I've tried to imagine being one of them, born then, living then and being right in front of Him. First of all what an amazing thought I am afforded as a Christian! And I think sometimes, what a scary thought.
It is so much easier for us to grow up learning from the Bible, studying, having a Pastor, Rabbi, Priest to offer their God given wisdom to us. To have family and friends who knew before us to offer us guidance and leadership. But what if none of that was available? What if the Bible was not written and printed yet? What if Churches weren't established yet? What if the Holy Spirit which guides us was not in us yet? Do they still sound like such "horrible" people to you? Does it still sound "easy" to have accepted and believed some stranger standing in front of you shouting "I am the way", does it?
I am going to put here a list, a rather long one, you won't want to read the entire list. Just take a gander at the many listed/few of the total who have claimed that they were/are the Messiah and had followers, just peek.
Father Divine (George Baker)
Simon of Paraea
Jesus of Nazareth *
There are many more....some of these before and during the time of our Savior.
There is one name on this list that stands alone from the others, only One who died and was resurrected, yes Jesus of Nazareth. There is only one Son of God through whom we may find Salvation but I ask you again, without the Holy Word of God in print and the Holy Spirit, without The Church having been established yet, without the resurrection having taken place yet, how would you know???? Perhaps compassion and love with understanding would be a better approach at this time of year, that's what my Christian heart believes.
Remember Christ had to die, someone had to do it as God planned, someone had to be responsible or there would be no resurrection and no Salvation! That is the evident difference between all of these self claimed Messiahs and The Only One. Would you feel better if it hadn't been the Jews, if the Gentiles had been the ones? No, just remember it had to happen just as God said it would! Thank You Father for Your great love and the sacrifice of Your only Son for the Salvation of the world. Thank You Father, Amen.
God bless you all and keep you with His great love and in His mighty hands. Amen