A teacher who lived his years at the heart of the tradition of his ancestors, Jesus also read the signs of his times with fierce accuracy. He saw, as Rabbi Baeck writes, that the "time was ripe" for the Gentiles, the "nations" to be welcomed around the table of the covenant. His heart was touched by those who were too poor or too sickly or too morally suspect to appreciate the love of Torah, and he had no patience for anyone who made their lot harder. . . . He enjoyed the camaraderie of social misfits and vagabonds. He discerned strength in what most people regarded as vulnerability. He did not avoid conflict with the tyrant. But he faced power with truth. And all these qualities are already present in the stories of his birth and boyhood. That, simply put, is the whole point of them.

Harvey Cox, When Jesus Came to Harvard