The following article is written as if a Roman newspaper columnist penned a column right after Jesus’s death.
The Times Temporal, Jerusalem, March 26, 33 A.D.
By nightfall yesterday, the Empire was a better place. Kudos to governor Pontius Pilate for ridding not only Israel but the whole world of yet another seditious agitator.
Jesus, a man in his early 30s from Nazareth, a small town outside Jerusalem, was initially publicized as the son of a humble carpenter. He had for some years been stirring up the people. Many wealthy Jews secretly funded his efforts. This man dared to impugn Caesar and challenge the might of imperial Rome.
His followers spun the tales that he could work miracles and that he was a god. They tried to spread the narrative that he was the so-called “Messiah,” a silly, mythological being who plays a major role in the supposed future of the Jewish religion and a new Jewish “nation” independent of Rome and of all other earthly powers.
Messiah? No Way
Just like a successful general, this “Messiah” was to conquer the world, including the entire Roman empire, and then rule like a divine emperor. As has been the fate of so many would-be tyrants, this man was brought to justice and executed.
His apprehension, conviction, and execution would have been so much more difficult than it was if the religious leaders, priests, and many of his own people had not assisted the authorities. Their public demand for Jesus’ death resulted in his crucifixion.
The Jewish high priest himself declared Jesus a schismatic. He made it clear that this carpenter was a serious threat to the power of the priests over the Jewish people. The priests were so successful in undercutting Jesus’ public appeal that his protestations of simply fulfilling the Jewish laws and prophecies, rather than subverting them, were ignored.
Jesus— Not The Jews’ God
In an official exhortation, the high priest proclaimed that under Jewish law Jesus had blasphemed by saying he was divine. It did not sit well with the religious authorities, challenged by Jesus’s teachings, that Jesus both said he was a god and also told them there was an eternal hell after this life. They were unhappy when he told them, if they did not change, they would be burning in this hell forever. They were also offended when he publicly called them “vipers,” “hypocrites,” and “serpents” rather than peacefully working with them to discuss their differences.
A combination of the church hierarchy and a well-placed patriot-spy within the close-knit rebel organization resulted in his capture. His trial, public scourging, and execution followed.
He rejected all of our gods, even Jupiter, and tried to spread the story that there was one god. As strange and ludicrous as it seemed, he also tried to convince the illiterate, the uneducated, and the unwitting that they too could be partakers in the divine nature of this one god along with him. As barbaric as it might sound, he told his followers they had to eat him and drink his blood to get to his heaven.
All Equals, All Aristocrats
He pandered to the poor, the disabled, the downtrodden, and even to women and slaves. He told them all they were the equal of men. Many of them believed that, with him, they too would be royalty in his kingdom. These foolish people believed this even when he told them his kingdom was “not of this world.”
As has happened again and again across the empire, this only proves that many believe they can seize power if they tell a big enough lie and tell it often. The truth, however, always comes out and triumphs.
He was an excellent showman, public speaker, and, some say, a consummate magician. In addition to a “changing water into wine” trick, he was said to walk on water at will; heal the sick; cure the crippled; and even raise people from the dead. There is no credible account nor any scientific proof of any of these alleged miracles.
Debate: Private Execution?
Sources close to Pontius Pilate have revealed that there was an intense debate about how to conduct Jesus’ trial. The governor and most of his advisers wanted to do this in private. However, the Jewish religious and political leaders were adamant that to quell such future rebellions and schisms, not only the trial but the execution must also be done publicly. In the end, it made little difference to Pontius Pilate. The Roman governor believed it would foster good relations in the future if he let the Jewish hierarchy have their way.
Although no one in the governor’s office could remember such a thing ever happening before, there was also a debate with the high priest’s representatives about how Jesus was to be executed. The Romans wanted a quick beheading or hanging, out of the public view; but again the Jewish leaders demanded a slow, painful, excruciating death such as public flaying or crucifixion.
One source who asked not to be named, one in the highest ranks of the Jewish priesthood, said: “You cannot put this man away quietly. It is absolutely necessary for the good of the people, for the good of the empire, that this rebel be tried publicly, tortured publicly, and executed publicly in the most abominable way so that no one would ever again believe him to be a Messiah or a god or anything else except a sorry, pitiful, lying fraud.”
The Name Jesus To Be Forgotten Forever
This poor man’s memory will soon be erased from history. Jesus and his followers will never be heard of again. Pontius Pilate plans to have a public parade of the dead body of this Jesus which is being kept in a rock tomb until the parade can be organized. The head of the high priest’s committee on tolerance is, unofficially, calling this the first “Jewish Pride” parade. It will include the public exhibition of Jesus’s body and the dead bodies of as many of his men as can be found and executed. After some debate, it was decided that the women and slaves who followed Jesus were too valuable to execute and, upon their agreement to publicly denounce him, their lives will be spared.
Predictions are that within a matter of weeks no one will say the name “Jesus of Nazareth” ever again.