(Transcribed from an e-mail I sent my mother 24 August 2010.)
Jesus said any number of things in large part, at least, for shock value.
Their outrageousness is easily lost on 21st Century students, for two reasons. First, we have heard or read these things so many times that any shock value they might have at first had for us — when we first heard them, say, perhaps at age 4 or age 5 — has long since worn off. We’re not likely to remember it, and also not likely to give the opinions of our 4- or 5-year-old selves, the credit they, in this case, deserve.
Second, by virtue of “respect for authority,” for centuries students of Chrstianity have trained themselves to ignore, deny or suppress any outrage they might feel at anything The Teacher says. Instead, one expects oneself and all one’s fellow students, approvingly, to “tip my hat … take a bow … smile and grin …”[*]
[*]The Who, “We Won’t Get Fooled Again.”
“BLESSÈD ARE YOU POOR.”