Palm Sunday, 1996
The News from Galilee
[The preacher is dressed as a carpenter. He is at his bench, talking as he works, shaving boards with a draw knife and cutting boards with a hatchet.]
Shalom Aaron. Welcome, I knew you’d come for Passover. Welcome, since it’s a long time. What’s the news from Galilee?
Oh, he’s here now. And he’s going to be in trouble.
Oh, I heard, even the news from Galilee gets down here to Jerusalem. After all, if something happens in Galilee, that’s the most exciting thing in Galilee, so we’re sure to hear it. But he’s going to find himself in trouble. All this nonsense. Changing water to wine. Ha! I can show you 10 men in Jerusalem who can do that. And they charge for it too.
Sure, he heals the sick. I’m glad. That’s good. But how can he forgive their sins? It wasn’t them who sinned, it was their grandparents. Scripture tells us, sins are carried on from generation to generation. So how can he forgive them?
I tell you, if he doesn’t watch it, They are going to kill him. And I’m tired of killing. We’ve had far to much of that in my lifetime. Do you remember, it must have been two – three years ago. Up in Galilee. Two thousand Crucified.
Yeah, I thought you’d stay away. You never get in trouble. Well, it was another of those rebellions. And they never work. No, I don’t think so, not this time.
Oh, sure, he’s a good teacher. Who wouldn’t go hear a storyteller. What else is there to do in Galilee?
Well, he’s been telling some stories here too. And they’re getting him in trouble.
Why, just this week he was in the temple. And one of the Pharisees held up a coin and said, Yeshuah, do we pay this tax?
[Laughter] Well, you know with Passover week there a hundred thousand people in Jerusalem, and so the temple guards were there, and the Roman guards were there, outside the temple walls ready to come in if there was a disturbance. And Yeshuah says, "Well, who’s picture is on the coin." Now, it’s Caesar’s, you know. Well, can you imagine a Pharisee holding a Roman coin that says the emperor is God? He really did it good. Oh, You should have seen the Pharisee’s face then, his face turned bright red. I thought he was going to strike him right then. This Yeshuah, he caught him in his own trap. How could a pure Pharisee, devoted to everything that is against what the Romans stand for even be having this Roman coin! But they’ll kill him. They always do.
You remember Yohannes, the baptizer, in the Jordan, in the valley. You know what the Pharisees did to him! They can give criticism, but they just can’t take it. So they let Herod know, they let him know what he was saying. Well, Yohannes was saying these things and they may have been the truth but he lost his head. [Laughter] He did lose his head, in truth. And Yohannes was a good man, he told the truth.
So, I don’t have much time for this foolishness. It is foolishness. Nothing ever good came out of Galilee. You know that.
Yes. My brother … my brother Abraham went up to see this Yeshuah once. And then he came back telling me some nonsense about him raising a child who’d died. Ha! Well, I tell you the child wasn’t dead. I’ve seen that trick before. They give these "dying people" something to drink, and they fall asleep, and they can sleep for days. Sometimes they even open their eyes, but they’re still asleep. It’s a trick. I’ve seen it happen. That’s not bringing anyone to life. Although my brother was pretty impressed, I have to say.
What I can’t figure out, is why the Romans haven’t arrested Yeshuah yet. He came into the temple this week. And caused such commotion you wouldn’t believe. Well, it’s Passover, Everyone wants to get right with God. So, you know it’s the usual, only more. I mean, You have to have a dove, or lamb or kid; some sacrifice to show that you’ve changed your heart and you’re now good with God. And of course, if there’s a hundred thousand people, you’ve got to have a lot more; so it was quite a noisy place. And people came from all over, from Tyre, from Asia Minor, of course up in Jericho. Even up from Egypt they came! And he came in and he took a whip! Oh, you should have seen it! He knocked over those dove carts! Birds were everywhere! People were ducking! The birds were flying! He untied the little sheep and the goats! They were running knocking people down! The tables went flying! The money went everywhere! Kids were grabbing up the money pieces, they weren’t so stupid! No, sir.
They’ll kill him for that if nothing else, defiling the temple ground. And we’ve had too much killing.
You know Aaron, sometimes I think our whole history has been nothing but killing. Our great ancestor Moshe, killed an Egyptian. And when the Holy One of Israel, Blessed be his name, brought us out of that land, how did he do it? He killed the first born Egyptian children. Scripture tells us when we made it to the Reed sea and Pharaoh’s army was chasing after us, what did he do? He drowned them too.
I suppose it is only right. We have to suffer some killing. But do we have to kill so many? And Deborah, now there was a great women. Pounding a tent peg into his skull. That’s a good example of a woman, don’t you think? That’s why I keep this one handy for my wife [referring to the hatchet blade].
But Sarah, my wife, she went off for a while. She’s back now. She went up to Galilee, didn’t you see her? When she heard that he was bringing children back to life, she went to see him. She’s never given up hope, that woman. She’s been a good woman. And she loves me. Even though I’m not very lovable.
But I think, that between the Romans, and the temple guard, or maybe Herod’s people. They’ll do him in.
Did you know what Yeshuah said? He called Herod that little crafty fox. A fox! Oh, what an insult. If Herod’s father, old Herod had been alive, Yeshuah would have been dead on the spot.
This band of people he brought with him, I don’t know. They’re not worth very much you know. Aside from the fact that they are all from Galilee. They don’t have any money. I hear that he sent them out to beg for money. Offering to heal the sick and say a prayer in exchange for a place to stay and some food to eat. That sounds like begging to me. Anyone can pray. But I don’t pray to much any more. I haven’t prayed for years. Doesn’t do any good. I think that we’ve been abandoned by God.
I used to pray, and then old Herod showed me the folly of prayer. And then when the Romans came … One year in Galilee, you could see only one crucifixion every few days. Have you ever seen a crucifixion? I’ve seen them. When I have long logs that I have yet to cut up, the Romans buy them from me. I helped deliver them once. It was some of those Zealots, you know. Like the ones in Galilee that were crucified. They tied them up; and they just leave ’em. And tie them up so that they sag … and they start to suffocate. And of course people laugh at them. Sometimes throw things. One fellow I think, I was there three days later; he was still hanging on. If the Romans ever wanted to provide a good warning, that was it.
Well, this Yeshuah fellow, I don’t know … He didn’t say too much against Rome. But he seems to think Yohannes was a good man, and he says some of the same things about the Pharisees Yohannes did. They’ll probably kill him for blasphemy. Stone him. I’m tired of all the killing.
You know what happened this week. Yeshuah and all the people came in from Bethany. And just like in the prophecy, he was riding an ass! Just like the old kings used to do when they came into Jerusalem. I couldn’t believe the audacity! And the people, they tore off palm branches off trees … they weren’t even their trees! And they waved the palms in front of him and they threw them down. And sometimes they even threw their cloaks down too. And they were singing "Hosanna" to the son of David. Now I tell you, if that wasn’t waving a red flag in front of the Pharisees nose, I don’t know what was.
Too much killing. Enough that they call him the son of David. He’s from Galilee, not … Well sure he’s from Galilee. His father Jusuf was a carpenter like me. Well Jusuf is dead now and that’s probably a good thing, wondering what his son would be like, that’s all. He had a good trade and he left it. Just like someone from Galilee not to know what was a good opportunity. I tell you he was from Nazareth, not Bethlehem, no. Nazareth! I knew his father! He came one time. I think it was when Yeshuah had his bar mitzvah here in Jerusalem. His father came, and we talked. He was from Nazareth.
Born in Bethlehem? Back at the census? If he was born in Bethlehem at the time of the census he should be dead. Like my son … Like my son!
Oh, I believed in the Holy one of Israel, Blessed be His Name, too, and I waited for the Messiah. And then Herod took my son Yitzak. Little Yitzak. And he slew him in front of Sarah and my eyes. If Yeshuah was from Bethlehem, then I won’t weep for him when they kill him.
My son died; and they didn’t weep for us.