Why did Jesus come 2,000 years ago to deliver his messages? Perhaps it would have been better, if he’d come during a time of mass communication?
Just like everyone else, I sometimes hear questions that make a lot of sense but are difficult to answer. Over time with a little speculation, inspiration and imagination, I like to think I come up with a possible solution.
I am not a Bible scholar. I have a very ordinary understanding of Christian belief, but I have been gaining that understanding over the last 50 years. I do have a background in Communication and mass media.
There is an old saying in Speech/Comm that sometimes the more you say, the less well understood you are. With short messages like “Love one another” and “Forgive your enemies” there isn’t much point in saying more. Adding another thousand words is not going to help the message that much, rather the message becomes confused. During a time of Mass Comm those extra words would have been included and the message would be muddled. Given these circumstances — one could say that Jesus came at the perfect time in that writing had been developed to the extent that simple messages could be transmitted widely without too much “garbling”. Consider that if Jesus were preaching now he’d wind up being grilled by John Stewart (if he was lucky) or Someone on Fox News (if he wasn’t).
Then Someone says “Thats fine, but what about complex messages, like prophecy?”
To be honest I am very skeptical about prophetic messages. However, there is a case that I think does qualify as a complex idea that is communicated in the Bible with an implied prophetic quality. If you make a list of the best known Bible verses, near the top of that list is John 3:16.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (King James Version)
A quick read of Wikipedia will explain that most of the translations are only slightly dissimilar. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_3:16 )
It seems straight forward, often preached about in church, often discussed. In some ways it is the perfect vehicle for a prophecy in that is so familiar. If taken at face value, most people interpret the meaning to be a “personal” message read as, “ … if I (or anyone else) believes in Jesus then I will live forever in heaven. It is implied that believing in Jesus is the same as following his teachings.
So wheres the prophecy? As always its a matter of interpretation. Until recently the concept of a world being destroyed was nonsensical, even the idea of humanity as a whole being annihilated would have been unrealistic. In the mid-twentieth century however it became possible to destroy all life on earth. The phrase “… shall not parish, but have everlasting life.” could now be applied to the world (interpreted as humanity or even all life). In a global sense the message of John 3:16 could mean that not believing in Jesus will doom the world to permanent death. Rather like explaining that God loves the world, he sends Jesus to teach mankind some basic lessons, if humanity cannot believe in these … well then in a few generations mankind will destroy itself.
I won’t presume to say that any of this is original thought; I doubt if it is. It might not even be valid for all I know. I will say that this is a fair explanation of why Jesus came so long ago. The perfect time to give a message or a prophecy is before it is needed. Jesus came, gave his message, and mankind had 2000 years to accept it or reject it. It has taken that long to practice, and understand the idea of what “Love one another” and “Forgive your enemies” really means.