“Free-Market Jesus is King and CEO,” by Nicholas Ozment

Jul 28th, 2010 | By | Category: Fake Nonfiction, Prose

Inspired by a conservative website’s project to create a new Bible translation that “eliminates liberal bias” and incorporates “free market meaning,” I have taken another look at the lost years of Jesus. In light of free market meaning, I have tried to fill in the gaps.

You will recall that the wise men brought to the baby Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. What is not recorded is that Joseph and Mary were savvy investors. They sold the frankincense and myrrh for more gold and then invested that gold into bonds, which Jesus could cash in when he turned thirteen (the age of majority in ancient Israel).

We know that when Jesus was still an infant, the family relocated to Egypt. Not so widely known is that, while there, Joseph and Mary got in on the ground floor of a pyramid scheme. Fortunately, on a tip-off from the archangel Gabriel they pulled out and returned to Israel before the whole thing collapsed.

The gospels are silent about the next few years of Jesus’ life, but from biblical scholarship and archeological evidence we can surmise the family did quite well (Gabriel really was a first-rate financial advisor—better than Edward Jones and Chuck Schwab combined. His divine connections gave him an insider-trading edge). They enrolled young Jesus in a carpentry apprenticeship, a very lucrative market back in those days when not nearly as many things had been built yet.

We have exactly one story of Jesus’ adolescence on record. The Gospel of Luke tells that when he was twelve, he wandered off and his frantic parents spent three days looking for him. They needn’t have worried: Jesus was already pounding the pavement (or the dirt, as the case may be) to “be about [his] Father’s business.” They found him in the temple, talking with doctors about short sales and high-yield commodities.

After this incident, the Bible passes over Jesus’ teens and twenties. However, we can assert with some confidence that he established a thriving home furnishings business. Branching out, he also had some success with a winery that had incredibly low overhead. Around 28 A.D. there was a market downturn, but by this time Jesus was already semi-retired. He sold off his interest in the companies and embarked on a new career as motivational speaker/life planner/King of Kings.

The rest is public record. He spent forty days in the desert planning his business model and getting to know the competition. One major competitor tried to sway him to come work for his well-established firm, but Jesus was nothing if not a rugged individualist and entrepreneur, and he flatly refused the tempting offer.

After the forty-day cleansing retreat, Jesus pulled himself up by his bootstraps (or sandal straps, as the case may be) and set out to implement the first phase of his business plan. First he approached some independent contractors, saying “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men”—thereby recruiting his marketing department. Within three years, his teachings were spreading throughout Judea faster than What Color is Your Camel and Who Moved My Goat Cheese. He preached the mustard-seed investment strategy; he applied compound-interest principles to the multiplication of loaves and fishes; he memorably demonstrated the power of being buoyed up by liquid assets.

It is well documented how Jesus’ treasurer staged a hostile take-over and tried to oust Jesus from his own corporation. This is when the brilliant business acumen of Jesus really shined—of course he knew what his junior partner was up to, and miraculously turned the situation to his advantage. He arose stronger than ever. Even board members who had denied him or written him off for dead came around, more loyal than ever. Despite heavy death taxes, he was able to leave an inheritance to his followers.

With the cross as Jesus’ new company logo, the rest is marketing history. The business that Jesus established is still going strong. Two thousand years on, people are writing out checks totaling billions to Christ Conglomerate’s innumerable subsidiaries around the globe.

Initially some scratched their heads at his willingness to heal and perform other miracles for customers who obviously could not afford to pay for his services. In retrospect it was a stroke of genius—the first century equivalent of free content to draw in new followers.

Perhaps, if we choose the right words and re-invest the scriptures with conservative, capitalistic meanings, we will then be able to appeal to the Bible to show that the Invisible Hand of the market is the hand of God. Everything, even grace, can be bought and traded and sold. And, according to this new interpretation, Jesus was, and is, and always will be Lord of Lords and CEO of CEOs.


Nicholas Ozment’s work has appeared in Weird Tales, Mythic Delirium, Dreams & Nightmares, The Smoking Poet, and numerous other publications. He once sent a koala–Pow!–straight to the moon.

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