The people were milling about in the temple courtyard, little realising what was soon to befall them. Caiaphas stood by the chamber window gazing at the scene. He held Pilate’s letter in his hand, a letter that had been read many times that morning. Pilate had chosen his words carefully, but his meaning was clear: Restore order, or Pilate would do it for him. There was no need to elaborate on the brutality that Pilate would use, but was there really anything he could do? While he was pondering their uncertain future, there was a knock at the door and the Captain of the Guard entered.
Caiaphas did not wait for the captain to speak. “Well? Have they taken the bait?”.
“Yes, my Lord,” the captain hesitated, “but nothing of use. We have had a dozen or so people come forward, but their stories do not agree, and none are close enough to help us to seize him. Shall I increase the reward?”
“No captain. Thirty silver pieces is more than enough. Raising the reward will draw greater attention to what we are doing, and even then I suspect the people we need would not come.”
“Is there nothing we can do, my lord?”
“There is always prayer, but there may be little else. Let us hope that God hears us.” With that Caiaphas dismissed the captain and returned to the window. The people still carried on as before. Best they don’t know, thought Caiaphas.
Caiaphas raised his hands to heaven. For over an hour he prayed, his voice reflecting the desperation he felt. There was a knock on the door and his servant entered.
“There is a ‘Judas’, son of Simon Iscariot, to see you, my lord.”
How many years had it been since he last saw Judas? It must have been more than five years ago. What had he been doing in those years? He did not recall Simon telling him, but then, he probably never asked. Yet now was not a time for catching up with family friends. “Tell him I am sorry. I would love to see him, but now is a bad time. Could he come back tomorrow?”
The servant left, but a few minutes later was back. “He said its urgent. Tomorrow would be too late. He is quite insistent, my lord.”
Caiaphas was annoyed that Judas had not gone away. he did not want the distraction, yet his friend’s son had never come like this before. “Very well, send him in, but tell him he can’t be long.”
Judas entered. “Greetings, Caiaphas.”
“Greetings Judas, and what brings you do my door? But before you start, you need to know there there is some serious trouble in the city, so this needs to be brief and, if you take my advise, you will flee the city as soon as you can. I fear a bloodbath.” Caiaphas could see Judas pause, something was going through the young man’s head, but Caiaphas could not tell what it was.
“I think I may have come for the same reason,” Judas said. “I have been travelling with the prophet Jesus, and I can see the trouble that he has caused.”
Caiaphas felt the goose bumps down his back as his hair stood on end. He could not believe what was happening. Surely, this was God’s answer to prayer.