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The Sanhedrin Intelligence Agency

By Fr. Jerry Pokorsky ( bio - articles - email ) | Jan 23, 2023

These scrolls, recovered from the desert sands, reveal the proceedings of the Sanhedrin Intelligence Agency in Jerusalem planning covert operations to counter the work of Jesus.

“Gentlemen, we have good news. John the Baptist is dead, and his threat is terminated. According to inside reports from Herod’s court, John lost his head for his insolent judgmental correction of Herod’s marriage. Herod has a weakness for booze and his stepdaughter. A honey trap in his own house! We might use his penchant for rash judgments! Update his file.”

“Will do! His (John’s) disciples disposed of his body. We won’t hear from him again. After all, dead men don’t rise from the graves.”

“I’m not so sure. Remember the Prophet, Ezekiel? ‘Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. Behold, I will cause breath to enter you, and you shall live. And I will lay sinews upon you, and will cause flesh to come upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and you shall live; and you shall know that I am the Lord.’ (Ez. 37:4-6) Sounds like the resurrection of the dead to me.”

“Oh, shut up!”

“But the Pharisees believe in the resurrection of the dead….”

“The Agency is in the real world. We have diverse, equitable, and inclusive policies for our assembly of scribes, Pharisees, and Sadducees. Let’s keep our eye on that subversive who goes by the name of Jesus.”

“The Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection of the dead. So they’re ‘sad, you see’! Get it?”

“Stop it! There will be no clever jokes in this intelligence agency!”

“I don’t think we have much to worry about. Jesus isn’t an original thinker. He spent many days in the desert and emerged mimicking John’s words, calling the Pharisees a ‘brood of vipers’ and all of that.”

“He also says stuff like, ‘So that Scriptures might be fulfilled.’ I mean, tell me something I don’t know.”

“This guy doesn’t know how to pick followers. Have you seen the reports of his gang of losers? He called twelve men to accompany him. Who do they think they are, the Twelve Tribes of Israel?”

“Hilarious. A motley crew, all right. Fishermen, tax collectors, and several other no-names. Almost all of them are those awful Galileans. Rough, ill-educated—hardly revolutionary timber. They’re just looking for a free lunch.”

“Don’t be too sure. Some reports indicate a couple of them are zealots. We don’t want another Maccabean revolt. One rebellion is enough in 200 years. It failed, except that because of them, the Romans don’t want to mess with our religion. They think we’re radioactive! Our synagogues and the Temple are off-limits to the soldiers. For them, the Jews aren’t worth the squeeze. The ‘juice’ isn’t worth the squeeze. Get it?”

“No jokes!”

“Here’s a report on the lead man, Peter. He’s a widower—probably sad and lonely and easy to con. He’s a big talker with his friends and a lousy fisherman. He makes big promises but always comes up with excuses for failing to deliver the fish on time. Impetuous honesty with a tender conscience. Hardly the stuff of leadership.”

“What do the reports have on Matthew, the tax collector?”

“He’s not going to win friends and influence people, either. The Galileans may be dumb, but they forget everything except their grudges. Matthew has a bad reputation among them. He’ll be spending more time apologizing than expelling demons.”

“James and John?”

“They’re brothers. John is much younger than James. Jesus calls them “sons of thunder” because they wanted to call down fire from the heavens to destroy the Samaritan enemies. If we turn them to serve our purposes, we could use them to keep the Samaritans in line. But Jesus only discourages their spirit of revenge, so that’s complicated.”

“Their old lady is a busybody. She’s constantly jockeying on their behalf for power and position next to Jesus. But Jesus only responds with obscure promises of ‘sharing in his cup’ of suffering, whatever that means.”

“A guy by the name of Judas is the only Judean. Urbane and educated. They say he loves money and virtue-signaling. We can manipulate a man like that. The rumor is he doesn’t keep kosher.”

“Yes, Judas has a CPA and a degree from the University of Jerusalem. His interpersonal skills with the scribes and priests may help us build bridges, and dialogue, as we let a thousand flowers bloom. Let’s keep an eye on him. He’s a big spender playing knuckle bones and tossing dice out of the sight of Jesus. He buys the drinks. The Temple priests and drunks love him. But I repeat myself.”

“And when those thousand flowers bloom, we’ll cut them down with a vengeance! I bet Pilate and his centurions will help.”

“The Jesus Movement certainly looks like a flash in the pan. But let’s keep them on the radar. You never know when it is necessary to extinguish a few polemical fires they may ignite. We don’t need the Romans—or the High Priest—holding us responsible for any neglect.”

“Agreed. Let’s send a few agents their way, but tell the bagman to keep them off the payroll. Thirty pieces of silver here, thirty pieces of silver there, and pretty soon, we’re talking about real money. The Office of Finance has already warned us that we’ve exceeded our unvouchered funds budget.”

“Don’t listen to Headquarters!”

“That’s easy for you to say. I’m up for promotion next month.”

“Counterintelligence assures us that Zacchaeus is a safe bet. He’s a kindly sort without our guile. He would never suspect our motives if we’d ask him to mingle with this Jesus fellow and his twelve. Besides, he’s a man of means, short in stature, and I doubt he would want to risk his handsome portfolio by joining the Jesus rabble. Who wants to be his handler?”

Fr. Jerry Pokorsky is a priest of the Diocese of Arlington who has also served as a financial administrator in the Diocese of Lincoln. Trained in business and accounting, he also holds a Master of Divinity and a Master’s in moral theology. Father Pokorsky co-founded both CREDO and Adoremus, two organizations deeply engaged in authentic liturgical renewal. He writes regularly for a number of Catholic websites and magazines. See full bio.

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