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
Jesus had for more than three years acted and preached as a Rabbi, gathering followers and disciples around him, as was customary with the Rabbis of that time. But no Rabbi could lawfully preach in the synagogues or make disciples, unless he had first made a regular course of study in one of the schools, and he could begin his ministry only after he had been regularly ordained with the laying on of the hands of the Rabbis at thirty years of age and received a license to preach. It is to this that Annas alluded in the questions he asked Jesus. " The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples and of his doctrine." (John xviii, 12-14,19-24) Calmly Jesus replied:
"I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in the synagogues and in the Temple, whither all the Jews resort, and in private I have spoken nothing. Why asketh thou me ? Ask those who have heard what I have spoken to them: behold they know what things I have said."
Five times Jesus uses the word I. In the Greek text of the Gospel it is Ego. He does this to draw the attention of the pontiff's mind to his own personality (Life of Christ, by Fouard, Vol. II., p. 173.) as the "Lamb of God" foretold by the victims of the Temple slain by the priests,—as the "scapegoat" about to be killed by the high priest with the world's sins upon him. As he pronounced the last sentence, he waved his hands towards the great crowd standing in the hall looking on. They had heard him in the synagogues, and in the Temple, and they could have given an account of his teachings.
Hate, anger, craft and cruelty, shone forth in Annas' face. He saw that Christ would say nothing to justify himself, or make any excuse for his acts and words. The menials, servants and soldiers took the answer as an insult, and one of them raised a club and struck the Saviour with it in the face.
"And when he said these things one of the officers standing by gave Jesus a blow, saying: " Answerest thou the high priest so ?" (John xviii, 22.) Jesus reeled backwards, and the others standing by rained on him blows with their mailed fists, so that he fell down on the floor, while laughter, insults and jeers resounded through the hall. The archers dragged him to his feet, and the blood fell from his face to the ground. In calm mild tones Jesus said:
"If I have done ill, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou me ?" (John xviii, 23.)
At the calm collected behavior of the Victim, Annas became more excited, let his angry passions rise, and with a shout he asked the witnesses to bring forward their accusations. The whole crowd began to cry out at once, shouting from all parts of the hall; each one trying to talk the loudest, as is still the custom of the Orientals when excited.
"He called himself king." "He says God is his Father." "He says the Pharisees are an adulterous generation." " He causes insurrections among the people," " He cures the sick by the help of the devil." "He cures on the Sabbath." " The people of Ophel gathered around him to night and called him Saviour and Prophet." "He calls himself the Son of God." " He says God sent him." " He foretells the destruction of Jerusalem.'' " He does not fast." "He eats with sinners, pagans and publicans." " He associates with bad women." " He seduces the people with words of double meaning." " He said he would destroy the Temple, and rebuild it in three days." " He said he would give the waters of eternal life to any one who would believe in him," etc. (Cath. Emmerich.)
Then were fulfilled the words of the Royal Prophet: " Why, O Lord, art they multiplied that afflict me ? Many are they who rise against me. Many say there is no salvation for him in his God. But thou, O Lord, art my protector, my glory, and the lifter up of my head. I have cried to the Lord with my voice, and he hath heard me from his holy hill. I have slept and taken my rest, and I have risen up because the Lord hath protected me." (Psalm iii 1-6.)
"But I am a worm, and no man, and the outcast of the people. All they that saw me laughed me to scorn, they have spoken with the lips and wagged the head. He hoped in the Lord, let him deliver him, let him save him, seeing he delighteth in him." (Psalm xxi. 7-8.)
"And they said the judgment of death is for this man, because he hath prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your ears " (Jerem. xxvi. 11. 5)
" My enemies have spoken evil against me," said the prophet. " When shall he die, arid his name perish ? And if he came in to see me, he spoke vain things. His heart gathered together iniquity to itself. All my enemies whispered together against me, they devised evils to me. They determined against me an unjust word. Shall he that sleepeth rise again no more ?. . . For even the man of my peace, in whom I trusted, hath greatly supplanted me." (Psalm xl. 6-10.) The last sentence relates to Judas who had betrayed him.
The mob crowded around him, shaking their fists in his face, and heaping insults on him. But Jesus kept silence as was foretold. " The rich hath done wrong and will fume. But the poor is wronged and must hold his peace." (Eccles, xiii, 4.) "He shall sit solitary and hold his peace, be cause he hath taken it upon himself. He shall put his mouth in the dust, if so there may be hope. He shall give his cheek to him that striketh him, he shall be filled with reproaches." (Jeremias. Lamentations iii. 28-30)
The archers closed in around him, and one of them struck him in the face saying : " Speak : why dost thou not answer ?" But Jesus kept silence. " Because I know thy manifold crimes, and your grievous sins, enemies of the just, taking bribes, oppressing the poor in the gate. Therefore the prudent shall keep silence at that time, for it is an evil time." (Amos v. 12-13.)
Annas and the members of the committee heap insults on him. There was not one of his friends to say a word in his favor. " I am become a stranger to my brethren, and an alien to the sons of my mother. For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up, and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen on me. And I covered my soul in fasting, and it was made a reproach to me. And I made haircloth my garment, and I became a byword to them. They that sat in the gate spoke against me, and they that drank wine made me their song." (Psalm Ixvii. 9-13,)
At every insult Annas and the members of the committee exclaimed, "This is thy doctrine is it? What canst thou answer to this ? Issue thy orders, O great King, you are the man sent by God, are you ? Give proofs of thy mission."
With cutting irony in his tones, and disgust in his manner, Annas continues. " By whom art thou sent ? Thou, the son of an obscure carpenter, art thou Elias, who was carried up to heaven in a fiery chariot ? He is said to be still living, and I have been told that thou canst make thyself invisible when thou pleasest. Perhaps thou art the prophet Malachias, whose words thou dost so often quote. Some say that an angel is his father, and that he is still alive. An impostor like thee would have a fine opportunity of deceiving people by passing thyself off as this prophet. Tell me to what order of kings thou dost belong. Thou art greater than Solomon,—at least thou pretendest to be, and dost even expect to be believed. Be easy. I will no longer refuse the title and the scepter which are so justly thine."
"And it shall come to pass in that day that the prophets shall be confounded, every one by his own vision. . . . And they shall say to him : What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands ? And he shall say, With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd and against the man that cleaveth to me, said the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd and the sheep shall be scattered." (Zach. xiii 3-7.)