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
|They Went Backward and Fell to the Ground by James Tissot|
As they came near the walls of the garden, they stopped to arrange matters, Judas reminded them that a kiss was the sign agreed on, and they were to arrest the one whom he kissed. Judas proposed to go up and quietly speak to Jesus, and then he could escape as though nothing happened, and they were to arrest the Saviour.
"Not, so friend, thou shalt not escape from our hands until we have the Galilean safely bound," said the Pharisees. Seeing the three Apostles surrounding Jesus, they called up the archers with their bows and arrows. Peter said : *' Lord, the other eight are near, let us attack the archers." 2 But Jesus told him to hold his peace, and walked back a few steps, while James the Less, Philip, Thomas and Nathaniel came running up.
Jesus now walked up to the soldiers and said in a firm voice : "Whom seek ye ?" And the leaders answered: " Jesus of Nazareth." And Jesus said to them: " I am he."
Hardly had he pronounced these words, when the whole crowd of Roman guards and Jews, who came to arrest him, reeled backwards and fell to the ground. Some authors try to explain this fall as being the result of the fear which his name and presence had inspired in the hearts of his enemies. But here we must remember was a troop of Roman soldiers trained to battle as well as a large crowd of Temple guards. The fall was miraculous.
When they arose, he asked them again : " Whom seek ye?" And they said: "Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus answered and said: " I have told you that I am he. If therefore ye seek me, let these go their way. That the word might be fulfilled which he said, ' Of them whom thou hast given me I have not lost one.' (John xviii. 7. 8. 9.)
For the second time they fell on their faces on the ground. But at the word of Jesus, " Arise," they rose, but speechless from terror. When they had recovered themselves, they told Judas to give them the sign agreed on, as they had orders to arrest only the one he kissed. And Judas came up to Jesus and said:
"Hail Rabbi." And he kissed Jesus, who said to him, " What, Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss ? " The Scripture says : " Better are the wounds of a friend than the deceitful kisses of an enemy." (Prov. xxvii. 6.) It was with a kiss that Jacob deceived his father. (Gen. xxvii. 26) The kiss as a mark of love and respect is mentioned in oldest histories, but history gives no baser example than that of Judas, who betrays his best friend with a kiss, delivering him over to a horrible death.
At once the soldiers surround Jesus, and the archers laid hands on him. Judas wished to run away, but the other Apostles surrounded him and would not let him. "Then they came up and laid hands on Jesus and held him." (Matt. xxvi. 49. 50.) "And they that were about him, seeing what would follow said to him, Lord, shall we strike with the sword ? "(Luke, xxii, 49) "Then Simon, having a sword, drew it, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his right ear, and the name of the servant was Malchus. Then Jesus saith to him :
"Put up again thy sword into its place. For all that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask the Father, and he will give me presently more than twelve legions of angels ? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled. (Matt. xxvi. 51-54.) The chalice which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it ? it must be done." "Suffer ye thus far. And when he had touched his ear he healed him." (Luke. xxii. 51.)
Malchus was the body servant of the high priest Joseph Caiaphas, and he was about to bind the hands of Jesus, when Peter with his usual impetuosity struck at his head with his sword, and, as the commentators say, Malchus dodged the blow, and the blade fell on his right ear. The Saviour asked for a moment of liberty to heal him before being bound. Luke the physician is the only Evangelist who mentions the healing.
When Peter struck Malchus, there was great excitement. The disciples wanted to attack the soldiers, but they feared the arms in their hands. Judas ran away, but he was met by some of the disciples who upbraided him for his treachery, and would have beaten him, but six Pharisees came to his rescue. The latter stood by while the Lord healed the wounded servant, and when they saw the miracle they said: "It is a trick of the devil; witchcraft made the ear appear to have been cut off, and now the same power makes it appear as though it was healed."
The Pharisees now ordered them to arrest and bind Jesus, who said: " Are ye come out as it were to a thief with swords and clubs ? When I was daily with you in the Temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against me. But this is your hour and the power of darkness." (Matt. xxvi. 55. ; Luke xxii. 53.)
They had brought new cords, and they tightly tied his hands so the right hand was bound under the left elbow, and the left hand under the right elbow. They put a belt studded with sharp iron points around his waist, binding his hands to it, and also wound a collar with iron points around his neck. The collar around his neck had two leather straps, which they crossed over his breast like a stole. They fastened four ropes to the belt around his waist. While thus binding him they used him in the roughest manner.
Then were the prophecies fulfilled: " The breath of our mouth, Christ the Lord, is taken in our sins." (Lam. iv. 20.) "Behold I encompassed thee with bands, and thou shalt not turn thyself from one side to the other till thou hast ended the days of thy siege." (Ezech. iv. 8.) "O Son of Man, behold, they shall put bands upon thee, and they shall take thee with them, and thou shalt not go forth from the midst of them." (Ezech. iii. 25.) In the prophets the words " Son of Man " always mean the Messiah. Even Jewish writers are unanimous on this.
When they arrested him, Jesus asked that his followers might go free, and the frightened Apostles ran away, thus fulfilling what was foretold. "They shall be afflicted because they have no shepherd," l " Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that cleaveth to me, saith the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered, and I will turn my hand to the little ones."