What does Jesus do that influences Daniel to follow him rather than Rosh?
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In the closing pages of the book, Jesus comes to Daniel's house and makes Leah well again. But perhaps more importantly, he looks at Daniel with "eyes...searching and full of pity" and Daniel knows that Jesus understands "the bitterness and the hatred and the betrayed hopes and the loneliness" within his heart. Then Jesus smiles, and Daniel is seized "with a longing that was more than he could bear, he wanted to stop fighting this man...he knew that he would give everything he possessed in life to follow Jesus" (Chapter 24).
When Jesus looks upon Daniel and sees in his heart all of the hurt and betrayal he had experienced in life, Jesus smiles. Calling attention to that act, Speare puts it all in a three-word sentence: "And he smiled." So simple are these words that they could be the lyrics of a popular song of the 1960s. Through this gentle act, Jesus wipes clean the pain Josh has experienced--it demonstrates the forgiveness and love which becomes the moral theme of the novel. Where earlier in the novel we have the phrase "live by the sword and die by the sword," here Jesus demonstrates "live by the smile and die by the smile," giving it transformative powers. Also interesting is that Jesus's smile triggers in Daniel "a longing that was more than he could bear," for he, like all humans (according to this novel), seek love and understanding as their greatest good in life. This is what Jesus offers. Instead, Rosh cannot understand this "softness" in Daniel, exaccerbates and manipulates his hatred and pain, and ultimately rejects him when he seeks help.
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