More Lessons from Jesus Christ Superstar

In one of my last devotionals, I discussed the merits of the characterization of Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar. This time I would like to look at another characterization that shows a more troublesome side of any faith set, the radicalization. Again, Jesus Christ Superstar is not the most theologically sound piece on the planet, but it does provide interesting looks at various Gospel characters. In Superstar, Simon, aka Simon the Zealot, gets a solo piece that is describing how devoted Simon and the crowd is at the time. “Christ you know I love you, did you see I waved?/ I believe in you and God, so tell me that I’m saved.” This chorus has good and troublesome sections within the words. Devotion, faith, and love towards God are an essential part of Christianity and our faith, however, the second phrase of each line is what is worrisome about extreme zealot. “Did you see I waved?” and “so tell me that I’m saved,” do not show true embodying of Christ's teachings, at least to me. Christ teaches us to love and have faith, not just so that we can be recognized and get a gold star from God, but because it is trying to create a better world here. The afterlife and eternal life have always been a bonus not the main goal to me, the main goal is to live by Christ's teachings to create a better Earth.

The other phrase of caution in this song is in Simon’s verses. Simon discusses the undying devotion of the 50,000 followers, and how devotion to Christ can be twisted if not handled carefully. When the Messiah came, there was a group that expected him to be a military leader and over throw the Romans. In Simon Zealotes, this is alluded to, but it is dangerous and something that should be watched out for when hatred in the form of violence makes its way into the teaching of the Gospels. As Anne Lamott stated, “You can safely assume you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do.” Extremism and Radicalization, can be dangerous, as it forms God in our image, instead of following Christ's teaching to form ourselves into His image.

Sam Jacobs

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