Sunday, July 8: Questions of Jesus
The Jewish historian Josephus tells the story of a first-century shepherd who rose up to become king of the Jews. There was nothing remarkable about this shepherd. He wasn’t wealthy. He wasn’t educated. He wasn’t powerful. The shepherd was humble and unassuming, but he had passion for God and passion for his people, the Jews. This shepherd gathered his brothers and their followers and he said, “It’s not right for the Romans to rule over us. It’s not right for the Herods to rule over us.”
So, they started a revolution. They fought against Rome. They fought against the Herods. They won many victories and it seemed, for a little while, that Israel might gain its independence.
But unfortunately, the movement was short-lived. The shepherd’s armies lost a battle to Rome. Then they lost another one. Then they lost to Archelaus, the son of Herod, and surrendered. The shepherd’s name was Athronges, and you have probably never heard of him until now.
Josephus tells of at least five other messianic movements that happened just like that between 5 BC and 70 AD. All “messiahs” claimed to be the king of the Jews. All fought against Rome. All were defeated and never heard from again.
And then there was Jesus. His movement was different, for sure, but he was called the king of the Jews, he did gather a following, and he was executed by the Romans for sedition.
And yet, his movement survived. Why?
Join us this week as we look at John 11 and find out! See you on Sunday!