Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

he told them the hour was come that the Son of man should be glorified, and said that a grain of wheat, unless it died, was useless for purposes of fructification ; but if it died, it bore

died, it bore much fruit—thus alluding to his own approaching death. Then he told them his soul was troubled ; but should he then ask God to save him from the hour of death? No; it was for that he came. For being lifted up (on the cross), he would draw all men to him. He would not ask, therefore, to be saved from that death-hour, but would rather ask his Father to glorify his name, which he did ask. A voice then came from heaven in the hearing of the people, for whose sake indeed it was given : “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.” Jesus told them the time had arrived to judge the world, and that the prince of this world would be cast out.

Some time after this, but before the commencement of the Passover feast, Jesus, being at supper with his disciples, washed their feet, as an example to them to perform similar acts of kindness to each other; and told them to love each other as he had loved them, and to show their discipleship by their love. He predicted the denial of Peter, and again his betrayal by Judas, who retired from the room.

Jesus then spoke to them many words of comfort, and blessed them, telling them that they would hereafter understand the spiritual union that subsisted between himself and the Father, for they would share it, and be able to perform as mighty miracles as he had done, and yet greater. The spirit of truth would come to them after he had gone, would cause them to remember his teachings, and would lead them into all truth, revealing things to come. If they remembered and obeyed, they would thereby show their love, and the love would be mutual, as it is with himself and the Father. His chief command is that they love one another. The world will hate them, and persecute them, as it does himself. But they are to be of good cheer : he has overcome the world ; he came from God, and is going to God. His disciples see that he knows all things, and confess their belief that he came from God (John xvi. 30).

Jesus then prayed to the Father, the only true God, saying, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that he may give life everlasting to those whom thou hast given him; that is, the knowledge of thyself, and of Jesus the Christ whom thou hast sent. This knowledge, Jesus said, he had communicated, and had finished the work given him to do, and he was therefore glorified in his disciples. He went on to pray for them, that after his departure they might be kept from the evil of the world; and he prayed not only for his present disciples, but for all who should hereafter believe through their teaching, that they also should be sharers in the mystic union, “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us; . . . that they may be one, even as we are one” (John xvii. 21, 22).

Then Jesus went across a brook to a garden, where

[ocr errors]

he had often resorted, he and his disciples, and while there, Judas conducted to this retreat the officers and soldiers sent to arrest him. But Jesus went forth to meet them, and asked whom they sought. And on their answering, “ Jesus of Nazareth,” he said to them distinctly, “I am he;" and his resolute bearing so awed them, that they went backward and fell to the ground. Jesus told them, if they wanted himself, to let his disciples go. Peter, however, drew his sword, and cut off the ear of a slave of the high priest, on which Jesus commanded him to sheathe his sword, saying, “The cup which the Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?”

And when Jesus was bound and conducted to the palace of the high priest, Peter and another disciple followed. This disciple was known to the high priest, and he took Peter with him into the palace where Jesus was, who had been brought first before Annas, the high priest's father-in-law, and from him to the high priest Caiaphas; Peter three times denying all knowledge of his Master before cockcrowing, as had been predicted by him.

In the morning Jesus was led into the Roman fortress, before Pontius Pilate; but the Jews did not go in, for fear of defilement, as the Passover was near at hand. Pilate therefore went out, and asked them of what they accused Jesus. Having had an evasive reply, he returned and asked the Lord if he claimed to be King of the Jews. Jesus replied that his kingdom was not of this world, else his servants would have

[ocr errors]

fought; that though he was a king, his kingdom was spiritual, his subjects being those who accepted the truth he taught. Pilate, though puzzled, saw that there was no attempt to be apprehended against the Roman dominion, and told the Jews he saw no fault in Jesus, asking them if he might release him. But they were not willing.

Pilate then had Jesus scourged and mocked with ensigns of royalty (a purple robe and a crown of thorns), and presented him, thus arrayed, to the chief Jews, saying, “ Behold the man,” still, however, declaring him guiltless. But they clamoured for his crucifixion, because he made himself Son of God. This gave Pilate some uneasiness, and he questioned Jesus about his origin, but did not obtain an answer. Pilate, still trying to release him, was assailed by a covert threat from the Jewish rulers, implying that, if he persisted he would be accused of having shielded a pretender to the Jewish throne, and, consequently, of unfaithfulness to the empire. He therefore at last gave way, and sent Jesus to the death of the cross, writing thereon a mock title, in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, “ Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews,” which was, in truth, his accusation.

By the cross stood Jesus' mother, her sister, and Mary the Magdalene. And when he saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he commended her to the care of that disciple, who henceforth took her to his own home.

In order to complete the fulfilment of Scripture,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Jesus then complained of thirst; accordingly vinegar was given him to drink, and on receiving it he exclaimed, “It is finished !” and, bowing his head, he died.

This was on the day of preparation for the Passover, the day before the Sabbath. The Jews, therefore, wanted the removal of the bodies before the Sabbath (those of Jesus and of the two thieves who were crucified with him), and to that end wished them speedily killed.

The soldiers found Jesus already dead; one of them piercing his side, there issued blood and water. They break the legs of the thieves, but, in the case of Jesus, two more Scriptures were fulfilled, viz. “They shall look on him whom they have pierced” (Zech. xii. 10); and, “Not a bone of him shall be broken ” (Ps. xxxiv. 20).

After the resurrection, Jesus showed himself first to Mary the Magdalene; and in the evening of the same day, the first of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled through fear of the Jews, he came and stood in their midst, pronouncing peace on them, and conferring apostleship. And he breathed on them, and said, “Receive ye the Holy Spirit; whosesoever sins ye forgive, they are forgiven to them; whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.”

Thomas, however, was not with them, and refused to believe the fact of the resurrection without seeing Jesus himself and obtaining tangible proof. This was granted him in presence of the other disciples, eight

[ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuați »