Jesus put on Trial
At three o’clock on the next day, the fourth day of the week, they brought him [Jesus] into the courtyard of Caiaphas. Annas and Caiaphas said to him, “Tell us, why did you carry off our law? And why have you preached against the promises of Moses and the prophets?” But Jesus made no answer. Again a second time, when the multitude was also present, they said to him, “Why do you want to destroy in a single moment the sanctuary that Solomon constructed in forty-six years?” Again Jesus made no answer to these things — for the sanctuary of the synagogue had been plundered by the robber.
When the evening of the fourth day had come to an end, the entire multitude began looking for the daughter of Caiaphas, to burn her at the stake because of the destruction of the law, since they would not be able to celebrate the Passover. But she said to them, “Wait, children; let us destroy Jesus: then the law will be found and the holy feast can certainly be observed. Annas and Caiaphas secretly gave Judas Iscariot a large sum of gold and told him, “Say what you told us before: ‘I know that the law was stolen by Jesus.’ Then the accusation will be leveled at him rather than this innocent young girl.” Judas agreed with the plan and said to them, “We do not want the entire multitude to know that you instructed me to level this charge against Jesus. But release Jesus and I will persuade the multitude that this is how it happened.” So they released Jesus by stealth.
Judas Betrays Judas
Judas came in to the sanctuary at dawn on the fifth day, and said to all the people, “What do you want to give me if I hand over to you the destroyer of the law and the plunderer of the prophets?” The Jews said to him, “If you hand him over to us, we will give you thirty pieces of gold.” But the people did not know that Judas was speaking about Jesus, for many of them held that he was the Son of God. Judas took the thirty pieces of gold.
He went out at ten o’clock in the morning, and at eleven he found Jesus walking on the street. When it was nearly evening, Judas told the Jews, “Give me a contingent of soldiers with swords and clubs, and I will hand him over to you.” And so they gave him servants in order to apprehend him. And while they were heading out, Judas said to them, “The one I kiss — arrest him! For he is the one who plundered the law and the prophets.” He then came up to Jesus and kissed him, saying, “Greetings, Rabbi.” This was during the evening of the fifth day. They arrested him and handed him over to Caiaphas and the chief priests, while Judas told them, “This is the one who plundered the law and the prophets.” They then subjected Jesus to an unfair interrogation, asking him, “Why did you do these things?” Yet he gave no answer.
But Nicodemus and I, Joseph, seeing the “seat of the pestilent” stood apart from them, not wanting to be perish “in the council of the impious.”
Jesus and the Robbers are Crucified
They did many other terrible things to Jesus that night, and handed him over to the governor Pilate as the day of Preparation was dawning, so that he might crucify him. And all of them gathered together for this purpose. After the trial was over, the governor Pilate ordered him to be nailed to the cross, along with two robbers. And so they were nailed up together with Jesus, Gestas to his left and Demas to his right.
The one on his left began to cry out, saying to Jesus, “See how many evil deeds I have done on the earth! If I had known that you were the king, I would have tried to kill you as well. But why do you call yourself the son of God, when you cannot even help yourself in your time of need? How can you help someone else who prays to you? If you are the Christ, come down from the cross, that I might believe in you. But now I see you not as a human, but as a wild beast, destroyed along with me. And he began to say many other things against Jesus, blaspheming and grinding his teeth against him. For the robber was caught in the snare of the devil.
But the robber on his right, named Demas, when he saw Jesus’ divine grace, cried out, “I know you, Jesus Christ — you are the son of God! But I see you worshiped as Christ by a myriad of myriads of angels. Forgive my sins that I committed. At my trial, do not allow the stars or moon to come against me when you are about to judge the entire earth, for I carried out my evil plans at night. And the sun that has grown dark because of you, do not move it to speak the evil doings of my heart. For I can offer you no gift for the forgiveness of my sins. Death is already coming upon me for my sins. But expiation belongs to you. Save me from your fearful judgment, Master of all. Do not give the enemy authority to devour me and to inherit my soul, like that of the one hanging to your left. For I see how the devil rejoices, taking his soul, and his fleshly parts are disappearing. Do not order me to depart to the portion allotted to the Jews, for I see Moses and the patriarchs in great weeping, while the devil rejoices over them. And so, before my spirit departs, Master, command my sins to be wiped away and remember me, the sinner, in your kingdom, when upon the great throne of the Most High you shall judge the twelve tribes of Israel, for you have prepared a great punishment for your world, for your own sake.”
When the robber had said these things, Jesus said to him, “Truly, truly I say to you, Demas, today you will be with me in paradise. But the sons of the kingdom, the children of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses will be cast into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. But you alone will dwell in paradise until my second coming, when I am about to judge those who do not confess my name.” And he said to the robber, “Go and speak to the Cherubim and the powers, to those who turn the flaming sword, who have been guarding paradise from the time that Adam, the first-formed, was in paradise and transgressed, and did not guard my commandments, whom I cast out from there. None of those who lived before will see paradise until I come a second time to judge the living and the dead. Then he wrote to them as follows: “Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who came down from the heights of heaven, who came forth from the womb of the invisible God without separating from him, who came down into the world so as to be made flesh and to be nailed to the cross, so that I might save Adam, the very one whom I made, to my archangelic powers, the gatekeepers of paradise, servants of my Father. I wish and order that the one who was crucified with me should enter, that he should receive forgiveness of sins on my account, and that putting on an immortal body he should enter paradise and dwell there where no one at any time has been able to dwell.”
And behold, when these words were spoken, Jesus handed over his spirit, on the day of Preparation at three o’clock. Darkness came over all the earth; and a large earthquake struck, causing the sanctuary to fall, along with the pinnacle of the Temple.
—The Gospel of Joseph of Arimathea
Gary: (I never said the quote was from one of the canonical Gospels!)
Dear Reader: Do you see all the fascinating details to the Jesus story in this non-canonical gospel that you have never heard before? Where did they come from? Are they historical facts or the products of a vivid imagination? Think about this: How do we know that the authors of the canonical gospels, in particular the author of Mark, the first gospel written, did not do the very same thing??? They invented fascinating stories which had no basis in fact, but which made for a great storytelling, and, fulfilled their theological purpose: to spread the Good News of salvation through belief in Jesus of Nazareth! Yes, Jesus lived and Jesus died by crucifixion. But isn’t it possible that all the other details of the Jesus Story that conservative Christians today believe are absolute historical facts (based on the stories found in the canonical Gospels) are no more real than the embellishments in this non-canonical tall tale???
Text above copied from Bart Erhman’s blog.