One day Lord Jesus took Peter, James and John, to a mountain retreat. Suddenly Lord Jesus stood transfigured above them. His face shone like sun and his clothes were lustrous, too. With Him were Moses and Elias. A bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice said: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased: hear ye him." The disciples were afraid and fell down. Lord Jesus came near them and touched them, and said: "Arise, be not afraid". When they raised their head, they saw only Lord Jesus and marvelled at the Vision they had of Him.
Jesus thus taught many a great lesson to his disciples and others; and he spoke boldly and authoritatively on ethics and revealed spiritual truths through parables.
Then one day He went over to Jerusalem. In the temple there He drove away all those who carried on business transactionspurchasing and selling worldly goods, and reminded them: "It is writtenMy House shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves." Seeing his wonderful miraculous powers to heal, the people hailed Him as "The Son of David;" and this irritated the priests. They assailed Him with numerous questions to which Jesus replied in a manner that caused wonderment and jealousy. But the priests could do no harm to Him, as they were afraid of public reaction, as He was regarded as a Prophet by the people.
In unmistakable terms He denounced the Pharisees and scribes. He said, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and inequity."
Jesus's teachings had greatly angered these hypocrites and they were conspiring to put an end to His life. He too, during the last days of His sojourn upon this earth frequently predicted that He would be crucified. When Lord Jesus was in Bethany, one day a woman-devotee came to Him and with great faith and devotion anointed Him with a very costly ointment. Even the Lord's disciples felt it was a waste and remarked that she could as well have sold it and served the poor with the money. But Jesus who understood her heart, and the coming events, too, remarked: "Why trouble ye the woman for she hath wrought a good work upon me. For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial."
Now a strange thing happened. If it was inevitable, nevertheless it was disgraceful. One of His own disciples betrayed the Lord. Even as the Lord Himself said during the Last Supper, "woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed; it had been good for that man if he had not been born." As the Pharisees were conspiring to do away with the Lord, Judas Iscariot went to the chief priests and offered to betray the Lord for a petty sum of thirty pieces of silver.
The feast of the Passover was approaching. As commanded by the Lord, the disciples prepared for the feast in a pious citizen's house. Strangely enough, as soon as they were also seated and had begun to eat, Lord Jesus let fall a remark: "Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." There was great consternation in the hearts of all. He even gave a hint that He knew who it would be, by explaining it: "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me." But perhaps they did not notice whom He meant.
During this Holy Supper, the Lord took a bread, broke it and distributed it among his disciples saying: "This is My body"; and gave them wine with the significant remark: "This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." Yes, the All-Merciful Lord Jesus lived and died so that the sins of mankind might be forgiven and that men might learn to repent truly and lead the life divine thereafter.
When the Holy Supper was over, the Lord knelt down at the feet of each one of His disciples and washed his feet. To the amazed disciples, He said: "If I then, your Lord, and Master, have washed your feet, ye also ought to wash one another's feet."
When they were all going over to the Mount of Olives the Lord gave a broad hint of the events that soon followed. Peter affirmed His devotion to the Lord to which the Lord replied: "this night before the cock crows, thou shalt deny me thrice." They were all puzzled.
Then they came to a place called Gethesemane. Lord Jesus wanted to seclude Himself for a while and pray to the Divine Father. He prays. He knows that the end has come. He prays: "O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done." The three disciples that He had taken with Him to this secluded spot, are unable even to keep vigil and this evokes from the Lord the remark: "the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." Thrice he prayed to the Lord on this fateful night.
He called His disciples to go; but instantly He was surrounded by a multitude of people, headed by the chief priests, armed with various weapons. Judas had told the priests that in order to point out to them who was Lord Jesus he would kiss Him. Judas came right up to Lord Jesus and as if out of devotion, kissed Him. This was the signal for the people to arrest the Lord.
One of the Lord's disciples, wishing to defend the Lord, drew a sword and struck off the ear of a servant of the priests. And, this drew from the Lord the memorable words: "Put up again the sword into its place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword,"a maxim which the rulers of all nations would do well to remember.
The Lord is unwilling even to pray to the Divine Father for miraculous help on this occasion: for His Will be done. The Lord had to be crucified so that for all time to come the Cross shall stand as the Holiest Symbol of sacrifice and Love.
A mock trial was held before the high priest Caiaphas where the Lord was charged with blasphemy. The high priest said: "I abjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God." Lord Jesus replied: "Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you. Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power and coming in the clouds of heaven." The priests sentenced Him to death for this blasphemy.
At the same time Peter, outside, was asked if he was a disciple of Lord Jesus: and, out of fright, he denied it! The cock crew after the third denial; and suddenly realising his mistake, Peter went out and cried bitterly.
Lord Jesus was then taken before the governor Pontius Pilate.
In the meantime, Judas who had realised the blunder he had committed went over the priests and threw the silver pieces before them and said: "I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood." But it was too late! He ran outside and hanged himself.
The trial before Pilate was very much like the previous one. The priests and elders had many charges against the Lord. They all cried again and again, "Let him be crucified." But Pilate's wife had strange dreams and felt her husband should not shed the blood of the innocent Lord Jesus. She told him so. When Pilate found it was inevitable, he took water and washed his hands of this terrible sin. He had tried his best to release the Lord, finding Him innocent. But the priests and others had their way. When He was condemned to death on the Cross, He was taken to a place called Golgotha. A crown of thorns had been placed upon his head.
At Golgotha they had him crucified. The Lord said: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." Pilate had the accusation written over His head: "This is Jesus the King of the Jews." Many were the people that mocked at Him. But He was unmoved. By the side of the Cross were Jesus's mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. After a while Lord Jesus cried: "I thirst;" and the guards gave him a little vinegar. At last He cried: "Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit," and saying so, He gave up the ghost.
There was a big earthquake. The graves were opened and the bodies of saints which lay there arose. Many people had visions of these holy saints. A rich man named Joseph asked the Pilate to give him Jesus's body. The body was entombed in a sepulchre which was securely sealed with a big stone.
On the third day, there was a great earthquake. An angel from Heaven had opened the sepulchre. The keepers of the sepulchre and the womenMary Magdalene and the other Marywere all frightened. The angel told them that the Lord had risen, and that they would see Him in Galilee!
Before these women could tell the disciples, the latter had met Jesus who said to them: "All Hail." The disciples went to a mountain in Galilee and worshipped Him. The Lord gave them His last Message:
"Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you Always, even unto the end of the world."
May Lord Jesus ever thus dwell in your heart, bringing Light and Love, into your Life! Amen.