Op-Ed: Jewish Man Dies Penniless in Jerusalem, Messianic Claims Die with Him
He was born in a small town stable with barely a place to lay his head almost 33 years ago. Apprenticed to his father, a carpenter, he developed a reputation later in life as a teacher of the law and healer. Far from the important centers of commerce, trade, and education, he gathered a following of disciples mostly from the working class in the backwater region of Galilee. Many believed him to be the promised Messiah foretold of old by the prophets, but don’t messiahs come with more exalted pedigrees?
When he did finally go public with his ministry at the late age of 30, he was hardly what some might consider messiah material. For starters, he hung out with all the wrong people. Besides his rag-tag, motley group of disciples, he was constantly taking meetings with harlots, tax collectors, and all manner of ne’er-do-wells. How can a teacher of the law expect to build a good reputation by cavorting with the likes of these sorts?
And as for deliverance, well, the heavy hand of Rome was hardly lessened by his presence. Why, he even entertained Roman pagans at his house and healed their ailing servants. An up and coming messiah could not be more confused than this Jesus bar Joseph, no matter what his acclaimed royal lineage.
And now, what a disappointment, what a tragedy even. After a possible bid for power last Sabbath when he rode triumphantly into Jerusalem on a poor choice of transportation (Can you believe it? He rode an ass of all creatures…), one of his disciples sold him out to the local authorities. Got himself arrested and tried on some trumped up capital offense, then hanged on a Roman cross just like those criminals he always hung out with. Not many there with him when he died neither: Just his mum and a close friend. Poor bloke didn’t even have a proper tomb to be buried in. Had to borrow one from a rich uncle or something– brand, spankin’ new, never even used before. Seems like a lot of fuss for a carpenter’s son born in a stable. Borrowed his crib and his tomb, poor penniless sop. Never had a place to lay his head or call his own in this world, I hear.
Guess that’s why I can’t quite make out the hub-bub surrounding his burial place. They sealed the opening with this huge stone and set a watch of temple guards there patrolling the area 24/7. High priest reports fears that his disciples might steal the body and make up some yarn about him rising from the dead, as if that bunch of frightened rabbits could pull off such a heist. Most got out of Dodge after their master was arrested several days ago; don’t think we’ll be seeing much of them in the next few weeks at least. So, what are these temple rulers so worried about? I mean, why guard the tomb of a dead man? Could be this man with no place to lay his head wasn’t from around these here parts, maybe not of this world even… maybe more than just a man.
Ah, yeah. Sorry about that idea. Could get myself arrested if I’m not too careful. Dangerous stuff believing in messiahs that can overthrow mankind’s greatest enemy. Best just forget about it til morning. As they say, the morning’s much wiser than the evening…