Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Before the Backfire

by Fajita

"It really bothers me that they call him a teacher," said Jacob as he leaned forward on the edge of his seat, elbows on the thick wooden table and a half-gnawed cigar in his right hand. "They treat him like he's a god," he continued, stuffing the cigar back into his mouth, now leaning back into his chair, hands behind his head.

It was near midnight in the back room of Jacob's house. The usual men were all there. Usually they rehashed, over a game of poker, what the council had discussed earlier in the day. This evening, however,they were abuzz about what the people were saying about Jesus.

"Do you see the way the women look at him?" asked Judas. Nods and noises of affirmation all around the room.

"The man works on Saturdays, makes outrageous claims, pretends to heal people, and makes a complete mockery of the tradition of the church," said another man.

One of the younger men around the table, the youngest in the room in fact, stood up and said, "I remember when he read from the prophet Isaiah in the Temple. He read about the coming One, and then claimed that the book spoke of himself. He says things like this all the time and bewitches the people. Men, how long are we going to put up with this?" A window to the outside of the house looked like a black square on the wall behind him. It was open and let in a cool breeze, but he didn't feel it.

"Do you all really think that he is so much trouble?" an aged man spoke up, set a little back from the table, "I mean we have seen this kind of thing before. Some young buck rises up and pretends to be somebody, but then he gets killed by the Romans, put in his place by the council, makes an irreversible mistake with a woman and then he's finished. The same will come of this man."

The young man remained standing, feeling goosebumps now as the cool breeze gusted a bit into the window, curtains shuffling. "But what about for now and the damage he is causing the people today? He leads them away like the Pied Piper and we sit here at Jacob's house and talk about it." He approached the table boldly, but desperately, and pounded both fists on the table making a double thud. "We must act before too much damage is done!"

Jacob took another puff of his cigar, one of seven cigars in the room, and said, "The whippersnapper is right. Something's got to be done."

Feeling affirmed (for the first time ever in this group) the young man proposed a plan. "You all know Mary, you know, Loose Mary, right?" Most of the men nodded with a couple of them masking their discomfort effectively. "I have word that she is at the tanner's house tonight as her husband has left town for trade. I think we should go there first thing in the morning and catch her in the act of sleeping around."

"Hold it right there, buddy-boy. The fly in your ointment is that the tanner is going to be there, too. It's not going to look good for him if he knows we know."

"I've already thought of that. We are going to sneak in and blindfold both of them. We'll take her out and pretend to rob the tanner..."

"OK, not bad, go on,"

The young man got more and more excited as his plan unfolded. "Then we'll take her out to Jesus and we'll trap him."

"How?" asked the older man, "no one's going to believe that he was with her."

"No, it's not like that. We'll expose his hypocrisy. He's always talking about love and peace, but he neglects the law. We'll put Mary before him and then ask him this question, 'the law says to stone an adulterer like this, but what do you say?' He'll be at odds with himself and the law and thus be exposed. Guys, he'll never wiggle his way out of this one. So, what do you think?"

The older man stood up slowly until the bend in his back straightened. "I'm not saying you all are wrong if you pursue this plan, but I am going to say that I am not going to be a part of it." He walked out of the room.

A silence filled the room and the smoke from the cigars moved in the breeze and looked like the streaks of a half rinsed paintbrush.

"Son, I like the way you think," Jacob broke the silence.


Blogger Keith Brenton said...

It's just scary getting into the minds of first-century conspirators - and finding twenty-first century motivations, isn't it?

I'm intrigued by the way the oldest guy - even though he tacitly "agreed" - walked away from the plot. Kind of presaging the order in which they would all walk away when the plot backfired.

I've done that before. I've said "I'm not saying I agree with you or disagree. But I ain't a-stopping ya."

And I wasn't even very old then.

5/04/2005 05:12:00 AM  
Blogger For Christ's love compels us.. said...

Refreshing. Thanks.

5/05/2005 03:39:00 PM  

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