Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Good Friday, Minus Two...

So this is our story so far...

Jesus has been an itinerant rabbi for the last three years, going around Roman-occupied Judea, followed by a motley crew of fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, and ne'er-do-wells. He's been preaching about the kingdom of heaven, saying it's real, here and now, and is going to come in even more fullness after some spectacular event in the near future. His followers haven't been able to make sense of these proclamations, but they've nodded and figured that sooner or later he'd make himself clear.

The Passover, the most holy festival of the Jewish nation, is coming up soon. Everyone goes to Jerusalem to celebrate this greatest of holy days. Jesus and his disciples have come as well. His entry into the city was nothing if not unusual - he came riding in on a donkey's colt, an animal that had never been ridden. People lined the road, throwing their cloaks onto the roadway and praising g-d to the highest heavens. They declared Jesus to be "he who comes in the name of the Lord!"

The Roman soldiers guarding the city were on alert for signs of unrest, for any kind of incident that would upset the stalemate that endured in Judea. When some of them saw Jesus riding in with the crowds acclaiming him, they sent word to Pontius Pilate, the governor, that there was something unusual in the air. Pilate was prudent, and he made sure that he was kept up to date on the circumstances about this man Jesus.

Jesus didn't do anything to maintain a low profile either. He drove merchants out of the Temple courts, where they had been selling sacrificial animals and changing Roman coins into the Temple currency. This got the attention of the Sanhedrin, the high priests and their lieutenants, and they began to make plans for their own response to Jesus and the excitement surrounding him.

Soon, Thursday will dawn, and it will be time to celebrate the Passover meal. Jesus has already planned to dine with his disciples. He's going to announce something to them, something they will have trouble understanding. Earth-shaking events are in the wings, but no one knows at this point what their effect will be.

The world waits for the next scene in this drama, as do we.

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