The bitter Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ – Part 3

Judas and his band.

Judas had not expected that his treason would have produced such fatal results. He had
been anxious to obtain the promised reward, and to please the Pharisees by delivering up
Jesus into their hands, but he had never calculated on things going so far, or thought that
the enemies of his Master would actually bring him to judgment and crucify him; his mind
was engrossed with the love of gain alone, and some astute Pharisees and Sadducees, with
whom he had established an intercourse, had constantly urged him on to treason by
flattering him. He was sick of the fatiguing, wandering, and persecuted life which the
Apostles led. For several months past he had continually stolen from the alms which were
consigned to his care, and his avarice, grudging the expenses incurred by Magdalen when
she poured the precious ointment on the feet of our Lord, incited him to the commission of
the greatest of crimes. He had always hoped that Jesus would establish a temporal kingdom,
and bestow upon him some brilliant and lucrative post in it, but finding himself
disappointed, he turned his thoughts to amassing a fortune. He saw that sufferings and
persecutions were on the increase for our Lord and his followers, and he sought to make
friends with the powerful enemies of our Saviour before the time of danger, for the saw that
Jesus did not become a king, whereas the actual dignity and power of the High Priest, and
of all who were attached to his service, made a very strong impression upon his mind.
He began to enter by degrees into a close connection with their agents, who were
constantly flattering him, and assuring him in strong terms that, in any case, an end would
speedily be put to the career of our Divine Lord. He listened more and more eagerly to the
criminal suggestions of his corrupt heart, and he had done nothing during the last few days
but go backwards and forwards in order to induce the chief priests to come to some
agreement. But they were unwilling to act at once, and treated him with contempt. They
said that sufficient time would not intervene before the festival day, and that there would be
a tumult among the people. The Sanhedrin alone listened to his proposals with some degree
of attention. After Judas had sacrilegiously received the Blessed Sacrament, Satan took
entire possession of him, and he went off at once to complete his crime. He in the first place
sought those persons who had hitherto flattered and entered into agreements with him, and
who still received him with pretended friendship. Some others joined the party, and among
the number Annas and Caiphas, but the latter treated him with considerable pride and
scorn. All these enemies of Christ were extremely undecided and far from feeling any
confidence of success, because they mistrusted Judas.
I saw the empire of Hell divided against itself; Satan desired the crime of the Jews, and
earnestly longed for the death of Jesus, the Converter of souls, the holy Teacher, the Just
Man, who was so abhorrent to him; but at the same time he felt an extraordinary interior
fear of the death of the innocent Victim, who would not conceal himself from his
persecutors. I saw him then, on the one hand, stimulate the hatred and fury of the enemies
of Jesus, and on the other, insinuate to some of their number that Judas was a wicked;
despicable character, and that the sentence could not be pronounced before the festival, or a
sufficient number of witnesses against Jesus be gathered together.
Everyone proposed something different, and some questioned Judas, saying: ‘Shall we be
able to take him? Has he not armed men with him?’ And the traitor replied: ‘No, he is alone
with eleven disciples; he is greatly depressed, and the eleven are timid men.’ He told them
that now or never was the time to get possession of the person of Jesus, that later he might
no longer have it in his power to give our Lord up into their hands, and that perhaps he
should never return to him again, because for several days past it had been very clear that
the other disciples and Jesus himself suspected and would certainly kill him if he returned to
them. He told them likewise that if they did not at once seize the person of Jesus, he would
make his escape, and return with an army of his partisans, to have himself proclaimed King.
These threats of Judas produced some effect, his proposals were acceded to, and he received
the price of this treason—thirty pieces of silver. These pieces were oblong, with holes in
their sides, strung together by means of rings in a kind of chain, and bearing certain
Judas could not help being conscious that they regarded him with contempt and distrust,
for their language and gestures betrayed their feelings, and pride suggested to him to give
back the money as an offering for the Temple, in order to make them suppose his intentions
to have been just and disinterested. But they rejected his proposal, because the price of blood
could not be offered in the Temple. Judas saw how much they despised him, and his rage
was excessive. He had not expected to reap the bitter fruits of his treason even before it was
accomplished, but he had gone so far with these men that he was in their power, and escape
was no longer possible. They watched him carefully, and would not let him leave their
presence, until he had shown them exactly what steps were to be taken in order to secure the
person of Jesus. Three Pharisees accompanied him when he went down into a room where
the soldiers of the Temple (some only of whom were Jews, and the rest of various nations)
were assembled. When everything was settled, and the necessary number of soldiers
gathered together, Judas hastened first to the supper-room, accompanied by a servant of the
Pharisees, for the purpose of ascertaining whether Jesus had left, as they would have seized
his person there without difficulty, if once they had secured the doors. He agreed to send
them a messenger with the required information.
A short time before when Judas had received the price of this treason, a Pharisee had
gone out, and sent seven slaves to fetch wood with which to prepare the Cross for our
Saviour, in case he should be judged, because the next day there would not be sufficient
time on account of the commencement of the Paschal festivity. They procured this wood
from a spot about three-quarters of a mile distant, near a high wall, where there was a great
quantity of other wood belonging to the Temple, and dragged it to a square situated behind
the tribunal of Caiphas. The principal piece of the Cross came from a tree formerly growing
in the Valley of Josaphat, near the torrent of Cedron, and which, having fallen across the
stream, had been used as a sort of bridge. When Nehemias hid the sacred fire and the holy
vessels in the pool of Bethsaida, it had been thrown over the spot, together with other pieces
of wood,—then later taken away, and left on one side. The Cross was prepared in a very
peculiar manner, either with the object of deriding the royalty of Jesus, or from what men
might term chance. It was composed of five pieces of wood, exclusive of the inscription. I
saw many other things concerning the Cross, and the meaning of different circumstances
was also made known to me, but I have forgotten all that.
Judas returned, and said that Jesus was no longer in the supper-room, but that he must
certainly be on Mount Olivet, in the spot where he was accustomed to pray. He requested
that only a small number of men might be sent with him, lest the disciples who were on the
watch should perceive anything and raise a sedition. Three hundred men were to be
stationed at the gates and in the streets of Ophel, a part of the town situated to the south of
the Temple, and along the valley of Millo as far as the house of Annas, on the top of Mount
Sion, in order to be ready to send reinforcements if necessary, for, he said, all the people of
the lower class of Ophel were partisans of Jesus. The traitor likewise bade them be careful,
lest he should escape them—since he, by mysterious means, had so often hidden himself in
the mountain, and made himself suddenly invisible to those around. He recommended
them, besides, to fasten him with a chain, and make use of certain magical forms to prevent
his breaking it. The Jews listened to all these pieces of advice with scornful indifference, and
replied, ‘If we once have him in our hands, we will take care not to let him go.’
Judas next began to make his arrangements with those who were to accompany him. He
wished to enter the garden before them, and embrace and salute Jesus as if he were
returning to him as his friend and disciple, and then for the soldiers to run forward and seize
the person of Jesus. He was anxious that it should be thought they had come there by
chance, that so, when they had made their appearance, he might run away like the other
disciples and be no more heard of. He likewise thought that, perhaps, a tumult would ensue,
that the Apostles might defend themselves, and Jesus pass through the midst of his enemies,
as he had so often done before. He dwelt upon these thoughts especially, when his pride was
hurt by the disdainful manner of the Jews in his regard; but he did not repent, for he had
wholly given himself up to Satan. It was his desire also that the soldiers following him
should not carry chains and cords, and his accomplices pretended to accede to all his
wishes, although in reality they acted with him as with a traitor who was not to be trusted,
but to be cast off as soon as he had done what was wanted. The soldiers received orders to
keep close to Judas, watch him carefully, and not let him escape until Jesus was seized, for
he had received his reward, and it was feared that he might run off with the money, and
Jesus not be taken after all, or another be taken in his place. The band of men chosen to
accompany Judas was composed of twenty soldiers, selected from the Temple guard and
from others of the military who were under the orders of Annas and Caiphas. They were
dressed very much like the Roman soldiers, had morions (crested metal helmets) like them,
and wore hanging straps round their thighs, but their beards were long, whereas the Roman
soldiers at Jerusalem had whiskers only, and shaved their chins and upper lips. They all had
swords, some of them being also armed with spears, and they carried sticks with lanterns
and torches; but when they set off they only lighted one. It had at first been intended that
Judas should be accompanied by a more numerous escort, but he drew their attention to the
fact that so large a number of men would be too easily seen, because Mount Olivet
commanded a view of the whole valley. Most of the soldiers remained, therefore, at Ophel,
and sentinels were stationed on all sides to put down any attempt which might be made to
release Jesus. Judas set off with the twenty soldiers, but he was followed at some distance by
four archers, who were only common bailiffs, carrying cords and chains, and after them
came the six agents with whom Judas had been in communication for some time. One of
these was a priest and a confidant of Annas, a second was devoted to Caiphas, the third and
fourth were Pharisees, and the other two Sadducees and Herodians. These six men were
courtiers of Annas and Caiphas, acting in the capacity of spies, and most bitter enemies of
The soldiers remained on friendly terms with Judas until they reached the spot where the
road divides the Garden of Olives from the Garden of Gethsemani, but there they refused to
allow him to advance alone, and entirely changed their manner, treating him with much
insolence and harshness.

Jesus is arrested.

Jesus was standing with his three Apostles on the road between Gethsemani, and the
Garden of Olives, when Judas and the band who accompanied him made their appearance.
A warm dispute arose between Judas and the soldiers, because he wished to approach first
and speak to Jesus quietly as if nothing was the matter, and then for them to come up and
seize our Saviour, thus letting him suppose that he had no connection with the affair. But
the men answered rudely, ‘Not so, friend, thou shalt not escape from our hands until we
have the Galilean safely bound,’ and seeing the eight Apostles who hastened to rejoin Jesus
when they heard the dispute which was going on, they (notwithstanding the opposition of
Judas) called up four archers, whom they had left at a little distance, to assist. When by the
light of the moon Jesus and the three Apostles first saw the band of armed men, Peter
wished to repel them by force of arms, and said: ‘Lord, the other eight are close at hand, let
us attack the archers,’ but Jesus bade him hold his peace, and then turned and walked back
a few steps. At this moment four disciples came out of the garden, and asked what was
taking place. Judas was about to reply, but the soldiers interrupted, and would not let him
speak. These four disciples were James the Less, Philip, Thomas, and Nathaniel; the last
named, who was a son of the aged Simeon, had with a few others joined the eight Apostles
at Gethsemani, being perhaps sent by the friends of Jesus to know what was going on, or
possibly simply incited by curiosity and anxiety. The other disciples were wandering to and
fro, on the look out, and ready to fly at a moment’s notice.
Jesus walked up to the soldiers and said in a firm and clear voice, ‘Whom seek ye?’ The
soldiers answered, ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus said to them, ‘I am he.’ Scarcely had he
pronounced these words than they all fell to the ground, as if struck with apoplexy. Judas,
who stood by them, was much alarmed, and as he appeared desirous of approaching, Jesus
held out his hand and said: ‘Friend, whereto art thou come?’ Judas stammered forth something
about business which had brought him. Jesus answered in few words, the sense of which
was: ‘It were better for thee that thou hadst never been born;’ however, I cannot remember the
words exactly. In the mean time, the soldiers had risen, and again approached Jesus, but
they waited for the sign of the kiss, with which Judas had promised to salute his Master that
they might recognise him. Peter and the other disciples surrounded Judas, and reviled him
in unmeasured terms, calling him thief and traitor; he tried to mollify their wrath by all
kinds of lies, but his efforts were vain, for the soldiers came up and offered to defend him,
which proceeding manifested the truth at once.
Jesus again asked, ‘Whom seek ye?’ They replied: ‘Jesus of Nazareth.’ Jesus made answer, ‘I
have told you that I am he,’ ‘if therefore you seek me, let these go their way.’ At these words the
soldiers fell for the second time to the ground, in convulsions similar to those of epilepsy,
and the Apostles again surrounded Judas and expressed their indignation at his shameful
treachery. Jesus said to the soldiers, ‘Arise,’ and they arose, but at first quite speechless from
terror. They then told Judas to give them the signal agreed upon instantly, as their orders
were to seize upon no one but him whom Judas kissed. Judas therefore approached Jesus,
and gave him a kiss, saying, ‘Hail Rabbi.’ Jesus replied, ‘What, Judas, dost thou betray the Son
of Man with a kiss?’ The soldiers immediately surrounded Jesus, and the archers laid hands
upon him. Judas wished to fly, but the Apostles would not allow it, they rushed at the
soldiers and cried out, ‘Master, shall we strike with the sword?’ Peter, who was more impetuous
than the rest, seized the sword, and struck Malchus, the servant of the high priest, who
wished to drive away the Apostles, and cut off his right ear; Malchus fell to the ground, and
a great tumult ensued.
The archers had seized upon Jesus, and wished to bind him; while Malchus and the rest
of the soldiers stood around. When Peter struck the former, the rest were occupied in
repulsing those among the disciples who approached too near, and in pursuing those who
ran away. Four disciples made their appearance in the distance, and looked fearfully at the
scene before them; but the soldiers were still too much alarmed at their late fall to trouble
themselves much about them, and besides they did not wish to leave our Saviour without a
certain number of men to guard him. Judas fled as soon as he had given the traitorous kiss,
but was met by some of the disciples, who overwhelmed him with reproaches. Six
Pharisees, however, came to his rescue, and he escaped whilst the archers were busily
occupied in pinioning Jesus.
When Peter struck Malchus, Jesus said to him, ‘Put up again thy sword into its place; for all
that take the sword shall perish with the sword. Thinkest thou that I cannot ask my Father, and he will
give me presently more than twelve legions of angels? How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that so
it must be done?’ Then he said, ‘Let me cure this man;’ and approaching Malchus, he touched
his ear, prayed, and it wad healed. The soldiers who were standing near, as well as the
archers and the six Pharisees, far from being moved by this miracle, continued to insult our
Lord, and said to the bystanders, ‘It is a trick of the devil, the powers of witchcraft made the
ear appear to be cut off, and now the same power gives it the appearance of being healed.’
Then Jesus again addressed them, ‘You are come out as it were to a robber, with swords and
clubs, to apprehend me. I sat daily with you teaching in the Temple, and you laid not hands upon me,
but this is your hour and the power of darkness.’ The Pharisees ordered him to be bound still
more strongly, and made answer in a contemptuous tone, ‘Ah! Thou couldst not overthrow
us by thy witchcraft.’ Jesus replied, but I do not remember his words, and all the disciples
fled. The four archers and the six Pharisees did not fall to the ground at the words of Jesus,
because, as was afterwards revealed to me, they as well as Judas, who likewise did not fall,
were entirely in the power of Satan, whereas all those who fell and rose again were
afterwards converted, and became Christians; they had only surrounded Jesus, and not laid
hands upon him. Malchus was instantly converted by the cure wrought upon him, and
during the time of the Passion his employment was to carry messages backwards and
forwards to Mary and the other friends of our Lord.
The archers, who now proceeded to pinion Jesus with the greatest brutality, were pagans
of the lowest extraction, short, stout, and active, with sandy complexions, resembling those
of Egyptian slaves, and bare legs, arms, and neck.
They tied his hands as tightly as possible with hard new cords, fastening the right-hand
wrist under the left elbow, and the left-hand wrist under the right elbow. They encircled his
waist with a species of belt studded with iron points, and to this collar were appended two
leathern straps, which were crossed over his chest like a stole and fastened to the belt. They
then fastened four ropes to different parts of the belt, and by means of these ropes dragged
our Blessed Lord from side to side in the most cruel manner. The ropes were new; I think
they were purchased when the Pharisees first determined to arrest Jesus. The Pharisees
lighted fresh torches, and the procession started. Ten soldiers walked in front, the archers
who held the ropes and dragged Jesus along, followed, and the Pharisees and ten other
soldiers brought up the rear. The disciples wandered about at a distance, and wept and
moaned as if beside themselves from grief. John alone followed, and walked at no great
distance from the soldiers, until the Pharisees, seeing him, ordered the guards to arrest him.
They endeavoured to obey, but he ran away, leaving in their hands a cloth with which he
was covered, and of which they had taken hold when they endeavoured to seize him. He
had slipped off his coat, that he might escape more easily from the hands of his enemies,
and kept nothing on but a short under garment without sleeves, and the long band which the
Jews usually wore, and which was wrapped round his neck, head, and arms. The archers
behaved in the most cruel manner to Jesus as they led him along; this they did to curry
favour with the six Pharisees, who they well knew perfectly hated and detested our Lord.
They led him along the roughest road they could select, over the sharpest stones, and
through the thickest mire; they pulled the cords as tightly as possible; they struck him with
knotted cords, as a butcher would strike the beast he is about to slaughter; and they
accompanied this cruel treatment with such ignoble and indecent insults that I cannot
recount them. The feet of Jesus were bare; he wore, besides the ordinary dress, a seamless
woollen garment, and a cloak which was thrown over all. I have forgotten to state that when
Jesus was arrested, it was done without any order being presented or legal ceremony taking
place; he was treated as a person without the pale of the law.
The procession proceeded at a good pace; when they left the road which runs between
the Garden of Olives and that of Gethsemani, they turned to the right, and soon reached a
bridge which was thrown over the Torrent of Cedron. When Jesus went to the Garden of
Olives with the Apostles, he did not cross this bridge, but went by a private path which ran
through the Valley of Josaphat, and led to another bridge more to the south. The bridge over
which the soldiers led Jesus was long, being thrown over not only the torrent, which was
very large in this part, but likewise over the valley, which extends a considerable distance to
the right and to the left, and is much lower than the bed of the river. I saw our Lord fall
twice before he reached the bridge, and these falls were caused entirely by the barbarous
manner in which the soldiers dragged him; but when they were half over the bridge they
gave full vent to their brutal inclination, and struck Jesus with such violence that they threw
him off the bridge into the water, and scornfully recommended him to quench his thirst
there. If God had not preserved him, he must have been killed by this fall; he fell first on his
knee, and then on his face, but saved himself a little by stretching out his hands, which,
although so tightly bound before, were loosened, I know not whether by miracle, or whether
the soldiers had cut the cords before they threw him into the water. The marks of his feet,
his elbows, and his fingers were miraculously impressed on the rock on which he fell, and
these impressions were afterwards shown for the veneration of Christians. These stones
were less hard than the unbelieving hearts of the wicked men who surrounded Jesus, and
bore witness at this terrible moment to the Divine Power which had touched them.
I had not seen Jesus take anything to quench the thirst which had consumed him ever
since his agony in the garden, but he drank when he fell into the Cedron, and I heard him
repeat these words from the prophetic Psalm, ‘In his thirst he will drink water from the torrent’
(Psalm 108).
The archers still held the ends of the ropes with which Jesus was bound, but it would
have been difficult to drag him out of the water on that side, on account of a wall which was
built on the shore; they turned back and dragged him quite through the Cedron to the shore,
and then made him cross the bridge a second time, accompanying their every action with
insults, blasphemies, and blows. His long woollen garment, which was quite soaked
through, adhered to his legs, impeded every movement, and rendered it almost impossible
for him to walk, and when he reached the end of the bridge he fell quite down. They pulled
him up again in the most cruel manner, struck him with cords, and fastened the ends of his
wet garment to the belt, abusing him at the same time in the most cowardly manner. It was
not quite midnight when I saw the four archers inhumanly dragging Jesus over a narrow
path, which was choked up with stones, garments of rock, thistles, and thorns, on the
opposite shore of the Cedron. The six brutal Pharisees walked as close to our Lord as they
could, struck him constantly with thick pointed sticks, and seeing that his bare and bleeding
feet were torn by the stones and briars, exclaimed scornfully: ‘His precursor, John the
Baptist, has certainly not prepared a good path for him here;’ or, ‘The words of Malachy,
“Behold, I send my angel before thy face, to prepare the way before thee,” do not exactly apply
now.’ Every jest uttered by these men incited the archers to greater cruelty.
The enemies of Jesus remarked that several persons made their appearance in the
distance; they were only disciples who had assembled when they heard that their Master
was arrested, and who were anxious to discover what the end would be; but the sight of
them rendered the Pharisees uneasy, lest any attempt should be made to rescue Jesus, and
they therefore sent for a reinforcement of soldiers. At a very short distance from an entrance
opposite to the south side of the Temple, which leads through a little village called Ophel to
Mount Sion, where the residences of Annas and Caiphas were situated, I saw a band of
about fifty soldiers, who carried torches, and appeared ready for anything; the demeanour of
these men was outrageous, and they gave loud shouts, both to announce their arrival, and to
congratulate their comrades upon the success of the expedition. This caused a slight
confusion among the soldiers who were leading Jesus, and Malchus and a few others took
advantage of it to depart, and fly towards Mount Olivet.
When the fresh band of soldiers left Ophel, I saw those disciples who had gathered
together disperse; some went one way, and some another. The Blessed Virgin and about
nine of the holy women, being filled with anxiety, directed their steps towards the Valley of
Josaphat, accompanied by Lazarus, John the son of Mark, the son of Veronica, and the son
of Simon. The last-named was at Gethsemani with Nathaniel and the eight Apostles, and
had fled when the soldiers appeared. He was giving the Blessed Virgin the account of all that
had been done, when the fresh band of soldiers joined those who were leading Jesus, and
she then heard their tumultuous vociferations, and saw the light of the torches they carried.
This sight quite overcame her; she became insensible, and John took her into the house of
Mary, the mother of Mark.
The fifty soldiers who were sent to join those who had taken Jesus, were a detachment
from a company of three hundred men posted to guard the gates and environs of Ophel; for
the traitor Judas had reminded the High Priests that the inhabitants of Ophel (who were
principally of the labouring class, and whose chief employment was to bring water and
wood to the Temple) were the most attached partisans of Jesus, and might perhaps make
some attempts to rescue him. The traitor was aware that Jesus had both consoled,
instructed, assisted, and cured the diseases of many of these poor workmen, and that Ophel
was the place where he halted during his journey from Bethania to Hebron, when John the
Baptist had just been executed. Judas also knew that Jesus had cured many of the masons
who were injured by the fall of the Tower of Siloe. The greatest part of the inhabitants of
Ophel were converted after the death of our Lord, and joined the first Christian community
that was formed after Pentecost, and when the Christians separated from the Jews and
erected new dwellings, they placed their huts and tents in the valley which is situated
between Mount Olivet and Ophel, and there St. Stephen lived. Ophel was on a hill to the
south of the Temple, surrounded by walls, and its inhabitants were very poor. I think it was
smaller than Dulmen.5
The slumbers of the good inhabitants of Ophel were disturbed by the noise of the
soldiers; they came out of their houses and ran to the entrance of the village to ask the cause
of the uproar; but the soldiers received them roughly, ordered them to return home, and in
reply to their numerous questions, said, ‘We have just arrested Jesus, your false prophet—he
who has deceived you so grossly; the High Priests are about to judge him, and he will be
crucified.’ Cries and lamentations arose on all sides; the poor women and children ran
backwards and forwards, weeping and wringing their hands; and calling to mind all the
benefits they had received from our Lord, they cast themselves on their knees to implore the
protection of Heaven. But the soldiers pushed them on one side, struck them, obliged them
to return to their houses, and exclaimed, ‘What farther proof is required? Does not the
conduct of these persons show plainly that the Galilean incites rebellion?’
They were, however, a little cautious in their expressions and demeanour for fear of
causing an insurrection in Ophel, and therefore only endeavoured to drive the inhabitants
away from those parts of the village which Jesus was obliged to cross.
When the cruel soldiers who led our Lord were near the gates of Ophel he again fell, and
appeared unable to proceed a step farther, upon which one among them, being moved to
compassion, said to another, ‘You see the poor man is perfectly exhausted, he cannot
support himself with the weight of his chains; if we wish to get him to the High Priest alive
we must loosen the cords with which his hands are bound, that he may be able to save
himself a little when he falls.’ The band stopped for a moment, the fetters were loosened,
and another kind-hearted soldier brought some water to Jesus from a neighbouring
fountain. Jesus thanked him, and spoke of the ‘fountains of living water,’ of which those
who believed in him should drink; but his words enraged the Pharisees still more, and they
overwhelmed him with insults and contumelious language. I saw the heart of the soldier
who had caused Jesus to be unbound, as also that of the one who brought him water,
suddenly illuminated by grace; they were both converted before the death of Jesus, and
immediately joined his disciples.
The procession started again, and reached the gate of Ophel. Here Jesus was again
saluted by the cries of grief and sympathy of those who owed him so much gratitude, and
the soldiers had considerable difficulty in keeping back the men and women who crowded
round from all parts. They clasped their hands, fell on their knees, lamented, and exclaimed,
‘Release this man unto us, release him! Who will assist, who will console us, who will cure
our diseases? Release him unto us!’ It was indeed heart-rending to look upon Jesus; his face
was white, disfigured, and wounded, his hair dishevelled, his dress wet and soiled, and his
savage and drunken guards were dragging him about and striking him with sticks like a poor
5 Dulmen is a small town in Westphalia, where Sister Emmerich lived at this time.
dumb animal led to the slaughter. Thus was he conducted through the midst of the afflicted
inhabitants of Ophel, and the paralytic whom he had cured, the dumb to whom he had
restored speech, and the blind whose eyes he had opened, united, but in vain, in offering
supplications for his release.
Many persons from among the lowest and most degraded classes had been sent by
Annas, Caiphas, and the other enemies of Jesus, to join the procession, and assist the
soldiers both in ill-treating Jesus, and in driving away the inhabitants of Ophel. The village
of Ophel was seated upon a hill, and I saw a great deal of timber placed there ready for
building. The procession had to proceed down a hill, and then pass through a door made in
the wall. On one side of this door stood a large building erected originally by Solomon, and
on the other the pool of Bethsaida. After passing this, they followed a westerly direction
down a steep street called Millo, at the end of which a turn to the south brought them to the
house of Annas. The guards never ceased their cruel treatment of our Divine Saviour, and
excused such conduct by saying that the crowds who gathered together in front of the
procession compelled them to severity. Jesus fell seven times between Mount Olivet and the
house of Annas.
The inhabitants of Ophel were still in a state of consternation and grief, when the sight of
the Blessed Virgin who passed through the village accompanied by the holy women and
some other friends on her way from the Valley of Cedron to the house of Mary the mother
of Mark, excited them still more, and they made the place re-echo with sobs and
lamentations, while they surrounded and almost carried her in their arms. Mary was
speechless from grief, and did not open her lips after she reached the house of Mary the
mother of Mark, until the arrival of John, who related all he had seen since Jesus left the
supper-room; and a little later she was taken to the house of Martha, which was near that of
Lazarus. Peter and John, who had followed Jesus at a distance, went in haste to some
servants of the High Priest with whom the latter was acquainted, in order to endeavour by
their means to obtain admittance into the tribunal where their Master was to be tried. These
servants acted as messengers, and had just been ordered to go to the houses of the ancients,
and other members of the Council, to summon them to attend the meeting which was
convoked. As they were anxious to oblige the Apostles, but foresaw much difficulty in
obtaining their admittance into the tribunal, they gave them cloaks similar to those they
themselves wore, and made them assist in carrying messages to the members in order that
afterwards they might enter the tribunal of Caiphas, and mingle, without being recognised,
among the soldiers and false witnesses, as all other persons were to be expelled. As
Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and other well-intentioned persons were members of this
Council, the Apostles undertook to let them know what was going to be done in the
Council, thus securing the presence of those friends of Jesus whom the Pharisees had
purposely omitted to invite. In the mean time Judas wandered up and down the steep and
wild precipices at the south of Jerusalem, despair marked on his every feature, and the devil
pursuing him to and fro, filling his imagination with still darker visions, and not allowing
him a moment’s respite.

Means employed by the enemies of Jesus

for carrying out their designs against him.
No sooner was Jesus arrested than Annas and Caiphas were informed, and instantly
began to arrange their plans with regard to the course to be pursued. Confusion speedily
reigned everywhere—the rooms were lighted up in haste, guards placed at the entrances,
and messengers dispatched to different parts of the town to convoke the members of the
Council, the scribes, and all who were to take a part in the trial. Many among them had,
however, assembled at the house of Caiphas as soon as the treacherous compact with Judas
was completed, and had remained there to await the course of events. The different classes
of ancients were likewise assembled, and as the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians were
congregated in Jerusalem from all parts of the country for the celebration of the festival, and
had long been concerting measures with the Council for the arrest of our Lord, the High
Priests now sent for those whom they knew to be the most bitterly opposed to Jesus, and
desired them to assemble the witnesses, gather together every possible proof, and bring all
before the Council. The proud Sadducees of Nazareth, of Capharnaum, of Thirza, of
Gabara, of Jotapata, and of Silo, whom Jesus had so often reproved before the people, were
actually dying for revenge. They hastened to all the inns to seek out those persons whom
they knew to be enemies of our Lord, and offered them bribes in order to secure their
appearance. But, with the exception of a few ridiculous calumnies, which were certain to be
disproved a soon as investigated, nothing tangible could be brought forward against Jesus,
excepting, indeed, those foolish accusations which he had so often refuted in the synagogue.
The enemies of Jesus hastened, however, to the tribunal of Caiphas, escorted by the
scribes and Pharisees of Jerusalem, and accompanied by many of those merchants whom
our Lord drove out of the Temple when they were holding market there; as also by the
proud doctors whom he had silenced before all the people, and even by some who could not
forgive the humiliation of being convicted of error when he disputed with them in the
Temple at the age of twelve. There was likewise a large body of impenitent sinners whom he
had refused to cure, relapsed sinners whose diseases had returned, worldly young men
whom he would not receive as disciples, avaricious persons whom he had enraged by
causing the money which they had been in hopes of possessing to be distributed in alms.
Others there were whose friends he had cured, and who had thus been disappointed in their
expectations of inheriting property; debauchees whose victims he had converted; and many
despicable characters who made their fortunes by flattering and fostering the vices of the
All these emissaries of Satan were overflowing with rage against everything holy, and
consequently with an indescribable hatred of the Holy of Holies. They were farther incited
by the enemies of our Lord, and therefore assembled in crowds round the palace of Caiphas,
to bring forward all their false accusations and to endeavour to cover with infamy that
spotless Lamb, who took upon himself the sins of the world, and accepted the burden in
order to reconcile man with God.
Whilst all these wicked beings were busily consulting as to what was best to be done,
anguish and anxiety filled the hearts of the friends of Jesus, for they were ignorant of the
mystery which was about to be accomplished, and they wandered about, sighing, and
listening to every different opinion. Each word they uttered gave raise to feelings of
suspicion on the part of those who they addressed, and if they were silent, their silence was
set down as wrong. Many well-meaning but weak and undecided characters yielded to
temptation, were scandalised, and lost their fait; indeed, the number of those who
persevered was very small indeed. Things were the same then as they oftentimes are now,
persons were willing to serve God if they met with no opposition from their fellowcreatures,
but were ashamed of the Cross if held in contempt by others. The hearts of some
were, however, touched by the patience displayed by our Lord in the midst of his sufferings,
and they walked away silent and sad.

A Glance at Jerusalem.

The customary prayers and preparations for the celebration of the festival being
completed, the greatest part of the inhabitants of the densely-populated city of Jerusalem, as
also the strangers congregated there, were plunged in sleep after the fatigues of the day,
when, all at once, the arrest of Jesus was announced, and everyone was aroused, both his
friends and foes, and numbers immediately responded to the summons of the High Priest,
and left their dwellings to assemble at his court. In some parts the light of the moon enabled
them to grope their way in safety along the dark and gloomy streets, but in other parts they
were obliged to make use of torches. Very few of the houses were built with their windows
looking on the street, and, generally speaking, their doors were in inner courts, which gave
the streets a still more gloomy appearance than is usual at this hour. The steps of all were
directed towards Sion, and an attentive listener might have heard persons stop at the doors
of their friends, and knock, in order to awaken them—then hurry on, then again stop to
question others, and, finally, set off anew in haste towards Sion. Newsmongers and servants
were hurrying forward to ascertain what was going on; in order that they might return and
give the account to those who remained at home; and the bolting and barricading of doors
might be plainly heard, as many persons were much alarmed and feared an insurrection,
while a thousand different propositions were made and opinions given, such as the
following:—‘Lazarus and his sisters will soon know who is this man in whom they have
placed such firm reliance. Johanna Chusa, Susannah, Mary the mother of Mark, and
Salome will repent, but too late, the imprudence of their conduct; Seraphia, the wife of
Sirach, will be compelled to make an apology to her husband now, for he has so often
reproached her with her partiality for the Galilean. The partisans of this fanatical man, this
inciter of rebellion, pretended to be filled with compassion for all who looked upon things in
a different light from themselves, and now they will not know where to hide their heads. He
will find no one now to cast garments and strew olive-branches at his feet. Those hypocrites
who pretended to be so much better than other persons will receive their deserts, for they are
all implicated with the Galilean. It is a much more serious business than was at first
thought. I should like to know how Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea will get out of it;
the High Priests have mistrusted them for some time; they made common cause with
Lazarus: but they are extremely cunning. All will now, however, be brought to light.’
Speeches such as these were uttered by persons who were exasperated, not only against
the disciples of Jesus, but likewise with the holy women who had supplied his temporal
wants, and had publicly and fearlessly expressed their veneration for his doctrines, and their
belief in his Divine mission.
But although many persons spoke of Jesus and his followers in this contemptuous
manner, yet there were others who held very different opinions, and of these some were
frightened, and others, being overcome with sorrow, sought friends to whom they might
unburden their hearts, and before whom they could, without fear, give vent to their feelings;
but the number of those sufficiently daring openly to avow their admiration for Jesus was
but small.
Nevertheless, it was in parts only of Jerusalem that these disturbances took place—in
those parts where the messengers had been sent by the High Priests and the Pharisees, to
convoke the members of the Council and to call together the witnesses. It appeared to me
that I saw feelings of hatred and fury burst forth in different parts of the city, under the form
of flames, which flames traversed the streets, united with others which they met, and
proceeded in the direction of Sion, increasing every moment, and at last came to a stop
beneath the tribunal of Caiphas, where they remained, forming together a perfect whirlwind
of fire.
The Roman soldiers took no part in what was going on; they did not understand the
excited feelings of the people, but their sentinels were doubled, their cohorts drawn up, and
they kept a strict look out; this, indeed, was customary at the time of the Paschal solemnity,
on account of the vast number of strangers who were then assembled together. The
Pharisees endeavoured to avoid the neighbourhood of the sentinels, for fear of being
questioned by them, and of contracting defilement by answering their questions. The High
Priests had sent a message to Pilate intimating their reasons for stationing soldiers round
Ophel and Sion; but he mistrusted their intentions, as much ill-feeling existed between the
Romans and the Jews. He could not sleep, but walked about during the greatest part of the
night, hearkening to the different reports and issuing orders consequent on what he heard;
his wife slept, but her sleep was disturbed by frightful dreams, and she groaned and wept
In no part of Jerusalem did the arrest of Jesus produce more touching demonstrations of
grief than among the poor inhabitants of Ophel, the greatest part of whom were daylabourers,
and the rest principally employed in menial offices in the service of the Temple.
The news came unexpectedly upon them; for some time they doubted the truth of the
report, and wavered between hope and fear; but the sight of their Master, their Benefactor,
their Consoler, dragged through the streets, torn, bruised, and ill-treated in every imaginable
way, filled them with horror; and their grief was still farther increased by beholding his
afflicted Mother wandering about from street to street, accompanied by the holy women,
and endeavouring to obtain some intelligence concerning her Divine Son. These holy
women were often obliged to hide in corners and under door-ways for fear of being seen by
the enemies of Jesus; but even with these precautions they were oftentimes insulted, and
taken for women of bad character—their feelings were frequently harrowed by hearing the
malignant words and triumphant expressions of the cruel Jews, and seldom, very seldom,
did a word of kindness or pity strike their ears. They were completely exhausted before
reaching their place of refuge, but they endeavoured to console and support one another,
and wrapped thick veils over their heads. When at last seated, they heard a sudden knock at
the door, and listened breathlessly—the knock was repeated, but softly, therefore they made
certain that it was no enemy, and yet they opened the door cautiously, fearing a stratagem.
It was indeed a friend, and they issued forth and walked about for a time, and then again
returned to their place of refuge—still more heartbroken than before.
The majority of the Apostles, overcome with terror, were wandering about among the
valleys which surround Jerusalem, and at times took refuge in the caverns beneath Mount
Olivet. They started if they came in contact with one another, spoke in trembling tones, and
separated on the least noise being heard. First they concealed themselves in one cave and
then in another, next they endeavoured to return to the town, while some of their number
climbed to the top of Mount Olivet and cast anxious glances at the torches, the light of
which they could see glimmering at and about Sion; they listened to every distant sound,
made a thousand different conjectures, and then returned to the valley, in hopes of getting
some certain intelligence.
The streets in the vicinity of Caiphas’s tribunal were brightly illuminated with lamps and
torches, but, as the crowds gathered around it, the noise and confusion continued to
increase. Mingling with these discordant sounds might be heard the bellowing of the beasts
which were tethered on the outside of the walls of Jerusalem, and the plaintive bleating of
the lambs. There was something most touching in the bleating of these lambs, which were to
be sacrificed on the following day in the Temple,—the one Lamb alone who was about to be
offered a willing sacrifice opened not his mouth, like a sheep in the hands of the butcher,
which resists not, or the lamb which is silent before the shearer; and that Lamb was the
Lamb of God—the Lamb without spot—the true Paschal Lamb—Jesus Christ himself.
The sky looked dark, gloomy, and threatening—the moon was red, and covered with
livid spots; it appeared as if dreading to reach its full, because its Creator was then to die.
Next I cast a glance outside the town, and, near the south gate, I beheld the traitor, Judas
Iscariot, wandering about, alone, and a prey to the tortures of his guilty conscience; he
feared even his own shadow, and was followed by many devils, who endeavoured to turn
his feelings of remorse into black despair. Thousands of evil spirits were busying themselves
in all parts, tempting men first to one sin and then to another. It appeared as if the gates of
hell were flung open, and Satan madly striving and exerting his whole energies to increase
the heavy load of iniquities which the Lamb without spot had taken upon himself. The
angels wavered between joy and grief; they desired ardently to fall prostrate before the
throne of God, and to obtain permission to assist Jesus; but at the same time they were filled
with astonishment, and could only adore that miracle of Divine justice and mercy which
had existed in Heaven for all eternity, and was now about to be accomplished; for the angels
believe, like us, in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth, and in Jesus
Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin
Mary, who began on this night to suffer under Pontius Pilate, and the next day was to be
crucified; to die, and be buried; descend into hell, rise again on the third day, ascent into
Heaven, be seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty, and from thence come to
judge the living and the dead; they likewise believe in the Holy Ghost, the Holy Catholic
Church, the communion of Saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and
life everlasting.