It was one of those father, son moments that only exist in American television shows. There was catch, and presumably throw.
‘Son, we need to talk,’ said God.
‘Is this about Mary Magdeline?’ said Jesus. ‘I know she’s a prostitute with my mum’s name but we’re just friends. And even if we weren’t, why would that be weird? I mean, I didn’t name her. And Mum was a virgin, so if anything, I’m dating the opposite of my mum. If dating your mum is weird, then dating the opposite of your mum is the opposite of weird.’
‘I don’t care about any of that,’ said God.
‘Oh,’ said Jesus, broadly relieved but a little disappointed by his father’s lack of interest in his personal life. ‘What’s up?’
‘I need you to do me a solid,’ said God.
‘It’s kind of a big solid.’
‘I’m sure it’s fine. I mean, you’re my dad, you’re me, and you’re God, it’s not like you’re going to ask me to do anything horrible, like eat a spider. So what is it? Cure some more lepers? Because, well, I’m happy to do it, but lately I’ve been sort of wondering why, if you don’t like leprosy, you invented it in the first place.’
‘It’s nothing to do with lepers,’ said God.
‘More bread and fish into more bread and fish, then? Because I was thinking about that too, and I’ve come up with an idea that’s going to achieve the same output at half the cost in time and magic powers!’ Jesus beamed proudly. ‘Are you ready? Fish sandwiches. We put the fish in the bread before I multiply it! Then I do the whole lot in one go instead of two!’
‘That’s some good innovating,’ said God, ‘and I appreciate your initiative, but I’m over my feeding the poor phase.’
‘What do you mean, over it?’
‘I’m just going to let them starve from now on. At least for the next two thousand years or so. I’ve done enough for them.’
‘What, that one time you had me multiply some bread and fish? That’s enough?’
‘Look, we’re getting distracted from the main issue here, and I really don’t think you’re going to care about some starving poor people after you hear what I want you to do.’
Jesus did his shocked face, which would shortly prove inadequate for the situation. ‘What could you possibly ask me to do that will make me not care about leaving billions of poor people to starve to death for the next two thousand years?’
‘I want you to be tortured to death,’ said God.
Jesus’ shocked face proved to be inadequate for the situation.
‘Okay, what about this?’ said Jesus. ‘We let the poor starve, and then we let the middle class starve as well, and I go to the beach?’
‘I’m afraid not’ said God.
‘That’s a good compromise!’
‘You’ve got to die.’
‘So I can forgive everyone.’
Jesus turned this over in his mind for a moment, hunting for an alternative meaning he might have missed. When he found none, he said ‘What?!’
God put on his explaining that one plus one equals two voice. ‘Some people I invented ages ago ate a piece of evil fruit that I also invented, which I knew they would because I’m omniscient, and now I blame everyone and the only way I can forgive them is if they torture my son, who is also me, to death.’
Jesus said ‘What?!!!’ again but with more exclamation marks.
‘If I don’t forgive them they’ll go to Hell,’ said God in what he felt was a very reasonable tone.
‘I thought Adam and Eve were just a metaphor,’ said Jesus.
‘According to some interpretations. So what?’
‘So you want me to die horribly in order to forgive people for what a pair of completely different people, who are also fictional, did in a metaphor?’
‘According to some interpretations, yes.’
‘And that makes sense to you?’
‘I don’t know why you’re so upset,’ said God. ‘I’m going to bring you back to life afterwards. And then you can come straight up to Heaven.’
‘Won’t I go to Heaven immediately after I die?’
‘Well, yes. But then after three days I’ll bring you back to life on Earth, and then you can come straight back to Heaven.’
‘Jesus, be reasonable. This is the bit everyone believes. If you can’t get your head around this, what chance do you have with the Book of Revelations?’
‘Fine,’ said Jesus, with a practiced sigh from his teenage years. ‘I just don’t understand why you’re forsaking me.’
‘I’m not forsaking you.’
‘It feels a lot like you’re forsaking me.’
‘You’re being over sensitive.’
‘I’m being forsaken.’
‘Let’s just agree to disagree,’ said God.