This Week's Story

Religious leaders try to out-smart Jesus and get more than they expected.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

Power Players at Work, part one

“Come in, gentlemen, and be seated.”

Joseph of Arimathea walked in, quietly thinking, “I would prefer to be home.  There is no possibility that these “power players” will be fair with tonight’s business.

You wouldn’t know we’re the conquered, living in a country occupied by the Romans.  We bend civil and religious laws to get what we want.  We’re in a high stakes game, but we don’t know how high the stakes are.   I think that Jesus is much more than an unwanted player in our game.”

Caiaphas opened the meeting.  “Men, how will we stop Jesus?   Every day more people listen to him and hope he brings them help.  With words and so-called miracles he claims our followers.   We have been unable to trap him into attacking Roman laws, so that we could report him to the Romans.”

Judah reported, “Yesterday he sprung our trap.  We sent undercover agents to trick him into criticizing Roman taxation.  We asked, ‘Is it right to pay taxes to the Roman government?’

He said, ‘Show me a Roman coin and tell me whose picture and title are on it.’

We answered, ‘Caesar.’

He responded, ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to him and give to God what belongs to him.’

What could we say to that?”

Caiaphas asked the men, “Do you men have other comments?  You represent the business, education, and religious establishment. ”

Judah reported, “When he is in the countryside, thousands of people come to hear him.  They hang on every word he says.  If we try to take him by force, the people will mob us.  We need a new plan.  Maybe we can bribe one of the men who follow him.”

Caiaphas advised, “We need to know the men who travel with him.  Surely one of them could be tempted with money.  Eliab, what about the treasurer?”

“That might work.  I’ll start investigating the man.  I agree that we need to get rid of Jesus and we need smarter tactics.  We could pay witnesses to bring false charges against him.”

“That’s possible.  We have failed when we tried to prove that he disobeys our religious laws.  He knows the Scriptures and Jewish laws as well as we do.  Too often he asks questions we can’t answer.”

Joash spoke loudly, “I resent being embarrassed by him.  When some associates and I gave a public offering at the Temple, a poor widow put in two tiny coins, worth two-fifths of one penny.  He said loud enough so that we and the people around him heard,   ‘This poor woman gave more than all these men gave.  She gave all the money she has and they gave a little part of what is their surplus.’

We know what that’s all about.   He believes that we cheat widows.  Our religious writings state that widows are to be protected.  We’re to see that their money and property are managed well.  There’s a problem.   Many widows are poor and we’re rich.”

Ahaz added another charge, “Jesus is a heretic!  He claims to be the son of God.  He believes that he is God.  The punishment for that is death.”

 Caiaphas inquired, “What other issues do we have?”

“Jesus has no fear of us.  He cannot be intimidated.   In front of large crowds he calls us hypocrites.   He says that we do good deeds so people will praise us.   He accuses us of changing laws to fit our selfishness, but ignoring the spirit of laws.”

 Then Caleb, who spoke rarely, said, “I am furious with this hick from Nazareth!  Let’s face the truth.  We want Jesus executed.

Joseph of Arimathea spoke, “I think we need to be cautious.  Many people are convinced that he is the answer to their problems.  He has healed many of them and speaks of God’s love for them.”

“Gentlemen,” said Caiaphas, “ I suggest that we conclude our meeting and wait to hear about Eliab’s contact with the treasurer.”

This is Barbara Steiner.  I want to find out more about the poor widow.  Please check out:

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I find it amazing and at the same time sad, that people think they can out-smart or pull the wool over on Jesus. from Frank

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