Friday, April 2, 2010

Second Person Plural - Jurisdiction


You are being force-marched to the fortress of Pontius Pilatus, the Roman procurator of Judaea. You're on the edge of passing out. A long night of trumped-up charges and falsified testimony in front of the Sanhedrin has left you fatigued and bruised.

The Sanhedrin, the Jewish High Council, is forbidden by Roman law from carrying out the death penalty. After convicting you of blasphemy against the Most High God, they are sending you to Pilatus to be executed. During the week of Passover, the Romans are especially sensitive to anything that might lead to civil unrest. This should be an easy decision for the governor.

Your determination to see this through is strong, but you are nearing a point of physical breakdown. You don't know when everything will come to a head, but you hope that it's soon.

You finally enter the fortress gate. Hardened Roman troopers look at you and spit in the dust. It's early morning, and the chill of the night before is still present in the deep shadows in the courtyard. As you are pushed into the interior, you hear snatches of Latin coming from further in.

Finally, as you come around a corner, you see him. He looks you up and down, seeing the dark hollows under your eyes, the bruises on your face, and the abrasions on your wrists from the ropes that tied your hands together.

He looks away, and examines a bill of particulars that is handed to him. He seems disgusted with what he's reading. He's had a frustrating relationship with the local officials since taking on this post, and this looks like one more thing that makes him hate Judaea.

He questions you about who you claim to be, and who the Sanhedrin says you claim to be. Your mind is having trouble marshaling thoughts into something coherent, so your words are disjointed and mumbled. You finally realize that he would love nothing more than just releasing you and seeing you disappear into the Passover crowds. It isn't going to be that easy, though; the Sanhedrin will see to that.

Finally, he throws the document onto a table and calls for a centurion, telling him to take you to the palace of King Herod. Herod Antipas is in Jerusalem for the Passover. Pilatus is telling the centurion that Herod must decide your fate, since he has authority in this province.

You realize that this day isn't close to over, and that you have more trials ahead. With an effort, you straighten your back and follow the soldier out of Pilatus' chamber.

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