Good question! But first a joke.
Why did the Easter Bunny cross the road?
To steal eggs from the chicken.
[sound of one hand clapping]
I was hanging out in my wheelchair thinking up this joke, because it is that time of year, and also because I can’t masturbate, and this poignant question seized my mind:
WAS THE CRUCIFIXION REALLY A BIG DEAL???
Let me hear you, 2.5 billion Christians of the world: YES!!! Many historians even think so.
This might seem totally obvious to you, 2.5 billion Christians of the world, but for you other 4.5 billion NOT-Christians reading this, let me break it down. Here is why Jesus’s crucifixion was REALLY A BIG DEAL.
Long, long ago…
- God made people, starting with ADAM and EVE.
- Adam & Eve immediately DISOBEYED God. (See my related article, Why are women evil?)
- Humanity proliferated, splitting into TRIBES.
- God chose THE ISRAELITES as his BFFs.
- People continued to let God down by NOT OBEYING him—even the Israelites!
- God got mad and DROWNED everyone except Noah and his family (God’s only remaining BFFs).
- Humanity proliferated again.
- People forgot about God again.
- God got ready to put the smack down again, BUT THEN…
- God got an idea! Have a human SON on earth, give him GOD POWERS to convince his people to worship/obey him again, if necessary by notifying them that HELL AWAITS those who don’t comply.
- God knocked up a virgin, gal by the name of Mary, and his son Jesus was born, right on Christmas day, year zero.
God’s perfect plan went well except for a couple of things.
Thing One: A few people were expecting Jesus even before he was born, but they mistook what he was coming to do. God had sort of “leaked” his plans beforehand, you see, but he was very vague (as he tends to be), and people got the idea he was sending someone to overthrow the government and be their new king — a “Messiah” in the local vernacular.
Thing Two: Although Jesus was a chip off the old block, i.e. he was part God and he was on earth on a specific mission, he was also a MAN! As such, he was prone to go off script and do his own thing pretty frequently; a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, as the saying goes. And this man also had GOD POWERS, so you know he had some fun with that once in a while! In fact, most of his life story had to be cut from the official Holy Bible you have in front of you. (See my related article, Did Jesus ever smoke pot?) In addition to being a God-man, he was also a WILD MAN, is what I’m saying. A straight-up rebel.
About age 30 or so, Jesus has most of the WILDING out of his system. He’s traveled around the Mediterranean, India and Europe, picked up some new ideas, and come up with his own ideas. Some of these ideas don’t jibe with the Old Man’s way of thinking. What it boils down to is:
HOLY FUCK, my old man is a LUNATIC!!! He’s about to murder humanity — again! There is NO LOGICAL REASON that millions of good, happy, well-adjusted people who ain’t never even heard of my pops deserve to burn for eternity in HADES, just because we Jews are forgetting to slaughter a calf for him every once in a while! I must find a way to SAVE HUMANITY from my crackpot dad!!!
So Jesus gets busy hatching a plot.
Step One: Piss off the authorities! The Roman government had had their eye on this Jesus cat since he was two, when Caesar Augustus put the hit out on him. They had caught wind of the Messiah rumors I mentioned above, and were NOT IMPRESSED.
See, Augustus was also virgin-born, and even though virgin births were A LOT more common back then than they are today, it still meant you were a total VIP if your mom had shagged a god instead of a regular dude. The good Caesar had enough on his plate managing a huge empire. He didn’t need competition from any UPSTART DEMIGODS.
[FUN FACT! This was the same Caesar Augustus that gave us the month of August. Neato!]
But this is just the government we’re talking about; they already had a sizable watchlist of Messiahs and other troublemakers. Pissing them off was taking care of itself. It was the CLERGY Jesus really wanted to fuck with.
[QUICK NOTE! Jesus’s stomping grounds, JUDEA, was occupied by the Roman empire, which had ultimate authority to control and kick ass where needed. But that was a big, thankless and ongoing task, and they were more than happy to leave it in the hands of the local RELIGIOUS authorities — the Jewish priesthood: keepers of the synagogues and the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem, and most of all, the guardians of THE LAW OF MOSES, which as you remember from that one CHARLTON HESTON MOVIE came straight from Jehovah, i.e. GOD, i.e. Jesus’s Old Man!]
Anyone still reading?
Basically, pissing off the priesthood was the BIG PRIZE for Jesus, the key to his BIG PLOT.
He starts touring the area with a message to the masses: Forget about blood sacrifices and all the other BS your rabbi tells you you have to do to keep God happy and get into heaven. Now you can get an ALL-ACCESS PASS directly from me! In fact…
I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE, and NO ONE comes to the Father but through me! (John 14-something)
Better sign up fast, too; the Father will be here any minute to COOK YOUR ASSES!
At the same time, he’s packing his sermons full of populist ear candy, peace ’n’ love and mystical mumbo-jumbo that he’s picked up from his travels, all the while hammering home this “I’m the Son of God” message.
I’m the Son of God. All you have to do to avoid hell is believe. I’m the Son of God. BELIEVE!
He backs up his BIG TALK with some God Power demonstrations: walking on water, curing the hung-over, turning shit to Shinola, and the like.
The crowds get bigger and bigger at each rally. Jesus is a ROCK STAR, with MASSIVE STREET CRED among the people, who form a cult around him — something he does nothing to dissuade!
At this point Jesus proceeds to get a POSSE together. Every aspiring OG knows you need some backup in case things go sideways, and Jesus is planning on things going sideways! Plus, you need some loyal peeps to keep your game going just in case (spoiler alert!) you get popped.
With his twelve capos on board, Jesus is looking a lot less like a lone renegade, and a lot more like a MOVEMENT. Also, they can cover a lot more ground spreading the message, which as time goes on gets steadily more end-of-the-worldy:
I told you My Father was coming to judge and destroy most of you. Well good news – he put me in charge of the judging! Bad news, though – this is going down like ANY MINUTE! Definitely within YOUR lifetime!
So step right up folks, and get on my guest list before the world ends! Come to me and BE SAVED!
He even takes his apocalyptic bravado into the Temple and starts schooling the priests on The Law! This would be like you showing up at the International Astrophysics Symposium and proclaiming that thanks to you, the earth was now the center of the universe. Except that instead of ignoring him or laughing him out the door, they actually engage him, starting with, “Who the fuck are you? “
Oh, just the SON OF GOD, that’s all.
The priests are dumb enough to argue with him. Crowds form to watch the show. Jesus makes the priests look stupid with his mad verbal bobbing and weaving. The crowds are all, Go JC! Go JC!
He’s working on Sundays — totally against The Law — miraculously producing food for the hungry, clothes for the naked, erections for the impotent. The people are loving it. The priests are hating it.
Right before Passover, the Superbowl of Jewish holidays, Jesus steps up his game even more. One day he goes in and just wrecks the Temple gift shop and currency exchange kiosk. Fucks it right up.
Another day he’s arguing with the priests, saying he’s better than Solomon and stuff like that — just really winding them up. Then he casually drops this: Well, whatever man. The Kingdom of God is coming. This whole Temple is gonna be leveled, bro.
To put this into perspective, that would be like you going into the White House on September 11, 2000 and telling the president, Yup this will all be ashes in a year. Probably hit the World Trade Center too.
That snaps it for the priests. They’re all, We gotta get rid of this clown.
Meanwhile Jesus has developed a great big Roman target on his back with all his ‘Kingdom of God’ shit, and the huge crowds he’s attracting.
Speaking of which, up to this point the masses have had total Jesus fever, but after his recent Temple shenanigans, even many of them are starting to think he might be a little “wackadoo”.
Yes, it sure seems like the tide is turning on ol’ Jesus! But that is EXACTLY what he’s counting on.
On the evening of the big Passover dinner, Jesus pulls aside one of his most trusted boys, JUDAS.
I’ll pay you 30 bucks to finger me after dinner.
Jesus H. Christ!
OK, that came out wrong. After dinner I want you to betray me to the authorities. Then you’ll need to lam it. I’ll give you 30 bucks for the road.
Christ on a crutch! Are you serious? That’s asking a lot! That’d probably make me like, one of the MOST UNPOPULAR GUYS IN HISTORY (not to mention what it’ll do to you)!
Hey homie, who do you think you’re talking to? I got us both covered, OK? Now take this conspicuous looking bag of coins and run along.
Thy will be done, boss.
A few hours later JC & The Gang are in the banquet room at the Olive Garden of Gethsemane, chowing on cheesy bread sticks and swilling chianti. Everyone is having a good time, but then Jesus starts talking weird, saying the wine is his blood and the bread is his body; it’s like they’re eating and drinking him. He’s always been full of surprises, but they’ve never heard him mention cannibalism. Also, he’s making it sound like he’s going somewhere, like this is their LAST SUPPER or something. Odd!
After dinner they all go out for a little constitutional in the cool night air and someone goes, Hey where’s Judas?
Over here, calls Judas, stepping out from behind a tree with a couple dozen priests and soldiers, who have GOTCHA written all over their faces. He fingers Jesus, then walks straight up and kisses him, just so nobody has any doubts about what’s going down.
The authorities grab Jesus. The disciples run away like a bunch of sissies. Judas lams it as instructed, instantly becoming one of the MOST UNPOPULAR GUYS IN HISTORY.
The next day Jesus is convicted of banditry by the Roman governor, Pontias “Paunchy” Pilate (inventor of pilates — true fact!), and sentenced to death by crucifixion. This is carried out in the usual atrocious way, and Jesus dies a couple of days later. The End.
Are there any questions?
YEAH, YOU SAID IT WAS A REALLY BIG DEAL. SO WHAT WAS THE BIG DEAL?
Right! Well see, Jesus told everyone that all they needed was belief in him, i.e. no more slaughtering costly farm animals, slaves and children to appease God. But he knew how much his old man enjoyed a good BLOOD OFFERING, and would not want to give them up. So he pulled a fast one on the old man and offered himself as the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE, saving humanity from destruction for all time! I would call that a really big deal.
BUT DIDN’T GOD RESURRECT JESUS FROM THE DEAD? ISN’T THAT THE REALLY BIG DEAL, AND THE TRUE MEANING OF EASTER?
No, that part is made up. Think about it! It wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice if he just came back three days later good as new, now would it? No, that would be a definite deal breaker, and we’d still be following all kinds of superstitious tribal rules and living in perpetual fear of God’s wrath. Thanks to Jesus dying for us and STAYING DEAD, getting into heaven is a snap. Just believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. Easy!
WHAT IF I DON’T BELIEVE?
Come on, you gotta believe. Jesus went to a lot of trouble on your account. Disbelief also breaks the deal, and you will burn in unspeakable agony for all eternity. Just say, “I believe!”
YES, BUT YOU CAN’T JUST DECIDE TO BELIEVE SOMETHING, ESPECIALLY IF IT INVOLVES THE SUPERNATURAL, LACKS CREDIBLE EVIDENCE, AND SOUNDS SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE A LEGEND—OR AN AMALGAMATION OF PRE-EXISTING LEGENDS FROM THE SAME REGION.
Yes, that is pretty hard.
I MEAN, DO YOU BELIEVE IN BODY THETANS?
COME ON, TRY REALLY HARD. THERE’S ONE ON YOUR BACK RIGHT NOW, SUCKING OUT YOUR LIFE FORCE. SERIOUS!
I tried, but I was not able to believe that.
MILLIONS OF OTHERS BELIEVE IT.
Sorry. Still no go.
OK, SO NOW WHAT?
Now we shall gather the bounty of colorful eggs lovingly bestowed upon us by the Easter Bunny, and be joyful.
AWESOME. HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!