Darkness crept slowly over the rooftops like soldiers preparing to take an enemy camp. It wouldn’t be long before the night moved down to capture everything on the ground below.
The evening was a success, the height of the holiday season met with dinner with only a few hours notice. Everything fell into place as if divinely prepared.
We’re something of a motley crew. Between our mistakes, pride, and inability to keep our mouths shut, I’m not sure how we’ve managed to stay together this long. Despite our differences, we eventually see what’s really important and then work together.
Dinner over, we headed out for a walk. The thin layer of smoke in the air barely parted as we made our way out of the city. The shadows from our torches danced on the building walls like puppets hanging from strings. Had the Master been in a better mood it would have been a great time for telling scary stories.
Earlier in the day the Master laughed with us like always, but as the night wore on He became more serious than usual. He was preoccupied again with His own death. Peter tried to discourage Him, telling Him we’d never allow it, but He was so certain and very determined. We agreed to protect Him, but He shook His head and walked on.
We went to His favorite place of prayer, singing the great songs of Passover. Matthew’s strong voice – notice that I said “strong voice” rather than “good voice” – roused our hearts.
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it . . . God is the Lord, and He has given us light; bind the sacrifice with cords to the horns of the altar. You are my God, and I will praise You; You are my God, I will exalt You.
While He prayed we stayed behind in the olive grove. We could hear Him crying in agonizing prayer, but it was late, the air warm, and we couldn’t keep our eyes open. Three times He came to stir us from our slumber. We had no idea what was so important. We couldn’t have known what was about to happen. Had we just listened to Him seriously, thing may have gone so differently.
As Jesus woke us that third time, a mob mingled with a cadre of temple guards and priests marched up the pathway. One of our own, Judas, who had left the Passover dinner earlier in the evening, ran up and kissed the Master on the cheek as He led the enemies of the Christ.
Once we figured out what was happening, we did our best to defend Him. We had two swords with us. Peter actually got off the best swipe, cutting off the ear of Malchus. But Jesus stopped us, picked up the bloody ear, and miraculously reattached it. As the crowd stood in silence, He held out His arms and allowed them to be bound. Then we all ran.
Only hours before, we’d each sworn nothing would happen to Him. We promised our lives to protect Him, our word that we would die for Him . . . but now I, John, understand that He had to die for the world, the Innocent for the guilty, God’s Son for the sons of Adam; but more than that, He died for me, the one He loved.