Air Date 5/17/2015
Emperor Tiberius arrives in Jerusalem to decide Pilate’s fate-along with his debauched and dangerous nephew Caligula.
Saul and his men are tearing Jerusalem apart looking for Peter and the apostles. With screaming and mayhem outside, the mood inside the safe house is calm, as the apostles eat bread and drink wine, a symbol of their unity of belief in the teachings of Jesus. Philip has just suggested a trip to Samaria to spread his word when the group hears Saul’s men pulling apart the structure above them. Finally, after they haul their prisoners off, Mary enters the safe house with a group of children whose parents Saul arrested, as Philip heads off in hopes of finding good Samaritans. Unfortunately, he stops on the outskirts of the city to help a woman in trouble and is beaten and robbed of a gold necklace and his shoes for his trouble.
Pilate barges into Caiaphas’ mansion with troubling news: Emperor Tiberius of Rome is nearing the gates of Jerusalem! If everything is not just so, they’ll stand or fall together. The violence on the streets has to stop, and what’s more, Pilate expects Caiaphas to help pay for Tiberius’ visit. Caiaphas is quick to say the Temple can’t spend funds thusly; maybe the money can come from a private source? Leah and Caiaphas summon Annas, offering forgiveness at a price. But Annas is no dummy, knowing the exorbitant amount is headed for Roman pockets. Since most of the city’s money is going to feed the Romans, Mary Magdalene decides to seek employment at Caiaphas’ mansion in hopes of securing food for the apostles.
A man named Yitzhak happens upon Philip and helps him back to his feet. After hearing of his misfortune, Yitzhak promises that wonders are about to occur in the market, where Simon the Sorcerer murmurs over an unconscious woman, attempting to heal her. When the woman remains impassive, Philip makes his way to the stage to look heavenward and exhort the woman to rise in the name of Jesus. When she does, Philip and the power of Jesus win the crowd – and Simon the Sorcerer, who asks to be baptized. Afterwards, Yitzhak asks Simon if he feels any different. Grabbing a knife, Simon slices Yitzhak’s hand, then tries to heal the wound. When nothing happens, he beseeches the heavens: why, now that he’s baptized, does he not have the same healing powers as Philip?
Saul invites himself into Peter’s house, where he finds Maya alone. His introduction is a threat, and he lets her know that he’s seeking her father. Saul’s tactics are effective; a scared Maya rushes to the safe house to warn Peter. Outside, the streets are covered in rose petals as the citizens of Jerusalem gather to welcome their Roman overseers. Old Tiberius is cranky after his long journey, ordering no banquets, gifts or speeches. After a bath, he wants an audience with Pilate and “anyone else running this province.” Spying Tiberius’ nephew Caligula fondling Mary Magdalene, Claudia whispers to Pilate that they must indulge Tiberius’ possible successor to avoid dishonor. It’s a detestable chore that’s easier said than done for Pilate, who faces a grilling from the Emperor. Tiberius has no patience for the Sanhedrin and the civil unrest that’s been plaguing Jerusalem. Serving dinner, Mary Magdalene eavesdrops while Claudia claims that diplomacy requires more skill than the sword. Impressed, Tiberius allows Claudia to keep talking, telling him of Jerusalem, while she escorts him to his bedchamber.
Late that night, Peter and the apostles surround Saul in an alley to deliver their message. Saul’s persecution only makes their faith stronger – and there’s no way he can put an end to Peter or God’s will. James can’t believe Peter only means to talk to Saul, when he’s finally in their clutches. Saul uses this as ammunition: If God were in fact talking to the apostles, wouldn’t their collective vision be stronger? Back at the safe house, Peter, John and Simon bid adieu to Barnabas, James and Maya, who will seek safety in Damascus, where they hope to be able to preach freely.
The next morning, Claudia and Pilate are none too happy to see Antipas and Herodias, whom Tiberius has summoned to Jerusalem to attend a review of Pilate’s governorship. Nervous, Pilate pleads his case: only one Roman has died, and his assassin was caught, and the Nazarene was crucified, his followers scattered. Antipas does his best to undercut Pilate at every turn, while Caligula demonstrates his mercilessness. Tiberius is stunned when Pilate calls Caiaphas to speak on his behalf, explaining that over the years, he and Pilate have come to an experienced understanding on how to keep the peace. When the discussion turns to God, Tiberius impatiently dismisses everyone, leaving them no inkling of his intentions. Elsewhere in the mansion, Cornelius recognizes Mary Magdalene as a follower of the Nazarene. When he asks whether she’s working for her friends, she says everyone’s fled. And if Cornelius has to arrest her, he should go ahead; she’s not scared because she’s been taught to love her enemies.
That night, Leah berates her husband for defending Pilate in front of the Emperor. What happens to them if Pilate is replaced?! Reuben interrupts with more bad news: Saul has resumed his campaign of arrests. In the streets, a drunken Agrippa and Caligula playfully join the arresting mob. But when a man grabs him, Caligula strangles him to death, then revels in his accomplishment. Later, Reuben brings Saul before a flayed prisoner. Under the whip, the man claims Peter has headed to Damascus. Once a happy Saul leaves to begin his pursuit of Peter, Caiaphas steps out of the shadows, having paid the so-called prisoner for his lashes. Saul took the bait.
Once again, Claudia escorts Tiberius to his bedchamber where they agree that Jerusalem has a very specific energy, which is infectious. Feeling contemplative, Tiberius tells of seeing four vultures on the coast road, though his augur told him not to worry about bad omens. Moreover, he dreamt of a funeral procession. Claudia soothes his fears and puts him to bed, then tries to soothe her husband, promising him that Tiberius is a tired old man who’s starting to feel the shadows closing in. Right now, they just have to hold their nerve.
Preview Next Weeks Episode “THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS”
Jesus appears to Saul and turns him from his path of wickedness.
Here are a few added resources from A.D