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Tales of Passion - Intellignce Dossier - Spy Ring

Lenten Studies
Rev. Dr Ron Savage
12 April 2006

Some completely miscalculate on who Jesus is and what that means in terms of what has ultimate significance. Wise in their own conceits they prove to be foolish in the eyes of God. Others, while recognising the importance of Jesus in the history of the world, in their own society and in their personal life all too easily discount him for the slightest reason and reckon there will be no ultimate sanction for selling out on him. Reverence may be worn as a thin disguise. Some who seem to be with him are not of him and, as he said, those who are not for him are against him.

St Luke 22: 1 – 5, 24 – 34, 39 – 46

From the Head of Internal Security

Security Status:     for the eyes of the Procurator only

Report No 11:     On ‘Subject J’: Jesus of Nazareth

Excellency, I beg leave to report:

Round-the-clock surveillance of the Nazarene (sometimes referred to also as "Subject J" continues as requested. We use 10 men, alternating shifts, all experienced agents. We have no difficulty in putting them in place without their cover being blown, as they are all locals but who have been in our employ as informants for some time. Contact with them is discreet and they do not make a display of their additional income so as not to risk exposure. Several of our agents have had religious experiences in the eyes of the people and so it is not inappropriate that they take an interest in any new evangelist or religious teacher who appears.

They report to me on the Subject’s movements, activities, conversations and even - I regret to say - sermons.
The disputes with religious leaders continue... (see report 5 paragraph 3 section 2 - 4). I am struck, I have to say, by the Subject's skill in argument. He is a very difficult man to corner in a war of words.
He has been very subtle in his argument on the vexed issue of taxation. On one occasion his reply on the subject drew a great cheer from the crowd.

"Let Caesar have what is Caesar's and let God have what is God's,"
and he tossed an imperial coin into the crowd. It seemed a public declaration of loyalty but the applause indicates there must have been some second meaning.

His private talks he has with those sometimes referred to as "the Disciples" are more difficult to monitor, as we have not yet succeeded in infiltrating this inner circle. However, as the public profile of the Subject J is such now that he has less time than ever to be alone with the 12 who consort with him. Although they are 12 in number we do not discern any clear representative connection with the original 12 tribes of Israel. The choice seems to be either symbolical or accidental.

As of this date, no formal contact with the Hebrew Liberation Front or the Zion Defence Association seems to exist. No couriers or go-betweens have been identified: in fact after the hillside fiasco relations between Subject J and the ZDA have soured considerably.
That incident was prior to the last Passover festival when a great crowd gathered to him behind Capernaum and by some means his men managed to organise and feed 5000 and more with military precision (see details in report 7 paragraph 5). This alarmed us but delighted the subversives who tried to make a move on him to persuade him to take on the leadership. But he resisted their enthusiastic overtures, for some indiscernible reason, and slipped away into the hills where he spent some time with his 12 lieutenants.
Our agents observed no military activity at their camp. There were some games and keep fit sessions but no weapons or combat training. Remarks by a more critical member of the Twelve confirm there was merely a lot of religious discussion and planning sessions mingled with devotional exercises.

The one member of his inner circle of "Disciples", had connections with the ZDA at a time, and is known locally as Simon the Zealot, but he has been inactive for some years since an internal dispute when several of his close associates were executed by unidentified scarii. There is one other who may have stronger sympathies. We have given both special attention in case they act as ago-between but we can uncover no hard evidence to suggest there is any collusion with the terrorist organizations or their political wing.

We have detected no independent move to organise politically either though his teachings have political implications. So he has offended the ZDA zealots and is a puzzle to the Sadducees, Hasmoneans and other political animals.

Possible Outcomes

The First Possibility:

As the feast of the Passover is approaching, when the Jews celebrate their freedom from slavery in Egypt, a new upsurge of nationalist fervour will be in evidence. The Subject may plan to take the initiative himself then, perhaps in the Capital, and offer himself to the populace as leader, by direct appeal. If he received instant support, which is quite likely, he might threaten riots if your Eminence were not to negotiate with him and put him in place of the present puppet regime.

However, our assessment is that he is not concerned with popularity or power despite his considerable appeal and support. He frequently avoids the crowds and is a gentle persuader rather than a fiery rabble rouser.

The Second Possibility:

Js intention may be direct action, similar to the insane attempt by the rebel Theudas with a small hard core of suicide fighters since there will be many of fanatical bent at the festival.
We know he has made threats against the holy sites. He praises those who want to right wrongs and calls them "sons of god" who will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven - perhaps an encouragement to some to risk martyrdom.
But the futile examples of Theudas and Judas the Galilean would surely discourage such foolishness. He must know we never negotiate with terrorists and that such a movement would be wiped out.

Rather than physical menace I believe his threats are in the realm of religious condemnation and all part of his high minded opposition to the temple corruption which we have induced to gain the support of their greedy priests and elders to maintain the status quo.

There could be a Third Alternative:

It may be that the paramilitaries will try to instigate an armed uprising with the intention of making Subject J a renewed offer of kingship or lordship in the region.

The likelihood of him accepting such an offer to my mind is negligable. He is not driven by ambition nor by the bitterness of the ZDA. J talks repeatedly about his kingdom being "not of this world" (whatever he means by that - though it may be a code of some kind) and he stresses the futility of violence.

He has no clear strategy of recruitment, organisation, planning or building a power base. Indeed, his tactics, if we could call them that, are hap-hazard and oftn contrary to expectations.
Not long ago he completely alienated a potential supporter (a millionaire, with incalculable resources behind him) by daring him to sell up, disperse his wealth to good causes and join the Subject in his meanderings. Very sensibly, the property tycoon demurred!

The Subject has virtually no financial backing.


The Subject J is no threat to us whatever.

He is politically naive and far too much of a mystic to hold together a rabble of hotheads and dagger men who might be plotting a revolution.

In a few months he will be forgotten for all time and his movement dead and buried.

His 12 lieutenants have no coherence or initiative and will quickly desert him under pressure.


That surveillance should as of this time be lifted and our attention given to more pressing tasks.

The Subject J is not in the equation.


I have some additional remarks of a delicate nature.

Of late the High Priest has been hinting that our help in discrediting this Jesus of Nazareth would be appreciated most warmly. The Galilean has ruffled his feathers.

It could be in our interest to assist him with a programme of disinformation and we could offer certain facilities for this purpose which his Sacredness would gratefully accept and put to good use, as he considers it. Lies and half truths and innuendo are easy.

He has suggested further that a major propaganda coup would be brought about if one of the 12 Disciples could be persuaded to disown their leader and accept employment as a tax collector for the Roman Empire. This would reverse the process by which some of his followers were recruited originally!

Naturally the one who took the bait would have to be guaranteed a job for life with a guaranteed pension and perhaps afforded some protection. The persuasion most certainly would have to be financial – with significant initial ‘encouragement’.

Since his Sacredness could not afford to be seen to be linked in any way with such a deal he has let it be known that if the Roman Treasury were to make available a certain sum to be used as an inducement this generosity on our part would further profitable cooperation in the future.

I suggest resources be made available from the incidental fund of the intelligence services for the purpose of enticing one of J’s Disciples to betray him by publicly renouncing the Nazarene and enrolling in our fiscal and revenue department.

May I suggest, sir, a budget of up to 50 pieces of silver with the hope of settling for about 30.

I recommend this as a sound investment.

For us the logic is sound.

The Subject J is irrelevant and dispensable.
For the High Priest the morals are relative. He wants no rival to his authority.
If he counter balances the fanatics we benefit and the economy is not harmed.
Besides the love of money is the root of all evil and we have found that there are always those ready to sell even their souls and to desert and damage the noblest of causes for a pittance
As for hangers on – their admiration wilts quickly in face of challenge or risk of embarrassment.

© Rev. Dr Ron Savage, 2006

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