I would have started by making sure Jesus had a safe arrival into the world, rather than being born in a stable to a barely-married teenager. He would have received the best education and medical care available, and would have been well-connected to influential people who could open doors for him and his message. I would have organised a rigorous selection process to choose those who would carry Jesus’ message to others, and these disciples would have come from good backgrounds, been intellectually sharp, good orators and highly relational. Jesus and his disciples would have toured from Jerusalem to Rome, speaking at state-sponsored meetings in all the centres of power along the way, setting up ‘branch offices’ as they went.
But what do I know?
Instead, Jesus’ beginnings were so obscure that we have only some stories about his marginal birth and one story of his life as a child. He chose a mishmash group of uneducated northerners to be his main followers and spent no time in any significant city, other than the mutinous Jerusalem.
And then he died. Not just any death, but the humiliation of death on a cross, beaten and bloodied, sharing his inhumane execution with two other undesirables. He and his message were brutally misunderstood. If that were the end of the story, it would have felt like a pointless, sick joke.
But this crucified Messiah came back to life. Everything was made new. Death’s ‘ultimate’ power was soundly beaten and nothing would ever be the same again. His disciples—who were not especially smart, rich or famous—carried this good news throughout the known world, sometimes at great cost to their personal wellbeing. And somehow, twenty centuries later, this message of life and love through Jesus is flourishing here, at the ends of the earth, in New Zealand.
And what do I know?
I need to let him do the planning. I just need to follow.