Things were getting tense. The Pharisees were obviously pooling their mental resources and coming out to ask Teacher questions merely to trip him up. How he managed to keep his cool through all that, I’ll never know. Especially when they brought the woman they’d caught in adultery to him! I was so angry and appalled and felt shamed for her. I wanted so much to go out there and just stand with her, but I was so scared. [Pause.] I wish I could have done that. Maybe I could, now. [Clears throat.] Well, in the end the Teacher had the last word. “Let anyone who’s never sinner throw the first stone.” How do you respond to that? You don’t, you can’t. What they did was really all they could do, really. They just left, all of them. And then the teacher asked the woman “where are your accusers?” And she responded “no where around here.” She was in shock. Teacher said, “I don’t accuse you either. Go and don’t sin this way again.” She left quickly, but just like someone who’s been staring down a knife. She didn’t quite understand how it was her life was spared. I don’t think any of us really understood except the Teacher.
That’s just an example of how bad things were getting before the Passover, as we were pushing towards Jerusalem.
Then the Teacher sent some of the men out to find a colt and we all thought “this is it.” What it was, I’m not sure, although I think most of us still thought it was going to be a political overthrow. Kingdoms are about governments, right? That’s what we thought would happen–I figured it would be a bloodless coup, since none of us could really fight, but I think many of the men thought Teacher would just turn them into warriors, like he healed people, with a word.
It was amazing and glorious and tense, that entry. All those people, waving palm branches, putting coats in the road, shouting “Hosanna!” In the end, we didn’t even stay in the city overnight–it was so crowded because of the Passover and I think Teacher knew things would come to a head too quickly if we stayed. So we’d spend the night in Bethany and go into Jerusalem during the day so the Teacher could preach and teach again. And cleanse the temple one last time!
I was there at the Passover meal–his last meal. I made myself useful by helping to cook and serve the meal. It was worth it to be near the Teacher. And then he did the thing that shocked us all. Have you heard about it? That he wrapped a towel around his waist and washed the disciples’ feet? It was shocking. It still takes my breath away. Here was the man we were looking forward to crowning as King, washing our feet, lower than the lowest servant.
His arrest. No, I wasn’t there. Isn’t that crazy? As someone who worked so hard to stay as close as possible to the Teacher…I wasn’t there. In a way, I’m glad. I don’t know how I would have responded. Would I have tried to grab a sword, like Peter? Actually, I suspect I would have screamed and tried to in front of him–the mothering instinct, I guess. I heard what had happened while he was being “tried” at the Sanhedrin, if you can call it there. I couldn’t get too close, it was so crowded–and to be honest, we were frightened. [Question.] Oh, me and the other two Marys. We had seen Peter, but he acted like he didn’t know us–he was really struggling…
Anyway, we followed from the Sanhedrin to Herod’s palace. We’d hardly arrived when Herod shunted Teacher off to the Roman authorities. It was awful. Pilate kept coming out…it was clear he didn’t know what to do with the Teacher. He’d try and release him, but the Pharisees convinced the crowd to agitate for the death penalty. When Mary (Teacher’s mother) first heard this, she almost fainted. We all protested, but we were shouted down by the crowd. That was the closest I have ever been to a riot. [Makes a shuddering sound.] After a while it was like the crowd had become a single entity, a beast, just out to consume Teacher Jesus.
That’s when Pilate attempted to release Jesus. By then it was too late, the Pharisees had incited the crowd to the point that they’d settle for nothing less than death for the teacher. That was where John joined us, about the time Herod had sent the teacher out to be flogged. It was excruciating. He received the maximum number of lashes allowed under Roman law, you know. I don’t see how anyone could endure that kind of treatment and remain alive, let alone standing. I don’t know how the Teacher did it…
Then Pilate released Teacher to the solders to be crucified.