The bargain was struck. Judas, the treasurer, put the coins in the common purse, and thought: If we had only had this sooner. And now it’s hardly any use to us. Then a troop of soldiers placed him in their midst, and, carrying torches, the procession marched out of the town and down into the Valley of Kedron. They crossed the brook, and at the entrance to the garden gate intended to proceed to Bethany. But a swift, curious glance of Judas observed, by the glimmer of the moon, figures lying on the ground under a bush. He stopped, looked, and recognised the brothers. He signed to the soldiers to enter the garden quietly. To walk quietly is the way of traitors, not of warriors. The sound of marching and the clash of swords woke the disciples. A very different awakening from the gentle bidding of the Master! They jumped up and hastened to where He was kneeling.
Judas came forward and said: “Did I frighten
you?” Then he went up to
Jesus: “You are still awake, Master?” He bent down in greeting, kissed
Him lightly on the cheek, and thought in tremulous expectation: Messiah
King, now reveal Thyself!
Then the soldiers rushed up. They had been joined by a mob armed with sticks and cudgels, just as when notorious criminals are taken. Jesus went forward a few steps to meet them and offered His hands to them to be bound. John threw himself between, but he was dashed to the ground. James struggled with two of the soldiers; Peter snatched the sword of a third, and hacked at one of the Temple guards so that his ear flew from his body.
“What are you doing?” Jesus called to the disciple. “If you interfere they will kill you. You will conquer not with the sword, but with the word. But you, O people of Jerusalem; you treat Me as shamefully as if I were a murderer. And only five days ago you led Me into the city with palms and psalms. What have I done since then? I sat in the Temple among you. Why did you not take Me then?”
They mocked at Him. “Isn’t to-day soon enough for you? Can’t you wait any longer for your ladder to heaven? Patience, it is set up already.”
When the disciples heard such allusions, and saw the Master calmly surrendering Himself, they drew back. The sticks and spears clashed together, the crowd jogged along, the torches flickered, and so the procession went up to the city.
Judas stood behind the trunk of a tree, looking through the branches at the dread procession, and his eyes started from his head in terror.