By Rev. Ronald Stelzer
Caiaphas in Trouble
Gentlemen, we have a problem. It may be a very big problem. That is why I have reconvened you. Early this morning the temple soldiers that I had assigned to guard the tomb of that public enemy we impeached and successfully had crucified by the Romans, these guards have now told me a very disturbing and potentially very damaging and, really, quite preposterous story. They said that the tomb of Jesus was the epicenter of the earthquake that we all felt earlier this morning. And, excuse me for sounding foolish, they say that a mighty angel in dazzling appearance descended from heaven and approached the tomb and rolled the large stone from the entrance of tomb.
The Guards Report
I asked them why they did not stop him. They said they were frozen stiff with fear. They say that the one they call an angel remained and sat on top of the stone. The soldiers said they did not dare question him, and they did not dare move, so they pretended to be dead. I wondered if it might be a delusion of one of the hysterical guards – the report of one who may be mentally ill or at least emotionally unstable, but they all said they experienced the same thing. Delusions happen to an individual, but when the whole contingent of soldiers without exception all gave an identical eyewitness report, I was puzzled. I knew we had a problem we had to deal with immediately. That is why I called you into session.
Christ is Risen from The Dead
But wait. It gets worse. At about the same time several women, friends of Jesus, were arriving at the site of the now open tomb, and the soldiers say that the angel spoke to the women. They say that the angel announced, “Don’t be afraid, because I know you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here. For He has risen just as He said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead.’” All the soldiers corroborate the story. The tomb indeed was empty. The body is missing.
This is exactly what I did not want to happen. That is why we put guards at the tomb. How could this imposter’s ragtag disciples, petrified simpletons, pull this off? Maybe the soldiers were guarding the wrong tomb. There must be some mistake – some logical explanation. Who can prove that this indeed was the tomb of Jesus, the one we had crucified?
JOSEPH OF ARAMATHEA: I can, Sir.
CAIAPHAS: You? Joseph of Aramathea? How do you know for certain that this was the actual tomb in which the impeached imposter was buried?
Joseph of Aramathea Takes the Stand
It was my tomb, sir. I buried the body in the tomb I had purchased for myself and my family. Nicodemus was with me. He can confirm my testimony.
After Jesus died, we went to Pilate together. You know it is against our law to leave a dead body exposed on the Sabbath. So, we asked Pilate for permission to take the corpse and bury it. Pilate was surprised that Jesus was already dead, so he called in the Roman soldier who supervised crucifixions. The centurion confirmed without a doubt that Jesus was dead, and that he had put a spear through Jesus’ side to make sure.
Pilate Gave Permission
We took his body down from the cross. We wrapped it in clean fine linen and took it to my tomb which was nearby. Some of Jesus’ women friends and followers were watching us. If you want further witnesses, you can ask them.
CAIAPHAS: What good is the testimony of some hysterical, grieving women? But why did YOU do it? Why did you put the body of an impeached pseudo-Messiah, a traitor to our nation and our religion, a criminal condemned by our Jewish Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, and found guilty and executed by Pilate and the Romans – why did you put his corpse in your tomb?
Miscarriage of Justice
JOSEPH: Nicodemus and I did it because we were ashamed. The trial was a sham. A hoax. A set-up full of lies and slander. A gross miscarriage of justice. The culmination of three years of searching for incriminating evidence, all in vain. We came up with nothing. It was a waste of time and money. It was a conspiracy and a witch-hunt to remove Him from office.
CAIAPHAS: What office is that, Joseph?
Joseph Declares His Faith
JOSEPH: The office of Messiah. The Son of God. Our Savior. I decided I would rather be identified with a condemned dead man than with this kangaroo court. I became a believer in Jesus. Along with Nicodemus. I just was afraid to come out and say so. When this court declared Jesus guilty of blasphemy, Nicodemus and I abstained. You were too busy whipping up excitement for a hasty conviction and execution, ignoring all due process and the rights of the defendant – you were too determined to convict, to notice our abstentions or to record our vote. It was the guilty verdict by shout of acclamation, without even hearing from the defense, and rush to sentencing. Burying his body in my tomb was my way of confessing my faith in Jesus as our Messiah and my Savior. My hope was that perhaps, like the condemned man crucified next to Jesus, Jesus would remember me when he came into His Kingdom – that Kingdom that is not of this world – that Kingdom where truth prevails over fake news, where righteousness reigns and evil is banished. I am not surprised at the report that Jesus is risen. We all remember that he said he would – that He would be back. That is why you put a guard at His tomb – to make sure the disciples would not steal the body. Well you were successful. The disciples did not steal it. No one did. You will never find it. He is alive. And you have helped prove it.
But you will see the risen, living Christ. We will all see Him again. And when that day comes, Jesus will be the Judge, and we will be the ones on trial, with our eternal destiny at stake. My hope and prayer are that on that day, Jesus will say to me: “Today, you will be with Me in Paradise.”
The Cover Up
CAIAPHAS: ENOUGH!! Jesus has deceived you as well! GUARDS COME HERE! I have arranged to make it worth your while to help us. We can draw this from the same temple offerings we used to pay Judas, designated funds for civic necessities. If you are questioned, here is what you all must say. Say you fell asleep at the tomb, and the disciples came and stole the body while you slept. Do not say anything more. Do not give details. We must be careful not to give conflicting testimonies. We had enough trouble with that at Jesus trial –almost had to abort the whole thing until I came up with the ingenious demand that He tell us under oath if He was the Christ. As for you, here is my advice. Do not answer any questions. Say you cannot recall. Better yet, go on the lamb. Disappear for a while.
Here. Take this money for your cooperation. It is not a bribe. It’s just a thank you – a thank you for your part in preserving our nation – and, of course, our position of power and authority, supported by a controlled populace, to rule over this nation for its own good. I know, some disrespectfully call us who are devoted public servants – they call us the Deep State, but we know we are only doing what is right and necessary for the good of the nation, because we know better.
Create Fake News
Do not worry about being investigated by Pilate or the mainstream Jerusalem Press. We will leak the same report to them. We can count on them to broadcast it uniformly as one voice. And court recorder, you who recorded the minutes of this meeting, destroy the evidence. Use bleach bit. Smash the devices so our proceedings are erased. And we may have to create some more fake news to divert public attention from this Jesus. It would be a disaster if we do not dominate the news cycle, and they start investigating the investigators. Give me any ideas you might have to keep our control and advance our agenda. Remember the advice of our leader: “Don’t let any crisis go to waste.” Create one if necessary.
Also let us be sure: if anything at all bad happens, it is all Jesus’ fault. And if anything, good happens, we get the credit. And finally, if the polls say something good is happening, like people getting healed or something, and the popular opinion attributes it to Jesus, find something bad to say about it. If we could count on God, I would say “God help us.” But God helps those who help themselves. We are dismissed.
The Impeachment Concludes
About the Author
Pastor: Rev. Ronald Stelzer is a 3rd generation minister in the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod and 2nd generation teacher and coach in Lutheran schools.
He was raised in a six-child family in Kansas and Indiana, graduated from St. Paul's Lutheran School and Concordia Lutheran High School in Fort Wayne, Davidson College in North Carolina and Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and Fort Wayne.
He and wife Margaret of 35 years have six grown children and six grandchildren. He has served two years in sports ministry with Athletes in Action, a year in youth missions with Ongoing Ambassadors for Christ, four years as chaplain/teacher/coach at his high school alma mater, and 35 years as pastor of Our Savior, where he helped found and lead Our Savior New American School 28 years ago.
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