A Loose Cannon
What is the origin of the phrase loose cannon?
This term originates from the cannons on board wooden sailing warships, which were lashed down with ropes to avoid damage and injury from their recoil when fired. A loose cannon was one with ineffective restraints (e.g., broken ropes). Without these restraints, a “loose cannon” would roll dangerously around the ship’s deck, damaging other cannon, ships fittings, and sailors.
Is a loose cannon bad?
A loose cannon is also defined as “a dangerously uncontrollable person or thing.”
(idiomatic, by extension) An uncontrolled or unpredictable person who causes damage to their own team, faction, political party, religious organisation, etc.
I once heard a man call Jesus “a loose cannon”, comparing Him to a dangerous large firearm that had broken loose from its safety ropes in a wooden gunship, and was careening around the firing deck causing all sorts of damage and mayhem. The inference was that Jesus caused all sorts of damage amongst the people of His nation and culture, to the detriment of the whole Jewish Nation at that time, by the way in which He spoke and taught.
Shall we look at the facts and see if this is so?
1. Was Jesus doing his own thing to upset the leaders of the nation and their followers?
Right from the word go, at about His twelfth birthday, Jesus was determined to be about His Father’s business, and appears to have confounded all those who heard Him.
Luke 2:46 And it came to pass, that after three days they [his parent’s] found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
Luk 2:47 And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
Luk 2:48 And when they [his parents] saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
Luk 2:49 And he said unto them, How is it that you sought me? Don’t you know that I must be about my Father’s business?
Luk 2:50 And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
2. Was He deliberately causing damage amongst the religious hierarchy by saying things that were dangerous and at variance with sound, safe Doctrine and Theology?
John 4:31 In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
Joh 4:32 But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
Joh 4:33 Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
Joh 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.
Joh 4:35 Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
Joh 4:36 And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
Joh 4:37 And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
Joh 4:38 I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.
3. Did Jesus at any time say that He had come to break the Laws of God, leave doing the Laws of God, and to teach others that this was correct?
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.
Mat 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Mat 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:20 For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.
4. What two Laws were considered by Jesus to be the greatest one’s?
The Great Commandment
Mark 12:28 And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that He had answered them well, asked Him, Which is the first commandment of all?
Mar 12:29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
Mar 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
Mar 12:31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as [much as] thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.
Mar 12:32 And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
Mar 12:33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
Mar 12:34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
And why did they not dare to ask Him any further questions? Because what Jesus said was the TRUTH, and everyone knew it! No loose cannon here, it would appear!
However, shortly after being baptised in the Jordan River with God thundering from heaven “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!”, and the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus like a gentle Dove (Mat 3:13 – 17), then Jesus was tempted by the Devil in the wilderness, He began His ministry, called the first disciples, went to a mountain and multitudes gathered to hear Him, and He preached to His disciples what is commonly known as the Sermon on the Mount (Mat 4:1-25). And there is a lot in it! In particular is the part known as The Beatitudes.
The Sermon on the Mount
Mat 5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:
Matthew 5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,
Mat 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. The poor in spirit are people who do not think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, the humble, the downcast, the downtrodden. God’s kingdom belongs to them! They are not the hierarchy, the law givers, those who “teach” others or dictate what others will believe, the people who push others around.
Mat 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Those who grieve and are concerned over what they have down wrongfully in the past, those who have transgressed God’s laws, directives and special instructions. God will comfort them. He will NOT comfort those people who think that they deserve to be patronised by God and honoured by Him.
Mat 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. A meek person is one who has power or strength under control. They, of necessity, keep their natural and spiritual strengths and abilities under complete control so that they do not hinder the work of Jesus the Messiah and His Holy Spirit. Their reward is to “inherit the earth”, Satan and His cohorts will be removed and the kingdom of God on earth will increase.
Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. To be hungry and thirsty for food and water is truly debilitating, but to hunger and thirst after righteousness, and to be absolutely sick with wanting to know God’s Truths is all engrossing. Someone unaware of God’s spiritual provision need not be concerned. “The Lord is at hand… Do NOT be anxious about anything” (Philipians 4:5,6) is a statement in the New Testament which has as much a bearing as in the Old Testament. The Lord God is always near, and we are not to be anxious about anything, for we SHALL be filled to overflowing (Luke 6:37, 38).
Mat 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. If one is to obtain mercy, he/she must first be merciful, showing abundant compassion, true love and kindness.
Mat 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. One who is pure in heart is without malice, treachery, or evil intent; honest; sincere; guileless and without hypocrisy.
Mat 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. A peacemaker is a person who helps others solve a conflict and reach a peaceful solution. Copyright © 2023 Vocabulary.com
Mat 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Mat 5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Mat 5:12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. How did Jesus react to persecution and being reviled?
Jesus Himself went into hiding when necessary (Matt 4:12; John 8:59; Matt 12:14-15; John 7:1) “because His time was not yet come” (John 7:30; 8:20; 10:39). But these times were only a postponement from His suffering and death. However, when necessary, Jesus deliberately confronted the religious leaders who were arraigned against Him.
Jesus then continues to preach with;- Salt and Light Mat 5:13 – Mat 5:16
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law Mat 5:17 – Mat 5:20
Anger Mat 5:21 – Mat 5:26
Lust Mat 5:27 – Mat 5:30
Divorce Mat 5:31 – Mat 5:32
Oaths Mat 5:33 – Mat 5:37
Retaliation Mat 5:38 – Mat 5:42
Love Your Enemies Mat 5:43 – Mat 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. To be perfect in love in this context means to be complete, entire and whole in benevolent love towards both our friends, relatives, and enemies, that is, wanting the very best for them, no matter what. God does this Himself. He sends the rain on the just and unjust, and causes the sun to shine on good and bad (Mat 5:43-48).
Giving to the Needy Mat 6:1 – Mat 6:4
The Lord’s Prayer Mat 6:5 – Mat 6:15
Fasting Mat 6:16 – Mat 6:18
Lay Up Treasures in Heaven Mat 6:19 – Mat 6:24
Do Not Be Anxious Mat 6:25 – Mat 6:34
Judging Others Mat 7:1 – Mat 7:6
Ask, and It Will Be Given Mat 7:7 – Mat 7:11
The Golden Rule, and the Wide and Narrow Gates Mat 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
Mat 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
Mat 7:14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.
A Tree and Its Fruit Mat 7:15 – Mat 7:20
I Never Knew You Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. – Mat 7:23
Build Your House on the Rock Mat 7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:
Mat 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
Mat 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:
Mat 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.
The Authority of Jesus
Mat 7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
Mat 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes.
In those days in the synagogues (and even today in Hebrew schools and yeshiva’s) teachers of scholars would advise that Rabbi such and such taught or thought this and that, while Rabbi so and so thought or taught so and so or such and so! There were, and are, no definitive instructions regarding the meanings, usage and collective understandings of the Torah (the five books of Moses) and Tanakh (the original Old Testament) wording, ideas, merits and motivations.
Jesus was quite different. He did not use the deferential wordings and suggestions of the Rabbi’s, but spoke with authority and understanding, and used the ideas and words of God. He had, and has, authority, and everyone who had/has an open ear could/does hear Him.
You will have to decide if Jesus is a loose cannon. If you have read all the forgoing verses, descriptions, and words, it should be abundantly clear where Jesus stands in regard to this conversation. But to help you discern what may or may not be the truth, let me ask you two questions.
1.) Once Jesus had finished preaching the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, what was the result of His preaching upon those people gathered there?
2.) After Jesus preached He walked from place to place healing the sick miraculously. Why did He not preach His message immediately?
(Answers to firstname.lastname@example.org, referencing “A loose cannon”).
So, is Jesus a loose cannon? Only you can decide for yourself whether He is such a one in your personal spiritual and religious life.
© J M Pearce2023