lenten reading series: Entering into Jerusalem
He is in Bethany. I just got word from one of my old friends with a villa there. Now what? The time is short. We are only a week away from Passover. Not even that. Two other reports have just come in. This one is from the Essene group here in Jerusalem. Their leader received a message this afternoon from the Nazarene. They expect him tomorrow. Plans are being made to meet him with a welcoming procession.
This is it. He is going to attack us. I knew it.
How many men are at his disposal? Are they armed? Why does nobody report properly? All I have is that letter from the siccarii, that he had upward of two hundred people, but that was a week ago.
This other report is much the same. “He is planning a triumphant entry and has arranged to rent a donkey* for the day.”
A donkey? That was King Solomon’s mount when he rode to his coronation. Let me look it up. Where is that scroll? Here it is. “And Zadok, the high priest, took David’s donkey and put Solomon on it. Solomon rode on David’s donkey to the Temple and his consecration.”
He intends to be proclaimed king! That is his plan. His followers don’t know it, but the mob will do anything he says without thinking of the consequences. Pilate will go ape. Maybe not! What if Jesus has made contact with Pilate, and they are plotting to get rid of me? What if Rome has told him to get rid of me and establish a new priestly regime?
No. I would have heard. They would not do that. I am their best bet, and I give them valuable information about Herod and Philip and other activity around the area. I am to them. I could have gone over Caiaphas’s head and made a deal with Pilate. Well, it’s too late now. Perhaps it is for the better. It is not good to ask the Romans to do anything for you. You offer them your hand, and the next thing you know, they have swallowed your arm. No, we can handle this.
King? If Pilate does not know anything about this, then he might be interested to know what is going on. Maybe I should go see him tomorrow. No, he would do nothing, just to spite me. Better to leave him out of it for now, but if this Jesus fellow gets proclaimed King, I think we can use Pilate. I did notice a comment in one of the letters that none of the people were armed. So he doesn’t intend a violent rebellion, but he must be hoping for a rising of the general population.
Damn! Here we are on the verge of confrontation, and there is no indication what he plans. We can’t arrest him if the crowd proclaims him king, but if he accepts, then we can move. Pilate would be there ahead of us, probably. However, if the people all proclaim him king and he does not positively accept, then where will we be? He has to say it out loud in front of witnesses. What can I do?
First, I will have at least four people watching him at all times. I will need at least two clear witnesses who have unambiguous memories of what he said or did. There is another possibility. What if he manipulates the crowd to proclaim him high priest to supplant Caiaphas? King is a huge stretch when you think of Roman politics, but would Rome be pleased to supplant Caiaphas, and, by inference, me also with this upstart? He has been careful to not preach against the Romans. Pilate would go for a more moderate leadership in the Temple, for sure. There is no evidence for this. It’s my overheated imagination. Maybe or maybe not, the answer is the same: we must get rid of him.
What is this? A note from my man in Pilate’s office. Damn! Those siccarii have been picked up by the Romans. Apparently they were recognized and wanted for another crime. Will they keep their mouths shut? I wonder what Pilate had on them. Not that other job I asked them to do? No, I am safe there. This is a little unsettling. Pilate will string them up probably.
Caiaphas could look into it legitimately, even talk to Pilate about the case and wring his hands over them. I will just sit back and let everything take its course. I will only have to mention it to Caiaphas; he will jump at the chance to look inside Pilate’s palace. Maybe he should bring it up when he goes to retrieve the vestments for the festival. What am I doing? I am just going to let things take their course.
This Messiah thing has really got me stirred up. Even a little thing like this gets me thinking and planning. I don’t need to do it. I must disengage and let him come to me. Let him show his hand. I must take my time. Nobody else sees it.
*Kings 1:38 Zadok puts Solomon on David’s mule/donkey and he rides to his coronation.
**Matthew 24:1-3, Mark 13:1-4 and Luke 21:5-7. Jesus predicts the destruction of the Temple.