You who dwell in the garden with friends in attendance,let me hear your voice.
Song of Songs 8:13
We make the pilgrimage to Jerusalem every year to celebrate Passover. It is the most important of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals, commemorating as it does our freedom from slavery in Egypt. Yet this year we had a feeling that something might happen to upset things. And it did!
This Nazarene called Jesus had come to our village when he gave old Bartimaeus back his sight, which was a miracle! He seemed to be able to cure sick people, make the lame walk and even, it was said raise people from the dead. He was also well versed in the Scriptures; even the most learned Rabbi could not get the better of him when he pointed out where they were wrong in their interpretation of the law. In fact he brought it down to two simple statements; “Love God and love thy neighbour” he said. Everyone could understand that! He attracted a large following so that the chief priest and the other hierarchy saw him as a threat to their authority. Some of his followers said he was the “Anointed One” the Messiah. “Funny sort of Messiah”, I thought, when we saw him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey! But the crowds were happy waving palms and shouting Hosanna.
We went to the Temple to make our sacrifices as usual, queuing up at the moneychangers table. Shysters those blokes are, never give you a decent rate of exchange, always a bit in their favour! All of a sudden, in comes this Jesus chap flailing around with a whip driving out the sheep and cattle turning over the moneychangers tables – there were coins scattered all over the floor! He shouted to those men selling doves: “Get these out of here! Stop turning my father’s house into a market!” Well, that really got the priests going. I saw a group huddled together in a corner. “No good will come of this” I thought to myself. Yet, next morning he was back in the Temple courts preaching and people flocked to listen to him.
A day or so before the Passover I heard that he had been arrested and taken before the Roman governor. Apparently Pilate told the crowd that he could find no fault with him but what did they want him to do? It seems that the rabbis were prepared for this as they had some powerful backers who had paid the crowds to shout “Crucify him!” “Amazing what a few shekels in the right place will do!” I thought “What a change from a few days ago!” And so Pilate returned Jesus to the Jews and he was crucified. We went along to Calvary – I didn’t really want to go, the whole affair made me feel uncomfortable. He didn’t take long to die but when he did the veil that covered the Holy of Holies was torn down the middle.
You know, I think the centurion, got it right when he said “ Truly this man was the Son of God”
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years