The Jewish people know they can’t fight for their freedom back from the Romans. The Romans are the most powerful army in the world. They have superior strength, organization, numbers, and wealth. So the whole situation is just a smoking Volcano ready to erupt, and everyone is just being careful not to cause the explosion. Collaborators are the most hated people in the land. Prostitutes who have anything to do with the army and tax collectors who collect Roman filthy taxes are the most hideous of people. Those who don’t keep the laws of purity are seen as giving into the Roman influence. And the Religious leaders in the temple are trying to cut deals with the Romans to keep the whole thing a float—in order to keep the Romans from taking away more of their religious rights in worshiping the God of all. It is a fragile, dangerous place in which one must be careful.
There were some Jewish people that thought the answer to all of this was to become more legalistic or stricter about their laws. Some were saying get away from the dirty Romans and go into the clean desert. There were many who thought the world was going to end and some who hoped it would because at least then God could take over and set things straight. And during all this time, people were waiting, hoping, yearning for a person that was spoken of in scripture known as Mosiach or “the anointed one” named after the oil that kings wear, in Greek this Royal oil is called Chrism. Therefore, in Greek this anointed person spoken of in scripture is known as Christos. He is the Messiah that would become King, and lead an uprising and save the people from all this foreign oppression and restore God’s land to one true God again. The Jewish people are praying for this man to appear, but so far He has not.
In the summer the tensions got especially bad, and also at festivals, such as passover which are supposed to celebrate things being right and close with God. However, in actuality these times made the people feel worse and full of more hatred because they knew that things weren’t right. The Humiliation of the situation caused young men to commit low-level terrorist acts toward the Romans, and the Romans responded by publicly executing them. The soldiers didn’t like being there either. It wasn’t the greatest of assignments. They could have served in some exotic location in the empire but instead they were stuck in this grim, nasty, barren outpost, where they have to be on their guard all the time because they know that they are hated. They think the locals are crazy with all their laws and restrictions and at any moment someone can come up behind them and stab them in the back. Say the wrong thing, eat the wrong thing, touch the wrong thing—any little thing can kick off a riot. They hate it…Everyone had to be careful all the time.
…And into this setting came a man. We don’t know what He looked like other than He was a Jewish man from the first century Palestine region, who lived in a time of hard labor with virtually no health care, and was around 30 years of age, when the life expectancy for a man at this time was around 45. He probably had a beard, probably had a dark complexion, probably had a little wear to His look. He was a little short by today’s standards and maybe even missing a few teeth. But the truth is no one ever wrote about his appearance, because the truth is, it doesn’t really matter. Because He looked like us, meaning all of us, the entire human race. But He was more than any of us. He was the one who created the entire world and universe.
His name was Yeshua, which is Latinized as Jesus. If you cut him He bled, when He was irritated He got angry, and when He was sad He cried. He was fully human, and at the same time was fully the one true God that all the Jewish people were trying to please so much. And He came into their world, and He comes into our heart and souls everyday with the same message…and says don’t worry, you don’t need to be careful, I am going to make all things new. Yeshua, Christos, Jesus is here.
More to come this week. Be blessed!