Murals (2008) by PHANTAST - Graffiti - Cultural Music & Art Association inc. - 98 Milne St. Benleigh

Screen Shot 2016-05-04 at 9.47.06 pm  ACUTE DISTRESS OF POPULATION

'Jesus was born into a society traumatised by violence. His life was framed by revolts. The uprisings after Herod'd death occured in the year of his birth and he was brought up in the hamlet of Nazareth, only a few miles from Sepphoris which Varus had razed to the ground; the peasants' strike against Caligula would occur just  ten years after his death.
During his lifetime, Galilee was governed by Herod Antipas, who financed an expensive buiding programme by imposing heavy taxes on his Galilean subjects. Failure to pay was punished by foreclosure and confiscation of land, and this revenue swelled the huge estates of the Herodian aristocrats. When they lost their land, some peasants were forced into banditry, while others - Jesus' father, the carpenter Joseph, perhaps, among them - turned to  menial labour: artisans were often failed peasants.
The crowds who thronged around Jesus in Galilee were hungry, distressed and sick. In his parables we see a society spit between the very rich and the very poor: people who are desperate for loans; peasants who are heavily indebted, and the dispossed who have to hire themselves out as day labourers.
Even though the Gospel were written in an urban milieu decades after the events they describe, they still reflect the political aggression and cruelty of Roman Palestine.
After Jesus' birth, King Herod slaughtered all the male infants in Bethlehem, recalling Pharaoh, the archetypal evil imperialist.
John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin, was executed by Herod Antipas.
Jesus predicted that his disciples would be persued, flogged and killed by the Jewish authorities, and he himself was arrested by the high-priesthy aristocracy and tortured and crucified by Pontius Pilate. From the start, the Gospels present Jesus and his teachings as an alternative to the structural violence of imperial rule.

One sign of the acute distress of the population was the large number of people afflicted with neurological and psychological symptoms attributed to demons who came to Jesus for healing. He and his disciples seem to have had the skill to 'exorcise' these disorders.
When they cast out demons,Jesus explained, they were replicating God's victory over Satan in the cosmic sphere: 'I watched Satan fall like lightning from Heaven', he told his disciples when returned from a successful healing tour.
So-called spirit possession seems often linked with economic, sexual or colonial oppression, when people feel taken over by an alien power they cannot control.
The satanic forces told Jesus that their name was 'legion', identifying themselves with the Roman troops that were the most blatant symbol of the occupation.
Jesus did what many colonised people would like to do: he cast 'legion' into a herd of swine, the most polluted of animals, which rushed headlong into the sea.
The ruling class seems to have regarded Jesus' exorcisms as political provocation: they were the reason why Antipas decided to take action against Jesus' (Karen Armstrong, Fields of Blood).

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