From 4-10-2007 (brought up to date)
The whole scene of Jesus has been so distorted in our minds eye by grand movies with huge sets and fancy settings. Where we see Jesus Christ Superstar, a handsome movie star in a clean white robe, the people saw an itinerant street preacher who was ‘despised’ and rejected of men, not comely to look at. Thin and ‘average’.
Without the miracles, Jesus would have lived, preached, and died without much notice. No new calendar, no Christians, probably no Koran, no crusades, and a completely different history.
We have created a legend that has become pretty and acceptable. We can not understand why anyone would not jump on the Jesus bandwagon. The walking was down crowded alleyways in Middle Eastern Earth, dusty, dirty, and smelly with no deodorant, no shaving cream, and no breath mints. There probably wasn’t a closet full of clothes to take a clean robe from daily. The beds were blankets on the ground or in hard bunks. It is said that the man himself was born in a stable. Standing in the presence of Pontius Pilate was a man who probably did not look much different than a thief or, at best, the most common of commoners. When Jesus spoke he was a carpenter’s son and not a priest.
His message was beyond radical, it was crazy. LOVE ONE ANOTHER was not going to save anyone from the Romans, or the tax collectors, or the Priest who sat in the seat of honor. ‘Kiss my ring’ was not invented by the Pope or some French King, it was a traditional realm of power, a perk of status.
Jesus would have been seen as a commoner in the temple, expressing ideas that were so far out in left field, and then slowly but surely, over 3 years it got worse. Now a bit of a politician, a teacher proclaiming a kingdom of GOD radically different than that espoused by the priests, a position also in opposition to the Sadducees, the politicians of Jewish society. Worse yet, he was gaining a following. Think of John the Baptist in the wilderness, wearing animal skins and eating locusts and wild honey. They thought Jesus was the Baptist. This is not the image of a handsome Hollywood actor who just walked onto the set and then retreated to his trailer. Everyday, 24/7, healing the sick, preaching a message of LOVE in a world of hate and prejudice. Every rumor of healing threatened the seats of power. Every healing brought 100’s more to the neighborhood to be healed. Some out of desperation, some out of greed, some out of love for others. Think of the reactions among the priesthood upon hearing of a crowd of 5,000 men (plus women and children), not once but at least twice. The stories we read about are merely highlights out of a life of touching the sick, the unclean. To the traditional Jew, Jesus would have been the uncleanest of the unclean, the commonest of the common, and the least likely to be a Messiah.
Inside of this man, though, resided a very special spirit that was recognized almost immediately by others. Fishermen debated with him until he proved that what He said had an other worldly prophetic power.
“Cast your nets there,” Jesus said to a group of fishermen headed by a scurrilous old salt named Simon (to be called Peter).
“Been there, done that, ain’t there,” responds the tired fisherman.
“Just try it,” responds Jesus. Somehow the authority in his voice commanded a respect that one wouldn’t expect from this Simon. We are told Simon went back out, did as was asked, and couldn’t reel in the haul without breaking the nets.
In the end Simon and his brother follow this teacher and become “Fishers of Men”.
I tried to find a picture of this real Jesus on the web to put at the top of this post (looking under ‘Jesus Images’) and could not. If you have an idea, feel free to forward it to me.
So all that said, in today’s terms, was it all fake news? I believe because of what the followers did. They risked their lives to spread his simple message. They would never have thought of doing that had there not been substance to the stories. No magic publication of a million copies to change the world. Just the sayings of a carpenter’s son spread by word of mouth. I wonder how Twitter would handle “Love One Another” today.
Try it and see what happens.