Excuse me? Jerusalem Tribune here. Are you the captain of the guard? May I ask you a few questions?
Yes, but you’ll need to step out of the way.
Oh, of course. First, can you tell us your name and what happened here today?
My name isn’t for print, but I am the commander. What happened here is just what you think. An execution of three criminals—No, two criminals and one rabbi from the countryside.
A rabbi—isn’t that unusual?
The whole day is unusual. First, they switched the criminals on us. Barabbas was supposed to die, you know, the leader of the insurrection—that’s the other two prisoners, too. Last night we were preparing the beams for the execution and at midnight, they ordered me to go get Jesus of Nazareth from Gethsemane. Crazy!—100 of the finest soldiers in the land escorting a peaceful teacher through empty streets. I don’t pretend to understand these Jews. But my job is to keep the peace.
Did the execution go as planned?
I suppose so. My men had a bit of sport with the rabbi. The Chief Priests said ‘have some fun,’ with him. Like I said, none of it makes sense. But anything to lift the tension is fine by me. My soldiers live with death every day and it gets to you, you know?
They stripped the rabbi and put him in a cheap robe and made this…this twisted crown of branches and shoved it on his head. They were just playing. Bowing down in front of him, pretending he was king. He was so beat up, he could barely stand.
But the funny thing, well, not so funny I guess, is that he didn’t resist. And the only time he said anything, other than crying out in pain, was when they impaled his wrists. He looked at my sergeant and kind of prayed with his eyes open. “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they do…” My sergeant told me this after they dropped the rabbi’s pole in place. The rabbi’s kindness spooked him.
I’ve watched many men die. I’m a bit numb to it. But no one died like this rabbi. His eyes bloodied and swollen looked ahead, focused, like there was nothing between him and the horizon. Sometimes his head snapped back and he talked to the sky, then at the people at his feet—his mother and brother, I think.
When he spoke, it was quiet to them, moving from face to face as if he had a word for them each. Then to the criminal next to him. Comforting them. In the end, he screamed, “TETELESTAI”—not in pain, but like he was at the colosseum. Like his team won. It was a victory cry—Finished! In the end he mumbled something to the sky, and his head dropped to his chest… I heard the death rattle. We ran a spear through him to be sure.
At that exact moment, I tripped and fell as the ground shook and a loud ripping came from the Mount and the sun just… blew out—like that (snap). It was pure anarchy. People screaming, running—in the dark! I called my troops in line and we tried to get order, but I tell you, it was terrifying. Eerie. Was this the end of the world? A chilly wind blew through the darkness the exact moment the rabbi died. That was no coincidence. He was no peasant king. This was a righteous man. They were messing with another world when they killed him. They put God’s Son to death.
I don’t care what they say—Jesus was Messiah. You can print that if you want.