I was leaning against the wall taking it all in.
I watched his face as he bantered with the crowd.
He was loving every minute of it.
Even the heckling doesn’t seem to bother him.
He just laughs and tells them another bloody story.
Personally, I think he’s losing it.
First there was the women – I mean, what’s that all about?
He just gives them ideas above their station.
And then the children. Children!
I swear, for I’ve just heard it with my own ears, he said that this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of God.
A snotty nosed child is going to be greater than me in heaven?
So I’ve come over here just to have some time out.
Some time just to think about what I’m doing.
Do I really belong here?
You know, I’m not sure that we’re on the same page now.
Oh we used to be.
Now he’s gone too far.
Marching into town on a donkey!
And if I say anything they just say I’m jealous.
Me? I don’t think so.
He’s not even noticed that I’m not there.
That’s how much he cares about his friends.
He cares more about women and children, as far as I can see.
Yes, of course I’m bitter.
Wouldn’t you be?
Then, I don’t know what got into me…
I really don’t, but before I even knew what I was doing I was outside Caiaphas’ villa.
I asked his servant if I could see him immediately.
Before I changed my mind, that is.
And I was shown in to his inner sanctum where he lay on a couch next to Annas, the High Priest.
It was embarrassing to say the least, for I had to admit that when I had answered to them before about Jesus’ honesty, I was mistaken.
For now I see that he is corrupt to the bone.
Well, Caiaphas was horrified.
I believed in his pretensions, I said. I supported his claim.
Despite all appearances, and against my better judgment, I stifled my growing suspicions.
I sincerely thought he had sufficient character to resist temptation.
I was a fool to trust him.
I’ll never make that mistake again.
Oh they were very sympathetic.
Yes, yes, they said.
A trusting nature is a very beautiful thing… but in this imperfect world it suffers sad disappointments.
Well I’ve learned that the hard way!
Caiaphas asked me quietly : ‘In what way has Jesus proved unworthy?’
I spat out the words.
His hypocrisy is nauseating! He preaches God’s Kingdom and the way of purification – and all the time he has been plotting to destroy the soul of Israel!
Of course they thought I was exaggerating and said so.
They thought that the applause of the crowd had just gone to his head – just a touch of harmless vanity.
Proclaiming war against Jerusalem is harmless?
I heard him with my own ears. This is what he said, word for word…
‘Because you would not accept me when I came in peace, you shall be besieged and destroyed, and not one stone left standing.’
Harmless? I don’t think so.
Well after that they were grateful for the warning.
And sympathetic really.
Because it had been very painful for me.
To be so mistaken about someone.
But you know I swear I was not mistaken.
God did mean him for the Messiah, I’m sure of it.
He was the Messiah, if only he had been true to himself.
The noblest dreams I ever dreamed, the holiest prayer my heart could utter, all my hopes, all my ideals, seemed incarnate in him.
But now he is eating the applause of the ignorant.
And I warned him. God knows I warned him.
Time and time again.
You see, I understood him.
I could have kept him straight.
But he never gave me his confidence.
He surrounds himself with fools and yes-men – callow lads and common fishermen.
And let’s not forget John his bosom-buddy who can only stutter abject admiration, whilst gazing at him like a sick puppy.
It is nauseating, I tell you.
‘And you are a true friend,’ Annas said to me.
And I was.
Then Caiaphas had this great idea.
That if Jesus died now, while he was at the top of his game, well, then he’d be remembered as the Son of Man.
Whereas if he lives then he is just going to undo all the good he has done.
But if he dies then nobody will remember he had any faults – they will remember only his teaching and his works of power.
Genius! Absolutely genius!
And you know, I think Jesus knew it all along.
Because he said something to that affect – that he must die before he can save.
He said so, he did.
If he has lost the will to follow his true destiny, we must make his words true in spite of himself.
So Caiaphas says that Jesus must be arrested – and soon.
And no riots, not with Pilate in town.
I’ve to find a moment when Jesus is alone, unprotected by his people.
And then I’ve to let them know and they’ll take it from there.
Like I said, I don’t know what’s come over me.
I have lied and I have stolen.
Yes, stolen from the common fund.
And they are beginning to suspect me.
You know, I trust nobody.
I don’t even trust Caiaphas, to tell you the truth.
He could go back on his word easily and then where would I be?
All men are liars.
Of course, he’s offered me a reward.
Expenses, he called it.
Thirty pieces of silver.
I’ve never held that much money before.
It is heavier than I thought.
It weighs me down.