(Pause to warm hands; looks up briefly at audience) Another cold night, isn't it. (looks down and holds hands to fire) I'm really glad the High Priest lets us have these fires out here on these cold nights. (pause) It seems like we all spend some time here every cold night. (pause to continue warming hands) What's that? (pause, looking at audience) Oh, YES! I was here last week! I wouldn't have missed it for the world! Yeah, that was when the Temple leaders held court to convict the rabbi from Galilee. I've never seen them hold court that late at night. It was really wierd! I was right here at the fire...it was cold like it is tonight...and all of a sudden the guards and the Pharisees rushed in with the rabbi...Jesus was his name...and had his hands tied. We all scattered, but I was able to see that it was him.
(Steps back and looks at audience) How did I know it was him? (Puts hands on hips) Well, I DO go to Temple, youknow!!! (Turns to the side and takes hands off hips) I was in the outer court the other day when Jesus was teaching. I saw animals & people running and this guy tearing up the place...it was him. I thought he was a terrorist or at least a crazy man , so I left! I had work to do, anyhow. If you ask me, I think they should have locked him up then!
(Comes back to the fire; looks at audience) You want to know about the trial? (Looks back at the fire) Well, I only heard yelling and arguing coming from inside. You know how men can be when it comes to legal stuff! (laughs) Something interesting did happen out here, though...one of Jesus' disciples sneaked in behind the guards. At first, I thought he was just one of the crowd trying to get a better look, but he was acting so strange. (Looks at audience) What was he doing? (looks off in the distance, thinking) Well, he was.......I don't know....looking around like he was hiding something; like a guilty person. I don't know why people do that....it makes them so obvious! Everytime I would look at him, he would turn his face away from me. That just made me more curious. Then, it dawned on me: he had been one of the men with Jesus in the Temple. I was sure of it! So. I got up and walked behind him and said, 'Didn't I see you with the rabbi at the Temple?' Well, he jumped up and grumbled something like, 'I don't know what you are talking about', and walked over the gate out of the fire light. I was sure it was him. I asked the others at the fire if they recognized him, and one of the other girls there said yes, she had seen him with the rabbi. Well, he heard that, and came back the fire. Well, I got scared because I thought he was going to start a fight. He was very angry and said loudly that he didn't know Jesus. One of the men servants there that night stood up to protect us in case the man started something, got up and confronted the man. The man servant said that he too believed the stranger was one of Jesus' followers, because all Jesus' followers had a 'country' drawl in their voices, and so did this man.
Well, the next thing I heard was a string of profanity like I hadn't heard in a long time! He said again he didn't know him, he never met him, and didn't care what happened to him. Just as he finished his tirade, the rooster crowed. Now, I probably wouldn't remember this, except what happend to the stranger when he heard it. He fell back against the wall of courtyard like he had been kicked by a horse! (Looks at audience) Yes, he did! Just like he had been kicked! Then to top it off, they brought Jesus out and as they took him through the courtyard, he just stared at the stranger. At this, the man just started crying like a baby, and ran out into the night.
Well, that about it. What a strange night! Of course, you did know that the Romans executed Jesus the next day, right? I thought that was extreme for what he did, but they don't ask me about these things! (pause) But, you know, I have heard a rumor that his body was missing from the tomb this weekend. I heard the priests talking about it, and they said the disciples had stolen the body. What would anybody want with a corpse? But the strangest thing I have heard is that he rose from the dead. Who'd ever believe a thing like that? Would you?
© Fred Lane, Crosswind Community Church, All rights reserved
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