This fictional story is based on the gospel accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Suddenly and unexpectedly, someone struck me with a sword wielded by an unskilled swordsman. Blood was drenching the right side of my face and dripping down on the shoulder of my mantle, quickly soaking through to my tunic. Sounds were muffled like I was losing my hearing. I reached up to touch my ear, and it was – gone.
I was in a very honored position. I had worked very hard for various priests. Because of my excellent work and service, Caiphas, the high priest, eventually came and asked for me. He wanted me to be his servant. I agreed, and my previous master, a priest, reluctantly agreed.
No other position among servants could be more honorable. The office of high priest was the most elevated position of Jewish political and religious power. Because of him, I could go almost anywhere, and people treated me with respect in any meeting of people of influence and control. I was given luxurious living quarters and fine clothing and ate very well.
I helped serve meals, entertain guests, and help everything run smoothly. I was on call all the time for anything my master desired.
Lately, I have been gathering information about this man, Jesus. The priests, Pharisees, and Sadducees all hated him. They were sure he was here to establish his kingdom, and they didn’t like his actions and speech. They feared he would provoke the Romans to oppress and destroy their nation. My job was to gather information to help them convict and kill Jesus.
One time, I heard Jesus say, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father but by me.” (John 14:6). That sounded arrogant.
On another occasion, I heard Jesus say, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). He said it like he meant it, but I had never seen any leader speak with the compassion this man showed.
I heard Jesus say, “Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-27). That didn’t sound like anything I had heard the religious and political crowd say. How did that fit?
My job was to find evidence to entrap Jesus and find a way to bring him under the control of the Jewish leaders. Then I ran into this guy, Judas. He was a disciple of Jesus but was not convinced that Jesus was the Messiah – as the other disciples believed. We conspired together, and I brought him to meet Caiphas and the other leaders. They made a “betrayal of Jesus” agreement with him.
On the night of Jesus’ arrest, Caiphas selected me to accompany the band of men and officers that the chief priest and Pharisees had commissioned to arrest Jesus. Judas was to lead all of us and would identify Jesus in the dark in the garden near the brook Cedron. We all came armed with lanterns, torches, and weapons.
To the great surprise of our entire group, Jesus came out and met us, asking whom we were seeking. We replied, “Jesus of Nazareth,” and he answered, “I am He.” The power of his words was so great that we all fell backward. Jesus asked us again whom we were seeking, and we told him Jesus of Nazareth. He then identified himself again and asked that we let his disciples go their way.
Then it struck. Out of nowhere, the sword flashed across the right side of my head. I couldn’t hear anything. I went down. All was a blur. Pain in my head overwhelmed me. I felt my head, and my hand came back drenched in blood. With blurring eyes, I could see my ear lying on the ground. My head was swimming.
Through the haziness, I could see someone stooping down and picking up my ear. He gently put the ear back on my head, the bleeding stopped, the pain was gone – and the blur from the blow was gone. Then this Someone – why, it was Jesus, the one we came to arrest! He looked at me out of compassion and said, “Your ear is okay now. Go in peace.” Then I heard him say to the swordsman, “Put up thy sword in the sheath.” I thought, “How could a man be so good and heal people, and yet my crowd of religious zealots want to destroy him?”
Then the band of men and officers took him away. I was able to get up and go with them.
I witnessed Jesus’ trial before Pilate and observed the scourging that made his back look like a chewed-up mass of flesh. I watched his crucifixion, his prayer for forgiveness for his executioners, and tender words to his mother. “How could anyone think this tender, loving man was a danger to the nation of Israel?
Caiphas assigned me to help guard Jesus’ tomb so no disciples would steal his body and claim that he had risen from the dead.
I was there when the earthquake struck. I saw an angel come down from heaven, roll that massive stone from the tomb’s door, and then sit on it. His appearance was like flashing lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
All of us tomb guards began to shake. Fear paralyzed us as we helplessly watched this incredible sight. We knew that Jesus was gone from the tomb.
That morning, I went with the guards to report the resurrection to Caiphas and the chief priests. They paid us “large money” and instructed us to say that the disciples had come and stolen his body.
“How could Caiphas, the chief priests, and the religious leaders plan and perform this execution? When He rose from the dead, how could they participate in this cover-up of the facts?”
I began to doubt everything that they had taught me. In the days after the resurrection, I heard many stories of Jesus’ appearances that infallibly proved He was alive and risen from the dead. I made many inquiries.
On the day of Pentecost, when thousands of Jews gathered together, I heard Peter, the guy who tried to kill me, preach the gospel. Jesus had changed him. That day, I joined with the 3,000 new believers, was baptized, and became a faithful follower of Jesus