Jesus gets to perform a few miracles, work a little of his magic, before one of the clerics of the day pulls him aside.
In a paraphrase, the cleric says to Jesus, “We know who you are. So you understand why we have to kill you (again).”
And no matter what your opinion of him; if you’re a Christian and He’s your Messiah, if you’re a Muslim and you think he somehow escaped the cross, or if you’re an atheist and you think his credits are overblown, it would be difficult to argue against the probability that the man, Yeshua ben Yosef, did indeed walk the earth.
The mistake that most people make, I think, is not just thinking that if Christ did indeed return, they’d be able to recognize his physical being, but also that they’d actually be ready and eager to drop everything and follow him.
The reason this is a mistake is that the people that claim to believe in Jesus the most strenuously always seem to forget how shocking Jesus was to his own time.
And even though we’ve been given a watered down, distorted, Eurocentric, inane, ridiculous, contradictory and in some parts, preposterous version of his teachings, the basis of it and the basic truths to it were still too much for his era.
Consider the biblical response to “The Sermon on the Mount“; the speech before a gathering where he dropped such gems as:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven…
29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.
30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell…
38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth:
39 But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also…
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust…
9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses…
24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon…
7 Judge not, that ye be not judged…
6 Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
All of which is pretty standard stuff if you know and have been raised in your dogma, but the reaction to this line of thought and speaking by the folks of his time?
And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine:
See that? Astonished. That means they didn’t necessarily or exactly “get it”.
Similarly, if Christ were to return, it would be absurd to expect him to do what we won’t even accept from a mediocre MC and start spitting the same ol’ all over again. He would likely say something considerably”astonishing” and since it would all be new and radical and different to us, most of us would suspect that he wasn’t Christ at all and was actually full of shit.
The one group that probably would recognize him right from the jump would, just like in Dostoevsky’s case, be the clerics, ministers and other religious leaders. And while some of them really are fine and upstanding men intent on trying to lead the rest of us to righteousness, the overwhelming majority, as in Christ time, were hustlers, using an implied connection to God Almighty to threaten, intimidate, bully, and get their respective monies on.
Christ’s return would knock that hustle.
And he’d pay for it with his life (again).