The Real Story of Holy Week
Posted by butalidnl on 24 March 2011
Jesus was praying at the Garden of Gethsemane, which is actually an olive grove owned by his family. His disciples were also there, just lying around, waiting for things to happen. Jesus hated the position he found himself in, but he had no intention of backing out of the deal. Judas Escariot had been negotiating for the last three days with the Romans, to get the release of his son – Jesus bar Abbas – in return for his surrender to the Romans.
Jesus, as the rightful heir to the Jewish crown, had done his best to overthrow Herod and the Jewish high priests (and the Romans too). He had failed miserably in this quest, and may probably pay with his life for his failure.
It all started so well. Three years of preparatory work all over the country had finally been over. It was a hard struggle, but at last all the Jewish factions – the Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes and Zealots – finally acknowledged him as the aspirant King of the Jews, and had agreed to participate in the uprising. Jesus had under his direct command some 2000 armed zealot troops and about 10,000 other unarmed supporters. He indirectly was also supported by a large section of Jerusalem’s population. This should be enough to overpower the 3000 Roman troops that he expected to be in Jerusalem. On the Sunday before Passover, he was ready.
He marched with his supporters to the Jewish Temple. Once in the Temple grounds, he headed straight to the section where the money changers were (the other merchants were mostly Jews, while the money changers were foreigners) and started a riot by overturning their stalls. According to plan, they overpowered the Temple guards and took over the whole Temple compound; and were expecting to defeat the Romans when they came.
Unfortunately for them, the Roman garrison at that time was 6000 soldiers strong – twice their usual strength for a Passover. 3000 soldiers had just arrived to relieve the usual garrison, and the soldiers who were due to leave were asked to stay on till after Passover. So, when the riot happened, the Roman troops overwhelmed the zealots and others. A lot of people were killed in the battle, and Jesus and most of his commanders were barely able to escape. In the commotion, the Romans were able to capture one of his commanders, who happened to be his son – Jesus bar Abbas.
With his revolt quashed, and the Romans extending the stay of the “extra” legions because of the revolt, Jesus had to act fast. He sent “feelers” to see how to get the Romans to release his son. But the Romans asked a very high price – they wanted HIM in exchange.
Then, Judas Escariot (who was Jesus’ most trusted lieutenant, and also his overall treasurer) came out with a plan: Jesus will be exchanged for bar Abbas; the Romans then will crucify him (since he had revolted against the Romans), but that he would somehow not die in the process. For him not to die, Judas had to offer money to the Centurion who will do the task. This Centurion had to agree to crucify Jesus in an area near Jesus’ family “Garden”, and then allow his family to take down his body before the Sabbath starts, and deposit him in his family crypt nearby. The timing had to be perfect: Jesus had to be crucified around noon on Friday, so that he would not hang at the Cross for too long. (The Romans had to take down bodies hanging on crosses before the Sabbath, which starts on 6 pm Friday.) Judas negotiated all this with the Centurion and paid him a down payment of 30 pieces of silver. He was to receive the balance, another 30 pieces of silver, after the successful crucifixion.
Judas had made all the arrangements, which had to be kept absolutely secret. He assured Jesus that the plan would work. But as Jesus waited for Judas to come with the designated Centurion and his men, he was filled with doubt. A lot of things could go wrong. What if the Romans decided not to trade bar Abbas for him, but just killed them both? What if another Centurion (one who had not been bribed) would be assigned to crucify him? What if the designated Centurion changed his mind? What if the Romans decided to crucify him on the Sunday? What if they were caught by other officials? So many things could go wrong. But what could he do? They have his son! if bar Abbas died, what would happen to the royal line? Who would be left to claim the Jewish throne? His attempt had failed, and he was finished anyway; so the survival of his son was of utmost importance. He had to go through with it, and just hope that Judas’ arrangements turned out well.
Everything happened according to Judas’ plan. Jesus barely survived his crucifixion, and he was rushed to his crypt, where Essene healers were waiting to revive him. The day after the crucifixion (on the Sabbath), Jesus was transferred to an Essene house for further recuperation. The Centurion had thus delivered on the deal; but he wasn’t paid the balance of 30 pieces of silver. And this was because Judas Escariot died before he could do so. Judas had been so busy making arrangements, he was unable to notify his kinsmen in time regarding the plans. So, when his kinsmen found out that Judas had turned Jesus over to the Romans, they got mad and stabbed Judas till he died, for betraying their king.
Jesus was forced to go into hiding for the rest of his life, spending most of his time with Essene communities in the desert. He was still alive by 66 AD, when his grandchild, Simon Bar Giora, finally defeated the Romans, and established an independent state of Israel. And after five years of bitter fighting, the last Jewish fighters fought their last battle at the fortress of Masada. At the end, they all (including Jesus) committed suicide, rather than surrender to the Romans.
See also:The Real Christmas Story