The Red Flag
The law of the Red Flag speaks louder than the law carved in stone: Mercy!
In first Century Jewish law, a felon, after conviction and sentence, still had the opportunity to plead for mercy. If any testimony in mitigation on behalf of the convict should be presented, it would be considered, and judgment might be altered accordingly. Even when the convicted person was taken to the place of execution, he or she still had a chance of redemption.
At the city gate a flag bearer would signal any worthy testimony in mitigation by lifting the RED FLAG and so alert a rider on horseback, who would follow the procession to the place of execution.
It is the year 57AD. DANIEL is an eloquent, 45-year-old lawyer in the bustling metropolis of Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin employs his services to prosecute Paul, a recent convert to the Way and an enemy of the people. Daniel gladly accepts the challenge.
He callously tells his soft-spoken wife, HULDAH (38), and his young son, Ulli (9) that he is leaving for Caesarea and will only be back in a few days. Things aren’t what they should be in this household.
The legal proceedings begin. Daniel brings the charges on behalf of the Jewish people and Paul speaks in his own defense. Daniel is taken aback by Paul’s powerful words and asks leave to visit with the prisoner. Paul’s view of the law troubles the fiery lawyer.
Paul, says, “The law in Moshe condemns but the new law brings life. To which Daniel replies, “The law is the law, it cannot change!” Paul carries on, “The law cannot bring to perfection those who by obedience try to keep it”
Daniel’s retort is vehement, “We try because the law is a reflection of truth, a mirror, a representation, of….God. It is the will of God revealed.” Then Paul replies, “The law written on stone cannot move a heart of hate to love.” Paul’s answer stuns Daniel, who shouts,” Blasphemy! The law is holy!” and leaves in a huff.
During the journey back, Daniel, troubled by his visit with Paul, asks Annanias, the then High Priest, about Yeshua’s trial. Upon hearing that Yeshua’s trial took place at night he is visibly distressed. This is absolutely illegal. Making mention of this Annanias suggests Daniel visit Caiaphas to get clarity on the matter.
Arriving home Daniel is met by Tamar. She’s young and beautiful and accused by her husband of adultery. She urges Daniel to save her. Daniel then persuades her husband, Zadok, to take her to the priest to be tested by the law. Meanwhile Huldah listens intently from their home.
The next morning Daniel meets with Caiaphas to hear him on the illegal trial of Yeshua. Caiaphas gives their defense of the trial during which Daniel hears of more irregularities. He asks, “what about Saul’s claim that Yeshua is alive.” Caiaphas tells him that it is impossible and to speak with Isham, the Captain of the Guard. He will testify that the disciples stole the body and hid it.
As Daniel leaves the temple courts, he notices Tamar being taken into a chamber where she undergoes the ritual testing for an unfaithful wife. She fails the test. Daniel once again intervenes and persuades the growing crowd to hear Tamar in court the following day.
Daniel meets with Isham, the Captain of the Roman guard at the tomb of Yeshua. He shows Daniel a body wrapped in linen cloth in the catacombs under the city. At home Daniel tells Huldah that he saw the body of Yeshua. She holds that it’s not possible; the body must be someone else’s.
The Sanhedrin, not wanting to convict anybody, gives Zadok an opportunity to forgive his wife, which would facilitate a stay of execution from the Sanhedrin. Zadok refuses. Therefore, the trial of Tamar comes to the inevitable verdict of guilty on the strength of the credible eyewitness testimony from her husband and his friends.
As Tamar is led out, she looks expectantly to see if anyone will plead mercy on her behalf. She breaks loose and runs to Daniel whispering to him, “I will never stop loving you.” No one in the crowd notices tears welling up in Daniel’s eyes, except his wife, Huldah. As Tamar is led out Ada, her friend, cries out to the crowd, “where is the man who would stand up for his actions?! Where is such a man? Daniel is cut to the heart.
The following day, Tamar is taken outside where the customary horse and rider follow her to the place of execution. Expectantly, the rider keeps looking back to see if there is any witness for the convict. Nothing is forthcoming and Tamar is stoned to death.
Devastated, Daniel wonders through the streets of Jerusalem. He runs into Thomas who attempts to persuade him that Yeshua is resurrected. Anguished, Daniel rushes to the catacombs. He rips the material off the embalmed body he saw some days before, only to discover the indisputable corpse of a woman. Daniel realizes what Thomas and Paul said, must be true!
Daniel confesses to his affair with Tamar. Gob smacked; the Sanhedrin is called together for yet another hearing the following day. Daniel is convicted and sentenced.
While Daniel is taken to the place of execution, Huldah, working at the dye factory lifts her hands out of the red dye bath. She stares at her blood-red hands. Her resolve is plain. She runs to the city gate. Will she be in time to lift the RED FLAG?