Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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The Blessed Sacrament


 Jesus, its scattered members all knitted together by Him in His bitter Passion. I saw all those people, all those families with their descendants that had separated from the Church, torn away from Jesus like entire pieces mangled and most painfully rent from His living flesh. Ah! He glanced at them so pitifully, He moaned so gently! He who, in order to unite to the body of His Church, to the body of His Bride, men so separated, so divided from one another, had given Himself in the Blessed Sacrament to be their Food, saw Himself in this, His Bride's body, torn and lacerated through the wicked fruit of the tree of disunion. The Table of union in the Blessed Sacrament, Jesus' highest work of love, that in which He willed to remain forever among men, became through false teachers the boundary line of separa­tion. And where alone it is good and beneficial that many should become one, namely, at the Holy Table, whereon the living God is Himself the Food, there must His children separate from infidels and heretics in order not to render themselves guilty of similar sins. I saw whole nations torn in this way from the Heart of Jesus and deprived of participation in the treasures of grace left to the Church. It was fright­ful to behold how at first only a few separated from Christ's Church; and when, having increased to whole nations, they returned to her, they again attacked her and warred against one another on the question of what was holiest in her worship, namely, the Blessed Sacrament. But finally, I saw all who had separated from the Church plunging into infi­delity, superstition, heresy, darkness, and the false philosophy of the world. Perplexed and enraged, they united in large bodies to vent their anger against the Church. They were urged on and destroyed by the serpent in the midst of them. Ah! It was as if Jesus felt Himself torn into countless shreds. The Lord saw and felt in this distressing vision the whole weight of the poisonous tree of disunion with all its


Life of Jesus Christ

 branches and fruits, which will continue to rend itself asunder until the end of time when the wheat will be gathered into the barn and the chaff cast into the fire.

The terror that I felt in beholding all this was so great, so dreadful, that my Heavenly Bridegroom appeared to me, and mercifully laying His hand on my breast, He said: "No one has ever before seen these things, and thy heart would break with fright, did I not sustain it."

I now saw the blood in thick, dark drops trick­ling down the pale face of the Lord. His once smoothly parted hair was matted with blood, tangled and bristling on His head, and His beard was bloody and torn. It was after that last vision, in which the armed bands had lacerated His flesh, that He turned as if fleeing out of the grotto, and went again to His dis­ciples. But His step was far from secure. He walked bowed like one tottering under a great burden. He was covered with wounds, and He fell at every step. When He reached the three Apostles, He did not, as on the first occasion, find them lying on their side asleep; they had sunk back on their knees with cov­ered head, as I have often seen the people of that country sitting when in sorrow or in prayer. Worn out with grief, anxiety, and fatigue, they had fallen asleep; but when Jesus approached, trembling and groaning, they awoke. They gazed upon Him with their weary eyes, but did not at once recognize Him, for He was changed beyond the power of words to express. He was standing before them in the moon­light, His breast sunken, His form bent, His face pale and bloodstained, His hair in disorder, and His arms stretched out to them. He stood wringing His hands. The Apostles sprang up, grasped Him under the arms, and supported Him tenderly. Then He spoke to them in deep affliction. On the morrow, He said, He was going to die. In another hour, His enemies would seize Him, drag Him before the courts of jus­tice,

The Blessed Virgin Mary


 abuse Him, deride Him, scourge Him, and put Him to death in the most horrible manner. He begged them to console His Mother. He recounted to them in bitter anguish all that He would have to suffer until the evening of the next day, and again begged them to comfort His Mother and Magdalen. He stood thus speaking for some moments, but the Apostles kept silence, not knowing what to reply. They were so filled with grief and consternation at His words and appearance that they knew not what to say; indeed, they even thought that His mind was wan­dering. When He wanted to return to the grotto, He had not the power to do so. I saw that John and James had to lead Him. When He entered it, the Apostles left Him and went back to their own place. It was then a quarter past eleven.

During this agony of Jesus, I saw the Blessed Vir­gin overwhelmed with sorrow and anguish in the house of Mary Marcus. She was with Magdalen and Mary Marcus in a garden adjoining the house. She had sunk on her knees on a stone slab. She was per­fectly absorbed in her own interior, quite diverted in thought from everything around her, seeing only, feeling only the sufferings of her Divine Son. She had sent messengers to obtain news of Him, but unable to await their coming, in her anguish of heart she went with Magdalen and Salome out into the Valley of Josaphat. I saw her walking along veiled, her arms often outstretched toward the Mount of Olives, where she saw in spirit Jesus agonizing and sweating blood. It seemed as if she would with her outstretched hands wipe His sacred face. In answer to these interior and vehement movements of her soul toward her Son, I saw that Jesus was stirred with thoughts of her. He turned His eyes in her direc­tion as if seeking help from her. I saw this mutual sympathy under the appearance of rays of light pass­ing to and fro between them. The Lord thought also of Magdalen and felt for her in her distress. He


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 glanced toward her, and His soul was touched at sight of her. He therefore ordered the disciples to console her, for He knew that her love for Him, after that of His Mother, was greater than that of any­one else. He saw what she would have to suffer for Him in the future, and also that she would never more offend Him.

About this time, perhaps a quarter after eleven, the eight Apostles were again in the arbor in the Garden of Gethsemani. They spoke together for awhile and then fell asleep. They were unusually faint-hearted, discouraged, and in sore temptation. Each had been looking out for a place of safety and anxiously asking: "What shall we do when He is dead? We have abandoned our friends, we have given up everything, we have become poor and objects of scorn to the world, we have devoted ourselves en­tirely to His service—and now, behold Him crushed and helpless, with power to afford us no consola­tion!" The other disciples, after wandering about in various directions and hearing the reports of the awful prophecies to which Jesus had given utter­ance, nearly all retired to Bethphage.

Again I saw Jesus praying in the grotto. He had con­quered the natural repugnance to suffer. Exhausted and trembling, He exclaimed: "My Father, if it be Thy will, remove this chalice from Me! Nevertheless, not My will but Thine be done!"

And now the abyss opened before Him and, as if on a pathway of light, He saw a long flight of steps leading down to Limbo. There He beheld Adam and Eve, all the Patriarchs and Prophets, the just of the Old Law, His Mother's parents, and John the Bap­tist. They were with longing so intense awaiting His coming into that nether world that at the sight His loving Heart grew strong and courageous. His death was to open Heaven to these languishing captives! He was to deliver them from prison! For Him they were sighing!



After Jesus had with deep emotion gazed upon those citizens of Heaven belonging to former ages, the angels pointed out to Him the multitudes of future saints who, joining their labors to the mer­its of His Passion, would through Him be united to the Heavenly Father. This vision was unspeakably beautiful and consoling. All passed before the Lord in their number, their race, and various degrees of dignity—all adorned with their sufferings and good works. Then did He behold the hidden and inex­haustible streams of salvation and sanctification that were to spring from the death that awaited Him as Redeemer of mankind. The Apostles, the disciples, virgins and holy women, martyrs, confessors, and hermits, Popes and Bishops, the future multitudes of religious men and women—in a word, the immense army of the blessed passed before Him. All were adorned with crowns of victory won over passion and suffering. The flowers of their crowns differed in form, color, perfume, and vigor in accordance with the various sufferings, labors, and victories in which they had gloriously struggled. Their whole lives and actions, the peculiar worth and power of their com­bats and victories, as well as all the light, all the colors that symbolized their triumphs, came solely from their union with the merits of Jesus Christ. The reciprocal influence and relation of all these saints upon one another, their drinking out of one same Fountain, namely, the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Passion of the Lord, was a spectacle unspeak­ably wonderful and touching. Nothing connected with them happened by accident: their works and omis­sions, their martyrdom and victories, their apparel and appearance, though all so different, yet acted upon one another in unending unity and harmony. And this perfect unity in the most striking diver­sity sprang from the rays of light and sparkling col­ors of one single Sun, from the Passion of the Lord, the Word made Flesh, in whom was life, the light


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 of men, which shone in darkness, but which the darkness did not comprehend.

It was the army of future saints that passed before the soul of the Lord. Thus stood the Lord and Sav­iour between the ardent desires of the Patriarchs and the triumphant host of future saints, which rec­iprocally filling up and completing one another, so to say, surrounded the loving Heart of the Redeemer like an immense crown of victory. This unspeakably touching spectacle afforded the soul of the Lord, who had allowed all kinds of human suffering to pass over Him, some strength and consolation. Ah, He so dearly loved His brethren, His creatures, that will­ingly He would have suffered all for the purchase of one soul! As these visions referred to the future, they appeared hovering above the earth.

But now these consoling pictures disappeared, and the angels displayed before His eyes all the scenes of His approaching Passion. They appeared quite close to the earth, for the time was near at hand. There were many angelic actors in these scenes. I beheld everyone close to Jesus, from the kiss of Judas to His own last words upon the Cross. I saw all, all there again, as I am accustomed to see it in my meditations upon the Passion. The treason of Judas, the flight of the disciples, the mockery and suffer­ings before Annas and Caiaphas, Peter's denial, Pilate's tribunal, Herod's derision, the scourging and crowning with thorns, the condemnation to death, the sinking under the weight of the Cross, the meet­ing with the Blessed Virgin and her swooning, the jeers of the executioners against her, Veronica's handkerchief, the cruel nailing to the Cross and the raising of the same, the insults of the Pharisees, the sorrows of Mary, of Magdalen, and of John, and the piercing of His side—in a word, all, all, clearly, sig­nificantly, and in their minutest details passed before Him. All the gestures, all the sentiments, and words of His future tormentors, I saw that the Lord beheld

Scenes of Jesus' Approaching Passion


 and heard in alarm and anguish of soul. He will­ingly accepted all, He willingly submitted to all through love for man. He was most painfully trou­bled at His shameful stripping on the Cross, which He endured to atone for the immodesty of men, and He implored that He might retain a girdle at least upon the Cross, but even this was not allowed Him. I saw, however, that He was to receive help, not from the executioners, but from a certain good person.

Jesus saw and felt also His Blessed Mother's sor­row and anguish of heart. With two holy women in the Valley of Josaphat, she was in uninterrupted union with Him by her interior participation in His sufferings and agony on Mount Olivet.

At the close of these visions of the Passion, Jesus sank prostrate on His face like one in the throes of death. The angels and the visions disappeared, and the bloody sweat poured from Him more copiously than before. I saw it soaking His yellowish garment and moistening the earth around. It was now dark in the grotto.

And now I saw an angel sweeping down toward Him. In stature he was taller, in figure more dis­tinct and more like a human being than any I had yet seen. He appeared in long, flowing robes, like those of a priest, ornamented with fringe. He car­ried in his hands, and before his breast, a small ves­sel shaped like the chalice used at the Last Supper. Just above it floated a small oval morsel, about the size of a bean, which glowed with a reddish light. The angel hovered over the place where Jesus was lying and stretched forth his hand to Him. When Jesus arose, he placed the shining morsel in His mouth and gave Him to drink from the little lumi­nous chalice. After that he disappeared.

Jesus had now voluntarily accepted the chalice of His Passion, and He received new strength. He remained in the grotto for a few minutes longer, absorbed in prayer and thanksgiving. He was indeed


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 still under the pressure of mental suffering, but supernaturally strengthened to such a degree that, without fear or anxiety, He was able to walk with a firm step to His disciples. Though pale and exhausted, His bearing was erect and resolute. He had wiped His face with a linen cloth and with it smoothed down His hair which, moist with the blood and sweat of His agony, hung down in matted strands.

As He left the grotto, I saw the moon still with the remarkable-looking spot upon it and the circle around it; but its light, as well as that of the stars, was different from that which they gave forth dur­ing that great agony of Jesus. It seemed now to be more natural.

When Jesus returned to the disciples, He found them, as at first, lying on their side near the wall of the terrace, their heads covered, and asleep. The Lord said to them: "This is not the time to sleep. Ye should arise and pray, for behold the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us go! Behold, the traitor is approaching! Oh, it were better for him had he never been born!" The Apostles sprang up affrighted and looked around anxiously. They had scarcely recov­ered themselves, when Peter exclaimed vehemently: "Master, I will call the others, that we may defend Thee!" But Jesus pointed out to them at some dis­tance in the valley, though still on the other side of the brook Cedron, a band of armed men approach­ing with torches. He told the Apostles that one of that band had betrayed Him. This they looked upon as impossible. Jesus repeated this and several other things with calm composure, again exhorted them to console His Mother, and said: "Let us go to meet them! I shall deliver Myself without resistance into the hands of My enemies." With these words, He left the Garden of Olives with the three Apostles and went out to meet the Myrmidons on the road that

Mount Olivet


 separated it from the Garden of Gethsemani.

The Blessed Virgin, Magdalen, and Salome, accom­panied by some of the disciples who had seen the approach of the soldiers, left the valley of Josaphat and returned to the house of Mary Marcus. Jesus' enemies came by a shorter route than that by which He had come from the Coenaculum.

The grotto in which Jesus prayed that night was not the one in which He usually prayed on Mount Olivet. The latter was a more distant cavern of the mountain. It was there that He prayed on the day upon which He cursed the fig tree. He was then in great affliction of spirit, and He prayed with out­stretched arms, leaning upon a rock. The impres­sion of His form and hands remained upon the stone, and later on became objects of veneration, although it was not clearly known upon what occasion the marks were made. I have frequently beheld such impressions left upon stone by the Prophets of the Old Law, by Jesus, Mary, some of the Apostles, the body of St. Catherine of Alexandria on Mount Sinai, and by some other saints. They did not appear to be deep, nor were the lines very clearly defined. They resembled the marks that might be made by pressing upon a piece of solid dough.

10. Judas and His Band. The Wood of the Cross

At the beginning of his treasonable career, Judas had really never looked forward to the result that followed upon it. He wanted to obtain the traitor's reward and please the Pharisees by pretending to deliver Jesus into their hands, but he had never counted on things going so far, he never dreamed of Jesus' being brought to judgment and crucified. He was thinking only of the money, and he had for a long time been in communication with some sneak­ing, spying Pharisees and Sadducees who by flattery


Life of Jesus Christ

 were inciting him to treason. He was tired of the fatiguing, wandering, and persecuted life led by the Apostles. For several months past, he had begun this downward course by stealing the alms committed to his care; and his avarice, excited by Magdalen's lav­ish anointing of Jesus, urged him on to extremes. He had always counted upon Jesus' establishing a tem­poral kingdom in which he hoped for some brilliant and lucrative post. But as this was not forthcoming, he turned his thoughts to amassing a fortune. He saw that hardships and persecution were on the increase; and so he thought that before things came to the worst he would ingratiate himself with some of the powerful and distinguished among Jesus' enemies. He saw that Jesus did not become a king, whereas the High Priests and prominent men of the Temple were people very attractive in his eyes. And so he allowed himself to be drawn into closer communication with their agents, who flattered him in every way and told him in the greatest confidence that under any cir­cumstances an end would soon be put to Jesus' career. During the last few days they followed him to Betha­nia, and thus he continued to sink deeper and deeper into depravity. He almost ran his legs off to induce the High Priests to come to some conclusion. But they would not come to terms and treated him with great contempt. They told him that the time now interven­ing before the feast was too short. If any action were taken now, it would create trouble and disturbance on the feast. The Sanhedrim alone paid some degree of attention to his proposals. After his sacrilegious reception of the Sacrament, Satan took entire pos­session of him and he went off at once to complete his horrible crime. He first sought those agents who had until now constantly flattered him and received him with apparent friendship. Some others joined the party, among them Caiaphas and Annas, but the last named treated him very rudely and scornfully. They were irresolute and mistrustful of the consequences,

Judas Demands Action


 nor did they appear to place any confidence in Judas.

I saw the kingdom of Hell divided against itself. Satan desired the crime of the Jews by the death of the Most Innocent; he longed for the death of Jesus, the Converter of sinners, the holy Teacher, the Saviour, the Just One, whom he hated. But at the same time he experienced a sentiment of fear at the thought of the guiltless death of Jesus, who would make no effort to conceal Himself, who would not save Himself; he envied Him the power of suf­fering innocently. And so I saw the adversary on the one side stimulating the hatred and fury of Jesus' enemies assembled around the traitor; and on the other, insinuating to some of their number that Judas was a scamp, a knave, that the sentence could not be pronounced before the festival, nor could the req­uisite number of witnesses against Jesus be brought together.

They expressed opposite views upon the means to lay hold of Jesus, and some of them questioned Judas, saying, "Shall we be able to capture Him? Has He not an armed band with Him?" The base traitor answered: "No! He is alone with eleven disciples. He Himself is greatly dejected and the eleven are quite faint-hearted." He told them also that now was their time to apprehend Jesus, now or never, for later he might not have it in his power to deliver Him into their hands, and perhaps he would never return to them. For several days past, he said, and especially on that present day, the other disciples and Jesus Himself aimed at him in their words; they appeared to divine what he was about, and if he returned to them again they would certainly murder him. He added that, if they did not seize Jesus now, He would slip away and, returning with a large army of fol­lowers, would cause Himself to be proclaimed king. By such threats as these, Judas at last succeeded. They yielded to his proposals to seize Jesus accord­ing to his directions, and he received the thirty pieces


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 of silver, the price of his treason. These thirty pieces were of silver in plates, in shape like a tongue. In one end they were pierced with a hole, through which they were strung together with rings into a kind of chain. Each piece bore some impression.

Judas could not help feeling the marked and con­temptuous mistrust with which the Pharisees were treating him. Pride and ostentation therefore urged him to present to them as an offering for the Tem­ple the money he had just received. By so doing, he thought to appear before them as an upright, dis­interested man. But they rejected it as the price of blood, which could not be offered in the Temple. Judas felt the cutting contempt, and he was filled with smothered rage. He had not expected such treat­ment. The consequences of his treachery were already assailing him even before his evil design was ac­complished; but he was now too much entangled with his employers, he was in their hands and could not free himself. They watched him closely and would not allow him to leave their sight until he had laid before them the whole plan to be followed in appre­hending Jesus. After that, three of the Pharisees went with the traitor down into a hall in which were the soldiers of the Temple. None of them were of pure Jewish origin; they were of other and mixed nationalities. When all was agreed upon and the req­uisite number of soldiers gathered together, Judas, accompanied by a servant of the Pharisees, ran first to the Coenaculum in order to see whether Jesus was still there; for if such were the case, they could easily have taken Him by setting guards at the door. This information Judas had agreed to send the Phar­isees by a messenger.

A short time before, after Judas had received the price of his treason, a Pharisee had gone down and dispatched seven slaves to procure the wood and get Christ's Cross ready at once in case He should be judged, for next day, on account of the Paschal

Judas Advises the Pharisees


 Feast, there would be no time to attend to it. They brought the wood from a distance of about three quarters of an hour, where it lay near a long, high wall with a quantity of other wood belonging to the Temple, and dragged it to a square behind the tri­bunal of Caiaphas. The trunk of the Cross belonged to a tree that once grew in the Valley of Josaphat near the brook Cedron. Having fallen across the stream, it had long served as a bridge. When Nehemias hid the sacred fire and the holy vessels in the Pool of Bethsaida, with other pieces of wood it had been used as a covering; later on, it was again removed and thrown on the side of another wood pile. Partly with the view of deriding the royalty of Jesus, partly by apparent chance—but in reality because such was the design of God—the Cross was formed in a very peculiar way. Together with the inscription, it consisted of five different pieces. I have seen many facts, many different meanings in connection with the Cross, but with the exception of what I have related, I have forgotten all.

Judas returned and reported that Jesus was no longer in the Coenaculum. He must therefore be in His accustomed place of prayer on Mount Olivet. Judas urged that only a small number of soldiers might be sent with him, lest the disciples, who were every­where on the watch, should perceive something unusual and raise a sedition. Three hundred men were to be stationed at the gates and in the streets of Ophel, a part of the city to the south of the Tem­ple, and along the valley of Millo as far as the house of Annas on Sion. They were to be in readiness to send reinforcements if necessary, for, as Judas re­minded the Pharisees, Jesus counted all the rabble of Ophel among His followers. The infamous traitor told them also how careful they must be that He might not escape them, and recalled the fact of His often, by some mysterious means, suddenly becoming invisible and concealing Himself in the mountains


Life of Jesus Christ

 from His companions. He recommended them, more­over, to bind Him with a chain and to make use of certain magical means to prevent His breaking His bonds. The Jews rejected his advice with scorn, say­ing: "We are not to be dictated to by you. When we get Him, we shall hold Him fast."

Judas arranged with the soldiers that he would enter the garden before them, kiss and salute Jesus as a friend and disciple coming to Him on some busi­ness; then they were to step forward and take Him into custody. He wanted to behave as if their com­ing coincided accidentally with his own, for he thought that after the betrayal he would take to flight like the other disciples and be heard of no more. He likewise thought that perhaps a tumult would ensue in which the Apostles would defend themselves and Jesus would disappear as He had often done before. These thoughts especially occu­pied him now that he was thoroughly vexed at the contemptuous and distrustful manner of Jesus' ene­mies toward him, but not because his evil deed caused him remorse or the thought of Jesus touched him, for he had wholly given himself over to Satan.

He was very desirous also that the soldiers imme­diately following him should not carry chains and fetters, or that any notoriously infamous characters should appear in the party. The soldiers pretended to accede to his wishes, though in reality they regarded him as a dishonorable traitor of whom they had need, but who was not to be trusted and who was to be cast off when no longer of use. They had received special instructions to keep a close watch on him, and not to let him out of their sight and custody until they had taken Jesus and bound Him; for he had received his pay and it was feared that the rascal would run off with the money and in the darkness of night they would either not capture Jesus at all, or else take another instead of Him. In this case, nothing would come of their undertaking but

Twenty Soldiers


 disturbance and excitement on the Paschal Feast. The band that had been chosen for Jesus' apprehen­sion was composed of about twenty soldiers, some of whom belonged to the Temple guard, and others were in the employ of Annas and Caiaphas. Their dress was almost like that of the Roman soldiers. They wore helmets, and from their doublets hung leathern straps around their hips just like the Romans. The principal difference between them, how­ever, was in their beard, for the Roman soldiers in Jerusalem wore whiskers only, their chin and upper lip being shaved. All of the twenty carried swords, and only a few were armed with spears also. Some bore lanterns mounted on long poles, while others carried torches of sticks smeared with pitch, but when they approached, only one of the lanterns was lighted. The Pharisees had intended sending a larger band with Judas, but he objected that so large a crowd would attract notice, since the Mount of Olivet commanded a view of the whole valley. The greater part of them, therefore, remained in Ophel. Sen­tinels were stationed around here and there on the byroads, as well as in the city, in order to prevent a tumult or any attempt at rescue.

Judas went forward with the twenty soldiers, fol­lowed at some distance by four common execution­ers of the lowest grade, who carried ropes and fetters. Some steps behind these came those six agents with whom Judas had for a short time past been in com­munication. Of these one was a priest, a confiden­tial friend of Annas; another was devoted to Caiaphas; the third and fourth were Pharisees; and the remain­ing two were agents of the Sadducees and at the same time Herodians. All were spies, sneaking fel­lows, cringing eye-servants of Annas and Caiaphas, and in secret the most malicious enemies of the Sav­iour. The twenty soldiers accompanied Judas in a friendly manner until they reached the place where the road divided between the Garden of Gethsemani


Life of Jesus Christ

 and that of Olives. Here they refused to allow him to advance alone. They adopted quite another tone, and acted toward him insolently and saucily.

11. The Arrest of the Lord

When Jesus with the three Apostles went out upon the road between Gethsemani and the Garden of Olives, there appeared at the entrance, about twenty paces ahead, Judas and the band of soldiers, between whom a quarrel had arisen. Judas wanted to sepa­rate from the soldiers and go forward alone to Jesus, as if he were a friend returning after an absence. They were to follow, and act in such a way as to make it appear that their coming was altogether unknown to him. But they would not agree to his proposal. They held him fast, exclaiming: "Not so, friend! Thou shalt not escape us, until we have the Galilean!" And when they caught sight of the eight Apostles, who at sound of the noise came forth from the Garden of Gethsemani, they called up four of the archers to their assistance. But this Judas by no means assented to, and a lively dispute arose between him and the soldiers. When Jesus and the three Apostles, by the light of the torches, distin­guished the armed and wrangling band, Peter wished to repel them by force. He exclaimed: "Lord, The Eight from Gethsemani are close at hand. Let us make an attack on the archers!" But Jesus told him to hold his peace, and took a few steps with them back on the road to a green plot. Judas, seeing his plans quite upset, was filled with rage and spite. Just at this moment, four of the disciples issued from the Garden of Gethsemani and inquired what was going on. Judas began to exchange words with them, and would fain have cleared himself by a lie, but the guards would not allow him to go on. These four last-comers were James the Less, Philip, Thomas, and Nathanael. The last-named, who was

"1 Am He"


 a son of the aged Simeon, had along with several others been sent by Jesus' friends to the eight Apos­tles in the Garden of Gethsemani to find out what was going on. They were actuated as much by anx­iety as by curiosity. With the exception of these four, all the disciples were straggling around in the dis­tance, furtively on the lookout to discover what they could.

Jesus took some steps toward the band and said in a loud, distinct voice: "Whom seek ye?" The lead­ers answered: "Jesus of Nazareth," whereupon Jesus replied: "I am He." But scarcely had He uttered the words when, as if suddenly attacked by convulsions, they crowded back and fell to the ground one upon another. Judas, who was still standing by them, became more and more embarrassed. He looked as if desirous of approaching Jesus; consequently the Lord extended His hand, saying: "Friend, whereto art thou come?" Judas, confused and perplexed, stammered out something about a commission he had executed. Jesus in reply uttered some words like the following: "Oh, how much better it would have been for thee hadst thou never been born!"­—I cannot remember the words distinctly. Meanwhile the soldiers had risen and approached the Lord and His Apostles, awaiting the traitor's sign, the kiss.

Peter and the other disciples gathered around Judas, calling him a thief and a traitor. He tried to free himself by all kinds of excuses, but just at that moment up came the soldiers with offers of protec­tion, thus openly witnessing against him.

Jesus again inquired: "Whom seek ye?" Turning toward Him, they again answered: "Jesus of Naza­reth." Jesus again replied: "I am He. I have already told you that I am He. If you seek Me, let these go." At the words, "I am He," the soldiers fell to the ground a second time. They writhed as if struck with epilepsy, and Judas was again surrounded by the other Apostles, for they were exasperated to a degree


Life of Jesus Christ

 against him. Jesus now called out to the soldiers: "Arise"—and they arose, full of terror. Judas was still struggling with the Apostles, who were pressing up against the guards. The latter turned upon them and freed the traitor, urging him anew to give them the sign agreed upon. They had been ordered to seize no one but Him whom Judas would kiss. Judas now approached Jesus, embraced Him and kissed Him with the words: "Hail, Rabbi!" Jesus said: "Judas, dost thou betray the Son of Man with a kiss?" The soldiers instantly formed a circle around Jesus, and the archers, drawing near, laid hands upon Him. Judas wanted at once to flee, but the Apostles would not allow him. They rushed upon the soldiers, cry­ing out: "Lord, shall we strike with the sword?" Peter, more impetuous than the rest, seized the sword and struck at Malchus, the servant of the High Priest, who was trying to drive them back, and cut off a piece of his ear. Malchus fell to the ground, thereby increasing the confusion.

At the moment of Peter's impetuous movement, the actors in the scene were situated as follows: Jesus was in the hands of the guard, who were about to bind Him, and forming a circle around Him at some little distance were the soldiers, one of whose number, Malchus, had been laid low by Peter. The other soldiers were engaged, some in driving back the disciples that were approaching too near, and some in pursuing those that had taken to flight. Four of the disciples were wandering around, timidly showing themselves only here and there in the dis­tance. The soldiers were still too much alarmed by their late fall, and too much afraid of weakening the circle around Jesus, to make any very active pursuit, Judas, who immediately after his traitor­ous kiss wanted to make his escape, was met on his way by some of the disciples, who overwhelmed him with reproaches. Six official functionaries hastened to his rescue, while the four guards were busy around

"Peter, Put Up Thy Sword!"


 Jesus with cords and bands, being on the point of binding Him.

This was the state of affairs when Peter struck down Malchus, and Jesus said: "Peter, put up thy sword, for whoever takes the sword shall perish by the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask My Father to send Me more than twelve legions of angels? Shall I not drink the chalice that My Father has given Me? How will the Scriptures be fulfilled if it shall not thus be done?" Then He added: "Suffer Me to heal the man!" And going to Malchus, He touched his ear and prayed, and at the same moment it was healed. The guard, the executioners, and the six offi­cers surrounded Jesus. They mocked Him, saying to the crowd: "He has dealings with the devil. It was by witchcraft that the ear appeared to be cut off, and now by witchcraft it appears to be healed."

Then Jesus addressed them: "Ye are come out with spears and clubs, to apprehend Me as if I were a murderer. I have daily taught among you in the Tem­ple, and ye dared not lay hands upon Me; but this is your hour and the hour of darkness." They ordered Him to be bound still more securely, and said to Him deridingly: "Thou couldst not overthrow us by Thy sorcery!" And the archers said: "We shall deprive Thee of Thy skill!" Jesus made some reply that I cannot recall, and the disciples fled on all sides. The four executioners and the six Pharisees did not fall to the ground, nor did they in consequence rise again. The reason of this was revealed to me. They were in the same rank as Judas, that is, entirely in the power of Satan. Judas did not fall at the words of Jesus, although he was standing among the soldiers. All those that fell and rose up again were afterward con­verted and became Christians. Their falling and ris­ing were symbolical of their conversion. They had not laid hands upon Jesus; they merely stood around Him. Malchus was, after his healing, already converted to such a degree that he only kept up appearances in


Life of Jesus Christ

 respect to the service he owed the High Priest; and during the following hours, those of Jesus' Passion, he ran backward and forward to Mary and the other friends, giving them news of all that was taking place.

The executioners bound Jesus with the greatest rudeness and barbarous brutality, the Pharisees meanwhile uttering insolent and scornful words. The executioners were pagans of the very lowest class. Their necks, legs, and arms were naked; their loins were girded with a sort of bandage, and they wore a short jerkin without sleeves, fastened at the sides with straps. They were short, stout, very active, with a brownish-red complexion like the Egyptian slaves.

They bound Jesus' hands upon His breast in a cruel manner. With sharp new cords, they pitilessly fastened the wrist of the right hand to the left fore­arm just below the elbow and that of the left hand to the right forearm. They put around His waist a broad girdle armed with sharp points, and bound His hands again with links of willow, or osier, which were fixed to the girdle. Around His neck they laid a col­lar in which were points and other instruments to wound, and from it depended two straps, which like a stole were crossed over the breast and bound down to the girdle so tightly that the neck was not free to move. At four points of this girdle were fastened four long ropes, by means of which the executioners could drag Our Lord hither and thither according to their wicked will. All the fetters were perfectly new. They appeared to have been especially prepared, when the plan was formed of apprehending Jesus, for the pur­pose to which they were now being put.

And now, after several more torches had been lighted, the pitiable procession was set in motion. First went ten of the guard, then followed the exe­cutioners dragging Jesus by the ropes; next came the scoffing Pharisees, and the ten other soldiers closed the procession. The disciples were still stray­ing

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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