Chapter 26: The crucifixion

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Jesus piercing Pontius Pilate (based on Piercing of Christ’s Side, Fra Angelico, ca. 1400-1455. )

(Matthew 26: 57 – 74, Book of Revelations (Seals, Eden restored))

The next morning Jesus was escorted by heavily armed soldiers to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest, where the religious teachers and elders were gathered. The leader of these soldiers said he had captured Jesus, the false prophet, and would bring him to justice. Peter followed him at a distance, and went into the courtyard of the high priests, and sat with the guards to see how it would end up.

The chief priests and the whole council were trying to find some false evidence against Jesus so they could have him killed.

The high priest said to Jesus, “I place you under oath by the living God—tell us if you are the Christ, the son of God.”

“You said so,” Jesus replied. “And I also tell you that from now on you’ll see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of the One with power, and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes, and said, “He blasphemed! Why do we need any witness? Look, you heard blasphemy right now! What’s your decision?”

“He deserves to die!”, they answered. Then they spat in his face and beat him up. Some of them slapped him with their hands, and said, “Prophesy to us, you ‘Christ’—who just hit you?”

Meanwhile Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant girl came up to him, and said, “You were with Jesus the Galilean too!” But he denied it in front of everyone. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said. And right away the cock crowed.

This was the signal all had been waiting for.

The soldier who had pretended to be Jesus’ captor, was in fact the disciple Matthew in disguise. He drew his sword and slew the last man who had hit Jesus 30.

Meanwhile in the courtyard the High Priest’s guards saw a large group of Jesus’ followers running towards the gates of the Temple to enter there. But before the soldiers could close the gates, Peter and a group of the strongest believers came towards them. They threw away their tunics and revealed the armour underneath, and then grabbed the swords and clubs they had hidden and killed all the guards. Through the temple gates the victorious army of Christ now marched in, and quickly they captured the Inner Sanctuary.

Then Jesus ordered a handmade and beautifully carved throne to be brought in74, encrusted with gold and precious stones, and he sat upon it as the King of Man and Saviour of the world.

They threw the high priest and council elders before his feet and asked what to do with them.

“They were a thorn in our thigh, so let them feel the thorns now,” said Jesus, and his followers scourged the priests with thorny branches until the temple floors were all bloodied. And shortly thereafter came John the apostle with a large band of armed men and he said:

“Oh Lord, I have a great present for you.”

And he made a naked man kneel on the floor before Jesus. And Jesus smiled and lifted the man’s bloodied head so he could recognise him. Surely it was Pontius Pilate, the leader of the Romans in Jerusalem. Then Jesus saw the infidel’s blood had sullied his hands, so he asked for some water to wash it away.

Jesus sat down on his throne and spoke: “Our victory is now complete!”.

And there was much cheering and rejoicing among his followers.

“What shall we do with these infidels?” asked Peter.

And Jesus answered: “The punishment of those who wage war against the true faith and its messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides.50 And today, I feel like crucifying.”

And so it was that Pontius Pilate and the high priest were driven through the streets of Jerusalem, and brought to a place called Golgotha while carrying a cross. And then they were crucified as an example to show the world the fate of all those who oppose the Christ.

And the next day the armies of the Lord sallied forth from the gates of Jerusalem to bring his reign to all the lands of the world. Then the kings of the earth, the princes, the generals, the rich, the mighty, and everyone else, both slave and free, hid in caves and among the rocks of the mountains. They called to the mountains and the rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of Jesus!”

But there was no mercy, and the the stones and trees said “O Christians, there is an infidel behind me, come and kill him.” 70 And the believers put all to the sword until there was no more disbelief.103

Then the angel came and showed me the river of blood flowing from the throne of God and of the Christ, down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood pikes carrying the heads of the infidels.
No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him.
They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads.
There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And the Lord will destroy all the crosses and kill all the pigs, and convert all to the true faith. 159  There are now only those who believe in the Religion of Peace. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Amen

Comments:

The grand finale. If Jesus would have been a ruthless warlord like Muhammad, he would have rallied his supporters and formed an army instead of being executed. In this liberal adaptation of the last chapters of the gospel, I have Jesus deceive his enemies and – as a form of poetic justice – order their scourging and crucifixion (this last punishment is mentioned in the Quran itself ). Instead of Pilate washing his hands in innocence, our protagonist washes his hands sullied by Pilates’ blood.

In the end, Jesus “breaks the crosses” and converts all to Islam. This is no invention of mine: it’s straight from Hadiths about Islamic eschatology. In his description of the “end of times”, Muhammad invents stories about how Jesus was in fact a muslim. 159

The last parts of this adaptation are based on the book of revelations. This apocalyptical text resonates with the the events of the first century after Muhammad’s death in AD 632. In a swift series of wars, the Muslim armies destroyed one nation after another and imposed their rule by the sword throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

The expansion slowed down around AD 750, but regained momentum in the east with the massacres of Tamerlane (1336 – 1405).

Image result for tamerlane skull towers
Tamerlane was said to have erected towers of skulls. (The image has nothing to do with him: it’s the formidable The Apotheosis of War by Vasily Vereshchagin)

In the west it were the Ottomans who continued the conquests, culminating in the fall of Constantinopel (AD 1453) and the brutal subjugation of the Balkans. The high water mark of the Ottoman caliphates’ European conquests was in AD 1683, when a Christian army (mainly consisting of Austrians and Poles) defeated the invading army before the gates of Vienna in the nick of time.

In the following centuries the Islamic world gradually lost its influence on the world stage, partly because of the enormous scientific differences between the industrialising European societies and the much more static, traditional cultures in the Middle East. The importance of the islamic world grew once more in the 20th century because of the addiction of Western economies to fossil fuels. The balance of power is shifting.

And now a new type of conquest is underway: thanks to the enormous capacity for empathy and charity that we find in the modern day Western world, enormous waves of immigrants are trying to reach Europe and the USA in a desperate attempt to leave their war-torn and economically dysfunctional nations. However, these immigrants are holding on to Islam, one of the main roots of their home countries’ demises in the first place. Many of them are not integrating well in their host societies, forming small enclaves where Arabic is spoken on the street and unveiled women are harassed. Some areas have become veritable no-go zones.180

Image result for refugee crisis germany escorted by police
The 2015 refugee crisis (engineered by Angela Merkel, praise be upon her) saw massive columns of (mostly male) refugees entering Europe.

Let us hope that the teachings in this satirical “Gospel adaptation” may not one day become the foundations of Western moral values – as they are now for many devout muslims around the world.

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