What led a thirty-year-old carpenter/builder from an obscure village in Galilee to abandon his trade and become the itinerant preacher, teacher, and healer described in the Gospels?
Many Christians--including even some ministers--if asked precisely what outcome Jesus was hoping to achieve from his earthly ministry, are more likely to utter gasps of astonishment or admissions of ignorance ("I've never thought about it") than to give a considered opinion, even though the matter could hardly be more central to the Christian faith.
In the past, scholars have attempted to discover Jesus' agenda by analyzing his teaching and actions as recorded in the Gospels. Their efforts, however, identified a diversity of conflicting aims. Roger Amos, in contrast, explores the factors impacting Jesus that led him to undertake his ministry. He uncovers a Galilee racked by deprivation--unemployment, debt, hunger, and crime--and a Jesus determined to confront the establishment and improve conditions for ordinary Jews. But how could a village carpenter backed by a band of fishermen accomplish that? Following clues in the Gospels that other expositors have overlooked, the author reveals the intriguing story underlying the familiar gospel narrative.