|(Poo on his hands? Don't tell him until after lunch. It's funnier that way)|
How should we answer criticism? Jesus gives us a great example of how to do it, AND make the people doing it feel stupid at the same time!
Let's see how he does it.
It all starts when the Pharoehs and some of Jerusalem's teachers come across Jesus and his disciples eating with "defiled" (that is unwashed) hands. (Mark 1-20)
Was Jesus a dirty bird?
The Pharisees thought so.
They once (according to the bible) asked him, in no uncertain terms, why he didn't wash his hands before a meal according to the tradition of the elders.
The Pharisees had been put in their place, or at the very least they had been confused into silence by his strange little rant.
After they left and Jesus was alone with his disciples, even THEY wondered why Jesus didn't want to wash his hands.
What was his answer to them?
"OMG, are you guys really this stupid? This is not a hard concept people! We aren't "defiled" by anything that goes into our bodies, we are only defiled by our actions. COME ON!"
His buddies accepted this (of course).
(Umm, didn't you just say that nothing could defile us but what came from within ...?)
I don't want to get off track. His point was that our actions are what define us and what will or won't "defile" us. In other words, it's not what we take in, but what we put out.
Hard to argue with the spirit of what he is saying but in all this we forgot that the pharisees were just asking why Jesus wouldn't wash his hands.
He completely avoided the question and went on to say how we should kill sassy kids, advocated the policy of thought crime (envy), equated sexual immorality with murder (still not sure what sex has to do with morality) and defensively pointed fingers at anyone who noticed his dirty hands.
With all of the nonsense that Jesus had given everyone to think about, they forgot all about Jesus' annoying belief that unwashed hands weren't harmful.
And this is where we get to the moral of the story;
If someone notices your faults, baffle them with bullshit and deflect, deflect, deflect! Then move on to something else fun. Like insulting someone in need of help. Everyone likes that...
there is another lesson to be learned from this story ...
Jesus believed that bacteria on unwashed hands wasn't harmful. It doesn't matter if his belief was wrong, or silly, or misinformed, or even a confusing conflict between science and a supposedly omniscient mind (who should already know the harms of not being clean), all that matters is that he stood up for what he believed in. (and made them feel stupid enough that they likely won't question him again for a long time.)
WELL DONE Jesus! You have given us a lot to think about: how to defend our beliefs, insight into the veracity of well known scientific facts, and even more about leadership.
(but could you please just wash your hands?)