He was born while traveling in poor surroundings. His parents got by, he by repairing furniture for bartered goods and she by caring for friends in the small village they resided.
This small family didn’t have much, but they had each other. That was enough.
He grew and had a great ability to learn. He was obedient to parents, except for that time when they found him conversing with the elders. When chastised for being absent, he responded, “Where else would I be?”
Growing older still, he developed what today we would call “Woo.” People liked him and he grew into being a leader. He had compassion and understanding of all he encountered.
All this is leading to something special, can you feel it?
He had a knack for seeing the big picture, where others struggled. The local leadership was being challenged by the state and fear was palpable. The leaders felt their power over the people eroding. Here was someone local who further challenged their authority.
He began by finding followers. He didn’t pick the great and mighty, he chose the working poor to follow him. Others followed him secretly, for they didn’t want to bring attention to themselves. He started traveling the region helping people, mostly the poor and disabled.
Wherever he went, he developed a following which drew the ire of the leaders. They openly challenged him, but his ability to answer questions well with wisdom stymied them. They began to plot against him and his followers.
Those whose lives were changed by him were brought before a tribunal of local leadership to quelch their descent.
He made speeches to crowds and they were amazed by his explanations and eloquence.
Finally, the leaders had had enough. Rather than win the people over with their power, they resorted to lodging a complaint against him to the state. They accused him of raising the people against the state. This, of course, was a false accusation, but it didn’t matter. The state could not afford to lose control over the people either. He was brought before the governor who found no wrong in the man.
The leaders, however, still had their followers, tied to them through money and power. They used their influence to convince the governor (against his objections) to put this man to ignoble death, shouting over others who begged for clemency. Afterall, the state had to remain in control, the death of one man was of little significance.
An innocent man was put to a terrible death.
But the leaders lost their bet. They thought by killing the man they would kill the movement, but instead they made a martyr. His followers went on spreading the good news to the poor, the disabled, the disenfranchised. He did indeed rise again to vex the leaders. He still vexes the powerful with his counter-cultural message to this day.
What Would Happen?
First of all, I doubt mankind would have survived without him, but let’s say for argument’s sake that he were to be born today. He would grow up in our neighborhood.
Would he be accepted by the many to lead to glory? No, I doubt it. Some would outright reject him because he was a local guy. Most would remain silent, taking a wait and see approach. The leaders would be hostile to him, for their power and prestige would be threatened. He would expose their lies just as he did some 2,000 years ago. The leaders would then seek to smear him and crucify him in the media, for most media repeats what the powerful have to say. Yet, somehow, his humble messaging would convert many and his followers would live on spreading the word.
Fortunately, we don’t have to worry about ‘what if’ scenarios. Thanks to God, we have a living example of how to live in Jesus. Let us strive to follow Him.