In the previous post I looked at the parallels between Paul and Jesus’ approach to and arrest and trial in Jerusalem, and noted that the key difference between them was that while Jesus remained almost silent, Paul never shut up.
I’m proposing that one of the reasons behind this is that in Paul we see a zealot, a keen enthusiast, driven to succeed in all he does. In short, he wants to win.
I think this rings true throughout all of his letters. Paul never quite manages to put to bed his competitive and strategic spirit, and it’s this role as strategist that I think sets him apart from Christ.
In the book (Signs of Emergence or The Complex Christ, depending on which side of the pond you are on) I propose that Judas’ ‘betrayal’ was perhaps in fact his well-meaning attempt to catalyze Jesus into action – to force his military hand and set in motion the revolution that would overthrow the Roman occupation. In other words, he, like Paul was a strategist.
With both of these figures, Paul and Judas, we see men of action. The other disciples likely thought the same about Jesus, and expected him to be a military figure, but did nothing about it. Judas refused to sit back and wait. Similarly, we don’t hear much about daring missionary journeys being made by other Apostles. Paul comes in later and immediately gets to the centre of the action, takes on a core role in the church and starts heading out on this amazing trips.
But they are both in contrast to the figure of Jesus, who appears to repeatedly confound all the strategists who gather round him. It’s this that makes me wonder whether Christ’s passion is in some way ‘the end of strategy’. And it’s to that that I want to turn in the next post.