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Agony. Chapter Eighteen in The Alabaster Jar by Theresia Saers

Agony

Chapter Eighteen in The Alabaster Jar by Theresia Saers

When supper is ended, they leave for the Mount of Olives, where Jesus sometimes goes to pray. At one point he walks away from his disciples, and having found a quiet place, drops to his knees. Three of his closest friends, Peter, John and James, are allowed to come a little further with him than the others. They sit some distance away from him. The apostles are tired and sleepy and do not stay awake, while Jesus passes through a crisis. He is covered in sweat; indeed, death-sweat starts running down his face when he contemplates what is going to happen to him. I consider this the most moving sentence in the whole narrative of the passion, ever since the day I saw my sister carried into an ambulance after a final kiss, to be treated for the unbearable pain she suffered (and anguish of course, because she knew she was dying and she clung to life.) I will forever remember the taste of that death-filled kiss on my own lips which helps me realise what happened on the Mount of Olives. For Jesus too knew what the gruesome end would be. He was as human as my sister.

Finally Jesus gets up to find his disciples asleep. When with a gentle reproach he wakes them, a large number of soldiers are already striding his way. They carry swords and clubs as if they are about to arrest a noted terrorist.

‘Who is it you are looking for?’ Jesus asks.

‘Jesus of Nazareth,’ they answer. Judas is among the soldiers. He approaches his former Master and his friends. Hesitantly he kisses Jesus. ‘Good evening, my Rabbi.’

‘Was it really necessary to betray me with a kiss?’ Jesus replies. And to the soldiers, ‘however, if you are looking for me; I will come with you. Please, let my friends go.’

Upon these words the commander ties Jesus up, as if he were an escape-prone terrorist.

© Theresia Saers



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