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The Trials of Yeshua

CHAPTER 90

 

Yudas Iscariot meets with the Sanhedrin to inform them of Yeshua's whereabouts. They question him as to his motives and then send guards to arrest Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane. -In his fervent desire to protect Yeshua Cephas swings his sword and cuts the ear off one of the guards. Yeshua fully restores the mans ear and asks him to repent of his sins and heretofore live his life worthy of the Celestine Light that has been given to him. -Yeshua is condemned by the Sanhedrin and held in a wine cellar where Miriam appears to him and upon her request, he gives a full explanation of why he did what he did in the Garden of Gethsemane. -Yeshua is handed over to the Roman Governor of Palestine, Pontius Pilate for final judgment. In a self-righteous rage, Pilate denounces Yeshua and sentences him to 50 lashes, after which time he will carry his own cross to the spot where he will be crucified, naked.

 

Yudas Iscariot comes before the Sanhedrin

  1 During the time that Yeshua was in the Garden of Gethsemane Yudas Iscariot went to the Sanhedrin who were meeting at the palace of Caiaphas, as Yeshua had secretly instructed him.

  2 When it was recognized who he was, one of the principal disciples of Yeshua of Nazareth, he was brought before Caiaphas who asked his father-in-law Annas, the former Chief Judge, to question Yudas.

  3 Though Annas had officially retired and used his influence with the Roman governor Pontius Pilate to see his son-in-law Caiaphas made Chief Judge in his stead, he still held great influence over the Sanhedrin.

  4 As evening fell, Yudas was brought into a chamber with only a short roof around its perimeter, where Annas and Caiaphas sat on small high-backed seats surrounded by more than a dozen of the greater Sanhedrin standing behind them. Servants went around the room lighting torches on the walls and on posts in the ground of the courtyard.

  5 Yudas began to speak but Annas held up his hand and demanded, “Silence! I will let you know when you may speak.”

  6 Then Annas looked at Yudas as a predator contemplates its prey. He studied him in silence for several minutes until the quiet became uncomfortable for many in the room and they began to shuffle their feet and sigh.

  7 “Why are you here, follower of the blasphemer?” Annas asked at last.

  8 “I...,” Yudas stammered. He closed his eyes and taking a deep breath and exhaling he continued, saying, “I have come to lead you to a place where Yeshua is sleeping this night. He is away from the crowds of people and alone with only his Apostles.

  9 From Yeshua's previous encounters with the Sanhedrin and particularly Caiaphas, I have sensed that the Sanhedrin would appreciate the opportunity to bring Yeshua before them in secrecy, to question him without fear of the wrath of the people who hold him in great esteem.”

  10 “Very thoughtful of you,” Annas said with slight sarcasm. “But why would you, one of the blasphemer's principal followers, betray him in this manner? It would seem that this must be more of a trap for us than it is for him.”

  11 “I assure you it is not,” Yudas affirmed. “What could he do to you? He is but a poor man from Galilee and you are the Chief Judges of the Greater Sanhedrin.”

  12 “Why are you doing this then?” asked Annas.

  13 “It is something I must do to serve God,” answered Yudas.

  14 “Betrayal is a terrible stigma from which you will never be washed, even though in your mind your motivations may be noble and serving of God,” Annas replied.

  15 “I know,” Yudas said quietly as he hung his head and looked at the ground.

  16 “It is not often that we encounter someone so devoted to God that they would willingly sacrifice their reputation, and maybe even their life if their former associates seek vengeance,” Annas ventured.

  17 “You do understand that if we judge him to be guilty of blasphemy or sacrilege, we may be compelled to seek his death?”

  18 Yudas with his head still hanging toward the ground, nodded in silent affirmation.

  19 “Even so, I am not sure I believe you or your simple reason for why you would do this,” continued Annas. “And that makes me suspect your motives.”

  20 Caiaphas then leaned over toward his father-in-law and whispered something in his ear.

  21 Annas perked up upon hearing the words of Caiaphas and immediately looked to Yudas and asked, “You are named Yudas Iscariot?”

  22 “That is one form of my name,” Yudas answered.

  23 “Then you are not only a Zealot, but also a Sicarii?” Annas asked. “That would explain a great deal.  So you are a zealot among the Zealots.”

  24 “That part of my past is known to but a few. I doubt you deduced it from the Greek version of my name in which my past is hidden. Instead your spies must be commendably good,” Yudas replied.

  25 “Yes they are,” Annas affirmed. “Of course, you looked to this man Yeshua to be the Messiah and now you are wallowing in disappointment, as are all the Zealots, when you find he has no intention of leading you in a revolt against the Romans.”

  26 “It is true,” Yudas answered. “I have seen him as the Messiah. But I know he is not going to lead even a small uprising against the Romans; let alone overthrow their rule.”

  27 “Why come to us?” asked Caiaphas. “You are a Sicarii; why not just slip your blade into him while he sleeps and then your disappointment is ended, as is his life, without risking political or religious turmoil?”

  28 Yudas shook his head with vigor, saying, “No, not in any circumstance could I take his life or any mans except in defense of my own. I come before you because I know I must. But I love him still.”

  29 “What a pot of puke!” yelled Caiaphas. “We should judge you for being king of the liars. You come to betray your leader but you say you still have great affection for him. You claim you are a Sicarii, but also that you would only kill a man in self-defense. You contradict your own statements and must consider us idiots if you think we would believe a word of it.”

  30 Then looking to his father-in-law, Caiaphas said, “We should not listen further to this Yudas, but put him away where no one will ever hear of him again. He lies like a serpent and undoubtedly desires to lead us into a trap of some type to embarrass the Sanhedrin in front of the people.

  31 Let us be the masters of our own destiny and wait for Yeshua of Nazareth to return to Jerusalem, then follow him and take him while he sleeps and bring him before us to make an account and receive judgment.”

  32 At the words of Caiaphas many of the Sanhedrin standing behind him voiced their approval and Annas nodded his head in agreement, saying, “You speak with wise words my son. Let us not go off upon unknown paths, but wait with patience for a time and place of our choosing.”

  33 Yudas was now in a quandary. He had been given a mission to bring the Sanhedrin to Yeshua, but now it seemed all he had accomplished was to be sent to a Roman prison himself.

  34 Thinking quickly he said, “Most learned judges. I have more to say that bears weight upon this matter, and would ask that you withhold your judgment until you have heard all of the facts.”

  35 Caiaphas rolled his hand in a forward motion indicating that Yudas should continue speaking.

  36 Yudas said unto them, “I have no desire to be sent to prison. Nor would my wife or children appreciate it. I have not come here to deceive you, but have spoken only the truth.

  37 Yeshua of Nazareth is alone with his Apostles and two wives at this time.

  38 I was a Sicarii but not a typical one. I honored the commandments of Sinai, therefore could not take a life except in defense of my own. I was known to sometimes provoke situations with my adversaries in which I needed to defend myself, but that was unusual.

  39 More often I did not find it necessary to kill. In truth, if the dagger is used as a tool of persuasion rather than one of final judgment, it is far more effective. If you kill a man, little is accomplished; but if you put fear in his heart that he could die at any time from unknown assailants, he becomes a reliable source of influence and treasure.

  40 That is my past, not my present. If you so easily recognized my past in the name I took during those times, I think it is time that I change my name again.

  41 I am a loyal follower of Yeshua of Nazareth, and now and more than ever keep the Commandments of Sinai and the teachings of Yeshua, that life is precious.

  42 It is you that have accused me of being here to betray Yeshua. The opposite is true. I am here because he asked me to come to you and invite you to come and take him.

  43 I think is testing you to see if you have the gumption to dare lay hands upon him, even when there are none of the people present to witness if you fail.

  44 You had him standing before you in recent days and yet he walked away of his own will. Personally I am convinced that without his agreement, you could never take him, try him, judge him, or do anything to him.

  45 Your actions now bear witness to this very fact. You are so afraid of him that you have become impotent and cannot even move from your chairs toward him.

  46 Nor have you cause to hold me or see me sent to a Roman prison, for I have done nothing but speak the truth to you. Why should I suffer because you are too afraid to act when the opportunity is given to you to defend what you believe?”

  47 “You dare speak to us in this insolent manner?” demanded Caiaphas.

  48 “If you are unaccustomed to hearing the truth, then surely you had better stay far away from Yeshua of Nazareth,” Yudas replied.

  49 Caiaphas was about to reply but Annas cut him off with a gesture; then looked to Yudas and said, “You are sly Yudas Iscariot and think to goad us by using our own pride against us. I see what you are doing, but I am nevertheless affected by your words.

  50 We will send a contingent of guards to follow you to the place where you say Yeshua of Nazareth is almost alone. They may not be familiar with his appearance; therefore, you will go to him directly and kiss him on the cheek so the guards are sure of who to take.

  51 If everything is as you have said and we take him prisoner, you shall be rewarded with thirty pieces of silver. But if everything is not exactly as you have said, then it is you that our guards shall return to us, and you who will never see the light of day again.”

  52 “Agreed,” Yudas replied. Shortly afterwards, about two dozen Sanhedrin guards armed with short swords and staves were assembled and followed Yudas out onto the street, their torches flickering in the darkness of the night.

Arrest of Yeshua in the Garden of Gethsemane

  53 The Apostles had been both sitting and standing as they listened to Yeshua sharing with them the great importance of what had transpired at the Garden of Gethsemane.

  54 Yeshua stopped speaking when they all saw the approaching lights of many torches and heard a number of people coming toward the garden. Soon they saw Yudas Iscariot come through the gate at the head of a group of armed guards from the Sanhedrin.

  55 Immediately Cephas spoke with urgency to Yeshua saying, “Flee out the back gate; we will hold them until you are away.”

  56 But Yeshua did not move and instead remained standing serenely as a summer's morning, looking at Yudas and the men approaching. He calmly told Cephas, “Fear not my brother. This is as I told you it would be. Be strong in your spirit.”

  57 “I cannot,” Cephas replied with anguish. “I cannot see you taken to be tortured and killed like a common thief. There must be another way.”

  58 “This is the way I have chosen,” Yeshua answered. “Please honor me by honoring my choice. And worry not for the pains of mortality.  The soul is not the body and neither these men, or the Sanhedrin, or the Romans can do aught to my eternal soul.”

  59 Yudas approached Yeshua with his head bowed and lifted it only enough to give him a kiss on the cheek.

  60 Yeshua put both of his hands upon the head of Yudas and said unto him, “Well done good and faithful brother.”

  61 At his words Yudas fell to his knees and held his hands to his face as he wept.

  62 Seeing the kiss of Yudas upon the cheek of Yeshua, which had been the agreed upon sign of recognition, the guards quickly approached him.

  63 Before they could lay their hands upon him, Cephas drew a short sword and leaping forward he slashed at the head of one of the guards, missing his head but cutting off his left ear which fell to the ground.

  64 The stricken man cried out in pain and fell to his knees holding the bleeding hole where his ear had been.

  65 The remaining guards hesitated in surprise for they had not come expecting a fight. In the moments of their hesitation Yeshua stepped forward and reached down to grasp the guards' severed ear off the ground.

  66 He turned to the guard who looked up at him without fear and even with wonder.  Yeshua stepped close to him and holding the severed ear to the spot from whence it had come and calling the man by name, he said unto him, “Malchus, remember the good that has been done for you this day. Repent of your sins and live your life worthy of the Celestine Light that has been given to you.”

  67 As he stepped back, there were several gasps from the other guards as they saw that the man's ear had been fully restored to his head.

  68 Turning then to Cephas, Yeshua told him, “Dear brother, let that be the last time you ever use your sword against a man.

  69 Swords and weapons of violence are only for those who have not found the powers of Celestine Light within them.

  70 And many who take up the sword for defense shall instead die by it. But those who defend with the gifts of Celestine Light shall prevail, for the weapons of men cannot do battle with the powers of heaven.

  71 You are my Apostle, and you must call forth the greater man of spirit within you that you can become more than you have been and be worthy of all that has been given to you.”

  72 Cephas nodded his head in understanding and looking intently into Yeshua's eyes, he dropped his sword to the grounds and answered humbly, saying, “I will.”

  73 Yeshua turned now to the remaining guards and said unto them, “I am Yeshua of Nazareth whom you seek. I will come with you in peace and you need not fear me or any of those with me.”

  74 So saying, Yeshua walked purposefully into the darkness of the night toward the gate of the garden through which the guards had come, followed closely by Miriam and Salome.

  75 The guards and the Apostles stood still for a moment slightly dumbstruck by Yeshua's actions; and then looking at one another in some amazement, they all followed after them.

Final Appearance of Yeshua Before the Sanhedrin

  76 The guards came up and surrounded Yeshua, pushing Miriam and Salome behind them as they walked, and once again they brought Yeshua to the palace of Caiaphas.

  77 Yeshua was quickly led into the courtyard room where Caiaphas, Annas and many of the greater Sanhedrin awaited him. His Apostles and Salome were made to wait outside the inner walls with the servants, where they could hear those speaking but not see them. However, at Yeshua's request, Miriam was allowed to enter and stand in the shadows watching and listening.

  78 A scribe announced those who were present and afterward Caiaphas spoke to Yeshua, saying, “We have brought you here in secret to question you in great seriousness without the threat of interference from the multitudes who seem to love you. We only seek fairness and further clarification of the things you have said and done.”

  79 “Let us not dance around the truth Caiaphas,” Yeshua replied. “Everyone, including me, knows that you have brought me here in hopes of finding evidence of the blasphemy you have already concluded I spread. So ask your questions and find the truth.”

  80 “Very well,” Caiaphas replied sourly. “By what means do you accomplish your miracles?”

  81 “Do you mean miracles you or your priests have witnessed, such as when the sun stood still the last time I was here, or miracles such as the hole of Hades that opened in the ground at Tiberius, or the gate at that place which became a living tree?”

  82 “Bah,” muttered Caiaphas. “Those were merely peculiar manifestations of nature that you tried to make us believe you had caused. Man can control nature a little, but not command it.”

  83 “But all things that have been created belong to Elohim and ever follow the commands of their creator,” answered Yeshua.

  84 Caiaphas was surprised by Yeshua's answer and told him, “By your own words you condemn yourself. Are you saying that you are God the creator? Or that Elohim does as you bid? Make a lightning bolt come from heaven and strike this spot as we speak and I will believe you. But I have no worries for you are just a man who either thinks he is God, or one that has assumed the mantle of a prophet without authority.”

  85 There was silence for a moment; then Caiaphas looked to the sky and spoke again, saying, “No lightning bolt, hence you are but a man and not even a prophet.  A very clever man, but just a man.”

  86 “What of that follower of yours that reportedly came back from the dead?” asked Annas. “I suppose he faked his death by taking some poisonous herbs? How did you accomplish it?”

  87 “Not by elements of darkness,” answered Yeshua. “But by the light of faith was this done.”

  88 “He must be tested further,” demanded Annas. “Put a cloth over his face and then one of you go and smite him. Let us see if he can tell who does the deed.”

  89 Following the command of Annas a thick cloth sack was placed over Yeshua's head and two Sanhedrin and one Pharisee stepped forward and smote him with force on his face, knocking him backwards with their blows.

  90 Afterward, the assailants stepped back into the group of priests and the sack was removed from Yeshua's head.

  91 “Tell us now who it was that smote you,” demanded Annas. “If you are a prophet this should not even be a challenge, but if you are merely a deluded man, how will you know?”

  92 Yeshua just stood looking at Annas and answered him not.

  93 “Is anyone surprised?” Annas asked.

  94 “Let the witnesses come forward,” Caiaphas ordered. “As the scriptures demand all shall be verified in the mouth of two or more witnesses.”

  95 Three different men stepped forward; one Pharisee, one Sadducee, and one temple priest. Each bore witness against Yeshua, giving evidence of his blasphemy.

  96 “I saw him cast out the sellers and moneychangers from the temple and call it his father's house, said the temple priest sarcastically.

  97 “I saw him heal a man on the Sabbath,” accused the Pharisee. “And he justified himself as if he was above the law.”

98 “I heard him say that if the temple of God was destroyed, he would build it again in three days,” stated the Sadducee.

  99 At the account of the Sadducee there were murmurs and even some chuckles from those gathered, but Caiaphas was angry and mocked Yeshua saying, “Have you anything to answer to these witnesses, oh, powerful one?”

  100 Yeshua answered him saying, “All they have said is true. I have healed those in need on the Sabbath; I did chase the dispensers of darkness from a place that is dedicated to the light of my Father; and if the temple of God is destroyed, even rent to the last piece and burned in the fire, I will build it again in wholeness in three days.”

  101 “Certainly there can be no doubt this man is a blasphemer,” Annas stated matter-of-factly. “He is probably also a lunatic, but he cannot be excused because of that affliction. The question now is what shall we do with him?”

  102 “Death by stoning is appropriate!” shouted one of the Sanhedrin.

  103 “Yes it is appropriate,” agreed Caiaphas. “But even though Pilate would probably not mind if we took this matter into our own hands despite the decrees of Rome, it would be best if we are not associated with this man's death, for he is still held in high esteem by many of the people.”

  104 “The timing is perfect to send him now to Pilate,” Annas proclaimed. With the holiday, there are a great many more people in Jerusalem, and the Romans are already uneasy because of the risk of insurrection.  Particularly during this celebration, which gives thanks for liberation from the oppression of the Egyptians, while we now grate under the command of the Romans.

  105 This blasphemer is also a Galilean, which province has always caused Rome the most trouble, and they look to see more trouble coming from there.

  106 We have not even spoken of the fact that many people, especially the Zealots from Galilee, look at him as the Messiah, even the King of Israel appointed by God, specifically come to liberate them from the Romans. I am sure Pilate will be interested in that morsel.”

  107 “No trial before the entire body of the Greater Sanhedrin?” Yeshua asked Annas and Caiaphas. “The twenty that are here tonight are as one against me, but many who are not here that are numbered among you, would stand with me. How can you pass a judgment of death without all of the judges?”

  108 “We cannot,” Caiaphas admitted. “Nor are we. As concerned citizens in high positions, with responsibilities upon us to do what we can to insure the safety of our people, we have identified you as a dangerous rabble-rouser and rebellious leader of the Zealots.

  109 Although we also know you are a blasphemer, no trial before the entire body of Greater Sanhedrin is necessary, because as responsible leaders of our people, we are merely going to give you to the governor, along with the evidence we have gathered of your danger to Rome and let him do away with you.

  110 Bind him and throw him under guard into the wine cellar until the morning,” ordered Caiaphas to the four guards standing nearby. “Then round up his close followers and bring them here that we may find the Zealots among them and send them also to Pilate.”

  111 One of the guards leaned toward Caiaphas and reminded him that all of Yeshua's principal followers had come with him and even now were just beyond the inner wall.

  112 “Well get them quickly before they flee!” Caiaphas bellowed. “And get his wife as well standing there in the shadows,” he said pointing at Miriam. But when the two guards who were very near her, pivoted to grab her, she was gone, and they looked at one another in bewilderment.

  113 Nor could they capture Salome or any of the Apostles, for immediately upon hearing the order of Caiaphas they fled quickly into the darkness, despite the efforts of several servants who had been standing with them listening to the proceedings that tried to detain them.

Yeshua Explains the Significance of His Suffering in the Garden

  114 Yeshua had been sitting in the darkness of the wine cellar for about an hour when a bright light lit up the room and when it dimmed slightly Miriam stood before him and went to him. And the light that came with her remained.

  115 They held each other for a few moments in a loving embrace, and Yeshua assured Miriam he was fine. Then she asked him with words in her mind, “Beloved, besides coming to be with you to comfort you, I came seeking greater understanding about what transpired in the Garden of Gethsemane, beyond what you were explaining to the Apostles.”

  116 Speaking also to her in her mind, Yeshua answered, saying, “You want to know why I suffered rather than just letting men suffer their own punishments in full for the choices they make.”

  117 “Of course my Lord, you know my thoughts before I think them,” Miriam answered. “And I do seek greater clarification. You suffered more than it seemed possible that the physical body of man could endure, even one that contains your power.

  118 I understand that carrying the weight of the sins of others would certainly bring about such suffering. But I do not fully understand why you needed to do this, and I know that it is important that I do understand very clearly.

  119 Each man, and woman, make their own choices of whether to live in the Celestine Light or live in the darkness everyday, even in the small things they say or do, and of course also in their larger acts of nobility or debasement.

  120 Why did you desire to take some of their suffering away? Should not each person be fully liable for their own poor choices, even as they are fully rewarded for their good ones?

  121 If there is a penalty to be paid in suffering in remorse or even agony of sadness for some time, should not the person who made the choice of darkness be the one who suffers?

  122 If restitution is needed, if light must be made to counterbalance the darkness that was sowed so a man may be worthy to enter into heaven, should it not be the man who sowed the darkness that is required to create the light that washes it away?”

  123 Yeshua looked deeply into Miriam's eyes and gently ran his finger along her hairline. Continuing to project the thoughts of his mind, he answered her, saying, “I suffered, not so men will not have to suffer, for all will still pay a price for the darkness they have not washed clean with repentance.

  124 And those sins that have not been washed clean with repentance are many. For even the most virtuous person, even you my love, have some darkness in their past that was never fully washed clean with the Celestine Light of a full repentance and restitution.

  125 For many are the sins of commission and omission that are forgotten by man, but all are remembered by Elohim.

  126 And many are the moments of darkness in a person's life that simply cannot be repented of in fullness.

  127 With repentance, I'm sorry, is not enough. There must also be restitution, a restoring of that which was taken. But sometimes that which was taken cannot be restored.

  128 Such as the evil man who steals from another, not his goods, which can be returned, but his good name by spreading slanderous rumors in secret whisperings to those he knows not.

  129 The rumors will spread like a plague and there is nothing the evil man can do to undo the darkness he has sown. Though he may cry in remorse for the dark deed he has done, and beg God and the good man he has wronged for forgiveness, he can never make a full restitution, for the words of falsehood he cast are beyond his power to call back and will continue to injure the good man all of his life.

  130 So too, everyone is guilty of sometimes casting a little unrepented darkness with less than loving words, less than honest replies, less than a full days work for a full days wages, less than complete compassion, less than gentle patience with children, and many more little moments of darkness.

  131 Even good and noble Children of Light seldom think of repentance when they do these things, yet their actions were of darkness, not of the light, and repentance is needed for the small sins even as it is for large ones.

  132 In a lifetime, all of these little moments of darkness that have been forgotten add up to an oppressing weight, even upon the most wonderful Children of Light.

  133 So too do the moments of darkness that cannot be fully repented of continue to weigh down the soul of man as the years pass by.

  134 Then comes the spirit and souls of men to the gates of the Celestine Realm of Light when they die. And many will come knowing they have been good and honorable in life and expecting to pass on to a greater light as their reward.

  135 But the highest realms of the Celestine Kingdom are realms of light in which no darkness can dwell. It can still remain on the inside as it must for balance, but must be completely overcome on the outside.  Even the most virtuous man or woman, even you my pure Miriam, fall short of that glory.

  136 I suffered and offered some of my Celestine Light to help bridge the gap between man and Elohim, so that I could be with you, my true love, for time and all eternity in the highest kingdom of Celestine glory and beyond that into the kingdom of the Elohim.

  137 I suffered and offered some of my Celestine Light to help bridge the gap between man and Elohim, so that all men and women, my brothers and sisters of spirit, who diligently, humbly and sincerely endeavor to live the teachings I have brought, will be able to obtain the reward they seek.

  138 I am an Elohim. But like all men I am also a spirit son of my divine parents, and by that, a true brother of all mankind. Because of this, I am a part of both, and the bridge of Celestine Light between man and God.

  139 No one comes to the highest kingdom of glory, save they come by living my words and following my light.

  140 To all who live the good light, be they Children of Israel, Romans, Greeks, Persians or Pagans, they shall find salvation in me, for I gave it to them with my blood and light, on my knees in love for them, in the Garden of Gethsemane.”

The Meeting of Caiaphas and Pilate

  141 And it came to pass that in the morning Yeshua was bound and brought to the Roman prison and Caiaphas the Chief Judge of the Sanhedrin met with Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor of Palestine to inform him of the danger to Rome presented by Yeshua of Nazareth.

  142 Pilate was keenly interested in the words of Caiaphas but doubted that Yeshua was a threat, answering him dismissively, “I am surprised you have brought this man to prison. I have received reports of him in recent times and it is said he does many miracles. I have not heard it said that he promotes insurrection. In fact, my spies told me he rebuffed the Zealots.

  143 He is one of your people and he seems to be popular with many. Why bother to send him to our prison? If you have differences with him, can't you deal with them yourself?”

  144 Caiaphas answered Pilate, saying, “He may have favor with the simple and ignorant who are fooled by his tricks and illusions, but the Sanhedrin are not fooled.

  145 But many of the common people have been deceived, even to abandoning our faith and following after the new faith he teaches, for he is charismatic and a magician that knows no peer.

  146 Rome should fear as well for he teaches that he has come not to uphold the law, but to overthrow it.  And he means not just our religious law, but also the laws of Rome.

  147 Surely you are aware that along the north shore of Lake Gennesaret his followers have built communities and even now they almost outnumber the native populations of the four towns located there.

  148 Galilee has always been the greatest source of insurrection against Rome in all of Palestine. Now comes this man Yeshua of Galilee who preaches disobedience to the laws, and who has steadily been gathering his followers on Lake Gennesaret. Soon he will have enough men to lead an army against you.

  149 Spies may or may not discover truth, but with this man they are not needed, for his own followers openly have told us that among the Zealots he is seen as a promised savior and the rightful King of the land sent by God.”

  150 “Very well,” Pilate responded with disinterest. “I thought you had something important to tell me. You have made a small case for him to be in prison, so we shall keep him there for a few days; at least until your festival is over and all these additional people are out of the city.

  151 But as for insurrection, the army of Rome has little to fear from the stone throwing and inept swordplay of farmers and tradesmen, let alone magicians and preachers.”

  152 Caiaphas seemed surprised by Pilates answer and he said, “If you feel that way esteemed governor, then I have not presented the facts to you sufficiently.

  153 While it is true that this man is not a soldier, nor are any of his followers as far as I know, his power is not in his sword, but in his words, which stir the hearts of men to take actions they would not otherwise take; even actions against the power of Rome.

  154 Do not underestimate this power. It is as great as any army. For men convinced they are acting under the direction of God's chosen leader will make up in fearlessness and willingness to fight to the death what they lack in actual experience of fighting and war.”

  155 “That is true,” Pilate answered as he rubbed his chin in contemplation. “I have seen men under the sway of passionate belief and they can act like rabid dogs with ferocious fury and tenacious desire to kill with no regard for their own life at all.

  156 Still, it seems that he is causing more problems for you than he is for Rome. But I will have this man Yeshua brought before me and I will question him myself just to satisfy my curiosity as to why you are in such a lather over him.

  157 If there is any insurrection in him at all, I will send him to the cross. That is the quickest way to end any threat. If not, I will send him back to you, and you will have to deal with him as you will.

  158 If he is fomenting rebellion, you will see that any followers he might have will vanish once they see their leader crucified to death like any common thief. If he is a leader of the Zealots and irritates me when I speak with him, I'll see him crucified upside down.”

  159 Caiaphas nodded his head solemnly as if he was sad that the fate of Yeshua had to come to death, and he said, “Life is precious and you know how we feel about the cruelty of crucifixion. But sometimes for the good of many, some things of revulsion must be tolerated.

  160 But there are other things you must be aware of with this man. As I told you, he is a great magician, if nothing else. In recent days he fooled many people including some of my own Sanhedrin, into believing that he had raised a man from the dead.

  161 Of course, no magician operates alone, and surely he has many accomplices that are participants in his acts of trickery.

  162 Because it is believed that he raised a dead man from the grave, it is likely that his followers will try to rob his body from the grave, that then one of them can claim that he is Yeshua resurrected from the dead, and perpetuate the falsehoods this man taught.

  163 Considering this, if you crucify him, as I am sure you will, you would be wise to guard the grave site so his followers cannot steal the body and then claim he has risen from the grave.”

  164 “This man is becoming a great deal of trouble,” asserted Pilate. “But if you truly fear this nonsense, I will see soldiers at the grave until the body rots. Or better yet, I will leave his body on the cross in public view until the birds have picked its bones and then there will be no talk of rising from the dead.”

Yeshua before Pilate

  165 And it came to pass that Yeshua was brought before Pilate and Pilate questioned him saying, “I have heard it said that you are called the rightful King of the land. Do you consider yourself to be this?”

  166 Yeshua answered him, saying, “If I was given a crown, and Rome and all of the people said, Let him be king, I would hand back the crown to he who gave it and walk away, for I have come to serve, not to be served.”

  167 “Some would say that being a good king is a very great service,” replied Pilate. “I know being a governor is taxing on patience and civility, and sometimes decisions that carry a heavy burden must be made for the good of the people. Is that not service?”

  168 Yeshua answered, saying, “Service is thinking of others and acting for their interests without taking gain for yourself.

  169 Service is not forcing your will upon others, or only assisting your friends or tribe, but instead acting unconditionally to help anyone in need who calls upon you with a humble heart and a worthy desire.

  170 Service is not being pampered while those you rule live in squalor.

  171 It is not eating in such excess that what you discarded as scrapes from your table is more than many people will eat that day.

  172 It is not living in a great house of many empty rooms while many have but a single room with a leaking roof over their head.

  173 Service is not capriciously taking the lives of those who disagree with you or torturing them into despair, or taking the lands and the vineyards of those in disfavor, or even holding such authority and threat over them.

  174 Service is the blessed path to heaven, but few will be the wealthy or rulers of men who find it. They who hoard excess unto themselves or squander it on riotous living during their brief mortal life, pay for their pleasures, not with their gold, but with their eternity.

  175 Among men, the rulers, leaders, and rich men most often have the least understanding of the truths of eternal significance, and that which they despised in life shall be their undoing in eternity. For in the kingdom of heaven he who has been least on Earth shall be greatest, and he who has been greatest shall be least.”

  176 Pilate gave Yeshua a mocking little bow with his head and a small rolling wave of his hand and said, “That was quite a little speech. All wrong, but it sounded good. I've a mind to send you to Rome; in chains of course, but you would be entertaining. A simple carpenter, proclaimed a king, who speaks with the glib tongue of a Roman senator.

  177 But what of your magic? I've heard you are a magician without peer. If you can really do some of the miracles men have said of you, as well as speak like a Greek philosopher, I really must send you to Rome.”

  178 Yeshua looked deeply into the eyes of Pilate. There was no anger upon his face, only a look of great seriousness belying Pilate's lightness of speech; and he said unto him, “The Son of Light walks the path decreed by the Elohim and not by the vain desires of the sons of men. Upon this land was this body born, and upon this land shall it die, in the time and place and manner that I choose.”

  179 Hearing these words from Yeshua Pilate's face contorted in rage, and suddenly he lashed out and smote Yeshua with great force upon his face, knocking him to the ground. Three of his personal guards quickly came up with drawn short swords, their sharp points touching Yeshua on his body and throat as he lay upon the ground.

  180 Pilate shouted at Yeshua in a loud voice saying, “Let me put you in your place beggar from Galilee! You will decide nothing! It is upon my command whether you are a slave or free. It is upon my command whether you remain here or go to Rome. It is upon my command whether you live or die.”

  181 Yeshua pulled himself up onto one elbow and before the soldier could react with his other hand he grabbed the sharp two-edged sword that was pointed at his heart and quickly swept the pointed tip across his exposed forearm.

  182 Releasing the sword from his grasp, blood flowed freely from his hand and from the self-inflicted wound upon his arm.

  183 Yeshua stood up and Pilate bade the guards to allow it. Blood still flowed from his hand and arm dripping into a small pool on the floor. He held out his bleeding hand and arm toward Pilate and said unto him, “I fulfill the will of the Elohim and the vain desires of men are as dust to me.”

  184 Then through the openings to the building a strong wind blew in and one of the soldiers pointed at Yeshua's outstretched arms and cried in fear, “Look, look at his wounds; they are healing before our eyes!

  185 It was as he spoke, and even as Pilate and the three soldiers watched in amazement, the blood flowing from the wound on Yeshua's hand and the other on his arm ceased to flow, and the skin sealed up and became normal and healthy. And the pool of blood upon the ground dried in a few seconds into a pile of dust and blew away in the wind that came through the building.

  186 Yeshua had been looking into the eyes of Pilate as these moments passed and once again he said unto him, “I fulfill the will of Elohim and the vain desires of men are as dust to me.”

  187 Pilate seeing the look of awe and fear upon the faces of his guards, and catching his own voice, said to them, “Gird yourselves up; this man is nothing more than a magician. This is Yeshua of Nazareth. Have you not heard him spoken about in Jerusalem?”

  188 “Yes, I have,” said one of the men relaxing at Pilate's reassurance. And the other two nodded in agreement.

  189 “It is said he does many miracles,” added another. “Even among the Romans that come to him.”

  190 Pilate spoke with scorn, saying, “They are merely tricks and illusion. Only miracles to the simple and the ignorant.”

  191 Turning again to Yeshua Pilate spoke to him with hardness in his voice. “I thought perhaps the fear the Sanhedrin have of you was misplaced and their warnings about you exaggerated; but now I see they spoke wisely. You are indeed a danger to Rome.

  192 My duty is clear. Rome will never see your face, and upon this land you shall die, even as you have said. But it will not be by the choice of you or your God, but by me as guardian of the rule of Rome.

  193 That was the last trick you shall ever perform, so at least it was a good one. Tell me how you did it and reveal yourself to be a fraud, and I will show you mercy and send you away to the mines to work until you die. And who knows how long that might be?

  194 Say one word in disagreement to me and you shall die soon, but slowly, as your life ebbs away hanging on a cross of crucifixion.”

  195 Yeshua answered him, saying, “Crucify me and you shall see far greater than you have seen today. Or repent of your wickedness and humble yourself before Elohim and you shall yet find a glory you have never imagined.”

  196 “Enough!” Cried Pilate. “You are the most audacious scoundrel I have ever had the displeasure of speaking to. I cannot suffer to hear any more of your words. And it is your words that have condemned you, not mine.”

  197 Then turning to his guards, Pilate commanded, “Take him to be crucified on the morrow. Crucify him naked that he might remember that he is nothing. Give him fifty lashes with a leaded scourge before he departs for the hill that he may see that his blood spills and his flesh rips out just like any other mans.  And have him carry his own cross that he might be reminded with every step of the weight and consequences of his own foolishness.”

  198 Then the guards bound Yeshua's arms and hands tightly behind his back and put a rope around his neck and pulled him by it and led him away as Pilate commanded.

  199 As he was passing from the room Pilate called after him, saying, “Where is your great magic now? Where is your god?”

  200 Yeshua turned his face back toward Pilate and answered, saying, “Where it has always been, inside of me. And inside of everyone who believes in me. It is a light that has no beginning and can have no end; a light that shall ever grow, and all the power of Rome and all the kings of Earth cannot extinguish it.”

 

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