Monday, April 30, 2012

Showed a Temper

We all want to believe that Tony has no darkness in him, Qubit, but the thing we can never talk about is how long that can possibly last.
All the pressure he's under, all the expectations the world puts on him...he'll break. Anyone would. Qubit, even Jesus showed a temper.
 - Irredeemable #18
by Make Waid and Peter Krause

The main concept of Irredeemable is the Plutonian (Tony to his friends), a Superman analogue, stops being a hero and starts using his powers for evil. One of the running questions throughout the series is wondering just what made the Plutonian snap. Was it all the pressure and public expectation for him to be unwaveringly perfect? Did he just have a bad day? The latter question reminds me of the themes from Alan Moore's The Killing Joke.

But anyone is liable to break and let their temper show, if just momentarily. As this excerpt states, even Jesus, habitually depicted as calm and humble, lashed out at others from time to time. The most obvious example is in Mark 11:15 when Jesus turns over tables and drives out merchants from the temple. Then there's that part in Matthew 15 when Jesus basically calls a woman a dog (but it all worked out in the end). He had a tendency to snap at his opponents and call them a brood of vipers (Matthew 3:7; 12:34; 23:33). Further, his words of wisdom weren't always the most comforting. When a prospective follower wished to first bury his father, Jesus replied "Let the dead bury their own dead" (Matthew 8:22). Thanks for the condolences, Jesus.

So yes, Jesus showed a temper. Considering the powers and abilities he displayed, do you think anyone took a step back in fear when his temper surfaced? In Matthew 12, after Jesus healed a demon-possessed man, the Pharisees claim it must only be by evil power that Jesus is able to accomplish this. Jesus quickly refutes this attack and the Gospel frames it as the Pharisees merely trying to dissuade Jesus' followers.

But I don't think it unlikely that there were some who might have felt sincere unease at the sight of Jesus' miracles in action. The man could heal the blind and raise the dead. What could he do if his motives became not so benevolent? But of course Jesus was the good guy! He's the Son of God! The Messiah! That's easy (for believers) to see in hindsight, sure. At the time, though, there was no guarantee that this guy wouldn't just whip into a frenzy and start making everybody's eyes explode out of their head.

Humans are naturally afraid of what they don't understand. We are afraid of something new and different. A man who speaks and the winds and waves obey him definitely counts as something different. Maybe this rambling doesn't make as much sense as I had hoped. It's really not so much of a statement as a question. I am well aware that people feared Jesus because of the political and religious threats implied by his ministry. But was he also feared by some on a more basic level, simply because he displayed great and unnatural powers?

I mean, come on, look at how much the X-Men are feared and hated.

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