THE TRIAL – Jerusalem
The old city of Jerusalem was originally known as the ancient city of Salem way back before Abraham walked the lands of the Canaanites. It was a small walled-in city built on short rolling hills. The streets were extremely narrow with the houses stacked up high and close together. There was also not a single street in the old city that ran straight. Half the time, the streets wound up a hill then down. A couple of the narrower lanes ascended to an abrupt stop on a ledge then you have to descend a number of very steep steps to another narrow lane below. This was what Cornelius and his entourage had to contend with as they traversed through Jerusalem’s old city.
The crowd following was getting larger and somewhat festive. Cornelius was thinking that most of those following were not even aware why they were. People in the houses would peer out and shout to the crowd below inquiring what was happening. Some would say that the Nazarene was arrested by the Romans. Others would call out that he was going to claim his kingdom and push the Romans away. By the time they came out to the grand plaza fronting the fortress, it seemed that the whole city was pouring in to fill it.
Cornelius noted that the entire Praetorian garrison was out and lining the city wall. Another detachment was lined up cordoning off the grand stairway to the main gate and the observation platform where the Governor usually held court. Cornelius led his men and Jesus to the platform. Caiaphas and Annas got out of their litter. They and the members of the Sanhedrin ascended the steps about halfway then waited.
Meanwhile, at the top of the platform, Tribune Marcianus and Braga came through the gate.
“This is a big mess you brought us, Centurion,” Marcianus said.
“Sir, where is the Governor?”
“He is waiting in the antechamber. He is not really happy with you, today. For the mean time, Bragga will take custody of your prisoner.” Before Cornelius can object, he said, “No arguments, Centurion. Governor’s orders. Now, move. The Governor is waiting for you.”
“Yes, sir.” Cornelius motioned to Cestus to stay close to Jesus. He nodded in acknowledgment.
The antechamber was adjacent to the main gate. When he entered, Pilate was eating breakfast while Tribune Arturos was also there waiting. Cornelius stood at attention for a long time as the Governor continued to eat. It was Arturos who broke the silence.
“Good job in bringing in that brigand, Barabbas. He is one thorn out of our side.”
Then Pilate slammed his bowl of food on the table.
“Oh yes, congratulation Centurion! Good work!” Pilate said sarcastically. “But tell me this, how did you manage to bring a bunch of prisoners just last night and then while escorting another, you also brought the entire city to my doorstep in so early in the morning?”
The story continues on in my next post.
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