In Jesus’ time, there was no such thing as “Christianity,” and after Jesus died, Christianity as we know it today took a very long time to develop into its current form.
Around the time of Jesus’ death, different groups of “Christians” formed, but most of them did not call themselves that. The first use of Christian (those referred to as Christians in Antioch in Acts) was actually a kind of nick-name formed in an almost derogatory way to refer to people who “associated with Christ and/or his teachings.” Christians didn’t even come up with the name themselves – most Christians were originally referred to as Nazarenes.
So, obviously, Jesus was not a Christian in terminology. But that isn’t all – many things that I hear Christians define themselves by today, you never hear Jesus do the same in the Bible. Jesus did not define himself by his being against abortion or against homosexuality, though both did exist in his time. He wasn’t a hardcore capitalism advocate, and judging by the things he said and did – like tipping over money-changing tables in the temple and advocating that, in order to follow him, rich people sell all their possessions and give that money to the poor – he probably wouldn’t be too fond of it if he were alive today.
Jesus wasn’t generally one to go around advocating all kinds of strict rules or being what you would call legalistic – on more than one occasion he discusses how love should supersede such legalism and criticizes the Pharisees for their inability to see beyond “what the scriptures said.” (Sound familiar?) Also, in Jesus’ time there was not yet a gospel to preach, in the sense that the whole crucifixion-resurrection thing had not happened yet, and even though Jesus – according to Christians – knew what was going to happen to him, he didn’t go around telling people that “unless you believe that I’m going to die for your sins here in a couple of months, you are gonna go to Hell!” No, that’s not very Jesus-like.
What does seem to be Jesus-like is Love. When asked what the most important commandment was, Jesus dismissed all previous commandments that had ever been made and said love. Not just of God, but of your neighbor (which I take to mean every human being on earth) and yourself. That’s kind of a huge deal. According to Jesus, it matters more that you live a life of love towards everyone than anything else God (supposedly) ever said to do! Now, granted – I believe that the Bible has been altered in ways we have no clue about in order to suit much bigger powers’ interests, so I’m not trying to use it as an “absolute” in the same way so many Christians do. However, I do think that in reading about the things Jesus said and did, you will see that he was constantly preaching love, love, and love.
Imagine if Love were the Number One thing associated with Christians today. Oh, what a World that would be. (;
Much Love to you all,