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Tuesday, January 8, 2019


 Setting: Just outside the gates of a mighty, ancient city.

GUARD:        Identity scrolls, please.

JESUS:         I’m sorry, what?

GUARD:        Identity scrolls.  To let you inside Jerusalem, we’ve got to confirm your citizenship.

JESUS:          Oh!  We’ve never had to do that before.

GUARD:        New policy.  Border security crisis.  A lot of riffraff getting in.  Sicarii.  Zealots.  MS-13.  You know the types.

JESUS:          I’m afraid we didn’t know we’d need identity scrolls.

GUARD:        Undocumented, then.  (writes that down) Seeking asylum, I assume?

JESUS:          Actually, I’ve come to take away the sins of the world.

GUARD:         Uh huh.  Purpose of trip?  Business?  Pleasure?

JESUS:          (puzzled) It’s ... it’s Passover.  We’re here for Passover.  Just like the thousand other people behind us in line.

GUARD:         Pilgrimage, then.  (writes that down)  Name?

JESUS:          Jesus of Nazareth.

GUARD:         Place of birth?

JESUS:          Bethlehem.

GUARD:         (suspiciously) You just said Nazareth.

JESUS:         The family moved around a lot.  Bethlehem.  Egypt.  Up to Galilee.

GUARD:        (muttering) Migrant workers.  (louder) Number of people in your party?

JESUS:          Well, there’s Simon called Peter, and Thomas called the Twin, James called the Lesser, Levi called Matthew –

GUARD:         Whoa, whoa, whoa!  ALL your friends have gang names?

JESUS:         (exasperated) We’re not a gang!  Anyway, there’s Simon called the Zeal—  You know what?  There's twelve of them, that’s all you asked.

PETER:        (pokes head in) Twelve, but seventy more who follow close behind.

JAMES:        (also pokes head in) And a lot of women, too.

JOHN:           (joins in) Wait, don’t we count the women among the Seventy?

ANDREW     (intrudes) Oh, and He has sheep not of this fold, in another flock!

JESUS:          Really NOT being helpful, guys.

GUARD:        All right, then.  We’ll call you a "growing caravan trying to cross our border."  Now, have you got anything to declare?

PETER:         (excitedly) That He is the Christ, the Son of the living of God!

GUARD:         Okay. (writes that down) Anything else?

JESUS:         This donkey.  I’m hoping to ride it in.  You know, once we clear the gates.

GUARD:        Uh oh.  That might be an issue.  We’re worried about disease crossing the border.  Animals and migrants like you tend to be unclean.  Have you been near any lepers or demon-possessed people lately? 

(Foot shuffling and inaudible murmurs among the group.)

GUARD:        Look, mostly we’re worried about violence.  Can I get your word that you’re not going to whip anyone up into civil disobedience or irritate the priests and elders in any way?

PETER:         Hey, we call this guy the Prince of Peace.  You sound like you expect Him to start kicking over tables right in the temple.

JESUS:            ... again, NOT helping ...

GUARD:        I’ve gotta be honest with you.  A group of outsiders, a bunch of gang names, no documentation, possibility of disease coming over the city border ....  Your prospects for getting in don’t look great unless we can work something out.

JESUS:           Huh?  What do you mean?

GUARD:        You know.  Work something out.  A little something.  To work it out.

JUDAS:         (cutting in)  Yo, Jesus, I got this.  (to the guard) Maybe a little silver will hurry things along?  What do you say to ... thirty pieces?

GUARD:        I say, Welcome to Jerusalem, blessed pilgrims!  Please pass through the eternal Wall guarding our city!

JESUS:         (muttering as He passes)  Eternal my eye.  I tell you, not one temple stone will remain atop another when—

JUDAS:         NOT helping.  (pause)  You know, I’ll be needing that money back eventually.

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