Well do I remember the last time I saw Jesus the Nazarene. Judas had come to me at the noon hour of that Thursday, and bidden me prepare supper for Jesus and His friends.
He gave me two silver pieces and said, "Buy all that you deem needful for the meal."
And after He was gone my wife said to me, "This is indeed a distinction." For Jesus had become a prophet and He had wrought many miracles.
At twilight He came and His followers, and they sat in the upper chamber around the board, but they were silent and quiet.
Last year also and the year before they had come and then they had been joyous. They broke the bread and drank the wine and sang our ancient strains; and Jesus would talk to them till midnight.
After that they would leave Him alone in the upper chamber and go to sleep in other rooms; for after midnight it was His desire to be alone.
And He would remain awake; I would hear His steps as I lay upon my bed.
But this last time He and His friends were not happy.
My wife had prepared fishes from the Lake of Galilee, and pheasants from Houran stuffed with rice and pomegranate seeds, and I had carried them a jug of my cypress wine.
And then I had left them for I felt that they wished to be alone.
They stayed until it was full dark, and then they all descended together from the upper chamber, but at the foot of the stairs Jesus tarried awhile. And He looked at me and my wife, and He placed His hand upon the head of my daughter and He said, "Good night to you all. We shall come back again to your upper chamber, but we shall not leave you at this early hour. We shall stay until the sun rises above the horizon.
"In a little while we shall return and ask for more bread and more wine. You and your wife have been good hosts to us, and we shall remember you when we come to our mansion and sit at our own board."
And I said, "Sir, it was an honor to serve you. The other innkeepers envy me because of your visits, and in my pride I smile at them in the market-place. Sometimes I even make a grimace."
And He said, "All innkeepers should be proud in serving. For he who gives bread and wine is the brother of him who reaps and gathers the sheaves for the threshing-floor, and of him who crushes the grapes at the winepress. And you are all kindly. You give of your bounty even to those who come with naught but hunger and thirst."
Then He turned to Judas Iscariot who kept the purse of the company, and He said, "Give me two shekels."
And Judas gave Him two shekels saying: "These are the last silver pieces in my purse."
Jesus looked at him and said, "Soon, oversoon, your purse shall be filled with silver."
Then He put the two pieces into my hand and said, "With these buy a silken girdle for your daughter, and bid her wear it on the day of the passover, in remembrance of me."
And looking again into the face of my daughter, He leaned down and kissed her brow. And then He said once more, "Good-night to you all."
And He walked away.
I have been told that what He said to us has been recorded upon a parchment by one of His friends, but I repeat it to you even as I heard it from His own lips.
Never shall I forget the sound of His voice as He said those words, "Good night to you all."
If you would know more of Him, ask my daughter. She is a woman now, but she cherishes the memory of her girlhood. And her words are more ready than mine.