Legitimizing Jesus

​I image in the first century, what gave pagan gods legitimacy were miracles of all kinds. Dionysus would turn water into wine and Caesar was called “Son of God”, “Prince of Peace”, “Emanuel” and so on. It seems to me that Jesus would have been ignored entirely were he not able to do those exact sorts of things and be called those sorts of names. And if we can imagine Jesus being born today, Jesus would have to outdo the powers we know today; maybe the maker-of-america-great-again genre.

Given the obvious requirement of legitimizing Jesus entirely by the expectations of contemporaries, it makes absolutely no difference at all whether or not Jesus or his contemporaries literally could heal the blind, bring Pax Romana or Divina, or be raised from the dead. We would assume just that Caesar or Zarathustra or pagan deity merely claimed these abilities and titles while the one and only Jesus was the true Scotsman. However, there’s no argument to be made there by any intelligent person. One can only say that each were ideas surrounding persons or religions and each connected to others via their problems and expectations.

All that can matter is noting the expectations and problems of various believers through time and knowing that legitimizing Jesus has nothing to do with facts and everything to do with hopes and fears, and that like Caesar or Dionysus, they all need a hook because people won’t care if the truth turns out to be so simple that its miraculous elegance is discounted entirely.

So, whether or not Caesar was the Son of God or saviors today have hotels and universities, so too, Jesus; only predictably, Jesus would have “actually”, whatever claimed of the others. Today, Jesus must have had a jet and would have been able to make trickle-down economics work, given he makes everyone’s cup runneth over.

If you still marvel at essentially literary device and legend in scripture and early Christian thinking, you may be missing the salient points of Christianity entirely.

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