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seen from the fact that the months were lunar months. The adding of a month was always decided by the Sanhedrin, who sent the signal of the opening of the new month all over the land of Palestine by means of fires on the hill tops. Later, when the Samaritans. lighted fires to confuse the Jews, messengers were sent. About the time of Christ there came to be a fixed calendar.
The passover sacrifice could only be offered in Jerusalem, and the number of visitors who came to the city at this time was undoubtedly very great. Josephus makes the estimate over two million, but this is perhaps too large. Especial measures were taken by Rome at such times to guard against insurrections. It appears to have been a common time for executions, and the custom of granting pardons at this time became an unwritten law; the will of the people having large place in the choice of the prisoner to be released. With these facts in mind, the tumult at the time of the Triumphal Entry, and the charge of sedition brought by the Jewish council against Jesus both gain a new meaning.
Several elements entered into the feast of the passover itself. Tradition connects its observance with the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. The unleavened bread was a reminder of the haste of that journey, when there was no time for the setting of the dough. The sacrifice, though not unlike other Jewish sacrifices, was a survival of the hurried meal at night, when a lamb was slain and its blood smeared on the door-posts in token of a kind of blood-covenant between Jehovah and his people. The chief point of difference lay in the fact that in the memorial celebration the sacrifices were not slain in the homes of the participants, but only at the temple.
The connection of sacrifice with feast, though especially prominent in this case, was not a new one,
either among the Jews or their neighbors. In the older days of the tribal religion, every feast partook of the nature of a sacrifice, the tribal god having his share with the other members of the tribe. Even the animal is supposed by most authorities to have been considered a part of the tribe. The partaking of the same life and blood brought the partakers into a close bloodrelation in which each was bound help the other.
TABLE. The table for feasts was usually a three-fold article, called by the Romans the tri-clinium. An open space was reserved in the middle for the servants.
The guests FEAT
reclined on couches, each reclining his left elbow. The guest lying next before any one was said to be lying in his bosom.
This was familiar expression, and
is found in the classics svan
as well as in the New Testament. The Romans had a saying that the number of guests
should be "not less than
1333 the graces nor more than the muses.” In the case of Jesus and his disciples, however, the table was arranged for thirteen, which number probably has given rise to a foolish superstition. Precisely how the disciples were arranged we do not know. The usual, though not invariable, place for the host was at the left hand angle, where he .could most easily see the largest number of his guests. If Jesus sat there, Judas was around the corner from him; John was next to Jesus on the same side, and Peter probably next beyond John.
RABBI. Among the Jews the name Rabbi was a title of honor and reverence, similar to “Reverend” or “Doctor."
COMFORTER. The name given to the “Holy Spirit” or the “Spirit of Truth;” who, said Jesus in his “Upper Room" discourse, would guide the disciples after his departure. Other words besides “Comforter” are used in trying to convey the meaning to the English mind. There are “Advocate” and “Helper.” The Greek word is “Paraclete,” which Dr. Bushnell translated into “Nearcaller.” The Holy Spirit of God is to be to the disciples—this is the promise—all that Jesus in the flesh had been to them and even more.
HYMN. The hymn sung by Jesus and his disciples at the close of the supper was probably the second part of the Hallel, or Hallelujah, embracing Psalms 115, 116, 117 and 118.
THE HOLY GRAIL. The cup from which our Lord and his disciples drank at the last supper was the subject of much curious literature in the middle ages. It was affirmed to have been a chalice made in heaven from a single emerald and sent down for our Lord's use. Joseph of Arimathea was said to have caught in it the blood of Jesus, and to have preserved the cup until his own death, when it disappeared. The hope of attaining to sufficient purity of life to become custodian of the Holy Grail has furnished a theme for many poets and romancers.
APRIL 7, 30 A. D. From the “Upper Room” Jesus, with his disciples, went, about midnight, to a garden known as Gethsem
It was doubtless between Bethany and Jerusalem, in the valley of Kidron, on the slope of Olivet.
Here he spent some time in agonizing prayer, while the disciples fell asleep.
Here he was arrested by the authorities of the temple, who were conducted to the spot by Judas, the betrayer. The disciples all forsook him and fled. He was then taken into the city, first to Annas, by whom he was informally examined. He was then sent on to Caiaphas, the high-priest, who, with a part of the Sanhedrin, before day-break, made a preliminary examination. After day-break a formal trial was held before the whole Sanhedrin, which by that time was assembled. Thus there were three steps in the ecclesiastical trial.
He was condemned by the Sanhedrin as worthy of death, but the authority to execute the death penalty resided in the civil court alone.
He was therefore taken by the priests, followed by a multitude, and hurried to the residence of Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor. The soldiers led him away, followed by a great multitude. He bore the cross for himself at first, but falling under the load, one Simon of Cyrene was compelled to relieve him. He was crucified at a spot called Golgotha, outside the city.
About three o'clock he “gave up the ghost." Toward evening a company of disciples, headed by Joseph of Arimathæa, obtaining permission from Pilate, took down his body and placed it in a tomb.
Friday is thus the day of agonizing prayer, of betrayal, of trial, of suffering, of death, and its close finds our Lord lying in the tomb.
From the time when Easter began to be celebrated, the Friday preceding it was observed in the early Church. Constantine forbade the opening of courts and markets on this day. It was customary to omit all lights and music on this day, save music of the simplest and most solemn description.
Bells were not rung for worship. The knee was not bowed in prayer, because with the bowing of the knee the Jews reviled Christ. The customary kiss was omitted, because with that sign Judas betrayed his Lord. In Greek and Latin churches the altar lights are extinguished, the communion is omitted, and the pulpit furniture is covered on this day.
Hor Cross Buns. Lent was a time of fasting, the Fridays being particularly sacred; and all meats were prohibited. On Good Friday, buns marked with a cross were sold on the streets at an early hour, and the custom still obtains in many places.
GETHSEMANE. Gethsemane was a garden or orchard about half a mile east of the city walls, in the valley between the city and Olivet. The name means “the oil-press, press being used to crush the olives yielded by the trees of the orchard.
THE HIGH PRIEST. The High Priest was the chief functionary of the Jews in the time of Christ. He had the oversight of the temple worship, and of the treasury. The office