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Chapter 144 - The Pharisees judge their leader and Jesus.
144,1. Here all the arch-Pharisees raise their eyebrows and one quietly makes the remark, “Well, our astute leader has succeeded once again! What a prime camel! Now we can see how we will lift us out of this puddle! Could this camel of a leader not have praised the Nazarene to the face of the powerful master? Then the whole story might have had a different face?! The camel must have seen things as well as Cyrenius that he has been won over completely for the Nazarene and yet he pulls away from the supreme governor’s darling as if he were really God knows how strongly convinced of his shamefulness, and had never seen, spoken to or tested him! Ah, we could do without this cow of a leader! He is to be deposed! For if he carries on speaking we will end up on the cross today! There’s no joking with the supreme governor!”
144,2. After this remark the others say to him secretly, “Go over and ask the supreme governor for a word; but the ass of a leader must not speak one word more! Perhaps we will still get away with it! And you shall become our leader if you can get us out of this pickle!”
144,3. The speaker says, “Good, I will try it – even without wanting to become a leader!”
144,4. At this he steps out of the crowd before Cyrenius and asks to be allowed to speak too.
144,5. Cyrenius says, “I am still waiting for a second judgment on the Nazarene on the part of the leader!”
144,6. The speaker, also a Pharisee without parallel, says, “High master, he has finished already; his cleverness has suffered a mighty blow, and therefore he is as silent as a camel in the desert! He slipped up and entangled himself in the net and no longer knows how to get free. The good Nazarene probably gave him an invisible slap in the face and then his mouth dropped open and now does exactly what he has always done!
144,7. You, high master, must have convinced yourself a long time ago that this leader of ours is a great ox! If I or another one of us had been allowed to give the introduction, the trial would have been over long ago; therefore listen, high master, no longer to him, but let me speak!”
144,8. Cyrenius says, “Good, then speak! We want to see what you will bring to light!”
144,9. The speaker carries on, “High master! As far as the accusation that we were the actual cause of the fire is concerned, what the leader said to you can only be valid at a pinch, although I must admit to you openly that we are not as white as snow and innocent despite the very prickly circumstances as our leader was trying to whitewash; for the demand of total sacrifices was his command. Whether it was necessary for the establishment of order and calm to strip the poor believers of everything down to their shirts if they would not have given it freely is another question! So it is very difficult to answer the question about the return of sacrifices taken from the people! One would have lent them money and things for significant interest; but with the return which the leader explained as a matter of course there would have been a problem! It made us highly indignant when we had to listen to our camel of a leader chattering away so brainlessly; however we could not say anything against him because only the high Pharisee may speak on a high Sabbath. But Satan can happily take our leader even on a Sabbath for this foolish speech, for which we all might easily be taken to the cross!
144,10. I am now speaking quite openly about what is in my and other’s hearts. If our camel of a leader had a particular love for such exaltation, he should just let it happen to his wicket person! We will not drown in tears over him; but we do not care for the moment for such a particular Roman decoration!
144,11. Now, what concerns this Nazarene whom you, high master, told us about, we cannot possibly for Jehovah’s sake from quite natural reasons say anything for or against; for we have only heard from some distance some things being whispered. Some things sounded very praise-worthy, then others, probably stemming from his enemies, were certainly very adventurous if not simply bad. He is supposed to have really completely brought the dead back to life again! Well, we didn’t see that and we only heard about it; but if one thinks about what that means, to bring the dead back to life, then it is very pardonable, I believe, if one doubts it for highly tangible, natural reasons! I do not want to question the possibility, but instead only to represent the great difficulty and that more than only the most educated and perfected physical and spiritual life forces of a person are demanded.
144,12. Truly one says about the prophet Elijah that he once embodied a heap of dead bones and animated it; but we were not there. This is also only a saga from mouth to mouth and it is not written in any book, not even in the apocryphal part of the Scriptures! How difficult is faith for a thinking person!
144,13. The Essenes also woke the dead for money, and normally for a lot of money; but we have already seen behind this secret and we know how things lie.
144,14. But since you now bear such a valid witness of the Nazarene, and that as a highly educated man enriched with all experience, who deserves all faith above a thousand other wise men, than I and all these colleagues of mine cannot help giving all due justice to the Nazarene.
144,15. That is now my answer to your question, high master. It is as pure as can be, and things happen the way I have now told you faithfully. These people all stand here as witnesses right down to our leader, and you, high master, give us mercy!“
144,16. Cyrenius says, “Obviously I am more satisfied with your statement than with that of the high Pharisee, who wants to be a very crafty fox and avoid my net as long as possible; but since I extended the net, he still got caught up nonetheless and now stands as a cunning, bad liar. However a true regret and full, faithful admission can make everything good again; for he belongs to those people who are secret friends of all sorts of lies and deception, but nonetheless want to stand before the people with a high and very most honorable reputation. They want the reputation of a prophet; but they want to act like a thieving and nomadic Scythian!
144,17. Therefore a true regret, full of changes in life, improvement and open admission of the true content can make everything good again; for I did not come here in order to hold the strictest court within my power over sinners of any kind, but to help them onto the correct path in life. But they must not put any obstacles in my path of highly benevolent efforts! How can one as such a wise-seeming man, not to mention as a supreme priest, lie so infamously?!
144,18. My leader, just speak and say the full truth; for your colleagues have not said everything that corresponds with the complete full truth! They want to save their skins at the cost of yours, and I do not praise that at all! I know what I know, in its foundations, and you can lie as you wish and can, but it won’t help you; for you cannot possibly deceive me! Now speak the truth!”
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