Ask Ivor

Kirya asks:

"Would Jesus be annoying in any way?"

He would. He was. Right from the beginning, Jesus was annoying.

He sent his mother into labor pains while she was traveling, away from home. The inn was full, so Mary was staying with the livestock in a cave, when Jesus decides to get himself born right there, like a little caveman! How annoyingly primitive and insensitive.

When Jesus was growing up, his family and their friends would go up to Jerusalem every year for the Passover holiday. One year, after all the festivities, they were a day's journey into the return trip to Nazareth when they realized that the little caveman wasn't with them. So they began anxiously searching for him. After three days they found him back in Jerusalem, in the temple courts, hanging out with the rabbis and discussing theology. When asked by his parents why he had treated them so casually, Jesus had the audacity to question why they had been searching for him: "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" What's that supposed to mean? How annoyingly presumptuous!

Then, when he was about thirty, Jesus performed his first public miracle: he turned 150 gallons of water into choice wine. How annoyingly hedonistic. No wonder he was called a drunkard!

Next he goes and overturns the tables of the money changers in the temple, and drives out the sacrificial cattle and sheep and doves, saying, "How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!" Jesus believed the sanctity of God was more important than the orderly pursuit of profit. How annoyingly moralistic.

When Jesus began gathering his disciples, he told them to simply quit their jobs and immediately follow him. Again, that annoying disregard for business as usual.

Then he goes and terrifies the disciples: they thought they were by themselves in their boat out in the middle of the lake, but suddenly there's somebody stepping out of the night and into the boat with them—they thought it was a ghost! But it was just that annoyingly clever Jesus—he had traversed the three or so miles out to their boat by walking on top of the water.

Jesus told his disciples that they were incapable of following him under their own power—that they could follow only if God enabled them. In other words, any virtues the disciples had were not really theirs, but were to be credited to God. That teaching was so annoying that many of his disciples stopped following him right then.

Jesus had an annoying way of avoiding direct questions. The religious leaders (annoyed at his popularity) would try to trap Jesus into making a statement that was either treasonous in the eyes of the occupying Romans, or else not in conformity with the Jewish law. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not? "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." Shall we stone this woman caught in the act of adultery? "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." Even when the religious leaders gave up debating with Jesus, and settled for simply throwing him off a cliff or stoning him, he always managed to somehow elude them. He was an annoyingly slippery little caveman.

And dirty too. He traveled around in hot dusty places, he sweated, he had camel shit in his toenails. One legend has it that Jesus had difficulty bathing, because when he went to dive into a body of water, he just bounced off the surface! If that's, not annoying, I don't know what is.

Jesus referred to the religious leaders as "hypocrites," "fools," "snakes," "blind guides," "whitewashed tombs full of dead men's bones," and even "sons of hell"! What annoyingly vulgar language.

Other times his language was annoyingly cryptic. Jesus often spoke in parables, and sometimes it was years before anyone had a clue what he was talking about. Some of his sayings we still haven't understood. Here's an annoying sampling: "All the sins and blasphemies of men will be forgiven them. But whoever blasphemes the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin." "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life—he cannot be my disciple." "I have not come to bring peace, but a sword." "I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!" "Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you." "Because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." "Anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it."

The last week before Jesus' crucifixion he was particularly annoying. He cursed a fig tree and caused it to wither, he overturned the tables of the money changers again, and he allowed a jar of Indian spikenard worth more than a year's wages to be poured on his head. Upon his arrest he annoyingly put up no resistance, at his trial he was uncharacteristically silent, and during his execution he accused God of forsaking him.

Perhaps most annoying of all is this: Jesus' corpse was laid in a cave and this tomb was sealed with a huge stone and watched over by Roman guards so that no one would steal his body, but even though Jesus came into this world in a cave, he chose not to leave it in the same manner. What does our little caveman do? He comes back to life, escapes the tomb, and then scares the Beelzebub out of the disciples, by walking through a wall into the locked room where they were hiding! Then, the height of rudeness: he asks for something to eat, and chows down on some broiled fish right in front of them. No wonder he was called a glutton! He sure had an annoying set of priorities.