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Contrary to the first web page in this series, in which

I proposed Jesus Christ as a "Christ of Peace and Conformity"---







Indeed, according to the Biblical record found in Luke 4:16-30, 

his first sermon in Nazareth, preached from the book of Isaiah,

was so disturbing to his audience, that they attempted to kill him!

What was called "Nazareth" in Jesus' time (in the Gospels) is now Mar Saba, in the Wilderness near Bethlehem. A large, sprawling, monastery for "Nazarenes", men without women, it is maintained by Greek Orthodox church. It was built on the edge of a precipice, as shown here.  One misstep can cause a person's death as they plummet downhill.
    Luke 4:16-30 first lets us know that Jesus was brought up, spent his earliest years at this isolated spot, then returned as an adult, and preached a sermon there in which he implied he was the great deliverer promised by Isaiah in the Isaiah scroll.

     He was, however, associated with a Samaritan priest named Simon Zelotes (known as Simon Magus in contemporary historical documents), who was  a Zealot, and another Zealot disciple named Judas Iscariot.   The monks at "Nazareth" shunned both Zealots and Samaritans, and showed their displeasure to this young upstart leader of the Essenes.   Then Jesus launched into the second part of his sermon, recorded in verses 23-27.   "But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land.   But unto none of them was Elias (Elijah) sent, save unto Sarapta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman who was a widow.  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus (Elisha) the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian."   [Jesus' partner Simon Zelotes, as a Samaritan, was considered a pariah by the Nazarenes of "Nazareth", a symbolic "leper"]  Jesus is here justifying his choice of associates by using examples from Jewish history.

     The result was a move on the part of some of his hearers to push him over one of the walls shown above to his death.

      Luke 2:298-30 "And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong, but he passing through the midst of them went his way."

"Nazareth" on the "brow of the hill" (in Judea, not in Galilee!)

And indeed, during the next 3 1/2 years, Jesus continued to deal

with CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECTS that brought him into almost 

continuous conflict with the Scribes (Sadducees) and the Pharisees,

but NOT, it seems, with the ESSENES, who are not even mentioned 

in the Gospels and in the New Testament by that name.

The Essenes, dressed in their distinctive pure white garments,

periodically walked the 14 miles of desert paths up the long 

hills and dry waterways from their monastery at Qumran, and 

their main fresh water supply at Kherbit Mazin, to the city of 

Jerusalem, where they entered the Essene Gate into that city.

Their part of Jerusalem, called the "Essene Quarter" was right

next to Herod's magnificent temple, the temple that all Jews

from all over the world came to see and worship in its courts.

 But the Essenes refused  to go into that temple.  Not because

they did not think it was beautiful, which it was. The problem, wrote 

Josephus, was  dead lambs, the bloody sacrifices required of all Jews.

NEXT: Controversial Christ in the Temple!