A/N: Okay, so honestly? I have no idea where this idea came from. I was just flipping through my Bible one night, and happened upon John 18. I got to thinking... how could you doubt who Jesus truly was if he regrew your ear?! So, here I am, trying to get inside the mind of a High Priest's servant. Hope that it's not too boring or stupid... if you read, perhaps you could tell me what you think? I'd love you forever! Many thanks for taking the time to click on this. Have a great day, afternoon, night...! God bless!
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"No. Don't you men see? To truly solve the problem, we must... get rid of the problem." All eyes in the dirty temple basement were now on my master. He glanced around to every face, and with a sneer curling over his lips, he went a step further.
There was a beat of silence while his words sunk in, and then everyone was talking at once.
"Impossible, the risk..."
"Murder? But who would think..."
"No other way..."
"Lets do it," I whispered, clenching my fists in anticipation. The High Priest nodded his approval at me, and pride made my chin rise. I looked at the chaos surrounding the candles; everyone had a different opinion.
"Malchus and I are in agreement. Are we alone with our plans, or will we have the help of our noble friends?" Master said, raising his hand to calm the table. Wary glances were exchanged, covered by coughs or yawns.
"... I will assist you, as will my workers," the head elder said, cracking under the tension. My master shook his hand firmly. After the second and third man, it was a mumbled agreement that everyone would help.
"Sir, if you don't mind me asking, how do you expect to kill a person so loved such as Jesus? He is always with others," the man sitting next to me asked, almost timid. I looked at him skeptically; he couldn't have been five years older than I. Perhaps he was a Pharisee.
"Not just brutal murder, good men. We are not barbarians. We'll have to take him to court—I'm sure that I can get Pilate and several others to give him a... how you say, fair trial. Certainly, he will have to be put to death for his sins," he answered, the same sneering smile on his face.
"But teacher, how can we capture this man?" the ignorant fool beside me pushed.
"For that, gentlemen, I believe you could value my proposal," a voice called from the hallway. The air grew stiff with surprise; everyone sitting looked at each other in the confusion.
"Show yourself, you eavesdropper," master called curtly, his head looking expectantly at the doorway. Slowly, a cloaked man entered the room full with temple elite.
"Are you going to offend us all? Let us see your face; only then can we talk like the professionals we are. What business brings you down here?" the high priest continued. Slowly, the mysterious visitor allowed his hood to drop about his shoulders. Several of the people gasped in recognition, but I merely cocked my head in examination. Obviously, he was not one of us. He was dirty and disheveled; the sun had colored his skin. A traveler. How could a traveling man help us? I looked over towards master, frowning at his elated expression. Had he gone mad?
"Judas—Jesus' disciple? Am I mistaken?" He asked, standing to shake the strangers hand. My eyebrows went up. Judas? One of the twelve? How could that be?
"You are correct, I am Judas Iscariot. What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?" the man named Judas asked, his greedy eyes flicking over our assembly. When his met mine, they held there for a moment. I wondered what was in his thoughts; surely, being with Jesus must've tainted his mind. What had possessed him to come to us? We couldn't trust him.
"Thirty pieces of silver. I'm sure you'll find that to your likings," master said, gesturing to a chair at the table. He sat across from me, and my eyes wandered his aged face. What was Jesus like? Apparently, this man had understood the lies he told.
"Thirty pieces? I would benefit quite nicely. After passover, I will come to you," Judas went on, finally looking master back in the face.
"How will we know which one is Jesus?"
"Whomever I kiss, He is the one, seize him," Judas decided, pulling the cloak back about his face. He watched expectantly as master counted out the compensation. After the payment was made, Judas left the temple without another word. Everyone listened to his deliberate steps until the sanctuary doors closed.
"Men, it seems we have a few nights to prepare. Warn your workers, prepare your torches. After passover, we are going to attempt to condemn the 'son of god'," master said, and the room burst into boisterous laughter and excited chatter. The high priest patted my shoulder.
"I'm sending you in my place, Malchus. You are ready to prove your dedication to the church, to God, to me. I trust you," he finished, and my eyes widened at this news. Me? I was to go? The more I thought of it, the more excited I became. Finally, we would get rid of this man, the impostor. A smile crept upon my face. Passover couldn't come soon enough.
Surely, it was the anticipation of the upcoming task that made the next three days crawl by. I was sitting in the temple scroll room one night, looking absently over a law, when the news was brought to me.
"Judas awaits you in the temple entry," a Bible boy said, ducking into the room. I raised my eyebrows and threw the scroll on the floor.
"Why do you stand there? Bring me my cloak! The time has come!" I said, jumping into the hallway. My sandals were thrown on and my cloak barely tied before I was standing in the presence of Judas once again. This time he looked even worse than he had before; his eyes were blood shot and crazed, and his body looked weighted as if he hadn't found sleep in a long time.
"Are we ready?" an elder asked, his gaze lingering on the growing mob waiting outside of the temple. Judas nodded absentmindedly.
"He is in Gethsemane. He knows we come. Follow me," he said, already walking out to meet the others. I shared confused looks with the others before starting the descent.
"Malchus?" I turned at the sound of my name, and looked expectantly at master. "Malchus, good luck tonight. I know that I've made a wise decision. Don't let me down, boy," the high priest said, smiling. I nodded seriously, and ran into the night. We walked down the dirt paths, anxious murmurs and excited plans whispered among each other. I stayed quiet, listening to it all, taking in the atmosphere. I would never tell anyone, but it wasn't just the thought of finally getting rid of Jesus, but also the thought of meeting the one so rumored of that excited me. As we grew nearer and nearer to the garden, my step had become more of a hop with anticipation. The crowd slowed, and I peered into the darkness.
"Is that him? Judas, is that the one?" People started asking. I grunted in frustration; stuck in the back, I was unable to see what the others could. I pushed my way through until I was in the very front. There in the clearing were eleven men, all who appeared to be asleep. One man, alone, was walking slowly towards the slumbering disciples. Could that truly be Jesus?
"Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand," he spoke, and the eleven woke slowly. As soon as his words registered, however, they were all up and alert.
"Greetings, Rabbi!" Judas said nervously, leaving the group and walking the couple of feet towards the man.
"Friend, why have you come?" Jesus asked, merely being polite. Judas grabbed the shoulders of Jesus, and kissed him on the cheek. Jesus' face crumpled; anyone could see it.
"Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?" he asked, but he obviously knew the answer. He wasn't surprised in the least to find us there; and yet, he didn't try to run or send his disciples to protect him. I looked at this man, the one they called Messiah, in disbelief. Certainly, he wasn't what I had expected. He looked downright horrible; his long, brown hair was tangled and thrown behind his shoulders. His tunics were crumpled and dirt covered, his feet were scratched and torn. His face was smeared with blood and sweat. When I looked into his eyes, I saw such a deep despair that my throat caught. Never had I seen something so sincere, so raw, so intense. Who was this man?
"He is the one, seize him!" Someone cried, and all was chaos. The mob around me burst into action, and soon Jesus was bound and guarded. I stood next to him, listening to the outraged cries of his disciples.
"Jesus!" one cried, and as I turned to look at who had shouted, a fiery pain erupted through my head. Stars blurred my vision and my breath seemed to elude me. The pain wasn't ceasing, I couldn't hear anything but the sound of my own screams. Time slowed; altogether stopped. I don't know how long I laid on the ground, begging for my death.
"Permit even this." Those words cut through my torment; they were full of desperation. Suddenly, his presence was with me. I felt one hand on my shoulder, the other gently touching my wound. I blinked open my eyes, looking into the face of Jesus, and knew at once that I was healed. My mouth dropped as my hands grasped my ear; my perfect, new, beautiful ear... the one that had just been cut off. I looked in disbelief at the one who had caused my pain. He was glaring at me, and under his breath was a whispered threat.
"You're lucky you turned your head; otherwise, you wouldn't have one."
I involuntarily shuddered, and looked back at Jesus. His eyes were looking into mine, begging, pleading. Tears formed in the corners of his eyes. He turned towards the rest of the crowd, acting as if he were in physical pain.
"Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs to take Me? I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and you did not seize Me. But all this was done that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled," he said, nodding his head in surrender. He turned back to his followers one last time, and as the angry people around me started to lead Jesus away, the disciples turned in the opposite direction and ran.
"No, don't you see? He healed me, it's true! He's Jesus, Son of Man, Messiah!" I said, tugging on the arm of the nearest man.
"You are an ignorant fool, Malchus. He isn't of God, but of the devil. Simply a magician. You are lucky that your ear is healed, yes, but I'd bet that you'll be dead in the morning," he said, and laughed morbidly. My eyes widened in shock; how could they not see? Had they truly just missed the exchange that had taken place? I had been touched by God! God had taken mercy on me, a man who had only moments before planned to kill his Son. I went to every other person in the gathering, and every reaction was just as the first. Most laughed at me. Finally, out of desperation, I went to Judas himself.
"Where are they taking Him?" He asked me before I could get a word in.
"Um... I believe they are going to Caiaphas in our sister temple," I said slowly. He frowned and looked at the ground, distracted. "How could you betray Jesus? I only just saw his mercy! He is truly God's Son!" I said, raising my voice. He looked at me with guilt ridden eyes.
"I have no reason. I know I was wrong," he whispered, and for the second time that night, I watched a grown man cry.
I didn't know what to do, so I followed dumbly along with the temple elite and their soldiers. The sky was the blackest I've ever seen it as we entered the temples courtyard.
"So this is the great Jesus, the Son of God? Where's your God now, huh?" Caiaphas greeted the crowd as we sat down in the Temple. It was decided beforehand who would go to the stand and declare the wrongs of Jesus, so I sat there in no surprise as different men went up and gave their testimonies. Throughout the whole trial, Jesus didn't say a word. Nothing. I wondered if something was wrong with him, but there was no way I could go to find out. The last two witnesses were called to the stand, and I winced as I listened to their words.
"This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days'." The high priest looked expectantly at Jesus, and still, he remained quiet.
"Do you answer nothing? What is it these men testify against you?" he waited only another moment. "I put you under oath by the living God: Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God!" Jesus finally looked up, a new strength found.
"It is as you said. Nevertheless, I say to you, hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming on the clouds of heaven." As Jesus spoke, Caiaphas grew more and more red in the face. Standing up, he grabbed his clothes in frustration and tore them.
"He has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard His blasphemy! What do you think?" he asked, a large hand pointing towards the audience.
"He is deserving of death!" a general cry rang out, and I sat in horror as Jesus was grabbed and thrown to us, as if we were hungry dogs and he was the meat. Everyone took their turn beating and spitting on Jesus, and he did nothing to stop it. He sat there, eyes closed, as they taunted him and kicked him.
"Prophesy to us, Christ! Who is the one who struck you?" the teased, laughing cruelly. Judas couldn't bear it anymore and ran out of the temple, shortly followed by myself. I ran with him in the early dawn, following until he reached my temple. He flung himself down into the basement, where master was sitting calmly.
"Malchus, oh, and Judas! I hear that everything went well. What is the good news you bring me?" he asked, smiling. Judas snarled and threw the thirty pieces of silver onto the table, where they scattered.
"I have sinned by betraying innocent blood!" Judas cried bitterly, gasping in a sob. I nodded, and master raised an eyebrow.
"What is that to us? You see to it!" he said, and went back to what he was reading.
"Master, Jesus is truly the son of God! Do you not understand? He is going to die! They will kill him!" I begged, and all I got was a shrug. Judas touched my arm and led me away from the temple. I sat down on the steps outside, realizing that I had helped condemn my savior. Judas never stopped walking. I started bawling, knowing that there was nothing I could do to stop what I had helped to start. I felt so helpless, dirty, and unworthy. After a while, I realized I hadn't seen Judas for the longest time. With the sun just over the mountains, I went looking for him.
"Judas?" I called, walking slowly along the path.
"Who calls the name of the filthy?" he responded. I looked around. Finally, I found him up in a tree.
"Judas? What are you doing?" I asked, looking in horror as he wound a long rope around his neck.
"I never deserved life; Jesus himself said that it would have been better for me if I had never been born. He knew that I would betray him, he knew that I would sentence him to death. He did nothing to stop it. Nothing. My God, my father, and I threw him to the murderers for thirty pieces of silver!" Judas looked away; spat on the ground. "Now, I'm punishing myself. I could never live; just the turmoil of my soul would kill me alive. You found Christ. Never dishonor him as I have," he finished, looking back in my direction. I could do nothing as he jumped off of the branch. I turned in shock and despair away from the now lifeless body.
"Jesus Christ, Son of God, forgive me," I begged. What more could I do? That night, as the words "It is finished!" rang throughout the land, I wept for all that was lost in order for I to have gained.