AND NOW, CLUES #’s 11 AND 12
of The Great Jesus Whodunnit Mystery Contest
The formidable sleuths among you have undoubtedly followed my suggested lead, hastening to your nearest bookseller for a copy of my just released, “The Matthias Scroll–Select Second Edition” and a favorite on every Caribbean beach, “A Documented Biography of Jesus Before Christianity” to learn from Jesus’ close confidant, his beloved friend, the witness Matthias, of subsequent developments following his eulogy to John the Baptist. This much you have garnered: Jesus deplored being anointed by John’s gathering of mourners, “King of the Jews,” and fled their adoring grasp, wading hard against choppy water to reach Simon/Peter’s boat. Thereupon he and the disciples all set off rowing for Magdala, not too far up the coast, and were feted by Mary, who brought the hungry group food. There, Joanna who had just arrived, apprised Jesus of what she had learned from her husband Chuza, Antipas’ servant, in an apparent exchange with the spies who had come from the lakeside eulogy. Accordingly: Jesus was “another John,” and Antipas intended to do to him what he had done to John (Luke 13:31).
“Joanna,” Jesus says, “Go and tell that fox, I am leaving his region. It is not my intention to die at his hands.” And, that is exactly what he does. The next beachfront where they make a stop is Caesaria Philipi, or more anciently the Greek city of Panias, outside the administrative rule of Herod Antipas, and as significantly, under the jurisdiction of his half-brother Philip, whose erstwhile wife Herodias, is the so-called adulteress never divorced according to Jewish law. Very little chance, one may be confident, Herod Philip, would assist in capturing Jesus for having labelled his unfaithful wife Herodias an adulteress.
But you, the investigator, may well find yourself oddly confused–especially if you come to the crucifixion scene not so much viewing it as a crime, but as the manifest expression of God’s intention to end all suffering through Jesus’ resurrection. Of course, the ten previous clues have done much to illuminate your awareness of the path Jesus traveled toward his grim demise on the cross. Early on, false accusations painted a picture of satanic Jews rescuing one of their own progenitors (Barabbas) as if it were the Jews’ testimony which supported the capital charge over the cross. Advantaged by the knowledge it was not, you have discovered how Jesus became “another John” to Antipas when he castigated the tetrarch and Herodias as unmarried adulterers. Of course, believing in Jesus as the Christ, you are seeing a possible conclusion to the Whodunnit (Crucifixion) Mystery. In your heart, it does not matter that Antipas caught up with him in Jerusalem and persuaded Pilate to agree to his crucifixion. (Isn’t that the likely conclusion of your investigation? After all, Antipas, who you have singled out for motive, was indeed at the scene of judgment when Pilate ordered Jesus crucified. And just before he did so, he gave legal jurisdiction over the case to Antipas since Jesus was a resident of his tetrarchy.)
Understandably, then, Jesus’ own deeply disconcerted reaction to Antipas’ threat as conveyed by Joanna should (with mild discomfort, I suspect) further spark your investigation into what otherwise might have been “case closed” (To wit: “Antipas Dunnit!”). In other words, you, like Jesus, must have a hunch Antipas could only seek his arrest on a capital charge if somebody spread the word he was King of the Jews. Only then would he be “another John” wanted on a charge of sedition against the empire.
A devout Christian, would quite naturally, at this point, expect Jesus to be outwardly calm. After all, what is happening (in Christian terms) is fully known to him and is God’s plan. But, in truth, we become aware he appears quite the opposite, plainly not leading his disciples from the scene of the eulogy in a “fore-ordained” manner. As noted above, not only does he shake off the adoring grasp of John’s followers who are hailing him “King of the Jews,” but warns his disciples about the “yeast”–that is the falsehoods, which his accusers are likely to bring against him. And does he ever become angry when all they think about is food, taking “yeast” as a reference to bread they’ll soon have (Mark 6:52/ 8:16/ John 6:60). Without much time passing, they’re off again, hauling the boat onto that safe beach-haven of Philip’s Caesaria tetrarchial city. But most telling: Jesus is aware somebody has handed Antipas a possible legal basis for charging him with sedition, creating a popular groundswell anointing him their prophesied king. You, as unbiased investigator, should be wary of any individual who would provide Antipas the legal basis to crucify Jesus contrary to his own will (which may, when the facts are known, prove a favorable outcome for Christian theology, or not).
CLUE # 11: At the eulogy for John, among those present to spy on him for Antipas, are adversaries who call out “Give us a sign!” intending to expose Jesus as a pretender falsely claiming divine powers. Jesus replies, “There will be no sign.” (Selectively, and paraphrased:) “The Kingdom of God is not something you see coming like good or bad weather with red skies. It will be in your midst.”
In your investigation, as you read the Gospel text, you realize somebody defied Jesus after his death, changing the story of his departure from the shores of the lake, saying he gave three great signs proving he was “King of the Jews.” What were they? (Hint: the last one may well have been a dramatized description of his jumping out of the boat to lighten it as the craft approached Caesari Philipi where the shore waves in shallower water threatened to rise above the gunwales.)
If we take Jesus at his word, and there were no such three signs, the one you may suspect of falsifying the post-eulogy Gospel account, making it look like he was all-powerful, could be the same individual who solicited the popular coronation of Jesus as king, loudly heralded upon his entry into the Kinneret, wading to the boat. Based on Jesus’ own suspicion, who do you suspect had put him in grave danger of being arrested and put to death as King of the Jews?
Please find the CLUES and other wonderful mental meanderings, such as info about my new book, “The Matthias Scroll-Select Second Edition” on Facebook (Abram’s Historical Writing)