Summary: An Easter Monologue from the eye of "Longius" the traditional name for the centurion who thrust his spear into Jesus side.
Hey, do buddy, yeah you in the front row, you don’t see and Pharisees around do you? Ok, Hi, I am Longius and I am a Roman Centurion. These are strand days indeed. I’ve traveled the world in the service of Rome and Tiberius our Emperor and General. I’ve lived a life of great adventure and seen many amazing things an places in the service of the empire, but overall this has been a great time to serve. This is the time of “Pax Roma” the peace of Rome. Peace, that word might be a bit of an exaggeration I have seen my share of battles and skirmishes after all the empire must be kept secure. But I have never seen or dreamed of seeing days like the last few I’ve lived through.
How strange you ask? There are some who would call me a legend. Legend, that’s strange, I feel real enough and I don’t feel that extraordinary. But what’s happened these last few days, I would say that would be the stuff of legend if I hadn’t lived them for myself and seen them with my own eyes. The emperor himself would be changed if he had walked in my shoes the past few days.
It started with the reports, understand in Jerusalem there are always reports of something going on. But this one seemed to be an issue between the Jews. It was hard for us to figure out exactly what was going on. Most of the reports centered around the teacher, Jesus, He was nothing more than a traveling rabbi, but some said He was a prophet, some said He was a miracle worker, but what really had our attention was that some said He was the Messiah. That was a term we had heard before. There had been others who claimed to be the Jewish Messiah, they too had gathered followers, in the end we had to march with our troops and crush these uprising.
Understand I have no fear of battle, but this is work that I have no taste for, trained soldiers mowing through a foe that amounts to little more than a collection of farmers and workmen. There is no satisfaction in that type of victory, but worse any time armed men clash there is still a bill to be paid on both sides. Men, whom you’ve lived, trained and fought with lost in a useless conflict. Yes the term Messiah caught our attention rapidly, it was a term that we didn’t want to be uttered at all.
But this man was different. He wasn’t claiming to be the Messiah. He didn’t appear to be challenging our authority. In fact the reports were that He was teaching words of love, and reconciliation between God and man. What caught my attention was that although He didn’t appear to be challenging our authority, He did appear to be challenging the authority of the religious leaders in the area. That made me a little suspicious of the reports about Him, because they were His chief accusers.
Despite my thoughts about them though, all of our suspicions were raise when He arrived in the city. You understand some people questioned if He would come to the city for Passover, some people assumed that if He did it would be in secret. But instead, when He came into the city, He came in as a King. Multitudes of people went out to see Him, we were dispatched to make sure there was no great disturbance. We couldn’t believe what we saw. People were taking off their cloaks and throwing them on the ground in front of Him so that his donkey could step on them. Others were cutting down palm branches to fan and shade Him. All of them were yelling religious things like Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord. Well it was strange, but not illegal so we left them alone. It was later that we heard that some were saying, it was prophetic, that it was foretold that He would arrive in the city like that. I dismissed this as superstitions. After all I had been all over the empire and every nation had their own superstitions, what made these Jews think that they were different.
That was on Monday, we knew that we were in for a long week, this would be no ordinary Passover. Tuesday thing began to get worse. Jesus went into the temple to confront the money changers and such. It was quite an upset I can tell you. The priests tried to get us involved but we try to stay out of religious disputes.
Wednesday things seemed to calm down a bit. But while Jesus was teaching in the temple the some of the Pharisees came to confront Him. They asked him what authority He taught with, He answered a question with a question, He asked them whose authority they thought John the Baptizer taught with. When they could answer things seemed to die down. But that was Wednesday.