NAHAN THE PRIEST
32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judea
Nahan was emerging through the western gate unto the Temple court which was, as usual busy with the festival’s pilgrims. It is the fourth day of the Feast of Tabernacles. It is an annual event when all of Israel erect makeshift tabernacles mostly on the roofs of their homes to commemorate Israel’s forty years of wandering. It usually lasted seven days but there is talk of extending another week. A large number of festival’s revelers had erected makeshift booths throughout the vast court. Much were mostly lean-to structures made of wood planks, stripped palm branches and odd collection of multi-colored fabric materials.
Nahan was heading to the Temple complex when he was intercepted by a minor priest.
“Nahan, the High Priest requires your presence right away. Where have you been all week?”
“I have been at the coast near Joppa at the behest of the High Priest. What is wrong?”
“The Nazarene is here!”
“What? I thought he was at the north country. Tell me what had happened.”
“He just showed up two days ago and started to teach at the columns fronting the Temple. For the past two days, we, the Pharisees, and the Sadducees have been trying to bait him to make mistakes so that the Romans have cause to arrest him. But so far, we have failed and his popularity grows.”
“Come! Let us go to the council chamber,” said Nahan.
They quickened the pace to the council chamber of the High Priest. When he entered the chamber, the council of priests were in the middle of a heated debate.
“Why are we not arresting him?”
“Yes! We should send the Temple guards now.”
There were assenting comments throughout the chamber.
“Enough debate,” said the High Priest. “There are over five thousand people on the temple court right now. They are excited of him being there. They think he is the one. Imagine what would happen if we arrested him in front of them.”
“A riot would definitely ensue,” said Nahan out loud. “And it will definitely attract the Romans.”
“Exactly,” said the High Priest. “We need another plan.”
“Holy One, we must discredit him publicly,” said Nahan. “We must show the people that he is not who they think he is.”
“I agree,” said the High Priest. “Nahan, you are an expert of the law and an accomplished orator. When he returns to the temple tomorrow, you will debate him.”
The next day, Jesus was at his usual spot, on the steps of Solomon’s colonnade, just across from the steps that led into the Temple. He was again teaching the people. But this time, there was a greater number of the ruling class occupying the platform and steps just across from him. Among them were Annas, the former High Priest and unspoken leader of the ruling class, and his son, Caiaphas, the current High Priest.
As he taught, the people and many who were there to oppose him were astonished with his words. Nahan can see that the High Priest was showing concern that even his people were being swayed. He turned to Nahan and gave a single nod… a prearranged signal.
Nahan then stepped up to the edge of the platform wearing a rich robe of purple with gold trimmings. But instead of talking to the crowd, he loudly addressed himself to the leadership.
“Holy One and fellow leaders of the people! This man here is no teacher of the law; for he has never been among us who have spent everyday of our lives studying under the great rabbis of our time. He is uncouth and lacks the sophistication of any of our learned teachers. He is, after all, just from Nazareth and a carpenter’s son at that.” The men around him laughed. “How can this man be the Messiah? He openly consorts with sinners! Even one of his closest followers is a notorious tax collector.” There was more laughter.
Emboldened by the cheers of the ruling class, Nahan continued on maligning the character of Jesus, but this time he was talking to the crowd. For fifteen minutes he twisted the teachings of Jesus and mocked them as nonsense. “It is better that you return to Galilee and teach to the sheep and goats.”
I hope you are enjoying the 46th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.
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