How An ‘Angel’ taxi Driver Saved This Former Addict’s Life (VIDEO)

You never know how a few kind words from a stranger can change the trajectory of a person’s life. Ester Nicholson, a former drug addict, learned this firsthand when a cab driver showed her compassion when she needed it the most.

Nicholson grew up in a mentally and physically abusive household where she was repeatedly told by her mother that she was a “mistake.” Drugs and alcohol provided a brief escape, but her habit soon turned into a crippling addiction. As a teenager, Nicholson became pregnant and gave birth to Shawntee, a baby girl. Not able to provide her daughter with the care she needed, Shawntee was taken away from her. Though it was a wakeup call, it wasn’t enough to stop Nicholson from using.

In the above clip from “In Deep Shift with Jonas Elrod,” Nicholson opens up about the moment things finally changed. Though she says she hit a “million” rock bottoms, one time was different.

“My mouth started watering,” she says. “I got that urge, that thing that happens when an addict is in the midst of an obsession. And I ran out of my house with no shoes on and I hopped in a taxi.”

After driving Nicholson for about a mile, the cab driver pulled over and turned around. “He looked at me in my eyes and he said, ‘Young lady, please don’t do it. You don’t have to live this way anymore. Don’t kill yourself. God loves you. I love you.'”

If Nicholson had carried on with her plans to buy more drugs, she now feels certain she would have died that day. “A demoralizing death,” she says.

“I believe that the only reason that this taxi driver, out of the blue, turns around and talks to me is because it was divinely ordained,” Nicholson says. “And an angel showed up as a taxi driver.”

Nicholson is now 25 years sober and the author of Soul Recovery: 12 Keys to Healing Addiction. She continues to work on rebuilding her relationship with her daughter and breaking the cycle of abuse and neglect.

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47 thoughts on “How An ‘Angel’ taxi Driver Saved This Former Addict’s Life (VIDEO)

  1. Yes, I believe it was God talking to her. It’s happened to me too. I told a small group of Christians what had happened and they didn’t believe me. You probably won’t either. But that’s okay, after all it’s crazy talk, isn’t it?

    There was a time in my life when I wanted to kill myself. Those days, of course, were the darkest days of my life. No one knew what I was planning to do to myself. I hid my hopelessness and despair well. Had no choice really, didn’t think anyone cared…..not even my family. But God knew. The only thing that stopped me from going through with it were my babies. I loved them too much to abandon them. And later on I found out for myself that God too, loved me too much to abandon me. That somehow He was there all along trying to keep me from harm.

    Do you know that God cries? Sobs, even. Unbelievable! He was sobbing over me. At the time I was so numb that I didn’t even react. I just sat there expressionless. I guess I just could not comprehend why God Almighty would be sobbing over a loser like me. He told me He was heartbroken over me, over the fact that I hated myself and life to death. He told me that He loved me and that He had great plans for my life.

    Ah well, still waiting for His great plan for my life to come to fruition. At my age, I think its probably not going to. I think I’ve missed the boat. But I’m happy. Yep, as unremarkable as my life is, I am content in the knowledge that I am loved. I was never, ever going to be a great achiever anyway, but what I really want to do before I die, is to be an overcomer, and I know that with God’s help, I can be.

    No-one can ever persuade me now that God is not Love.

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  2. The Sin That Makes God Cry
    by David Wilkerson

    Do you think it makes God sound too human and too vulnerable to say that He cries? Then ask yourself, how could a God of love not cry when His own people doubt His very nature? How could He not be grieved when His own children act as though He has forsaken them and left them to their own devices? Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, and according to the book of John He wept when those closest to Him doubted His love and concern. That was God incarnate at the tomb of Lazarus, crying over friends who would not take Him at His word.

    Crying because their unbelief caused them unnecessary grief and sorrow. Crying because they failed to recognize who He was and rest in His promises.

    Time and time again Christ’s dearest associates on this earth doubted His love for them. Think back to the story of the disciples in a storm tossed boat that was apparently taking on water. Jesus was in the stern of the boat, sound asleep. Fearing for their lives, His followers shook Him awake and then accused Him of outright unconcern. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” (Mark 4:38). How their accusation must have grieved the Lord! That was almighty God in their boat! How could God not care? But whenever men take their eyes off the Lord and concentrate instead on their circumstances, doubt always takes over. Jesus was astounded! “How can you be afraid when I am with you? How can you question My love and care? Have you no confidence in Me at all” (verse 40)?

    Christians today grieve the Lord in this matter even more. Our unbelief is a greater affront to Him than the unbelief of Mary, Martha, and all the disciples, for our sin is committed against greater light. We stand on a higher mountain and see more than they could ever see. We have a completed Bible with a full and detailed record of God’s trustworthiness. We have the written testimonies of almost twenty centuries of Christians, generation after generation of godly fathers who have passed down to us unshakeable proofs of God’s love.

    And that is not all. We have countless personal experiences that testify to God’s tender love and affection for us. Is there a single Christian who dares to say he has not personally witnessed the Lord’s loving intervention in the details of his life many times over? Yet we continue to doubt His love. When difficulties arise and the Lord seems to delay in aiding us as we think He should, we pout. We think nothing of going about the business of our everyday lives filled with doubts about His loving kindness. We doubt He is hearing our cry. We doubt He will do what is right. We doubt Him at every turn – and never once see the exceeding sinfulness of our unbelief. We refuse to admit that our accusing heart could be making God cry.

    Dear hearts, hear the loving Word of God:

    “And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled [accepted] in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Colossians 1:21,22). “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:14).

    That is God’s heart toward you. A heart of mercy and forgiveness and love. If you cannot believe that and rest in it, you are even now sinning the sin that makes God cry. For the complete sermon (10 pages):

    http://www.tscpulpitseries.org/english/undated/tsgodcry.html

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    • ??…”Time and time again Christ’s dearest associates on this earth doubted His love for them.”
      Probably in the job description:-
      “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”

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  3. The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Isa 50:4.

    This was the basis of the sermon last week.

    Before the sermon began, a guest to our denomination presented a musical composition based on the above text. The lyrics that I was able to copy down from people that used their mobile phones to record the incident went something like this:

    If any little word of mine
    May make a life the brighter;
    If any little song of mine
    May make a heart the lighter,
    God help me speak the little word,
    And take my bit of singing
    And drop it in some lonely vale,
    To set the echoes ringing.

    If any little love of mine
    May make a life the sweeter;
    If any little care of mine
    May make a friend’s the fleeter;
    If any lift of mine may ease
    The burden of another,
    God give me love, and care, and strength,
    To help my toiling brother.

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    • yes rather good verses, davinci.
      Anyway, if you go back to our discussion the other day concerning the whitewashing of the Romans and the demonizing of the Jews in early Christianity, you will find there a third and final piece that i’ve provided as evidence for my contention.
      Cheers Rian.

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      • Rian,

        I have read your third and final piece of evidence for your contention and I have rejected it as pure garbage.

        For example, you wrote:

        “The idea of a Roman Governor like Pilate pausing in the middle of interrogating a prisoner to confer with a Jewish mob is unthinkable. It is pretty hard to conceive of Pilate engaging in any sort of a philosophical discussion with a prisoner, however brief. So those few words about ‘truth’ simply don’t ring true.”

        Point 1.
        The gospels tell us that it was the Jewish leaders (not the mob) that engaged with Pilate in discussion over the legitimacy of sending Jesus to Pilate for execution of sentence. Perhaps you are willingly obstinate in refusing to see the difference between Jewish leaders and mob, eh?

        Point 2

        Hard to conceive of Pilate engaging in a philosophical discussion with a prisoner?

        First of all who said it was a philosophical discussion? The passages indicate that it was a magistrate questioning an accused person in a scenario reminiscent of Judge Judy (notice how she questions the accused and the accusers who come before her?).

        Acts 25:16 tells us what the Roman attitude of sentencing people to death without a trial was:

        “I told them that it is not the Roman custom to hand over anyone before they have faced their accusers and have had an opportunity to defend themselves against the charges.”

        This was in context of Jewish Authorities (not the mob) seeking Roman Death Sentence without Roman Trial and without Roman determination of guilt.

        As I said at the beginning, pure garbage.

        Come back to the discussion when you have learnt not to distort and exaggerate Scripture, otherwise everything you say will be treated as utter garbage.

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      • Matthew 27:17
        So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

        So looks like the gospels do indeed have Pilate entering into discussion with the crowd over the fate of Jesus.

        Looks like the “utter garbage” problem isn’t at Rian’s end of the discussion.

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      • You really are weak as water in your debating, davinci,

        The various historical facts from early Christian history, you have summarily dismissed as ‘garbage’. Once again you have demonstrated that you are sadly ignorant about the early days of your Faith. Dont you believe the facts of history? Have you confined your Christian reading just to the Canon of Scripture and the limited views of your favourite Apologetics people?

        My quotes out of Justin, Tertullian and Barnabas etc show very clearly he extremes that were developing in the 2nd century in regard to the demonization of the Jews and the whitewashing of the Romans. Doesnt the fact of Pilate being declared a Saint in certain of the ancient churches indicate the latter? I noticed that the only thing you could call upon or fall back on in your argument was the issue of Biblical validity and then only in regard to the trial under Pilate.

        Show me some authoritative historical source outside the Bible which asserts that a Roman Governor could ever release a convicted rebel at Passover or any other time. Oh yes, looking at the Gospel accounts we read that the Jewish leaders incited the mob to cry for the blood of Jesus. But that is still most unlikely. The High Priest and his Saddicee mates would hardly have been likely to have friends among a Jewish rabble. And they wouldnt have wanted to oppose or thwart the Roman Governor, knowing by sad experience just what he was like.

        keep in mind too, that the Jews generally hated and despised the Sadducees and the High Priests. If Pilate was really just ‘consulting’ with the Jews, he would never have taken the matter to a mob. And when I read that Pilate presented Jesus before them as ‘your king’, I just shake my head in shock. Rome simply would never go along with any suggestion that a mob could in this way, choose ‘a king’ or a Messiah for themselves. That would just damn Jesus immediately and Pilate could never have found him innocent of any crime.

        My major authority who was an expert in ancient Roman law and Jurisprudence as well as law in Jewish history, is Haim Cohn. As well as holding high position in the United Nations, he was Attorney General of Israel, and then Director-General of the Ministry of Justice. His book is The Trial and Deah of Jesus.

        No, you have failed dismally to rebut my arguments there.
        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Show me some authoritative historical source outside the Bible which asserts that a Roman Governor could ever release a convicted rebel at Passover or any other time.

        Barabas,
        Barabas was a zealot who had been taken prisoner, he was supposed to be crucified but as Jewish tradition had it the authorities would release one prisoner before the passover. The people had a choice between setting Jesus free or Barabas and they set Barabas free and Jesus died on the cross

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      • Bubba Ray

        “Matthew 27:17
        So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, “Which one do you want me to release to you: Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus who is called the Messiah?”

        So looks like the gospels do indeed have Pilate entering into discussion with the crowd over the fate of Jesus.

        Looks like the “utter garbage” problem isn’t at Rian’s end of the discussion.”

        It actually is.

        Look I’ll even provide the Biblical passages that speak of it, so you can understand it like a little kid.

        “13 Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion. I have examined him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against him. 15 Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us; as you can see, he has done nothing to deserve death. 16 Therefore, I will punish him and then release him.”
        18 But the whole crowd shouted, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us!” 19 (Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)” Luke 23:13-19

        Mark 15:6-11 “Now it was the custom at the Feast to release a prisoner whom the people requested. A man called Barabbas was in prison with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the uprising. The crowd came up and asked Pilate to do for them what he usually did. ‘Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?’ asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have Pilate release Barabbas instead.”

        From these passages it is evident that:
        – The crowd became involved in this particular judiciary process because of the custom of releasing prisoners at Easter.
        – Neither Pilate, nor Herod found Jesus guilty. But remember that other passages talk of Pilate being put in a dilemma over whether to release Jesus and having the Sanhedrin destroy his political career with the charge of treason, or condemn Jesus to death and save himself from having his career destroyed by the Sanhedrin.
        – It was the Jewish leadership who were influencing the crowd to choose Barabbas and reject Jesus.

        So the garbage still lies with Rian’s arguments. But if you want to wallow in garbage with Rian go right ahead.

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      • Bryan,
        I am fully aware of the fact that the Gospels tell of a tradition for a prisoner to be released at Passover. But no-one to my knowledge has ever validated that with any historical evidence, either Jewish or Roman. Do you have any proof in your possession other than the claim that the Gospels are always accurate about these things? the Roman Governor simply could not do such a thing. He would have had to answer to the Emperor if he had failed there.

        As has been pointed out too, why was Barabbas the only alternative to Jesus for release? why not one of the other two ‘thieves’ as well? Sounds a bit suspicious, somehow. A rigged account just to tell a better story, I guess, – maybe in view of the very interesting name that the guy is said to have had, and to amplify the story of the Jewish mob howling for Jesus’ blood.

        And in any case, IF Pilate really believed Jesus to be innocent, why didnt he just make the appropriate judgement and let him go free? He could have decided to do that? Seems to me that it is all further evidence that the early Church were determined to make ‘the Jews’ responsible for the execution of Jesus, and to whitewash the Romans.

        Cheers Rian.

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      • oh davinci,
        you are stubbornly persisting in your contentions. I still require from you, or from anyone else on this forum, some evidence, – ANY evidence from history (and in the process, reputable historians) that there really was such a custom of releasing a prisoner at Passover. All you do is keep on quoting from the Gospels. It seems that they represent the only source of information that you know about.

        Again too, old mate, you keep on concentrating on that business about Pilate, and you have given no comment whatever on just WHY and HOW my quotes from the 2nd century are ‘garbage’, which is just what you said the other day. Doesnt say much for your standard of debating, or for your honesty. I expect more of any devout Christian.

        Again I state that the Gospels show that Pilate WAS consulting with the crowd, – the mob, and it was THEIR shouts that changed his mind. Still just so unlikely for a Roman Governor. Anyway, just what sort of a crowd or mob might it have been?20 people? 10 people? 100 people? In view of the very poor representation on behalf of the huge numbers of Jewish People in Jerusalem for he Passover, it sounds very minor and rigged (if actually true) Please demonstrate and prove to me that Pilate EVER listened patiently to the Jewish people about his decisions. No good Jews of any persuasion would actually have wanted to see the execution of a fellow Jew at Passover. And then that atrocious slur dished out at Matthew 27,25 was seized on with sadistic delight by hosts of Christians during the next 2000 years, as an excuse for persecuting these successfully DEMONIZED Jews.

        How odd too, that a crowd, IN CAHOOTS WITH THE SADDDUCEE HIGH PRIEST, could possible be encouraged by the same Sadducees to demand the release of a proven dangerous Zealot. Do some research on the subject for a change. You just dont know your political details about Judaea during the Second Temple days.

        As I pointed out before, the Gospel story describes one of the Disciples lifting his sword and injuring one of the huge group come to arrest him. Amply enough to condemn Jesus AND his disciples as Rebels, thieves or Insurgents in the eyes of Rome. As well, Jesus was a marked man because of the reported disturbance in the Temple over the money changers, – (which was a legitimate profession there). Again too, for a huge consort of Roman soldiers to be commissioned to arrest Jesus, it just had to have been authorised by Pilate with the expectation of armed resistance. This simply could not have been just a complaint put in at the time, to Pilate by the Jewish authorities.

        You are cherry-picking odd bits out of my postings, to attempt scoring against me. How about honestly dealing with some of these other points, and once again, dishing out some authorities (and Historians in particular) who will support your Biblical stories.

        Unless you can do better, davinci, it just has to remain Game Set and Match to me. For that matter, I notice that in his brief comments there, Bryan too is engaging in standard pat answers with no back-up. And until proven otherwise, that is still just Christian fantasy.

        Rian.

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      • Bryan,
        So you are demonstrating again that there is absolutely no evidence outside the Gospels for the tale about a prisoner being released at Passover.

        Look mate, I have no objection whatsoever to anyone stating that they believe in something as a matter of faith. I would never argue about it. But it is different if that something is claimed to be ‘fact’.

        Let me make it plain that I have no final opinion about the prisoner release issue. But I’ve seen not a single bit of evidence or historical proof that such a thing happened. I’m quite open to be convinced, but it is just so obvious that so far no-one has been able to produce it. It is based on no other bit of evidence other than that it has to be true, because the Gospels are inerrant.

        I’m a little bit sad that you are so immovable on the matter. As I’ve pointed out before you expressed yourself once as very doubtful about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem; and quite frankly that would seem a much bigger issue than just this fancy little tale about Pilate and a tradition. I guess a tradition about a tradition, it seems.

        Now though I am still open to be convinced about this, I am confident as ever about my OTHER contention that was discussed a few months back. and I am prepared to up my challenge about the matter and offer $100 to anyone’s favourite charity on this forum who can supply me with clear evidence from good modern historians, that there were big big numbers of Christians martyred by Rome in the first 3 centuries. (and they need to be persons martyred after being ‘put to the question’, and not just as collateral damage). Someone here bring up the documentary evidence, and I will pay the $100 as promised, and send evidence of such to Monica for her to tell you all.

        The regular quotes from Tacitus, Pliny and the rest do not add up to more than just a few odd thousand over 300 years. So I’m betting that you wont be able to back up numbers like 100 thousand, 50 thousand, or even 20 thousand. The best estimates these days are round about the 3000 to 6000 at most. You of course did say a mouthful when you pointed out that the big thing was not the number but the very fact that they had the necessary courage and faithfulness. quite true. Of course it must be admitted that the hundreds of thousands of the martyrs claimed is not quoted in the pages of Scripture, so your faith in the Bible wouldnt suffer if you or anyone else did admit that it was not proven.

        in the meantime to return to the present issue, yes, it is my current OPINION that the story of Pilate and the prisoner release story is a fabrication for ‘political’ purposes. Your OPINION about it, is that it is fact. Opinion on both sides. But I’m open to be convinced. I dont know that you are.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Why did the crowd want Barabas released rather than Jesus? I don’t know what justification, if any, there is for the story that Bar Abbas means Son of the Father, that the people regarded him as their High Pries, as they regarded Jesus as their King. The two pillars of Temple and Government, Bar Abbas being actually James, brother of Jesus, both being of David’s line if you reckon it a certain way. A terrible choice to have to make.

        If there is any truth in this, authorities would certainly want it covered up, and the High Priest would be reported as merely a common insurrectionist.

        And who led the Jesus movement, when Jesus had gone? James. And was it not a Roman citizen who converted to Christianity and took a leadership role, with a somewhat different perspective than that of James?

        James the Just

        James the Just was the oldest brother of Jesus and one of the leaders of the early Christian community in Jerusalem. He was also known as James the Righteous. Both words, “just” and “righteous”, refer to his honesty, piety and strict ascetic practices. Because of his importance in the early church, a letter attributed to him was included in the New Testament as the Epistle of James. But his leadership role put him in jeopardy during periods of persecution, and he was eventually put to death in Jerusalem in 62 AD.

        The gospels first mention James in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3, where he is listed along with three other brothers of Jesus and some un-named sisters. According to John 7:5, James and the other brothers initially didn’t approve of Jesus’ ministry. But they did become followers later, and were members of the early community of believers who lived in Jerusalem after Jesus departed.

        James and the other early believers in Jerusalem still regarded themselves as Jews. They worshiped regularly in the main Jewish Temple, and they continued to adhere to the old Jewish religious laws. Outsiders regarded them as a new Jewish sect and called them Nazarenes, a name of uncertain origin.

        After Paul began to convert non-Jews to the faith, a dispute arose over whether these new converts had to follow the old Jewish religious laws, and in particular whether the males needed to be circumcised. At some point, possibly in 48 AD, Paul traveled to Jerusalem to try to resolve the issue. According to Acts 15:19, it was James who made the final decision. This was a compromise that allowed new male converts to remain uncircumcised, but required them to adhere to certain other traditional Jewish laws. The fact that James made the final decision indicates that at this time he was the highest authority in the existing Christian community.

        Further evidence for the importance of his role is found in the Gospel of Thomas. According to Saying 12 of this gospel, the disciples said to Jesus:

        “We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader?”

        Jesus answered: “No matter where you come from, it is to James the Just that you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist.”

        This passage indicates that Jesus designated James to take over the leadership of the community after he departed. Although the Gospel of Thomas isn’t part of the New Testament, many scholars believe that it contains some authentic sayings of Jesus.

        But the overall leadership gradually shifted from James to Paul. This happened because the number of converts in other cities grew rapidly, and soon far outnumbered the members of the original group in Jerusalem. Paul founded many of the new churches and remained in contact with their members, whereas James stayed in Jerusalem and had little communication with converts in other areas. Naturally these new converts tended to look to Paul, not James, for leadership. Even so, James was still regarded as an important leader at the time of his death in 62 AD.

        Some biblical scholars suspect that later Christians intentionally downplayed the role of James in the early Christian movement. Wanting to emphasize their independence from Judaism, and aware that he adhered to the old Jewish religious practices, they may have tried to minimize his importance.

        The most complete description of James the Just is found in Saint Jerome’s De Viris Illustribus, which quotes from the fifth book of Hegesippus’ lost Commentaries:

        After the apostles, James the brother of the Lord surnamed the Just was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother’s womb. He drank neither wine nor strong drink, ate no flesh, never shaved or anointed himself with ointment or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woolen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple and prayed in behalf of the people, insomuch that his knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels’ knees.

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      • “But it is different if that something is claimed to be ‘fact’.
        ….or even ‘credible’.”
        “Ok Rian you don’t believe the gospels are credible. That’s an argument? More like just an opinion again.”
        ….That, by the same standard, is just your ‘opinion’, since you produce nothing which supports an “argument”.

        That the gospels are NOT credible is endlessly evidenced.

        For example….do we take this (from the gospels in case you forgot 😉 ) claim to be a ‘fact, or even credible’ ??
        “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” ….Matthew 17:20 (I’m particularly impressed by the final assertion.)

        …..or simply an ‘opinion’: absurd and without ANY support in reality?
        (unless, possibly, they’d been out grazing on Magic Mushrooms.:-
        “Psilocybin mushrooms have likely been used since prehistoric times and may have been depicted in rock art. Many cultures have used these mushrooms in religious rites.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psilocybin_mushroom.)

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      • Hey Davinci

        Wow you can sure shovel it out with the best of them

        Here’s the start of the passage from Matthew again
        “So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them,”

        So Pilate directly chat’s to the mob about the fate of Jesus. Not the Jewish Leadership or anything else you want to make up but PIlate.

        Despite your earlier assertion that he didn’t.

        You can’t bluff your way out of this one. Heck I cut my teeth with LOTR fanatics, I know when somebody is building a case on misquoting a work of fiction 🙂 🙂 🙂

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      • Seems like a lot of evangelicals agree with your “opinion” Rian. —–>>
        “A survey by LifeWay Research, sponsored by the Evangelical Immigration Table and World Relief, found that of nearly nine out of 10 evangelicals surveyed, or 88 percent, said they do not rely on scripture for their beliefs, and 68 percent say their churches have never encouraged them to reach out to immigrants.”

        http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/poll-Evangelicals-secure-borders-path-to-citizenship/2015/03/13/id/630094/#ixzz3UQfwtmVc

        ps. what happened to my previous post? Surely a biblical quote in support of Rian’s “opinion” about the gospels’ lack of credibility can’t be a slander or whatever the buzzword is thus week?
        …or can it?

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    • Too hypocritical for some mealy-mouthed wanna-be who condones the skinning of live dogs by his “toiling brother”.
      Until you DO something, “some little word of mine” to make a lot of “lives a little sweeter” isn’t worth a bucketful of vomit.

      Or, better, if “The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. Isa 50:4.”
      use it to have a word to your relatives….with a cricket bat.

      Until then you have NO claim to ‘love’ or ‘care’ or ‘strength’…or compassion.
      …or even just common decency.

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      • ps
        Wesley’s Notes on Matthew 7:16
        7:16 By their fruits ye shall know them – A short, plain, easy rule, whereby to know true from false prophets: and one that may be applied by people of the weakest capacity, who are not accustomed to deep reasoning. True prophets convert sinners to God, or at least confirm and strengthen those that are converted. False prophets do not. They also are false prophets, who though speaking the very truth, yet are not sent by the Spirit of God, but come in their own name, to declare it: their grand mark is, Not turning men from the power of Satan to God. Luke 6:43,44.

        Clarke’s Commentary on Proverbs 12:10
        A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast – One principal characteristic of a holy man is mercy: cruelty is unknown to him; and his benevolence extends to the meanest of the brute creation. Pity rules the heart of a pious man; he can do nothing that is cruel. He considers what is best for the comfort, ease health, and life of the beast that serves him, and he knows that God himself careth for oxen: and one of the ten commandments provides a seventh part of time to be allotted for the rest of laboring beasts as well as for man.

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      • What exactly do you want me to do Dabbles? You would have me go to China and murder someone because his religious beliefs (atheism) is at odds with my religious beliefs (Christianity) over how he treats the animals? So that you and your atheist mates can then point to us and tell the world how religion causes war and destruction?

        Why don’t you as an atheist go and take the Chinese government, their army and their people at task by force of arms over their practice of skinning dogs alive?

        Either shove your issue of dog skinning where the sun don’t shine, or go out there and murder everyone that is not convicted of the fact that what they are doing is wrong.

        Meanwhile I will seek to appeal to their consciences, to awaken their consciences to the fact that what they are doing is wrong, so they can go abolish their practice of their own free will, instead of having something rammed down their throat by Dabbles.

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  4. BETTER THAN ANY HERO

    “Jesus is the most controversial, stereotyped and divisive man to have ever lived. Some call him a man – others a heretic – more call him inspirational – some even call him a Saviour.

    Here are a couple of things I am glad someone told me about Jesus.

    1. Jesus is not meek and mild – He’s a hero

    One of the most wide-spread images of Jesus is sitting with lambs. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.

    I don’t know that Jesus; this is the Jesus I know. He rumbled with death and came out taunting it. He stood up to the ‘hypocritical elite’ and called them a brood of vipers to their face. He turned over tables in the temple, as He expressed righteous anger. He came into messiness, depression and devastation and spoke life-giving truth. He didn’t care about social convention as He dined with the least, the lost and the losers of the world (people like me).

    He gave up the riches of heaven to set his people free, and He literally laid down his life for his people. That Jesus is my hero. Meek and Mild? Not the Jesus I know. Filled with love, grace and mercy – Yes please, but never mild.

    2. Jesus knows our suffering

    One of the things that I hate is when people talk about God as if He is distant. There is a belief that since the beginning of time – God has just kind of sat back.

    That kind of God would be distant; He would not really care about you – he is removed himself from us. Yet Jesus, the God-man came out of heaven specifically so that He could know our struggles and set us free. Can you believe that?

    That God came from outside the world – into the world – to meet every temptation and know what we deal with so He could set us free by suffering on a cruel cross. How amazing is Jesus?

    3. Jesus is in the restoration business

    I got married recently and in our wedding speeches we told our closest family and friends what we really thought of Jesus. Both my wife and I have gone through some really hard times in our life. So it was clear at our wedding as we spoke, that Sarah and I are broken people, who have discovered the difference that Jesus can make in a life surrendered to Him. Here is what we said:
    1. Jesus makes beautiful things out of broken people.
    2. The only reason that we love is because He first loved us – without that, we would always be broken.
    3. Sin has broken us – it shows us as ugly and broken and in need of saving.
    4. The trademark of Jesus is that He takes broken people and restores them to God.
    5. Without Jesus I am just a broken man doing broken things living a broken life. Only Jesus could have ever promised restoration – and He delivered.

    4. Jesus extends the greatest invite to everyone

    Jesus has the greatest invitation to the world.

    Lots of people say; “Do what you want to do… make yourself happy.”

    Jesus says; “If you want to be my disciple – drop everything – pick up your cross – follow me”.

    That is a pretty crazy invite.

    My lecturer at university once told me that the greatest question anyone has asked him – and could ever ask is this: “Who do you say that Jesus is?”

    The rest of your life could change depending on your answer to that question.

    Some will call Him Saviour, some will call Him a heretic and some will call Him just a man.

    So who do you say that Jesus is?”

    CHALLENGE —the Good News paper—March 2015

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    • Hey Mon….
      Don’t suppose I could be related to this bloke?

      From ” most controversial, stereotyped and divisive” to being an animal-lover (“One of the most wide-spread images of Jesus is sitting with lambs. Gentle Jesus, meek and mild.”),
      …to “taunting death”, calling “the ‘hypocritical elite a brood of vipers” and the rest of it.

      It doesn’t even take much imagination to see his dummy-spit with the merchants and money-changes (trading in the temple and therefore applying overinflated ‘fees and charges’) as a form of taxation. (ie. a cost of ‘doing business’ ~ in this case important religious business which MUST be done.)

      If in doubt, you need look no further than the last few threads on this very blog.
      (or could it just be that I’m more of a ‘real christian’ than most? 😉 )

      Like

  5. Rian,

    The Bible Knowledge Background Commentary: Matthew-Luke

    IX. Arrest, Trial, and Crucifixion

    Now at the feast he used to release for them any one prisoner whom they requested (v.6): Verses 6-15 narrate Pilate’s offer to release one of the prisoners (the so-called privilegium paschale ). The imperfect he used to release (Greek: apeluen ) implies that this was the governor’s custom.

    Some doubt the historicity of Mark’s report of Pilate’s custom of Passover release. But there is a measure of corroborating evidence that lends credibility to the evangelist’s narrative. The Mishna says that “they may slaughter (the Passover lamb) for one . . . whom they have promised to bring out of prison” on the Passover (m. Pesahim 8:6). Who the “they” are is not made clear (Jewish authorities? Roman authorities? ), but it is interesting that the promised release from prison is for the express purpose of taking part in the Passover observance. A papyrus (PFlor 61, c. 85 A.D.) contains a report of legal proceedings, where the governor of Egypt says to the accused: “You were worthy of scourging . . . but I give you to the crowds” (lines 59-60, 64). According to Pliny the Younger: “It was asserted, however, that these people were released upon their petition to the proconsuls, or their lieutenants; which seems likely enough, as it is improbable any person should have dared to set them at liberty without authority” (Epistles 10.31). An inscription from Ephesus relates the decision of the Proconsul of Asia to release prisoners because of the outcries of the people of the city. Livy (5.13.8) speaks of special dispensations whereby chains were removed from he limbs of prisoners. When Governor Albinus prepared to leave office he released all prisoners incarcerated for offenses other than murder (Ant. 20.9.5 *215). He did this hoping to gain a favourable review from the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And finally years earlier Archelaus hoped to appease his countrymen, and so gain his late father’s kingdom, by acquiescing to their demands that those imprisoned be released (Ant. 17.8.4 *204: “Some demanded the release of the prisoners who had been put in chains by Herod”).

    The evidence as a whole suggests that Roman rulers, as well as at least one Herodian prince, on occasion released prisoners (so apparently did other rulers in the eastern Mediterranean). This was done for purely political reasons, to satisfy the demands of the crowds and to curry their favour. Another factor that supports the historicity of the Markan narrative is the improbability of asserting such a custom, if there had been none. If Pilate had not released prisoners on the Passover or on other holidays, or at least on one occasion, the evangelists claim that he did so could have quickly and easily been shown to be false and would therefore have occasioned embarrassment for the early church. That all three of the later evangelists take over the story (and the fourth evangelist probably did so independently of the Synoptics) argues that no such embarrassment clung to the story.

    the man named Barabbas had been imprisoned with the insurrectionists who had committed murder in the insurrection (v. 7): Barabbas is actually the Aramaic name bar ‘Abba. Some rabbis are “bar Abba” (e.g., Samuel bar Abba, Nathan bar Abba). What may have drawn the detail of Barabbas into the passion narrative and into association with the trial of Jesus of Nazareth was this common name and the contrasting fates of the two men. Jesus Barabbas, who participated in murder “in the insurrection,” was released, but Jesus of……..

    Page 502

    Pages 503 to 504 are not shown in this preview.

    https://books.google.com.au/books?id=iZC-tdB35bAC&pg=PA502&lpg=PA502&dq=Apparently+it+was+the+custom+to+release+a+prisoner+at+Passover.&source=bl&ots=2Plcr-tk3G&sig=sJvolV3gh-OzZon19eNugYCOa28&hl=en&sa=X&ei=YvcEVcmMOomF8gWV0YJY&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Apparently%20it%20was%20the%20custom%20to%20release%20a%20prisoner%20at%20Passover.&f=false

    Like

    • Hi Monica,

      Thanks for a most interesting discussion there on the release of ‘a’ prisoner at Passover, by the Governor. And as one of my little reference dictionaries says, echoing that argument. –

      ‘There is no evidence of such a general practice (in Jerusalem under the Roman Governor) although some provincial governors might set free a popular prisoner at a time of public holiday, as a sop to the natives.’

      Just looking at the stories related there, we have to immediately drop, as irrelevant, the action reported of Archelaus. That gentleman was specifically Ethnarch or Tetrarch of Judaea for some years following the death of his father Herod the Great. He was eventually deposed by the Emperor in 6AD, when Rome finally annexed Judaea. He was succeeded of course by a series of Roman Governors in the province, the most important for us of these, being Pontius Pilate. Until his removal, Archelaus was specifically autonomous in his reign, and did not have to report to the Emperor for the things that he did. He was not under immediate Roman Law in other words, so if he wanted to release a prisoner he could do it with impunity.

      Another matter is that as far as I can recall in those days, there was generally no such specific punishment as ‘Gaol ‘for offenders. Sure, you would be put in gaol while awaiting some major public punishment, or for a period until one’s trial, or one pays some fine, or has a ransom paid for you. The State didn’t look after you at all well, and you were reliant as a rule on friends and relatives bringing in food and clothing etc – as the Gospels say. If by any chance there happened to be some sort of amnesty activated, then clearly the prisoner would not be held any longer to wait for his actual punishment or trial to take place. It was clearly not a big big deal for a Governor to release a prisoner who was just in for debt or other minor infraction.

      But obviously if one had committed a Capital Crime such as demanded execution, like murder, then one would be held in prison until the actual time of the execution. Our mate Barabbas having been described as ‘Lestes’, or Bandit or Rebel, had clearly been put on trial and duly and correctly condemned to death for Murder.

      Just think about this for a second. This guy was an Insurgent, a ‘Jihadist’ if you like, or perhaps in the terminology of the day a Sicarii or a Zealot; and the Governor had authorised his officers to locate and arrest him. He was tried and duly condemned. Now, according to the Gospels, after a bit of a contretemps, Pilate is described as releasing him. There is no reference to Barabbas being reformed or in repentance about his evil deeds. There was no ‘President’s Pardon’ applied. He was not declared innocent. Barabbas is simply being released with perfect freedom to commit more murder and rebellion against Rome. Just think about that.

      Pilate and his officers would know that before long they would just have to trot out and arrest and try him again for more of the same. The Romans were not inefficient or stupid in the way they ruled. Do you honestly think that would have been likely? Again. just forget the Gospel record for a second and picture that from Pilate’s point of view.

      I know that whether or not a Christian is consciously aware of it or not, there is likely to be in his mind the powerful image of how the perfect and innocent Victim, Jesus, was even then, taking the place of a major sinner and dying for him. (But as I said, there is no suggestion that Barabbas was repentant in any way. And any sort of ‘forgiveness’ for his sort of crime under Rome was not at all possible.)

      Now coming back to the other instances mentioned in the quote you gave. Most tellingly one of the cases related that only prisoners OTHER THAN MURDERERS might be released. As I commented in my earlier postings, there is simply no way that Pilate could unilaterally release a prisoner on death row. I would assume that only Caesar could authorise such an action. Keep in mind how the first and foremost endeavour for a Roman Governor (Procurator/Prefect) would always be to KEEP THE PEACE, and to squash absolutely ANY sign of trouble or rebellion. Pilate was known to be over harsh in doing just that.

      In the long run, if one disregards the logical argument against such a custom in Jerusalem at Passover, then the only reason to go along with the Gospel reports is to believe in Gospel Inerrancy. I was arguing the other day that by the end of the 1st century and beginning of the 2nd century, the campaign to demonize the Jews was getting to be in full swing. Read again what I said about the views of the revered Justin Martyr and others to see that. And regardless of what Mark and the following Evangelists wrote, it is most likely that the Gospels were being edited further and further to follow the orthodox lines in which Rome was sanitized and the Jews blackened for ever.

      Cheers, Rian.
      (PS, and Bryan, DONT tell me again that I am merely stating opinion through this. I have offered some very coherent arguments. If you disagree, play fair and honestly, and then pull it to pieces bit by bit.)

      Like

      • Monica/Bryan, as a follow-up to my last posting there,

        In regard to remission of a sentence under Rome, I found a relevant passage in my copy of The Life of Jesus by Marcello Cravieri. He references the book ‘Gesu’ by Charles Guignebert (latest edition in English as ‘Jesus’, published by New York University Books, 1950).

        Reads as follows….Legally the ‘abolitio’ – the suspension of a trial – was possible only when a plaintiff withdrew a civil action. (but this was not relevant in regard to public offenses.) As for ‘indulgentia’ – reprieve or amnesty after sentence (for public offenses such as those attributed to both Jesus and Barabbas), – that was solely within the Emperor’s competence, and the Procurators had no authority to grant it.

        You will find Internet references to demonstrate the validity of these details.
        Cheers, Rian.

        Like

      • Bryan,
        I despair of you. It seems to me that you wouldnt last five minutes in a formal debate. Anyway, I’ve now got to the point of understanding just how to ‘score’ points on this blog.

        If you dont like something someone posts, then you either describe what they said as ‘Fantasy’, or as’Your Opinion’.

        if you realize you cant counter their arguments, then you say ‘I could answer all of your points, but I just dont have the time. Maybe sometime.’

        If you think that you have an answer to one or two points the other has raised, but you are stumped by the majority, then what you do is to ignore all the latter and give some sort of pat answer, usually straight out of the Bible for the one or two.

        Another technique is of course to just tell the offending other, that they are just remaining closed in mind on the subject, and their perception of things as well as their choice of published authorities is weird and just selected for quoting because they agree with your own fantasies.

        Frequently of course the easiest method is to simply ignore difficult questions and sail on as if they havent been asked.

        AND as I’ve commented before, if an Atheist or a Dissenter makes any sort of good or valid point or reasoning, NEVER NEVER acknowledge that he did.

        Sad. very sad. And as I say, some of you folk just wouldnt survive a formal debate. I expected better of you, Bryan.
        Despite all this, Cheers, Rian.

        Like

      • Hi Rian

        I am not saying you use the tactics of Gish Gallop but sometimes what you put forward needs a lot of work if someone chooses to counter.

        If people are answering one or two points, it is best just to put forward your best one or two points. Keep it short so people have a chance to give a more complete answer if they choose.

        Like

      • I can’t see what the big fuss over the release of Barabbus is about Rian.

        Even if the Gospel account cannot be proven, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is untrue. You obviously cannot see how Pilate could release a murderer. Well I’ve got news for you, I can. Releasing a murderer is no big deal—appease the angry crowd for now, and catch Barabbus or kill him another time if need be when he falls foul of the law again.

        In the end it’s all a matter of faith—I have the faith to believe, you do not.

        Like

      • Yeah Mon, ’cause if history teaches us anything about the Roman Empire it’s that they went out of the way to appease the crowds in the countries that they had conquered.

        “In the end it’s all a matter of faith….”

        Indeed it is. It takes faith to believe works of fiction.

        Like

      • What is interesting is bar Abbas means son of the father. So Pilate was giving the literal choice who do you want to release; Jesus the son of the father or Jesus the Messiah ? There was a subtle message here that seems to have been lost in later translations. Later versions of the bible have dropped off Jesus. Jesus Barabbas was changed to Barabbas losing that subtlety.

        Like

      • Ah Monica,

        You cant see what all the fuss is about over Barabbas? Well, I’ve been quoting a point of view that is pretty well universal among all scholars other than Fundamentalists and some Evangelicals. That is that from the time of the Jerusalem church on, there was a distinct movement to demonize the Jews and to whitewash the Romans. I’m really shocked to find that Bryan is seemingly unaware of this., or else wants to ignore it.

        In the Christian Testament it is to be seen in the writings of Paul, who became terribly bitter about the Jews. Again and again Paul demonstrates a cheerful relationship with the Romans who employ an amazing number of troops to protect him. The whole of Acts is said by some to be clearly addressed to a gentile audience in order to demonstrate that the Jews were the nasties and the Romans the goodies. In fact I’ve read of one Christian author who maintained that the Book of Acts was first prepared as Paul’s mitigating defense in Rome against his prosecution. Extraordinary to see that the last book, that of Revelations is written as a complete contrast. There everything Roman is evil and degraded, and Jews don’t seem to be too bad by comparison.

        Well, the whole of the Passion story depicts the Jews as evil and the Romans as rather innocent. The peak of the commentary there lies in the trial of Jesus before Pilate, with the big climax at the point of the cries of ‘the Jews’ to choose Barabbas over Jesus. Pilate at worst there, is depicted as a bit weak, conciliatory and a rather helpless bureaucrat. Whereas the Jewish leaders are the most terrible people. Paul is reported as saying that ‘the’ Jews killed Jesus, just as early Church Fathers did, – and I gave their names in an earlier posting.

        When you think of it, to blame ‘THE JEWS’ is a terrible generalization, isn’t it? Out of some millions of Jews in the Empire, a little mob there doesn’t really cut much ice, does it? Oh yes, and as I’ve challenged a couple of times, I cant see how Caiaphas can truly be blamed IF Jesus actually did commit Blasphemy as the story claims. Again tell me what else he could have done. There was no provision in the Torah for any sort of Incarnation of the God, was there?
        Incidentally, remember how in that post, I reported a series of factual and historical comments; and our good mate davinci dismissed those details as ‘Garbage’? I’m still shaking my head about that.

        So the importance of the Barabbas story cant be over-estimated. There you see that horrendous verse attributed to the crowd, that said “His blood be on us and on our children.” Cant you see just how those words justified everything that was inflicted on the Jews over the next 1900 odd years? It validated all the pograms, the persecutions, the punishments and humiliations they have had, not to mention the Holocaust itself.
        Love as ever, Rian.

        Like

      • Well Bryan,

        Let’s just look at this matter of my arguments. On a few occasions, my simple assertions (often quoting particular authorities) have been met with the rebuttal of ‘You have offered no evidence there.” When I have given some expanded back-up, I’ve been told that it’s fantasy or opinion. So naturally I’ve set out to demonstrate with more facts and more reasoning that my assertions make some sense, regardless of whether or not you actually agree with the conclusions.

        You are relying purely on a traditional stance of inerrancy in Scripture. That is not the appropriate way to debate with a disbeliever. As I stated before, I am perfectly open to being convinced about the veracity of the Gospel accounts about the trial of Jesus, if it is proven. But I don’t believe that you are similarly open to changing your mind. How very convenient to fall back on how you have ‘faith’ as your backup. Why on earth should I be convinced by YOUR particular selection of truths based on faith, rather than other Christians? 2000 years of Catholic and other varieties of Christians have had parallel and different faith too in their selections.

        Let me make it plain that I’m not at all upset by the way my comments have been treated. It just goes against my sense of honesty and reason and fairness, when the debate gets manipulated in the way it has here. If we met and argued in person, you would not be able to put aside my reasoning quite so readily. And in a formal debate under the scrutiny of onlookers neither you or davinci would get away with it.

        This is not truly an open forum on Faith in your blog. It is essentially one in which standard Christian viewpoints are the only ones really encouraged. Any others from Atheists, and Non-Christians are either ignored or summarily dismissed. I recall your guidelines from years ago encouraged readers not to hold back, but to have their say. But the reasoning of orthodox Christians is approved of, even when you yourself may not specifically agree with them. Do you actually state truthfully Bryan that you agree with every point of view offered by any and all Christians on this blog? I doubt it. But they can do no wrong. I cant recall any regular Christian who got corrected by you.

        Cheers, Rian.

        Like

      • Hi Rian

        What was driving Paul was revenge. He was not trying to get on the good side of the Romans. He was a huge supporter of Jewish Law. A failed love affair with Popea set him off down a path to be an enemy of Jewish Law..

        ‘They declare that he was a Greek … He went up to Jerusalem, they say, and when he had spent some time there, he was seized with a passion to marry the daughter of the priest. For this reason he became a proselyte and was circumcised. Then, when he failed to get the girl, he flew into a rage and wrote against circumcision and against the sabbath and the Law’
        (Epiphanius, Panarion, 30.16.6-9, The Ebionite Account)

        Under a great emotional and mental strain from a failed love affair, he had his vision and did a 180 degree turn and ditched Jewish Law,

        Like

      • Atheism has no works. And needs no faith or great reach of thought. It’s just the reality of the universe we live in.

        Like

      • In the interests of accuracy I’d like to amened my earlier statement to:

        I admire your optimism. Misplaced as it is.

        🙂 🙂 🙂

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  6. Clever, Dom….. and more realistic ~ in an allegorical way ~ than just about any other explanation I’ve ever heard of.
    Was Pilate seeking a way out of a sticky situation by asking the jews (sanhedrin or mob ~ or both) for an assurance that a released Jesus would not be used as a ‘messianic’ leader OR figurehead for insurrection? If that was agreed to, would there not be a hope that the already-ongoing insurrection might be somewhat subdued?
    ie. If Jesus WAS as popular among the general population as claimed then a generous gesture by Pilate might well have seriously reduced any support-base for the ‘liberation-fighters’.
    And, as history clearly demonstrates ~ and will continue to demonstrate: IS is on the way out ~ it’s not possible to fight a war of ANY kind without having the support of the majority of the population on-side.
    The life of a holy-man ~ or dozens of them ~ would’ve been neither here nor there for a Pilate.
    A ‘Messiah’-liberator was a very different …..er. ‘kettle of fish’.

    Makes sense in a ‘real world’…..and tends to be confirmed by Bryan’s response! 😉

    Like

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