When it was time for Him to end His work on earth, Jesus started for Jerusalem. The people in Jerusalem heard that He was coming, and crowds of them poured out of Jerusalem to meet Him. They carried boughs of palm trees in their hands, and waved them, and cried, 'HOSANNA! BLESSED BE THE KING THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD! PEACE IN HEAVEN, AND GLORY IN THE HIGHEST.'
Presently Jesus came to a part of the Mount of Olives where He could see Jerusalem and the Temple straight before Him; and as He looked at them, He wept aloud. He wept because they loved their sins, and hated their Saviour. He wept because He knew that God would have to punish them. He knew that in a very few years the Romans would come and fight against Jerusalem, and burn down that Temple, and kill thousands of the Jews, or carry them away as slaves. Were not these things enough to make the Lord Jesus weep?
[Illustration: Mount of Olives and Jerusalem.]
The blind and the lame came to Jesus in the Temple, and He made them well; and when the little children cried, 'HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID,' He was pleased to hear their song. But the priests were very angry. 'Hosanna to the Son of David' means 'Save us, Jesus, our King.' The priests could not bear to hear the children call Jesus their King, and ask Him to save them. And Satan is very angry now when He hears a little child say, 'Save me, O Jesus, my King.' But Jesus is pleased.
During these last days Jesus stayed quietly each night at Bethany; but the priests were very busy thinking how they could take Him prisoner, and they were very pleased when Judas came in secretly, and said, 'Give me money, and I will give you Jesus.' And the priests said they would give Judas thirty pieces of silver if he would give Jesus up to them. Thirty pieces of silver! Why, that was only about seventeen dollars ([USD]17) -- only as much as used to be paid for a slave.
The next day while Jesus stayed quietly in Bethany, Peter and John were very busy, for Jesus had sent them to Jerusalem to get ready for the Passover. They had to take a lamb to the Temple to be killed by the priests, and they had to find a house in which to eat the Passover supper.
Once every year the Jews used to kill a lamb, and pour out its blood before God, to show that they remembered God's goodness to them when they were in Egypt, in letting his angel pass over their houses. And then they roasted the lamb, and met together in their houses to eat it, and to thank God for all his love and kindness.
When Peter and John had got the Passover supper quite ready, Jesus came from Bethany with the rest of His disciples, and they all sat down together at the table; and Jesus told the disciples that He was very glad to eat this Passover with them, because it was the very last time He would eat and drink at all before He died. Then Jesus took off His long, loose outside dress, and He wrapt a towel round Him, and poured water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the long towel which He had fastened round His waist.
When Jesus had finished washing His disciples' feet, He put on His long coat again (it was called an abba), and sat down. And He told His disciples that He had given them an example, so that they might be kind to one another, and wait upon one another.
Jesus said many beautiful words to His disciples that night at the supper; and when the supper was finished, they went out into the Mount of Olives, to a place called Gethsemane, a garden full of olive trees, where Jesus often went to pray.
When Jesus came to Gethsemane with His disciples, He told them to sit down and wait for Him while He went on farther to pray. But He took with Him Peter and James and John. As they walked on, Jesus began to be so very sorrowful that He wanted to be quite alone with God. So He told Peter and James and John to stay behind and to watch. But they went to sleep. And then Jesus went a little way off, and fell down on His knees and prayed. And now His mind was in such pain that He suffered agony, and the sweat rolled down His face in drops of blood. Then Jesus came to Peter and James and John, and found them fast asleep. Twice Jesus went away and prayed the same prayer, and twice He came back to find His disciples asleep.
And now a great crowd poured into the garden. Judas was walking first, to show the others the way, and he came up to Jesus and kissed Him again and again, and said, 'Master! Master! Peace!' And when the people saw Judas do that, they took hold of Jesus and held Him fast. They took Jesus first to the house of a priest called Annas, and then to the palace of Caiaphas the high priest; and John, who knew somebody in that house, was allowed to come in. Peter was left outside; but soon John asked the girl at the door to let Peter in too. Peter was glad to come in to see what was being done to his dear Master.
The houses in the East are built round a great square court, like a big hall, only it has no roof. It was the middle of the night, and the cold air blew into that court. But the servants had made a great fire of coals in the middle of the court, and while Jesus was standing before Caiaphas and the other priests, the servants sat round that fire waiting, and warming themselves. Peter came and sat down with the servants, and warmed himself too.
Presently the girl who attended to the door came up to the fire, and she had a good look at Peter, and said, 'And you were with Jesus of Nazareth. Are you not one of His disciples?' Then Peter told a lie before all the servants, and said, 'Woman, I am not. I do not know Him, and I do not know what you mean.' And he went on warming himself, and tried to look as though he knew nothing in the world about Jesus. But Peter loved Jesus too much to be able to do this well. He was unhappy, he could not sit still; he got up, and went away into a place near the door, called the porch, and when he was in the porch he heard a cock crow. Perhaps he went into the porch because he thought that it would be dark there and that nobody would see him. But the girl who kept the door told another woman to look at him, and that woman said to the people who stood by, 'This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth, and is one of His disciples.' Then a man who stood there said to Peter, 'Are you not one of His disciples?' And again Peter told a lie, and said, 'Man, I am not. I do not know the Man.'
An hour passed by, and then some of the people near said, 'You must be one of the disciples of Jesus. The way that you speak shows that you come from Galilee.' While Peter was again denying him, Jesus turned round, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him, 'Before the cock crow twice, you will say three times you do not know Me.' And when he thought about what he had done, he was very, very sorry; and he went out of the high priest's palace, and wept bitterly.