"Jesus Had HIV"
Okay, now that I have your attention, this was the name of a sermon given by a South African pastor. Read the article here.
This statement has caused a lot of people to think. Now let me first clarify that I certainly DO NOT think that Jesus was HIV+, because HIV was not around back then. BUT I do think that Jesus could have gotten sick (e.g. the flu or the cold or any other disease). I don't think that saying Jesus was sick would "drag the name of Christ to the ground" as Pastor Mike Bele states. Jesus was human.
What I do appreciate about this intellectual exercise is the goal of de-stigmatization. Let's look at those living with HIV and AIDS as people who need our love and our care, not further scorn or judgment.
Because although many who contracted HIV live promiscuously or use IV drugs, there are a growing number who are completely innocent—such as babies born to HIV+ mothers or virgins who on their wedding day are infected by their HIV+ husband or faithful wives who contract it from an unfaithful husband.
This is almost becoming the norm in places like Africa where stigma is at its most severe. So the responses referred to in the article that Jesus is being portrayed as sexually promiscuous is simply ignorant.
In addition, if each one of us (HIV+ or not) really received the punishment we deserved...we'd all be dead. And that's why there's something so beautiful about grace that I love so much.
With World AIDS Day coming up, let's challenge ourselves to love and show compassion to those with HIV/AIDS and not condemn or throw words of spite—and in doing so, maybe, just maybe, we might have an opportunity to win a soul.
(read a well written article "Jesus Has AIDS" here)