Friday, 29 April 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 87.

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 lighted fresh torches, some took hold of the ropes, ten soldiers went on before, and ten behind him, archers also took hold of the ropes, and surrounding him on all sides, they went down the valley. The Apostles from the different places where they had scattered looked on in terror, not daring to lift a hand to save him. (Psalm xxxiv. 7. 8.)

"And a certain young man followed him, having a linen cloth around his naked body, and they laid hold on him. But he cast off the linen cloth and fled from them naked," (Mark xiv, 51, 52.) Who was this young man ? Some writers think that he was St. John the Evangelist. But the most probable opinion is that he was St. John Mark who wrote the second Gospel, and who alone mentions the incident.

With six Pharisees leading, the procession took the road to the Holy City. To gain the goodwill of these Pharisees the guards used the Prisoner as roughly as they could, leading him over the hardest roads. Around Jerusalem every road and path is filled with obstructions, and it seems that not a thing has been done to the roads for thousands of years. We are not sure that this road was in the same condition then.

They pull the cords as tight as they can, they strike him with the ends of the ropes to make him walk faster, just as they did the animals they lead along this same road for the sacrifices of the Temple, and they heap every insult on him. Now they turn into the road leading from the top of Olivet down into the valley and up to the Sheep Gate. On the other side of the Cedron a path leads south up the hill to Ophel.

Over the Cedron at this place was a bridge built by the high priests, at what time history does not tell. Every high priest was obliged to maintain this bridge out of his own private means. The watershed of the Cedron was then covered with trees and orchards, before the Romans under Titus cut them down to make war engines, and much water flowed down the little brook, and a bridge was required. They always drove the scapegoat across this bridge on the day of the Atonement, carrying the sins of all Israel. They led the red heifer over it when they went down to burn her in the place where the Lord was arrested, and over it went all the animals sacrificed in the Temple. Now they drive and lead the real Victim fore told by these across this very bridge. But they went so fast that twice the Lord stumbled and fell, and they beat him till he rose. His hands were tied so he could not help himself when they ran too fast.

While crossing over this bridge, all their brutality broke out, and they threw him over the bridge, partly holding him up with ropes. He fell about fifteen feet down into the Cedron ravine, into a pool of water. They shouted to him to drink there. He fell first on his knees, then on his face in the water, which was not more than two feet deep. By stretching out his arms, his body was saved from striking on the bottom. Jesus had not drank since he left the Passover table, and his agony in the garden had given him a fever. Bending down he drank of the water of the brook, fulfilling the Psalm telling of the glories of his eternal Priesthood, he was about to accomplish in his Passion, just begun. " He shall drink of the torrent in the way, therefore he shall lift up his head." (Psalm cix . 7.)

The bed of the Cedron was then inclosed by a wall to keep its waters in bounds during the spring freshets, and they tried to lift him up fifteen feet, to the top of the bridge, but they did not succeed. Going to the other side they dragged him through the waters to the western shore. His long woolen garments, with all his clothes, were soaked through, and clinging to his limbs impeded his walk, and they struck him to make him go faster. He stumbled and fell and they dragged him over the rocks in the path leading up to the gate of Ophel.

The six Pharisees struck him with sticks, the guards beat him with the ends of the ropes, the rabble kicked him, the whole crowd mocked him, citing the words of Malachias: " Behold I send my angel before thy face to prepare the way before thee," is not fulfilled now. (Malach. iii. 1,)