A newspaper reporter for some 40 years, I am now a Christian writer of material focusing on those who are baby Christians of thinking about becoming one.
No Time For Wimps
Recent God-terrible events have converted me. Yeah, fellow Jewish guys, I
now have a new dedication.
That might be hard for you folks in Jerusalem to grip emotionally. Because for years now I have been out of step with our Jewish leaders. Especially the Pharisees and Saduccees.
Pompous. Know everything. And wholly intolerant of anyone who threatens their power and prestige.
Whereas before I was merely disgusted with them, now I am flat out against those robed, self-centered rascals whom I now call thugs.
The way it is now, if anyone embarrasses those self-proclaimed holier-than-all folk -- especially if that new charger performs miracles or does things that are regarded supernatural or claims he is son of God -- the Jewish leaders can't stand it. They, after all, represent the truth and believe they are so close to God they can feel him breathe. They therefore, seek to eliminate any threat, and that person by seeing to it that he is killed.
Or so it seems to me now.
But wait a minute. How did I come to this viewpoint anyway?
Let's retreat a week or two. Looking back on it now, I had made silly plans.
I remember it well: Two weeks ago it was a glorious Friday. The sun was
shining brilliantly. I had my day plotted . . . sort of. First I would sit
in the sun and gaze from my high dwelling out over Jerusalem's roof tops while partaking of my morning gruel. Then I would do the day's laundry. Later on -- like in the afternoon -- perhaps I would drift down to the synagogue.
The sun in the heat of the day promised not to be too warm, as it was early April. Ideal.
I moved my rickety chair over to the edge of the roof top and began
appreciating the view -- washes on the line, arguing couples going about daily cores, and children frolicking in the cobbled street below. Doves were flying in and out of a window in a distant tower.
Wonderful interlude. The gruel never tasted better. The view was idyllic.
Perhaps I should linger a while longer.
I thus mused on for several minutes. Then I heard an un-Godly clamor. Lots of shouting. Some cursing and what sounded like the cracking of a whip or rope.
I peered over the roof edge and looked down into the street directly below. I was not prepared for what I saw. A huge throng of people was moving slowly up the street -- a lot of them jeering and throwing rotten vegetables and fruit. However, others were silent and not throwing stuff.
In the middle of this mob was the abuse target, a scarred, bleeding man in tattered garments, carrying something. It appeared heavy. Like a tree with crossed branches. Hard to tell what it was. Following parallel to this man were Roman soldiers with whips who were lashing the man and at the same time trying to hold back the throng.
It suddenly dawned on me -- whoa! Oh no! Not another one! It appeared that the Roman troops were driving the man with whips to his execution. They would arrive at the death place and then they would nail him to that cross of wood, and then raise him for public spectacle and abuse. Terrible. Not only humiliating, but agonizingly painful. Excruciating. The worst death possible. The man was young -- perhaps in his 30s -- but he looked severely abused -- awful.
Who was he? Why was the throng so upset? And why were the soldiers being so diligent in getting this tattered man to the place of the skull? Some had called the place Golgotha.
Then it suddenly struck me. There was circulating throughout the area a fellow called Jesus. He was a fellow Jew, although a little off-beat. He apparently was acting against Jewish law. I had never met him. But people in town had been talking about him: how he performed miracles but violated the Sabbath by performing on Sunday as well as other days.
Some commoners liked him. He freed some of them from disease, injury and guilt. However, most authorities disliked him intensely. They could not perform the miracles and were a little jealous. After all, he called himself divine -- the son of God. Messiah.
Huh? That claim no doubt shouldn't pass muster.
The Pharisees no doubt were outraged. They regarded him dangerous and full of blasphemy. And they probably feared that Jesus would steal their thunder within the Jewish community.
However, most people like myself -- people who at the moment were not demonstrably as religious -- up until this week didn't know what to think.
Until just now I had remained aloof of the whole issue. But there was something about this spectacle --a large, angry crowd -- that didn't coincide with what I had heard in the temple. How could they be angry with a man who performed miracles? And he did it to common Jews and gentiles alike.
The treatment I was watching down below was terrible. Some man -- was he forced? - volunteered to carry the man's cross for a short way. He did so. But then the man I assumed was Jesus soon was back staggering under his own burden again.
Now, I, Yashun Yerkou, was a learned man, perhaps even beyond that of some of our Jewish leaders. I also belonged to a synagogue-based group of young Jews, which was trying to stop the Roman brutality while getting relatively fair treatment for Jews, who apparently were having trouble getting along with the Romans and their own people.
My group was sort of Israelite national -- a pacel of underground mediators dedicated to getting rid of the Romans and returning to a legal situation where ancient Jewish law -- with some updated adjustment -- would prevail. Though we're a small throng, the Romans and the main body of Jews were learning about us. Both camps regarded us a nuisance. But Jesus and his followers were even more menacing..
Take care of this blasphemous man Jesus first, and then square away the rest of us. That would be the Romans' and the main body of Jews' plan, as I see it.
However, the second half of that will never happen. Because we won't let it. We'll throw ourselves onto harm's horrible path to keep the pressure on.
Oh, I have wanted to hear what this man had to say about God's intentions. I had a chance to do it. But I waited too long. Too lazy. Too disorganized. Too casual. Now it's too late. I have nobody but my disgusting, slothful self to blame for it. But no more will that be the case.
From now on, myself and my group will be listening to Jesus' followers. They will spread his teachings. And who knows? Maybe we'll even join them.
Onward Messianic soldiers!
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