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Image Map : Christian Books : CHAPTER IV. BETRAYED BY A KISS.

King Of The Jews by William T. Stead


The foulest deed will soon be done
That earth or hell displays --
Alas! ere this night's course be run
Judas his Lord betrays!

Come now, ye faithful souls draw nigh
See Jesus suffer, bleed and die,
Now has begun the anguished fight
Beyond in dark Gethsemane.
O, sinners never let this night
For evermore forgotten be!

For your salvation this has been
Which on the mountain we have seen,
When, sorrowing unto death, he sank
To earth, it was for you --
'Twas for your sake the damp turf drank
Those drops of crimson dew.

In the twilight of the same day there were gathered together in the neighborhood of the Mount of Olives those appointed by the Sanhedrin to seize Jesus. Judas was there with Dathan and the other traders, as well as the four priests sent by Caiaphas to see that all things went well. With them came the Temple Watch under the command of one Selpha, in steel helmet and steel-embossed leather cuirass. The watch consisted of twenty men in armor, two of whom carried long clubs set with spikes, two bore braziers of burning coals, while the rest carried spears. Conspicuous among the watch were Malchus, the high priest's servant, and Balbus. They approached stealthily, and Judas addressed them, saying, |Now be careful! We are now approaching the place whither the Master has withdrawn himself.|

Then said Solomon, one of the priests, |I suppose the disciples will not perceive us too soon.|

|No,| said Judas, |they rest unconcerned and dream nothing of any attack. As to any resistance, there is nothing of that to fear.|

Then cried the Temple Watch aloud, |Should they try it they shall feel the weight of our arms.|

|You will seize him,| said Judas, |without a single sword stroke.|

|But,| said Josue, |how shall we know him in the darkness so as not to arrest another in place of the one we desire?|

|I shall give you a sign,| said Judas, |when we are in the garden; then look out. I will hasten up to him, and the man whom I shall kiss; that is he; bind him!|

Then said Korah, |Good, this sign will prevent us from making any mistake.|

Ptolomaus, the priest, then turned to the watch and said, |Do you hear? You will know the master by a kiss!|

|Yes, yes,| cried the soldiers, |we shall not miss him.|

|Now,| said Judas, |let us make haste; it is time. We are not far from the garden.|

Then said Josue to Judas, |Judas, if tonight brings us good fortune, thou wilt profit by the fruit of thy work.|

The traders added, |We, too, will recompense thee richly.|

Then cried all the soldiers together, |Now look out, thou stirrer-up of the people, thou wilt soon have thy reward.| Thereupon the whole company moved off into the darkness and remained hidden in an ambush until the signal should be given.

After a time Jesus and his disciples entered the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus spoke unto them, saying, |Verily, verily, I say unto you, ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy, for I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no one taketh from you. I came forth from the Father and am come into the world. I leave the world again and go unto the Father.|

|Lo,| said Peter, |now thou speakest plainly and no more in parables.|

Then said James the Greater, |Now we see that thou knowest all things, and hast no need that one should ask thee anything.|

And Thomas added, |Therefore we believe that thou comest forth from God.|

Jesus answered them saying, |Do ye now believe? Behold the hour cometh, yea, is already come, when ye shall be scattered every man to his own and leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. Yes, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son that thy Son also may glorify thee. I have finished the work which thou hast given me to do. I have manifested thy name to those thou gavest me out of the world. Holy Father, keep them in thy name; sanctify them in the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word; that they may all be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee. Father, I will pray that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.| Then turning to the disciples who were following him into the garden he said in a voice which was broken with sorrow: |Children, sit down here while I go and pray yonder. Pray that ye enter not into temptation; but you, Peter, James and John follow me.| Eight of the disciples then sat down on the ground under the trees, while Jesus went forward with the three.

Bartholomew said, |Never have I seen him so sad;| and James the Less replied, |My heart is also laden down with sadness;| while Matthew cried, |Ah, that this night were passed with its weary hours.| And another apostle exclaimed, |Not in vain has our master prepared us for this.|

Philip said, |Dear brothers, we will sit down here and rest until he comes back.|

|Yes,| said Thomas, |that we will, for I am utterly worn out and weary.|

Then Jesus, who had come forward with Peter, James and John, said unto them, |Ah, beloved children, my soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Tarry ye here and watch with me.| Then after a pause he added, |I will go a little further apart in order to strengthen myself by communion with the Father.|

As Jesus with slow and staggering steps went toward the grotto, Peter cried, looking after him, |Ah, dear good master,| and John exclaimed, |My soul is suffering with our teacher.|

As they sat down Peter said, |I am very anxious.|

James said, |Why does our dear master thus separate us from one another?|

John replied, |Alas, we are to be witnesses,| and Peter continued, |Ye know, brethren, we were the witnesses of his transfiguration on the mountain, but now, what is it that we have to see?|

Slowly Peter, James and John, who were sitting apart, fell asleep.

Jesus having reached the grotto, said, |This hour must come upon me -- the hour of darkness. For this it was that I came into the world.| Then falling upon his knees he clasped his hands, and looking up to heaven cried, with a great and pitiful voice, |Father, my Father! If it be possible, and with thee all things are possible, let this cup pass from me!| Then Jesus fell upon his face on the ground and remained silent for a while. Then again he rose upon his knees and cried, |Yes, Father, not as I will, but as thou wilt!| Then standing up, he looked toward heaven and slowly returned to the three disciples.

And lo, when he approached he found them asleep. |Simon,| he said.

Simon Peter, as in a dream, rubbed his head and said, |Alas, my master.|

Jesus said, |Simon, dost thou sleep?|

Peter, rousing himself, said, |Master, here I am.|

Jesus said, |Could you not watch with me one hour?|

Peter cried, |O, Master, forgive.|

The apostles said, |Rabbi, sleep has overpowered us.|

Then said Jesus, |Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.|

The apostles answered, |Yes, Lord, we will watch and pray.|

Then said Jesus unto them; |The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.| So saying he turned from them, and again slowly walked toward the grotto.

Praying he said, |My Father, thy demand is just, thy decrees are holy, thou claimest this sacrifice.| Then falling upon his knees, he prayed, saying, |Father, the strife is hot.| Falling upon his face he remained silent for a time, then raising himself again he cried, |Yes, Father, if this cup may not pass from me unless I drink it, Father thy will be done.| Then standing up he said, |Holy One, it will be completed by me in righteousness.|

Then once more he came back to his sleeping disciples; this time he did not rouse them.

|Are also your eyes so heavy that you could not watch?| he said. |Ah, my most trusted ones, even among you I find no consolation.|

Then returning over the rocky road which led to the grotto he paused for a moment in sorrow, while a great sorrow overwhelmed him. |Oh, how dark it grows around me; the anguish of death encompasses me! The burden of God's judgment lies upon me! Oh, the sins! Oh, the sins of mankind! They weigh me down. Oh, the fearful burden; oh, the bitterness of this cup!| Then coming to the grotto again, he cried, |My Father!| and falling down he prayed, |If it is not possible that this hour pass away from me, thy will be done! Thy holiest will! Father! Thy son! Hear him!|

Then from out of the darkness a bright and shining angel in white apparel and with radiant wings descended upon him. And out of the silence were heard these words, |O, Son of Man, sanctify the Father's will! Look upon the blessedness which will proceed from thy struggles. The Father has laid it upon thee to become the sacrifice for sinful man. Carry it through to the end. The Father will glorify thee!|

Then said Jesus, |Yes, most Holy Father, I adore thy Providence; I will complete the work -- to reconcile -- to save, to bless!| Then standing up he cried in a more joyous tone, |Strengthened by thy word, O Father! I go joyfully to meet that to which thou hast called me, as the substitute for sinful man.|

With lighter step he returned to the place where the three disciples lay slumbering peacefully. He looked upon them and said, |Sleep now and take your rest.|

Peter, hearing his voice, said, |What is it, master?|

Then all three answered, |Behold, we are ready.|

Then said Jesus, |The hour is come; the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise, let us be going.|

Even as he spoke these words the tramp of armed men was heard in the immediate neighborhood of the garden mingled with loud cries of denunciation and vengeance.

|What is that uproar?| said the apostles.

|Come,| said Philip, who hurried from behind with the rest of the eight, |Come, let us gather around the master.| At that word the disciples hastened forward.

|Behold,| said Jesus, |he who betrayeth me is at hand.| The disciples looked in the direction which Jesus indicated, and there by the flaring light of the braziers carried by the Temple Watch, they saw Judas advancing at the head of his band.

|What does this multitude want?| said Andrew.

For an answer all the disciples cried as with one voice, |Alas! we are undone!|

|And see,| cried John, |Judas is at their head.|

Even as he said this, Judas, with long and stealthy steps, sprang forward, looking from side to side as he came, until he stopped immediately behind Jesus; then standing on tiptoe he reached over the shoulder of Jesus and kissed him, saying, |Hail, Master.|

[Illustration: |He reached over and kissed him.|]

Jesus answered, |Friend, wherefore art thou come? Betrayest thou the son of man with a kiss?| Then stepping forward to meet the armed band, he faced them fearlessly and said, |Whom seek ye?|

A loud and angry shout went up from the soldiers: |Jesus of Nazareth!|

Jesus said, |I am he.|

As he uttered these word the soldiers fell backward to the ground, crying, |Woe unto us! What is this?|

The disciples exultantly cried, |One single word from him casts them to the ground.|

But Jesus said to the soldiers, |Fear not; arise.|

As they regained their feet the disciples whispered eagerly to Jesus saying, |Lord, cast them down so that they shall never rise again.|

But Jesus a second time asked, |Whom seek ye?|

Again the crowd replied, |Jesus of Nazareth.|

Then Jesus said, |I have already told you that I am he; if therefore, ye seek me, let these go their way.|

Selpha, the leader of the band, cried, |Seize him!| The soldiers approached Jesus, Malchus and Balbus carrying in their hands a small cord, and grasped him by the wrists in order to bind him.

Peter and Philip asked Jesus, saying, |Lord, shall we smite with the sword?| Before Jesus replied, Peter's sword flashed from its sheath and descended on the head of Malchus. The helmet turned the descending blade, and instead of splitting his skull it only sliced off his ear.

|Alas!| cried Malchus, |I am wounded; my ear is off.|

Then said Jesus to the disciples, |Suffer ye thus far,| and reaching forward to Malchus he said, |Be not troubled; thou shalt be healed.| And touching his ear, that moment it was made whole. Malchus felt his ear with astonishment. His comrades satisfied themselves that the ear was as the other and stood motionless, while Jesus turned to Peter and said, |Put up thy sword into its sheath, for all they who take the sword shall perish with the sword. The cup which the Father hath given, shall I not drink it? Thinkest thou I cannot now pray to my Father, and he would presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how, then, would the Scriptures be fulfilled that thus it must be?| Then turning to the Pharisees he said, |Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves to take me? I sat daily with ye in the temple teaching, and ye took me not. But this is your hour and the power of darkness. Behold, I am here!|

|Surround him!| cried Selpha; |bind him fast that he escape not.|

Then said Nathanael, whose eager zeal to destroy Jesus had led him to join the soldiers, |You are responsible to the council that he does not escape.| At Selpha's command Malchus and Balbus had seized Christ, and were busily engaged in tying his hands together with cords. Slowly, one by one, the disciples stole away, leaving Jesus alone in the midst of his captors.

In reply to Nathanael, the soldiers said, |Out of our hands he will not escape.|

Then cried with a loud voice the traders, with Dathan at their head, |Now, we will wreak our vengeance.| And Dathan added, |Dost thou still remember what thou didst to us in the temple?|

Josaphat said to the other Pharisees, |We will hasten on into the city. The Sanhedrin will be awaiting our arrival with impatience.|

The traders replied, |But we will not leave this scoundrel for an instant.|

|First,| said Nathanael, |we must go to the High Priest Annas. Lead him thither!|

Selpha said, |We follow thee!|

As the band prepared to obey the word of command a trader came up to Judas and said approvingly, |Thou art a man, indeed. Thou knowest how to keep thy word.|

Judas complacently answered, |Did I not tell you that he would be in your power today?|

The Pharisees said, |Thou hast placed the whole council under an obligation to thee.|

The procession then went off, leading Jesus to the palace of Annas. The Temple Watch formed behind Jesus, who with his hands bound before him, was thrown violently forward by Malchus and Balbus, who held the other ends of the cords which bound him, and marched behind him. They cried, |On with thee! In Jerusalem they will settle your affair!|

Selpha, who marched at the head of his band, cried, |Let us hasten; lead him away carefully.|

And all the band shouted, |Ha, run now as thou hast hitherto run to and fro about the land of Judea.|

|Spare him not!| said Selpha, |drive him on!|

|Forward,| shouted the soldiers, shouting together; |otherwise thou shalt be driven on with staves.|

And as they marched away, driving Jesus before them the traders derided him, saying, |Doth Beelzebub, then, aid thee no longer?|

* * * * * *

It was dark night and there was silence in the street before the house of Annas, the high priest, when his door opened and Annas, attended by Esdras, Sidrach and Missel, came upon the balcony. |I can find no rest this night,| said Annas, looking impatiently down the street, |until I know that this disturber of the peace is in our hands. Oh, if he were only safe, and in fetters. Full of longing and anxiety I await the arrival of my servants with the joyful news.|

Then said Esdras, |They cannot be much longer, for it is a good while since they went away.|

|In vain has my troubled gaze looked up and down the street of Kedron. But nothing can I see and nothing hear. Go, my Esdras, go toward the Kedron gate and see.|

|I will hasten out,| said Esdras, hurrying away as quickly as his short, squat figure would allow.

Annas, walking about impatiently, tormented by misgivings as to the success of the enterprise, began: |It would be a blow to the Sanhedrin if this time the work should not succeed.|

Sidrach said, |Do not give away to anxiety, high priest,| and Missel added, |There is no doubt of our success.|

Annas, heeding not the consolation of his priests, said, |They may have altered their way and returned through the Siola Gate. I must send to see also on that side.|

Sidrach said, |If the high priest wishes it I will go to the Siola Gate.|

|Yes, do,| said Annas, |but first see whether anyone comes through the street of the Sanhedrin.|

|I will not loiter, my lord,| said Sidrach, as he disappeared in the darkness.

Annas resumed his troubled thoughts. |The night is going by, and still the old uncertainty. Every minute of this weary waiting time is as an hour to me. Hark, I think some one comes running! Yes, he comes. Surely there will be good tidings.|

Sidrach, bursting into the presence of the high priest, exclaimed, |My lord, Esdras comes in haste. I saw him just now running down the street with rapid foot.|

Then said Annas, |Surely it is joyful news that he brings since he hastens so. Truly, I long for nothing now but the death of this malefactor.|

Then came Esdras, breathless with haste, crying, |Hail to the high priest. I have seen the fathers who were sent to Judas. All has gone according to your wish. The Galilean is in bonds. I heard it from their mouth, and hurried as fast as I could to bring the joyful news in haste to thee.|

Annas cried, |Oh, heavenly message! Auspicious hour! A stone is lifted from my heart; I feel as if I were born again. Now for the first time can I rejoice to call myself high priest of the chosen people.|

Then came in to Annas, Judas and the four Pharisees, who had been sent by the council to accompany him, crying, |Long live our high priest!|

Nathanael exclaimed, |The wish of the council is accomplished.|

Annas said, |Oh, I must embrace you for joy. So, then, our plan has succeeded. Judas, thy name shall take an honorable place in our annals. Even before the feast shall the Galilean die.|

Judas, whom the Pharisees had brought in with the prisoner, startled by that word, sprang back, repeating incredulously, |Die!|

|His death is declared!| said Annas.

|For his life and blood,| cried Judas, |I will not be responsible.|

|That is unnecessary,| said Annas coolly, |he is in our power.|

|But,| persisted Judas passionately, |I have not delivered him over to you for that.|

|Thou hast delivered him over,| said the Pharisees, |and the rest is our business.|

Repulsed on every side, Judas, striking his forehead with his hand, cried, |Woe is me; what have I done? Shall he die? No! That I did not wish. That I will not have.|

As he hurried into the street the Pharisees laughed at him and said, |Whether thou wilt have it or not, die he must.|

Then said the priests to Annas, |High priest, the prisoner is at the threshold.|

Annas said, |Let Selpha, with as many of the watch as are necessary, bring him up here, while the rest await him below.| Then was Jesus brought before Annas on the balcony in custody with Selpha, the leader of the Temple Watch and the two servants of the temple, Malchus and Balbus, holding the cords by which Jesus was bound. The rest of the watch remained in the street below.

Selpha bowed low as he entered and said, |High priest, in accordance with thy command the prisoner now stands at thy bar.|

When Annas saw Jesus he said, |Have you brought him alone as prisoner?|

Balbus answered, |His disciples dispersed like timid sheep.|

Selpha said, |We did not find it worth the trouble to arrest them. Nevertheless Malchus almost lost his life.|

|How did that happen?| asked Annas.

|One of his followers,| said Selpha, |with a drawn sword smote him and cut off his ear.|

|How could that be?| said Annas, looking first at one side of Malchus' head and then at the other. |It has left no mark; there is nothing to be seen.|

|Oh,| said Balbus, mocking, |the magician has conjured it back again.|

|What sayest thou to that?| asked Annas. Malchus replied seriously, |I cannot explain it. It is a miracle that has happened to me.|

Annas frowned, |Has the deceiver also bewitched thee?| he asked, and then turning to Jesus said to him, |Say, by what power hast thou done this?| Jesus did not answer.

|Speak,| said Selpha, |when the high priest asks thee.|

|Speak,| said Annas. |Give an account of thy disciples and thy teaching, which thou hast spread abroad over the whole land of Judea and with which thou hast corrupted the people.|

Then Jesus answered and said unto him, |I spake openly to the world, I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, and in secret I taught nothing. What askest thou me? Ask them that heard me what I have spoken. Behold, they know what I have said.|

Balbus, who was standing on the left hand of Jesus holding one end of the cord by which his hands were bound, struck him over the face a resounding blow, saying, |Answerest thou the high priest so?|

Jesus answered, |If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil, but if I have spoken well why smitest thou me?|

Then Annas exclaimed, |Wilt thou even now defy us, when thy life and death are in our power? I am weary of this villain!| and gave the signal for Jesus to be removed.

|Oh,| said Balbus, as he roughly thrust him forward, |wait a little. Thy obstinacy will vanish.|

As Jesus was being led down the steps Annas exclaimed, |I will go in now for a little while to rest, or rather to meditate quietly as to how the work so happily begun may be brought to an end. In any case the summons to the Sanhedrin will reach me at an early hour in the morning.| Annas then entered into his own house, leaving Jesus in the street below in the midst of the soldiers. As Selpha appeared bringing Jesus into the street the watch cried out loudly, |Ha, is this business already over?|

Selpha said, |His defense has turned out badly,| and Balbus added, |After all it gained him a smart slap over the face.|

Selpha said, |Take him now and away with him to the palace of Caiaphas.|

|Off with him,| cried the soldiers tumultuously.

|Lift up thy feet. Cheer up!| said Balbus, mocking, |Thou wilt have a still better reception from Caiaphas,| and the soldiers shouted as they marched, |There will be the raven's croak about thine ears!|

When Jesus was taken from the house of Annas he was led through the streets, the band accompanying him, shouting as they went. On their way to the Sanhedrin they led Jesus down the street which passed Pilate's house, and as they went they cried to him with riotous laughter, |Thou shalt become a laughing stock for the whole nation!|

Balbus said unto him scoffingly, |Make haste! Thy disciples are quite ready to proclaim thee King of Israel.|

And the soldiers laughed as they said, |Thou hast often dreamed of this; is it not so?|

Then said Selpha, |Caiaphas will soon explain this dream to him.|

And Balbus, seeing that Jesus opened not his mouth, and was silent, shouted in his ear, |Dost thou hear? Caiaphas will announce to thee thy exaltation to a high position!|

A great burst of hoarse laughter from the watch followed, as they shouted, |An exalted position between heaven and earth!|

|Look out, you fellows!| cried Selpha, |there through the hall of Pilate's lies our nearest way to the palace of Caiaphas. There, station yourselves in the courtyard until further orders.|

The soldiers answered, |Thy command shall be fully obeyed!|

Hardly had the noisy soldiery passed with their prisoner out of the street than Peter and John appeared before the house of Annas. Then said Peter, |How will it fare here with our good master? Oh, John, how anxious I am about him!|

John answered, |He is certain to have to suffer here scorn and ill treatment. I am very much afraid of approaching the house.|

Peter said, |But it is so silent about here.|

John replied, |One hears not a sound in the place. Could they have taken him away again?|

As they were talking Esdras came out from the house of Annas and asked, |What do you want at the palace at this time of night?|

John answered, |Forgive us; we saw a number of people from afar come hither from the Kedron Gate, and we came here in order to see what had happened.|

Esdras answered, |They have brought in a prisoner, but he has already been sent to Caiaphas.|

|To Caiaphas,| said the disciples, |then we will go away at once.|

|You had better, otherwise I will have you taken, up as night brawlers,| said Esdras.

|We will go away quietly and make no disturbance,| said Peter, meekly.

As they went the priest, looking after them, said, |Perhaps they are followers of the Galilean. If I only knew. However, they will not escape our people if they go to the palace of Caiaphas. The whole of his following must be destroyed. Otherwise the people will never be brought into obedience.| He then returned into the house.

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