Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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The Executioners Drag Jesus Along


 about wailing and lamenting, as if bereft of their senses. John, however, was following rather closely behind the last of the guards. The Pharisees, see­ing him, ordered him to be seized. At this command, some of the guard turned and hurried after him. But he fled from them, and when they laid hold of the linen scarf he wore around his neck, he loos­ened it quickly and thus effected his escape. He had laid aside his mantle, retaining nothing but a short, sleeveless undergarment, that he might be able to flee more easily. Around his neck, head, and arms, however, he was enveloped in that long, narrow scarf which the Jews were accustomed to wear.

The executioners dragged and ill-used Jesus in the most cruel manner. They exercised upon Him all kinds of malice, and this principally from a base deference and desire to please the six officials, who were full of rage and venom against Him. They led Him along the roughest roads, over ruts and stones and mire, keeping the long ropes stretched while they them­selves sought good paths. In this way Jesus had to go wherever the ropes would allow Him. His tormen­tors carried in their hands knotted cords with which they struck Him, as a butcher might do the animal he was leading to slaughter. All this they accompa­nied with mockery and insult so low and indecent that the repetition of it would be revolting.

Jesus was barefoot. Besides the usual undergar­ment, He wore a seamless, woolen shirt, or blouse, and over that an outside robe. The undergarment of the disciples, like that of the Jews in general, con­sisted of a scapular that fell before and behind over the breast and shoulders. It was made of two pieces fastened together on the shoulder by straps, but open at the sides. The lower part of the body was covered with a girdle from which hung four lappets which, after being wound around the loins, formed a sort of trousers. I must not forget to say that, at the apprehension of the Lord, I saw no written order.


Life of Jesus Christ

 His enemies went to work as if He were an outlaw, a person beyond the pale of the law.

The procession moved on at a hurried pace. When it left the road between the Garden of Olives and the pleasure garden of Gethsemani, it turned for a short distance to the right on the west side of Geth­semani, until it reached a bridge that there crossed the brook Cedron. When Jesus was coming with the Apostles to the Mount of Olives, He did not cross that bridge. He took a roundabout way through the Valley of Josaphat, and crossed the brook over a bridge farther to the south. That over which He was now led in fetters was very long, since it spanned not only the Cedron, which flowed here close to the mount, but also a part of the uneven heights of the valley, thus forming a paved highway for transporta­tion. Even before the procession reached the bridge, I saw Jesus fall to the earth twice, owing to the piti­less manner in which He was dragged along and the jerking of the executioners at the ropes. But when they reached the middle of the bridge, they exer­cised their villainy upon Him with still greater mal­ice. The executioners pushed poor, fettered Jesus, whom they held fast with ropes, from the bridge into the brook Cedron, about the height of a man below, accompanying their brutality with abusive words, as for instance: "Now He can drink His fill!" Were it not for divine assistance, Jesus would have been killed by the fall. He fell first on His knees and then on His face, so that He would have been severely wounded on the stony bed of the brook, which was here very shallow, if He had not saved Himself a little by stretching out His previously tightly bound hands. They had been loosened from the girdle, I know not whether by divine help or whether by the executioners before they thrust Him down. The marks of His knees, feet, elbows, and fingers were, by God's will, impressed upon the places that they touched, which later on became objects of venera­tion.

The Soldiers Drag Jesus through the Cedron


 Such things are no longer believed, but simi­lar impressions in stone, made by the feet, the hands, and the knees of the Patriarchs and Prophets, made by Jesus, the Blessed Virgin, and some of the saints, have often been shown me in historical visions. The rocks were softer and more believing than the hearts of men; they bore witness at this terrible moment to the Divine Truth that had thus impressed them.

I had not seen Jesus take anything to drink in the vehement thirst that consumed Him after His awful agony in the Garden of Olives. But when pushed into the Cedron, I saw Him drinking with difficulty and, at the same time, I heard Him mur­muring that thereby was fulfilled a prophetic verse from the Psalms, which bore reference to drinking from the torrent by the way. (Psalms 109:7).

Meanwhile the executioners relaxed not their hold on the long ropes that bound Jesus; and since it would have been difficult for them to draw Him up again, and a wall on the opposite shore rendered it impossible for them to allow Him to wade across, they dragged Him by means of the ropes back through the Cedron. Then they went down themselves and hauled Him up backwards over the high bank. And now, amid mocking and cursing, kicking and strik­ing, those miserable wretches dragged poor Jesus forward with the ropes, a second time over the long bridge. His long, woolen garment, heavy with water, clung so closely around His limbs that He could scarcely walk; and when He reached the opposite end of the bridge, He sank once more to the earth. They pulled Him up again, striking Him with the cords and, with shameful and ironical words, tucked up His wet garment into the girdle. They said, for exam­ple, something about His girding Himself for the eat­ing of the Paschal lamb, and similar mockery.

It was not yet midnight when I saw the four execu­tioners dragging Jesus over a rugged, narrow road, along which ran only an uneven footpath. They


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 dragged Him over sharp stones and fragments of rocks, through thorns and thistles, inhumanly hur­rying Him on with curses and blows. The six bru­tal Pharisees were, wherever the road permitted it, always in His vicinity. Each carried in his hand a different kind of torturing stick, with which he tor­mented Him, thrusting Him, goading Him on, or beating Him with it.

While the executioners were dragging Jesus, His naked feet bleeding, over sharp stones, thorns, and thistles, the scornful satirical speeches of the six Pharisees were piercing His loving Heart. It was at these moments they made use of such mockery as: "His precursor, the Baptist, did not prepare a good way for Him here!" or: "Why does He not raise John from the dead that he may prepare the way for Him?" Such were the taunts uttered by these igno­minious creatures and received with rude shouts of laughter. They were caught up in turn by the exe­cutioners, who were incited thus to load poor Jesus with fresh ill-usage.

After the soldiers had driven the Lord forward for some time, they noticed several persons lurking around here and there in the distance. They were disciples who, upon the report of Jesus' arrest, had come from Bethphage and other hiding places, to spy around and see how it was faring with their Master. At sight of them, Jesus' enemies became anxious, lest they should make a sudden attack and rescue Him; therefore they signaled by a call to Ophel, a little place in the environs of Jerusalem, to send a reinforcement, as had been agreed upon.

The procession was still distant some minutes from the entrance which, to the south of the Temple, led through Ophel to Mount Sion, upon which Annas and Caiaphas dwelt, when I saw a band of fifty sol­diers issuing from the gate, in order to reinforce their companions. They came forward in three groups: the first was ten strong; the last, fifteen, for I counted

Soldiers Sent to Guard Ophel


 them; and the middle group, five and twenty. They bore several torches. They were bold and wanton in their bearing, and they shouted and hurrahed as they came along, as if to announce themselves to the approaching band and to congratulate them on their success. Their coming was a noisy one. At the moment in which the foremost band joined Jesus' escort, a slight confusion arose, and I saw Malchus and several others drop out of the rear and slip off in the direction of the Mount of Olives.

When this shouting band hurried from Ophel by torchlight to meet the approaching procession, the disciples lurking around dispersed in all directions. I saw that the Blessed Virgin, in her trouble and anguish, with Martha, Magdalen, Mary Cleophas, Mary Salome, Mary Marcus, Susanna, Johanna Chusa, Veronica, and Salome, again directed her steps to the Valley of Josaphat. They were to the south of Gethsemani, opposite that part of Mount Olivet where was another grotto in which Jesus had for­merly been accustomed to pray. I saw Lazarus, John Mark, Veronica's son, and Simeon's son with them. The last-named, along with Nathanael, had been in Gethsemani with the eight Apostles, and had fled across when the tumult began. They brought news to the Blessed Virgin. Meanwhile they heard the cries and saw the torches of the two bands as they met. The Blessed Virgin was in uninterrupted contempla­tion of Jesus' torments and sympathetic suffering with her Divine Son. She allowed the holy women to lead her back part of the way so that, when the tumultuous procession should have passed, she might again return to the house of Mary Marcus.

The fifty soldiers belonged to a company of three hundred men who had been sent at once to guard the gates and streets of Ophel and its surroundings, for Judas the traitor had drawn the High Priest's attention to the fact that the inhabitants of Ophel, who were mostly poor artisans, day laborers, and


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 carriers of wood and water to the Temple, were the most attached partisans of Jesus. It might easily be feared therefore that some attempt would be made to free Him as He passed through. The traitor knew very well that Jesus had here bestowed upon many of the poor laborers consolation, instruction, healing, and alms. It was also here in Ophel that Jesus had tarried when, after the murder of John the Baptist in Machaerus, He was journeying back from Betha­nia to Hebron. He had paused awhile to console John's friends, and He had healed many of the poor day laborers and hod carriers who had been wounded at the overthrow of the great building and the tower of Silo. Most of these people, after the descent of the Holy Ghost, joined the Christian Community, and when the separation of the Christians from the Jews took place and several settlements of the former were erected, they pitched their tents and built their huts across the valley as far as the Mount of Olives. Stephen resided there at that time. Ophel was on a hill south of the Temple. It was surrounded by walls and inhabited principally by day laborers. It appeared to me to be not much smaller than Dülmen.

The good inhabitants of Ophel were roused by the shouts of the garrison as their companions entered. They hurried from their houses and pressed to the streets and gates held by the soldiers, asking the cause of the uproar. But here they met with a rough reception. The military rabble, made up of a mix­ture of low, insolent slaves, roughly and jeeringly drove them back to their dwellings. But as here and there they heard such remarks as these: "Jesus, the evildoer, your false Prophet, is about to be led in a prisoner. The High Priests will put an end to His proceedings. He will have to pay the penalty of the Cross," the whole place was roused from sleep by the loud cries and lamentations of the people. The poor creatures, men and women, ran about wailing or, with outstretched arms, cast themselves on their

Two Compassionate Soldiers aid Jesus


 knees, crying to Heaven and lauding Jesus' good deeds. The soldiers, thrusting them and dealing blows on all sides, drove them back to their homes, at the same time insulting Jesus, and saying: "Here is an evident proof that He is an agitator of the people!" They were, however, a little cautious in acting with the populace, through fear of rousing them by greater violence to open insurrection; consequently, they aimed only at clearing the streets by which the pro­cession was to pass through Ophel.

Meanwhile the ill-used Jesus and His barbarous escort came nearer and nearer to the gates of Ophel. Our Lord had repeatedly fallen to the earth, and He now appeared utterly unable to proceed farther. Tak­ing advantage of this, a compassionate soldier said: "You see for yourselves that the poor Man can go no farther. If we are to take Him alive before the High Priests, we must loosen the cords that bind His hands, that He may be able to support Himself when He falls." While the procession halted for the execution­ers to loosen the cords, another good-hearted soldier brought Him a drink of water from a neighboring well. He scooped it up in a vessel made of bark formed into the shape of a cone, such as soldiers and travelers carried about them in that country as drink­ing vessels. When Jesus said to this man a few words of acknowledgment, uttering at the same time some prophetic expressions about "drinking from living fountains," and "the streams of living waters," the Pharisees mocked and reviled Him, accusing Him of vain boasting and blasphemy. He ought, they said, to give up His empty talk. He should never again give drink to a beast, much less to a human being. It was shown me that the two compassionate sol­diers, through whose intervention His bands had been loosened and He had received a drink, were suddenly illuminated by grace. After Jesus' death they were converted, and later on joined the Community in the capacity of disciples. I once knew their names, also


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 those that they afterward bore as disciples, and their whole history, but it would be impossible to remem­ber all that. It is too much.

The procession again started forward, Jesus being ill-treated as before, and crossed a height up to the gates of Ophel. Here it was received by the heartrend­ing cries and lamentations of the inhabitants, who were bound to Jesus by a debt of gratitude. Only with great difficulty could the soldiers keep back the crowds of men and women pressing from all sides. They rushed forward wringing their hands, falling on their knees and, with outstretched arms, crying aloud: "Release unto us this Man! Who will help us? Who will heal us? Who will console us? Release unto us this Man!" It was a heartrending spectacle—Jesus pale, bruised, and disfigured, His hair torn, His robe wet and soiled, tucked up into His girdle, He Himself dragged with ropes, urged on with blows, like a poor, fainting animal driven to sacrifice by insolent, half-naked executioners and overbearing soldiers. The latter were busy keeping off the crowd of lamenting and grateful people who were making their way to see Jesus, who were stretching out to Him hands that He had cured of lameness, who were crying after Him in supplicat­ing tones with tongues that He had loosened from dumbness, who were gazing after Him with eyes to which He had restored vision and which were now streaming with tears.

Already in the Vale of Cedron numbers of filthy, ragged creatures from the lowest classes, excited by the soldiers and urged on by the followers of Annas, Caiaphas, and other enemies of Jesus, joined the procession with cries of mockery and derision. These newcomers now added their share of jeers and insults against the good people of Ophel. Ophel was built on a hill, for I saw in the center of it the high­est point. It was an open place, and on it were all kinds of beams and rafters for building, like piles

Mary Speechless with Grief


 of wood in a carpenter yard. The procession now reached another gate in the wall through which it wound somewhat downward.

The people were prevented from following it beyond the city limits. The road now led somewhat into a val­ley. On the right stood a large building, I think the remains of Solomon's works, and to the left lay the Pool of Bethsaida. After passing these, they kept on in a westerly direction down a steep street called Millo and then, turning a little to the south, they ascended a flight of high steps to the Mount of Sion upon which was the house of Annas. Along the way Our Lord was abused and reviled, while the rabble that kept pour­ing from the city incited His vile custodians to mul­tiplied cruelties. From the Mount of Olives to this point, Jesus fell to the ground seven times.

The inhabitants of Ophel were still full of terror and distress when a new scene excited their com­passion. The Blessed Mother was, by the holy women and their friends, led through Ophel from the Vale of Cedron to the house of Mary Marcus, which stood at the foot of Mount Sion. When the good people recognized her, their compassion was aroused and they sent up a wail of anguish. So great a crowd pressed around Mary and her companions that the Mother of Jesus was almost carried in their arms.

Mary was speechless with grief. She did not open her lips after she reached the house of Mary Mar­cus until the arrival of John. Then she began to ask questions and to give vent to her grief. John related to her everything that he had seen happen to Jesus from the moment that they left the Coenaculum up to the present. A little later she was conducted to Martha's house near that of Lazarus at the west side of the city. They led her along unfrequented routes, in order to shun those by which Jesus was being dragged, and thus spare her the anguish of a meeting with Him.

Peter and John, who were following the procession


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 at some distance, ran hurriedly when it entered the city to some of the good acquaintances whom John had among the servants of the High Priests, to find in some way an opportunity of entering the judg­ment hall into which their Master would soon be brought. These acquaintances of John were messen­gers attached to the court. They had now to scour the whole town in order to awaken the ancients of different ranks and many other personages, and call them to the Council. They desired very much to please the two Apostles, but could think of no other means of doing so than by supplying them with mantles such as they themselves wore and letting them assist in calling the members of the Council; then under cover of the mantle they might enter with them into the judgment hall of Caiaphas, from which all were to be excluded but the bribed rabble, the soldiers, and false witnesses. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and other well-disposed individuals belonged to the Council, so that the Apostles were able to deliver the summons to their Master's friends, the only ones whom the Pharisees had perhaps designedly omit­ted from the list of the invited. Judas meanwhile, the devil at his side, like a frantic malefactor was wandering around the steep, wild precipices south of Jerusalem where all the filth of the city was thrown.

12. Means Taken by Jesus' Enemies for Carrying Out Their Designs. Glance At Jerusalem at this Hour

As soon as Jesus was taken into custody, Annas and Caiaphas were informed of the fact and they began actively to arrange their plans. The courts were lighted up and all the entrances provided with guards. Messengers were dispatched to all parts of the city to summon the members of the Council, the Scribes, and all those that had anything to do with the trial. Many of them, however, as soon as the

Wicked People Gather in Jerusalem


 compact with Judas was completed, had already assembled at the house of Caiaphas and were there awaiting the result. The ancients from the three classes of citizens were also called; and as the Phar­isees, the Sadducees and the Herodians from all parts of the country had been for some days gath­ered in Jerusalem for the Feast, they discussed among themselves and before the High Council the design of seizing Jesus. The High Priests now selected from the lists in their possession those whom they knew to be His most bitter enemies. These they summoned with the command to gather up, each in his own circle, all the evidence and proofs against Jesus they possibly could, and to bring them to the judgment court. Just at this time, all the Pharisees and Sad­ducees and other wicked people from Nazareth, Capharnaum, Tirzah, Gabara, Jetebatha, Silo, and other places, whom Jesus had so often, by exposing the truth, put to shame before the people, were assembled in Jerusalem. They were filled with rage and vengeance. Each hunted up some scoundrel among the Paschal guests from his own country, and bribed him with money to cry out against and calum­niate Jesus. These guests were gathered in bands, according to their respective districts. But with the exception of some evident lies and bitter invectives, nothing could be brought forward but those accusa­tions upon which in their own synagogues Jesus had so often silenced them.

All these now gathered, one after another, in the judgment hall of Caiaphas. There, too, assembled the mass of Jesus' enemies from among the haughty Pharisees and Scribes, along with their suborned witnesses from Jerusalem itself. Many of those exas­perated vendors whom He had driven from the Tem­ple; many a puffed-up doctor whom He had there silenced before the people; and perhaps many a one who had not yet forgotten that he had been instructed and put to shame by Him when, as a boy of twelve,


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 He had taught for the first time in the Temple, were now here arraigned against Him. Among His ene­mies were also impenitent sinners whom He had refused to heal; relapsing sinners who had again become sick; conceited youths whom He would not receive as disciples; wicked avaricious persons who were exasperated at His distributing to the poor the money that they were in hopes of getting for them­selves; rascals whose companions He had converted; debauchees and adulterers whose victims He had won over to virtue; covetous heirs who had been dis­appointed in their expectations by the cure of those from whom they expected to inherit; and many venal time-servers ever ready to pander to wickedness. These emissaries of Satan were brimful of rage against everything holy, and consequently against the Holy of Holies. This scum of the Jewish people assembled for the feast, urged on by the chief ene­mies of Jesus, pressed forward from all sides and rushed in a continuous stream to the palace of Caiaphas in order falsely to accuse the true Paschal Lamb of God, the Spotless One, who had taken upon Himself the sins of the world; and to cast upon Him their foul consequences which, indeed, He had really assumed, which He was then enduring, and for which He was atoning.

While this miserable Jewish rabble was seeking after some way by which to sully the pure Saviour, many devout souls and friends of Jesus were going around in trouble and anguish of heart (for they were ignorant of the mystery about to be accom­plished), sighing and listening to all that they could hear. If they uttered a word, they were repulsed by the bystanders; and if they kept silence, they were regarded as disaffected. Many well-meaning, but weak, simple-minded people were scandalized at what they saw and heard. They yielded to tempta­tion and fell away from their faith. The number of those that persevered was not great. Things were

The News Spreads


 then as they are now. Many a one was willing to bear the semblance of a good Christian so long as no inconvenience resulted from it, but became ashamed of the Cross when they saw it held in con­tempt. Still, many in the beginning of these unfounded, these unjust proceedings whose fury and base cruelty cried to Heaven for vengeance, seeing the uncomplaining patience of the Saviour, were touched at heart, and they walked away silent and dejected.

The large and densely populated city, now increased in extent by the numerous camps of the Paschal guests stretching out around it, was, after the multiplied private and public prayers, religious exercises, and other preparations for the feast, sunk in sleep, when the news of the arrest roused alike the foes and friends of the Lord. Numbers immedi­ately responded to the summons of the High Priests, and the various points of the city began to present a lively scene. They hurried, some by moonlight, oth­ers with torches, through the streets—which in Jeru­salem were generally dismal and desolate at night, for the windows and doors of most of the houses opened into their inner courts. All turned their steps in the direction of Sion, from whose height glim­mered the light of torches. The report of what had just taken place soon spread around, and here and there might be heard knocking at courtyard gates to rouse the sleepers within. Bustle, talking, and confusion were going on in many sections of the city. Servants and newsmongers were hurrying to and fro in search of news, which they hastened to report to those by whom they had been sent. Heavy bars and bolts were shoved with a clang before many a gate, for the people were full of anxiety and in dread of a revolt. Here and there they stepped to the doors and called out to some acquaintance who was pass­ing for news; or the latter, as he hurried by, shouted the desired information. Then were heard malicious


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 speeches, such as are made nowadays on similar occasions. They said: "Now will Lazarus and his sis­ters see with whom they have been dealing. Johanna Chusa, Susanna, Mary, the Mother of John Mark, and Salome will now regret their conduct, but too late! And how humbled will Sirach's wife Seraphia appear before her husband, who so often forbade her having anything to do with the Galilean! The fol­lowers of this seditious leader, this visionary, always looked with pity upon those that entertained views other than their own—and now many a one of them will not know where to hide his head. Who would now be seen strewing palm branches and spreading mantles and veils under the feet of the animal He rides? Those hypocrites, who always wanted to be better than others, will now receive their due. They too will be brought up to trial, for they are all impli­cated in the affairs of the Galilean. The matter is more deeply rooted than is generally thought. I am anxious to see how Nicodemus and Joseph of Ari­mathea will comport themselves. They have long been looked upon with a mistrustful eye, for they make common cause with Lazarus, but they are very cunning. Now all will come to light." Many were heard to speak in this way. They were persons embit­tered against certain families, and especially against those women who up till now had borne public wit­ness to Jesus and His followers. In other places, the news was received in a very different way. Some were frightened at it, some bewailed it in private, while others timidly hunted up a friend in sympa­thy with themselves in order to pour out their heart. But only a few ventured to express such sympathy openly and decidedly.

All quarters of the city, however, were not aroused, only those parts to which the messengers had brought the invitation to the trial and those in which the Pharisees sought their false witnesses. The streets in the direction of Sion were of all others the most

Grief and Terror in Ophel


 alive. It seemed as if one saw in different parts of Jerusalem sparks of hatred and fury bursting forth, flames rushing along the streets, uniting with oth­ers, becoming stronger and more powerful until at last, like a whirlwind of lurid fire, they flashed up Mount Sion and into the judgment hall of Caiaphas. In some quarters all was still at peace, but there too, by degrees, things became stirring.

The Roman soldiers took no part in what was going on, but their posts were strengthened and their cohorts drawn up together. They kept a sharp look­out on all sides. This indeed they always did at the Paschal time, on account of the great multitude come together to the feast. They were quiet, and self-possessed, but at the same time very much on their guard. The people who were now hurrying forward shunned the points at which the sentinels were sta­tioned, for it was always vexatious to the Phari­saical Jews to be accosted by them. The High Priests had sent a message to Pilate telling him why they had stationed soldiers around Ophel and one quar­ter of Sion, but he and they were full of mutual dis­trust. Pilate slept not. He passed the night listening to reports and issuing orders. His wife, however, lay stretched upon her couch. Her sleep, though heavy, was disturbed. She sighed and wept as if in trou­bled dreams.

In no part of the city was sympathy with Jesus so touching as in Ophel among the poor Temple slaves and day laborers who dwelt on that hill. Terror came upon them so suddenly in the stillness of the night, and the violence of the proceedings roused them from sleep. There they saw their holy Teacher, their Bene­factor, who had healed and nourished them, torn and ill-used, passing like a fearful vision before them. Their sympathy and grief gathered fresh strength upon beholding His afflicted Mother wandering about with her friends. Ah, what a sad sight to see that Mother pierced with anguish hurrying through the


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 streets at midnight with the holy women, the friends of Jesus, from one acquaintance's house to another, their hearts beating with fear at being out at so unusual an hour! They were often obliged to hide in corners from some rude band that was passing; fre­quently were they insulted as women of bad charac­ter; more than once they heard bitter, malicious speeches against Jesus, and rarely a compassionate word. Reaching at last their place of refuge, they sank down completely exhausted, shedding tears and wringing their hands. They were all equally dis­tressed; and yet each tried to support her fainting neighbor in her arms, or else sat apart in deep afflic­tion, her head enveloped and resting on her knees. And now came a knock at the door. The women heard it anxiously. The rap was gentle and timid. No enemy raps in that manner. The holy women open the door, though not without some feeling of dread, and wel­come a friend or the servant of some friend of their Lord and Master. They gather round him with ques­tions, and hear what fills them with fresh sorrow. They can no longer remain quiet, and so they again hurry out into the streets to seek for news of Jesus, though soon to return with renewed grief.

Most of the Apostles and disciples were now timidly wandering in the valleys near and around Jerusalem, and hiding in the caves on Mount Olivet. They started at one another's approach, asked in low tones for news, and the sound of every footstep interrupted their anxious communications. They often changed their place of concealment, and some of them ventured to approach the city. Others stole away to the camps of the Paschal guests, there to inquire for news from acquaintances belonging to their own part of the country, or to send scouts into the city for a similar purpose. Others again climbed to the top of Mount Sion and gazed anxiously at the torches moving to and fro on Sion, listened to the distant sounds, formed a thousand conjectures as to

The Spotless Paschal Lamb


 the cause, and then hurried down into the valley with the hope of getting some certain intelligence.

The stillness of the night began to be more and more interrupted by the din and bustle around the court of Caiaphas. This quarter was brilliantly lighted up with torches and burning pitch lamps, while from all around the city sounded the bellow­ing of the numerous beasts of burden and animals for sacrifice belonging to the multitudes of strangers now in the Paschal quarters. Ah, how touching was the sound of the bleating of the gentle, innocent, helpless lambs! It was heard throughout the night from countless little victims which were next morn­ing to be slaughtered in the Temple. One alone was offered because He Himself willed it. Like a sheep led to the slaughter, He opened not His mouth; and like a lamb dumb before the shearers, He opened not His mouth. That pure, spotless Paschal Lamb was Jesus Christ!

Above these scenes on earth was spread a sky whose appearance was strikingly dark and lower­ing. The moon sailed on with a threatening aspect, her disc covered with spots. She appeared, as it were, sick and in dread, as if shuddering at the prospect of becoming full, for then it was that Jesus was to be put to death. Outside the city to the south, in the steep, wild, and dismal Vale of Hinnom, wan­dering companionless through accursed, swampy places filled with ordure and refuse, lashed by his guilty conscience, fleeing from his own shadow, hunted by Satan, was Judas Iscariot, the traitor—while thousands of evil spirits were hurrying around on all sides urging men on to wickedness and entan­gling them in sin. Hell was let loose, and every­where were its inmates tempting mankind to evil. The burden of the Lamb grew heavier, and the fury of Satan, taking a twofold increase, became blind and insane in its effects. The Lamb took all the burden upon Himself, but Satan wills the sin. And


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 although the Righteous One sins not, although this vainly tempted One falls not, yet let His enemies perish in their own sin.

The angels were wavering between grief and joy. They were longing to entreat at the throne of God for help to be sent down to Jesus, but at the same time they were able only to adore in deepest amaze­ment that wonder of divine justice and mercy which the Holy of Holies in the heights of Heaven had con­templated from all eternity, and which was now about to be accomplished in time upon earth—for the angels believe in God the Father, the almighty Creator of Heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, who began that night to suffer under Pontius Pilate, who would the next morning be crucified, who would die, and who would be buried; who would descend into hell, and who would rise from the dead on the third day; who would ascend into Heaven, there to sit at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty, whence He should come to judge the living and the dead. They believe too in the Holy Ghost, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the res­urrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen!

All this is only a small portion of the impression which must fill even to bursting a poor sinful heart with anguish, contrition, consolation, and compassion, if, seeking some relief as it were from these terrible scenes, it turns its gaze for a few minutes from the cruel arrest of Our Saviour and glances over Jerusalem at that solemn midnight of time created, and looks into that hour in which the everlasting justice and infinite mercy of God meeting, embracing, and pen­etrating each other, began the most holy work of divine and human love, to chastise the sins of men assumed by the God-Man, and to atone for them by that same God-Man. Such was the aspect of Jerusalem when the dear Saviour was led to Annas.

Jesus Before Annas


13. Jesus Before Annas

It was toward midnight when Jesus was led through the brilliantly lighted courtyard into the palace of Annas. He was conducted to a hall as large as a small church. At the upper end opposite the entrance on a high gallery, or platform, under which people could come and go, sat Annas surrounded by twenty-eight counselors. A flight of steps broken here and there by landings, or resting places, led up to the front of his tribunal, or judgment seat, which was entered from behind, thus communicating with the inner part of the building.

Jesus, still surrounded by a body of the soldiers by whom He had been arrested, was dragged for­ward several steps by the executioners that held the cords. The hall was crowded with soldiers, the rab­ble, the slandering Jews, the servants of Annas, and some of the witnesses whom Annas had gathered together, and who later on made their appearance at the house of Caiaphas.

Annas could scarcely wait for the arrival of the poor Saviour. He was beaming with mischievous joy; cunning and mockery were in his glance. He was at this time the president of a certain tribunal, and he sat here with his committee authorized to examine into false doctrines and to hand over the accused to the High Priest.

Jesus stood before Annas pale, exhausted, silent, His head bowed, His garments wet and spattered with mud, His hands fettered, His waist bound by ropes the ends of which the archers held. Annas, that lean, old villain, with scraggy beard, was full of irony and freezing Jewish pride. He put on a half laughing appearance, as if he knew nothing at all of what had taken place, and as if he were greatly surprised to find Jesus in the person of the prisoner brought before him. His address to Him, which, how­ever, I cannot reproduce in his own words, was in


Life of Jesus Christ

 sense something like the following: "Ha, look there! Jesus of Nazareth! It is Thou! Where now are Thy disciples, Thy crowds of followers? Where is Thy king­dom? It appears that things have taken another turn with Thee! Thy slanders have come to an end! Peo­ple have had quite enough of Thy blasphemy, Thy calumny against priests, and Thy Sabbath-breaking. Who are Thy disciples? Where are they? Now, art Thou silent? Speak, seditious Man! Speak, Seducer! Didst Thou not eat the Paschal lamb in an unlaw­ful place? Thou dost wish to introduce a new doc­trine. Who has given Thee authority to teach? Where hast Thou studied? Speak! What is Thy doctrine which throws everything into confusion? Speak! Speak! What is Thy doctrine?"

At these words, Jesus raised His weary head, looked at Annas, and replied: "I have spoken openly before all the world where the Jews were gathered together. In secret I have spoken nothing. Why ques­tionest thou Me? Ask those that have heard what I have spoken unto them. Behold! They know what I have said."

The countenance of Annas during this reply of Jesus betrayed rage and scorn. A base menial stand­ing near Jesus remarked this, and the villain struck the Lord with his open, mailed hand. The blow fell full upon the mouth and cheek of the Lord, while the scoundrel uttered the words: "Answerest Thou the High Priest so?" Jesus, trembling under the vio­lence of the blow and jerked at the same time by the executioners, one pulling this way, another that, fell sideways on the steps, the blood flowing from His face. The hall resounded with jeers and laugh­ter, mockery, muttering, and abusive words. With renewed ill-usage, they dragged Jesus up. He said quietly: "If I have spoken evil, give testimony of the evil; but if well, why strikest thou Me?"

Annas, still more enraged by Jesus' calm demeanor, summoned the witnesses (because Jesus Himself so

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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