Ave! This is Ronaldimus Branchaemillion, your foreign correspondent at Jerusalem and in the Middle East for the Roman Times. I am standing here at the Crucifixion complex just outside the gates of Jerusalem where a certain crucifixion of an apparently intensely popular individual is taking place. I have learned from sources that his name is Jesus, and that he comes from the small town of Nazareth. It is not quite clear why he has been condemned to die at this time in this way. One thing for sure is that it is the worst sight I have ever seen at the crucifixions I have covered, because the man has been beaten and whipped beyond human recognition.
But, one thing is very clear – this man’s death was condoned by the Roman government when the current Roman prefect, Pontius Pilate, sided with local religious leaders at the hands of the High Priest, Caiaphas, and the Sanhedrin, with a large contingency of Jewish citizens publicly voting to have him crucified very early today.
I see a group of the Sanhedrin standing near the man’s cross. Archelaus, why is this Jesus being crucified today on that middle cross?
“Simply put, we just wanted him dead! We did not like what he tried to teach. We were offended by the claims he made, too.”
What claims were those?
“He claimed among those that followed him – and even during our trial of him – that he was the Son of God. But, he was just an over-all irritant. Many of us just hated him because he said he was the only way to gain salvation from our God.”
But, are those legal and justifiable reasons to have him crucified? Apparently, Archelaus of the Jewish Sanhedrin is not going to answer any more questions. In the mean time, I am told that the mother of this Jesus is here in the crowd. As soon as I can identify her we will get her perspective about this crucifixion of her son.
“You want a perspective? I will give you more than a perspective. I can tell you things about the true news you should be covering about this man’s crucifixion.”
What might those things be, and what is your name?
“My name is Nicodemus. I, too, am a member of the Sanhedrin, and I confess that I am a follower of and believer in this man’s spiritual doctrine. But, his crucifixion is based on a complete sham according to our Jewish law. I was not informed of their plans and activities last night, but I know that everything Caiaphas and his cohorts were able to pull off concerning Jesus was illegal.
“For example, Caiaphas was a part of those that ‘arrested’ Jesus at Gethsemane, but he was also a part of those who ‘judged’ Jesus. That was illegal. False testimonies were allowed to mount condemnation against Jesus. That was illegal. They beat him while he was on ‘trial.’ That was illegal.”
I am sorry that I have to break away, Nicodemus. But, this unusual darkness is hindering our reporting…
Back with you now. This is Ronaldimus Branchaemillion still at the Jerusalem crucifixion complex. About three hours ago, a complete and utterly dark darkness over came us. I also felt an intense earthquake that shook us rather hard. Furthermore, I heard the crucified Jesus call out sharply from the cross during that time of darkness, “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me?” Now, a short time later, I heard him yell “IT IF FINISHED!” And, since then, sources close by have mentioned that something strange has happened at the Jewish Temple. What was torn, you say? There are also outrageous reports about grave openings and sightings of people who died years ago walking down town. There are some significant things associated with this apparently great crucifixion event! If I were not here to witness it all, I might think that it was not really happening.
But, I have to tell you – like the others who watched Jesus, like those who have experienced the earthquake, and all the other things that have taken place here at this distinctive crucifixion complex just outside the gates of Jerusalem, there is a certain fear concerning true news that “Truly this was the Son of God.”
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.