The Chief Priest

Muttering under my breath, my feet scurrying across cobblestones as fast as my stubby, aged legs will allow, I hurried to a disaster scene. “How could this have happened? We took all the necessary precautions. I’m telling you, heads will roll for this!”

I climbed the last hill, huffing and puffing, begging for air to breathe. As I crested the hill I saw the scene of my worst nightmare. Soldiers were lying on the ground, looking like dead men.

I began shouting at the captain of the guard, “What happened here? Did the guards fall asleep? This is most distressing! Can’t you Romans handle a simple thing like guarding a dead man?”

The Centurion looked at me and spit, “They didn’t fall asleep, there was an earthquake and a blinding light. They fell right where you see them. They’re lucky they’re not dead. Now get out of my way old man, or you WILL be dead!”

As I approached the tomb where they had laid Jesus of Nazareth’s body, his words began filtering through my thoughts. “If you tear down this temple I will rebuild it in three days.” Is this what he meant? Surely this lunatic wasn’t really the Messiah…

Or was he? He certainly healed people. His teaching was unlike any I had ever heard. But he had no regard for our traditions, he wanted religion to be accessible by regular people. God wouldn’t want that, would he? Religion was to be left to the upper class, the best of everyone, not to the rabble that made up these crowds. God wouldn’t want everyone to be able to converse directly with Him, would he? Certainly not! No, Jesus was just a great teacher. He couldn’t have been the Messiah.

Making my way through the crowds I could hear them murmuring amongst themselves. “He rose! His body is gone.” “Somebody said the disciples saw Jesus! They say Thomas even touched him, right in his wounds!” These lot anger me to no end. I shout to the crowd, “Jesus was not the Messiah! Somebody stole his body, that’s all. Get him out of your minds. HE’S DEAD!” I realize that the crowd is looking at me, staring, wondering what’s wrong with me. A little old woman looks at me and says, “Chief Priest, if he’s not the Messiah like you said, and he’s dead like you said, what are you so upset about?” I glare at her and hurry off. I must think, I must get with other religious leaders. We have to find a way to combat the coming storm from this.

We can say that his body was stolen by the Romans. Tell people that the Romans wanted there to be unrest amongst us, so they are perpetrating this idea that he rose again. No, that won’t work. The Romans will tell everyone they didn’t do it. We can just ignore it, eventually his followers will shut up about this, won’t they? I mean he’s not the Messiah, so he didn’t really beat death. Right? And what if he was the Messiah? What does that mean? Did I stir up the crowd against God’s own anointed one? Surely not. Right? I look to the heavens, asking God, “Father of Abraham, surely you did not send us this peace loving, gentle man as a Messiah! You are sending a warrior, a mighty man. Not some teacher who tells us to carry a cloak two miles. Please, please tell me that I haven’t helped crucify your son!”

The ceiling is flat and dark and its silence mocks me. Did God hear my prayers? What have I done…

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