The cry of a newborn broke the silence. History changed with the announcement of a birth. An old man looked into the face of a baby and said, “Now I can die in peace. I have seen with my own eyes what all of my life I have waited for.” Nearby, an elderly woman, who for many years had given herself to the service of the great king, told all who would listen that she too had lived long enough to see the future.
Once again, the chosen family was filled with hope—but nothing happened. The winds of change did not blow as expected. The child who created such a commotion with his birth grew up in obscurity. While other children worked to make a name for themselves, took wives, and began having sons and daughters of their own, he seemed content to learn the trade of his father on the backroads of one of the smallest towns in the land. But when no one was looking, this young man from nowhere stepped out of the shadows to become the talk of the neighbors.
Without any formal training, this teacher began challenging the most educated men of the family. He said and did things no one had ever said or done before. He spoke knowingly about the great king and did powerful things that caused large crowds to follow him. He opened eyes that couldn’t see and ears that couldn’t hear. He walked on water, sent demons running, quieted violent storms, and called dead people out of their graves. Even though there was nothing about the teacher’s appearance that distinguished him, he wasn’t like other teachers of the family. He befriended public enemies. He ate and drank with some of the most disreputable people of the land. He changed the hearts of social outcasts, the bodies of lepers, and the minds of the oppressed.
Even though he grew up in obscurity, he was destined for greatness.
He was a man of unequaled power and authority. Yet he carried his power with gentleness. Even as spiritual leaders of the family reeled with envy and disbelief, he drew crowds of common people as he honored women and held their children. With eyes for people no one else saw, the teacher offered invitations to a great banquet where the list of honored guests would include anyone who was willing to come.
To the concern and alarm of other family leaders, the teacher’s crowds grew larger and louder. They came to the one who asked for the trust of all those who were tired of living the way they were. He promised them rest for their hearts and minds. Then in an amazing series of comparisons, he claimed to be the door, the water, and the bread they had been looking for. He told them that if they trusted him, he would show them the way back to the tree of life and the paradise that was lost.
In the hours leading up to an important holiday, family leaders became alarmed. Sensing the loss of their own influence, they were afraid that the teacher would use the crowds who had gathered for the annual “sacrifice of the lamb” as an occasion to take over leadership of the family. Believing they had to act quickly, enemies of the teacher made a bold move. Family leaders organized a crowd of their friends and filed a legal complaint with government officials. Risking the anger of the teacher’s followers, they accused him of disturbing the peace and dishonoring the name of the great king. Within hours they pressured local bureaucrats to give in to their demands.
The most loving teacher the family had ever seen was nailed to a tree like a predator on a fencepost.
A weak-willed but powerful judge had the teacher beaten and turned over to executioners. Along with two common criminals, the most loving teacher the family had ever seen was nailed to a tree like a predator on a fencepost. As his mother and friends cried, soldiers swaggered. Family leaders huddled with a sense of relief. Strangers who walked nearby on a public road stared. A few hours later, his body was buried quickly in a borrowed tomb on the eve of “the sacrifice of the lamb” holiday.