Reuters. Jerusalem. April 25, 33.
Our correspondents in Jerusalem report that a little known carpenter turned preacher-healer was executed like a common criminal. Jesus, from the backwater Galilean village of Nazareth, was pronounced dead on the cross around noon on the eve of the Passover Sabbath.
Apparently, one of his followers, a man named Judas, turned him over to the authorities the previous night while Jesus was praying in a garden on the Mount of Olives. A few hours earlier, Jesus has celebrated the Passover Seder with his followersâ€”the twelve he called apostles and his mother Mary and the other Marys and women who had followed him and his teachings. He told them that the bread would be his body and that the wine would be his blood.
A spokesperson for the High Priest, who was unavailable for comment, said that they had turned Jesus over to the Roman authorities after having decided that his preaching was dangerous. Not only had he claimed to be the one sent by G_d, he had also healed the sick and preached liberation for people living under Roman oppression. Menachem went on to say that the Judean leaders wanted Jesus and his dangerous message out of the way. He was causing problems. He had been seen consistently in the company of tax collectors, prostitutes, lepers and other social outcasts. He had even sat at table with them. A few weeks ago, he had rampaged through the Temple and thrown out the money changers who made their lucrative living off of selling animals for sacrifice. In the small nearby village of Bethany, Jesus had reportedly raised a friend who had been dead for three days to life. It was at that point that the Judeans, especially the religious leaders, decided that Jesus had to be taken out.
Our correspondent on the ground had managed to find some of the followers of this Jesus. They agreed to talk to him after he promised not to blow their cover. They too were in fear of the wrath of the Judeans.
Peter, the head spokesperson, confirmed the fact that Judas had sold Jesus out. With tears in his eyes, Peter reported that the one they called Master and Teacher had stopped during the Seder and washed their feet. He had told them that they were to serve one another.
Another follower, Andrew, speculated that the Judeans had crucified Jesus because his teaching was too radical. If he kept preaching what he was preaching, they Romans might react adversely.
Our correspondent asked Andrew why his teaching was so radical. Andrew replied, â€œHe rode a donkey into town a week ago and the crowds went wild. They realized that he was nonviolently mocking the authority of the Roman oppressors.â€
Another follower, James, told our reporter that â€œJesus had defied the ritual purity codes of the Jewish leaders. He touched and healed lepers and let a woman with a blood flow touch him. They killed him because he defied them by putting people above their â€œlaw.â€
His mother, Mary, still overwhelmed with grief, said, â€œMy son committed his life to following the will of his Father who had sent him. He came to liberate the oppressed, to give sight to the blind, to bring down the rich and mighty and to lift up the poor and oppressed. It was for this that he died.â€
All his followers affirmed that Jesus had taught them nonviolent resistance to empire and to the priestly codes. Reports abound that Peter drew his sword in the Garden and cut off the ear of one of the High Priestâ€™s servants. Jesus healed the ear and sternly admonished Peter to put up his sword.
Our reporter confirms the gentleness of this man. He had heard him utter his last words on the cross. Naked and writhing in agony as he slowly suffocated to death, Jesus had said, â€œFather, forgive them got they know not what they do.â€ He was astounded that this little known preacher from Galilee was forgiving his executioners.
Pontius Pilate, the Roman procurator, was also unavailable for comment. The palace was abuzz with rumors that Pilateâ€™s wife was not speaking to him because he allowed Jesus to be executed.
The royal spokesman said that the Procurator had tried to give Jesus the opportunity to go free. The spokesman added that the Roman authorities had come to view Jesus with more and more suspicion. He had raised Lazarus from the dead. He had cured a cripple a few weeks earlier at the Pool of Bethesda. The spokesman added, â€œFrankly, we were afraid that he would get to be too popular and that he would mount an insurrection.â€
One of the Judeans, a Joseph of Arimathea, spoke to our reporter. â€œI do not know why they had to kill him. He was not a violent revolutionary. He was a nonviolent resister to the evils of empire and priestly privilege.â€ He went on to say, â€œYou should have heard the sermon he gave on the hillside by the Sea of Galilee. He turned things upside down. He lifted up the poor and lowly and those who grieve and mourne. He encouraged them to hunger and thirst for Godâ€™s justice. He expected them to be peacemakers. He did not deserve to die!â€
Why then did this just man die? Certainly, there is no support to the theory that his death appeased an angry God. How could a loving God expect the sacrifice of the one he had sent? Why then? His message was dangerous. It was filled with nonviolence form the getgo; however, Jesus seriously challenged power and mammon. He eschewed the values of the empire and the priestly leaders. His â€œkin-domâ€ was not of this world. Unlike the rich and the powerful, he expected his followers to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, care for the sick and visit the imprisoned. He was the champion of the oppressed.