The Jesus Chronicles – The followers of the King | Tuesday

Running from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday the Jesus Chronicles are a series of reflections on the Easter story and the life and death and life of Jesus and those who were around him. If you’re only just joining us why don’t you start with Sunday and Monday’s posts.


It had begun at a wedding, his mum of all people had let the cat out of the bag. He didn’t think it was quite time to start his campaign. But a wedding without wine was a pretty big problem. He wanted people to know that under his rule there would be plenty of joy and celebration.

His followers believed he was the special one. It had taken a while for them to be convinced of his cause; to begin with most of them had just come along on the jaunt for a bit of fun. It made a pleasant change from catching fish. But after a few years of following him around, day in day out, through days when the crowds threatened to overwhelm, and the days when they turned away to find something else to occupy their minds.

They stood with him as he brought healing to the hurting, they were astonished as he shook off the social norms and spoke to a woman alone, a Samaritan woman, and not a respectable one at that. But she had proved a great evangelist for the cause, running back into the village and bringing others back to see him. They had seen him cry when he heard the news of Lazarus’s death, but then preceded to say he was only asleep, and called him out of the tomb, it was like seeing a mummy walk.

It was not all simple for the disciples. Some of the things he said were really confusing, when they wanted an answer to their questions he told them a story or asked them more questions. But it was captivating.

He threw off the constraints that society tried to impose. It was as though he had another rule to live by. Normally when people wanted to climb up the social ladder they were very careful who they spoke to, and even more aware who they ate dinner with. Jesus wasn’t like that, he called out to Zacchaeus the tax collector who had climbed up a tree to catch a peek and proceeded to sit down and eat with him, in his house.

And Mary and the incident with the perfume. It was rather embarrassing really. They did their best to keep up with Jesus and the way he operated, but each time they thought they had the measure of him he turned things upside down. Here was another woman any self respecting Jew would stay away from but Jesus counted her and her sister Martha as some of his closest friends. Her behaviour was scandalous: she poured good perfume, that could have been sold to care for the poor, all over Jesus’ feet and then, to make matters worse, undid her hair to rub it in.

But through it all these disciples stuck with Jesus. Despite not really understanding his grand plan, despite struggling with the way he courted controversy with the religious leaders, and courted those no one else did.

When most of the fair weather followers had deserted Jesus they stayed. They saw that he was Christ the Lord. And that he was the only show in town.

The Jesus Chronicles – The people’s king | Monday

Running from Palm Sunday to Easter Monday the Jesus Chronicles are a series of reflections on the Easter story and the life and death and life of Jesus and those who were around him. I jump in and out of the narrative from 2000 years ago, and at times take a few liberties – it’s not my aim to be 100% historically and theologically accurate. Instead my hope is that in retelling the story we can see how we are still a part of it. If you missed yesterday’s opening post I suggest you start there.


The crowds who watched Jesus enter Jerusalem were puzzled. He came on a donkey, he avoided the crowds. When they started to fawn all over him he stood up and talked in such a bizarre manner that most of them turned and left. Yet the authorities were worried, the chief priests were looking for a charge to lay against him, they even went after the man he raised from the dead.

Surely he was just doing all of this to increase the intrigue? Build up an underground following that would burst out at the crucial moment and declare him as their king. Some of them had seen him speak, most of them had heard the stories, the loaves multiplied, the blind given sight. This was the hope that they needed.

They were ready to answer his call. The religious authorities thought they could control everything, they were particularly keen on making sure no one threatened their cherished position as the underlings of the Roman Empire. There was this sense of anticipation around Jerusalem that things were about to change.

This Jesus had been wondering around for the past few years, he’d covered a lot of ground, after all building an insurgency in Judea called for a sophisticated retail politics operation. He’d made the calls, formed his exploratory committee, dubbed ‘the disciples’. He’d shook a lot of hands, kissed a lot of babies, grabbed some attention with carefully timed and brilliantly executed PR stunts. He’d commissioned field directors for his core constituencies and sent them out on practice runs to act as his operatives. They were even doing some surrogate media spots, casting out the odd demon, healing the sick, making sure they were doing it in his name. All in all he had a pretty good grass roots operation under way.

Now he just needed to make his big splash. The big entrance. Declare his candidacy to the world.

This Jesus had made some pretty big claims as he’d travelled around. It seemed as though he reckoned he had some kind of special access to God. Who could forget the tales of when he was baptised in the River Jordan?

After years of oppression it was time for something new. After the tired rules of the Sadducees and the Pharisees maybe the time had come. The Essenes had fled to the hills and the Zealots were sharpening their swords. Here was a king for the post-priesthood era of politics.

He could unite the factions, he could transcend their partisan differences. He was from the line of David but raised in the home of a carpenter. Here was the king to lead the revolution, no wonder the crowds had lined the streets and laid down their palm leaves.

They didn’t quite get everything he said, some of it just went straight over their heads. But they saw something, they felt it when he spoke, the hairs on their forearms started to rise.

This one was special. And he was here, they thought, they hoped, ready to lead their revolution.

He is a revolutionary king.