Rivals of Jesus: Rivals of Jesus
In 30 AD, Jesus preaches a gospel of compassion, but other "messiahs" from the growing Christian movement are more popular.
John the Baptist was a second cousin of Jesus, and John the Baptist was a Levite, of the Tribe of Levi, the Tribe of God's Hebrew priests. His biblical job was to announce the arrival of the Messiah, and turn over his followers to Jesus. Genealogically speaking, King David out of the Tribe of Judah, was the male line of Jesus, and the Tribe of Levi was the maternal line of Jesus. In Luke we learn that Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist was a descendant of the Levites, her husband was a Levite priest, and her cousin was Mary, the mother of Jesus.
It is interesting to note that from the Israelite perspective, God was quiet for 400 years prior to Jesus' arrival in Jerusalem. All the rivals arose after Jesus, they were not concurrent with his time.
The first part of the Book of Revelation are a report card of sorts for each of the newly established Christian churches. Jesus reminds those churches to steer clear of all the false teachers that have become popular.
Today, it is also popular for celebrities and others to mimic those who create large followings. Its easier to be like a popular figure for purposes of making money from that wide audience. They didn't have social media back then, but there were people who were copy cats for money. This is natural human behavior. Paul warns against profiting from discipleship.
Interesting history, but simply more examples of false teachers profiting inappropriately.
Its important to understand that historically it is the Catholic leaders that required parishoners to buy blessings and this is why Martin Luther taught that no one needs a priest to pray for their souls, that Jesus followers are able to have a direct relationship with Jesus without interference. This was the reason why the Catholics excommunicated the Lutherans.
Beware false teachers. The Bible tells you exactly how to identify false teachers.