The Pharisees were all a buzz. At least a dozen of them were walking together today, strolling down the dusty streets of Judea. Like locusts scouring the desert for a scrap of food, they were frantically searching among themselves for some smidgen of negative testimony that they could use against Jesus of Nazareth. They devoured each other's stories as if it were their life's nourishment, because their only goal as of late seemed to be to discredit this man who claimed He had authority from God.
"I heard," said one of them, "that his disciples do not practice ceremonial washing before they eat. Furthermore, they were seen plucking heads of wheat from a grainfield on the Sabbath. Everyone knows that it is unlawful to harvest wheat on the Lord's Day."
"Not only that, brother Iranius," replied another, leaning his white, bearded head closer to his companion, "This Jesus himself dared to heal a man on the Sabbath."
Hmph! Snorted yet another. "Well, I'm not sure what's worse - him healing a man on the Sabbath . . . or eating with tax collectors."
The others nodded and muttered in agreement.
A man named Sideous spoke up. "He has even told several people that their sins were forgiven, and only God in Heaven has the power to forgive sins. This man is clearly a blasphemer!"
"He has spoken out against us. He has called us hypocrites and vipers! Just who does he think he is?"
"He thinks he's the Son of God, but we Pharisees seem to be the only ones not blinded by his claims."
"Ah, but you're forgetting that the Sadducees and the Herodians also desire to be rid of him. They are not deceived as some of the people are."
"Yes, the people. The people love him and hang on every word he says. Mostly because of these silly miracles he performs. We've got to find some way to shut him up - to get the people to stop listening to him."
One man in the back had remained quiet through the entire conversation and appeared to be deep in thought.
"Brother Nicodemus," asked Iranius, "What do you think should be done about this Jesus fellow?"
Nicodemus stroked his long beard and finally looked up at the others. "Is He really as dangerous as you think? What if we're overreacting? Many of you have seen that He's a great teacher. Why should we judge every word that He says?"
A look of shock filled their faces.
"Why, Nicodemus, I'm surprised at you," Sideous scolded, "Are you suggesting that we simply leave him alone and allow him to spread this blasphemy and dissention?"
"I'm only saying," Nicodemus countered, "that we should carefully examine His teachings before we accuse Him of anything."
"We are examining him!" one man shouted. "And we find him guilty of blasphemy."
"That is for the law to decide." said Nicodemus.
"And decide it will. I promise you that."
And while Sideous and the others continued to conspire on how they might build a political trap for Jesus, Nicodemus backed into the growing shadows of twilight to plan his own private interview with the renowned Teacher.
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