Saturday, 18 June 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 126.

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


ON Sion near the Cenacle stood one of Lazarus' houses, and there that morning gathered the Lord's faithful friends. We find some of their names scattered here and there in the more or less authentic records which have come down. Seventeen of them assembled at the house that morning.

There was Mary Magdalen, out of whom the Lord had cast seven devils, whose history we have given, and her sister Martha, both Lazarus' sisters. With them was Joanna, called in Hebrew Yochani (Seb. 62 b.) wife of Herod's steward at Tiberias. The Greek colonists named him Aphiterphos, and the Jews Chuza: "A Little Pitcher," perhaps he was thus named because he was Herod's cup bearer when a boy. Their son Jesus had healed by a word. They had come up to the great Passover feast.

Among them was Susanna, a worthy woman called after the chaste Susanna, whose virtue Daniel the prophet had proved against the accusations of the evil-minded elders. There was Mary, the Virgin's sister, wife of Cleophas and mother of James the Less, having with her, her younger son Joses, called also Joseph. Her husband was the brother of Joseph the carpenter, Jesus, foster-father who had been dead for many years.

There was also Salome, in Hebrew Schelamith, the wife of Zebedee, or Zabdai, as the Greeks pronounced his name. She was the mother of the Apostles James and John. She lived in Galilee, but with her family, she had come to attend the feast. There was Mark's mother, who lived near by, and with her was Rhode, a servant girl in her house, who acted as portress later, when Peter was delivered from prison by an Angel. (Acts xii. 13.)

On the way down the hill they were joined by Schila, the widow of Nain, whose son Christ had raised from the dead. With her were Judas, Festus, James, Simeon, Assia and Lydia, whose father Joseph had been dead for many years, and Tirus who when later baptized took the name of Titus, Joses and James. All these lived in Galilee and had come up to the city for the Passover.

Many of these had known Jesus, all the years when he had worked as a carpenter in the humble home of Nazareth. Then he had supported with his toil his widowed Mother after the death of his foster-father Joseph, before he began his public life. Some of them were related to him, all believed in and loved him. They heard his teachings, or profited by his miracles. They had seen his mighty works and they believed him to be the Messiah sent to redeem the world. They all resolved to see the end, when they heard he was condemned. (Matt xxvii. 55 ; Mark xv. 40 ; Luke xxiii. 27.)

This band of women took their way down the chief street of Sion, following the route passed that early morning by the Victim on his way from Caiphas' house to Pilate's palace. Passing along the street leading up the Tyropœon valley, they met the Virgin and St. John coming out of the house, into which she had been carried weeping after meeting her son. She had recovered in part her composure, and at her suggestion they all went over the ground where he had passed carrying his cross..

Led by Jesus' Mother they went along and stopped at every place where he had fallen, or suffered, praying and reciting the Pilgrims' Psalms. It was the first Way of the Cross, followed afterwards by millions of people, first at Jerusalem and later in every church. The streets were filled with people, some going to the Temple, some to Calvary, some mocking, others passing by.

As they were going up the hill towards the gate through what is now called the Via Dolorosa, they met Pilate on horseback, surrounded by a cavalcade of brilliant officers coming down, returning from the gate leading to Calvary. The women, with the Virgin, John, and the men ran into Veronica's house on the left, for the horsemen filled the narrow street. There they saw the Saviour's face imprinted on Veronica's veil. They took the jar of aromatic wine, the latter had prepared, but which the soldiers would not let the Lord drink, and they started again on their way to Calvary. Many people who believed in him now joined them, as they went through the streets. When they came outside the walls, to the west they could see the hill of Calvary covered with soldiers, guards and executioners preparing for the crucifixion, while a vast multitude of people filled all the open country.