tale2tell original Bible Stories series – New Testament

Based on Matthew chapter 26 verses 30 to 69

Gethsemane

DISCIPLE ANDREW ‘After we’d shared our meal together and Judas had left, we went to a place we often went to together, to a hill nearby called the Mount of Olives. As we were walking along Jesus spoke to us. ‘Tonight,’ He said, ‘every one of you will desert me. For it’s written in the Scriptures, ‘I will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’. But after I’ve risen from the dead, I’ll go ahead of you to Galilee and meet you there.’’

‘Once again my brother Peter was the first to speak. ‘But Lord,’ he said, ‘Even if everyone else leaves you, I never will!’’

‘Jesus stopped for a moment and looked at us. ‘Peter,’ He replied, ‘the truth is, this very night before the cockerel crows you will have said three times that you don’t know me.’’

‘’No way!’ Peter insisted. ‘Even if I have to die with You, I wouldn’t deny I knew You!’ And all the rest of us said the same thing.’

‘When we arrived at a garden full of olive trees called Gethsemane, Jesus told us, ‘Sit here while I go on ahead to pray.’ Taking Peter, James and John with Him He began to be filled with sorrow, anguish and deep distress. Turning to the three of them He said, ‘My soul is overwhelmed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and pray with me.’ Then, going a little further on by Himself, He fell face down on the ground and prayed, ‘Father if it’s possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. (P) And yet, I want what You want, not what I want.’’

‘After Jesus’d prayed this prayer He got up and went back to see Peter, James and John, but they’d fallen asleep. So waking Peter up He said, ‘Peter, couldn’t you stay awake and pray with me for just one hour? Keep alert and pray otherwise temptation will overpower you! Because, even though the spirit is willing, the body is weak!’’

‘Then Jesus left the three of them and went back to pray, ‘My father. If this cup of suffering cannot be taken away until I drink it, then may Your will be done.’ Once again, after praying, Jesus returned to find His disciples sleeping. They were so tired they just couldn’t keep their eyes open. And so He went back a third time to pray, praying the same thing. ‘My father. If this cup of suffering cannot be taken away until I drink it, then may Your will be done.’

‘Then coming a third time to His disciples He woke them from their sleep. ‘Still sleeping?’ He said, ‘Still resting? Look, the hour has come and I, the Son of Man, have been betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up! Let’s go, my betrayer has arrived!’’

‘Even while He was speaking Judas Iscariot, one of His closest disciples, one of the 12 of us, arrived with a crowd of people sent by the chief Priests armed with swords and clubs. Judas had arranged a special signal with the crowd so that they’d know who to arrest. ‘This is how you’ll know who Jesus is,’ he’d told them, ‘He’ll be the one I greet with a welcoming kiss.’ And so, walking straight up to Jesus he said, ‘Greetings Teacher,’ and gave Him a kiss.’

‘I can’t even begin to imagine how Jesus felt. One of His closest friends, a disciple, someone who’d shared His food, was betraying Him! But looking at Judas He said, ‘My friend, do what you came to do.’ And at that, others from the crowd grabbed Jesus and arrested Him.’

‘It was then that my brother Peter decided he ought to show Jesus just how ready he was to die for Him. And so, grabbing a sword, he slashed at the first person he came across who happened to be the servant of the high priest. It wasn’t a very effective blow, but it did cut off his ear!’

‘Put your sword away!’ Jesus shouted. ‘Don’t you know that those who use the sword will die by the sword? Don’t you realise that if I wanted to I could ask My Father to send twelve legions of angels to protect us and He would send them at once! (P) But if that happened, then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen this way?’

‘Then reaching out His hand, Jesus touched the high priest’s servant’s ear and healed him. Turning to the crowd, Jesus asked, ‘Every day I sat in the Temple courts teaching and you didn’t arrest me. So why have you come to me now with swords and clubs as if I were some kind of dangerous criminal starting a rebellion? But this is happening to fulfil the words the prophets wrote as recorded in the Scriptures.’ (P) To my shame, it was then that all the rest of us, His disciples, His closest friends – ran away and deserted Him, fearful for our own lives.’ (PAUSE)

‘Jesus was led to the house of Caiaphas the high Priest where all the teachers of the Law and other leaders had gathered, even though it was the early hours of the morning. I found out later that Peter followed on behind, a long way back, and eventually made his way into the courtyard of the house, waiting to see what would happen to Jesus.’

‘There was nothing legal or right about that gathering. Such was their hatred for Jesus that they were prepared to break their own laws to make sure they got rid of Him, even if that meant meeting in the middle of the night! And so Jesus stood in the middle of this illegal court waiting to hear what they’d say as the entire council tried to find witnesses to tell lies about Him. But the law said there had to be at least two witnesses to any charge if the person was to be found guilty! The witnesses they brought against Jesus told all kinds of lies, but none of them could agree – so they were worthless. Finally, the council brought forward two men who shouted, ‘This man Jesus said He’s able to destroy the Temple of God and rebuild it again in just three days!’ But even these men didn’t get their stories straight!’

‘The high Priest knew he was losing the argument, but he couldn’t give up now and let Jesus go. He had to do something, anything, to get Jesus to say something that could be used against Him. And so, once again breaking the law by asking Jesus to answer a question that the law said He didn’t have to answer, the high priest shouted at Jesus, ‘I demand in the name of the living God that you tell us whether you’re the Messiah, the Son of God – or not.’’ (PAUSE)

‘If Jesus said no, they’d have to let Him go. But Caiaphas knew He wouldn’t – or couldn’t – say no, because it would have been a lie. So raising His head to look at them, Jesus answered Caiaphas’ question. ‘Yes, it is as you say. And the day will come when you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of God in the place of power – and coming back on the clouds of heaven.’’

‘At last, Caiaphas had got something he could work with. So in a show of mock horror he stood up and tore his clothes shouting, ‘Blasphemy! He has spoken blasphemy claiming to make Himself equal with God! Why do we need any more witnesses? You have all heard His blasphemy with your own ears. What’s your verdict?’ (P) It would only be blasphemy if it wasn’t true – but this court wasn’t interested in truth; its only interest was in getting rid of Jesus once and for all.’

‘’Guilty!’ came back the shouts from the crowd. ‘He is guilty of blasphemy and must die!’’

‘After this, they spat in Jesus’ face and hit Him with their fists. Some of them even slapped Him and jeered at Him, ‘prophesy to us, Messiah! Who hit you this time?’

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