“Let me tell you a story…” Mr. M. Slim began.
“Wow, wow, wow!” Exclaimed Mr. Kr. Stan. “I am pretty sure it is my turn.”
“What can you tell us, that Mr. J. Fish hasn’t already. Isn’t your story basically the same?” Asked Mr. M. Slim.
“Just listen, and you, young man, better listen too. My story will start where Mr. J. Fish’s ended.
My story is about a man. Not just any man. My story is about the lord himself. His name is, Jesus Christ.
You see, I agree with everything that Mr. J. Fish said, but our view differ greatly in one aspect. While he continues to live the old ways, in wait of the messiah, I see the new way of life through Jesus. I believe that there is now a new covenant with god.
Let me break it down for you…
The Jewish people lived in Judea at that time, which was part of Rome, and times were hard. Some Jews assimilated while others continued in the old traditions. As you can imagine, the Jewish people were very displeased with the Roman oppression, and wanted a way out. You see… God, long ago, had promised his people that a messiah will come and create a kingdom of heaven on earth. He promised to free them.
So, one day an angel came to a Jewish woman named Mary and told her that she will have a son and that he will be the messiah.
She was like, “How is that possible? I’m a virgin.”
The angel was like, “Duh, it is God that is giving you this baby. Come on, you have known him to do crazier things.”
Just like that she was pregnant. At that time, being pregnant and not married was not cool, she needed a husband. Joseph loved Mary and took her to be his wife, with a little push from god.
Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus goes something like this:
Herod was king of Judea at that time. There was what was called a “census of all the world” made by the romans, where all the Jewish men had to return to the cities of their birth. So, Joseph returned to Bethlehem with his pregnant wife Mary. In Bethlehem, Mary gave birth to Jesus. After which an angel appeared to a group of shepherds and told them of the birth of Jesus. Jesus is then presented by his parents at the temple.
In Matthew’s story, “three wise men” came to Herod to tell him of a new king being born. Herod felt intimidated and ordered all the newborns to be killed in Bethlehem. Joseph and Mary fled with Jesus to Egypt and where they stayed until Herod died.
You see… when Jesus was around, nobody bothered to write down much of his teachings because they believed that the kingdom of heaven was right around the corner. Jesus’ story was largely written much later and by different people… some, like Matthew, knew Jesus personally. While others, like Luke, knew him only through his disciples.
I digress… Jesus is born. The Lord. Son of god. His early life is not well known. There is, a little bit, in the bible about him being a carpenter, and that’s it really.
His real journey starts when he is thirty years old…
There was a man, at that time, living in the wilderness. His name was John the Baptist and he… as you can guess, baptised people. Jesus appeared to him and asked to be baptised. Right then and there, John declared him the Son of God.
After being baptised Jesus went into the desert for forty days. There he was tempted by the Devil three times: to turn stone to bread and break his fast, to throw himself off a cliff and be saved by angels, to follow the devil and rule all the kingdoms of the world. To which, Jesus told the devil to “go to hell”.
“Oooh, that’s so clever… I’m going to tweet that,” said the young man.
“Put your phone down or I will take it from you! I will find all of your selfies, that you have made of your pimply face in front of your bathroom mirror, and post them all over the internet with a hashtag: LoveBieber and a description on the bottom: Don’t I look Like Biebs.” Said Mr. Kr. Stan menacingly.
“Phone in pocket,” replied the young man.
“Good, now I will continue,” Mr. Kr. Stan. He took out a book, quickly flipped through it, put it away and continued his story. “Jesus then began his teachings… He had several disciples that started to follow him. Through miracles and parables, (he turned water to wine, healed the sick and so on) he began to gather a crowd.
You must realize that at that time, the world was a relatively brutal and hard place to live in for the common people. Things that we take for granted today were not even on some people’s minds. Jesus taught of love, compassion and humility, things that were somewhat lost at that time. “Turning the other cheek,” was not something people were capable of doing back then. His following began to grow and he started to get noticed.
The Pharisees at the time were kind of like the spiritual rulers of the Jewish people. Many Jews back then decided to forfeit their faith and became “Hellenized”, become like the Romans. The Pharisees did whatever they could to keep their people together, and Jesus was not making their job any easier. They challenged him, and decided to work against him. Jesus knew of this danger and he warned his disciples that he will suffer and be killed, and then rise from the dead in three days.
He entered Jerusalem, on a donkey, a week before Passover. His last week in Jerusalem he raised Lazarus from the dead and told prophecies of the Jewish temple being destroyed. That’s when The Pharisees decided that he must be stopped. Judas, one of his disciples, helped the priests and betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.
During the famous last supper, Jesus told Judah that he knows of his betrayal and told Peter, his most devoted disciple, that he will deny Jesus three times before the morning comes. After supper, they all went to pray in the garden where soldiers appeared and Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek, identifying him. Jesus was then arrested.
Peter followed him to the high priest’s court where he denied him three times. As for Judas, he could not live with his guilt. He threw his 30 pieces of silver into the temple and hanged himself.
In prison, Jesus was mocked, and beaten for his claims. The priests asked Pontius Pilate (he was the governor of Judea) to condemn Jesus to death for heresy. Pilate offered the people a choice: free a murderer (Barabbas) or free Jesus. The people chose to free Barabbas, so Pilate made a public display of washing his hands of responsibility and ordered the crucifixion of Jesus.
As Jesus waited for his sentence, he was beaten and a crown of thorns was placed on his head. He was then made to carry his cross to Mount Calvary, where he was crucified with the words: King of the Jews, above his head.
When he died, a roman soldier stuck a spear into his side to confirm his death and his body was taken to be buried in a nearby tomb.
As promised he rose from the dead. After three days, his tomb was found empty. He appeared to his disciples and told them to spread his teachings to the world and that the power of the Holy Spirit will be with them. He was then taken up on a cloud and ascended into Heaven.
Christianity accepted everyone, so it was easy to find people that wanted a better way of living. Christianity provided a kinder outlook on life, and a more forgiving God.
The apostles recruited many people but were still persecuted for a long time after.”
“What’s a parable?” asked the young man.
“A parable is a spiritual lesson in a form of a story, a parable is more interesting and easier to understand then just empty teachings,” replied Mr. Kr. Stan.
“Yay, more stories. Could you tell me some parables?” Asked the young man.
“Hmph,” Mr. J. Fish Grunted.
“I thought you would never ask!” Replied Mr. Kr. Stan. “I will tell you some in my own words:
One story is of the good Samaritan. The Samaritans were people that lived in the area and took on the Jewish belief, but in the traditional Jewish eyes where never fully God’s children. The story is simple. It is about a man that was traveling and was beaten by robbers. A priest walks by and does nothing. A Levite (A high status Jewish priest) walks by and does nothing. Only a Samaritan stopped and helped this man. Jesus then asks who the good man, out of the three, was? Of course, it was the Samaritan.
The idea is that it doesn’t matter your religion or race, compassion should be shown by everyone.
Another story is called the Prodigal son. It is about a man and his two sons. The youngest one demands that the father split his property between them. The youngest then takes his share and leaves. In a foreign land, he wastes all his money and has nothing to eat. Famished he returns home to ask for forgiveness and work as a servant on his father’s land. But the father seeing his son return is overjoyed, he feeds him, clothes him and throws him a party. The older son coming home from the field sees this party and refuses to join because he is angry at his father. He asks him why the youngest son received such a party when he was such a brat and he a faithful servant throughout the years gets nothing. The father replied that he, the oldest son, was always with him and all that the father owned was also his, but the youngest was lost and now he is found.
Jesus left this question unanswered probably comparing his followers to the younger son and the Pharisees to the older son. Inviting them to join his celebration with god.”
“Now, you got him started…” said Mr. J. Fish.
“Okay last one I promise.
This one I like. It is called the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Starts of with two man praying at the temple, one is a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. Now, the people did not like the tax collectors. In the minds of the regular people, the tax collectors were Jews who became Hellenised and worked for the evil Roman government. At the temple, the Pharisee prays to god and thanks him that he is not like other people, or even this tax collector. The tax collector on the other hand doesn’t even lift his eyes to the heavens and asks god for mercy. The tax collector was the one that went home justified.
The idea was that when you elevate yourself and put yourself above other people, even having accomplished a great deal, you will be humbled for lack of compassion. On the other hand, if you are humble and compassionate you will be elevated.”
“Beep. Beep. Beep.” Again, the high-pitched beeping sound resonated through the room.
Mr. J. Fish, Mr. M. Slim, And Mr. Kr. Stan jumped up as if in a trance and rushed to their machines. They looked inside and closed them once more. Then returned to their seats.
The three men looked at the boy in amazement. He did not look like a young boy anymore his face took on a more serious expression. His eyes were slightly darker and his voice even seemed a little bit deeper. He was getting older right before their eyes.
“Thank you, for your time. I quiet enjoyed your stories. Both of yours. I look forward to hearing from the last one.” The man said (not young by any means). He took out his phone, turned it off, grabbed a pen from behind his ear (which, as if by magic appeared there) and began to jot some things down.
“Go on Mr. M. Slim, I am listening.”