This is an account of the last days of Christ, written by a Roman solider, myself, whom was called Demetrius Lucius..
I was not present at the supper on the day Christ was arrested, but I bribed the man whose house they ate at, and he let me speak to his slaves. One, called Marius, told of how Christ spoke of his betrayer and his denier, later relieved to be Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter. Marius listened as Jesus told John the Evangelist "It is the one to whom I hand the morsel after I have dipped it." Then Marius looked on as Christ handed the dipped morsel to Judas Iscariot. Marius was entranced by Christ's blessing of the bread, and began to believe then. He whispered when he spoke of Christ's thanks-giving, as if afraid of his God's wrath. He told of how after the meal, they sang a final song, and then departed for the Mount of Olives to pray.
I was one of the men who was ordered to go to the Mount of Olives to arrest Christ. As our troop approached the Christ and his disciples, I heard Christ say, "Behold, the hour is at hand when the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. Get up, let us go. Look, my betrayer is at hand." The Iscariot walked over to Christ, softly said, "Hail, Rabbi!" and kissed him. Christ was shockingly compliant at being arrested, almost as if he knew it would happen, but that's impossible. One of Christ's disciples drew a sword, and cut off the ear of one of the high priest's servants, Malchus, was his name. But, surprisingly, Christ reprimanded the man for drawing a blade, saying, "All who take the sword will perish by the sword." Then, he turned back to us, and let us lead him away.
We took Christ to the high priest, Caiaphas, as we were ordered, and then we were told to wait in the courtyard. A man came in, one who looked suspiciously like one of the men in Gethsemane, and sat down among the servants. I wanted to accuse him, but was too worn out to bother, and didn't want to face a fight if I was wrong. I was not the only one who felt so, however. Minutes later, a slave-woman went up to him and said, "You too were with Jesus the Galilean." The man vehemently shook his head, denying the charge. Two more approached him, and he denied them both. Seconds after the third denial, a cock crowed, and shivers ran down my spine.
The next morning, we led Christ to Pilate, the governor at the time. In my opinion, Christ was a fool, for though he is surely not the 'Son of God,' he could have at least defended himself against Pilate's interrogations. But he didn't, he just stood there, and accepted all the charges.
Pilate offered to release a man, as was a custom of the feast of Passover, and gave the people a choice between Christ, and a man known as Barabbas, who had been imprisoned for murder. The people choose to free Barabbus, and then, when Pilate questioned their decision, they began to riot. Pilate had Christ flayed, and then handed him over to us soldiers, to crucify. I must admit that we did mock him, and we threw a scarlet cloak about his shoulders, and placed a thorn crown upon his head, though I regret it now. After we scorned him, we took him to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull. On the way, we came across a man named Simon, who was from Cyrene. One of us, Marcus, who was man among us with the highest status, charged the man with carrying Christ's cross.
When we came to Golgotha, and crucified him, with two others, who were thieves. All who passed by him paused to throw insults at him, and even the thieves with him laughed. We bet on his clothes and belongings, though I won nothing. Pilate had it ordered that we hang up a sign, with the saying "Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum" or, in your tongue, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews." The priests protested, but Pilate held firm his decision.
Six hours after we had crucified him, darkness overcame the land. At the ninth hour, Christ cried out in a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" ("My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!") One of my fellows, upon hearing this, whispered, "He's calling Elijah." A few minutes later, Christ called out, "Father! Into your hands I commit my spirit." And he died. At the same time, in Jerusalem, the curtain of the temple was torn into halves, and a great earthquake shook the earth, and many dead men rose and went about the city.
A man from Arimathea named Joseph came to Pilate and asked for Christ's body to bury. Pilate agreed, and the body was taken down, and taken away. The next day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate, and asked that Pilate post a guard, and gave the reasoning that Christ had said that he would 'rise on the third day.' So, the priests wanted a guard so Christ's followers could not steal the body. Pilate agreed.
I was one of those chosen for the watch. On the third day, two of the women who followed Christ came to the tomb. While they were there, a great quake shook the earth. As the quake climaxed, a figure, clothed in white, came down from the sky. When I saw the being, I knew it was not a man, and grew weak with fear. I didn't faint, though all my companions did. I heard, as I drifted in between wakefulness, and the darkness of unconsciousness, the white being speak to the women. "Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. He has risen from the dead, and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him." At hearing these words, I completely lost my weak grasp on reality, and fell into darkness.
I woke up a little later, and my fellows and I ran to report this miraculous occurrence to the high priests. They gave us 100 silver pieces each, enough to buy 5 slaves, and told us if anyone asked of Christ, to say his disciples came and stole him in the night, and if the governors hear of it, they would keep us from trouble.
We took the money, but shortly after I did, I became overwhelmed with doubt. I had seen an angel. I was a Roman, and believed in the roman gods, but… this was living proof. I saw a holy being of Jewish lore. Could it possibly be that the Jewish god existed? And Christ, could Christ have been the Jewish Messiah? Could this madman's teachings be true? And the angel's words, was Christ really and truly risen? I had enough to prove it, yes, but, resurrection is impossible… Isn't it?
I must admit that I spent the next week looking for the disciples of Christ, but I could not find them. I knew though, that they were most likely hiding from the wrath of the law. After a week and a day had passed, however, I saw a large group of men, including the man who denied Christ in the courtyard, coming into the city from the area known as Bethany, at the foot of the Mount of Olives. They were chatting animatedly about something. They headed straight to the temple, and began to pray. I followed them, both confused and curious. Approaching the man from the courtyard, I asked if I could speak to him alone. He looked a bit nervous, but consented. We walked together to a deserted street corner, where I knew no one would interrupt us. "Did your Messiah truly rise?" I asked, ignoring his shocked expression. "What?" He replied, stuttering from shock. "How on earth did you come to that knowledge?" I sighed; evidently I would have to give the man my life story. "I was one of the men guarding his tomb when the women came and saw an angel descend from the heavens. I saw him too. I am known by the name Demetrius Lucius. I… I guess I just want you to know that you have an ally among the Romans. Good day to you." I dropped the temple's money at the man's feet, and walked back to my post.