Jesus arrested by Sanhedrin; Disciple Judas identified as betrayer
(Editor’s Note: This is the third of a six-part series written by www.thetentacle.com contributor Norman M. Covert. It was first published in April 2011 at his www.thecovertletter.com, providing a news correspondent's reporting of events unfolding in Jerusalem two millennia ago and mirroring Christianity's remembrance of “Holy Week.” It records the last days of the life of Jesus Christ, providing a perspective, which is not unlike current events in Israel and Jerusalem.)
Jerusalem (April 1) –Jesus of Nazareth, in a stunning turn of events, was arrested late last night in the Garden of Gethsemane. One of his closest companions identified him to an enforcement unit representing the Sanhedrin, according to witnesses.
A source said Judas Iscariot unexpectedly met the delegation, then embraced Jesus kissing his cheek in greeting. Jesus was immediately seized.
Judas, from Kerioth, South Judea, was identified as one of “The Twelve,” accompanying Jesus on his ministerial journey. No explanation was provided for his betrayal and other disciples refused to condemn him.
The Garden of Gethsemane is at the foot of the Mount of Olives, just outside the city, not far from Temple Mount and facilities of the Sanhedrin.
Jesus was confined in a facility adjacent to the Temple on charges said to include heresy and blasphemy. Some evidence is reported linking to Jesus’ activities to the late John the Baptist, who like Jesus preached doctrine beyond the Torah and its interpretation by Temple intelligentsia.
There was no official word from the office of Chief Priest Joseph Caiaphas when a trial might be scheduled, but those familiar with the situation expect quick resolution.
A spokesman in the office of Roman Prefect Pontius Pilot said it would not interfere with the “privilege” of the high priest to govern events within the Jewish community.
“It is important,” the spokesman quoted Pilot, “that the matter be resolved for the good of the community.”
The arrest marked the end of another triumphant day for the precocious young rabbi, who has attracted overflow crowds throughout the Jerusalem Metroplex. He stormed into this ancient and revered city three days ago, welcomed by throngs along the main route.
The queue of reporters tracked Jesus and his associates to a spacious bed and breakfast in what is called the Upper City of Jerusalem. Two disciples had arranged for the entourage to have its Passover meal as guests in the upper room.
Jesus spent much of the day speaking again in the Temple and in spontaneous opportunities with local residents.
Reporters identified guests at the invitation-only affair. It included former Sea of Galilee fishermen Simon Peter, his brother Andrew, John and his brother James. Also: Matthew, a former government tax official; Phillip of Bethsaida, Galilee; Thomas, Bartholomew, James the son of Alpheus; Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.
Jesus’ remarks were said to have shocked his followers. They again heard him predict his death and betrayal, personally identifying Judas, who Jesus said would make his prophecy possible.
“I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer,” he was quoted.
Jesus, in solemn tones, predicted he would shed his blood and his body would be broken as “atonement for the sins of the people.”
He offered a blessing, then broke the traditional matzo bread, Matthew said, giving each guest a piece.
“He said it was his body. He then blessed a goblet of wine and asked us to drink from it, saying it represented his blood to be shed in sacrifice. He urged us to repeat the tradition, remembering the elements of this first communion of disciples.”
It was consensus that Jesus’ deity was without question.
“I will not drink wine again until the day when I drink it new with you in my father’s kingdom,” Matthew quoted Jesus.
Reporters were energized again as Jesus led a procession to the Garden of Gethsemane after dinner. He is said to have found the garden perfect for contemplation. He asked his companions to “watch and wait” with him.
Jesus reportedly had prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; not as I want, but as you want.”
Reporters learned that after the third time finding his followers asleep, Jesus said, “Are you still sleeping? It is time for the Son of Man to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Come on, let’s go.
“Look,” he continued, nodding toward Judas, “My betrayer is here.”
According to eyewitnesses, the Temple delegation stormed into the clearing brandishing swords. Judas greeted Jesus and he was arrested. Judas reportedly walked away and wasn’t seen again.
Jesus did not resist. He is said to have attended to one of the chief priests, whose ear was severed by a disciple’s sword. Another eye witness confirmed the ear was completely healed by Jesus’ touch. It could not be explained otherwise.
As he was led away, Jesus remarked he had been arrested as if he were a common criminal. He said he could have called 12 legions of angels to rescue him, but it was important that the prophecy be fulfilled.