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One of our members, an old friend named Nicodemus, was the first of several to believe this Jesus may truly be a prophet—or more! He went to Jesus and spoke with him, and he was totally convinced God had his hand on this man. “Jesus may even fulfill the Law by being Messiah,” Nicodemus told me privately.
I couldn’t believe him, but such was my respect for Nicodemus that I had to see for myself. I began listening to some of Jesus’ sermons.
By this time he was under such pressure he did much of his teaching by telling stories, parables, that could have different meanings. I was there when he told a beautiful story of a son who took his inheritance and squandered it, but his father forgave him. And how the faithful older brother was indignant, and the father was pained by the older brother’s refusal to forgive. The Pharisees were absolutely sure he was talking about us, but we couldn’t prove it.
Every time I started to agree with what Jesus was saying, he slapped me in the face. He was making demands no one could keep. But still I listened. And slowly I began to believe.
I think it was his eyes more than anything else. When he wanted to comfort someone, there was more compassion in his gaze than any mother could have for a sick child. But when he needed to rebuke someone, there was enough fire and strength in his eyes to make Pilate look like a coward! Those eyes could look straight into a person’s heart and uncover every secret, and every sin.
The Council of the Sanhedrin was becoming increasingly disturbed. The High Priest, Caiaphas, had already determined Jesus must die. He was gaining far too much popularity, and people were beginning to question why we didn’t follow his teachings.
A small group of the inner circle of Priests met together with one of Jesus’ Disciples to arrange for his capture, and just last Thursday night it was accomplished. We had an emergency session of the Sanhedrin beginning in the middle of the night to handle the matter. It was illegal for us to meet then, but Caiaphas was adamant about having this matter behind us before Passover. So we met.
Nicodemus spoke up for Jesus and tried to point out what we were doing was illegal, there was no real evidence against Jesus, and we were over reacting. But they shouted him down. I knew as soon as he spoke out, his career was over. Even if he remained on the council, he would never again be allowed to address the assemble.
I wanted to speak up. There was a time I had considerable influence on the Council—but I froze. Fear gripped my throat like a lion gripping its prey. Nicodemus looked to me for help. If there were three witnesses for Jesus we might have been able to stop things. There were others on the council who had begun to believe. I knew I wasn’t the only one. Surely a couple of others would speak up
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