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Date: Mid afternoon on Thursday, April 6th, 30 A.D.
In today’s reading, Governor Pontius Pilate gives a brief speech formally welcoming Herod the tetrarch to Jerusalem.
At last the two mounted commanders arrived before Pilate’s chariot. They were motioned to take their position on either side. After a brief confusion of feet, the royal litter managed to turn sideways so the royal couple could face the governor as he stood upon his imperial chariot. The trumpeters sounded the fanfare. When the last note had echoed off the marble wall, Pilate unrolled the parchment handed to him by an attendant. He cleared his throat and began his oration.
“It was under the rule of the great and wise Emperor Caesar Augustus that this magnificent temple behind us began to take shape. He recognized the desire of the Jewish people for a central place to worship. It was Herod the great Idumean king who oversaw the construction of this masterpiece of the empire, and today it stands as a symbol of Roman respect for the unity and diversity of all the peoples of the empire. It is only fitting today that I, as the emperor’s representative, welcome the son of this master builder, Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee and Perea.”
With a wave of his hand, Pilate signaled the sounding of a second trumpet fanfare. As the first note was sounded, he stepped off the chariot and then graciously lent a hand to his wife. Thus accompanied by his mate, he swaggered over to the royal litter to personally greet Herod and Herodias, who both stood to meet them.
Greetings were exchanged, none of which I could discern from a distance. After a brief discussion Claudia joined Herodias in the royal litter. Herod barked out some orders. The litter bearers stood to their feet and headed off in the direction of the governor’s residence. Apparently the ladies would have their own time together.
At a leisurely pace Pilate escorted Herod over to where the priestly delegation waited.
It was an unusual sight, these three hostile, inflated men exchanging greetings and meaningless pleasantries. Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate, and Joseph Caiaphas; the Fox, the Badger, and the Weasel. All three were kings in their own right, within their own jurisdiction. All three craved more power, absolute power, while fiercely holding one another in check.
Pilate turned to me and gave a quick, tight nod. I signaled up to Claudius, and the great Golden Gate, the Messiah Gate, was hoisted, granting entrance to the three competing kings.
Only the fourth king, the people’s king—the donkey king—only he was absent.
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