There is a cult, or underground religion, that uses a mental link to a prophet. This prophet just goes uphill among a crowd of people that tries to lynch him (throwing stones (?), it bears resemblance to the Christian story of way of the cross.) The followers can feel his pain and fear. They connect to the mind of this prophet using devices that they keep in secret in their homes, they do not know neither who or where he is. He might be alien.
I think this is a book of some classic sci-fi author (from 1980s but probably earlier), and I have an impression that this was not the main thread of the story. I do not remember whether this was a book or a story. This idea has stalked me for years (15+), but I read this book so long ago that these are the only recollections I have.