Obrazy na stronie

object. It was asked, as John points out, to se. cure His apostles from molestation; and we may suppose

also that it served to make all who were present the witnesses of His arrest.

“Whom seek ye?” They answered, “Jesus of Nazareth.” “I am He.” While they stood cowering and struggling there, He again asked them, “ Whom are ye seeking ?” Again they replied, “ Jesus of Nazareth.” “I told you,” He answered, “that I am He. If, then, ye are seeking Me, let these go away.”

Judas then approached and kissed Him. This was the signal agreed upon. And Jesus looked at the traitor, and said: “Friend, whereto art thou come? Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Then addressing the armed band, He said to them: “Are you come out, as it were, against a thief, with swords and staffs? When I was daily with you in the temple, you did not stretch forth your hands against Me: But this is your hour, and the power of darkness." They then took hold of Jesus and bound Him. Peter, indignant at seeing his Master thus roughly handled, drew a sword wherewith he had armed himself, through a wrong conception of his Master's words, and striking one of the servants of the high priest, cut off his ear. But Jesus rebuked him for his imprudent zeal. “Peter,” said He,“ put up thy sword into the scabbard. For all that take the sword shall perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father, and He will give Me more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled ?” Seeing their Master in this condition, all the disciples deserted Him, and fled.

“ Can I Gethsemane forget ?-or there thy conflict see, Thine agony and bloody sweat,—and not remember


Remember Thee, and all Thy pains,-and all Thy

love to me; Yes, while a breath, a pulse remains,—will I remember


And when these failing lips grow dumb,

And mind and memory flee When Thou shalt in Thy Kingdom Come,-Jesus,

Remember Me."

[blocks in formation]

We now come to a dark and sad chapter in the Life of Christ. We have seen how He was betrayed by one of His disciples, and forsaken by all the rest. Then how His enemies seized Him, and led Him away to be mocked and cruelly treated by the priests and rulers of the Jewish church. We speak of what then took place at the trial of Nazareth.

But it was only the form, or mockery, of a trial. It was not conducted, at all, in the way which regular trials were required to be conducted among the Jews. The simple truth is that the enemies of Jesus had made up their minds to put Him to death, and they merely pretended to have a trial because they were afraid to do it without a trial. When the band of soldiers and servants had seized Jesus, and made Him prisoner, they led Him away to the house of Caiaphas. He was placed before Annas, the aged, dignified, ex-high priest, and before Caiaphas.

The high priest gathered together the chief priests and other members of the Jewish high council, called the Sanhedrim.

This was the highest court among the Jews. It was composed of seventy, or more properly seventy-two of the oldest, the most learned, and honorable men of the nation. The high priest was generally the president of this council.

But, on special occasions, they met in the house of the high priest, as they did at that time. Jesus was brought before this council. Here they tried to bring some charges against Him for teaching false doctrine, or of doing something contrary to the laws of their churcs But though they had hired many false witnesses, their testimony did not agree, and they found it impossible to prove anything wrong against Him.

Two witnesses looked more promising than the rest, testified as follows. One of them said: “ That he heard Jesus say, I can destroy this temple;” and another said, “That Jesus declared, I will destroy this temple.” The fact was that He had said, “ Destroy this temple, and I will build it again in three days.”

He simply suffered His false accusers and their false listeners to entangle themselves in the coil of their own lies, and the silence of the innocent Jesus atoned for the excuses of the guilty Adam. But that majestic silence troubled, thwarted, confounded, and maddened them. They felt, before that silence, as if they were the culprits, He the Judge. And as every poisoned arrow of their perjuries and lies fell harmless at His feet, as though blunted on the diamond shield of His white innocence, they began to fear lest, after all, their thirst for His blood would go unslayed, and their whole plot fail.

Were they thus to be conquered by the feebleness of their own weapons, without His stirring a finger, or uttering a word ?

Then Caiaphas was overcome with fear and anger. Starting up from his judgment seat, and moving in their midst with a voice and an attitude we may well imagine!

“Answerest Thou nothing?” he exclaimed. “What is it that these witness against Thee?" But still Jesus remained silent.

« PoprzedniaDalej »