Translated from the original by Costas Balomenos
If anyone bears in his mind the narratives of the gospels which describing the triumphal entry of Christ into Jerusalem and almost his delirious reception from the enthusiastic crowd, and the subsequent derisory and humiliating course to the painful death of the Cross, it is reasonable to put the big question: The negative attitude of the Jewish ruling class and especially of his omnipotent priesthood was also the attitude of whole the people? In simple words, all compatriots of Jesus knew his divine mission, the new message of love that brought to the enemy, by proclaiming himself as the Messiah, in short, they was able to distinguish what it was that who made him a controversial point?
To answer this very important question we should do a flashback in time and go in the time of his action, to see how they saw and were facing his countrymen. What place, i.e., just got his human adventure in the life of his people, what was the impact of the unique and often provocative teaching and the miracles that were performed, how much ultimately was the number of those who believed in him?
And here comes the difficult part. Because to approach objectively all that we should have and exo-Christian sources, something that seems almost impossible, because there are no documents. The only Jewish historian Flavius Josephus virtually nothing says about the “case Jesus” except an apostrophe, in which, according to the researchers has crept “Christian hand” and were altered this.
Therefore the only information we have is narratives of the four gospels. But as we know the purpose of his writing were primarily theological and anything but historical. The four evangelists minimally were interested for the questions that would employ the historians of the future. Even when they mention some historical data, e.g. that Christ was born in the years of Caesar Augustus, they make this for a better understanding of the salvific message of Christ. That's why the information you give us is not very clear and even sometimes is shown contradictory.
Nevertheless, through their narratives, we can get some items which lead us to some conclusions. Unlike that many people believe today, the impression might we draw by reading them is that the direct effect of the preaching of Jesus in Israel and by extension in the Jewish people, was limited. According to the narratives of all three synoptic Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke - the largest part of the preaching of Jesus took place at Galilee, especially around of the lake Tiberias and the Capernaum town: “Jesus was turning the whole Galilee teaching in their synagogues and was preaching the gospel of the kingdom” Matthew 4:23, “And he came and he was preaching in their synagogues throughout Galilee and doffed demons” Mark 1:39, “And Jesus returned to Galilee armed with the power of the Spirit and his fame was spread all the region. And was teaching in their synagogues and was glorified by all” Luke 4:14. Jesus had chosen the region of Galilee for understandable reasons. First and foremost because it was in the north of Judea and so was away from the Jewish priesthood and the establishment of the time. The inhabitants were ordinary people with great faith and creativity. Another characteristic was that it had a mixed population of Jews and pagans. As a center he made Capernaum, which numbered around 1.000-2.000 residents and in the synagogue preached many times. Was a transportation hub of roads which led from Mesopotamia to Egypt and from the eastern regions to western.
But the Jews of Judea, who smugly taught that they are the defenders of traditions, the Galilee was for them an exocentric province, which in fact they did not have a great reputation because several national (pagans) were staying in the area, hence the characteristic name “Galilee of the Nations”: “The land of Zebulun and the land of Nefthaleim, which extends close to the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations, the people who sits in the dark ...” Matthew 4:15. It is certain that once Jesus began his public action, this will not went unnoticed by the Jewish authorities and even by the police of Herod Antipas, causing the action to make it more discreet, as narrate and the gospels: “And when they left there, they passed through Galilee and Jesus did not want to learn no nothing” Mark 9:30. Of course apart from the listeners of Galilee, his preaching and miracles were watching and people from other parts of Israel: “And many multitudes of people followed him from Galilee, from Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the country beyond the Jordan” Matthew 4:25. At this point, it is worth asking; I wonder were made so large gatherings, so Jesus to become widely known throughout the area of Israel? In two miracles that narrate the evangelists, of multiplying the breads, indeed there are a sufficient number of listeners from 4 to 5 thousands. All these are of course many, but not going for an entire people. Besides the local census considering justifies such numbers. In times of action of Christ, i.e. the 1st AD century - according to Josephus - the Galilee had in full edge 15 fortified towns and 204 villages. Indicatively, to mention that the city Jiafia or Jaba, located south of Nazareth at a distance 2 - 3km had 5.000 - 7.000 inhabitants, while Sepforis north of Nazareth at a distance 4-5km had 25.000 inhabitants.
Next, you need bear in mind that - according to the synoptic Evangelists - Christ in the three years of his public action, in Judea had done only one to two short passages. So when he reached the last phase of his earthly mission was a little or not at all known in Jerusalem and the wider region. It clearly says the Evangelist Matthew. The day of his messianic entry into Jerusalem, the known to us as "Palm Sunday", viewers wonder? “Who is this?” Matthew 21:10. But if the mission in Judea lasted much longer, according to the narration of the Evangelist John, and again could not have been well known, since - according to him - Jesus was hiding frequently: “But when his brothers went to the fest (note of the tabernacles), then went he too not openly but almost secretly” John 7:10.
Guided by the above indications, it appears that the impact of the message of Christ was great in Galilee, but very limited in the rest of Palestine. But also the Jews of the Diaspora, i.e. these who lived in the countries of the known world around the Mediterranean basin and who numbered 4-6 million, coincidentally, some of them would have heard talk about him by some pilgrims, who they had returned from Jerusalem. It is therefore certain that the then public opinion in Palestine do not "flustered" especially by the action of Christ. But, even those who were able to be informed will we took seriously the story of world-dear prophet, who claimed that he was the Messiah? Probably not. “Messiah” they had known not a few and before Christ and after Christ. Starting from the revolution of the Maccabees in 166 BC where the revolutionary efforts for the liberation of the Jews presented with messianic secular character. Another "Messiah" Judas from Gamala or Judas Galileo, the leader of the revolt of the Zealots against the Romans in 6 BC, due to census, ordered by the eparch of Syria Kyrinios. Judas was the next "Messiah" the son of Hezekiah, who led the revolution after the death of Herod the Great in 4 BC. For all next “Messiah” - that they appeared - until relatively modern times we copy from Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, from the word Christ Jesus: “Mostly Jews falsely claimed for himself the title of Messiah, of which we mention the following: Thevdan 44 AD, Menachem Galileo who lived before the destruction of the Temple (70 AD), the Var - Kochempa who rebelled during Trajan's reign from 132 to 136 AD, Abu Isa who lived in the 7th A.D. century, David Alron who lived in the 12th AD century in Kurdistan and came from Persia, Jacob Carso who lived in the 14th AD century in Northern Spain, Sampathai Shevi who was born in Smyrna in the 17th AD century and Frank the eminent successor of Jacob who lived in the 18th AD century.” Of course, at "Messiah" should not omit to classify and the "Teacher of Justice" of the Essenes, who he came into conflict with the clergy of Jerusalem.
Therefore, compatriots of Jesus, for who had heard something about him should be saw his human adventure a little more than simple news, and not as a national event that it merited of immense attention and importance. At this point we need to do and a necessary clarification for the "trap" in which many believers are falling. Seeing - some believers - the images with the face of Christ, framed by the halo or reading some religious mythic stories about him, they believe that Christ had something special which distinguished him from other people e.g. his face glowed or he had a sweet style that pulled you, ultimately, they could understand that Christ was the Messiah. Nothing more lie than that. Not only there has not something analogue in the Gospels, but on the contrary, neither his family did not believed in him: “because not even his brothers did not believed in him”, John 7:5. And how could they believe him as the Messiah? Jesus was no more than an adult Jew, who at the age of 30 years suddenly began to preach publicly and sometimes saying that he is the son of God. If the same happen to us, i.e. if a family member suddenly started claiming to be God or son of God, what will we think about it? That is indeed true what was argued or he has a mental problem?
Besides, most of the time and Christ himself with his attitude obscures rather than enlightens the Messianic capacity. Only at the Samaritan woman, an insignificant foreign, which indeed was female - i.e. a challenge to the then male-dominated society - and an enemy of the Jews, as she belongs to the Samaritans, will reveal that he is the Messiah. Even in his students, each time revealing the divine nature with some transformation or by his miracles does not fail to require silence from them. The only time who infringes this rule is the acceptance of his “triumph”, upon his arrival in Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday”. But again, this triumph is modest, since we find him riding a donkey followed by some naive Galileans mostly fishermen. As for his miracles, as they mark some, as amazing if it was, were not for the people proof that he was the Messiah and even less because, as we said he black out this Messianic capacity. Besides, there were not prophets like Elijah and Elisha, who had raised the dead?
Consequently is not the people who lead him to the torment of the Cross, but the religious ruling class of Israel. The apostle James, the "brother of God" is very clear and categorical about this fact: “Come now you the rich, weep and lament for the calamities that come ... condemned and killed the innocent, who is not brings resistance” James 5:1,6.
From the beginning, that appears Jesus, we see the Secretaries (Legists), the Pharisees - with certain exceptions - to not show confidence to him, to ask questions - traps in order to ridicule him and humiliate him in front of his fans and the people and constantly they concoct conspiracies and intrigues against him. And all this because they understood that the new revelation that brought Christ was contrary to the traditions of their teaching. A revelation that was likeable to the people, as saying and Luke “all the people were focused for listening to him”, but unpleasant for the decision makers. But and the other religious class of Sadducees was initially mistrustful and hostile ultimately opposite to Christ. Most high priests and the members of the Great Congress came from them. Were the treasurers of the Church, like our own bankers of today. It was therefore logical that he was tolerant not only against the conquerors Romans and also they were collaborating with them. Consequently they felt distaste for the troublemakers who call themselves Messiahs or kings of Israel and they sowed discord and agitation in Judea.
So it was not hard all these religious factions, for fear of losing “the ladle of power along with any juices” to form a coalition against Jesus in Congress, which was convened illegally Thursday night to Friday morning and sentenced him to death. As for the common people, it was not difficult to make him change his mind toward Jesus. The power always has the advantage of propaganda and leads the people where she wishes. In this case they only had to isolate some phrases of Jesus and pervert these, as his assertion that it is the Son of God, a claim who considered great blasphemy and were dealt by stoning or that it will destroy the Temple, along with the Mosaic Law were considered the two holiest stuff for the Jews, so that the people to follow the decision of the ruling class.
As for the requisite approval of the death sentence of Jesus by the Roman governor of Judea who in this case was Pontius Pilate, what easier. Despite the objections of non-guilt of Christ - from disgust only in feeling towards Jews – they had only to remind: “If you free him, you are not a friend of the emperor. Anyone who makes himself a king is an enemy of the Emperor” John 19:12. So, Pilate fearing for “his chair”, delivers him “to be crucified”.
So, on Friday morning of the Jewish month Nisan (ours month March to April) the passers will see in the scaled streets of Jerusalem that descends from the Praetorium Antonia and rise again to the gate Ephraim, a man with a pathetic appearance, a face bloodied and dirty, to carry on his shoulder a heavy wooden cross and tottering from its weight. It accompanies him a platoon of Roman auxiliary troops and some believers, mostly women. I wonder, the crowd of housewives who go to the market up the city may purchase food for the Holy Saturday of Easter or the believers who go to the Temple and various craftsmen and drivers of the donkeys will give so attention to this procession? Obviously not. Besides, in those troubled times when every so often and a riot broke out it was not so rare spectacle of a sentenced person who were going to the location of executions in the bald hill of Calvary. Nor, many of the travelers who were passing from this point on their way to the Jaffa would stand to ask the soldiers, who they passed their time playing “bones”, what are the three human rags, hanging on the cross. Rather, the most important event in history would pass almost unobserved in the daily life of the Jewish people.
But he, who deigned for our sake to become man and subjected such a humiliating and painful death, forgotten and despised by almost everyone hanging on the cross of his martyrdom would scream: “Tetelestai”. Namely, It is finished. They had actually all finished? Not at all? Contrast only then did it ALL START!
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