Posts Tagged ‘crucifixion’

Jerusalem – May 23, 35 AD

Rolling Stone (RS): Thanks for the interview, James Josephson. Let’s begin. What’s your favorite song by the Beatles?

James: That’s really a tough one. I guess I’d have to say, ‘The Word,’ though I also like George’s ‘Within You and Without You.’ The double meaning and all.

RS: So, you’re a lyric, rather than a tune guy?

James: Yeah, I suppose so.

RS: Has anyone ever said you look a lot like Captain Kirk, on Star Trek?

James: No…well, maybe once.

RS: What about James Dean?

James: Yeah, I get that a lot. I think it’s the hair thing and motorcycles. When I was young I was the ‘black sheep’ of the family. I was pretty messed up. When I went to synagogue, which I skipped most of the time, I sat in the balcony.

RS: Was that because your older brother was the Son of God?

James: There was that, but initially that was all over my head. I didn’t get it. Dad alway seemed to trust Jesus more. Like he’d ask him if we should go fishing or not and where the fish were biting. Jesus would just nod or point to a spot in the lake. We’d always catch something if Jesus said it was a good day for fishing.

RS: Tell us, what was it like to have God as an older brother?

James: Well, you didn’t want to play cards with him. Goes without saying, he was a straight-A student. Once we were throwing the football in the backyard and he said, ‘Watch this,’ and threw the ball at Mom. It was a long throw. He yells, ‘Hail Mary!’ and barely missed her. He thought that was really funny. I thought it was a little strange.

RS: So, Jesus had a sense of humor?

James: Oh, yeah. He’d crack me up when he said I had a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. His favorite joke went like this: ‘Knock, knock,’ ‘Who’s there?’ ‘Behold,’ ‘Behold, who?’ ‘Behold, it’s me, standin’ at the door knockin.’

RS: I don’t get it.

James: Neither did I. John liked it though, and used it in his ‘Revelation.’ Bet you didn’t know that quote was for comic effect…that was sort of a weird letter. Makes me wish my letter was closer to the front and all.

RS: What about when your father died?

James: That was a hard time. It’s also when I began to realize Jesus had a connection with the other side. He always acted like Dad was on a trip and he was getting postcards regularly. It took the edge off the tragedy. Sometimes Jesus would say, ‘Dad thinks you could give football a little more,’ or something like that.

RS: When did you realize Jesus was the Messiah?

James: I remember exactly when it sunk it. It was after his crucifixion. On the weekend he died, I was in Cesarea. Mom sent a message. All she said was, ‘Jesus is in trouble.’ I dropped everything and headed for Jerusalem.

RS: And…

James: When I got to John Mark’s house on Saturday night I thought it was all over. I was devastated. Some of the guys went into hiding, but most of us just hung out at the house. Mom and some of her friends went to the tomb Sunday morning. They came back and woke the house, yelling,’He’s gone! He’s arisen!’

RS: So, what did you do?

James: Nothing, I stayed with Mom. Peter and John took off running to the tomb. It wasn’t that far away. They were all excited. Angels and stuff — you can read it in the Bible. At the time, I didn’t know what to think. We were all upstairs when he appeared.

RS: Jesus?

James (grinning): Yes. There was a big knocking sound at the door. Peter freaked and yelled, ‘Who’s there?’ then, my brother just appeared out of nowhere and said, ‘Behold, it’s me, standin’ at the door, knockin’. I laughed out loud.

RS: Then what happened?

James: Peter almost wet his pants. Jesus explained he was resurrected. Just before he left he came over to me and said, ‘James, meet me tomorrow morning on the porch.’ And then he was gone.

RS: Did you meet him the next morning?

James: Yes. That’s when I knew for sure he was God. He appeared as the sun rose and said, ‘Jay, I did it for you.’ Then, he explained his whole life and why he had to die so we could stay related forever.

RS: Did you see him again?

James: Yes, we even went fishing again. When we were by the lake, the last thing he said to me was how important it was my faith and actions match up. If we don’t act on our faith, it’s pointless. That’s in my letter in the Bible. By the way, mine was the first letter to the churches, but it got stuck in the back.

RS: Thanks, James. When can we look for your next album?

James: Well, I have a project I’m doing with Quincy Jones and Bob Dylan, but it’ll be a surprise. Probably around Christmas.

Tr8: Faith and actions should match up.

The continuing story of two traitors: Cornelius and Peter. The night of the grill Jesus was betrayed into the hands of his enemies. Cornelius was the Roman presence as the chief priests captured and tried Jesus at Caiaphas’ palace.

Peter following the crowd to the palace gate. He sat nervously by a fire.

Bystander: It’s getting colder! Hey, weren’t you with the Messiah guy?

Peter: No. You’re thinking of somebody else.

Another bystander: No, I’m sure you were with him in the Temple. I saw you!

Peter: Seriously? You think I’d get sucked into this Messiah business? No way.

Cornelius waited at the gate as well. He wanted nothing to do with Jewish religious politics — especially with regard to Jesus of Nazareth. As long as things were relatively peaceful. He would watch, not act. He moved nearer the fire and listened.

Peter: I have a twin brother. Maybe you saw him.

Cornelius: Nah, you are one of them. I remember seeing you with him in Jerusalem a year or so ago. He healed one of my servants.

Peter: I say, ‘Hail Caesar! Not, Hail King of the Jews!’ The hell with this, I’m out of here!

Cornelius and the others watch as Peter disappears into the night muttering under his breath. Cornelius turns and walks into the courtyard. Jesus is in the middle of a group of Temple guards and clerics. He’s taking a beating, but makes no sound.

Cornelius (shakes his head and thinks to himself): Jewish justice. Religious fanatics. He doesn’t deserve this. They gripe about Rome, but look at these bloodthirsty fools!

The leaders and priests walk over to Cornelius.

Caiaphas: We need to take him to the Governor’s palace. We’ll have a riot here if we pursue this further here. Take possession of the prisoner and escort us. Pilate’s orders.

Cornelius: As you wish.

Cornelius has a front row seat for Jesus’ mock trial, beating, humiliation and crucifixion. He waits on Golgotha for the injustice to end. He’s been involved in a lot of death, but this is too much. The skies darken and all that can be heard are the sobs of a handful of women nearby.

Jesus (turning a swollen, knowing eye toward Cornelius): It is finished!

Cornelius is amazed. He has seen death take men, but never a man take death. It was like someone leaving a room.

Cornelius: Surely, this was the Son of God!

At the end of his duty shift he called for a scribe.

Scribe: Sir?

Cornelius: Take this down: ‘I, Cornelius, Centurion of the Italian Regiment, herewith resign my commission. In consideration of leave accrued, this resignation is effective immediately. I depart for the coast today and will sail with the first favorable tide.’ Deliver this to the Governor’s palace immediately.

Cornelius retired to Caesarea on the Mediterranean coast, troubled with the role he played in Christ’s crucifixion. He prayed to God with his household for forgiveness on a daily basis.

Peter was staying with Simon the tanner in Joppa when he had a dream and followed the Spirit’s leadership to Caesarea (Acts 16).

Peter finds himself knocking on a retired Centurion’s door in Caesarea. The door opens and a servant escorts Peter’s crew into the inner court. There, he is met by Cornelius and his household.

Cornelius (looking closely): I know you.

Peter (looking down): I know you, too.

Cornelius: You denied your Lord…

Peter: You crucified…


Peter spends the rest of the evening telling Cornelius the story of the risen Christ. Confessions are made. Burdens are dropped. The gospel brings peace and forgiveness to both.

Tr8: Confession lightens the heart. Peace is in forgiveness. Bonds are forged in suffering.