Episode Three - Part Two

It's the next day. Peter has had a rough night. He tossed and turned, trying to make sense of what Jesus was doing. James and Andrew stayed up late talking. And this morning it still seems confusing. They have stayed in Bethany but now Jesus is getting ready to head back into the city. They want him to stay away from trouble.  But Jesus isn't interested in hiding away. Every day he ends up in discussions with the leaders in the temple, he heals the sick and he tells his amazing stories to anyone who will listen. 

This morning his face looks stressed, as if he is carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Lunch is packed, sandals are strapped and they are on their way.  

Later on, after they have visited the temple, Jesus and the disciples walk up to the Mount of Olives. They find a shady spot to avoid the heat of the day. Peter, James, John and Andrew sit down next to Jesus, away from the others. They want to know what Jesus means when he says some of the things he says. He has everyone confused. This morning he talked about the temple being destroyed, every single stone being pulled apart. That sure shocked them all. Didn't Jesus care about this special place? 

As they look at Jesus they see him staring across the valley towards the temple. This photo below shows you what that view looks like today. The temple is no longer there, and now the slopes of the hill are covered with grave stones. It is a popular place to be buried if you are a Jew. 

 "Jerusalem, Jerusalem" Jesus cries. They notice that large tears are rolling down his cheeks as he looks at the city. This is a city Jesus loves, but this city has rejected the prophets, rejected those who brought messages of peace, and now it is rejecting Jesus. There is trouble brewing for this magnificent city.

It's evening and the time has come to celebrate the Passover meal together. Every Jew in the city is getting ready for one of the most important events of the year. Every Jew knows how God saved them from Egypt many years ago. And they tell the story once again at the Passover meal. Jesus shares this meal with his friends. But he knows something that no one else knows. One of his friends is about to turn against him. Judas is very confused. He is frustrated and annoyed and he keeps his eyes down on the table as Jesus talks. 

Jesus says to his friends, “One of you will surely hand me over to my enemies.” This of course makes them all jump in their seats. "Hang on a minute, did he just say what I think I heard him say?" Jesus also mentions things that his friends don't understand. He talks about his death and that he won't stay dead but come back to life. He mentions that they will all abandon him before the end, even Peter who argues that he will never ever leave Jesus' side. 

He picks up some bread and tells them that this bread will help them remember his body, and that when the bread is pulled apart into pieces, that's what is going to happen to him. And the cup with wine in it. That's to help them remember his blood. When he dies, he will bleed. But because of this the wrong things of this world will be wiped away.

Jesus' friends stare at him, mouths wide open. They want to protest that this can't be true, but something in Jesus' eyes make them stay silent.  They want to ask him questions, to tell him they don't understand. But they stay silent. Jesus looks at them and they know he understands. This is difficult for them. Then they finish the meal by singing a song together and they head on their way to the Mount of Olives. 

It is dark. They walk up the Kidron Valley on their way. This valley was not a nice place in Jesus' day, so they keep an eye out as they walk.  

Jesus is tired. His friends can see it as he walks. He looks sad, especially after Judas left the Passover meal celebrations early. All that talk of death and enemies and betrayal. Andrew places his hand on Jesus' shoulder, as if to remind Jesus that they are still here. They are still his friends. 

When they get to a place called Gethsemane, Jesus turns to them and tells them to stay here. He chooses Peter, James and John to come on further with him into a grove of olive trees. They can see that he is looking really troubled

Jesus wants to pray, to talk to his father. But he wants his friends to stay with him. He needs their comfort. He goes on a little way and collapses on the ground, pressing his face into the grass and dirt. His whole body looks like it is in pain! 

They try, they really try, but as the night goes on they just can't stay awake. It has been a long day, and they are really tired. They want to stay awake but... 

The next thing they know, Jesus is waking them up. "Can't any of you stay awake with me for just one hour?" They can't look Jesus in the eye they feel so bad. But it happens again. Jesus goes to pray and they fall asleep. 

What Jesus says in his prayers that night, under the starry sky are still remembered today. A church has been built near the place where all this happened. It has a very special ceiling. Can you see it in the photo below? 

The ceiling looks like a night sky. People sit in this church and remember that Jesus could have said no. As he sat under a starry sky he said to God, "My Father, if there is no other way, and I must suffer, I will still do what you want." That must have been very difficult for him to say. 

And things are going to get even more difficult for Jesus. Will he back out? Will he save himself?... 

to be continued... 

Other episodes:
Episode One: The journey begins
Episode Two: Through the gates 
Episode Three - Things get tense
Episode Four - Like a criminal


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