“Listen up! We haven’t much time. We’ll only have one shot at this.”
The cadre of freedom fighters nodded in agreement. Bearded, dark-skinned, their clothes covered in dust, they listened carefully to their leader.
“The governor delivered his sentence. Execution.”
“Our benevolent leaders pressured him,” another spat. “They don’t care about the people. They don’t care about us. They don’t care how we suffer under this occupation. They get to keep their power!”
“God sees our suffering,” the leader reminded them. “Ours is the righteous path. Always, throughout history, the tyrants have fallen from their heights. God is with us. We will certainly succeed.”
The others repeated the words: “God is with us! We cannot fail!”“They will parade him through the streets,” the leader continued. “They wish to dishearten us. They have already deceived the masses. But we are not deceived. From the governor’s palace, they will lead him outside the city. At the first corner, we must stand ready to take him from them. He will be heavily guarded.”
“We are not afraid to die for the nation!” shouted the youngest of them.
“That is good. If we perish, we perish not just for the nation, but for God. Our nation will be glorious once again, as it was in the past. Every knee shall bow before us, and we will throw off our oppressors and stomp them underfoot!”
Just then, another entered their ranks.
“Simon, what news?”
“We must call it off. The plan will fail.”
“We are not afraid,” one said. “Strengthen your trembling knees!”
“It’s not fear,” Simon explained. “He won’t cooperate. Even if we succeed, he will not allow it.”
There was an uproar of disbelief. “You listen to me, Simon,” the leader declared. “I have read the Scriptures. We will be a power in the world again. You saw how the crowd welcomed him. So it shall be again. Don’t doubt, only believe.”
Simon shook his head. “I cannot be a part of this.”
“Stop him!” shouted several as Simon hurried out.
“No, let him go,” the leader commanded. “He does not understand the strength of our will. Even if Jesus does not want to be saved from crucifixion, we will save him. After all, what good is he to us dead?”