A well-seasoned message

April 6, 2020 · Print This Article

As we eat our strawberries in December and avocados all year round, do we ever wonder where they came from and why we can eat them whenever we want? Because most of us are divorced from the land and seasons we take our abundance and variety of food for granted. But to provide all these foods, whenever we want them, farmers all round the world have to work long and hard, very aware of the land and the seasons.

For us, food supply is about the supermarket or corner shop, not the hard craft of growing our own vegetables and fruit. Nor the need to have and care for our own animals to provide milk and meat. Though much of the world still lives in an agrarian society, the majority of us in the western world are detached from the world of agriculture. We live in an increasingly high-tech and industrial society. In terms of our standards of living, we take for granted things that would have been luxuries only a 100 years ago.

Maybe that’s why some bygone ages are a bit of a mystery to us. Some 2000 years ago, in a land we call Israel today, people lived in an agrarian society. They were living under Roman occupation, which they hated, but were forced to accept. However, the Romans gave them freedom of religion, so the religious leaders of that day had positions of limited power, but great prestige.

From time to time a leader rose up encouraging rebellion against the Roman occupation. They flourished briefly, attracted a number of followers, but then the Romans cracked down putting the leader and often some of his followers to death. That was the end of the rebellion and the names of those leaders and their movements have faded from view. They are gone into the black hole of history, all except one! There is one exception to that rule, yet he never led a rebellion against the Romans even though he was executed by them.

His name is Jesus and you are almost certain to know that name today. But why did his name not fade into the obscurity of history? He lived and worked in an agricultural society and often used stories that his listeners could relate to because the examples he used were part of their daily lives and experiences. The religious leaders of that time hated him because he threatened their positions, he had a way of responding to their questions that silenced them. Yet those religious leaders persuaded the Roman ruler, Pontius Pilate, to put Jesus to death in a most painful way by crucifying him.

During Jesus’ illegal trial before his death all his disciples ran away. And after his execution on a cross, some went back to doing their day job of fishing, so certain were they that this movement was over. But it was anything but the end! For Jesus is better known today than he was then. Shortly after his death, the eye-witness accounts of the gospels tell us that he was resurrected from the dead and appeared to his disciples and followers for 40 days. There were around 120 people who followed Jesus after his death and resurrection. The disciples who ran away in fear of their lives then preached Jesus’ message and resurrection publicly and powerfully without fear.

So why, approximately 2000 years after his death by crucifixion, in a totally different world today, do so many people claim to be Christians, or followers of Jesus? Why does a message given 2000 years ago still resonate today? How can a message given to an agricultural society apply in our high-tech world, disconnected from the land and seasons? Could it be his message is for all seasons, for all societies and just as important today as it was then?

Are you curious enough to go digging for the answers, not by starting a vegetable plot, though that will do you no harm, but by digging into the book that contains Jesus’ message?

Keith Hartrick info@because.uk.com

Keith is an editor at Because

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