Revolutionary Jesus

“Revolutionary Jesus” – Art: Peter Kamau Mukuria (Comrade Pitt), 1197165, Red Onion Prison, P.O. Box 1900, Pound VA 24279

by Peter Kamau Mukuria, Comrade Pitt

For those who were raised in a Christian household like myself, the story of Jesus is indoctrinated in our minds from a young age. We are taught to believe that Jesus was a humble and righteous man, the son of God born of a virgin who lived and died for the people. During his time, He healed the sick, performed many miracles and always served the people. His life was dedicated solely to the people while preaching in the name of God. This is where I’ll spare you time, as I’m sure you’re familiar with how the story goes.

To understand the story of Jesus is to understand that he lived in a time when there was class warfare between the rich and the poor, the haves and the have-nots, the oppressor and the oppressed, much like it is today. His preaching resonated among many people, but it eventually was viewed as a form of agitation by the ruling class. With all the rhetoric of the importance of distributing the wealth and giving to the poor, it challenged what they perceived to be their privilege and wealth.

The ruling class, which was composed mainly of Pharisees, Herodians and Sadducees, feared that his motive was to agitate the poor just enough to cause them to organize and take what was rightfully theirs from the wealthy elite and distribute the wealth among themselves. Though some of the wealthy elites themselves were inspired by his words, relinquishing their wealth and privileged status was something they weren’t willing to do. 

An example of this can be found in Matthew 19:20-23, in which a wealthy young man professed to Jesus that he obeyed all the commandments, but then Jesus commanded him to sell all his possessions and give his money to the poor. Upon hearing this, the wealthy young man simply walked away.

According to the Bible, Jesus didn’t merely live his life solely by preaching but his teachings were a mirror reflection of his life. That is, he practiced what he preached. Besides preaching, he healed the sick, somehow raised the dead, visited prisoners and, in one instance, fed more than 5,000 people. He saw great value in those who were overlooked and looked down upon. 

The wealthy elite had no quarrels with Jesus as he did these things, but they commenced to swiftly despise him when his message galvanized the poor for a common cause. This presented a clear threat to their status and social norms; therefore what they once tolerated from him now became detested.

This part reminded me of Malcolm X. A few months prior to his assassination he criticized his earlier views on separatist Black nationalism, finding that, “I was alienating people who were the true revolutionaries dedicated to overturning the system of the exploitation that exists on this earth by any means necessary.” He had identified capitalism as the ultimate enemy and begun to unify people of all races, who then, regardless of their skin color, found a common enemy: capitalism.

Even Martin Luther King Jr., who was initially pro-integration and pro-capitalist, came to identify capitalist-imperialism as the cause of evil. In November 1967 he stated: “Something is wrong with capitalism as it stands here in the United States. We are not interested in being integrated into this value structure.” 

The ruling class wasn’t bothered by Malcolm’s rage on Black nationalism for they knew it was an empty idea. They supported Martin when he preached on the need to respond to oppression by peaceful and non-violent methods. At the moment their messages radically transformed and directly challenged a system that benefited and served in favor of the wealthy elites, shortly thereafter both of them were assassinated. Their deaths were by no means a coincidence.

Jesus was aware that he was in the midst of a class struggle between the two antagonistic classes, the rich and the poor. He denounced the power of the ruling class over him (John 14:30), firmly establishing his position on the side of the poor. 

Those in power wanted him out of the way in order to continue enjoying their wealth and privilege without the constant fear of an uprising. In response to the ever-present threat, they decided it was best to counterattack because the word was spreading and, more importantly, they decided it would be in their best interest if Jesus was dead. But they lacked a reason to justify crucifying him without triggering a violent response from the people, so they conjured up some false accusations in hopes of having him jailed and subsequently crucified. 

In order to execute this diabolic endeavor, they needed to infiltrate Jesus’s inner circle by finding the weakest link among his disciples who would be easily bribed. And this happened to be a man named Judas. This was the same strategy the FBI under the leadership of J. Edgar Hoover employed to infiltrate and undermine the Black Panther Party by creating the counter intelligence program (aka Cointelpro). But even before Jesus was framed, he had predicted that betrayal by one of his disciples was imminent (John 13:21).

When Jesus was presented before Pontius Pilate, who was the equivalent of a governor today, Pilate found Jesus innocent. However, much like today, those in power serve the interests of the wealthy elite and justice is reserved for some. With mounting calls for Jesus to be expeditiously crucified despite the lack of evidence, Pontius Pilate caved in and handed him over to be crucified knowing He was innocent. Jesus then died on the cross, rose the third day … and you know the rest.

By dedicating his life to serve the poor, the needy, the prisoners, the sick, the vulnerable and those who were discarded by society, Jesus was challenging the social structure and those in power and denouncing their authority over Him. Dare I say that Jesus was indeed a revolutionary who sought to transform the social norms and establish an equilibrium of wealth and equality by any means necessary.

Panther Love!

Comrade Pitt, Minister of Education for the New Afrikan Black Panther Party and the United Panther Movement

Send our brother some love and light: Peter Kamau Mukuria, 1197165, Red Onion State Prison, P.O. Box 1900, Pound, VA 24279.