It seems the media is more prepared for Easter than many Christians. CNN has been running a "fact and fiction" series and related articles on the life of Jesus. NBC will air A.D. - The Bible Continues on Easter. The Discovery Channel will likely run one of their highly inaccurate shows.
If such media existed in the first century, what would the headlines have been?
The first century obviously did not have a CNN, but they had a gossip network. Word spread quite efficiently in villages and from village to village. Word about Jesus spread and he was in the headlines from time to time at the local level. These headlines would have read, "A New Prophet in Galilee" or "I Was Blind But Now I See, says local man" or "John the Baptists, Elijah, or One of the Prophets: Who is Jesus?"
Like modern news and misnamed "documentaries," the gossip network often propagated inaccurate ideas. Inaccurate ideas about Jesus began to spread. Was he John the Baptist back from the dead? Was he the prophet Elijah, returned from his time in heaven? Was he the messiah promised to Israel? Would he lead the revolt against Roman occupation?
The charge, "King of the Jews" posted on Jesus' cross meant He was charged as a brigand, or insurrectionist. He was crucified between two "robbers" (the Greek word is often used in ancient literature for insurrectionists). Many such men existed during the first century and caused trouble in Palestine for the Romans. "Robbers" like this often staged guerrilla-style attacks on the rich and shared the loot with the peasants. Some even assassinated leaders.
Jesus staged guerrilla-style attacks on Satan's kingdom. He bound demons and disease and gave the victims their life back. Jesus did not assassinate leaders, however. He did not defend himself to Pilate when the charges were read, and this made Jesus look weak and effeminate from Pilate's perspective. Pilate's amazement was over why there was such a controversy about this "weakling" standing before him. (Mark 15:1-5) Of course, Jesus' strength was in allowing himself to be shamed so that nothing would prevent him from going to the cross for our sins.
While Jesus was charged and executed as a terrorist, he in fact was quite different than other group founders of his day. He embraced a path which led to shame, not honor, in the culture's eyes. He ministered to the most shameful of the culture, tax-collectors, prostitutes, lepers, and the disabled. He did not lobby Jerusalem, Sepphoris, or Rome for public policy change, even when he had an audience with governor Pilate and King Herod. Jesus was an revolutionary, but like no other.
Recently, I saw a post on social media speaking to the idea that a Christian baker may feel forced to condone same-sex marriage if they could not turn away a gay couple requesting a wedding cake. The post stated, "Jesus regularly ate dinner with thieves and prostitutes, but you're telling me it's against your religion to bake a cake for a gay person."
This makes a point Christians should hear and use to revolutionize America. We should minister to and fellowship with those who do not hold our values, yes, even LGBT people. The Christian baker can bake a cake for a gay couple, but the gay couple should not be surprised if they not only get the cake, but a proclamation of the gospel and a call to repent. Jesus regularly ate with sinners, but he did not condone their sin. Many of those "thieves and prostitutes" repented and changed their behaviors and lifestyles.
That is what Easter is about for us all. We need to hear the gospel and the call to repent from our sin. Christ died for those sins. His insurrection is against our sin and Satan's kingdom. He violently destroyed them at the cross and tomb. He did not appeal to the civil authorities to do the work of God's kingdom, but He allowed their oppressive policies, like crucifixion, to play out and used those policies to usher in the kingdom of God. Christians need not fear the political changes in this country and culture. Christian should never fear those who have different worldviews.
Jesus faced much worse and revolutionized history and our lives.