The story that forms the basis of much Christian theology,
is surely a product of early concern to find a reason
for the horrific death of the founder of the faith,
but bears little relationship to reality.

The disciples had, in any case, dispersed, fled,
terrified that they too would be arrested.
The stories must be products of rumour
and desired invention.

All this is born out by the authors in the very language that they use
with tales of spiritual visions, miraculous deeds and angelic beings,
of appearance in a sealed room and vanishing from a sealed tomb.
The tale told is one of the spiritual, not the material, world.
Yet we, Christians today, are called to treat them
as literal facts.

Presented as a new Moses Presented as a new Moses.

The Gospel writers present Jesus as the new Moses,
pronouncing new laws, healing the sick,
the very voice of God for their time;
a challenge to Temple authority;
the voice of religious renewal;
of radical repentance.

Re-imagined as the Messiah, the saviour of the nation,
the mission of Jesus took a more political thrust;
became a radical challenge to the establishment;
the voice of the down-trodden poor,
those ripe for revolution.

Christ entered Jerusalem in a sea of expectation Christ entered Jerusalem.

His ministry in distant Galillee had been so successful
that news of it had filtered through to the city
and the urban poor turned out to welcome him
when he chose to ride in humbly on a donkey,
showing charismatic political insight
pandering to ancient prophecy.

Bouyed up by this support and his travelling band of supporters
he challenged the priestly leaders on their very doorstep.
Holding meetings in the temple courts
upsetting their businesses.
Threatening revolution!

An Appeal for more Moderate Speech An Appeal for Moderation

In the tinderbox of Jerusalem at Passover,
this firebrand threatened the explosion of revolution,
a rising of the oppressed people against Roman authority
with the inevitable repressive measures that would follow;
not one crucifixion but thousands, as happened 30 years later.

It was time for firm measures to overcome the threat.
The preacher had to be persuaded to be silent,
or, at least, to moderate his message.

They approached the Treasurer of the group,
to arrange a secret meeting with Jesus.
Neither party could afford to be seen
associating with the other.

Jesus meets the Priesthood Jesus meets the Priesthood

The meeting was arranged for the dead of night
in Gethsemane, a place of concealment from prying eyes.
The priests sent an escort to fetch him to a safer site,
an armed escort to honour Jesus and protect him.
We read how the disciples misunderstood
and attacked the escort party.

So in the high priest's palace, the parties came together.
Without any witnesses we can only speculate on what occurred,
but we can see that agreement was not reached.
Jesus must have refused to compromise,
to back down from his high horse,
of revolutionary fervour,
leaving really no alternative,
no other way to rescue the situation,
despite the risk of resistance from his followers.

Roman Justice, Roman Justice,

So Jesus was passed to the Roman authority as a radical,
a potential revolutionary threat to the Roman peace.
At such a time of political instability in the city
it was a message that Pilate could not ignore,
even if he had any inclination to do so.
There was only one possible outcome.

The path to the Cross was a well trodden tradition
of softening-up followed by carrying the crossbar to the site.
When that burden was too great, a byestander was 'volunteered'.

Crucifixion, Crucifixion,

The process was brutally routine.
Nails through the wrists to fasten them to the bar.
Nails through the ankles to stop them slipping.
Hoist the crossbar up the post
and drop it into the slot,
and wait for them to die.
Maybe hasten it a bit,
if needed.

But no spectators allowed, they only caused trouble.
No speeches even if they could do more than gasp and groan,
scream through parched throats and breathless agony.

Finally disposal of the body into the midden.
to prevent it falling into more kindly hands.

Rumoured Resurrection, Rumoured Resurrection

There was never, really, a tomb to be empty; His body had gone.
Nor was there a gathering of disciples; They had mostly fled.
but some few gathered to remember.

And, in the words of the women closest to him,
it all became real again. He was with them again.

The tomb wase empty, for it could not contain his spirit.
Jesus was alive in their minds, their spirits, their eyes,
and the world, their world, our world,
would never be the same.