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What would people say about Jesus if he lived now instead of 2,000 years ago?

When we study the story of Jesus' life without attempting to apply it to modern settings and language, we make it very easy to deceive ourselves into believing we would have treated him differently than his contemporaries.

This is not just a mental exercise. According to the master himself, to the extent someone is like Jesus, you will treat them the same way you would treat Jesus.

Here are some probable statements, interleaved with appropriate challenges.

Comment: "This wacko from <insert geographical place considered the armpit of where you are from here> thinks he's really something."

Response: Is something true based on where it comes from, or due to the veracity of what it contains?

Comment: "I've known this guy his whole life. There is no way he is the Messiah."

Response: Are you impartial in your requirement that all things be complete from their start? Do you ever eat a piece of fruit, or work on something that is not instantaneous?

Comment: "This guy thinks he knows so much. He just preaches and preaches without anyone getting a word in edge wise, as if what he has to say is so much more important than anyone else."

Response: What is the worth of what he says compared to what others might say? Is he decreasing value in how he teaches, or increasing it? Is his purpose to give greater truth than what is had, or to make people feel better about the lesser truth they already know?

Comment: "This psycho really thinks that he can do the kinds of miracles people like Elijah and Moses did! What a nut job."

Response: But does he?

Comment: "What an arrogant, self-righteous jerk. Do you hear how he criticizes other people?"

Response: But is his criticism true? If so, isn't his tone merited?

Comment: "All he ever does is say how much better he is than us. He's so vain."

Response: Does what he describes demonstrate a higher standard than you live? He taught that when you advertise your goodness to others, you receive less reward from God, and he taught that the greater good you do for people, the more they will hate you. He seems sincere. Why would he do what he knows would reduce his own reward from God and increase his affliction on earth except for love and the hope that it might help someone choose to improve more than they otherwise would?

Comment: "If he were half as righteous as he pretends to be, God would not give him so much affliction."

Response: Is that true? Job suffered far more than any of his peers, and many since, and yet the Lord certified his righteousness compared to them. It is easy to be righteous when it leads to greater comfort. Is this not a stronger witness of the worth of doing what is right?

Comment: "It's clear that he's just doing this for attention. He's setting himself up for a light."

Response: While he has explicitly said he is the light of the world, he has constantly said that all people should do the same, and that doing so will lead to a much harder life, not an easier one. He constantly gives all glory to the Father, proclaiming that any goodness seen to be in him is actually just from the Father, and available freely to all people.