“And they that had laid hold on Jesus led him away to Caiaphas the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled…Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death. Matthew 26: 57, 59
Yesterday as the sun was setting on the Mount of Olives, Jesus came and looked directly at me saying in the hearing of the disciples:
“As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.”
Over the last few days, I have known Him to be truthful and wise, so I am left speechless and blurt out words before I can think,
“Jesus, I will follow you. What can I do to help you?”
His smile and the gentle look in His eyes responded in a small unspoken voice telling me to be strong and trust.
My heart was beating wildly as I asked Him, instead to help me, knowing things were about to change for Him, His followers, and me.
We spent the evening at the house of Simon the Leper. I watched as a woman anointed Jesus by lightly pouring expensive perfume on His head. She performs the ritual quietly like a woman preparing Him for burial. The disciples, much like the religious leaders would do, complain that “the money could have been used to feed the poor,” but Jesus told them,
“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
This is why I have come to love Jesus. He cares for people and defends them especially if they are doing something for the kingdom of God.
When everyone leaves Simon’s house, I part company with Jesus and His disciples as they go to an unknown spot for supper. I feel that I am an intruder, so I go away to give them time alone with each other.
Day 5 of the Week That Would Change History
It is late on the 5th day of the week. But as the sun sets, it becomes the 6th day aka the Preparation day. You Gentiles refer to it as Friday.
The temple is busy and loud. Every religious leader in the city of Jerusalem is here talking with passion in small groups. Just as I enter, Caiaphas raises his voice to bring order to the meeting. It doesn’t take long for me to understand why everyone is present. They are devising a plan to take Jesus by force and kill Him!
He has done only good for the people. He has healed them all! I have listened closely to His words and his teaching. I am convinced He is all He claims to be! He is our Messiah!
Everything that comes from his mouth has both the ring of truth and the support of scripture. His words cut to my heart and I am slain by them. My sins rise up before me. I desire relief from the guilt and the agony of restlessness. Yesterday, as I had a short conversation with Him directly, I felt the burdens of my life lifted. He had forgiven me and told me to walk in a life as a servant. It is taking some time for me to become accustomed to this new feeling of freedom.
Now I want to work for Him in spreading the message of the Kingdom of God. It is so strange that earlier in the week, all I could think about was making money off the people during the Passover. Now, it is of no consequence to me. I only want to serve Jesus in some capacity. I hope to talk with Him again tonight. It is my understanding He will be in the garden later.
Before I can say a word at the meeting, the Scribes and Pharisees along with the chief priests come up with a couple of dubious witnesses who claim Jesus will destroy the temple. I am terribly surprised to see one of Jesus disciples at this meeting as well. I think they call him Judas. In a flash, the mob assembles and heads out to the garden where Judas claims Jesus regularly spends time in prayer.
Why is Judas doing this? What is his reasoning? Does He not know what these insane men will do to Jesus? This is a mystery to me, but I follow to see if I will have opportunity to influence these men back to their senses. It seems as though an evil power has entered their emotions for there is no intelligence at work only pure evil that seems to come from somewhere else.
When we arrive at the Garden, Judas walks up to Jesus to give him the kiss he promised the religious leaders in order to identify Jesus. Much like a line-up in a criminal case where the accused is selected from among others. But, Jesus appeals to him with these words:
“Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
Jesus’ words are with kindness, pity, and understanding. It is as if Jesus is giving Judas a chance to repent. Jesus’ words cause Judas to back up and stare at Him for a moment. Judas has an expression of deep thought and decision. I think Judas, at that moment, realized he had made a devastating mistake, and sadly, chose to run away sobbing hysterically. His opportunity for confession and repentance had gone as fast as he left the scene.
About that same time, Peter drew his sword and swung wildly at the closest person near him which turned out to be the servant of the high priest. The servant tried to duck. Otherwise, Peter would have taken off his head! Instead, he nicked an ear and sliced it off! What a grisly scene!
But, Jesus slowly knelt down picked up the ear and placed it back on the servant”s head! What kind of man is this, that has power over life and healing? This should have stopped the mob, but they were under the influence of something else. Just before they take him, a bright light comes from Jesus and they fall back. When the light diminishes, they are like blind men and Jesus says,
“Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
By the evidence of the scene, Jesus could have escaped, but he was willingly giving himself to “the power of darkness.”
As the mob takes Him to the high priest’s house, I can see Peter in the distance following us. He seems afraid, but curious at the same time.
The rest of the night goes fast. It is as if they are in a hurry to find the right authority to support their murderous scheme. First we are the house of the high priest. It was here where I see Peter with a small group outside. He is talking to someone and then I hear him swearing. Very clearly and loudly he says,
“I do NOT know the man!”
As soon as he says this, a rooster in the distance crows welcoming the rising of the early morning sun on the day of preparation. This immediately catches the attention of Peter. He rises up from the warmth of the fire and begins to tremble as Jesus turns his head from inside the house and looks with compassion at Peter. Peter begins to weep hysterically as did Judas and the runs away too. I could see in Peter’s face the agony of failure and remorse resting upon weary shoulders. I would learn later, the Lord had told Peter he would deny Him. Peter’s passion for Jesus was overtaken by fear at that moment and he was ashamed, no doubt. I am not sure what will become of him and the disciples. This does not look good for the kingdom of which Jesus spoke. But, then I remember His words…He will be crucified!
The sun seems to be taking its time casting its light on the dreadful scenes before my eyes.
The high priest said to him,
“I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
“You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?”
“He is worthy of death,” they answered.
Those who were retaining Jesus began to beat on Him and spit in his face! They even blindfold Him and mock his ability to prophesy.
They shout at Him,
“Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”
It was a disgusting sight! I no longer want any part of this or these men!
The charge of blasphemy is added to the threat to the destruction of the Temple. But, I see in Jesus truth and royalty that is a deep contrast to the evil of these men in their fancy robes. Like animals, they only want to kill him. Although Jesus is beaten and bloodied, He stands erect and seems to be the only person who is in control. I detect that He is willingly allowing this to happen for some reason. At this point, I just don’t understand the evil that is in this room and the actions of Jesus to allow them to do this to Him! Then the words of the prophet come back to me:
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
We next go to Pontius Pilate. Here they try to claim that Jesus teaches to ignore the payment of taxes to Caesar. But, instead he asks Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Without hesitation Jesus responds,
“It is as you say.”
Pilate can find no fault in Jesus and because Jesus is a Galilean, he sends Him to Herod who has the proper jurisdiction. Pilate is such a mouse and weak ruler. He could have let Jesus go, but he desires the popularity of the people.
It is here where Herod underestimates the working of evil. He figures there will be pity on Jesus if He is flogged and if he gives the people the option to release a known criminal. But, the crowd calls for the crucifixion of Jesus. It is as though the evil one himself is walking and talking among the crowd encouraging them to have no mercy on the Son of God!
The sun is far in the sky now. I am tired and overwhelmed by what I am seeing and hearing. Has the world gone mad?
I have been up all night and the day is just starting. What happens next is unbelievable, but it must be told.