Ep 2. The Nazarene: Kings and priests

If you are just joining our story, you can read Episode 1 there.

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103.jpgJesus remained where he was and watched them gather themselves before approachinh him cautiously.

As the first of the mob reached Jesus, Simon drew his knife and slashed at him drawing blood. Metal screeched against leather as many of the mob drew swords, then a cry of pain. Simon had cut the man’s ear off.
“Simon!.” the rebuke in Jesus’ voice was clear as day. He freed himself from the grasps of two men who held him and rushed over to the injured man.  He stooped to pick up the fallen ear and placed it next to the now gaping hole in the man’s head.
“Be at peace friends. The son of man is here of his own accord.” he said.

When Jesus took his hand away, the ear was joined to the head as though it wasn’t just laying helplessly a few minutes ago. The healed man muttered his thanks and tried to slink back into the mob, looking abashed.
Facing the mob Jesus spoke
“you come at me bearing clubs, and spears, and swords, but you need not bother. For this day is not of your own making, but it has pleased my Father in heaven to deliver me into your hands that the scriptures be fulfilled” He said speaking of the prophecy of the prophet Isaiah.
Several men in robes which identified them as servants of the high priest cried out in outrage and hit him with clenched fists, yet Jesus raised not a finger to defend himself. This enraged them and more and more men joined, punching and kicking, until the soldiers wrenched him out of their midst.
“Annas requested that we bring him as quickly as possible” one of the soldiers said roughly and they marched the beaten man away with several members of the mob hitting him from behind, some with clenched fists.
“Tell us prophet, who amongst us punched you” one said.
“Tell us prophet, who just kicked you in the bum” Another called out and they all laughed merrily.
In all of this, the man Jesus said nothing but walked with easy strides looking as though he had all the time in the world.
They led him to the courtyard of Annas, the high priest and there, many more men waited for him, the excitement and joy on their faces plain to see.  Upon seeing Jesus, Annas stood, gathered his long robe around him and approached.
“Welcome, welcome, teacher of the multitudes, leader of the people of Israel. We are so happy you accepted our invitation”. He said.
Several of the men laughed. Annas waited for the laughter to die down then asked
“Please teacher, kindly teach us what it is that you teach the multitude to make them follow you so”
Jesus smiled at Annas.
“I have said nothing in secret, but all I say is to the Jews in public.”
Wham! Wham!
Two heavy slaps rocked Jesus’ face from side to side, delivered by a heavily built official of the temple.
“The high priests asked you a question and you dare disdain him?” The man who slap Jesus asked?”
Wham! A third slap.
Jesus took a moment to feel his wobbling tooth, then satisfied it wasn’t totally dislodged, replied
“I have said nothing wrong or untrue yet you reply my truth with violence.”
Wham! Wham! Wham!. The man’s bloodlust had apparently not been sated by the first round of slaps.
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Pilate looked at the crowd gathered outside his court and sighed. This was the last place in the world he wanted to be, but the High Priest’s messenger had clearly said they had caught a dissenter and provocateur who sought to undermine Roman rule, and it was his obligation to the emperor to deal with such matters.
So here he was, striding to the gathering of angry men and women shouting and expelling vitriol.
In front of his gates was a kneeling man. His body bore the unmistakeable signs of justice meted out by an irate mob. One eye was swollen shut, and the blood that flowed freely from the several cuts on his face and head was a rich red.
“On your feet Jew” Pilate commanded.
With much effort, the man stood up slowly, shuffling side to side. He had no use of his hands; They were bound.

“What is your crime Jew?” asked Pilate.

Jesus smiled. Or rather attempted to smile, but grimaced instead. Inside his mouth was bloody and he was missing several teeth.
Pilate raised his voice a few decibels and asked again
“Jew, what is your crime?”
Turning to thr crowd, he asked “Why have you brought this man to me.?”
Jesus looked at Pilate with his lone open eye and kept his silence.
One of the priests approached Pilate.
“He is a criminal, guilty of treason to our state and to our God” he said.
“Take him then and go, judge him by your own laws” said Pilate.
There was an outcry and general shaking of heads and fists. Several priests stepped forward, arms held out, and tried to placate the crowd.
“Governor, you are mistaken. This man here proclaimed himself god-king, placing himself over Caesar. We bring him to you” the first priest urged Pilate.
At this Jesus smiled. Pilate sighed and motioned to his guards.
“Bring him in with me” he said and turned and walked back in.
Inside, Pilate asked Jesus
“They say you say you call yourself king. Is that true? Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus fixed his eye on Pilate and said clearly “You have said it.”
“You should talk to me, you know. I have the power to kill you, or to set you free, as I please”

Jesus’ demeanor was beginning to irritate Pilate. Jesus tilted his head slightly and looked Pilate in the eye. Though red and swollen, Pilate was still startled by his eye. He shuffled uneasily in his seat, feeling like a schoolboy who had been called before his teacher for a misdemeanor.

“On the contrary, You have no power over me. For this I was born. For this I have come into this world to testify to the truth” Jesus said.
Pilate reclined in his chair, one hand on his brow. This was beginning to be a long day, and it was only still early in the morning. He stayed that way for minutes, apparently deep in thought then he jumped up and went outside.
“I have examined your king and found no fault in him. I will release him.” Pilate said to the priest outside.
“No you can’t do that sir.” The priest urged “The people have heard his blasphemy and would have him dead for he has cursed our God.”
“Your custom demands that a prisoner be released at Passover, please let me release this, this King of the Jews” Pilate was almost pleading.
” No, my Lord. The blasphemer must die.” The priest cried.
“The blasphemer must die.” A member of the crowd picked up the cry.
“Death!” “Kill him!” “Death to the blasphemer!!.” The crowd cried, shaking their fists.
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