We suggest that you begin reading the Centurion series from the beginning.
The Day of Passover had finally arrived and none too soon as far as I was concerned. Although the streets are at their most crowded, it’s with people taking their lambs to the temple to be slaughtered, or buying last minute things they need for the feast. No one has time to make trouble, so we don’t have much to do. Mostly making sure the flow of traffic is unimpeded, because all that excited anticipation can turn to frustration pretty quickly when people can’t get where they want to go. But the smell. It’s the worst day of all. The stench of blood around the temple is almost overwhelming. It almost obscures the smell of thousands of sweaty bodies navigating the narrow streets of Jerusalem. Almost.
We had something to look forward to this year though, as the day after Passover was their Sabbath, so we’d hopefully have a couple of days of relative quiet. Then again, you never know what’s going to happen when a people are waiting for a mythical figure to appear and drive us out of their homeland. So I didn’t let my guard down too much.
By sundown all I had to do was get a couple of overturned carts moved and settle a couple of disputes over livestock ownership, which doesn’t take long when you’ve got a sword. When we got back to the barracks, I stripped off my armor, grabbed a skin of wine, and went in search of my friend. I found him playing dice with some of his men.
“So, what’s the word on Jesus of Nazareth today?”
Not looking up from the bones, he said, “Nothing to report. He stayed in Bethany all day. Sent some of his followers into the city to make arrangements for the Passover, and then came into the city at dusk. My little spy came and told me all this, but he had to get back to his family, so that’s all I know. Looks like he’s just another rabbi with a few followers. He’ll probably head back to Galilee after the Sabbath, and that will be that.”
We would discover just how wrong that assumption was a few hours later.
This is part of an ongoing historical fiction series leading up to Easter. It features the story of Jesus’ path to the cross from the perspective of a Roman Centurion. It was written by Sean Gladding, the author of The Story of God, The Story of Us. This series will be posted as a daily devotional. We hope this narrative stirs deeper reflection on the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ final days.