Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 85.

The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920

The three Apostles were struck with fear and asked " what has happened to him?" "What is it?" They wanted to go and join him, but Peter restrained them, told them to remain where they were, and then he ran forward and entered the Grotto, saying, " Master, what has happened to thee ? " But Jesus, stretched out on the ground, made no reply. Only groans of anguish came from him, and Peter returned and told the other two what he had seen.

O my Father, can I suffer for so ungrateful a race ? O my Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from me. But if I must drink it, let thy will be done. It was very dark in the Grotto. Then the Archangel Michael, whose name is " Who is like God ? " came holding in his hands a chalice. He was clothed in white robes and long flowing garments. Michael had driven the rebel angels from heaven. He stretched out the chalice towards Jesus, who drank from it. Then the Archangel disappeared.

Having received new strength from this mysterious nourishment, Jesus remained for a few moments returning thanks to his heavenly Father. He felt comforted and his strength returned. Although his face was still pale there was a determination in his steps, as he returned to his disciples, who had remained awake. (Cath. Emmerich, pp. 103-104.)

"Then he came to his disciples and saith to them, Sleep on now and take your rest, behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us go ; behold, he is at hand that will betray me." (Matt. xxvi. 45-46.) The Apostles rose much alarmed, and Peter asked: " Lord, will I call the others that we may defend thee?" "No," Jesus said. "I will deliver myself into their hands. Let us go and meet them." As he spoke, he pointed to a band of noisy men with torches coming down the other side of the Cedron valley, Judas leading the way. With his three Apostles he went out of the garden, and coming to the road leading over Olivet passing by Gethsemane, he met the rabble band in the middle of the road.

The general idea is that Judas did not know that things would go so far. He was the treasurer of the little band, he had been stealing from the fund ; he had gotten himself into a state of avarice, as he showed at the dinner given Jesus by Simon at Bethany, when Mary poured the precious ointment on the Lord. He hoped for a temporal kingdom like all the Jews of Jerusalem, he was tired of the wandering life they had been leading for more than three years ; he had upset the regularity of the Last Supper by crowding into Peter's place at the table ; he had been touched in his pride when Jesus told John who it was who was to betray him ; he had tried to make friends with the rich Sadducee priesthood of the Temple, and now leading the band of nearly a hundred Temple guards, he comes down the road with them, acting as their guide.

The band was noisy, as is customary with Orientals. " Will we be able to take him ? Has he many men with him? Are they armed ?" The archers ask him. "No, he is alone with his eleven followers ; they are timid men, and tonight he is greatly depressed. He was sorrowful at the Passover Service. This is the time to take him. Unless you take him now he will return later with a great following, and have himself proclaimed king. They must take him at night for fear of the people." "For, lo, the wicked have bent their bow, they have prepared their arrows in the quiver to shoot in the dark the upright of heart." (Psalm x. 3.)

He had his thirty pieces of money rolled in the folds of his girdle, a custom of the Orientals. But the priests were careful that he would fulfil his part of the contract, and when he went down into the room in the Temple with the soldiers and Temple guards, three Pharisees went with him. Three hundred men were stationed at the gates and in the streets of Ophel, to the south of the Temple and east of Sion, to subdue the people if they tried to rescue Jesus. For here many poor people lived as servants and working people, waiting on the priests, who lived in this quarter when attending the various " courses" of the Temple ministry. Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea owned many of the houses which they rented out. The high priest Caiaphas also had some buildings here. But many of the people of this quarter had seen the works Jesus did, and his miracles, and they believed in him. It was to overawe these that the guards were sent. Ophel was just over against Gethsemane, across the valley, and formed the part of the city nearest the garden.

Judas first thought that he could enter the garden, salute and kiss Jesus, by that showing the guards who Jesus was, and then run away. The Apostles might defend the Lord, and in the tumult Judas could escape. " For did not Jesus often escape from his enemies ? " and he could do the same this time.

" It is enough," said Jesus ; " the hour is come wherein the Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of sinners. Rise up ; lo, he that will betray me is at hand."

At these words the eight Apostles, who had been resting and sleeping on the rocks which rise to the east of the garden, now came forward and joined Christ and the other three.