They did not ‘flip’

By Mac McPhail - Contributing columnist
Mac McPhail -

He says he will always be loyal to his boss. But now he is under criminal investigation by federal prosecutors, and could face jail time if charged and convicted. Will he now cooperate with the authorities in order to avoid or lessen any possible legal consequences? Will he now give prosecutors information that they can use against his boss. In other words, will he “flip?”

“Will he flip?” That’s what news observers are now asking about Michael Cohen, the longtime personal attorney for President Donald Trump. On April 9, the F.B.I. raided Cohen’s New York office, with a search warrant, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several topics, including a payment to pornographic film actress, Stormy Daniels. I’m sure most of you have heard of the background of this whole mess, (a Sampson County term) so I won’t dwell on it. Only to say that it looks like Michael Cohen appears to be in deep legal trouble, and could possibly be facing considerable jail time.

That is, experts predict, unless Cohen chooses to cooperate with federal authorities against his boss, President Donald Trump. Who knows what additional information may be revealed that could change the story completely. But until then, the question will be, what will Michael Cohen do? Will he remain loyal to the end to the President? Or will he cooperate with federal authorities in order to protect himself and his family? Will he flip?

It was another place and time. Despite tremendous pressure from those in power, they refused to turn against their leader. The authorities would have loved to have evidence against their leader that he was a fraud, an impostor. But they refused, always proclaiming that their leader was who he said he was, and that he did what he did. They did not “flip” and deny their leader. They were the disciples, and their leader was Jesus.

Now you ask, what about Judas? Didn’t he betray Jesus? Yes, but it was before the cross and resurrection. Judas never denied that Jesus was who he said he was. Many biblical scholars feel that Judas’ betrayal was actually an attempt to force Jesus to come forth as the messiah and deliverer of the Jewish people. And to make some money for doing it. Maybe, that is why when it didn’t work out that way, Judas hung himself in regret.

After the resurrection, the pressure the 11 remaining disciples faced was much more than just time in jail. It was beatings, torture and death. An article on the “National Geographic” website chronicled the death of each of Jesus’ disciples. Here’s what they discovered.

Simon Peter “was eventually martyred in Rome during the reign of Emperor Nero. As the story goes, Peter asked to be crucified upside down, so that his death would not be equal of Jesus.” Philip was missionary in Egypt, “where he was scourged, thrown into prison and crucified in 54 AD.” Thomas, no longer doubting, preached the gospel as far away as India, “where he angered local religious authorities, who martyred him by running him through with a spear.” When Andrew wouldn’t forsake Christianity, Roman proconsul Aegeates had the disciple crucified in 69 AD, by having him “tied rather than nailed to a cross, so that he would suffer for a longer time before dying.”

Matthew was martyred as a missionary in Ethiopia, Thaddaeus was crucified in Turkey in 72 AD, and Simon the Zealot was crucified in England in 74 AD. James, the son of Zebedee, was beheaded in Judea by Herod Agrippa, and James, son of Alphaeus, was beaten and stoned to death by persecutors in Jerusalem at the age of 94. According to accounts, Bartholomew was martyred in India, either by crucifixion or by being skinned alive and then beheaded. Only the disciple, John, was not martyred, but he was beaten, imprisoned, and ended his life in exile on the island of Patmos.

The Roman and Jewish authorities viewed this new religion, Christianity, as a threat to their power. Jesus’ followers were quickly transforming their world with his message of forgiveness, hope and love. If they could get Jesus’ close associates, the eleven disciples, to admit Jesus was a fraud, they could begin to regain control. But there is no record that it ever happened, no record that a single disciple ever flipped.

The disciples were there with Jesus. If he was a fraud, why would they all pay the price they did for their faith? Despite enduring beatings, torture, prison and certain death, there is no historical evidence of any of the disciples denying their faith. And sometimes the fact that there is no evidence becomes real evidence.

Mac McPhail McPhail

By Mac McPhail

Contributing columnist

Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]

Mac McPhail, raised in Sampson County, lives in Clinton and can be reached at [email protected]