BODY OF ‘KING OF THE JEWS’ MISSING FROM TOMB
by Cyrus T. Peabody
JERUSALEM (Reuters) - The body of Jesus the Nazarene, a.k.a. Jesus Christ, was reported missing from its tomb by a guard on duty, Roman authorities report.
“I swear he was dead when we walled him up,” claims the centurion, who asked not to be named. “We cast lots for his clothes. I got his sandals.
“I don’t want to have to give them back,” he added.
Known to his friends as ‘Master’, Christ burst onto the local Messiah scene three years ago with a series of sermons and alleged miracles. Born under mysterious circumstances in Bethlehem in the year 0, Christ first aroused attention during King Herod’s infamous Christmas Baby Massacre, narrowly escaping with his parents to Egypt. He later came to prominence as a child preacher in the Temple of Jerusalem, before disappearing from the radar during puberty and only returning some eighteen years later.
It was here that Christ first won the admiration of the Jewish proletariat and drew the ire of the Pharisees.
“He’s all things to all people,” claims Frank Antonius, who credits Christ with the alleviation of his asthma. “[It] wouldn’t surprise me if he faked his own death. Jim Morrison did.”
Christ first gained a following during his stint as a carpenter, finding appeal among beggars and fishmongers alike with his insightful parables and flamboyant displays of power. Varying sources cite instances of aquatic acrobatics and superhuman food distribution, along with accounts of macular regeneration and the resurrection of the dead.
“Big deal,” sniffs local merchant Ezra Cohen. “My friend Apollonius of Tyana can do that, too.”
Christ’s egalitarian message and subversive ideology resulted in friction with the local authorities. Last Saturday, he was charged with blasphemy after encouraging his followers to harvest grain in spite of the Shabbat. A warrant was summarily issued for his arrest, but almost a full week passed before he was apprehended.
Israeli forces caught up with Christ early Friday in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he was in hiding with his disciples. According to one witness, Christ was singled out by his former apostle Judas Iscariot. (Iscariot could not be reached for comment.)
Following a trial before the Sanhedrin, Christ was presented to a local mob alongside notorious pig thief Barabbas. As per Passover custom, Roman Procurator Pontius Pilate offered to exonerate one of the two men. When the crowd selected Barabbas, Pilate reportedly ceded control of the prisoners and then began compulsively washing his hands.
The rest of the afternoon was devoted to Christ’s scourging and crucifixion, providing an unparalleled spectacle for the crowds who assembled to watch. According to several eyewitnesses, the death of Christ was accompanied by an earthquake of such severity that the great veil in the First Temple was split in half. Temple clergy are holding a bake sale to raise money for repairs.
The disappearance of Christ’s body has given rise to rumors of his resurrection, with several unnamed sources claiming to have encountered him on the road to Galilee. Such a feat seems not to surprise his adherents, who maintain their total devotion.
“I owe him my life,” says Lazarus of Bethany. “Jesus is my homeboy.”
Christ is survived by his mother, Mary, his father, Joseph, and several siblings, who may or may not exist.