He made good on his promise: he said he’d return before the current generation had died and he meant it. That was, what, fifteen, maybe twenty years? A lot of the old gang had gotten killed by then, admittedly—life’s rough out there for a revolutionary schismatic—but many were in exile or prison, and that he could do something about.
All prisoners freed, all bonds released; for a moment everything seemed and was possible.
But time wears on and one by one they die and he is alone. The empire endureth, human misery seems constant; he watches his words taken up by the Romans and weaponized against his people. The crucifixions continue. He gets martyred himself a dozen more times, renamed into various saints, it’s fairly dispiriting.
Centuries later, he’s made his way south past the desert to where no one knows his name, no one has even heard of the Romans, when an old man comes trudging down the road, hair wild and clothes ragged, and it’s a piece of his old home so potent that it takes his breath clean away.
The old man squints at him, says in an Aramaic he hasn’t heard in generations, let alone spoken, “Don’t I know you?”
“I don’t think so,” says Jesus, and Ahasuerus shrugs and continues down the road.