I’m the reason Christ is dead. I don’t mean that the way you think I do. You should be angry. Some of you are thinking, “We are all the reason why Christ is dead. He died for our sins.”
That’s so not what I mean.
I’m old. At the time of this writing I am 45 years old. It almost seems an insult to have lived this long. It almost seems like God is saying, “I’m putting you here for as long as I can, because when you croak it won’t be me that you spend your time with.” I’m writing this story because I believe it’s important. Maybe one day scores of people will read what I did and strive not to make the same mistakes I did. The mistake is that of egging on unstable people.
I hung out with Judas frequently. We were both tax collectors. We’d hang around the market, in a quiet spot, and crack tax jokes. On this particular day, I happened to walk over to Judas and Bilus just as Bil was finishing up his joke. “So I said, ‘You could call it Max evasion!'” I guess you had the hear the rest of the joke.
“Hey, Bilus. Hey, Judas. What’s up?”
“Hey, Scruyus. How’s your day?” Judas asked.
“Oh, let me tell you. It’s so BC out there today. I had two Nazareans who pretended they didn’t know Hebrew in order to get out of payment. So I killed one and the other was more than happy to pay me for his life. Oh, and he suddenly remembered his Hebrew, too. Miracle, eh?”
Bilus scoffed, “Miracle! Have you heard about this new guy? He’s a Jew. Actually, he might be Nazarean, too. He’s performing miracles around the country. He’s gotten awfully popular.”
“I’ve seen him,” Judas said. “Actually, I’ve hung out with him. I really get into the stuff he says. He’s a brilliant guy.”
“Judas. Come on. He’s a payer not a payee. You know how we feel about those kinds.” Bilus had a point. We’ve never been much accepted by the secular factions of the world. “I mean, come on. Does he even know the difference between a 1040 and a 1040EZ? I mean, one’s sandstone and one’s marble, but does he know which is which?”
“No, he probably doesn’t. But what does that matter? I lived most of my life with no idea we even paid taxes. Why can’t some people spend their whole lives not knowing? There really are more important things than deductables.”
There was silence. Bilus really didn’t seem to like this guy. I, myself, didn’t know the difference between a 1040 and a 1040EZ, but then again most of the people in my neck of town didn’t pay their taxes. I usually had to kill one of them and collect the money that way.
“Look. Bilus, Judas, let’s go to the inn tonight and have our fill. We can get drunk, fill out tax return slabs for fun, and go home feeling better. Why not?”
“I’m sorry, my friends. I have a meeting with Jesus. We’re eating out and then we’re gonna go pray.”
“Are you pretty good friends with this guy?” I asked.
“Yeah, I guess. We’re not best friends, you know. I don’t even know his middle name, but I know it starts with an ‘H’. I’m about as close to him as I am to you guys.”
Bilus didn’t like that statement. “Maybe we should kill him. The government is looking for buyers.”
I laughed, “No, Judas should kill him. He would never suspect it. It’ll be funny.”
Judas pondered this. “How much money?”
“Oh, no way. I’m not listening to this. Judas, I forbid you to kill anyone. Allright?”
He was silent. He shared a look with Bilus. They were scheming.
“I gotta go. I’m due for a death tax payment. This is going to be tricky because I normally force people into giving me money by killing them. Maybe I’ll have Jesus come and raise him up for me.” No one laughed but me. “Hey, Bil. Stay out of trouble. Hey, Jude. Don’t let me down.” Then both of them, at the same time, said, “See you later, Scru.”
That was the last time I saw either of them again.