THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch22 – part 2

THE TRIAL – JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

Then he turned to Arturos. “Tell me, Tribune. Was it not his task to keep me from these kind of surprises?” He again looked at Cornelius and asked, “Who did you bring in?”

“I’m sorry, sir. The prisoner is the Nazarene, sir”

Pilate looked at him questioningly. “The Nazarene? You mean Jesus of Nazareth? What in the name of Jupiter is going on? Why did you arrest him? I thought he was no threat.”

“Sir, he was not really my prisoner. I took custody of him from the High Priest.”

“The High Priest! Talking about a thorn on my side!” After some silence, he said, “Wait! He is out there, isn’t he? He is the one that riled up the populace to gather at our footsteps, didn’t he?”

“Yes, sir. I believe that may be his purpose.” Cornelius suddenly felt a little hopeful.

“Very well,” Pilate said. “Let us get ourselves outside and play along in their charade.”

Just as they were to go through the main gate, several trumpets blared out announcing that the Governor General is about to hold court. Pilate, striding with all the dignity of his office, took his place on a gilded throne under a canopy. He was flanked on both sides by his officers and sitting on a stool below him was a court recorder.

Pilot then called for the prisoner to be brought before him. Jesus was brought to the ledge of the platform so that the Governor and the people can both see him. Then the Governor lazily raised his hand to Tribune Marcianus to proceed.

Tribune Marcianus stepped forward and announced to the crowd, “By the authority of our glorious emperor and the senate, the Roman prefect and Governor General of all Palestine hereby declare that this court is ready to accept any grievances for judgment.”

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch22 – part 1

THE TRIAL – JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

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?”
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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch21 – part 4

A NIGHT OF REGRETS – JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

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.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch21 – part 3

A NIGHT OF REGRETS – JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

The city of David was a fortified walled city built on a long ridge shaped like a finger protruding from the Temple Mount. The ridge overlooked the bottom end of the Kidron Valley in the East, the lower city in the West and the tip overlooked the main Southern gate of Jerusalem and the Pool of Siloam. The city of David was originally built by King David and held the royal residences. Now, the palaces, located at the fingertip of the ridge were mostly used by visiting dignitaries and it many halls used by the ruling class. The rest of the ridge were houses of the rich.

They found the halls empty. Cornelius was frustrated. They back tracked to the plaza under the Temple Mount. The city was quiet with very few people wandering the streets. Then Cornelius spotted a figure crouching against the tall perimeter wall. When he came closer to him, by the light of the torches they carried, Cornelius recognized Judas Iscariot.

Judas saw them closing in and all he perceived was they were Romans, so he tried to run. But Cornelius cornered him. Judas was panicked and his face was riddled with guilt. Cornelius knew he was the one that led the High Priest’s henchmen to arrest Jesus.

“Judas… Judas! It’s me, Cornelius. Tell me what happened.”

Judas seem to calm down a little. Seeing that it was someone he knew, he told his story. He was disappointed with Jesus for sometime now. He was really hoping Jesus would use his heavenly powers to claim his rightful kingship. But Jesus would not. For weeks he was disillusioned. So, he met with the High Priest’s people to see what deal he could make. Then during the Passover meal, Jesus said that one of them will betray him, he panicked and went again to the High Priest and told them that he can lead them to where Jesus will be alone.

So, he led the High Priest’s servants and Temple guards to the Garden of Gethsemane. He betrayed him with a kiss. He told them that whoever he kissed is the one they wanted. Then Judas cried out.

“I looked at his face when I betrayed him! I looked into his eyes. There was no condemnation in his eyes. I cannot stand it. What have I done?”

Cornelius had no more time to console him. “Judas!” He had to shake him a little. “Judas, where did they take him?”

Judas pointed to the upper city and sobbed, “The house of Annas, the father of Caiaphas, the High Priest.”

“Listen, Judas. The Lord will forgive you if you let him. I’m going after him. Look for the others and wait. I have to go.”

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch21 – part 2

A NIGHT OF REGRETS – JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

“If Temple guards have Jesus, they’ll hold him in a cell at the other end of the Temple,” Cornelius said more to himself. He turned to Cestus and said, “Cestus, you get six of our men, full armor and weapons. Wait for me at the Temple portal gate, South tower.”

Cornelius brought Jacob and Trax to the Lady Pheobe’s quarters. He knocks at her door and did not have long to wait. It was the Lady Pheobe waiting for him expectantly.

“My Lady, thank you for your assistance. May Jacob and Trax stay with you?”

“Of course, Cornelius.”

“I must be off.”

“Be well.”

Cornelius rushed to the South-West tower of the fortress where Cestus waited with six of his men. Putting on his helmet, he and his men went through the portal gate that led to the North West corner of the Temple battlement walkway. They had to go to the other end of the Temple Mount. Cornelius figured it was about a third of a mile away which they can jog it in less than ten minutes. Along the way, Temple guards stood at their posts and dared not interfere with the Romans. When they reached the Southern buildings, they went down two flights of stairs and waylaid a patrolling squad of guards to demand where they held the Nazarene. The guards expressed no knowledge of this. Then Cornelius spotted a group of four men coming in through the gate. One of them had a big blood stain on his tunic but no visible wound. Cornelius angrily grabbed him and shoved him against the wall.

“Who’s blood is this?”

“It… it’s mine.”

“Tell me… Tell me what happened?”

“We went to the garden following the lead of one of the Nazarene’s closest disciple. We caught them unaware. They were sleeping except him. I and my companion were tasked by the High Priest to bind him but then I was attacked. My ear was cut off. There was so much blood and the pain… the pain was so unbearable until… until there was no more pain. I opened my eyes to find that the Nazarene’s hand was cupped over my ear which was whole again. He healed me even after all that.”

“Where is he?”

“I don’t know. After he healed me, I didn’t want to partake anymore.”

“What did the High Priest intend?”

“A trial tonight. He has reconvened those members who are loyal to him and find the Nazarene guilty. They intend to have him killed.”

“Where?”

“I don’t know.”

Cornelius figured that they’re probably holding the trial in one of the great halls in the ancient city of David where the Sanhedrin usually met. They quickly descended the Southern stairs that brought them to the base of the Temple Mount unto a grand plaza.
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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch21 – part 1

A NIGHT OF REGRETS – JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

It was late in the afternoon, Cornelius’ bottom was sore as he was driving the first wagon for hours on a bumpy road some twenty miles from the city. He was beginning to wonder if Barabbas was going to hit soon. Then Cornelius saw a signal on a ridge, a reflected light. That means Barabbas was spotted. He kicked the back of the bench.

“Get ready men.”

Groaning and metal scraping against metal was audible under the tarp. Cornelius signaled the other wagon which was driven by Lyca. They were coming around a bend and was rolling down a dip when about fifteen shouting men brandishing crude weapons jumped out from hiding. As soon as they appeared, he and the hidden soldiers went into action. Cornelius kicked a brigand in the face as he tried to climb on board. He then jumped on another one and quickly disarmed him. The skirmish was quickly over with a few who escaped but was later captured by a closing ring of soldiers. It was Flavius who brought a surprise prisoner all trussed up for Cornelius.

“We caught this one two miles out. He said he was a farmer on his way to his home. He had no weapon, so I almost let him go, when out came Nacob and said that we captured Barabbas. Nacob was trailing him from Ephraim. Well, Cornelius, here he is.”
It was late when they rolled into the Fortress Antonias with the prisoners. He was about to ride back to Emmaus when he heard his name called. It was Jacob and Trax.

“Jacob, what are you doing here?”

“We came looking for you. The guards would not let us in, but the Lady Pheobe, who was returning with the Governor’s wife, recognized us. It was she that gave us leave to wait for you here.”

“But why did you come looking for me?”

“We were staying with the kin of Simon the Leper in the city of David for the night. We were about to retire when John Mark burst in with his clothes all torn. He said they have the Master!”

“Who got Jesus?”

“He was not very clear, but he thinks there were some Temple guards there. That was all we could get from him, I’m afraid.”

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BIBLE Q & A with Johann – #11

How does one tempt the Lord your God?

In Matthew 4, Jesus Christ under went some very harsh temptations by the devil after he had spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness. In one of those temptations, Jesus was supernaturally transported to the very top of the Temple the height of which was about 4 stories high. The devil then enticed him…

“If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’ ” [Matt 4:5,6]

But then Jesus replied with this statement.

“It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ “ [Matt 4:7]

In an older translation, it reads, ‘Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.’ [KJV]

So, if Jesus did step off the precipice as the devil encourage, how would he be tempting God?

The truth of the matter is that the devil was right in saying that God could easily command His angels in keeping Jesus safe.

We saw this when an angel protected him when he was just a fetus in Mary’s womb. Mary would have been stoned to death if it were not for an angel revealing the truth to Joseph who claimed her as his legitimate wife. We also saw this when Jesus was a new born baby and it was an angel that protected him from being killed by Herod. There were probably many more untold instances of angels protecting Jesus as he grew up.

But I dare say that that protection was specifically there because Jesus had one goal in his earthly life and that is to die on the cross as a man with no sin at all.

What would have happened if Jesus decided to throw himself off that high ledge for whatever reason? He would have SINNED and be exactly as flawed as you and I! Would God still have angels protecting him? We (including the hypothetical Jesus that sinned) would never know! And this is the whole point of tempting God.

When a rock climber precariously clings on a cliff wall by just his finger tips or anyone else partaking in any extreme sport, do they not tempt fate/providence? Of course, they do. They knowingly know this. In fact, this is the reason why they do it. They willfully do it for the thrill.

When is this sin, however? When they presume that God will protect them even when there is no proof of divine promises.

By the way, Jesus never gave in to any of the devil’s temptations which you can read more about in Matthew 4.

THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch20 – part 3

STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK – Temple Mount, Mount of Olives, JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

Everyone was up and shoving each other. Some of the angry priest were calling out for the guards. People were saying he is the Messiah. Others were calling to have him stoned for blasphemy. It was this time of the chaos that Jesus was whisked away by his disciples. They went down the Eastern stairs to the winding ramps. then crossed the Kidron bridge. When they were climbing a trail to the top of the Mount of Olives, Cestus came up to Cornelius from the rear.

“Sir, no one is following us,” Cestus reported. “Sir? What happened back there? If I didn’t know any better, I think he purposely goaded those people back there.”

“Yes, he did.”

“Sir, that is a little odd. You would think if he is to become a leader of these people, he would not alienate the ruling class. Did I get it right, sir?”

“If he was just any ordinary person.”

“Yes, sir. I see.”

When they reached the top of the Mount of Olives, one of the disciples gestured towards the city. From their vantage point, they can see above Eastern ramparts of the Temple Mount into the Court of Nations and the Temple Complex in the center. The Temple itself rose high up with its massive doors overlaid with gold flanked by two tall bronze pillars were very visible from where they stood. A thick column of smoke rose from within the Temple complex. That would be from the daily burnt offerings on the equally massive bronze altar in the Court of the Priests. On the opposite side of the court from the altar would be the giant metal basin sitting on twelve bronze bull statuettes called the Sea.

“Master, see how magnificent the Temple and the other buildings are.”

When they looked at Jesus to see his reaction, he was weeping.

He cried out, “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! For I say to you, from now on you will not see Me until you say, ‘BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!’” [Matthew 23:37-39 NASB]

“If only you had known on this day what would bring you peace! But now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you when your enemies will throw up a barricade against you, and surround you and hem you in on every side, and they will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation.” [Luke 19:42-44 NASB]

As Cornelius listened to his last statement, he pictured three Roman Legions surrounding the entire city. High embarkments would be dug around the perimeter. Water and food resources would be cut off to cause starvation and thirst and bring the city into submission. He now knew that somewhere in the near future, the Jews and Rome will come to a head. And Rome will prevail. For Jesus said that ‘they will not leave in you one stone upon another’. Roman soldiers will tear down the Temple structure probably to get at all the gold used on the whole building.

Philipp asked, “Master, tell us, when will these things happen, and what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?”

“Come with me among the trees and we will talk.”

Cornelius would have joined them in the shade but a whistle from down the hill stopped him. It was a signal from Cestus who was watching if they were followed. Cornelius spotted Cestus about a hundred feet down the hill gesturing at a lone man jogging up the same winding trail they were on. Ten minutes had past, when Cestus was leading Lyca who was panting for breath.

“Lyca, how did you find us?” asked Cornelius.

“Sir, I knew you were going to be in the Temple. So, I entered through the Western gate and saw the Nazarene talking. I was working my way through the crowd when everybody erupted and started jostling me about. I caught sight of you going into the columns but then lost you in the chaos. It was by luck that I spotted your group crossing the bridge and going up here.

Sir, we got word from Nacob up in Ephraim. He found Barabbas in a tavern boasting about being soon to be very rich and being hailed as a patriot. He even went as far as to describe how he and his men will hit a Roman Revenue wagon disguised as a merchant wagon.”

“Sir, your lure worked!” Cestus said satisfactorally.

“Yes… very well. We left the horses at Bethany. We’ll go there first. Cestus, you ride to Flavius at the city’s West gate and get him and his men moving. He already knows the plan. Lyca, you stay with me. We’re riding to Emmaus and commandeer a wagon.”

Cornelius saw that Jesus had finished talking to the disciples. He asked if he could talk to him.

“Lord, I have to leave for awhile. I will try to catch up to you for the Passover meal.”

“Go, Cornelius. Do your duty. Whatever comes, always fall back on your faith.”

Cornelius told Jacob and Trax to go ahead and stay with the group. Then he said his farewells and together with Lyca and Cestus jogged back to Bethany. Half an hour later, Cestus was riding to the city while he and Lyca was riding hard to Emmaus. By the middle of the night, Cornelius and Lyca were on the road with two empty wagons.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch20 – part 2

STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK – Temple Mount, Mount of Olives, JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

Angry murmurs were coming from the Pharisees and scribes, while confusion was coming from his own group. They were caught off guard. They didn’t expect and understand why he was attacking them. Jesus criticized them for taking the place of honor at banquets, for wearing such ostentatious clothing, for encouraging people to call them Rabbi. For this he reminded the people that it was not them who are their true leader but only Christ. He was telling people that the true servants of God are not them who exult themselves but those that humbles himself. Some of the Pharisees were loudly protesting, while some were trying to maintain decorum. His own followers were probably relieved that things were calming down. But apparently, he was not done yet. This time, he turned to Pharisees and scribes and delivered some very scathing rebukes each attacking their hypocrisies.

Every one of the rebukes started with “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites.” For every ‘woe’ shouted Cornelius cringed knowing what an explosive situation they’re in. He signaled Cestus to be at a ready. He checked on his dagger that was hidden under the sash of his back but decided not to pull it out. They positioned themselves on Jesus’ left flank two steps lower from him. The Twelve formed a protective circle while there were about twenty or more other disciples between them and the crowd. Cornelius also sent Jacob, Trax and some of the women to retreat far behind Jesus deeper among the colonades.

Like the pounding of a nail into wood, every rebuke touched a sensitive nerve most in their pride, but some in their conscience. When Jesus accused the Pharisees for being energetic to make proselytes of the Jewish religion and when they succeed, Jesus charged, “You make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” In other words, the Pharisees and their proselytes both would end up in eternal damnation. Most protested by jeering and calling Jesus a devil. But there a few who were notably disturbed.

On Jesus’ third woe, as he ridiculed the trickery of the Pharisees, who held that swearing by the gold of the temple bound the oath. Just as Jesus was denouncing them as both fools and blind, the increasing angry commotions attracted the attention of the High Priest. From the Temple, he strode through the crowd with his priests making way and joined the already seething members of the Sanhedrin. He had a satisfied smirk in his face.

Jesus continued on with four more rebukes from their hypocrisy in tithing to finally their hypocrisy to honor the prophets forgetting that their ancestors were the ones that killed them and that even now they are doing the same by plotting to kill him.

Then with dramatic flair, Jesus points ominously at the Pharisees, the scribes and the High Priest, and declared, “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, so that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” [Matthew 23:33-36]

Like the breaking of the damn, the court yard broke out with indignant voices.

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THE CENTURION’S GOSPEL – Ch20 – part 1

STRAW THAT BROKE THE CAMEL’S BACK – Temple Mount, Mount of Olives, JerusalemCG-book-cover-w

Two days had passed since Jesus’ triumphant entry into the city. Everyday he came into the Temple court and taught the people on the steps of Solomon’s Columns. He taught much and soon even the elites of the city came to hear him teach. The day before the celebrated Passover Meal, an exceptional group of Pharisees many of whom were members of the Jewish governing body, the Sanhedrin, were there. When Jesus saw them gathering, he finished the latest parable he was imparting to the crowd. Then he stood up like he was about to orate. He turned first to Peter and the others then toward Cornelius. He smiled and Cornelius knew to be ready because Jesus is going to say something controversial that can lead to violence.

Then he turned to the crowd and said…

“The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses; therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.

“They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger. But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. They love the place of honor at banquets and the chief seats in the synagogues, and respectful greetings in the market places, and being called Rabbi by men.

“But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” [Matthew 23:1-12]

Angry murmurs were coming from the Pharisees and scribes, while confusion was coming from his own group. They were caught off guard. They didn’t expect and understand why he was attacking them. Jesus criticized them for taking the place of honor at banquets, for wearing such ostentatious clothing, for encouraging people to call them Rabbi. For this he reminded the people that it was not them who are their true leader but only Christ. He was telling people that the true servants of God are not them who exult themselves but those that humbles himself. Some of the Pharisees were loudly protesting, while some were trying to maintain decorum. His own followers were probably relieved that things were calming down. But apparently, he was not done yet.

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The story continues on in my next post.

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