I believe that neither the Romans nor the Jews understood Jesus of Nazareth, nor did His disciples who now preach His name.
The Romans slew Him and that was a blunder. The Galileans would make a god of Him and that is a mistake.
Jesus was the heart of man.
I have sailed the Seven Seas with my ships, and bartered with kings and princes and with cheats and the wily in the market-places of distant cities; but never have I seen a man who understood merchants as He did.
I heard Him once tell this parable:
"A merchant left his country for a foreign land. He had two servants, and he gave each a handful of gold, saying: 'Even as I go abroad, you also shall go forth and seek profit. Make just exchange, and see that you serve in giving and taking.'
"And after a year the merchant returned.
"And he asked his two servants what they had done with his gold.
"The first servant said, 'Behold, Master, I have bought and sold, and I have gained.'
"And the merchant answered, 'The gain shall be yours, for you have done well, and have been faithful to me and to yourself.'
"Then the other servant stood forth and said, 'Sir, I feared the loss of your money; and I did not buy nor sell. Behold, it is all here in this purse.'
"And the merchant took the gold, and said, 'Little is your faith. To barter and lose is better than not to go forth. For even as the wind scatters her seed and waits for the fruit, so must all merchants. It were fitter for you henceforth to serve others.' "
When Jesus spoke thus, though He was no merchant, He disclosed the secret of commerce.
Moreover, His parables often brought to my mind lands more distant than my journeys, and yet nearer than my house and my goods.
But the young Nazarene was not a god; and it is a pity His followers seek to make a god of such a sage.