Caiaphas

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.

 

 

 

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Judas

There was a dark cloud on the distant horizon. He could clearly see it. It threatened disaster for the people. It was so obvious to him, that he could not explain why Jesus could not see it – or was refusing too.

“I don’t get it,” his voice raised and excited, “you ride into Jerusalem on a donkey, encouraging all sorts of wild excitement from the crowd. You then make a huge commotion in the Temple and leave the whole city in uproar. Don’t you see that the people are now expecting a revolution? All done under the noses of the cursed Romans when they are here in force! And then we sneak off back to Bethany. There will be a riot! What on earth do you think you are playing at?”

Jesus was not threatened by Judas’ outburst. “I thought you wanted a revolution? Surely you are not scared now that it approaches?”

“No! And you know it. It’s not a revolution I’m scared of, it’s this half revolution that you seem to be planning. Where the people get stirred up, but without anyone to lead them. If you wanted a revolution, I don’t know anyone who would not lay their lives down for it. The people are ready to follow. But you don’t want to lead them, do you? This won’t be a revolution, it will be a slaughter!” And then more calmly, “Don’t you see that?”

“So what would you have me do?”

Judas was exasperated by the man, a man who inspired such love and loyalty, but whom he could never figure out. “You need to choose to either lead this thing properly or, if you will forgive my bluntness, stick to being a wonder worker and prophet.” Judas paused. Getting this off his chest was helping him calm down and he knew he said more than he intended – or meant. “I’m sorry. It’s just that we’ve alerted the Romans to a revolt, and if we are not careful, the next thing will be the Romans decimating Jerusalem – just to teach us a lesson. Don’t you realise that Pilate is looking for an excuse to prove to us who is boss? And you seem to want to give it to him! We must either rise up properly, or lay the business down – at least for the time being.”

Their was a sadness in Jesus eyes, and his words were heavy as he spoke. “I am sorry Judas. I am sorry to have caused you this fear, it is indeed a hard road. Yet I must do what the Father bids me. I know that you cannot see that now, but you will. I too can see much suffering on this road. Yet, the fact remains, I must do what I need to do, just as you too must go and do what you need to do. It is a hard road for both of us.”

Judas got up and left. The conversation had come to an end. He knew that there was no moving the man once his mind was set. Jesus instinct had proved so good in the past, but not in this. Judas had tears in his eyes. He did not fully know why. Something in the sadness of Jesus’ last remark, but also in a sense of loss they he could not explain. A separation, that he neither looked for nor desired. It was this sadness, perhaps, that stopped him asking Jesus to explain his last remark. Was there something that he needed to do? He wasn’t sure, but he thought it might be worth talking to Caiaphas, a close friend of his fathers, and a man who might, just might, have enough influence to help prevent this impending disaster.