Nearly 2000 years ago a teenager worked in his father’s carpenter shop. This young man was different from his contemporaries.
He had survived the stratagems of a mad king who believed a baby or a toddler proposed a threat to his throne. He dazzled the temple elite in Jerusalem at the age of twelve.
In many ways he was a child of two worlds. He was born into the artisan world of his father, yet he was of the world beyond the physical, the metaphysical reality which tugged at him all his life.
His teenage mother had conceived him before her marriage to an older man. The older man had accepted the baby as his own and taught him his trade.
He had brothers and sisters who did not fully understand him. He was always gazing off into the unseen spheres and would spend a lot of time alone in the countryside.
One day he answered those tugs and went in search of the true meaning of life. The ancient stories of his heritage captivated him to search for the unnamed God of Genesis and Exodus in the wilderness.
There he encountered the metaphysical realities of his progenitors. His mission was clear, and his message was precise.
He became a rover. The common people embraced his message that God loved them and had a kingdom prepared for them away from Roman rule and the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
The religious leaders over time became increasing concerned about this young man who transformed from carpenter to teacher through a calling outside their understanding. His constant criticism of their practices and rules gnawed against the very core of what they believed about their religion and their moral authority.
“Because leadership is necessarily an exercise of authority, it easily shifts into an exercise of power. But the minute it does that, it begins to inflict damage on both the leader and the led.” Eugene Peterson
So it was that the high council of religious leaders convened in executive session and decided that for the good of the nation this young man must die. Since some of their members were suspected of being followers of this young teacher, they were not included in this machination.
With the aid of a trusted follower and thirty pieces of silver, false testimony from a mob, the political savvy Roman Prefect, a delusionary guilt-ridden king, and the ultimate release of a known insurrectionist, the young man was crucified, the ultimate form of Roman torture, between two thieves on a Friday morning. What happened that afternoon still troubles many people today.
What happened there and the days following gave birth to a new religious sect that has affected the world in both good and bad ways for two millennia. The simple teachings of this man have been used to justify atrocities which he would have never approved.
At the same time the pure teachings as found in the Gospels, especially John’s Gospel, have been a blessing to countless millions from generation to generation. The essence of what this Nazarene rover taught can be gleaned from the Gospels.
In the final analysis it is always those individuals who challenge the status quo that bring about a revolution to the accepted teachings and rules of the elders. This applies not only to religion but to science as well.
As history has shown, many of these individuals suffered greatly for their audacity to speak their minds and pursue a different path from their contemporaries and elders. The road of truth is a rocky one.
The boulders of complacency are always hurling about. Comfort zones are difficult to move from because the ambrosia of standardization intoxicates.
Regardless of what you believe or accept about this Nazarene rover from 2000 years ago, his influence is still relevant today, especially if the Gospels are examined carefully to see what it was all about. Read for yourself and rediscover this young revolutionist who dared to challenge authority in his day against the formidable religious establishment saturated in rules and practices which eclipsed their true heritage of a God who sought relationship with humans.
G. D. Williams © 2016
Jesus Christ Superstar
This Jesus Must Die
ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER;TIMOTHY MILES BINDON RICE
From the 2000 Jesus Christ Superstar film with Frederick B Owens as Caiaphas and Michael Shaeffer as Annas.