‘Good morning children’, greet the angels.
‘What are we going to see today?’ asks Jeannette.
‘Follow me’, says Meilon, ‘and you will have a tiny glimpse of a special garden.’
After walking a short distance, Meilon asks us to stop. ‘Stand right here.’ Betil then tells the children, ‘You are standing on the very edge of the Garden of Eden.’
‘Ooooh’, cry the children in amazement. ‘The real Garden of Eden?’ asks Kevin.
‘Yes, the real Garden of Eden’, answers Betil.
‘But how can it be here?’ wonders Jeannette.
Meilon explains. ‘The garden remained on the earth for many years, but before the flood, God took it to heaven. He did not want it to be destroyed as it was still perfect.’
‘Oh, how wonderful’, states Summer.
‘If you look across that way’, says Betil, ‘you will see the tree of life, and on its left a bit further across, the tree of knowledge of good and evil.’
‘Oh, that’s the forbidden tree’, laments Kevin.
‘Yes, the one they were not permitted to eat’, states Meilon. ‘But they did eat it’, mourns Jeannette.
‘Children, one day your Saviour will meet with Adam in this very garden. If you are faithful, you will see them meet.’
‘What will Adam do?’ asks Summer.
‘Memories will return, and He will fall at the feet of His Creator with a grateful heart’, responds Betil.
‘Can we go through the gate?’ asks Jeannette.
'No’, explains Betil, ‘not until Jesus returns to earth after His second coming. Then you will watch Adam meet His Saviour, and everyone will be permitted to walk through the garden.’
The temple is beginning to crowd with worshippers.
It is the day before Passover preparation, and Jesus has a very important message. When the people are gathered, he begins to speak.
‘You must listen carefully. Do not do what the scribes and Pharisees do. They put heavy burdens on the shoulders of others, but won’t lift one of their fingers to help carry the burden. Everything they do is simply to be seen of men. They wear gorgeous robes, and they love sitting in the best seats at feasts and in the synagogue.
They love to hear you say, ‘Rabbi, rabbi’. Don’t call them Rabbi. Don’t call them ‘Father’. Your Father is in heaven. Don’t call them ‘Master’. The Messiah is your Master.’
The people are amazed at the words of Jesus. They find it amusing to see the Pharisees and Sadducees defeated, yet they respect their leaders and believe they have the way to eternal life.
Still speaking to the people, Jesus says, ‘It is better for you to be humble. Don’t exalt yourself. If you humble yourself, God will exalt you in His time.’
The message for the leaders is not a gentle word of encouragement, but a condemnation. This is necessary that the common people might understand the characters of the men in whom they trust for eternal life. Their trust and allegiance must turn from men to the Messiah and the Word of God.
‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You shut the door to the kingdom of heaven. You don’t go in yourselves and you don’t let anyone else in either. You make long public prayers before the people. Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You would travel the ocean to make another Pharisee, but he becomes far worse than you. You are fools and blind guides.’
The multitude is spellbound.
Jesus speaks as a Judge before the accused. The leaders shudder at His words.
‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You tithe your little herbs, but don’t have mercy or faith. You are hard and exacting.
‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You clean the outside of the cup, but the inside is dirty. If you clean the inside, the outside will be clean too. You cover your cups with a cloth so you won’t swallow an insect. Instead you swallow a camel.’
The people glance at one another and smile. Jesus has a sense of humour.
The Pharisees and scribes are incensed, but no one moves. ‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You are like white tombstones. They look beautiful on the outside, but inside are dead men’s bones. You look nice in your gorgeous robes, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and sin.’
Jesus is calm and self-possessed as He speaks. There is no rage in His heart or voice. His wrath is holy and against the prince of darkness.
The devil has been whispering in the ears of the leaders of Israel and Jesus longs for them to repent. He knows they have the spirit of murder in their hearts.
‘Woe unto you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites. You are the children of those who killed the prophets. You are serpents and a generation of vipers.
‘“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who killed the prophets and stoned those who are sent to you, how often would I have gathered you as a hen gathers her chickens and puts them under her wings. And you would not.”’
Walking towards the temple doors, Jesus calls His disciples. He looks at the priests and Jewish leaders. His loving heart is filled with sadness, but there is nothing more He can do for them.
He announces, ‘Behold your house is left unto you desolate’, and walks out of the temple for the last time.
‘Children’, says Meilon. ‘You are going to witness difficult things in the next few days and it will be very hard for you – for all of us.’
‘The end is fast closing in on Jesus’, adds Betil.
The children are quiet.
‘Now you will see the celebration of Passover’, states Meilon, ‘the last one Jesus has with His disciples.’
‘John’, says Jesus. ‘It is time to prepare for Passover. Take another disciple and find a room where we can celebrate the Passover. When you go to town, follow a man bearing a pitcher of water. The room will be ready for you.’
John takes his brother James who asks, ‘How will we find a man with a water pot?’
‘Men don’t usually carry water pots’, says John.
‘Right’, replies James, ‘so it should not be too hard.’
James and John walk up and down the streets looking for the man.
Suddenly James spots him, ‘Look, there he is.’
They hurry after the water carrier to a two-story house, and meeting the owner ask, ‘The Master said, Show me the guest chamber where I shall eat the Passover with my disciples?’
He replies, ‘Come, I will show you’, and takes the disciples to a large upper room fully furnished and prepared, with plates, knives, forks, spoons and cups.
James and John purchase grape juice, herbs, eggs, apples, nuts and unleavened matzoh bread. In the upper room they prepare the herbs, roast the eggs, cut up and mix the apples, nuts and cinnamon. Salt is added to water for moistening the flat bread.
The disciples bring the lamb set aside since the 10th, and at the appointed hour on the evening of the 14th, prepare it for roasting. James notifies the other disciples of the venue and gradually they make their way to the upper room. When the meat is cooked, Jesus arrives.
It is a happy occasion for the disciples to remember the wonderful deliverance of the first born in Egypt.
But for Jesus, it is His last opportunity to minister to His disciples. He is quiet and subdued.
Judas takes a seat close to Jesus.
John sits close on the other side, and with loving tenderness, places his head on the Master’s chest.
After partaking of the Passover meal, Jesus rises from His chair, and taking a large bowl, fills it with water. He then girds Himself with a towel and begins to wash the feet of His disciples.
Peter is upset. ‘No Lord, you will never wash my feet.’ Jesus replies.
‘Peter, if I do not wash your feet, you have no part with Me.’
‘Oh, then wash all of me, my head and my hands.’
‘No, you only need your feet washed. You are clean, but not all.’
Jesus takes grape juice and an unbroken matzoh in His hands and prays over them.
He then gives the bread to His disciples saying, ‘This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me.’
The disciples pass the flat bread around the table. Each breaks off a piece and eats it in silence.
Jesus then takes the grape juice and passes a large cup to His disciples.
‘This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you… I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.’
Each disciple takes a sip from the cup and passes it to the disciple next to him. What does Jesus mean?
The minds of the disciples are on the glory of the kingdom and they have no comprehension of His approaching death.
In the quietness, Jesus makes a startling announcement. ‘Truly, truly I say to you, one of you will betray Me.’
The disciples gasp in horror. They look at one another, wondering who would do such an evil deed.
Peter leans over to John, ‘Ask the Master who it is?’
John lifts His head to Jesus and asks, ‘Lord, is it I?’
Jesus takes a piece of bread in his hands, then replies, ‘It is the one to whom I shall give the bread, when I have dipped it.’
He dips a piece of the flat bread into the salted water and hands it to Judas.
Judas immediately gets up from his seat and walks towards the door.
Jesus says to him, ‘What you do, do quickly.’
No one understands Jesus’ words, except Judas.
The disciples all speak at once.
‘We wouldn’t betray you.’
They shake their heads to confirm their loyalty.
Peter’s voice sounds above them all. ‘Master I will never betray you. No, I would rather die than betray you.’
He speaks with strong conviction.
Jesus replies sadly, ‘Simon Peter, you will deny me three times this very day, before the rooster crows twice.’
Peter’s mouth drops open, but he says nothing.
Jesus is anxious to give the disciples all the instruction possible in the little time left, and begins to teach truths from the Word of God.
Peter listens, but his heart is aching.
He keeps asking himself, ‘How could Jesus say that of me? Doesn’t he trust me? I will never deny Him.’
‘Meilon, where did Judas go?’ asks Kevin.
‘He went to the temple to meet the Jewish leaders. He had already met and told them he will lead them to the Garden of Gethsemane. Now he will betray Jesus as the signal for the leaders.’
Jeannette is amazed the disciples do not understand who will betray Him. ‘After all’, she says, ‘Jesus said it so plainly.’
‘Yes’, replies Betil. ‘This is because the disciples believed Jesus would set up His kingdom and rule in Jerusalem as king. This is what they waited for with longing desire.’
‘Yes’, adds Meilon, ‘even Judas believed that’.
The children are amazed. ‘Why did he betray Him to death then?’
‘You will see’, states Meilon.
He continues. ‘Judas did not think Jesus would allow Himself to be crucified. He wanted to hurry Him up to become king so he could have a high position of rulership.’ ‘Ooooh, how awful’, says Summer.
Meilon now puts a question to Kevin. ‘Sonny, do you remember saying yesterday Satan won’t trick you?’
‘Yes, I guess I said the wrong thing.’
‘I think you did’, the angel replies. ‘I want you to think of Peter saying he would rather die than betray Jesus. It would have been the same if he said, ‘Satan won’t trick me’. But he was tricked wasn’t he?’
‘Yes.’ Meilon continues. ‘You see, Peter trusted in himself and not Jesus. You need to be careful you are not trusting in yourself too.’
‘How can I be sure I don’t trust myself?’ asks Kevin.
‘You have asked a good question sonny. Spend time with God and your Bible every day, and never boast of what you can do or won’t do.’
‘Oh thank you.’
‘Now children’, counsels Betil. ‘Jesus is going to go through a terrible ordeal, so you must pray and ask God to help you tomorrow.’
‘Be early in the morning’, calls Meilon as they fly off.