Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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The Witnesses


 willed it) to come forward and declare whatever they had heard Him say. Thereupon the rabble set up a storm of cries and abuse. "He has said," they cried, "that He is a king, that God is His Father, that the Pharisees are adulterers. He stirs up the people, He heals on the Sabbath day and by the power of the devil. The inhabitants of Ophel have gone crazy over Him, calling Him their Deliverer, their Prophet. He allows Himself to be called the Son of God. He speaks of Himself as One sent by God. He cries woe to Jerusalem, and alludes in His instructions to the destruction of the city. He observes not the fasts. He goes about with a crowd of followers. He eats with the unclean, with heathens, publicans, and sin­ners, and saunters around with adulteresses and women of bad character. Just now, outside the gate of Ophel, He said to a man who gave Him a drink that He would give to him the waters of eternal life and that he should never thirst again. He seduces the people with words of double meaning. He squan­ders the money and property of others. He tells peo­ple all kinds of lies about His kingdom and such like things."

These accusations were brought forward against the Lord without regard to order or propriety. The witnesses stepped up to Him and made their charges, derisively gesticulating in His face, while the exe­cutioners jerked Him first to one side, then to the other, saying: "Speak! Answer!" Annas and his coun­selors, laughing scornfully, insulted Him during the pauses made by the witnesses; for instance, they would exclaim: "Now, there! We hear the fine doc­trine! What hast Thou to answer? That, also, would be public teaching. The whole country is full of it! Canst Thou produce nothing here? Why dost Thou not issue some command, O King—Thou Son of God—show now Thy mission!"

These expressions on the part of the judges were followed by pulling, pushing, and mocking on that


Life of Jesus Christ

 of the executioners and bystanders, who would all have been glad to imitate the insolent fellow that struck Jesus in the face.

Jesus staggered from side to side. With freezing irony, Annas again addressed Him: "Who art Thou? What kind of a king art Thou? What kind of an envoy art Thou? I think that Thou art only an obscure car­penter's Son. Or art Thou Elias who was taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot? They say that he is still living. Thou too canst render Thyself invisible, for Thou hast often disappeared. Or perhaps Thou art Malachias? Thou hast always vaunted Thyself upon this Prophet, and Thou didst love to apply his words to Thyself. It is also reported of him that he had no father, that he was an angel, and that he is not yet dead. What a fine opportunity for an imposter to give himself out for him! Say, what kind of a king art Thou? Thou art greater than Solomon! That too is one of Thy speeches. Come on! I shall not longer withhold from Thee the title of Thy kingdom!"

Annas now called for writing materials. Taking a strip of parchment about three-quarters of an ell long and three fingers in breadth, he laid it upon a table before him, and with a reed pen wrote a list of words in large letters, each of which contained some accusation against the Lord. Then he rolled the parchment and stuck it into a little hollow gourd, which he closed with a stopper. This he next fas­tened to a reed and, sending the mock scepter to Jesus, scornfully addressed Him in such words as the following: "Here, take the scepter of Thy king­dom! In it are enclosed all Thy titles, Thy rights, and Thy honors. Carry them hence to the High Priest, that he may recognize Thy mission and Thy King­dom, and treat Thee accordingly." Then turning to the soldiers, he said: "Bind His hands and conduct this king to the High Priest." Some time previously they had loosened Jesus' hands. They now bound them again crosswise on His breast after they had

The Crowd Insults Jesus


 fastened in them the accusations of Annas against Him, and thus amid shouts of laughter, mocking cries, and all kinds of ill-usage, Jesus was dragged from the tribunal of Annas to that of Caiaphas.

14. Jesus Led From Annas to Caiaphas

When Jesus was being led to Annas, He had passed the house of Caiaphas. He was now conducted back to it by a road that ran diagonally between the two. They were scarcely three hundred paces apart. The road, which ran between high walls and rows of small houses belonging to the judgment hall of Caiaphas, was lighted up by torches and lanterns, and filled with clamoring, boisterous Jews. It was with diffi­culty that the soldiers could keep back the crowd. Those that had outraged Jesus before Annas contin­ued their jibes and jests and ill-treatment before the crowd, abusing and ill-treating Him the whole way. I saw armed men of all kinds belonging to the tri­bunal driving away little parties of wailing people who were compassionating Jesus, while to some that had distinguished themselves by reviling and accus­ing Him, they gave money, and admitted them with their companions into the court of Caiaphas.

To reach the judgment hall of Caiaphas, one had to pass through a gateway into a spacious exterior court, then through a second gateway into another which, with its walls, surrounded the whole house. (This we shall call the inner court.) A kind of open vestibule surrounded on three sides by a covered colonnade formed the front of the house, which was more than twice as long as it was broad and before which was a level, open square. This vestibule, or fore court, was called the atrium, into which entrances led from the three sides, the principal one being from the rear, that is, from the house itself. Enter­ing from this side, one proceeded to the left under the open sky to a pit lined with masonry, wherein


Life of Jesus Christ

 fire was kept burning; then turning to the right, he would come upon a covered space back of a row of columns higher than any yet described. This formed the fourth side of the atrium and was about half its size. Here upon a semicircular platform up to which led several steps, were the seats for the members of the Council. That of the High Priest was elevated and in the center. The prisoner, surrounded by the guard, stood for trial in the middle of the semicir­cle. Upon either side and behind him down into the atrium were places for the witnesses and accusers. Three doors at the back of the judges' seats led into a large, circular hall, around whose wall seats were ranged. This room was used for secret consultations. On leaving the judges' seats and coming out into this hall, one found doors right and left. They opened upon flights of several steps, leading down into the inner court which here following the shape of the house, ran off into a circular form. On leaving the hall by the door on the right and turning to the left in the court, one found himself at the entrance of a dark, subterranean vault containing prison cells. They lay under the rear halls which, like the open tribunal, were higher than the atrium, and conse­quently afforded space for underground vaults. There were many prisons in this round part of the court. In one of them after Pentecost, I saw John and Peter sitting a whole night. This was when they were imprisoned after Peter had cured the lame man at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple.

In and around the building were numberless lamps and torches. All was as bright as day. In the center of the atrium, besides, shone the great pit of fire. It was like a furnace sunk in the earth, but open on top. The fuel was, I think, peat, and it was thrown in from above. Rising from the sides to above the height of a man were pipes in the shape of horns for carrying off the smoke. In the center, however, one could see the fire. Soldiers, servants, the rab­ble,

The Court of Caiaphas


 most of whom were bribed witnesses, were crowding around the fire. There were some females among them, girls of doubtful fame, who sold to the soldiers a reddish beverage by the glass and, on receipt of a trifling sum, baked cakes for them. This scene of disorder and merriment reminded me of carnival time.

Most of those that had been summoned were already assembled around the High Priest Caiaphas on the semicircular platform, while here and there others were coming in. The accusers and false wit­nesses almost filled the atrium; others were trying to force their way in, and it was only with difficulty that they were kept back.

Shortly before the arrival of the procession with Jesus, Peter and John, still enveloped in the mes­senger mantles, entered the outer court of the house. Through the influence of one of the servants known to him, John was fortunate enough to make his way through the gate of the inner court which, however, on account of the great crowd, was at once closed behind him. When Peter, who had been kept back a little by the crowd, reached the closed gate, the maid­servant in charge would not let him pass. John inter­posed, but Peter would not have got in had not Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who just then sought admittance, said a good word for him. Once inside they laid off the mantles, which they gave back to the servants, and then took their place to the right among the crowd in the atrium where they could see the judges' seats. Caiaphas was already seated in his elevated tribunal in the center of the raised semi-circular platform, and around him were sitting about seventy members of the Sanhedrim. Public officers, the Scribes, and the Ancients were sitting or standing on either side, and around them ranged many of the witnesses and rabble. Guards were stationed below the platform, under the entrance colonnade, and through the atrium as far


Life of Jesus Christ

 as the door by which the procession was expected. This door was not the one directly opposite the tri­bunal, but that to the left of the atrium.

Caiaphas was a man of great gravity, his counte­nance florid and fierce. He wore a long, dull red mantle ornamented with golden flowers and tassels. It was fastened on the shoulders, the breast, and down the front with shining buckles of various form. On his head was a cap, the top of which resembled a low episcopal miter. The pieces front and back were bent so as to meet on top, thus leaving open­ings at the side, from which hung ribands. From either side of the head lappets fell upon the shoul­ders. Caiaphas and his counselors were already a long time assembled; many of them had even remained since the departure of Judas and his gang. The rage and impatience of Caiaphas had reached such a pitch that, magnificently attired as he was, he descended from his lofty tribunal and went into the outer court asking angrily whether Jesus would soon come. At last the procession was seen approach­ing, and Caiaphas returned to his seat.

15. Jesus Before Caiaphas

Amid frantic cries of mockery, with pushing and dragging and casting of mud, Jesus was led into the atrium, where, instead of the unbridled rage of the mob, were heard the dull muttering and whispering of restrained rage. Turning to the right on entering, the procession faced the tribunal. When Jesus passed Peter and John, He glanced at them lovingly, though without turning His head, for fear of betraying them. Scarcely had He passed through the colonnaded entrance and appeared before the Council, when Caiaphas cried out to Him: "Hast Thou come, Thou blasphemer of God, Thou that dost disturb this our sacred night!" The tube containing Annas' ac­cusations against Jesus was now drawn from the

The Rage of Caiaphas


 mock scepter. When the writing which it contained was read, Caiaphas poured forth a stream of reproaches and abusive epithets against Jesus, while the soldiers and wretches standing near dragged and pulled Him about. They had in their hands lit­tle iron rods, some of them capped with sharp goads, others with pear-shaped knobs, with which they drove Him from side to side, crying: "Answer! Open Thy mouth! Canst Thou not speak!" All this went on while Caiaphas, even more enraged than Annas, vocif­erated question after question to Jesus who, calm and suffering, kept His eyes lowered, not even glanc­ing at him. The wretches, in their efforts to force Him to speak, struck Him on the neck and sides, hit Him with their fists, and goaded Him with their puncheons. And more than this, a cruel lad, with his thumb, pressed Jesus' under-lip upon His teeth, saying: "Here, now, bite!"

And now came the interrogation of the witnesses. It consisted of nothing but the disorderly cries, the enraged shouts of the bribed populace, or the depo­sition of some of Jesus' enemies belonging to the exasperated Pharisees and Sadducees. A certain number of them had been selected as representa­tives of their party on this feast. They brought for­ward all those points that Jesus had answered a hundred times before: for instance, they said that He wrought cures and drove out devils through the devil himself; that He violated the Sabbath, kept not the prescribed fasts; that His disciples ate with unwashed hands; that He incited the people, called the Pharisees a brood of vipers and an adulterous generation; predicted the destruction of Jerusalem; and associated with heathens, publicans, sinners, and women of ill-repute; that He went around with a great crowd of followers, gave Himself out as a king, a prophet, yes, even as the Son of God; and that He was constantly talking about His Kingdom. They advanced, moreover, that He attacked the lib­erty


Life of Jesus Christ

 of divorce, that He had cried woe upon Jerusalem, that He called Himself the Bread of Life and put forward the unheard-of doctrine that who­ever did not eat His Flesh and drink His Blood would not have eternal life.

In this way were all His words, His instructions, and His parables misrepresented and perverted, mixed up with words of abuse and outrage, and attrib­uted to Him as crimes. The witnesses, however, con­tradicted and confused one another. One said: "He gives Himself out for a king"; another cried, "No! He only allows Himself to be so styled, for when they wanted to proclaim Him king, He fled." Then one of them shouted: "He says He is the Son of God," to which someone else retorted: "No, that's not so! He calls Himself a Son only because He fulfills the Father's will." Some declared that those whom He had healed fell sick again, so that His healing power was nothing but the effect of magic. On the charge of sorcery principally, many accusations were lodged against Him, and numbers of witnesses came for­ward. The cure of the man at the Pool of Bethsaida was brought up in a distorted light and falsely rep­resented. The Pharisees of Sephoris, with whom Jesus had once disputed upon the subject of divorce, accused Him now of teaching false doctrine, and that young man of Nazareth whom He had refused to receive as a disciple, was base enough to step for­ward and witness against Him. They accused Him also of acquitting at the Temple the woman taken in adultery, of taxing the Pharisees with crime, and of many other things.

Notwithstanding all their efforts, they were unable to prove anyone of their charges. The crowd of wit­nesses seemed to come forward more for the pur­pose of deriding Jesus to His face than to render testimony. They contended hotly among themselves, while Caiaphas and some of the counselors ceased not their raillery and taunting expressions. They

The Witnesses Disagree


 cried out: "What a king Thou art? Show Thy power! Call the angelic legions of which Thou spokest in the Garden of Olives! Where hast Thou hidden the money Thou didst receive from widows and simple­tons? Thou hast squandered whole estates, and what hast Thou to show for it? Answer! Speak! Now that Thou shouldst speak before the judges, Thou art dumb; but where it would have been better to be silent, that is, before the mob and female rabble, Thou didst have words enough," etc.

All these speeches were accompanied by renewed ill-usage from the servants, who tried with cuffs and blows to force Jesus to answer. Through God's help alone was He enabled longer to live, that He might bear the sins of the world. Some of the vile wit­nesses declared the Lord to be an illegitimate son, which charge others contradicted with the words: "That is false! His Mother was a pious Virgin belong­ing to the Temple, and we were present at her mar­riage to a most God-fearing man." And then followed a hot dispute among these last witnesses.

They next accused Jesus and His disciples of not offering sacrifice in the Temple. True it is that I never saw Jesus or the Apostles, after they began to follow Him, bringing any sacrifice to the Temple excepting the Paschal lamb, though Joseph and Anne frequently during their lifetime offered sacrifice for Jesus. But these accusations were of no account, for the Essenians never offered sacrifice, and no one thought of subjecting them to punishment for the omission. The charge of sorcery was frequently repeated, and more than once Caiaphas declared that the confusion of the witnesses in their state­ments was due to witchcraft.

Some now said that Jesus had, contrary to the law, eaten the Paschal lamb on the previous day, and that the year before He had sanctioned other irreg­ularities at the same feast. This testimony gave rise to new expressions of rage and derision from the


Life of Jesus Christ

 vile crowd. But the witnesses had so perplexed and contradicted one another that, mortified and exas­perated, Caiaphas and the assembled counselors found that not one of the accusations against Jesus could be substantiated. Nicodemus and Joseph of Ari­mathea were then called up to explain how it hap­pened that they had allowed Jesus to eat the Pasch in a supper room belonging to the last-named. Hav­ing taken their places before Caiaphas, they proved from written documents that the Galileans, accord­ing to an ancient custom, were permitted to eat the Pasch one day earlier than the other Jews. They added that everything else pertaining to the cere­mony had been carefully observed, for that persons belonging to the Temple were present at it. This last assertion greatly puzzled the witnesses, and the ene­mies of Jesus were particularly exasperated when Nicodemus sent for the writings and pointed out the passages containing this right of the Galileans. Besides several other reasons for this privilege, which I have forgotten, there was this: the immense crowds congregated at the same time and for the same pur­pose in the Temple rendered it impossible for all to get through the ceremonies at a given hour; and again, if all were to return home at the same time, the roads would be so thronged as to render them impassable. Now, although the Galileans did not always make use of their privilege, yet Nicodemus incontestably proved its existence from written doc­uments. The rage of the Pharisees against Nicode­mus became still greater when the latter closed his remarks by saying that the members of the Council must feel greatly aggrieved at being called upon to preside over a trial instituted by prejudice so evi­dent, carried on with haste so violent on the night preceding the most solemn of their festivals; and that the gross contradictions of all the witnesses in their presence and before the assembled multitude were to them a positive insult. The Pharisees glanced

Pasch of the Galileans


 wrathfully at Nicodemus and, with barefaced inso­lence, hurriedly continued to question the base witnesses. After much shameful, perverse, lying evi­dence, two witnesses at last came forward and said: "Jesus declared that He would destroy the Temple made by hands, and in three days build up another not made by human hands." But these two also wran­gled over their words. One said: "Jesus was going to build up a new Temple; therefore it was that He had celebrated a new Passover in another building, for He was going to destroy the old Temple." The other retorted: "The building in which He ate the Pasch was built by human hands, consequently He did not mean that."

Caiaphas was now thoroughly exasperated, for the ill-treatment bestowed upon Jesus, the contradictory statements of the witnesses, and the incomprehen­sibly silent patience of the Accused were beginning to make a very deep impression upon many of those present, and some of the witnesses were laughed to scorn. The silence of Jesus roused the conscience of many, and about ten of the soldiers were so touched by it that, under pretext of indisposition, they left the court. As they passed Peter and John, they said to them: "The silence of Jesus the Galilean in the midst of treatment so shameful is heartrending. It is a wonder the earth does not swallow His perse­cutors alive. But tell us, whither shall we go?" The two Apostles, however, perhaps because they did not trust the soldiers or feared to be recognized by them or the bystanders as Jesus' disciples, answered sadly and in general terms: "If truth calls you, follow it; the rest will take care of itself." Thereupon these men left the outer court of Caiaphas' house, and hurried from the city. They met some persons who directed them to caves on the other side of Mount Sion to the south of Jerusalem. Here they found hid­den several of the Apostles, who at first shrank from them in alarm. But their fears were dispelled on


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 receiving news of Jesus and upon hearing that the soldiers were themselves in danger. They soon after separated and scattered to different places.

Caiaphas, infuriated by the wrangling of the last two witnesses, rose from his seat, went down a cou­ple of steps to Jesus, and said: "Answerest Thou nothing to this testimony against Thee?" He was vexed that Jesus would not look at him. At this the archers pulled Our Lord's head back by the hair, and with their fist gave Him blows under His chin. But His glance was still downcast. Caiaphas angrily raised his hands and said in a tone full of rage: "I adjure Thee by the living God that Thou tell us whether Thou be Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Most Blessed God."

A solemn silence fell upon the clamoring crowd. Jesus, strengthened by God, said in a voice inex­pressibly majestic, a voice that struck awe into all hearts, the voice of the Eternal Word: "I am! Thou sayest it! And I say to you, soon you shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the power of God, and coming in the clouds of Heaven!"

While Jesus was pronouncing these words, I saw Him shining with light. The heavens were open above Him and, in an inexpressible manner, I saw God, the Father Almighty. I saw the angels and the prayers of the just crying, as it were, and pleading for Jesus. I saw, besides, the Divinity as if speaking from the Father and from Jesus at the same time: "If it were possible for Me to suffer, I would do so, but because I am merciful, I have taken flesh in the Person of My Son, in order that the Son of Man may suffer. I am just—but behold! He is carrying the sins of these men, the sins of the whole world!"

I saw yawning below Caiaphas the whole abyss of Hell, a lurid, fiery sphere full of horrible shapes. I saw Caiaphas standing above it, separated from it by only a thin crust. I saw him penetrated with diabolical rage. The whole house now appeared to

Hell's Despair and Fury


 be one with the open abyss of Hell below. When the Lord solemnly declared that He was Christ, the Son of God, it was as if Hell grew terror-stricken before Him, as if it launched the whole force of its rage against Him by means of those gathered in the tri­bunal of Caiaphas. As all these things were shown me in forms and pictures, I saw Hell's despair and fury in numberless horrible shapes coming up in many places out of the earth. Among them I remem­ber to have seen crowds of little, dark figures like dogs with short paws and great, long claws, but I do not now recall what species of wickedness was symbolized in them. I remember only the figures. I saw frightful-looking shadows similar to those mov­ing among most of those present, or sitting upon the head or shoulders of many. The assembly was full of them, and they excited the people to fury and wickedness. I saw also at this moment, from the graves on the other side of Sion, hideous figures hurriedly rising. I think they were evil spirits. In the vicinity of the Temple, likewise, I saw many apparitions rising out of the earth. Some of them appeared to be captives, for they moved along slowly in fetters. I do not now know whether these last were demons, or souls banished to certain places on the earth and who were perhaps now going to Pur­gatory, which the Lord was about to open to them by His condemnation to death. One can never fully express such things for fear of scandalizing the igno­rant, but when one sees these things, one feels them, and they make the hair stand on end. This moment was full of horror. I think that John too must have seen something of it, for I heard him afterward speak­ing about it. The few who were not entirely aban­doned to evil felt with deep dismay the horror of this moment, but the wicked experienced only a wild outburst of rage.

Caiaphas, as if inspired by Hell, seized the hem of his magnificent mantle, clipped it with a knife


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 and, with a whizzing noise, tore it as he exclaimed in a loud voice: "He has blasphemed! What need have we of further witnesses? Behold now ye have heard the blasphemy, what think ye?" At these words, the whole assembly rose and cried out in a horrid voice: "He is guilty of death! He is guilty of death!"

During these shouts, that sinister rage of Hell was most frightful in the house of Caiaphas. Jesus' enemies appeared to be possessed by Satan, as did also their partisans and fawning servants. It was as if the powers of darkness were proclaiming their tri­umph over light. Such a sense of horror fell upon all present in whom there was still some little con­nection with good, that many of them drew their mantles closer around them and slipped away. The witnesses belonging to the better classes, as their presence was no longer necessary, also left the judg­ment hall, their conscience racked by remorse. The rabble, however, gathered around the fire in the fore­court where, having received the price of their per­fidy, they ate and drank to excess.

The High Priest, addressing the executioners, said: "I deliver this King to you. Render to the Blas­phemer the honors due Him!" After these words, he retired with his council to the round hall back of the tribunal, into which no one could see from the vestibule.

John, in his deep affection, thought only of the Blessed Virgin. He feared that the dreadful news might be communicated to her suddenly by some enemy; so casting at Jesus, the Holy of Holies, a glance that said: "Master, Thou knowest well why I am going," he hurried from the judgment hall to seek the Blessed Virgin as sent to her by Jesus Him­self. Peter, quite consumed by anxiety and pain and, on account of his bodily exhaustion, feeling keenly the sensible chilliness of the coming morning, con­cealed his deep trouble as well as he could, and

The Miscreants Insult Jesus


 timidly approached the fire in the atrium, around which all kinds of low-lived wretches were warming themselves. He knew not what he was doing, but he could not leave his Master.

16. Jesus Mocked and Insulted

As soon as Caiaphas, having delivered Jesus to the soldiers, left the judgment hall with his Coun­cil, the very scum of the miscreants present fell like a swarm of infuriated wasps upon Our Lord, who until then had been held fast by two of the four exe­cutioners that guided the ropes with which He was bound. Two of them had retired before the sentence, in order to make their escape with the others. Even during the trial, the executioners and other wretches had cruelly torn whole handfuls of hair from the head and beard of Jesus. Some good persons secretly picked up the locks of hair from the ground and slipped away with them, but after a little while it disappeared from their possession. During the trial also the miscreants had spat upon Jesus, struck Him again and again with their fists, goaded Him with cudgels whose rounded ends were armed with sharp points, and had even run needles into His body. But now they exercised their villainy upon Him in a manner altogether frantic and irrational. They put upon Him, one after the other, several crowns of straw and bark plaited in various ludicrous forms which, with wicked words of mockery, they after­ward struck from His head. Sometimes they cried: "Behold the Son of David crowned with the crown of His Father!" Or again: "Behold, here is more than Solomon!" Or: "This is the king who is preparing a marriage feast for His son!" And thus they turned to ridicule all the eternal truths which, for the sal­vation of mankind, He had in truth and parables taught. They struck Him with their fists and sticks, threw Him from side to side, and spat upon Him.


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 At last they plaited a crown of coarse wheat straw, such as grows in that country, put upon Him a high cap, almost similar to the high miters of the pre­sent day; and, after stripping Him of His knitted robe, placed over the miter the straw crown. There, now, stood poor Jesus clothed only in His nether bandage and the scapular that fell on His breast and back; but this last they soon tore from Him, and He never recovered it. They threw around Him an old, tattered mantle too short in front to cover the knees, and put around His neck a long iron chain which, like a stole, hung from the shoulders across the breast and down to the knees. The ends of the chain were furnished with two great, heavy rings studded with sharp points which, as He walked, struck against His knees and wounded them severely. They pinioned anew His hands upon His breast, placed in them a reed, and covered His disfigured countenance with the spittle of their impure mouths. His torn hair and beard, His breast, and the whole of the upper part of the mantle of derision were laden with filth in every degree of loathsomeness. They tied a rag across His eyes, struck Him with their fists and sticks, and cried out: "Great Prophet! Prophesy, who has struck Thee?" But Jesus answered not. He prayed interiorly, sighed, and bore their blows. Thus ill-used, blindfolded, and covered with filth, they dragged Him by the chain into the rear council hall. They kicked Him and drove Him for­ward with their clubs, while uttering such derisive cries as, "Forward, O King of Straw! He must show Himself to the Council in the regal insignia which we have bestowed upon Him!" When they entered the council hall wherein many of the members were still sitting with Caiaphas on the elevated, semi­circular platform, a new scene of outrage began; and with an utterly base meaning and purely sacrile­gious violation, sacred customs and ceremonies were imitated. As, for instance, when they covered Jesus

The Miscreants Mock Jesus


 with mud and spittle, the vile miscreants exclaimed: "Here now is Thy royal unction, Thy prophetic unc­tion!" It was thus they mockingly alluded to Mag­dalen's anointing and to Baptism. "What!" they cried jeeringly, "art Thou going to appear before the San­hedrim in this unclean trim? Thou wast wont to purify others, and yet Thou art not clean Thyself. But we will now purify Thee." Thereupon, they brought a basin full of foul, muddy water in which lay a coarse rag; and amid pushes, jests, and mock­ery mingled with ironical bows and salutations, with sticking out the tongue at Him or turning up to Him their hinder parts, they passed the wet smeary rag over His face and shoulders as if cleansing Him, though in reality rendering Him more filthy than before. Finally, they poured the whole contents of the basin over His face with the mocking words: "There, now, is precious balm for Thee! There now, Thou hast nard water at a cost of three hundred pence! Now, Thou hast Thy baptism of the Pool of Bethsaida!"

This last outrage showed forth, though without their intending it, the likeness between Jesus and the Paschal lamb, for on this day the lambs slaugh­tered for sacrifice were first washed in the pond near the sheep gate and then in the Pool of Beth­saida to the south of the Temple. They were then solemnly sprinkled with water before being slaugh­tered in the Temple for the Passover. The enemies of Jesus were alluding to the paralytic who for thirty-eight years had been sick, and who had been cured by Him at the Pool of Bethsaida, for I afterward saw that same man washed or baptized in its waters. I say "washed or baptized," because at this moment the action with its circumstances does not recur clearly to my mind.

Now they dragged and pulled Jesus around with kicks and blows in the circle formed by the mem­bers of the Council, all of whom greeted Him with


Life of Jesus Christ

 raillery and abuse. I saw the whole assembly filled with raging, diabolical figures. It was a scene of hor­rible gloom and confusion. But around the ill-treated Jesus, since the moment in which He said that He was the Son of God, I frequently saw a glory, a splen­dor. Many of those present seemed to have an inte­rior perception of the same, some more, others less; they experienced, at least, a feeling of dread upon seeing that, in spite of the scorn and ignominy with which He was laden, the indescribable majesty of His bearing remained unchanged. The halo around Him seemed to incite His enemies to a higher degree of fury. But to me that glory appeared so remark­able that I am of opinion that they veiled Jesus' countenance on that account, because since the words: "I am He," the High Priest could no longer endure His glance.

17. Peter's Denial

When Jesus solemnly uttered the words: "I am He," and Caiaphas rent his garments crying out: "He is guilty of death"—when the hall resounded with the mocking cries and furious shouts of the rabble—when the heavens opened above Jesus—when Hell gave free vent to its rage—when the graves gave up their captive spirits—when all was horror and con­sternation—then were Peter and John, who had suf­fered much from having to witness silently and passively the frightful abuse to which Jesus was sub­jected, no longer able to remain. John went out with many of the crowd and some of the witnesses who were leaving the hall, and hurried off to the Mother of Jesus, who was staying at Martha's, not far from the corner gate, where Lazarus owned a beautiful house in Jerusalem. But Peter could not go—he loved Jesus too much. He could scarcely contain himself. He wept bitterly, though trying to hide his tears as well as he could. He could not remain standing any

"I Know Him Not!"


 longer in the judgment hall, for his deep emotion would have betrayed him, nor could he leave with­out attracting notice. So, he retired to the atrium and took a place in the corner near the fire, around which soldiers and people of all kinds were stand­ing in groups. They went out occasionally to mock Jesus and then came back to make their low, vulgar remarks upon what they had done. Peter kept silence; but already the interest he manifested in the pro­ceedings, joined to the expression of deep grief depicted on his countenance, drew upon him the atten­tion of Jesus' enemies. Just at this moment, the portress approached the fire; and as all were prat­ing and jesting at Jesus' expense and that of His disciples, she, like a bold woman, saucily put in her word and, fixing her eyes upon Peter, said: "Thou too art one of the Galilean's disciples!" Peter, startled and alarmed, and fearing rough treatment from the rude crowd, answered: "Woman, I know Him not! I know not what thou meanest. I do not understand thee!" With these words, wishing to free himself from further remark, he arose and left the atrium. At that moment, a cock somewhere outside the city crowed. I do not remember having heard it, but I felt that it was crowing outside the city. As Peter was making his way out, another maidservant caught sight of him, and said to the bystanders: "This man, also, was with Jesus of Nazareth." They at once questioned him: "Art thou not also one of His disciples?" Peter, greatly troubled and perplexed, answered with an oath: "Truly, I am not! I do not even know the man!" And he hurried through the inner to the exterior court, to warn some of his acquaintances whom he saw looking over the wall. He was weeping and so full of grief and anxiety on Jesus' account that he hardly gave his denial a thought. In the other court were many people, among them some of Jesus' friends, who not being able to get nearer to the scene of action, had climbed on the wall to be better able to


Life of Jesus Christ

 hear. Peter, being allowed to go out, found among them a number of disciples whom anxiety had forced hither from their caves on Mount Hinnom. They went straight up to Peter, and with many tears questioned him about Jesus. But he was so excited and so fear­ful of betraying himself that he advised them in a few words to go away, as there was danger for them where they were. Then he turned off and wandered gloomily about, while they, acting on his word, has­tened to leave the city. I recognized about sixteen of the first disciples among them: Bartholomew, Nathanael, Saturnin, Judas Barsabas, Simeon (later on, Bishop of Jerusalem), Zacheus, and Manahem, the youth endowed with the gift of prophecy but born blind, to whom Jesus had restored sight.

Peter could not rest anywhere. His love for Jesus drove him back into the inner court that surrounded the house. They let him in again, on account of Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, who had in the first instance procured his admittance. He did not, however, return to the court of the judgment hall, but turning went along to the right until he reached the entrance of the circular hall back of the tribunal. In that hall was Jesus being dragged about and abused by the vile rabble. Peter drew near trem­bling, and although he felt himself an object of remark, yet his anxiety for Jesus drove him through the doorway, which was beset by the crowd watch­ing the outrages heaped upon Jesus. Just then they were dragging Him, crowned with straw, around the circle. Jesus cast a glance full of earnest warning upon Peter, a glance that pierced him to the soul. But when, still struggling with fear, he heard from some of the bystanders the words: "What fellow is that?" he re-entered the court. There, sad and dis­tracted with compassion for Jesus and anxiety for his own safety, he wandered about with loitering steps. At last seeing that he was attracting notice upon himself, he went again into the atrium and

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 4

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