Holy Week 2011


... I know; I know we don't have a legal leg to stand on; I know. But we've got to do something. We can't go on like this.

Yes, I know it was only one man that he brought back to life but we don't know where it will end. I said last week that, if necessary, one man would have to die for the people, and it's worse now than it was then. I mean, if he'd decided to revive some Galilean peasant - there's a rumour he did that in Nain - we might have managed but Lazarus cuts a bit of a dash, doesn't he, with his fine clothes and his grand house in Bethany? And so many people there when Jeshua brought him out of the tomb! And then there was the disgraceful disruption of Temple life which has cost us thousands of shekels; and then there was the insolent way he handled our questions. Too clever by half; and a Galilean!

Look, I'm not stupid! But I don't really take all that "Son of David" stuff very seriously. And on a donkey, too, what a jester. Made a complete fool of himself; but of course I said we were taking it seriously to put the wind up his followers. I know the difference between a serious rebel and a holy man; and this man is holy in a strange way; that's our problem.

You see, the real trouble is that we just don't know what will happen next. ...

The Romans! ...

I know; I know we no longer have the power to put people to death. More’s the pity so, yes, we will have to rely on the Romans but Pilate's frightened enough as it is after a whole series of bad calls on security matters. We only have to threaten to report him to Rome and he'll cave in. He never has understood the relationship between us and him; he has soldiers, we have rhetoric; but you would think it was the other way round, the way he caves in to pressure. So the plan is this:

We get one of his own people to hand him over; it looks better that way; and I think I've found a weak link in Judas: you know, the one who hands out the money to the poor. Well I'm told by our security people that he's getting fed up with all the soft talk and wants some action from Jeshua and we'll tell him that he can have all the action he wants if we secure the person of Jeshua to spearhead our campaign for freedom.

... I know; I know there won't be any such campaign! What do you take me for? But Judas wants to believe that Jeshua has come to save us; and, in these circumstances, who is going to argue?

So we get Judas to hand him over; and we rough him up a bit to knock any gloss off that Galilean baby-face; and then we take him to Pilate and say that if he doesn't condemn Jeshua to death we'll use our Herodian channels to Tiberias; there's some sort of disgusting history between those two that you wouldn't want me to go into; but Pilate knows that we can get at Tiberias through Herod; and that's the main  thing.

... Why are we going to such lengths to get rid of a peasant from up North? Look, I would have thought it was obvious, but let me just go over it again!

We have a deal with the Romans that they will leave us more or less alone as long as things stay quiet. All they want is safe roads to get their goods up from Egypt; and taxes. They don't mind a bit of brutality on our part as long as it doesn't challenge their monopoly on serious brutality. They don't like us and they don't like our Law very much but they infinitely prefer our Law to no law. They're not at all like the Greeks, you know. Greeks like all sorts of airy-fairy ideas but Romans just like non-nonsense law and, in a strange sort of way, that's what we give them; and that's what we're going to go on giving them.

But the problem with Jeshua is that he's now a widely admired figure, because of his undoubted healing powers, who is going around discrediting the law. He doesn't seem worried by adultery, if that scene with the woman we caught is anything to go by; and he actually said - you heard him say it last week - that he doesn't hold with our marriage laws which allow divorces; and he isn't keen, to say the least, on the Temple economy and the time honoured sacrificial rituals; and the times he's broken the hygiene laws are countless. Ugh! All those beggars and peasants and prostitutes and lepers.

No, I don't think so. They're all very well in their way when the sun's out; but they won't put up any resistance by moonlight. They're fishermen, for goodness sake, except for a couple of them. Their chief, Simon, might lash out - I'm told by our people that he's a bit of a hot-head - but it won't amount to much.

And we have to hurry. Time is of the essence. We want all this cleared up before Passover.

... All right; all right! I know it's a bit flimsy - now you be careful; one of our people saw you sneaking out of the house he was staying in - but we're not really putting him on trial for the past; we're putting him on trial for the future.

How do you think we will survive? How do you think our ancient traditions will survive? How do you think that stability will survive, if we allow love to become more important than the Law?

This man is on trial for loving; you just can't have order, civilisation, comfort, if this sort of thing runs wild. We need to know where we are; we need to know where we're going. You can't do that once love breaks out.

You never know what love might ask you to do.

This man is on trial for loving.