 ;
  11. for doing good deeds just to impress others  3 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 23:5 & Matt. 23:29 || Luke 11:47 ;
  12. for insincere prayers and / or superficial virtue  4 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 15:8; Matt. 23:23 || Mark 7:6 || Luke 11:42 ;
  13. for requesting miraculous signs and then not accepting them  4 times, i.e. :
    Matt.12:38 ; Matt. 16:4 ; || Mark 8:11 || Luke 11:29 ;
  14. for seeking titles and places of honor  4 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 23:7 || Mark 12:39 || Luke 11:43 ; Luke 20:46 ;
  15. for not recognizing John the Baptist and/or Jesus as authentic prophets  4 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 21:33-46 ; || Mark 12:1-12 || Luke 19:39 ; Luke 20:9-19 ;
  16. for being blind leaders and/or evil influences on those who looked to them for leadership  6 times, i.e. : Matt.15:14 ; Matt. 16:6; Matt. 16:11 ; Matt. 23:16 || Luke 6:39 || John 9:41
  17. for condemning the innocent (including Jesus)   8 times, i.e. :
    Matt. 23:34 ; Matt. 12:7 || Mark 13:9 || Luke 11:49 ; Luke 13:34 ; Luke 21:12 ; || John 7:22 ; John 18:23
  18. for slandering Jesus or his disciples 23 times, by calling their innocent words or actions as "sinful", "blasphemous", "illegal", "diabolical" or "contrary to sacred traditions", i.e. :
    || Mark 2:8; Mark 2:24; Mark 3:2; Mark 3:6 & Mark 3:22 || Matt. 9:4 ; Matt. 10:25 ; Matt. 12:2 ; Matt. 12:14 ; Matt. 12:24 ; Matt. 15:2 ; Matt. 15:12 ; Matt. 12:24-27, || Luke 5:22 ; Luke 6:1-5 ; Luke 6:9 ; Luke 7:33 ; Luke 11:15-19; Luke 13:14 ; Luke 14:3 ; || John 7:24 ; John 8:53 ; John 10:31

Conclusion :

There is nothing - in the Gospels at least - that comes close to the following litany of complaints that Jesus had against the clergy of his day :

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples,“The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat; therefore, do whatever they teach you and follow it; but do not do as they do, for they do not practice what they teach. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on the shoulders of others; but they themselves are unwilling to lift a finger to move them. They do all their deeds to be seen by others; for they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long. They love to have the place of honor at banquets and the best seats in the synagogues, and to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have people call them rabbi. 8 But you are not to be called rabbi, for you have one teacher, and you are all students. And call no one your father on earth, for you have one Father—the one in heaven. Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Messiah. The greatest among you will be your servant. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted.
        “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. For you do not go in yourselves, and when others are going in, you stop them. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cross sea and land to make a single convert, and you make the new convert twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.
        “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘Whoever swears by the sanctuary is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gold of the sanctuary is bound by the oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the sanctuary that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘Whoever swears by the altar is bound by nothing, but whoever swears by the gift that is on the altar is bound by the oath.’ How blind you are! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar, swears by it and by everything on it; and whoever swears by the sanctuary, swears by it and by the one who dwells in it; and whoever swears by heaven, swears by the throne of God and by the one who is seated upon it.
        “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel!
        “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside also may become clean.
        “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which on the outside look beautiful, but inside they are full of the bones of the dead and of all kinds of filth. So you also on the outside look righteous to others, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.
        “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous, and you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you testify against yourselves that you are descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your ancestors. You snakes, you brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?
        Matthew 23: 1-33

If you have ever wondered why - in contrast to Jesus Christ - the churches that use his name, and the Roman Catholic Church in particular, have been so obsessed with just about everything having to do with sex over the centuries , see my CatholicArrogance.org/ Churchvsex.html.

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