Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar M.D.,

Gold Star - 17,899 Points (14-2-1957 / Tamilnadu, India)

Bible In Poetry: Gospel Of St. Matthew (Chapter 26) - Poem by Dr. A.Celestine Raj Manohar M.D.,

Then Jesus told His disciples,
‘’Twill be Pass-ov’r in two days’ time;
The Son of Man will handed be
Over to them who crucify! ’

So, chief priests and all elders there
Assembled in Caiaphas’ palace.
They consulted with the high priest
On how to arrest Jesus by
Treachery and put Him to death.
They decided not to do so,
During the festival-time as
A riot, people could then cause.

In Bethany, while Jesus was
Within Simon, the leper’s house,
There came a woman with a jar
Of costly, perfumed oil and poured
It on his head while he reclined.

His disciples grew indignant
And asked, ‘Why waste such costly oil?
The money could have been given
Better to poor as charity! ’

As Jesus knew this, He told them,
‘Don’t you trouble the woman as,
A good thing for me, done, she has! ’

‘The poor can always have you but
You’ll not have me with you always.
By pouring oil on my body,
She prepared it for burial! ’

‘Amen, amen, I say to you,
Wherever this gospel is proclaimed
On earth, her act will be retold,
And lauded in her memory.’

Then one amongst the Twelve, Judas
Iscariot went to the chief priests
And asked, ‘What will you give to me,
If I hand him over to you? ’
They paid him thirty silver coins.
From that time onwards, he looked for
A chance to hand Jesus over.

When on the first day of the Feast
Of Unleavened Bread, disciples
Asked, ‘Where do you want us to prepare
For you to eat the Passover? ’

Then Jesus directed them to,
Go see a certain man and tell:
‘My teacher says his time draws near;
He’ll celebrate the Passover,
With his disciples in your house.’

His disciples did as ordered;
They prepared for the Passover;
By evening, Jesus sat with Twelve,
And while eating it, He told them,
‘One amongst you will betray me! ’
Upset, they all began to say,
‘Surely it cannot be I, Lord.’

He said, ‘He who has dipped his hand
Into the dish with me is him!
The Son of Man indeed thus goes,
But woe to him who this thing does;
Better for him not to be born.’

His betrayer Judas then said,
‘Surely, it is not I, Rabbi! ’
‘You have said so, ’ then Jesus told.

While eating, Jesus took the bread
And blessing it, He broke and said,
‘This is my body, Take and eat.’

Then, Jesus took the cup of wine,
Gave thanks and giving it to them,
Said, ‘Drink from it, all of you here.
This is my blood of covenant,
That will be shed for many’s sake,
For forgiveness of any sin! ’

‘From now onwards, I shall not drink,
The fruit of vine, until the day,
I drink it new with you, I say,
In kingdom of my Father, Aye! ’

They sang a hymn and climbed the mount.
He said to them, ‘Tonight, your faith
In me will shaken be as writ:
‘I‘ll strike the Shepherd, and the sheep
And entire flock will be dispersed.
But after I have been raised up,
‘Fore you, I’ll go to Galilee! ’

But Peter said in reply, ‘Lord,
Though all may have their faith shaken,
My faith in you will same remain.’

Then Jesus said to him, ‘Amen,
Tonight before the cock has crowed,
Three times, you would have me denied.’
But Peter said, ‘Ev’n if I die,
I will not deny you at all.’
And all disciples spoke alike!

Then Jesus entered Gethsemane;
He asked his disciples to pray.
He took along with Him, Peter
And the two sons of Zebedee
And felt sorrow and great distress.

He said, ‘My soul is sorrowful
Ev’n unto death. Remain with me
And keep a watch with me all here.’

He walked a bit and fell prostrate
In prayer to His dear Father,
‘If possible, let this cup pass
Away from me, not as I will
But as You will! ’

When he returned to disciples,
He found them all in slumber fast.
He asked of Peter, ‘Couldn’t you watch
And keep vigil for just one hour? ’
‘Watch and pray to avoid the test.
The spirit wills but flesh is weak! ’

Then Jesus went and prayed again,
‘My Father, if this cup must pass
And I must drink, thy will be done! ’

He found them all asleep again.
They could not keep their eyes open;
He went to pray for a third time,
And said the same thing all again.

Returning to his disciples,
He asked them, ‘You sleep and rest still?
Behold, the hour is nearing fast
When Son of man is handed to
Sinners by my betrayer soon.’

While He was speaking thus, Judas,
One of the Twelve came to Jesus,
And following him, a crowd with swords
And clubs, chief priests, elders like herds!

His betrayer had pre-arranged
A sign with them- ‘the man he kissed
Was Jesus and to arrest Him! ’

So, Judas went to Jesus, said,
‘Hail, Rabbi! ’ And Him, he had kissed.
Then Jesus told to him, ‘Dear friend,
Do what you have come for and end.’

They came forward and laid their hands
On Jesus and arrested Him.
And one of Jesus’ followers
Drew out his sword and struck the ear,
Of high priest’s servant and cut it!

Then Jesus advised him to put
His sword back in its sheath and said,
‘All who take swords, shall perish so! ’
Do you think that I cannot call
My Father at this moment to
Provide me angels, legions twelve? ’

‘But then, how would the scriptures be
Fulfilled which say,
That it must come to pass this way? ’

Then Jesus told the crowds that came
‘Have you come with sword, clubs, to seize
Like a robber, when with much ease,
You did not arrest me those days,
I sat teaching in temple place? ’

‘But all this has to come to pass,
So that the prophets’ writings may
Be fulfilled in its time and way.’
His disciples had left and fled!

They arrested Jesus and led
To Caiaphas, high priest and the head,
While scribes and elders assembled.
But Peter followed him as far
As, the high priest’s courtyard and where
He sat with servants and entire
Sanhedrin and chief priests did dare
To obtain false evidence for
Putting Jesus to death on cross!

They brought many false witnesses
But could not gather trespasses;
And finally came two forward
And said, ‘This man had told he would
Destroy the temple of the God
And within three days, it rebuild! ’

The high priest asked, ‘Can you answer?
What are they testifying here?
But Jesus stood in grave silence.
The high priest ordered Jesus hence,
To speak on oath and with good sense,
Before the living God whether,
He was his Son and Messiah? ’

So, Jesus said in reply then,
‘You’ve said so, but I tell you men
You will see the son of Man in Heaven
Seated at the right hand of the Power
And coming within clouds’ cover.’

The high priest tore Jesus’ robes
And shouted, ‘He has blasphemed, yes,
Why do we need more witnesses?
You have all heard his trespasses! ’
‘What is your opinion? ’ He asked.

They said together, ‘He must die! ’
Upon His face, some of them spat;
Some others struck Him and some slapped,
And asked Him, ‘Prophesy, who struck? ’

Outside the courtyard, Peter sat;
A maid came ov’r to Him, said, ‘What,
I saw you too with Jesus there! ’

In front of all, Peter denied,
And said, ‘I don’t know what you talk about! ’
He went out of the gate but then,
Another girl saw Him and said,
‘This man was with the Nazarene! ’
Then Peter under oath denied.
‘I do not know the man! ’ he lied.

Some by-standers then told Peter,
‘You surely are one or other;
Your speech gives you away, brother! ’
Then Peter cursed and swore that he
Ne’er knew the man nor did him see! ’
The cock then crowed immediately!

Then Peter remembered the words
That Jesus had spoken earlier:
Before the cock crows, you will then
Deny me three times, before men! ’
He went out and wept bitterly!

Copyright by Dr John Celes 6-14-2007

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, June 14, 2007

Poem Edited: Friday, March 11, 2011

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