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
CHRIST BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST.
WHEN Jesus was arrested, a little after midnight, runners brought the news to Annas and Caiaphas, keeping the Passover watch in their houses. For a time confusion reigned. Although candles brightly burned, lighting up the rooms according to the immemorial Passover custom, at once orders were given to light more; runners were sent in haste to summon the members of the court; guards were placed at the doors; Scribes were called to take the minutes of the meeting, and the leading men of all Jewry hurried from different parts of the city.
As soon as they had heard of the agreement with Judas, many had gathered at the high priests' houses, and now messengers were sent to call the absent judges and officers of the Sanhedrin. Men from different nations, who had come up to the great feast, now hurry up the narrow streets leading to Sion. Scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem, Sadducees and Rabbis from Nazareth, Capharnaum, Bethlehem, Hebron and other places of Palestine, might be seen hastening along the streets, and stopping to notify those they knew were hostile to the Prophet of Nazareth.
They bribe some who refused to take part in the trial. The Scribes and Pharisees he had denounced; the mer chants he had driven out of the Temple ; the men 'whose sins he had exposed : the proud Rabbis whose false teachings and ignorance of the Prophets he had confounded; the learned doctors of the Temple whom he had silenced ; the sinners, whom he refused to cure because they would not do penance; the worldly young men he would not accept as disciples; the avaricious people whom he had in public censured; the crowds who refused his teachings ; the men with imaginary grievances,—all these, we imagine, now hurried to the high priest's house.
While waiting for the Prisoner to arrive, they consult among themselves what is best to be done. Jesus had a few friends among the crowds in and around the high priests' houses, but they are wavering in their faith ; the enemies of the Lord are arguing with them, and many of the weak characters are turning against Jesus.
Although deprived of the office of high priest, Annas was the Sagan and president of a committee appointed for the preliminary examination of false teachers, and the investigation of doctrines against the Jewish religion. If he found them guilty, he sent them to the high priest for sentence.
Near the summit of Sion was Annas' house. The Gospel says : " And they led him away to Annas first, for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, who was the high priest of that year. Now Caiaphas was he, who had given counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the people." (John xviii, 13,14) This Annas, in the eyes of the Jews, was the real high priest. For when Valarius Gratus deposed him because of his high crimes, the Jews held that the act was illegal, they still looked on him as their real pontiff, and nothing was done without his sanction,—Caiaphas his son-in-law always followed his advice. This was the reason they brought Christ first before Annas.
The latter's house was destroyed when Jerusalem was captured, and to-day a small church stands on the site. At the left of the main entrance to the church is a little chapel, five feet four inches by six feet one inch, and in the floor of the church near the altar is a marble star, where Christ stood when Annas questioned him. Three square pillars on each side divide the church into nave and side aisles, and the altar faces the east.
As Jesus stood there he was a pitiable sight. His face was pale and haggard, his head bowed, his clothes covered with mud, clung to his limbs. The crowd pressed into the hall of the house, shouting, yelling, bustling, crowd ing, pushing as is customary with Orientals. The soldiers and Temple guards still held the ropes tied to the leather belt around the Lord's waist. They now untied his hands.
Annas, a thin dark-featured man, with a scraggy gray beard, wearing an ironical smile, pretended that he knew nothing of the case, although he had just been informed of the arrest, and he had twice in the two former meetings of the Sanhedrin voted for his death.
"Is it possible," said he, "Is it possible that thou art Jesus of Nazareth ? Where are thy numerous followers ? What has become of thy disciples ? Where is thy king dom ? I am afraid things have not turned out as well as thou didst expect. I suppose the authorities thought it was about time to put a stop to thy conduct, disrespectful as it was to God, to his priests, to the Temple, arid to the Sabbath. What disciples hast thou now ? Speak up, seducer. Speak out, thou inciter of rebellion. Didst thou not eat the Passover lamb in an unlawful manner, at an improper time, and in an improper place ? Didst thou not wish to introduce new doctrines ? Who gave thee the right of preaching ? Where didst thou study ? Speak! What are the tenets of thy religion ? " (Cath. Emmerich.)