The Last Weeks Before the Passion. Jesus’ Discourse in the Temple
The day after His return to Bethania, Jesus repaired to the Temple to teach, and His most holy Mother accompanied Him a part of the way. He was preparing her for His approaching Passion, and He told her that the time for the fulfillment of Simeon’s prophecy, that a sword would pierce her soul, was near at hand. They would, He said, cruelly betray Him, take Him prisoner, maltreat Him, put Him to death as a malefactor, and all would take place under her eyes. Jesus spoke long upon this subject, and Mary was grievously troubled.
Jesus put up at the house of Mary Marcus, the mother of John Mark, about a quarter of an hour from the Temple and, so to say, outside the city.
Next day, after the Jews had left the Temple, Jesus began to teach in it openly and very earnestly. All the Apostles were in Jerusalem, but they went to the Temple separately and by different directions. Jesus taught in the circular hall in which He had spoken in His twelfth year. Chairs and steps had been brought for the audience, and a very great concourse of people was gathered.
Jesus’ Passion, properly speaking, was now begun, for He was undergoing an interior martyrdom from His bitter sorrow over man’s perversity. On this and the following day He lodged in the house outside the Bethlehem gate where Mary had put up when she brought Him as a child to present in the Temple. The lodgings consisted of several apartments adjoining one another, and a man acted as superintendent. When Jesus went to the Temple, He was accompanied by Peter, James the Greater, and John; the others came singly. The Apostles and disciples lodged with Lazarus in Bethania.
On the next day, after teaching in the Temple from morn till noon, the Pharisees having been present at His instructions, Jesus returned to Bethania, where He again spoke with His Mother of His approaching Passion. They talked standing in an open bower in the courtyard of the house.
Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, Simeon’s sons, and other secret disciples did not appear openly in the Temple during Jesus’ discourses. When the Pharisees were not present, these disciples listened to Jesus from distant corners.
In His instruction on this day, Jesus repeated the parable of the field overgrown with weeds. It was to be worked cautiously that with the weeds the good grain, which was to be allowed to ripen, might not be rooted up also. Jesus presented this truth to the Pharisees in words so striking that, though full of wrath, they could not stifle a feeling of secret satisfaction.
At a later instruction, their vexation led them to close the entrance to the hall so that the listeners might not increase. Jesus taught on this day till late into the night. He made no violent gestures in preaching, but turned sometimes to this side, sometimes to that. He said that He had come for three sorts of people, and saying this, He turned to three different sides of the Temple, indicating three different regions of the world, wherein were all the elect comprised. Before this, on His way to the Temple, He had said to the Apostles with Him that when He should have departed from them, they should seek Him in the noonday. Peter, always so bold, asked what that meant, Then I heard Jesus saying: “At noon the sun is directly above us and there is no shadow. At morn and eve shadows follow the light, and at midnight darkness prevails. Seek Me, therefore, in the full noonday light. And you shall find Me in your own heart, provided no shadow obscures its light.” These words bore some allusion also to different parts of the world, though I cannot now recall it.
The Jews had become still more insolent. They closed the railing around the teacher’s chair and even shut in the chair itself. But when Jesus, with the disciples, again entered the hall, He grasped the railing and it opened of itself, and the chair was freed by the touch of His hand. I recall that many of John the Baptist’s disciples and some secret partisans of Jesus were present, and that He began by speaking of John and asking what they thought of him and what they thought of Himself. He desired that they should declare themselves boldly, but they were afraid to speak out. He introduced into this discourse the parable of a father and two sons. The latter were directed by their parent to dig up and weed a certain field. One of them said “Yes,” but obeyed not. The other replied “No,” but repenting, went and executed the order. Jesus dwelt long upon this parable. Later on, after His solemn entrance into Jerusalem, He again taught upon it.
Next day when Jesus was going from Bethania to the Temple, whither His disciples had preceded Him to make ready the lecture hall, a blind man cried after Him on the road and implored Him to cure him, but Jesus passed him by. The disciples were dissatisfied at this. In His discourse, Jesus referred to the incident, and gave His reasons for acting as He did. The man, He said, was blinder in his soul than in the eyes of his body. His words were very earnest. He said that there were many present who did not believe in Him and who ran after Him only through curiosity. They would abandon Him in the critical hour of trial. They were like those that followed Him as long as He fed them with the bread of the body, but when that was over, they scattered in different directions. Those present, He added, should now decide. During this speech I saw many going away, and only some few over a hundred remaining around the Lord. I saw Jesus weeping over this defection on His return to Bethania.
It was toward evening on the following day when Jesus left Bethania to go to the Temple. He was accompanied by six of His Apostles, who walked behind Him. He Himself, on entering the hall, put the seats out of the way and arranged them in order, to the great astonishment of the disciples. In His instruction He touched upon His reason for so doing, and said that He was not soon to leave them.
On the next Sabbath Jesus taught in the Temple from morning till evening, part of the time in a retired apartment in presence of the Apostles and disciples only, and another part in the lecture hall where the lurking Pharisees and other Jews could hear Him. He foretold to the Apostles and disciples, though in general terms, much of what was to happen to them in the future. Only at noon did He pause for awhile. He spoke of adulterated virtues: of a love wherein self-love and covetousness predominate; of a humility mixed up with vanity; and He showed how easily evil glides into all things. He said that many believed it was an earthly kingdom and some post of honor in it that they were to expect; and that they hoped by His means to become elevated without pain or trouble on their own part, just as even the pious mother of the sons of Zebedee had petitioned Him for a distinguished place for her children. He forbade them to heap up perishable treasures, and He inveighed against avarice. I felt that this was aimed at Judas. He spoke also of mortification, of prayer, of fasting, and of hypocrisy which influences many in these holy practices; and here He made mention of the wrath of the Pharisees against the disciples when the latter, one year before, had stripped some ears of corn. He repeated many of His former instructions, and gave some general explanations upon His own manner of acting in the past. He spoke of His recent absence from them, praised the conduct of the disciples during it, made mention of those that had accompanied Him, commending their discretion and docility and recalling in what peace the journey with them had been made. Jesus spoke with much emotion. Then He touched upon the near fulfillment of His mission,
His Passion, and the speedy approach of His own end, before which, however, He would make a solemn entrance into Jerusalem. He alluded to the merciless treatment He would undergo, but added that He must suffer, and suffer exceedingly, in order to satisfy Divine Justice. He spoke of His Blessed Mother, recounting what she too was to suffer with Him, and in what manner it would be effected. He exposed the deep corruption and guilt of mankind, and explained that without His Passion no man could be justified. The Jews stormed and jeered when Jesus spoke of His sufferings and their power to satisfy for sin, and some of them left the hall to report to the mob whom they had appointed to spy Jesus. But Jesus addressed His own followers, telling them not to be troubled, that His time was not yet come, and that this also was a part of His Passion.
In this instruction He made some allusion, though without naming it particularly, to the Cenacle, to the house in which the Last Supper was to be eaten and in which later on they were to receive the Holy Spirit. He spoke of their assembling in it and of their partaking of a strengthening and life-giving Food in which He Himself would remain with them forever. There was some mention made also of His secret disciples, the sons of Simeon, and others. He excused them before the open disciples and designated their caution as necessary, for, as He said, they had a different vocation. As some people from Nazareth had come to the Temple out of curiosity to hear Him, He said, in a way for them to understand, that they were not in earnest.
When the Apostles and disciples alone were standing around Jesus, He touched upon many things that would take place after His return to the Father. To Peter He said that he would have much to suffer, but he should not fear, he should stand firm at the head of the Community which would increase wonderfully. For three years he should with John and James the Less remain with the Faithful in Jerusalem. Then He spoke of the youth who was to be first to shed his blood for Him, but without mentioning Stephen by name, and of the conversion of his persecutor, who would afterward do more in His service than many others. Here too, He forbore giving Paul’s name. Jesus’ hearers could not readily comprehend His last words.
He predicted the persecutions that would arise against Lazarus and the holy women, and told the Apostles whither they should retire during the first six months after His death: Peter, John, and James the Less were to remain in Jerusalem; Zacheus was to go to the region of Galaad; Philip and Bartholomew, to Gessur on the confines of Syria. At these words, I saw in a vision the four Apostles crossing the Jordan near Jericho, and then proceeding northward. I saw Philip healing a woman in Gessur where at first he was greatly beloved, though later on he was persecuted. Not far from Gessur was Bartholomew’s birthplace. He was descended from a king of the city, a relative of David. His refined manners distinguished him among the other Apostles. These four Apostles did not remain together; they worked in different parts of the country. Galaad, whither Andrew and Zacheus went, was at no great distance from Pella, where Judas had passed his early years.
James the Greater and one of the disciples were sent to the pagan regions north of Capharnaum. Thomas and Matthew were dispatched to Ephesus, in order to prepare the country where at a future day Jesus’ Mother and many of those that believed in Him were to dwell. They wondered greatly at the fact of Mary’s going to live there. Thaddeus and Simon were to go first to Samaria, though none cared to go there. All preferred cities entirely pagan.
Jesus told them that they would all meet twice in Jerusalem before going to preach the Gospel in distant pagan lands. He spoke of a man between Samaria and Jericho, who would, like Himself, perform many miracles, though by the power of the devil. He would manifest a desire of conversion, and they must kindly receive him, for even the devil should contribute to His glory. Simon Magus was meant by these words of Jesus. During this instruction the Apostles, as in a familiar conference, questioned Jesus upon whatever they could not understand, and He explained to them as far as was necessary. Everything was perfectly natural.
Three years after the Crucifixion all the Apostles met in Jerusalem, after which Peter and John left the city and Mary accompanied the latter to Ephesus. Then arose in Jerusalem the persecution against Lazarus, Martha, and Magdalen. The last-named had up to that time been doing penance in the desert, in the cave to which Elizabeth had escaped with John during the massacre of the Innocents. The Apostles, in that first reunion, brought together all that belonged to the body of the Church. When half of the time of Mary’s life after Christ’s Ascension had flown, about the sixth year after that event, the Apostles were again assembled in Jerusalem. It was then they drew up the Creed, made rules, relinquished all that they possessed, distributed it to the poor, and divided the Church into dioceses, after which they separated and went into far-off heathen countries. At Mary’s death they all met again for the last time. When they again separated for distant countries, it was until death.
When Jesus left the Temple after this discourse, the enraged Pharisees lay in wait for Him both at the gate and on the way, for they intended to stone Him. But Jesus avoided them, proceeded to Bethania, and for three days went no more to the Temple. He wanted to give the Apostles and disciples time to think over what they had heard. Meantime they referred to Him for further explanations upon many points. Jesus ordered them to commit to writing what He had said relative to the future. I saw that Nathanael the Bridegroom, who was very skillful with the pen, did it, and I wondered that it was not John, but a disciple who recorded the predictions. Nathanael at that time had no other name. It was only at Baptism that he received a second.
During these days, three young men came to Lazarus at Bethania from the Chaldean city of Sikdor, and he procured them quarters at the disciples’ inn. These youths were very tall and slight, very handsome and active, and much nobler in figure than the Jews, Jesus spoke only a few words to them. He directed them to the Centurion of Capharnaum, who had been a heathen like themselves, and who would instruct them. Then I saw the youths with the Centurion, who was relating to them the cure of his servant. He told them that through shame of the idols that were in his house, and because it was just the time at which the pagan carnival was celebrated, he had begged Jesus, the Son of God, not to enter into his idolatrous household. Five weeks before the Jewish feast of Easter, the pagans celebrated their carnival, during which they gave themselves up to all kinds of infamous practices. The Centurion Cornelius after his conversion gave all his metallic idols in alms to the poor, or to make sacred vessels for the Temple. The three Chaldeans returned from Capharnaum to Bethania and thence back to Sikdor, where they gathered together the other converts, and with them and their treasures went to join King Mensor.
Up to this time Jesus had gone to the Temple with only three companions; but now He began to go thither escorted by His whole company of Apostles and disciples. I saw the Pharisees retiring from Jesus’ chair into the surrounding halls, and peering at Him through the arches when He began to preach and to predict His Passion to the disciples.
In the wall of one of the fore courts just in front of the entrance of the Temple, seven or eight ven-dors had taken up their quarters to sell eatables and some kind of red beverage in little flasks. They were like sutlers, and I know not whether they were very devout or not, but I often saw the Pharisees sneaking around to them. When Jesus, who had passed the night in Jerusalem, went next morning to the Temple and reached the hall in which these vendors were, He ordered them to be off instantly with all their goods. As they hesitated to obey, He put His own hand to the work, gathered their things together, and had them removed. When He afterwards entered the Temple, He found the teacher’s chair occupied by others, but they retired as hurriedly as if He had chased them away.
On the following Sabbath, after the Jews had finished their sacred services, Jesus again taught in the Temple and prolonged His instruction late into the night. In it He made frequent allusions to His journey among the pagans, so that it could be easily understood how good they were and how willing to receive His teachings. In support of His words, He appealed to the recent arrival of the three Chaldeans. They had not seen Jesus when He was in Sikdor, but they had heard of His doctrine, and were so impressed by it that they had journeyed to Bethania for more instruction.
On the following day Jesus caused three arches in the lecture hall to be closed, that He might instruct His Apostles and disciples in private. He repeated on this occasion His early instructions upon His own fast in the desert. He alluded also to many events connected with His own past life, and said why and how He had chosen the Apostles. During this last part of His discourse, He placed the Apostles in pairs before Him. With Judas, however, He spoke but few words. Treason was already in his heart. He was becoming furious, and had had an interview with the Pharisees. After finishing with the Apostles, Jesus turned to the disciples, and spoke of their vocation also.
I saw that all were very sad. Jesus’ Passion was near.
Jesus’ last instruction in the Temple before Palm Sunday lasted four long hours. The Temple was full, and all who wanted to hear Him could do so. Many women listened from a space separated by a grating. He again explained many things from His former instructions and His own actions. He spoke of the cure of the man at the Pool of Bethsaida, and said why He had healed him just at that time; of the raising of the son of the widow of Naim, also that of the daughter of Jairus, and said why the former had immediately followed Him, but the latter not. Then He referred to what was soon about to happen, and said that He should be abandoned by His own. At first He would with splendor and openly, as in triumph, enter the Temple, and the lips of the suckling that had never yet spoken would announce His entrance. Many would break off branches from the trees and strew them before Him, while others would spread their mantles in His way. The one, He explained, namely those that strewed branches before Him, would not renounce for Him what they pos-sessed, and would not remain faithful to Him; but they that spread their garments on the way would detach themselves from what they had, would put on the new man, and would remain faithful to Him. Jesus did not say that He was going to enter Jerusalem on an ass; consequently, many thought that He would celebrate His entrance with splendor and magnificence, with horses and camels in His train. His words gave rise to a great whispering in the crowd. They did not take His expression, literally. They understood it to mean a longer time; therefore, Jesus repeated significantly: “Three times five days!”
This instruction occasioned great anxiety among the Scribes and Pharisees. They held a meeting in Caiaphas’ house, and issued a prohibition against anyone’s harboring Jesus and His disciples. They also set spies at the gates to watch for Him, but He remained concealed in Bethania with Lazarus.
Jesus’ Solemn Entrance Into Jerusalem
Jesus with Peter, John, James, and Lazarus, and the Blessed Virgin with six of the holy women, remained hidden at Lazarus’. They were in the same subterranean apartments in which Lazarus lay concealed during the persecution that had risen against him. These apartments were under the rear of the building, and were comfortably fitted up with carpets and seats. Jesus, along with the three Apostles and Lazarus, was in a large hall supported by pillars and lighted by lamps, while the holy women were in a three-cornered apartment shut in by gratings. Some of the other Apostles and disciples were at the disciples’ near Bethania, and the rest in other places. Jesus told the Apostles that next morning would usher in the day of His entrance into Jerusalem, and He directed all the absent Apostles to be summoned. They came, and He had a long interview with them. They were very sad. Toward the traitor Judas, Jesus was gracious in manner, and it was to him that He entrusted the commission to summon the disciples. Judas was very fond of such commissions, for he was desirous to pass for a person of some consequence and importance.
After that, Jesus propounded to the holy women and Lazarus a great parable, which He explained. He began His instruction by speaking of Paradise, the fall of Adam and Eve, the Promise of a Redeemer, the progress of evil, and the small number of faithful laborers in the garden of God. From this, He went on to the parable of a king who owned a magnificent garden. A splendidly dressed lady came to him, and pointed out near his own a garden of aromatic shrubs, which belonged to a good, devout man. She said to the king: “Since this man has left the country, you should purchase his garden and plant it with aromatic shrubs.” But the king wanted to plant garlic and similar strong-smelling herbs in the poor man’s garden, although the owner looked upon it as a sacred spot in which he desired to see only the finest aromatics. The king caused the good man to be called, and proposed that he should remove from the place or sell his garden to him. Then I saw the good man in his garden. I saw that he cultivated it carefully and was desirous of keeping it. But he had to suffer great persecutions. His enemies went even so far as to attempt to stone him in his own garden, and he fell quite sick. But at last the king with all his glory came to naught, while the good man, his garden, and all belonging to him prospered and increased. I saw this blessing spreading out like the branches of a tree, and filling all parts of the world. I saw the whole parable while Jesus was relating it. It passed before me in tableaux and looked like a true history. The flourishing of the good man’s garden was shown me under the figure of gain, of growth, of the development of all kinds of shrubs, also as a watering by means of far-flowing streams, as overflowing fountains of light, and as floating clouds dissolving in rain and dew. The blessing arose from these sources and spread around and abroad even to the ends of the earth. Jesus explained this parable as having reference to Paradise, the Fall of Man, Redemption, the kingdom of this world, and the Lord’s vineyard in it. This vineyard, Jesus said, would be attacked by the prince of the world, who would ill-treat in it the Son of God, to whom the Father had entrusted its care. The parable signified also that as sin and death had begun in a garden, so the Passion of Him who had taken upon Himself the sins of the world would begin in a garden, and that after satisfying for the same, the victory over death would be gained by His Resurrection in a garden.
This instruction was followed by a short repast, after which Jesus continued to speak with the dis-ciples, who as soon as it grew dark had gathered in the neighboring houses.
Early next morning Jesus sent Eremenzear and Silas to Jerusalem, not by the direct route, but by a road that ran through the enclosed gardens and fields near Bethphage. They were commissioned to make that road passable by opening the hedges and removing the barriers. He told them that in the meadow near the inn outside Bethphage (through which ran the road), they would find a she-ass with her foal; they should fasten the ass to the hedge, and, if questioned as to why they did that, they should answer that the Lord would have it so. Then they should remove every obstruction from the road leading to the Temple, which done, they were to return to Him.
I saw the two setting out on their journey, opening the hedges, and removing all obstructions from the way. The large public house, near which asses were grazing in a meadow, had a courtyard and fountain. The asses belonged to some strangers who, on going to the Temple, had left their beasts here. The disciples bound the she-ass, as directed, and let the foal run at large. Then I saw them continuing their journey to the Temple and on the way putting to one side whatever might prove an obstruction. The vendors of eatables, whom Jesus had recently dispersed, had again taken up their
stand at a corner near the entrance to the Temple. The two disciples went to them and bade them retire, because the Lord was about to make His solemn entrance. After they had thus executed all points of their commission, they returned to Bethphage by the direct route, the other side of Mount Olivet.
Meanwhile Jesus had sent a band of the eldest disciples to Jerusalem by the usual route with orders to go, some to the house of Mary Marcus, others to that of Veronica, to Nicodemus, to the sons of Simeon, and to friends like them, and notify them of His approaching entrance. After that, He Himself with all the Apostles and the rest of the disciples set out for Bethphage. The holy women, headed by the Blessed Virgin, followed at some distance. When the party reached a certain house on the road surrounded by gardens, courtyards, and porticos, they paused for a considerable time. Jesus sent two of the disciples to Bethphage with covers and mantles which they had brought with them from Bethania, in order to prepare the ass of which they had been directed to say that the Lord had need. Meantime He instructed the immense crowd of people that had gathered under the open portico. The latter was supported by polished pillars, between which the holy women took up a place to listen to Him. Jesus stood on an elevated platform; the disciples and the crowd filled the courtyard. The portico was ornamented with foliage and garlands. The walls were entirely covered with them, and from the ceiling depended very fine and delicate festoons. Jesus spoke of foresight and of the necessity of using one’s own wits, for the disciples had questioned Him upon His taking that by route. He answered that it was in order to shun unnecessary dangers. One should protect himself, He said, and take care not to leave things to chance; therefore He had beforehand ordered the ass to be bound.
And now Jesus arranged His procession. The Apostles He ordered to proceed, two and two, before Him, saying that from this moment and after His death, they should everywhere head the Community Peter went first, followed by those that were to bear the Gospel to the most distant regions, while John and James the Less immediately preceded Jesus. All carried palm branches. As soon as the two disciples that were waiting near Bethphage spied the procession coming, they hurried forward to meet it, taking with them the two animals. The she-ass was covered with trappings that hung to its feet, the head and tail alone being visible.
Jesus now put on the beautiful festal robe of fine white wool which one of the disciples had brought with him for that purpose. It was long and flowing with a train. The broad girdle that confined it at the waist bore an inscription in letters. He then put around His neck a wide stole that reached to the knees, on the two ends of which something like shields was embroidered in brown. The two disciples assisted Jesus to mount the cross-seat on the ass. The animal had no bridle, but around its neck was a narrow strip of stuff that hung down loose. I know not whether Jesus rode on the she-ass or on its foal, for they were of the same size. The rider less animal ran by the other’s side. Eliud and Silas walked on either side of the Lord, and Eremenzear behind Him; then followed the disciples most recently received, some of whom He had brought back with Him from His last great journey, and others that had been received still later. When the procession was ranged in order, the holy women, two and two, brought up the rear. The Blessed Virgin, who up to this time had always stayed in the background, now went at their head. As the procession moved forward, all began to sing, and the people of Bethphage, who had gathered around the two disciples while they were awaiting Jesus’ coming, followed after like a swarm. Jesus reminded the disciples of what He had previously told them to notice, namely, those that would spread their garments in His path, those that would break off branches from the trees, and those that would render Him the double honor, for these last would devote themselves and their worldly goods to His service.
From Bethania to Jerusalem, the traveler in those days met Bethphage to the right and rather more in the direction of Bethlehem. The Mount of Olives separated the two roads. It lay on low, swampy ground, and was a poor little place consisting of only a row of houses on either side of the road. The house near which the asses were grazing stood some distance from the road in a beautiful meadow between Bethphage and Jerusalem. On this side the road ascended, but on the other it sank into the valley between Mount Olivet and the hills of Jerusalem. Jesus had tarried awhile between Bethania and Bethphage, and it was on the road beyond the latter place that the two disciples were waiting for Him with the ass.
In Jerusalem the vendors and people whom Eremenzear and Silas had that morning told to clear the Temple because the Lord was coming, began straightaway and most joyfully to adorn the road. They tore up the pavement and planted trees, the top branches of which they bound together to form an arch, and then hung them with all kinds of yellow fruit like very large apples. The disciples that Jesus had sent on to Jerusalem, innumerable friends who had gone up to the city for the approaching feast (the roads were swarming with travelers), and many of the Jews that had been present at Jesus’ last discourse crowded to that side of the city by which He was expected to enter. There were also many strangers in Jerusalem. They had heard of the raising of Lazarus, and they wished to see Jesus. Then when the news spread that He was approaching, they too went out to meet Him.
The road from Bethphage to Jerusalem ran through the lower part of the valley of Mount Olivet, which was not so elevated as the plateau upon which the Temple stood. Going up from Bethphage to the Mount of Olives, one could see, through the high hills that bordered the route on either side, the Temple standing opposite. From this point to Jerusalem the road was delightful, full of little gardens and trees.
Crowds came pouring out of the city to meet the Apostles and disciples, who were approaching with songs and canticles. At this juncture, several aged priests in the insignia of their office stepped out into the road and brought the procession to a standstill. The unexpected movement silenced the singing. The priests called upon Jesus to say what He meant by such proceedings on the part of His followers, and why He did not prohibit this noise and excitement. Jesus answered that if His followers were silent, the stones on the road would cry out. At these words, the priests retired.
Then the High Priests took counsel together, and ordered to be called before them all the husbands and relatives of the women that had gone out of Jerusalem with the children to meet Jesus. When they made their appearance in answer to the summons, they were all shut up in the great court, and emissaries were sent out to spy what was going on.
Many among the crowd that followed Jesus to the Temple not only broke off branches from the trees and strewed them in the way, but snatched off their mantles and spread them down, singing and shouting all the while. I saw many that had quite despoiled themselves of their upper garments for that purpose. The children had rushed from the schools, and now ran rejoicing with the crowd. Veronica, who had two children by her, threw her own veil in the way and, snatching another from one of the children, spread that down also. She and the other women joined the holy women, who were in the rear of the procession. There were about seventeen of them. The road was so thickly covered with branches, garments, and carpets that the procession moved on quite softly through the numerous triumphal arches that spanned the space between the walls on either side.
Jesus wept, as did the Apostles also, when He told them that many who were now shouting acclamations of joy would soon deride Him, and that a certain one would even betray Him. He looked upon the city, and wept over its approaching destruction. When He entered the gate, the cries of joy became still greater. Many sick of all kinds had been led or carried thither, consequently Jesus frequently halted, dismounted, and cured all without distinction. Many of His enemies had mingled with the crowd, and they now uttered cries with a view to raise an insurrection.
The nearer to the Temple, the more magnificent was the ornamentation of the road. On either side hedges had been put up to form enclosures, in which little animals with long necks, kids, and sheep, all adorned with garlands and wreaths around their neck, were skipping about as if in little gardens. The background of these enclosures was formed of bushes. In this part of the city there were always, and especially toward the Paschal feast, chosen animals for sale, pure and spotless, destined for sacrifice. To move from the city gate to the Temple, although a distance of about half an hour only, the procession took three hours.
By this time the Jews had ordered all the houses, as well as the city gate, to be closed, so that when Jesus dismounted before the Temple, and the disciples wanted to take the ass back to where they had found it, they were obliged to wait inside the gate till evening. In the Temple were the holy women and crowds of people. All had to remain the whole day without food, for this part of the city had been barricaded. Magdalen was especially troubled by the thought that Jesus had taken no nourishment.
When toward evening the gate was again opened, the holy women went back to Bethania, and Jesus followed later with the Apostles. Magdalen, worried because Jesus and His followers had had no refreshment in Jerusalem, now prepared a meal for them herself. It was already dark when Jesus entered the courtyard of Lazarus’ dwelling. Magdalen brought Him a basin of water, washed His feet, and dried them with a towel that was hanging over her shoulder. The food that she had prepared did not amount to a regular meal, it was merely a luncheon. While the Lord was partaking of it, she approached and poured balm over His head. I saw Judas, who passed her at this moment, muttering his dissatisfaction, but she replied to his murmurs by saying that she could never thank the Lord sufficiently for what He had done for her and her brother. After that Jesus went to the public house of Simon the leper, where several of the disciples were gathered, and taught a little while. From there He went out to the disciples’ inn, where He spoke for some time, and then returned to the house of Simon the leper.
As Jesus next day was going to Jerusalem with the Apostles, He was hungry, but it seemed to me that it was after the conversion of the Jews and the accomplishment of His own mission. He sighed for the hour when His Passion would be over, for He knew its immensity and dreaded it in advance. He went to a fig tree on the road and looked up at it. When He saw no fruit, but only leaves upon it, He cursed it that it should wither and never more bear fruit. And thus, did He say, would it happen to those that would not acknowledge Him. I understood that the fig tree signified the Old Law; the vine, the New. On the way to the Temple, I saw a heap of branches and garlands from yesterday’s triumph. In the outer portico of the Temple, many vendors had again established themselves. Some of them had on their backs cases, or boxes, which they could unfold and which they placed on a pedestal. The latter they carried along with them. When folded, it was like a walk-ing stick. I saw lying on the tables heaps of pence, bound together in different ways by little chains, hooks, and cords, so as to form various figures. Some were yellow; others, white, brown, and variegated. I think they were pieces of money intended for ornamental pendants. I saw also numbers of cages with birds, standing one above another and, in one of the porticos, there were calves and other cattle. Jesus ordered the dealers to be off, and as they hesitated to obey, He doubled up a cincture like a whip and drove them from side to side and beyond the precincts of the Temple.
While Jesus was teaching, some strangers of distinction from Greece 12:20-37) dispatched their servants from the inn to ask Philip how they could converse with the Lord without mingling with the crowd. Philip passed the word to Andrew, who in turn transmitted it to the Lord. Jesus replied that
He would meet them on the road between the city gate and the house of John Mark when He should have left the Temple to return to Bethania. After this interruption, Jesus continued His discourse. He was very much troubled and when, with folded hands, He raised His eyes to Heaven, I saw a flash of light descend upon Him from a resplendent cloud, and heard a loud report. The people glanced up frightened, and began to whisper to one another, but Jesus went on speaking. This was repeated several times, after which I saw Jesus come down from the teacher’s chair, mingle with the disciples in the crowd, and leave the Temple.
When Jesus taught, the disciples threw around Him a white mantle of ceremony which they always carried with them; and when He left the teacher’s chair, they took it off so that, clothed like the others, He could more easily escape the notice of the crowd. Around the teacher’s chair were three platforms, one above the other, each enclosed by a balustrade, which was ornamented with carving and, I think, molding. There were all sorts of brown heads and knobs on them. I saw no carved images in the Temple, although there were various kinds of ornamentation: vines, grapes, animals for sacrifice, and figures like swathed infants, such as I used to see Mary embroidering.
It was still bright daylight when Jesus and His followers reached the neighborhood of John Mark’s house. Here the Greeks stepped up, and Jesus spoke to them some minutes. The strangers had some women with them, but they remained standing back. These people were converted. They were among the first to join the disciples at Pentecost and to receive Baptism.
Magdalen Repeats Her Anointing of Jesus
Full of trouble, Jesus went back with the Apostles to Bethania for the Sabbath. While He was teaching in the Temple, the Jews had been ordered to keep their houses closed, and it was forbidden to offer Him or His disciples any refreshment. On reaching Bethania, they went to the public house of Simon, the healed leper, where a meal awaited them. Magdalen, filled with compassion for Jesus’ fatiguing exertions, met the Lord at the door. She was habited in a penitential robe and girdle, her flowing hair concealed by a black veil. She cast herself at His feet and with her hair wiped from them the dust, just as one would clean the shoes of another. She did it openly before all, and many were scandalized at her conduct.
After Jesus and the disciples had prepared themselves for the Sabbath, that is, put on the garments prescribed and prayed under the lamp, they stretched themselves at table for the meal. Toward the end of it, Magdalen, urged by love, gratitude, contrition, and anxiety, again made her appearance. She went behind the Lord’s couch, broke a little flask of precious balm over His head and poured some of it upon His feet, which she again wiped with her hair. That done, she left the dining hall. Several of those present were scandalized, especially Judas, who excited Matthew, Thomas, and John Mark to displeasure. But Jesus excused her, on account of the love she bore Him. She often anointed Him in this way. Many of the facts mentioned only once in the Gospels happened frequently.
The meal was followed by prayer, after which the Apostles and disciples separated. Judas, full of chagrin, hurried back to Jerusalem that night. I saw him, torn by envy and avarice, running in the darkness over Mount Olivet, and it seemed as if a sinister glare surrounded him, as if the devil were lighting his steps. He hurried to the house of Caiaphas, and spoke a few words at the door. He could not stay long in anyone place. Thence he ran to the house of John Mark. The disciples were wont to lodge there, so Judas pretended that he had come from Bethania for that purpose. This was the first definite step in his treacherous course.
When, on the following morning, Jesus was going from Bethania to Jerusalem with some of His disciples, they found the fig tree that Jesus had cursed entirely withered, and the disciples wondered at it. 11:20). I saw John and Peter halting on the roadside near the tree. When Peter showed his astonishment, Jesus said to them: “If ye believe, ye shall do still more wonderful things. Yea, at your word mountains will cast themselves into the sea.” He continued His instruction on this object, and said something about the signification of the fig tree.
A great many strangers were gathered in Jerusalem, and both morning and evening, preaching and divine service went on in the Temple. Jesus taught in the interim. He stood when preaching, but if anyone wanted to put a question to Him, He sat down while the questioner rose.
During His discourse today, some priests and Scribes stepped up to Him and inquired by what right He acted as He did, Jesus answered: “I too shall ask you something; and when you answer Me, I shall tell you by what authority I do these things.” Then He asked them by what authority John had baptized, and when they would not answer Him, He replied that neither would He tell them by what authority He acted.
In His afternoon instruction, Jesus introduced the similitude of the vine dresser, also that of the cornerstone rejected by the builders. In the former, He explained that the murdered vine dresser typified Himself, and the murderers, the Pharisees. Thereupon these last-named became so exasperated that they would willingly have arrested Him then and there but they dared not, as they saw how all the people clung to Him. They determined, however, to set five of their confidential followers, who were relatives of some of the disciples, to spy Him, and they gave them orders to try to catch Him by captious questions. These five men were some of them followers of the Pharisees; others, servants of Herod.
As Jesus was returning toward evening to Bethania, some kindhearted people approached Him on the road and offered Him something to drink. He passed the night at the disciples’ inn near Bethania.
Next day Jesus taught for three hours in the Temple upon the parable of the royal wedding feast, the spies of the Pharisees being present. Jesus returned early to Bethania, where He again taught. As He mounted the teacher’s chair next day in the circular hall of the Temple, the five men appointed by the Pharisees pressed up through the aisle that ran from the door to the chair, the space all around being filled by the audience, and asked Him whether they ought to pay tribute to Caesar. Jesus replied by telling them to show Him the coin of the tribute; whereupon one of them drew from his breast pocket a yellow coin about the size of a Prussian dollar, and pointed to the image of the Emperor. Then Jesus told them that they should render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.
After that Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, which He likened to a man who cultivated a plant that never ceased to grow and spread its branches. To the Jews, it would come not again; but those Jews that would be converted, would attain the Kingdom of God. That Kingdom would go to the heathens, and a time would come when in the East all would be darkness, but in the West, perfect day. He told them also that they should perform their good works in secret, as He Himself had done, and that He would receive His reward at noonday. He spoke too of a murderer’s being preferred to Himself.
Later in the day, seven of the Sadducees went to Jesus and questioned Him upon the resurrection of the dead. They brought forward something about a woman that had already had seven husbands. Jesus answered that after the resurrection there would be no longer any sex or any marrying, and that God is a God of the living and not of the dead. I saw that His hearers were astounded at His teaching. The Pharisees left their seats and conferred together. One of them, named Manasses, who held an office in the Temple, very modestly asked Jesus which of the Commandments was the greatest. Jesus answered the question, whereupon Manasses heartily praised Him. Then Jesus responded that the Kingdom of God was not far from him, and He closed His discourse by some words on Christ (the Messiah) and David.
All were dumbfounded; they had nothing to reply. When Jesus left the Temple, a disciple asked Him: “What mean the words that Thou didst say to Manasses, ‘Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God’?” The Lord answered that Manasses would believe and follow Him, but that they (the disciples) should be silent on that head. From that hour Manasses took no part against Jesus. He lived in retirement till the Ascension, when he declared himself for Him and joined the disciples. He was between forty and fifty years old.
That evening Jesus went to Bethania, ate with the Apostles at Lazarus’, then visited the inn where the women were assembled, taught them until after nightfall, and lodged at the disciples’ inn.
While Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem, I saw the holy women frequently praying together in the arbor in which Magdalen was sitting when Martha called her to welcome Jesus before the raising of Lazarus. They observed a certain order at prayer: sometimes they stood together, sometimes they knelt, or again they sat apart.
On the next day Jesus taught about six hours in the Temple. The disciples, impressed by His instruction of the preceding day, asked what was meant by the words: “Thy Kingdom come to us!” Jesus gave them a long explanation, and added that He and the Father were one, and that He was going to the Father. Then they asked, if He and the Father were one, why was it necessary for Him to go to the Father. Thereupon He spoke to them of His mission, saying that He would withdraw from the humanity, from the flesh, and that whoever separated from his own fallen nature, to go went at the same time to the Father. Jesus’ words on this head were so touching that the Apostles, ravished with joy and transported out of themselves, started up and exclaimed: “Lord, we will spread Thy Kingdom to the end of the world!” But Jesus responded: “Whoever talks in that way accomplishes nothing.” At this the Apostles became sad. Jesus said again: “You must not say, ‘I have cast out devils in Thy name, I have done this and that in Thy name,’ nor should ye do your good works in public.” And then He told them that the last time He had left them, He had done many things in secret, but that they had at the same time insisted that He should go to His own city (Nazareth) although the Jews, on account of the raising of Lazarus, wanted to kill Him! But how then would all things have been accomplished? The Apostles then asked how could His Kingdom become known if they had to keep all things secret. But I do not remember what answer Jesus gave them. They again grew quite dejected. Toward noon the disciples left the Temple, but Jesus and the Apostles remained. Some of the former returned soon after with a refreshing drink for Jesus.
After midday, the Scribes and Pharisees crowded in such numbers around Jesus that the disciples were pushed to some distance from Him. He spoke very severely against the Pharisees, and I heard Him say once during this stern lecture: “You shall not now arrest Me, because My hour has not yet come.”
Instruction at Lazarus’. Peter Receives a Severe Reprimand
Jesus spent the whole of this day at Lazarus’ with the holy women and the Twelve Apostles. In the morning He instructed the holy women in the disciples’ inn. Toward three o’clock in the afternoon, a great repast was served in the subterranean dining hall. The women waited at table, and afterward withdrew to the grated, three-cornered apartment, to listen to the instruction. In the course of it, Jesus told them that they would not now be together long, they would not again eat at Lazarus’, though they would do so once more at Simon’s, but on that last occasion they would not be so tranquil as they now were. He invited them all to be perfectly free with Him, and to ask Him whatever they wanted to know. On hearing this, they began to ask numerous questions, especially Thomas, who had a great many doubts. John, too, frequently put a question, but softly and gently.
After the meal, as Jesus was speaking of the approach of the time when the Son of Man would be treacherously betrayed, Peter stepped forward eagerly and asked why He always spoke as if they were going to betray Him. Now, though he could believe that one of the others (the disciples) might be guilty of such a thing, yet He would answer for The Twelve that they would not betray Him! Peter spoke boldly, as if his honor had been attacked. Jesus replied with more warmth than I ever before saw in Him, more even than had appeared when He said to Peter: “Get thee behind Me, Satan!” He said that without His grace, without prayer, they would all fall away, that the hour would come in which they would all abandon Him. There was only one among them, He continued, who wavered not, and yet he too would flee, though he would come back again. By these words Jesus meant John who, at the moment of Jesus’ arrest, fled, leaving his mantle behind him. All became very much troubled, excepting Judas who, while Jesus was talking, put on a friendly, smiling, and insinuating air.
When they asked Jesus about the Kingdom that was to come to them, His answer was inexpressibly kind. He told them that another Spirit would come upon them and then only would they understand all things. He had to go to the Father and send them the Spirit which proceeded from the Father and Himself. I distinctly remember His saying this. He said something more, but I cannot repeat it clearly. It was to this effect, that He had come in the flesh in order to redeem man, that there was something material in His influence upon them, that the body works in a corporeal manner, and it was for that reason they could not understand Him. But He would send the Spirit, who would open their understanding. Then He spoke of troublous times to come, when all would have to suffer like a woman in the pains of childbirth, of the beauty of the human soul created to the likeness of God, and He showed how glorious a thing it is to save a soul and lead it home to Heaven. He recalled to them how many times they had misunderstood Him, and His own forbearance with them; in like manner should they, He said, treat with sinners after His departure. When Peter reminded Him that He had Himself been sometimes full of fire and zeal, Jesus explained the difference between true and false zeal.
This instruction lasted until late into the night, when Nicodemus and one of Simeon’s sons came to Jesus secretly. It was past midnight before they retired to rest. Jesus told them to sleep now in peace, for the time would soon come when, anxious and troubled, they would be without sleep; this would be followed by another time when, in the midst of persecution, a stone under their head, they would sleep as sweetly as Jacob at the foot of the ladder that reached to Heaven. When Jesus concluded His discourse, all exclaimed: “Lord, how short was this meal! How short this evening!”
The Widow’s Mite
Very early the next morning Jesus repaired to the Temple—not, however, to the common lecture hall, but to another in which Mary had made her offering. In the center of the hall, or rather, nearer to the entrance, stood the money box, an angular pillar, about half the height of a man, in which were three funnel-shaped openings to receive the money offerings, and at its foot was a little door. The box was covered with a red cloth over which hung a white transparent one. To the left was the seat for the priest who maintained order, and a table upon which could be laid doves and other objects brought as offerings. To the right and left of the entrance stood the seats for the women and the men, respectively. The rear of the hall was cut off by a grating, behind which the altar had been put up when Mary presented the Child Jesus in the Temple.
Jesus today took the seat by the money box. It was an offering day for all that desired to purify themselves for the Paschal feast. The Pharisees, on coming later, were greatly put out at finding Jesus there, but they declined His offer to yield to them His place. The Apostles stood near Him, two and
two. The men came first to the money box, then the women, and after making their offering, they went out by another door to the left. The crowd stood without awaiting their turn, only five being allowed to enter at a time. Jesus sat there three hours. Toward midday, as a general thing, the offerings ended, but Jesus remained much longer, to the discontent of the Pharisees. This was the hall in which He had acquitted the woman taken in adultery. The Temple was like three churches, one behind the other, each standing under an immense arch. In the first was the circular lecture hall. The place of offering in which Jesus was, lay to the right of this hall, a little toward the Sanctuary. A long corridor led to it. The last offering was made by a poor, timid widow. No one could see how much the offering was, but Jesus knew what she had given and He told His disciples that she had given more than all the rest, for she had put into the money box all that she had left to buy herself food for that day. He sent her word to wait for Him near the house of John Mark.
In the afternoon, Jesus taught again in the customary place, that is, in the portico of the Temple. The circular lecture hall was just opposite the door, and right and left were steps leading to the Sanctuary, from which again another flight conducted to the Holy of Holies. As the Pharisees approached Jesus, He alluded to their not daring to arrest Him the day before as they had intended, although He had given them a chance to do so. But His hour had not yet come, and it was not in their power to advance it; still, it would come in its own time. The Pharisees, He went on to say, should not hope to celebrate as peaceful a Pasch as in former years, for they would not know where to hide themselves; the blood of the Prophets whom they had murdered should fall upon their heads. The Prophets themselves would rise from their graves, and the earth would be moved. In spite of these signs, however, the Pharisees would remain obstinate. Then He mentioned the poor widow’s offering. When toward evening He left the Temple, He spoke to her on the way and told her that her son would follow Him. His words greatly rejoiced the poor mother. Her son joined the disciples even before the Crucifixion. The widow was very devout and strongly attached to the Jewish observances, though simpleminded and upright.
Jesus Speaks of the Destruction of the Temple
As Jesus was walking along with His disciples, one of them pointed to the Temple and made some remark on its beauty. Jesus replied that one stone of it would not remain upon another. They were going to Mount Olivet, upon one side of which was a kind of pleasure garden containing a chair for instruction and seats cut in the mossy banks. The priests were accustomed to come hither to rest at evening after a long day’s work. Jesus seated Himself in the chair, and some of the Apostles asked when the destruction of the Temple would take place. It was then that Jesus recounted the evils that were to fall upon the city, and ended with the words: “But he that shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved.” 10:22). He remained scarcely a quarter of an hour in this place.
From this point of view the Temple looked indescribably beautiful. It glistened so brightly under the rays of the setting sun that one could scarcely fix his eyes upon it. The walls were tessellated and built of beautiful sparkling stones, dark red and yellow. Solomon’s Temple had more gold in it, but this one abounded in glittering stones.
The Pharisees were very greatly exasperated on Jesus’ account. They held a council in the night and dispatched spies to watch Him. They said, if Judas would only come to them again, otherwise they did not well know how to proceed in the affair. Judas had not been with them since that first evening.
Early on the following day Jesus returned to the resting place on Mount Olivet, and again spoke of the destruction of Jerusalem, illustrating with the similitude of a fig tree that was there standing. He said that He had already been betrayed, though the traitor had not yet mentioned His name, and had merely made the offer to betray Him. The Pharisees desired to see the traitor again, but He, Jesus, wanted him to be converted, to repent, and not to despair. Jesus said all this in vague, general terms, to which Judas listened with a smile.
Jesus exhorted the Apostles not to give way to their natural fears upon what He had said to them, namely, that they would all be dispersed; they should not forget their neighbor and should not allow one sentiment to veil, to stifle another; and here He made use of the similitude of a mantle. In general terms He reproached some of them for murmuring at Magdalen’s anointing. Jesus probably said this in reference to Judas’ first definitive step toward His betrayal, which had been taken just after that action of hers—also, as a gentle warning to him for the future, since it would be after Magdalen’s last anointing that he would carry out his treacherous design. That some others were scandalized at Magdalen’s prodigal expression of love, arose from their erroneous severity and parsimony. They regarded this anointing as a luxury so often abused at worldly feasts, while overlooking the fact that such an action performed on the Holy of Holies was worthy of the highest praise.
Jesus told them, moreover, that He would only twice again teach in public. Then speaking of the end of the world and the destruction of Jerusalem, He gave them the signs by which they should know that the hour of His departure was near. There would be, He said, a strife among them as to which should be the greatest, and that would be a sign that He was about to leave them. He signified to them also that one of them would deny Him, and He told them that He said all these things to them that they might be humble and watch over themselves. He spoke with extraordinary love and patience.
About noon Jesus taught in the Temple, His subject being the ten virgins, the talents entrusted, and He again inveighed severely against the Pharisees. He repeated the words of the murdered Prophets, and several times upbraided the Pharisees for their wicked designs. He afterward told the Apostles and disciples that even where there was no longer hope of improvement, words of warning must not be withheld.
When Jesus left the Temple, a great number of pagans from distant parts approached Him. They had not, indeed, heard His teaching in the Temple, since they had not dared to set foot therein; but through the sight of His miracles, His triumphal entrance on Palm Sunday, and all the other won-ders that they had heard of Him, they wanted to be converted. Among them were some Greeks. Jesus directed them to the disciples, a few of whom He took with Him to the Mount of Olives where, in a public inn formerly used by strangers only, they lodged for the night.
Next morning, when the rest of the Apostles and disciples came thither, Jesus instructed them upon many points. He said that He would be with them at two meals more, that He was longing to celebrate with them the last Love Feast in which He would bestow upon them all that humanly He could give. After that He went with them to the Temple, where He spoke of His return to His Father and said that He was the Father’s Will, but this last expression I did not understand. He called Himself in plain terms the Salvation of mankind, said that it was He who was to put an end to the power of sin over the human race, and explained why the fallen angels were not redeemed, as well as man. The Pharisees took turns, two at a time, to spy. Jesus said that He had come to put an end to the domination of sin over man. Sin began in a garden, and in a garden it should end, for it would be in a garden that His enemies would seize Him. He reproached His hearers with the fact of their already wanting to kill Him after the raising of Lazarus, and said that He had kept Himself at a distance, that all things might be fulfilled. He divided His journey into three parts, but I no longer recollect whether it was into thrice four, or five, or six weeks. He told them also how they would treat Him and put Him to death with assassins, and yet they would not be satisfied, they would not be able to effect anything against Him after His death. He once more made mention of the murdered just who would arise again; yes, He even pointed out the spot in which their resurrection would take place. But as for the Pharisees, He continued, in fear and anguish they would see their designs against Him frustrated.
Jesus spoke likewise of Eve, through whom sin had come upon the earth; therefore it was that woman was condemned to suffer and that she dared not enter into the Sanctuary. But it was also through a woman that the cure of sin had come into the world, consequently she was freed from slavery, though not from dependence.
Jesus again took up quarters in the inn at the foot of Mount Olivet. A lamp was lighted, and the Sabbath exercises were performed.
Jesus in Bethania
Next morning Jesus went with His followers across the brook Cedron, and then northward by a row of houses between which were little grass plots on which sheep were grazing. Here was situated John Mark’s house. Jesus then turned off to Gethsemani, a little village as large as Bethphage, built on either side of the brook Cedron. John Mark’s house stood a quarter of an hour outside the gate through which the cattle were led to the cattle market on the north side of the Temple. It was built upon a high hill which, at a later period, was covered with houses. It was from here to Gethsemani one-half hour; and from Gethsemani across the Mount of Olives to Bethania, something less than an hour. The last named place lay almost in a straight line east of the Temple and, by the direct route, it may have been only one hour from Jerusalem. From certain points of the Temple and from the castles in the rear, one could descry Bethania. Bethphage, how-ever, was not in sight, as it lay low; and the view was, besides, up to the point at which the Temple could be seen through a defile of the mountain road, obstructed by the Mount of Olives. As Jesus was
Ye going over the brook Cedron to Gethsemani with the disciples, He said to the Apostles as they were entering a hollow of the Mount of Olives: “Here will ye abandon Me! Here shall I be taken prisoner!” He was very much troubled. He proceeded afterward to Lazarus’, in Bethania, thence to the disciples’ inn, after which He went with some of them around the environs of the city consoling the inhabitants, like one bidding farewell.
That evening there was a supper at Lazarus’, at which the holy women assisted in the grated apart-ment. At the close of the meal, Jesus told them all that they could have one night more of peaceful sleep.