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those upon the order of which the Gospels are not in

1 Matt. xxvi. 21-25; Mark xiv. 18-21; Luke xxii.
21-23; John xiii. 21-30.


of discerning and almost proclaiming his
infamy, Judas was able to maintain the
tranquil bearing of the criminal who coldly
calculates and chooses his time.

As to Jesus, it is very evident that he
had only a suspicion ; if he had felt entire
certainty, if he had known in advance that
Judas was to betray him that very night,
he would not, by silence, have given him
the means of accomplishing his crime; to
have done so would have been to become
his accomplice. He had, therefore, only
a suspicion, a dread, a painful apprehen-
sion; and if Judas went out at that precise
moment, it was because the idea of betray-
ing Jesus that very night suddenly swept
over his mind.

He calculated his time : at such an hour
Jesus would leave the house; at such
another he would be in the olive garden,
his usual retreat; there was not a minute
to lose.

When the traitor had gone out, Jesus
began to talk, and he talked a long time.
St. John has preserved for us the echo of
his words, but only their echo; for we
must look for the words themselves behind
the Johannean form and the habitual


amplifications of the writer of the Fourth
Gospel. Nevertheless these three chapters
(xiv., XV., xvi.) and the sacerdotal prayer
(chapter xvii.) are full of expressions
that are certainly authentic, both as to
their meaning and as to their very form.
Though we have only their echo, it is a
singularly faithful echo, notwithstanding
that all these chapters are Johannified, if
we may use the expression. As Clement
of Alexandria has said, " The first evange-
lists gave us the letter of the story, St.
John expressed its spirit." To say even
this is not to say enough ; here and there
in the farewell discourse of chapters xiv.,
XV., xvi. we find the very letter itself.
The prediction of the coming of the Holy
Spirit, that of persecutions to come, the
counsel as to the conduct they were to fol-
low when he should be no longer there,
are very certainly the words of Jesus. We
must not only accept the general spirit of
this discourse, but a great number of its
utterances; for example, these: "Love
one another, as I have loved you;" "A
new commandment give I unto you, that
ye love one another;" "I call you not
servants, but I call you friends;" and


many other similar expressions which tra-
dition did not invent, any more than it
invented the incident of Jesus washing
the apostles' feet. If not on that even-
ing, at least on one of these last days, he
repeated a saying that he had already
uttered: "Whosoever will save his life
shall lose it, and he that will lose his life
shall save it." This aphorism is certainly
by Jesus, and when he uttered it anew,
before his suffering, he was thinking of
himself as well as of his disciples. It is
not sufficiently recognized that Jesus must
first have made application to himself of
most of his precepts. They came out of
the depths of his own personal experience ;
he had lived them; and he gave them to
his disciples only after having personally
tested their truth, and found their applica-
tion in his own life.^

1 Witli regard to the Johannean form in Avhich the
Fourth Gospel clothes the words of Jesus, let us con-
sider how the author of this book wrote it. He desires
to make a faithful, vivid, authentic portrait of Jesus;
and to this end he composes, putting into the lips of
Jesus words which he did not actually speak, but which
he might have spoken ; and he makes him do things
which he did not always actually do, but which he might
have done, and which are therefore in the writer's eyes


What else was he thinking ? One utter-
ance has been preserved to us which seems
to show his thoughts with regard to the
future : " After I am risen again I will go

as if he had done them. He desires to give an idea of
what was said and done, — or of what might have been
said and done, for the two were one in his mind, —
by " the Word made flesh and dwelling among us, full of
grace and truth " (John i. 14) ; and he shows him speak-
ing and working. Thus it is with the farewell discourse
in the upper chamber. The sublime unknown who was
the friend of St. John, and who received from him most
of the historic details of his narrative, the mystic of the
school of Ephesus, who wrote the Fourth Gospel, desires
to show us Jesus at that solemn hour. He enters, there-
fore, into his frame of mind, says only what Jesus might
have said, and he is certain to have given us a very faith-
ful and entirely authentic picture of the state of his soul.
Every word that he puts into his lips expresses what
Jesus thought, felt, and experienced at this solemn hour.
It is to this end that he makes him utter these words
to himself. In our day we go to work in another way.
When we write a biography, we write it as objectively as
possible, and when we publish the words of a man who
is no more, we add nothing to those which he left behind ;
we respect the incomplete and even incorrect phrases
which remain to us from him, and are scrupulous not
to modify them in any manner whatever. To attribute
to him words or acts which were not his would be to
produce a work in the highest degree apocryphal. The
writer of the Fourth Gospel had an entirely different
notion of what a biography ought to be. He gave
another sense than ours to the words historical and
authentic; that is all.


before you into Galilee. " ^ We have already
alluded to this. What does it mean ? Shall
we see in it a plan already formed to leave
his apostles, to change his plans, to vanish
for a time from view? Perhaps; in any
case, is it not permitted to conclude from
these words that shortly before his death,
but not knowing death to be so near, Jesus
had resolved to escape from his enemies
by hiding himself for a time, retiring into
some solitude unknown to any one, even
to the Twelve? When telling them in
veiled language of this approaching with-
drawal of himself, he would also appoint a
meeting for a later time, in Galilee, and
even " upon a mountain " in Galilee, a
mountain which he would expressly desig-
nate, ^ although in the words spoken in
the upper room nothing was said about a
mountain. Then, after a temporary re-
treat, when the passions now raging about
him should have been calmed, they would
meet, and together resume their common

1 Matt. xxvi. 32 ; Mark xiv. 28.

2 Matt, xxviii. 16,

'^ Matt. xxvi. 30-32 ; Mark xiv. 26-28, xvi. 7 ; Matt,
xxviii. 7. 10, 16.


It seems to us in fact probable, if not
certain, that in the words, "I will go
before you into Galilee," we have a frag-
ment of an utterance of Jesus appointing
a place of meeting with the apostles after
a temporary separation rendered necessary
by the plots of his adversaries. In any
case, he gave them a positive appointment ;
and the apostles, recalling these words to
mind at a later day, very naturally took
them for a prophecy of his resurrection.



T^HERE was for the disciples one mo-
ment least of all to be forgotten in this
never-to-be-forgotten evening, — that of the
institution of the Eucharist.

Jesus had long thought of such a thing. ^
It might even be asked whether he did
not earlier institute this sacred rite, and
whether the apostles, by a very natural
optical illusion, which has already been
observed, did not at a later time place it
in this last evening. But the testimony
of St. Paul is explicit. Jesus instituted
the Eucharist "on the night in which he
was betrayed. "2

Baptism was not so much a new insti-
tution as a ceremony, which he permitted
to remain after modifying it, for baptism

1 See "Jesus Christ During his Ministry," pp. 171 ff.
and pp. 215, 216.

2 1 Cor. xi. 23.


was practised before Jesus Christ came.^
The Lord's Supper was really a new
creation. 2

By what steps did Jesus come to the
institution of this ceremony, and to its
institution on that very day? This is
what we have now to ask.

The work of regenerating his people,
the work of preparing by repentance and
poverty of spirit for the coming of the
kingdom, had failed. The tears which
Jesus shed the day of his entrance into
Jerusalem had been wrung from him by
the contrast between what was and what
might have been. What was, — the
acclamations of children, of friends of
Galilean peasants, the mass of the people
indifferent, the Pharisees more and more

The kingdom would come by and by;
he would inaugurate it on his return ; but
now, just now, what ought he to do ? He
must always be preparing for the coming
of the kingdom — that Avas his mission,

1 See, on baptism and its origin, " Palestine in the
Time of Jesus Christ," pp. 197, 377.

2 It, however, may also be connected b}^ filiation with
the meals of the Pharisaic confraternities, as we shall
presently show.


and he had never for an instant doubted
his mission; but would not his people
always reject him, whatever he might do ?
It seemed so to him; from this time he
became more and more convinced that it
was so.

On the other hand, Judaism appeared to
be certainly passing away ; the time-worn
routine, the debased priesthood, the Law
changed into casuistry, the mechanical
ritualism of formalistic institutions, — all
these must pass away. Jesus continually
felt himself to be more and more outside
of these things and entirely above them;
the old Covenant was subverted; a new
Covenant was needed between God and

He knew the passage in Jeremiah about
the new Covenant.^ It was for him to
fulfil this prophecy, for him to found this
new covenant.

Up to this time his originality had con-
sisted in teaching that the kingdom of
God is prepared for by a change in men's
hearts, and not by waiting, as did the
Jews, for a sudden catastrophe, giving
the kingdom to the elect people as of

1 Jer. xxxi. 31 ff.



right; now, like Jeremiah, he declared
— and it is always the same order of
ideas — that the covenant would be in
the heart, that the new law would be
written in the hearts of men.

But he had believed that he could bring
about this covenant by his preaching,
and now he saw that the change of men's
hearts must be sealed with his blood.

If he had lost his Jewish faith, he still
did not condemn the religion of his people
in the sense of deeming it to be bad in
itself. It was the starting-point of the
new law, the origin of what he was about
to found, the preparation for it.

He must do this foundation work at
once, for his death was noAV certain. He
hoped indeed that arrest might be avoided ;
and yet — could they not find him wher-
ever he might be? And what would
become of his disciples ? Would not they
be discouraged? He must be put to
death. This "must," which during the
last few months he had so often repeated,
rose up anew before him. "Father, thy
will, not mine." Ah, in this filial sub-
mission he never wavered, and these
words, which would shortly sum up his


last prayer, were always in his heart; for
they were the inspiring principle of his
whole life, they had been his law from
the first, from the days of his pious child-
hood in Nazareth.

As to his future triumph and that of his
work, he still believed in it; he was as
sure of it now as in his time of success in
Galilee ; he had predicted triumph, and he
still predicted it. But since he must first
die, and since it was necessary that his
disciples should remain bound to him,
that his disciples' faith in him should
abide, or if it must pass through an eclipse,
that it should again become what it had
been, he instituted the Holy Communion.
It would be a ceremony that they could
observe during his absence; when he was
no longer with them it would recall his
presence and take the place of it.

The pictorial language which he had
so often used was to be used yet once
again, and this time it would be a parable
in action. When he should be no longer
there it was needful that his own should
live with him in thought, that his example,
especially the example of his sacrifice,
should be daily before their eyes ; and he


perceived that meal-time was the best time
for them to commemorate his presence.

In fact, when they should come together
for the common meal and find their
Master's place empty, would not their
meeting be bitterly sad? Would not the
memory of the meals of former days, of
those joyful hours of confidence, come
back as a heavy weight upon their hearts ?
Well, at such times they must do as if
he were still there; better still he would
be there, present in their midst, for they
would have assembled in his name;^ he
would not leave them orphans, he would
come to them, 2 and their soitow should be
changed into joy.^

During these three years, the happiest
hour of the day for Master and disciples
had been that of the common meal ; they
must keep it up ; it must be their hour of
intimate fellowship ; and every day, when
they took this meal, they must eat the
bread and drink the wine in memory of

Yet more : the bread, necessarily broken
before being eaten, the wine, necessarily

1 Matt, xviii. 20. 2 John xiv. 18.

3 Johu xvi. 20.


poured out before being drunk, would
remind them of their Master's sacrifice;
his death, his shed blood.

And finally, when they ate the one and
drank the other, they should be fed by
him ; they should commune with him ; his
person would be present to them, his
example would be living before their eyes.
Far from being saddened by this sacred
meal, they would draw from it an immense
spiritual power.

They were to renew this act every time
they took a meal in common, and keep it
up until their Master came again; for he
would come again.

" I will come again ! I will come again ! "
Who shall say what these words, repeated
by Jesus from the depth of his soul, with
unwavering conviction, brought him of joy
and strength in the last dark hours !

Thus, then, Jesus told his disciples that
while waiting for the kingdom of God in
which they should drink new wine, and
during the period that separated his death
from his coming again, they were to recall
his person to mind every time they took a
meal together, were to put themselves in
spiritual communion with him by think-


ing of his return and of that blessed day,
when forever reunited they should enjoy
the eternal banquet in the kingdom of the

Thus understood, the words of institu-
tion seem to us very clear. " This is my
body, this is my blood; "i "The blood of
the new Covenant, which is shed for many
for the remission of sin."^

To the Hebrew the blood was the seat of
life. To pour out one's blood was to die,
to give one's life. The expression flesh
and blood (hachar veclam; in Greek, aap^
Koi alfia, or al/jia koI o-dp^, flesh and blood) ^
was a locution frequently employed by the
rabbins for the entire person, the whole
living man. The Eucharist was then in
the thought of Jesus the sensible image
of the gift of his entire being; but he
never considered his death as a Levitical
sacrifice. He simply said: "I give my-

1 Without verb in Aramaic. Literally, Jesus said:
" This, my body ; this, my blood."

2 Here we cite Matthew (xxvi. 28) without asking
which of the four texts (Matthew, Mark, Luke, aud
Paul) is the best, for all four differ, and the problem is
practically insoluble.

8 See Matt. xvi. 17 ; Gal. i. 16 ; 1 Cor. xv. 50; Heb.
ii. 14, etc.


self, body and soul ; I sacrifice myself, and
this sacrifice creates a new Covenant, a
new relation between God and man. By
this Covenant sins shall be remitted, par-
doned, effaced." The old Covenant was
sealed with blood; the new one should be
also; and it was his own blood, his, Jesus'
blood, which should seal it with this final
and sacred seal.

His blood was shed for the remission of
sins ; that is to say, God would remit the
sins of those who were united by faith
with their crucified Saviour.

The institution of the Eucharist is there-
fore explained by the desire of Jesus to
perpetuate his memory and to remain alive
in the thoughts of his own ; and if he chose
this form of repast, it was not simply be-
cause of the touching symbolism of the
bread broken and eaten, of the wine poured
out and drunk by all of them, but also
because before all other times he preferred
the precious moment of the common meal.

The Jewish Passover had always been
the type of their family dinners, because
with it was mingled a religious and patri-
otic souvenir. In fact, the simple every-
day meal was always for an Israelite a


beloved time. The Jews cared greatly for
these family gatherings, and the Pharisees
used to form spiritual fraternities, with a
common meal and conversations on religious

Jesus and the Twelve had formed one
of these associations, perfectly united and
perfectly happy. At a later time, when
the apostles desired to recall the memory
of their Master as they had known and
loved him, they would not first think of
him as healing the sick or preaching on
the mountain. It was not the picture of
Jesus casting out demons and inspiring
the multitudes with enthusiasm that would
first present itself to their eyes; they
would see him breaking the bread at the
evening meal, in the upper chamber, when
the doors were closed; he had so loved
these times of privacy with his own!
Their association, their confraternity,
whether Pharisaic or Essenian, had been
so happy, so sweet, so united ! The even-
ing meal had been for Jesus the time above
all others for intimate communion, the
time of rest, far from the thronging crowd,
the time for self revelations and confi-

i See "Jesus Christ During his Ministry," p. 172.


dences; it was then that he would speak
most unreservedly, and that relations of
most entire confidence were established
between him and his disciples.

More than this, the common meal, taken
in accordance with Pharisaic custom,
always had a sacred character. Jesus
always began it by giving thanks, as has
become the excellent custom of Christian
households; thanking God for the food
before partaking of the meal. The Jews,
indeed, always did so, and even thanked
God for each new dish placed upon the
table; but it was especially at the begin-
ning that they gave thanks, and again at
the moment when the bread was broken,
the great round flat cakes which had to be
broken into pieces and distributed. It
was the habit of Jesus to break the bread
at the time when he said grace, at the
same time making a gesture of adoration
peculiar to himself, which no one made
but he. " Oh, those meal -times with
Jesus!" the apostles would say to one
another in later days; "oh, the moment
of the breaking of bread when he was with
us! " They would remind one another
how happy they had been, and how happy


he too had been at those blessed times!
He used to look forward to them; he
desired them "with a great desire;"^
and when afterward they saw him, returned
from the dead,^ it was often at meal-time
that he appeared in their midst; and it
was especially in the breaking of bread
that they recognized him.

This is why on that Thursday night, the
night in which he was betrayed, knowing
that he was very soon to be parted from
his own, Jesus in a definitive way conse-
crated the solemn moment of the breaking
of bread. He desired that the apostles
should still come together, still break the
bread, still drink in turn from the cup, as
at the paschal meal; should do it all for
him, in memory of him, until his coming
again; for his absence was to be only an
absence, a brief separation. And when they
should reproduce the scene of the upper
chamber, they would be drawing near to
him; he would put himself into relations
with them, and thus they would keep
alive his memory.

1 Luke xxii. 15.

2 We shall return to this remark when discussing the
return of Jesus to life.


More than this, he said that the memory,
not of his life only but also of his death,
was to be kejDt alive by this sacred cere-
mony. The bread was his body, broken,
put to death. The wine was his blood,
poured out for the remission of sins.
Since he was to drink no more of this fruit
of the vine with his own, until the king-
dom should have come; since they were
to have no more of these common meals,
with the broken bread and the cup passed
from lip to lip ; since he was to die, — he
desired that his death, which was to be
so important, should be connected, by a
sacred rite, with the celebration of the
meals which the apostles would take after
he was gone.

Besides, he was to come back again.
Very well, until his return let the little
spiritual family not be scattered; let his
friends keep up the common evening meal ;
and every time that they ate the bread and
drank of the cup, they Avould be proclaim-
ing his death; they would be preaching
him ; they would be telling the world that
his death had not been a defeat but a
victory, an act willed by God, an act of




T^HE evening was wearing away ; it was
time to go; the hour had come for
repairing to their night refuge in Gat-
Chamena,^ at the foot of the Mount of

They therefore went forth after singing
the last psalms and passed along the dark
and silent streets. In each one of those
closed houses they were finishing the cele-
bration of the paschal meal, and the last
chords of the hymns floated out from these
homes as they passed before them; per-
haps they also heard joyous bursts of
laughter, for this feast of the Passover
was always a very happy time.

They reached the open country; the
moon was full ^ and lighted up the slopes

1 See above, p. 79, note 1.

2 That it was moonlight that night is certain because
the Jews celebrated the Passover the 15th Nisan, that


of the Mount of Olives. Its rays fell
white on the tombs and on the rocks,
leaving the rest in shadow. They met no
one on the road; they heard no sound
except of their own footsteps; below them
was the deep valley ; before them, on the
opposite slope of the hill, lay the quiet
place where Jesus believed that he might
pass the night without fear. From afar
its olive-trees showed like dark blots, and
the whole scene was enwrapped in the wan
radiance which lighted up the mountain.

They went down into the valley, crossed
the Kedron by a little bridge, the precise
place of which is known, climbed the
other slope by a footpath, and one by one
entered the garden.

No one would look for them there under
the trees. On the other side of the valley,
directly opposite, uprose the high walls
of Jerusalem, from which they were sepa-
rated only by the ravine. The gigantic
Temple overtopped these lordly walls with

is, fifteen days after the new moon, which always
marked the beginning of tlie month. We at the pres-
ent time follow a like custom; the Christian festival of
Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday that follows the
first full moon after the vernal equinox. It thence re-
sults that the moon is always full during Holy Week.


their one hundred and twenty feet of ele-
vation, and their enormous foundation
stones, which still rest in their places even
to this day. Around them was the rocky
hill all flooded with the white light from
the skies, the white radiance bringing out
the huge black shadows of the old olive-

The apostles disposed themselves for the
night, and fell asleep wrapped in their
mantles. But Jesus desired to watch; he
begged Peter, James, and John to come
and pray with him, and all four went
farther under the shadow of the trees.

Perhaps Jesus proposed to pass the
whole night in Gethsemane; in any case
he intended to begin it by praying, per-
haps for an hour. He probably deemed it
imprudent to spend tliis night in a house,
even in that of his friends of Bethphage
or Bethany, and preferred to remain in the

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