Sgt. Buzz: It’s 5:00 o’clock J-city! If you’re outbound on the Jericho thruway expect delays, there’s an injury accident with oxen in two lanes at exit 12. Northside is clear and outbound Sinai Road is moving smoothly. Now, back to The Rabbi.
Rabbi Jerry: Hey, folks! This is Jerry “Rabbi” Goldberg and you’re listening to AM 1470, KREX, The Voice of Rome. This afternoon I’m with some of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth, recently crucified by Pilate with the support of the Sanhedrin. If you have questions or opinions call us at 1-800-temple-12, 1-800-temple-12.
So, let me set this up: Jesus comes into town this week to a cheering crowd heralding him as the Messiah. Palm branches on the streets, crowds yelling,flags, fireworks, fig smoothies…the whole 9 yards. Then things change. I have Peter, one of Jesus’ key followers here with me. We’re at a house in northern Jerusalem. Peter, what happened?
Peter: We thought Jesus was the Messiah, but hadn’t bargained on Rome or their lackies at the Temple. Rome and the Temple establishment weren’t having a messiah.
Rabbi Jerry: You were there when they took Jesus into custody, right?
Peter (disappointed): Yeah, all of us here, were there. We expected Jesus to lead us in victory, but he folded on the spot without a fight. Barely said a word. The messiah thing unraveled right there, right, James?
James Zebedee (nodding): Yep. The air left the room at that moment. It was embarrassing. Judas walks up, fingers Jesus, and the whole thing was over in less than a minute.
Rabbi Jerry: Peter, you eventually followed the soldiers and Jesus to the palace, correct?
Peter: Well, yes, sort of. I tagged along from a distance. I was in the courtyard during the trial. Jesus didn’t say or do a thing. They beat him senseless, put a thorn crown on his head and proceeded to condemn him. With the help of the Temple jerks, the crowd turned on him. It was over before it started. It was incredible. Sad. Disappointing.
Rabbi Jerry: John, where were you and the others?
John: I was with Jesus’ mother and the ladies near here. When the soldiers came and Jesus gave up, Peter tried to fight, but Jesus wouldn’t have it. The soldiers were gearing up to take us, too, so we ran for our lives. I returned to a house nearby where the women were staying. I wanted to be the one to break the news to Jesus’ mother since Jesus gave up any pretense of being the Messiah almost immediately. He wasn’t going to do anything to save himself or us. I got steady updates through a friend at the palace regarding the trial and verdict.
Rabbi Jerry: We have to go to a hard break and we’ll be back. Folks, are your documents and important papers safe? I use Bronzite to protect my identity… (taped ads).
We’re back. So, John, you were with Mary, Jesus’ mother?
John (sadly): Yes. When we heard about the verdict, we grabbed our stuff and went to be with Jesus. We were there at the cross. It was terrible. He was himself to the end, though — forgiving, worried about his mother and stuff like that. He prayed. He died when the storm blew up. Some friends with influence got permission for us to take Jesus down and bury him just before the Sabbath. The ladies will finish the burial after the sabbath.
Rabbi Jerry: Hmm. So, after this weekend, it’s back to square one for John and his friends. Thanks, John.
Simon, “the Zealot,” is with us. Simon, why didn’t you fight for Jesus?
Simon (shaking his head): I’ve seen my share of action in Syria and I could tell within seconds the encounter was going to go badly. Jesus was not going to fight. We had to clear out or go on trial with Jesus.
Rabbi Jerry: So, what about Jesus of Nazareth?
Peter: I think I can speak for all of us (looking around). He’s finished. Jesus is dead. John and the ladies have put his body to rest. No more messiah. Right guys?
Rabbi Jerry: So what’s next for you guys?
John: We’ll finish up the funeral. I promised I’d take care of Mary. I’m thinking we might go back to Capernaum when things have settled.
Peter: Most of us are going to lay low for a while. There may be bounties on our heads, we’re not sure. Better to be safe. Then, I guess we’ll go back home and take up where we left off about three years ago.
Rabbi Jerry: So, there you have it. Jesus of Nazareth, dead. Followers scattered. Fantasy to funeral in a week. I’m Jerry “the Rabbi” Goldberg and you are listening to AM 1470, KREX, The Voice of Rome. We’ll be right back.
Tr8: “They did not believe” (Luke 24: 11). Jesus and prophets raised others from the dead, but NO ONE ever raised himself from the dead. The event that changed the world was Jesus (God apparent) overcoming death on his own after we killed him. God with us on his terms, not ours. The Good News is God has revealed sin (the truth), but has determined to love us (grace) despite our sin.