Jesus guilty! A slice of Roman talkback
By Peter Fleming
-- -- Eight minutes past three, on this very
good Friday. Call us on the open line and tell us what you
Well, we got him. It's been a long time coming, but, finally:
he's confessed. Egg on the face of all his supporters this
afternoon, as self-confessed terrorist Jesus Christ gets exactly
what he deserved. And some would say crucifixion is too good for
the likes of him.
It's my understanding he was arrested at approximately 8.30 last
evening, hiding out in a mountain of olives, after government
authorities - working with the religious leadership - employed
one Judas Iscariot, who had infiltrated his network of
supporters, to lead them to him.
Then, in a rapid series of late night sittings and early morning
hearings, the Sanhedrin, the Roman governor Pontius Pilate AND
King Herod himself ALL came to the same conclusion: this grubby
threat to the civilised world had to be dealt with, and
Swift justice, eh? Why can't the judges always be
that quick, that's what I'd like to know. Caller, hello.
Go ahead Longinus. You're on.
Caller: Oh, hi, Psittacus, love listening to your show.
That's okay, Longinus. We love hearing what the people think.
Caller: Mate, what did they get this coot on in the end?
I mean, he's got - he's got -
He's got a list of offences up to your armpit, hasn't he?
Caller: That's what I mean, mate. What did they do him
What didn't they do him for? Do you want to know?
Caller: If it doesn't take the rest of the program to
read the charge sheet.
(Wheezy laugh from Psittacus)
I'll try to sum it up. Have a listen to this. At the
Sanhedrin - are you listening, Longinus? - At the Sanhedrin
testimony was given that he had threatened to tear down the
Temple - the Temple! - and build a new one in its place. No
denial. No protest. The charge held. He was asked was he the
Christ, the Son of the Blessed One. He replied, "I am."
How about that? I mean, the absolute affrontery - claiming to
be the Son of God and then when they accuse him of planning a
terrorist attack on the Temple itself - I mean, the Temple,
we're talking about the single greatest icon in Jerusalem! - no
denial. He let the charge stand. But wait, there's more.
Caller: Mate, I don't think I can handle any more.
Get this, get this. He gets taken to the governor. Now, let's
face it, he's friends with the Romans, isn't he? He's been known
to quaff a chalice or two with his tax collector mates ...
Caller: As long as it's not with his lady friends, you
know what I mean?
(Wheezy laugh from Psittacus)
Stop it, Longinus! This is serious! He gets taken to the
governor. Now, you'd expect the case might have been thrown out
at that level if there was nothing in it. The governor asks him
three times - three times! - I mean, it's not as if he doesn't
get a chance to pack it all in and retire hurt! - Three times,
the governor asks him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" and he
says, "You said it!" "You said it!" he says.
Caller: Mate, he's got no shame.
NO shame! You've got this cheap-jack, upstart from - Gawd
help us! - Galilee - Galilee, where they breed these political
thugs by the bucketload! - and he plans attacks on the Temple -
Caller: Didn't just plan 'em, he attacked it!
That's it, that's it! Last week he goes round and smashes
tables and whips the animals, and says "You've turned my
father's house into a den of thieves!" - talk about the pot
calling the kettle black! - then he's going to tear it down, and
he says he's working for God and he's the King of the Jews.
Well, the Sanhedrin didn't believe him, Pilate didn't believe
him, and Herod didn't either. Not one, not two, THREE
authorities ALL in agreement. And what they're saying is this:
You are the worst of the worst, you don't belong in civilised
Caller: It's a joke, isn't it?
That's it, it's a joke. Well, who's laughing now? Next
Caller: Oh, good afternoon, Psittacus, I just wanted to
ask, what IS this man's real name? Somewhere along the way I've
That's right, Agrippina! The names! The titles!
Caller: Son of God, Son of Man …
Listen, I've got the charge sheet right here, with all the
aliases listed. He's been variously known as - are you listening
to this? - Jesus bar Joseph - note the "bar", it means he's "son
of" Joseph, so I don't know where he gets his other Father from!
- Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus Christ, Joshua, Yeshua, EMMANUEL, Son
of God, Son of Man, Son of the Blessed One, SON OF DAVID!!! I
mean, the list just goes on and on!
Caller: Well, Psittacus, it just confirms to me, these
people do have a personality problem. They don't know who they
are, and they don't want us to know, either. But it doesn't stop
them from rocking the boat, and let's face it, our society is
already afloat on what is a very, very choppy lake.
Good call. Good call. Gee, the people aren't idiots are they?
Caller: Mate, I heard he cured other people. Why didn't
he just take himself down off the cross, if he's who he said he
Well, exactly, Genericus. It's all ridiculous, and you, see,
his supporters -
Caller: Where are they now?
Cant find' em!
Caller: Not even one?
Not even one. Hiding in a mountain of olives with egg all
over their face. I mean, I'd love to hear from one! If you
follow this maniac, call in.
Caller: I heard he was a pacifist.
Of course. Of course he'd be against any war, wouldn't he?
Caller: Except the one he wants to wage against us.
Against us. Exactly. Good call. Good call. Caller, hello?
Caller: Brutulus here. Psittacus, I heard this guy Jesus
rejected his family, and said his only real mother and brother
and sister were the people doing God's work.
Crazy, isn't it, Brutulus? I mean, what is left to us if not
family values, and yet here's this bloke saying there's somehow
something better than your family, and plotting to blow up our
national monuments. Well, where are his supporters now, eh? Are
they plotting to do more of … "God's work"?
Caller: My name's Barrabas -
What's happened there? Line gone dead, has it? We - we've
lost him. Oh, well, we'll move on. Caller, hello?
Caller: Psittacus, I'm a civil liberties lawyer -
Aw, here we go!
Caller: Naturally I've been following the process with
Are you a supporter?
Caller: I'm a supporter of natural justice and human
Aw, Gawd. What do YOU want?
Caller: Psittacus, it's my understanding that this
process was rigged to get a conviction from the start. First of
all, the prisoner was brutally manhandled from the Garden of
Gethsemane to the Sanhedrin. At the Sanhedrin, hearsay evidence
was used against him, without any proper procedure in place for
testing it; the case was heard in a specially convened court in
the dead of night, which doesn't correspond to the normal
standards usually adhered to in the very best of the Judaic
justice system. The Sanhedrin has no law by which he can be put
to death, and so what do they do? By an act of extraordinary
rendition, they hand him over to an authority who does.
So they take him, without access to his family or to
friends or to a defence counsel, directly to the Governor, who
had him beaten, flogged and tortured - they gave him a crown
made entirely out of thorns and ground it into his skull until
he bled profusely. Even then, I understand the charges had to be
reconstituted and watered down to something that would stick,
and finally the governor only agreed to crucifixion when
political pressure was applied to him by the religious
authorities to basically come up with a guilty verdict or risk
displeasing the emperor. Any confession under this sort of
duress isn't worth the paper it's written on. Sham trials
produce sham verdicts. Anyway, that's what I wanted to say.
(Psittacus feigns snoring sound)
Is he finished? What was all that about? Caller, hello?
Caller: Mate, I just think we're all giving too much
attention to this guy. I mean, we don't want to give him a
Well, we can't do that now. I've just this second had a note
passed in to me, and it says, let me read it: "Jesus Christ,
confirmed dead, at twenty minutes past three o'clock, Good
Friday, 33 AD." Not a moment too soon. (pause) Who will miss
him, eh? (pause) Where are his supporters now?
Egg all around, this Easter.
Peter Fleming is a writer and teacher, currently working
at Loyola Senior High School Mt Druitt. He has written plays and
musicals, lectured in theatre history and arts managment, and
was a regular contributor to onlinecatholics.com
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