A NIGHT OF REGRETS – Jerusalem
Cornelius and the others left Judas sobbing uncontrollably at the perimeter walls. To get to the upper city they had to use the old north wall, called the Zion Way, that ran from the Western side of the Temple Mount over the Tyropoeon* to the upper city. They quickly climbed the stairs of the Temple Mount to the level of the Court of Nations. Then they went to the Western wall and found the portal that led to another set of stairs. They followed those stairs until they emerged unto the old north wall. The height of the wall was about twenty feet high. Battlements lined both sides of the path which was wide enough for three men to walk abreast. Roman guards held all the perimeter walls of the city. They told Cornelius that they can descend to the upper city about half way up the path and get directions to the house of Annas from the post commander.
[ * Tyropoeon was once a narrow deep terrain valley that was filled in during King Solomon’s reign. Parts of the old city was later built over it.]
The commander was helpful to direct them to the house of Annas which was the way at the Southern end of the upper city. By the time they reached the street where the house was, the roosters were crowing and the sky was paling. As they had the house in sight, Cornelius called a halt. He saw someone he knew in an alley way. It was Peter. But before he could talk to him, Peter saw him then ran away the other way. Cornelius decided not to chase him.
When they finally got to the house, they found a lot of men milling around the gate. Cornelius knocked on the doors and and demanded entry in the name of the Governor. When they were let in, they found more people in courtyard warming their hands in the braziers. They were led through some double doors into a large anteroom. Then another set of tall doors opened with a lot of prominent Jews coming out. Among the men was John, brother of James. He was wondering how he was able to be inside this residence but then he remembered his family was related to Caiaphas. When they locked eyes on each other, John minutely signaled for Cornelius not to show that they knew each other. Then he blended among-st the exiting people. Then Caiaphas, the High Priest, and a shorter older man came striding out. When they saw the Romans waiting in the anteroom, they nonchalantly approached Cornelius.
“How may we be of service, Centurion?”
“I believe you are holding a prisoner here. In the name the Governor, I order you to hand him over to me.”
“We are fortunate you are here, Centurion. We do have here a man guilty of blasphemy and instigating the people to revolt against Rome. Since the Governor had declared that we have no authority to execute blasphemers, we hereby formally hand over our prisoner to you for judgment before the Governor. We will also be accompanying you as you escort him to the governor.”
Cornelius grudgingly nodded his head in ascent. He had no choice now but to bring Jesus before Pilate. Two men came out of the same room with Jesus bound between them. His face was bruised under the right eye and some blood trickled down from his nostril. Cestus stepped forward hulking over those men, they quickly handed Jesus to him.
“I’ve got you, Master,” he whispered to his ear. Jesus gave him a very slight smile. Then he addressed himself to the six soldiers, saying, “Form up, lads.”
They quickly formed two lines with Cestus supporting Jesus in the middle.
Cornelius ordered, “Let’s get going.”
With Cornelius leading the way, they marched out of Annas’ house followed by Caiaphas and his father who rode a litter carried by twelve servants and the crowd of people who were milling around the house. As they walked down a wide avenue, the city was coming to life in the early morning light. There was about a hundred people following and they were attracting a lot more people who were wondering what was going on. As they approached the Zion gate that separated the upper city from the old city, there must have been over a thousand or so people trailing. The guards on the wall were all at alert. The post commander ran to Cornelius and he gave him instructions to signal the fort to expect him and a high profile prisoner for trial.
There was a lot happening but Cornelius was determined to save his life.
The story continues on in my next post.
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