Saturday, 23 July 2016

The tragedy of Calvary. Part 156.

The tragedy of Calvary: or the minute details of Christ's life from Palm Sunday morning till the resurrection and ascension taken from prophecy, history, revelations and ancient writings by Meagher, Jas. L. (James Luke), 1848-1920

The members of the little band saw with astonishment the marks of God's anger over all the vast enclosures. In the walls separating the porch from the Holy of Holies was a rent, large enough for a man to pass through. The great veil hung in tatters torn from top to bottom. In place of holy hymns and canticles usual at this great feast all was hushed; priests and Levites passed from place to place in fear and trembling. The Temple's doom was felt in the very air. They saw that the temple had fulfilled its mission in pointing to the dead Redeemer, and that God had struck it in his wrath.

Standing west of the great altar, they could see into the Holy of Holies with its glittering walls of pure gold, its massive seven-branched candlestick, the table for the proposition bread and the gold altar for incense. They visited the spot at the Nicanor gate where the Virgin was presented when a child, the room where she had lived till she was fourteen years old, where in her fifteenth year she had offered Christ, the room opening into Israel's Court where she found him disputing with the doctors, the places where he had performed his miracles and the other spots made sacred by his presence. They remained for the morning services, studying these striking types of Him who then lay dead in the tomb.

After the Temple service ended, the little band returned to the Cenacle. There they passed the Sabbath rest in prayer, in tears, and in reading the prophetic books. Many disciples called to see the Mother of the Lord, and to learn from her, from John, and from the women, the details of the crucifixion. The other Apostles asked John to tell all the details, and with that love and charity for which he was noted, he told the story. The doors were tightly closed, for they were afraid lest some of them might be arrested like Joseph of Arimathea.

They sat on ashes, the sign of mourning, women covered their faces with thick veils, they turned their faces towards the wall, they spoke in whispers, and they gathered around the Virgin and tried to comfort her. They did not know the mystery of the redemption. The Holy Spirit had not yet come to enlighten them. But they pondered on the words, "Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, and let them come, and send to them that are wise women, and let them make haste. Let them hasten and take up a lamentation for us, let our eyes shed tears and our eyelids run down with waters. For a voice of wailing is heard in Sion," (Jeremias ix. 17-19,) " O, expectation of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, why wilt thou be as a stranger in the land, and as a wayfaring man turning in to lodge ? " (Jeremias xiv. 8,)

The Maiden Mother had spent her youth in the Temple reading the sacred books of her people, to her the Archangel Gabriel had brought the message that she would be come the Lord's mother, that he would save his people from their sins, she understood the prophecies better than the others, for her mind was never blinded by sin. But her heart was breaking. Peter came with tears in his eyes for his sins of denial. James the Greater also called, John went out during the day, some of the disciples came to see them and few incidents happened to interrupt the solemn resound thus passed the day.

At setting of the sun the Sabbath ended. The synagogue services of the first day of the week began. The shops of Jerusalem opened. The people went about their daily avocations. Mary Magdalen, with some of the women, went down into the Cheesemongers' Street in the Tyropoeon valley, and brought spices, unguents and herbs to complete the anointing of the body of the dead Lord, for they had not time before the setting of the sun the day before, which began the Sabbath, to complete all the funeral rites and preparation of the body. They wanted to finish the work as soon as they could on the first day of the week.

When Mary Magdalen brought the herbs and spices to the Cenacle, the women gathered around to help her, they placed them on a table in the center of the room, the very table used at the Last Supper, and they all sat down and spent that Saturday evening, preparing them for the finishing of the embalming early in the morning.

They meditated on the prophet's words, " In their affliction they will rise early to me. Come, let us return to the Lord. For he hath taken us, and he will heal us; he will strike and he will cure us. He will revive us after two days. On the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. We shall know and we shall follow on, that we may know the Lord. His going forth is prepared as the morning light." l But they did not entirely understand the prophecies foretelling that he would rise from the tomb.

After the Sabbath ended at sundown, Caiphas came from his near-by house on Sion, and had a long talk with Nicodemus. The high priest was still as bitter as ever against Christ, and all Nicodemus said did not change him. There is no error so hard to remove as the religious error, and Caiphas remained still headstrong.