What If Jesus Walked Our Modern Streets, Rather Than in Antiquity?


Image by Taniwha

The streets were flooded with countless faces, all contorted in pain and agony as they desperately pressed upon one another to just catch a glimpse of this prophet whom they had heard so much about. They had heard that the dead were raised, the sick were healed, the hungry were fed, and those possessed with evil spirits were set free. In desperation, they reached out clinging to his garments hoping that they might get just enough blessing from the holiness which so potently flowed through him that his very clothes healed the sick. And though he touched the untouchable—the diseased and disgusting—the religious elites stood looming over the crowds shaking their heads and scoffing at the sight of this false prophet who performed these works through the power of the devil. They wanted Jesus dead. They wanted him exposed for the heretic, blasphemer that he was.

The oddity of Christ is that He was both hated and loved. He was both despised and desired. Any perusal through the gospels reveals countless stories of when Christ was loved by the commoners and the socially despised, but was generally hated by the religious elite—those who held authority over the “truth” and religious access to God.

Christ, in all accounts, was and is a savior of radical sacrifice, service, and the abandonment of the religious status quo. So often when the gospels are read, people miss much of his wild, radical side. Seeing Christ in context is central to understanding just how wild our savior was and is. There is great benefit to studying the historical, social, and political context in which Christ came and in which the gospels were written. However, even with this “head knowledge”, often the image remains incomplete. Following Him remains a sort of fairy tale story which occurred a long, long time ago in a very far off place. The reality is, however, that Christ is just as radical today as He was back in the first century. He wants to do the same things within our communities. But what does that actually look like in our modern contexts and contemporary social problems?

The story of Christ’s coming and his teachings needs to be placed in a modern, more relatable context so that His radical and wild way of loving, serving, and preaching becomes more clear.

If Christ came today and walked our streets, rather than 2000 years ago, what would he be doing? What would be the reaction to his lifestyle? Who would He spend his time with? What would be the reaction to some of his teachings? And who would follow him or declare him a heretic?

Each Thursday a new element of this modern approach to Christ in our contemporary context will be explored, ultimately to culminate in a manuscript for a new book. Your comments and thoughts will literally and tangibly help shape the content of this project. Please share a link and leave a comment! Help us make this endeavor a success.

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  • Something I ponder from time to time…
    If you start with the birth, where would that be now?
    The West Bank or Gaza?
    A favela in Rio?
    Skid Row?
    Under the freeway overpass?
    The staring point would determine so much to follow…
    Consider the Cotton Patch Version:

  • Jimbo

    I wonder how much history through the last 2000 years would be changed if He was not born until now. No crusades? No Catholicism? Would The U.S. have founded on the same principles, or at all?

  • In my head it seems like so many people including me would fall to his feet at any huge sign of a miracle. If some random man came to me and said that i am Jesus Christ I would never believe that… I would need to see proof. Which is what I don’t understand.. How come the pharisee’s still hate on Jesus even when they saw proof? It seems like if Jesus were among the streets today that everyone would come to him at the single most sign of a miracle. But then again you could say it was staged much like the TBN preachers who smack you upside the head and you fall to your glorious release.

  • John 6 might be a good place to start Joey.
    After this jJesus went away to the other side of kthe Sea of Galilee, which is lthe Sea of Tiberias. 2 And a large crowd was following him, because they saw the signs that he was doing on the sick. 3 Jesus went up on mthe mountain, and there he sat down with his disciples. 4 Now nthe Passover, the ofeast of the Jews, was at hand. 5 pLifting up his eyes, then, and seeing that a large crowd was coming toward him, Jesus said to qPhilip, “Where are we to buy bread, so that these people may eat?” 6 He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he would do. 7 rPhilip answered him, “Two hundred denarii1 would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.” 8 One of his disciples, sAndrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to him, 9 “There is a boy here who has five tbarley loaves and two fish, but twhat are they for so many?” 10 Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” uNow there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, about five thousand in number. 11 Jesus then took the loaves, and vwhen he had given thanks, he distributed them to those who were seated. So also the fish, as much as they wanted. 12 And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.” 13 So they gathered them up and filled twelve baskets with fragments from the five barley loaves left by those who had eaten. 14 When the people saw the sign that he had done, they said, w“This is indeed xthe Prophet ywho is to come into the world!”
    15 zPerceiving then that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, Jesus awithdrew again to bthe mountain by himself.
    Jesus Walks on Water

    16 When evening came, his disciples went down to the sea, 17 got into a boat, and started across the sea to Capernaum. It was now dark, and Jesus had not yet come to them. 18 The sea became rough because a strong wind was blowing. 19 When they had rowed about three or four miles,2 they saw Jesus walking on the sea and coming near the boat, and they were frightened. 20 cBut he said to them, “It is I; do not be afraid.” 21 Then they were glad to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat was at the land to which they were going.
    I Am the Bread of Life

    22 On the next day the crowd that remained on the other side of the sea saw that there had been only done boat there, and that Jesus had not entered the boat with his disciples, but that his disciples had gone away alone. 23 Other boats from Tiberias came near the place where they had eaten the bread after the Lord ehad given thanks. 24 fSo when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and gwent to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.
    25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, h“Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, iyou are seeking me, not because you saw jsigns, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 kDo not labor for the food that perishes, but for lthe food that endures to eternal life, which mthe Son of Man will give to you. For on nhim God the Father has oset his seal.” 28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing pthe works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, qthat you believe in him whom rhe has sent.” 30 So they said to him, s“Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform? 31 tOur fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, u‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” 32 Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. 33 For the bread of God is vhe who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” 34 They said to him, w“Sir, give us this bread always.”
    35 Jesus said to them, x“I am the bread of life; ywhoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. 37 zAll that athe Father gives me will come to me, and bwhoever comes to me I will never cast out. 38 For cI have come down from heaven, not to do dmy own will but dthe will of him ewho sent me. 39 And fthis is the will of him who sent me, gthat I should lose nothing of hall that he has given me, but iraise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who jlooks on the Son and kbelieves in him lshould have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
    41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, m“I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, n“Is not this Jesus, othe son of Joseph, whose father and mother pwe know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” 43 Jesus answered them, “Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me qdraws him. And rI will raise him up on the last day. 45 It is written in the Prophets, s‘And they will all be ttaught by God.’ uEveryone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—46 vnot that anyone has seen the Father except whe who is from God; he xhas seen the Father. 47 Truly, truly, I say to you, ywhoever believes has eternal life. 48 zI am the bread of life. 49 aYour fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and bthey died. 50 cThis is the bread that comes down from heaven, so that one may eat of it dand not die. 51 I am the living bread ethat came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give ffor the life of the world is gmy flesh.”
    52 The Jews then hdisputed among themselves, saying, i“How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” 53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of jthe Son of Man and drink his blood, you khave no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood lhas eternal life, and mI will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood nabides in me, and I in him. 57 As othe living Father psent me, and qI live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 rThis is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread3 the fathers ate and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus4 said these things in the synagogue, as he taught sat Capernaum.
    The Words of Eternal Life

    60 tWhen many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” 61 But Jesus, vknowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? 62 Then what if you were to see wthe Son of Man xascending to ywhere he was before? 63 zIt is the Spirit who gives life; athe flesh is no help at all. bThe words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. 64 But cthere are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus vknew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and dwho it was who would betray him.) 65 And he said, “This is why I told you ethat no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

  • Jim Hager

    good start, jon. I do believe that at some point, probably early on, you need to describe the word “radical”. For a conservative person such as myself, that term has a negative meaning and raises negative emotions.

  • Jim Hager

    a comment on Jeffery Roop’s comment: Scripture clearly states where He was to be born. There are no options

  • Sound advise. I think “radical” might best be described as one who lives an alternative lifesyle to the status quo socially and religiously. The status quo was to isolate one’s self, not associate with the unclean Gentile and to hate/fight against Rome.

  • Awesome. Very true. I love the fact that even the Apostles recognized that Christ’s teaching was difficult. How can we not think the same?

  • It is rad that they found it difficult and I think it can be and is difficult for us too! Though difficult there is a reason why some believed and why some didn’t.

  • This is always a difficultly. We also have to reconcile that the anti-christ will come demonstrating some random and radical powers—he will be a wonder-worker. We must be on our gaurd.

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