32 AD – Confrontation – Temple Mount, Jerusalem, Judeafaithful-encounters-cover-w

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.”

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 46th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.

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31 AD – Temple Mount, Jerusalemfaithful-encounters-cover-w

The doors to the office of the High Priest are as tall as two men and carved with intricate geometric designs. Standing watch were two Temple guardsmen.

Nahan was summoned. He suspects it has something to do with the wandering rabbi in the Galilee area. Ever since he caused such a raucous on the Temple court just a few months ago, Nahan was tasked to investigate. One of the doors swang open and a minor priest let him. The room was long with narrow slit windows on one side.

“Father, your time as High Priest is over. I cannot do the same things that you used to do,” said Caiaphas.

“Herod is a fool,” cranked Annas. “He imprisoned the Baptist instead of having him killed. The Baptist goes around declaring the great sin of him marrying Herodias, his own brother’s wife, but all he does is put him in a cell. I have even heard that the Baptist is taken to his room every night so they can talk. It is like he is keeping him like a pet. We can’t even get our hands on him for as long as he is held at Machaerus in Perea.”

Caiaphas saw Nahan approaching. “Wait, father,” he said. “Nahan. It is good that you have come.”

“Anointed one,” Nahan said bowing. Then, he bowed to Annas. “Your emminence.”

“Last week, you performed a purification ceremony in the valley of Kidron,” said Caiaphas.

“Yes, holy one. Ten years ago, a relative came to me and he was declared unclean for leprosy. All the signs were there. More than a week ago, his brother came to me and requested me to perform this ceremony for a kin. He didn’t tell me who it was. So, I followed protocol. Since the ceremony was suppose to take place outside the Temple, I instructed them to set up camp in the Kidron Valley. Three days later, I and two other priests descended the eastern stairs to find a fairly large encampment. It looked like the entire clan was assembled including that of my own family. It seem I was the only one kept in the dark. Though I admit, I was a little intrigued to see who it was that needed ceremonial purification. When I came into the camp, my family and relatives were all clustered together watching me. They all had this mirthful expression and a few almost brokeout laughing. I suspected I was the butt of a family jest. I was about to harshly rebuke them for sinning when they parted and out walked, to my surprise, someone I didnot expect. It was Simon, my cousin, the very same one I declared unclean many years back.

“I asked him how was it that he was not a leper anymore. He would not say except that he was here in accordance to the Law. And he had prepared everything needed for the ceremony. So, we took him to a tent and we examined every inch of his body and no trace of the leprosy can be found. After, he dressed, we went out and I declared to the family he was free of the disease. Then, they brought two birds needed. I commanded that one of the two birds be slaughtered over a clay pot filled with water. As the blood mixed, I took the other bird and tied the scarlet yarn on its leg. Then, I tied the hyssop branch to the cedar stick. One of the priest both dipped the bird and the hyssop branch in the blood in the clay pot. Then I took the hyssop branch and sprinkled Simon with the blood seven times as is ascribed. After that, we released the other bird.

“It had to be the Nazarene!” blurted Annas.

“It was,” said Nahan. “I got it out of my niece during the celebration. Apparently, my nephew brought him to Galilee and this Jesus supposedly healed him in public.”

“We also knew it,” said Caiaphas. “Some of our people returned from up north and confirmed the event. They recognized your cousin. Anyway, what is the latest with your cousin?” .

“He is suppose to return tomorrow and bring his offerings to complete his purifiction.”

“Very well,” said Caiaphas. “You will make an announcement that you made a mistake ten years ago. That this Simon was not really leprous but was inflicted with a skin condition that healed itself after ten years.”

Noticing the baffled look on Nahan’s face, Annas explained, “Nahan, it is important that we discourage and cut off every information of that Galilean troublemaker.”

“I see, Holy one.” Though at the back of his mind, he was not liking it.

Greeting friends…

I hope you are enjoying the 27th segment of my ebook, FAITHFUL ENCOUNTERS.

Feel free to leave your comments below. I look forward to read your comments and constructive inputs that will help me direct my creative thoughts.

Thank you.

Until the next post.

Johann Q.