The man we call Jesus of Nazareth was a man of many, many accomplishments.
Professionally, he worked with his hands as a carpenter and laborer. And while he worked with his hands, Jesus was also a teacher, philosopher and religious scholar.
He had the unique ability to interpret and synthesize sacred texts to create a revolutionary theology of love, and inculcated his hermeneutic through a series of easy to understand and follow parables.
Jesus of Nazareth was a healer. In the accounts of his life that we have, we see many examples of him healing the sick, raising the dead and even curing mental illnesses.
And Jesus was proud to be both Black and Jewish.
But, in all of Jesus’ accomplishments, there is no indication that he ever endorsed a single political candidate.
I mean in the first-century Roman Empire before he started endorsing Republican presidential, senate and gubernatorial candidates.
Jesus perhaps didn’t endorse candidates because many of the government officials in the empire were chosen through an appointment process, or were anointed. So there was little opportunity or need to publicly endorse.
And while Jesus did make his dislike for public officials known, he disliked most officials and authorities equally for their inaction and penchant for corruption.
But, I believe Jesus would have some kind words for Bernie Sanders that would perhaps be considered an endorsement in today’s terms.
Well, there are the cursory items Jesus and Sanders share — both have Jewish ancestry, both have been carpenters, and both come from lower-middle-class homes. Those similarities might make them both cozy with each other.
But, above the cursory similarities, Sanders has developed a reputation for being a populist, on-the-side-of-the-little-guy guy.
Since Sanders marched on Washington in 1963, he has been authentically speaking truth to justice.
Who can forget his nine-hour filibuster back in 2010 on the Senate floor, in which he called a proposed tax-cut deal, “Robin Hood in reverse”?
In addition, Sanders has called for free and open access to almost every thing. From free tuition at public colleges, to free pre-school, to universal healthcare … Sanders has been an advocate for it all.
And Sanders has made a living upsetting the rich and privileged. He is called for raising the minimum wage to $15, taxing the wealthy progressively, and he never misses an opportunity to ride out on Wall Street.
This is all very revolutionary and progressive. It’s the redistribution of wealth, it’s the protection of the poor and marginalized and the disenfranchised. It’s being on the side of the poor and speaking truth to power.
I think Jesus would like someone who espouses these principles very much.