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The Days of Caesar

Shane Willard

Page 5 of 9
So they wanted to print a message on the Advent coins; and that message said: Caesar is lord, and there is no other name on earth by which men might be saved. Then they send these coins out everywhere.

Also historians say that the people believed that Augustus Caesar would be the bringer of peace on earth, goodwill to all men, a kingdom of peace, and he would also be a ‘multiplier of bread for his followers’. Do you see how, if Jesus is living and teaching in the days of Caesar Augustus - do you see how, a lot of what He did in His life, was not just teaching for a living - it was actually a political revolution.

The people believed that: Caesar Augustus is god, and this was substantiated by a large star in the sky, and that he would be a multiplier of bread for all people; then all of a sudden you have a rabbi who was born - and kings from other nations saw a large star in the sky to substantiate His birth. Then one of His first miracles is, He's standing in a place, and He has five loaves and two fish - and He multiplies the bread for His people.

This is not just meeting people's needs and letting them eat. This is a political revolution, that's saying: they've told you that the Caesars are god; but I'm here to tell you they're not the real deal - I am. My birth was established by a large star in the sky too, see? It was God one-upping everything they were trying to do.

Now what was the problem with this? They said that he would establish a kingdom of peace, but did Caesar Augustus establish a kingdom of peace? No, He ruled with fear. He didn't rule with peace, he had a giant army, with men with 70-pound packs, who could go into a town called Magdala, and rape every woman there without any fear of consequences. That's how he ruled the world. He ruled the world by teaching Roman soldiers to degrade people.

In those days, everybody had two hands: the right hand was the clean one! This was the one everybody wanted to sit at - the right hand of... something. It was the clean hand. The left hand was the dirty hand, primarily because they didn't have toilet paper – the same in India (and other places) today.

In those days, if I wanted to challenge you to a physical altercation - if we were socially equal, I would slap you with my right hand, because it's my clean hand, we're socially equal. We're socially and economically on the same page.

But if I saw you as a slave, or somebody underneath me, I would hold you with my right, and I would slap you with my left - essentially hitting you in the face with my poo-poo hand!

So it wasn't just: I'm slapping you; it was a degrading, you are below me. Remember when they came to Jesus, and they said: teach us how to live; and He said: if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other cheek?

In other words, there's two ways to respond, if someone slaps you on your right cheek. You can attack them back - which that's going to get you killed; or you can just cop it - which that's going to take your dignity away.

Historians called Jesus the ‘Rabbi with the Third Way’. The third way to handle it is to ‘turn the other cheek’. A Roman soldier attacking a Jewish person would use their left hand, because they saw them as slaves.

If I'm going to slap this man on his right cheek, I use my left; so Jesus says: if someone slaps you on your right cheek, the answer is not to fight back, but to turn the other cheek. Make them slap you with their right hand.

A Roman soldier would have died before he would have slapped a Jew with his right hand, because it would have meant they would be declaring publicly: we are socially equal.

Jesus is saying: make it to where, if you hit me again, you're going to slap me as equals; and they won't hit you, in the days of Caesar Augustus.

It was also totally lawful in those days, that big Roman soldiers could come in here, and they had these big 70-pound packs. They could say: we've got 10 miles to walk today, so you're going to carry my pack. They never carried their own packs - they would make the Jews to do it. They'd say: you're going to carry my pack the next mile, then you the next, and you the next, and you the next - so I need 10 people. We've got a whole platoon of us here, so everybody's going to carry our packs a mile.