When dawn broke on Thursday I didn’t feel much like talking. I sat on my own trying to figure out what to do. Do I tell Jesus what I heard? Do I just sit by and watch Judas ruin Jesus? While I was trying to sort out what to do I felt a hand rest on my shoulder.
“Kate, I know you are worried, and I know you want to do something. I already know what Judas is going to do. He has to do it. It will be hard on you, but you need to just let everything happen the way it needs to happen.” Jesus said.
“But how can I? It is going to be so painful for you.”
“You just will have to trust me. I know what I’m doing.”
We got up and went with the other. Today was the day we would celebrate Passover, so we had a lot of preparations attend to. I worked with the other women to get the food ready, while the men went to the Temple to offer the sacrifice needed.
We all convened in the upper room of the house we had been staying in. The house belonged to a man named Joseph. He was a very powerful man. The Romans were considering making him a Roman citizen, and he was also well like in the Temple. We didn’t know it then, but this man would become our protector in the days to come.
I had never been to a Passover meal before, but the men and women around me knew every word to every ritual aspect of the meal. The youngest, John, asked the questions to Jesus flawlessly. No good natured ribbing was needed tonight. However, I could tell that Jesus had abandoned the script toward the end of the meal.
”My friends, you have heard me say that if you want to be first, you must be last. May I show you what I mean? Please, let me wash your feet.” Jesus said as he stood and stripped to his undergarments. Joseph brought him a bowl of water and a towel. Jesus knelt at every man and woman’ feet; taking them in his hands he gently and intently washed every foot. He was meticulous, as if the only thing in the whole world that mattered was the cleanliness of the feet in front of him.
When he had, at last, finished washing every foot in the room he put his robe back on and turned to us saying, “I have washed your feet. Now you are to wash one another’s feet too.” Sitting down, he said, “My friends, one of you in this room will betray me tonight.”
Silence fell over the room. Peter was the first to speak, as usual. “Is it me master?” As soon as he said it all the rest of the men followed suit asking the same thing. Everyone, except Judas that is.
Eventually, Judas spoke up. “Is it me, Rabbi?” Judas asked. I wanted to strangle him. Of course Judas knew it was him. He had already agreed!
“Yes, friend, it is you. Go do what you have to do.” Jesus answered with a hug. Judas broke out of the hug, grabbed his overlay and staggered out of the room in shock.
“And Peter,” Jesus added, “before the rooster crows you will have denied knowing me three times.”
Once Judas was gone, Jesus picked up the bread in front of him. He looked around the room, meeting everyone’s eyes. “Tonight I will be arrested and then tried. They will find me guilty and I will be crucified. But this bread in my hand, this bread is my body, given for you. Eat it, and remember me.” As he said this, he split it in two and passed it around the room. The group was unsure what that meant, so they were very cautious about eating it. Once Peter took a bite he confirmed that it was still bread.
Once everyone had had some of the bread, Jesus continued. Grabbing the cup of wine in front of him he said, “This wine is my blood. Whenever you drink it, remember me.” The same the group had the same tentative attitude until the first person said it was still just wine. With that, Jesus gathered up his overcoat and walked out of the building.
We all followed him. He led us out of the city to the Mount of Olives. He took James, John and Peter with him to the clearing and told everyone else to stay awake and pray. No sooner had he left us, than everyone fell asleep. I dozed in and out. At one point I heard sobbing, and woke up unsure of where it was coming from. I got up and walked toward the clearing. I realized it was coming from Jesus. He was on the ground convulsing with sobs. He was praying so hard that his sweat looked like blood crowning his forehead. I wanted to go comfort him, but before I could his head snapped up and he was looking down the path. There were people coming. I shot up and went to wake the others. Jesus did the same.
“Wake up! Wake up! They have come to arrest Jesus! Get up you lump! He needs your help!” I scurried around kicking and thumping the others awake.
As they all woke up, the men were getting closer. Judas was leading them. He went up to Jesus dropped to his knees. Jesus reached down and pulled him to his feet. “Friend, do quickly what you have come to do.”
With that Judas kissed Jesus on the cheek and the Temple guards and others who were with him grabbed Jesus and all of the rest of us. Some of the disciples fled, while Peter drew his sword and cut off his attacker’s ear. Jesus called to Peter to put the sword down. He reached over to the injured man and touched the bleeding place that his ear had once been. As he withdrew his hand, I saw that the man’s ear had grown back. Jesus then turned to his arresters. “You have who you are looking for. Please, let the other’s go, they have done nothing wrong.” The lead guard nodded to the others and they let us go and marched off with Jesus.
I was stuck in my place. It was all happening how I remember being told it did. Now what do I do. As I doubled over in terror and sadness I felt two arms around me. It was Mary Magdalene. She had noticed that I had not fled with the other, and worried that the guards would come back for us. She steered me toward the city and ultimately toward the Temple courtyard.
“Kate,” she whispered, “you need to be strong. We may have a long night ahead of us and I need you to stay with me.” As she said this we got closer to one of the fires that was lit in the courtyard.
Nearby I could hear Peter’s booming voice. “No, I don’t know who you are talking about… I don’t know they man… God damnit! Listen to me! I have never seen that man before!” As he said that last part, a rooster crowed in the distance. I could see Peter’s face now. All of the color drained out of it and he collapsed in a pile. Mary, seeing what happened as well went over to comfort Peter. She led him off to Joseph’s house, but whispered she would be right back as she passed.
I couldn’t stand still, so I walked around the courtyard. Every few yards I would walk I would see someone I recognize. John and Simon were sitting in a corner pretending to sleep. Andrew and Bartholomew were gambling by one of the central fires. And the others were spread out trying to blend into the crowd that was gathering.
Having everyone so close by was comforting. If anything happened, they would be by my side in an instant. While I was thinking about that, the doors to the Temple opened and I saw the Temple guards leading Jesus out. Jesus’ hands were tied and his eye has swollen shut from a well aimed hit from someone inside.
I started to follow the guard and Jesus, and I was not the only person following them. The entire group of people who were in the Temple courtyard seemed to be following after them. I felt a hand on my wrist. I turned and it was Mary again.
“We are going to Pilate’s palace. The teacher is to be tried for blasphemy and treason. The Sanhedrin had lined up fake witnesses, and they voted on his death. However Pilate has the last say.”
As we followed the guard and Jesus I noticed that dawn was breaking. It was Friday.