Rush to Golgotha
(From the writings of the amateur theologian Leslie H. Osgood.)
Fact: Jesus was killed by a conspiracy. This involved kidnapping and brainwashing one of his disciples; that sad wreck then betrayed his teacher. This disciple then either killed himself or otherwise died under mysterious circumstances.
Fact: As a consequence of his death, Jesus rose into immensely greater power.
Inference: Jesus might have been driven to his death by his enemies, for obvious reasons --- or then by his friends, because of the previous fact. In the latter case, the betraying disciple was not "in" the plot, as evinced by his despair and swift death.
Fact: Neither Pontius Pilate nor the Sanhedrin was willing to kill Jesus, because they feared his death might spark a disastrous rebellion against Rome. (See Susan Cooper, "Over Sea, Under Stone".) Thus while they might have been manipulated, they did not instigate.
Inference: The following becomes clear after several days of nonstop studying of the Gospels. The moneychangers of the temple were furious at Jesus, because they saw Jesus as one of those zealots whose religion did not admit such theological niceties as made the exchange of emperor-god-faced Roman coins into non-blasphemous temple coinage necessary. Thus they hatched a plot to kill him; but they needed to be discreet because they knew a mob of thousands of Galileans had come to the city with him, led by his thirteen lieutenants, most of them brawny fishermen that were rumored to have been fighters in young John of Giscala's aborted rebellion, and members of his campaign for a free Galilee, if not a free Judaea. The moneychangers knew they would be torn to shreds, and flesh scraped off their bones with potsherds, and their remains tossed to a pyre for good measure, if they openly laid a hand on the cult leader. Thus they bribed the keepers of the Garden of Gethsemane to rub poison into the grass blades of its lawn, making sure the lieutenants would fall asleep as Jesus prayed nearby. Jesus, meanwhile, had been served at the Last Supper drugs that altered his perception of time, making sure he would be in the Garden, praying, for hours. Then, having alerted the Sanhedrin's soldiers to the long presence of the zealots in the garden, the soldiers would burst in, sure they were about to interrupt some dark, diabolical, blasphemous, heretical man-orgy; and they would be led by the man who told them to expect something of that kind: Judas, already betrayed and brainwashed by his fellow disciples. Jesus, however, had planned for this, and had had his people surround the garden, forcing the soldiers to act decently and take him prisoner. He was certain he would be released very soon, as his people started to make their irritation felt; but he had not factored in such betrayal --- in fact the brainwashed Judas had been the only loyal one, and all the other disciples were the betrayers! They kept Jesus's people quiet, and smuggled them out of Jerusalem in apparent fear and disarray; news of this emboldened Pilate and the Sanhedrin, and they passed the fatal sentence. Jesus did not protest, because he had been visited by the disciple John of Zebedee, a noted ninja master and the spymaster of the disciples, who promised he would be "sprung" out shortly before the crucifixion, so he could lead his people against their oppressors. This was why the disciples, all mystics and theology-minded manipulators, had picked Judas: he was the only true revolutionary among them, and thus the only one like Jesus himself. Of course no rescue ever happened; the moment Jesus stepped out of his cell a blow-dart was spat into his back from the sixth floor window of the garrison parchment storage building, and another into his chest from beneath a sewer lid on the exact same line of sight. The sedative made him forget all escape, and he was crucified. The disciples had Judas perform one final task before his forced death: he went to the temple, exchanged his thirty pieces of Sanhedrin silver for temple coins, to be used to buy sacrifices; but he substituted those coins for a bag of forged ones, and caused an uproar by presenting the bag of tampered counterfeit coins; and the principal plotters among the moneychangers were imprisoned and killed as Judas then, conveniently, died "by his own hand" the very next day, by stabbing himself through the heart twenty-three times, hanging himself, cutting his stomach open, swallowing a handful of temple coins, and writing on the wall with his own blood "KILLED BY MONEYCHANGERS". The magistrates found the case against the moneychangers a fairly open-and-shut one.
The remaining disciples then went on to found a religion with a great cachet of prestige, but no overt wants of armed overthrow of all the world's governments and the redistribution of all the world's wealth. Further study of the Gospels under sleep-deprivation and electrical shocks has revealed to me they did this because they were lizard-men from Atlantis.
It all makes sense now, doesn't it?