I’ve always been struck by the “Christmas Story” as it’s told in the Bible.
In modern terms we’d put it something along the lines of “some girl from the ‘hood gets knocked up mysteriously. She says she hasn’t had sex, and that God made her pregnant. Her folks aren’t thrilled with this turn of events, but her boyfriend marries her anyway. The IRS decides everybody has to go back to where the first person in their family came to our country and set up a home. So she and her boyfriend hitchhike all the way from Harlem to Camden New Jersey. She goes into labor when they get there and there isn’t a single motel that will let them stay there since they are all full with people complaining about the @#$%@### IRS. The owner feels sorry for the kid in labor and says they can sleep in his garage. The baby is born and they wind up clearing out the beer cans from the back seat of the motel owners Chevy and wrap the baby in some clean grease rags from the workbench. While they are marveling at the fact that they got through the ordeal of the birth without any help, a crowd of escapees from the local halfway house for paroled felons tromps into the garage with them unannounced and say that a bunch of singing ‘Angels’ told them that the Messiah was born here and they decided to come and praise him. Mary takes all this into account and treasures these things in her memory and later tells this story to several of the men who become the followers of her Son, who is eventually executed on trumped up charges of treason and sedition as a result of his teaching a philosophy of loving God and Loving your neighbor. He is deemed psychotic since he also claims to be God, but is an unusual twist of Supreme Court logic is publically executed anyway (with hour by hour coverage of the event on MSNBC.) Oddly enough, later, stories begin circulating on the internet that he rose from the dead and was seen by his followers. Most people discount the stories, but a few ardent followers set forth to spread the news to the world.”
Honestly, that is about how it happened. The story was recounted by shepherds and women, who were counted as so lowly and dishonest that their testimony wasn’t even allowed in court actions. Yet from this humble beginning rose a God/man that changed the course of history more than all the other people in the world have throughout time. His wise messages and his actions in life of healing the sick and raising the dead are still discussed, and though witnessed by hundreds of people and attested to by dozens, he is still questioned.
So what do we all do with this Jesus of Nazareth? People don’t die for a lie they know to be a lie. Though the men claiming they witnessed that he performed miracles and rose from the dead all were killed for their beliefs, the world still mostly rejects Him. He is called wise by many who disbelieve the claims of his miracles and his being God. I think calling Him wise is the one thing we can’t do. Either He was God on earth, or He was a lunatic. Calling a lunatic wise makes no sense…so I’m going with the “God” thing, if you don’t mind.