In my quest to read through an abridged version of the Bible in time for the World Gathering of Young Friends I’ve finished the first testament and got a good chunk through the second. The first ends when the Israelis get allowed back to Jerusalem by the Babylonians and they rebuild it and the temple and all live happily ever after.
Then one day a woman who never had a child and who’s husband is a distant grandchild of King David gets visited by some angels and gets told that she will have a child who turns out to be Jon the Baptist who is later revealed to be Elijah, some profit dude. A few months after Jon is born he gets a cousin by a woman called Mary. Mary, Joseph and Jesus have to run away to Egypt to not get killed by Herod. When Herod dies they come back and live a perfectly normal life until Jesus turns 30 and starts going around preaching to the masses and doing miracles. He does lots and lots of miracles and starts claiming to be the messiah which means he ought to bring peace on earth. But he fails to do this. Understandably this annoys the religious leaders somewhat, if you’re going to be the messiah at least do the job properly and actually bring peace on earth. So they plot to kill him, which seems like a bit of a drastic reaction. When Jesus arrives in Jerusalem the crowds welcome him with palms and cheering but later when Pontious Pilot asks the crowd who they want to kill they all want Jesus killed, it’s not clear at all what makes the change. He gets tortured to death and put in a cave but then comes back to life and starts talking to people again most of whom don’t recognise him. Jesus is a definite improvement over the old testament god with his new improved love your neighbour and enemy attitude but I find the “just believe I’m the messiah or you’re all sinners” attitude a bit unfair, people demand proof and quite right too. Since he doesn’t live up to the description of the messiah and doesn’t bring peace on earth there’s no reason to believe him and call him christ.