Caiaphas and Annas: A Conversation in the Dark

 

Caiaphas and Annas: A Conversation in the Dark

Caiaphas: Valerius Gratus himself gave me this position.  I am not High Priest for no reason.  I am High Priest because I seem to be the only person who understands what it takes to keep the peace.  Any time Caesar wants to, he could tear down this Temple and crush us all.  There is a delicate balance that must be maintained.  Our traditions must be protected at all cost. The Zealots I can handle.  I know their lot.  They can be bribed. They can be distracted. They’re all about power just like the rest of us.  But this Jesus movement is much tougher to nail down.  Every time I think I have it stamped out, it pops up somewhere else.  Jesus is a threat to the entire nation of Israel.  And he is a threat to the very Temple itself.  This Temple is the mechanism by which we maintain our relationship with God.  If something were to happen to it, our relationship with God would be severed; not to mention that I’d be out of a job and so would you.

Jesus has to be stopped.  His followers are just people like everyone else.  Someone among them can be turned.  Someone can be bought.  There is a traitor in every group, especially groups that rely on conscience alone to provide loyalty.  How naïve they are.  If I can get someone inside their inner circle, I know I can get someone to give Jesus up.  He will say something seditious, and then we’ll have him.  If we can cut the head off the snake, the snake will die like all these other wild movements have.  The priests and scribes have outlasted them all. It is God’s will that this Temple should stand forever.

Annas: What’s the big deal about Jesus?  We’ve seen his kind before.  These “messiahs” are like uprooted weeds.  They blow in and then they blow back out. We undo him, and that’ll be the end of it. Nothing can top the majesty of the Temple. When push comes to shove, everybody knows that this is the place to be.  People come from all over to worship here.  This Jesus is just another flash in the pan.

Caiaphas: No, Annas.  Even I have to admit that there is something different about this one.  You were here when we questioned him about Lazarus.  There was something about him.  He is more dangerous than all the others put together.  We have to protect the faith from him. Even our Temple regulars skip out to listen to him.  When he’s preaching and healing, our attendance is down to nothing. And the offering is down to nothing, too. I can’t put my finger on it, but when he speaks, people listen. The miracles alone are very hard to explain away.

Annas:  It’s just smoke and mirrors, mere sorcery.

Caiaphas:  Maybe.  But maybe not.  Every time Jesus opens his mouth, blasphemy spills out.  The Romans don’t care about that.  Blasphemy is our problem. But…if we can pin sedition on him, Pilot will have no choice but to execute him.  And THAT will be the end of him.  Even Jesus can’t stand up to Roman justice.  No, he’ll be dead, and that’ll be the end of this. The best part of the whole thing is that we’ll be able to wash our hands of it because everyone will think that it was the Romans who killed their precious leader.  In a few weeks, they’ll all come flocking back to us with their tails between their legs. So who’s the weak link among his followers? What about this Judas Iscariot character? Do you know anything about him?

Annas: No.  But I will have my people look into it.

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