Jesus in Bethania and Jerusalem
About three hours from Bethania, but still in the desert, stood a solitary shepherd hut whose occupants depended for the most part on the charity of Lazarus. To this abode, Magdalen with a single companion, Mary Salome, a relative of Joseph, had come to meet Jesus. She had prepared for Him some refreshments. On His approach, she hurried out and embraced His feet. Jesus rested here only a short time and then set out for Lazarus’ inn, one hour from Bethania. The two women returned home by another way. Jesus found some of the disciples whom He had sent on their mission already returned and at the inn; others came later, and in Bethania all met again. Jesus did not go through Bethania, but entered Lazarus’ dwelling from the rear. On His arrival, all hurried out into the court to meet Him. Lazarus washed His feet, and then they passed up through the gardens. The women saluted Jesus with their veils lowered. A very touching incident attended Jesus’ arrival. The four lambs destined for the Paschal solemnity were brought in at the same moment that Jesus entered. They had been separated from the flock, and turned into a little grassy park. The Blessed Virgin, who also was here, and Magdalen had twined little wreaths which were to be hung around their necks. Jesus’ coming was just before the commencement of the Sabbath, and He celebrated it with the family in a hall. He was very grave. He read the lesson for the Sabbath, and gave an instruction upon it. During the evening meal, He spoke of the Paschal lamb and of His future Passion.
The insurrection broke out in Jerusalem shortly before the Sabbath began, but yet without violence, Pilate, surrounded by a bodyguard, occupied an elevated position on a wall of the fortress Antonia, and all the people were gathered in the marketplace below. The fortress Antonia was built on a projecting rock at the northwest corner of the Temple. If on leaving Pilate’s palace, one turned to the left and went through the arch past the place of flagellation, the fortress would lie on his left. Pilate’s new laws, by which a tax was laid upon the Temple, were read to the people. First, the tax was to be used for making an aqueduct to conduct water to the grand marketplace and to the Temple; and secondly, there was question of certain honors, titles, and sacrifices to be offered to the Emperor. Immediately a great tumult arose. Loud cries and mutterings proceeded from the crowd, especially from the quarter occupied by the Galileans. Still the commotion did not reach violence. Pilate addressed some warning words to the people, and gave them time to reflect; whereupon, indignant and murmuring, they dispersed. The Herodians were in secret the prime movers and instigators of the people, yet no one could convict them of such dealings. They kept Judas Gaulonite under their thumb, and he had a whole sect of Galileans as his followers, to whom he constantly inveighed against paying tribute to the Emperor, and stirred up their thirst for liberty under the pretext of zeal for religion. The Herodians were exactly like the Freemasons and other secret societies of our own day. They stirred up the unthinking multitude, who knew not whither their zeal was carrying them until they paid the penalty with their blood.
On the Sabbath Jesus taught in Lazarus’, and then all went to walk in the gardens. Jesus talked of His Passion and said in plain terms that He was the Christ. His words increased His hearers’ reverence and admiration for Him, while Magdalen’s love and contrition reached their height. She followed Jesus everywhere, sat at His feet, stood and waited for Him everywhere. She thought of Him alone, saw Him alone, knew only her Redeemer and her own sins. Jesus frequently addressed to her words of consolation. She was very greatly changed. Her countenance and bearing were still noble and distinguished, though her beauty was destroyed by her penance and tears. She sat almost always alone in her narrow penance chamber, and at times performed the lowest services for the poor and sick.
That evening there was a grand entertainment. All the friends from Jerusalem, as well as the holy women from the same place, were present at it. I saw too Heli of Hebron, the widower of one of Elizabeth’s sisters, who at the Last Supper filled the office to Jesus of steward and master of the house. He had with him his son, the Levite, who now held possession of John’s paternal house, and his five daughters, who were Essenians and unmarried.
Lazarus and his family were the familiar and deeply sympathetic friends of Jesus and His disciples. With their property and goods, they became the powerful helpers and supporters of the Community.
Toward ten o’clock next morning, Jesus went with the Apostles and about thirty disciples across the Mount of Olives and through Ophel to the Temple. All wore the ordinary brown woolen tunic common among the Galileans, added to which Jesus had a broad cincture upon which was an inscription in letters. He attracted no attention, since bands of Galileans similarly clad were to be met in all quarters. The Feast was approaching. Large encampments of huts and tents were ranged around the city, and crowds of people were circulating everywhere. Jesus taught in the Temple for a whole hour in presence of His disciples and a large number of people. There were several teacher’s chairs, from all of which instructions were given. All were so busy with preparations for the Feast, and so taken up with the revolt against Pilate, that no priest of the first grade noticed Jesus, but some malicious, insignificant Pharisees approached Him and asked how He dared show Himself there, and how long this thing was to last, adding that they would soon put a stop to His proceedings. Jesus gave them an answer that put them to shame, and continued His discourse undisturbed, after which He returned to Bethania, and retired in the evening to the Mount of Olives.
On this day a great multitude was again assembled on the marketplace before the fortress Antonia, to speak to Pilate. But he already knew all that they had to say, for he had among them his own spies and soldiers in disguise. The Herodians had roused up Judas the Gaulonite and his Galilean followers, who went fearlessly to Pilate and told him that he should refrain from his design of touching the money belonging to the Temple treasury. As many of them made use of very unbridled language, Pilate ordered his guard to attack them unexpectedly, and about fifty of them were taken prisoner. But at once the rest of the mob rushed to the rescue, freed the prisoners, and then dispersed. About five inoffensive Jews and some Roman soldiers were killed during the affray. This affair served only to increase the general discontent. Herod was in Jerusalem at this time.
On the morning of the following day, Jesus again went to the Temple with all His disciples. His presence had now become known, and waiting for Him in the Temple court through which He had to pass were people with their sick. Already on His way thither, a man suffering from dropsy had been brought to Him in a litter as He ascended the mount. Jesus healed him, and at the Temple some others sick and gouty. In consequence of these cures, He was followed by a numerous crowd. As He drew near the Temple, where they were still busy here and there clearing out and putting in order the places destined for the immolation of the lambs next day, Jesus passed the man whom He had cured at the Pool of Bethsaida, and who was here employed as a day laborer. Jesus turned to him and said: “Behold! Thou hast been cured. Sin no more, that something worse may not befall thee!” This man, who was well-known, had been plied with questions as to who had cured him on the Sabbath day. But he did not know Jesus, whom he here saw again for the first time. Now, however, he made it his business to inform the Pharisees as they passed that this Jesus who on the preceding day had wrought so many cures, was the very one that had cured him at the Pool of Bethsaida. Since the cure of this man had caused great excitement and the Pharisees had been very much tried by what they termed a violation of the Sabbath, they now found in it a new cause of complaint against Jesus. They gathered around His chair and again brought forward the old story of His Sabbath-breaking. There was, however, no special disturbance on that day, although they were very greatly enraged.
Jesus taught two hours in the Temple before a large audience. His subject was the Paschal sacrifice. He said that His Heavenly Father desired no bloody sacrifices from them, but rather a penitent heart, and that the Paschal lamb was merely symbolical of an infinitely higher Sacrifice which would soon be fulfilled. Many of His malicious enemies among the Pharisees came forward, railing at Him and disputing against Him. Among other things they asked in scornful words whether the Prophet would do them the honor to eat the Paschal lamb with them. Jesus answered: “The Son of Man is Himself a Sacrifice for your sins!”
That youth who had said that he would first bury his father, and to whom Jesus had responded: “Let the dead bury the dead!” was also in Jerusalem. He had repeated those words of Jesus to the Pharisees. They now reproached Him with them, and asked Him what He meant by them. How could one dead man bury another? Jesus answered by saying that whoever does not follow His teaching, does not do penance, and does not believe in His mission, has no life in him and is consequently dead; that whoever values goods and riches more than his salvation, whoever follows not His teachings and believes not in Him, has in himself not life, but death. Such were the dispositions of this young man. He had wished to come to terms with his aged father concerning his inheritance and put the latter upon a pension; he had clung to the dead inheritance, and consequently he could have no share in the Kingdom of Jesus and eternal life. It was for this reason that Jesus had told him to let the dead bury the dead while he himself turned to life. Jesus continued to teach in this strain, and reproached them severely for their covetousness. But when He warned His disciples against the leaven of the Pharisees and related the parable of the rich man and poor Lazarus, the Pharisees became so exasperated that they raised a great tumult. Jesus was forced to disappear in the crowd and make His escape, otherwise they would have taken Him prisoner.
The four little lambs destined for the four sets who were to eat the Passover at Lazarus’, and which were daily washed at a fountain and adorned with fresh flowers, were taken on the evening of this day to the Temple at Jerusalem. Each had, fastened to the little wreath around its neck, a ticket with the name and sign of the master of the family to which it belonged. After being washed once more, they were turned into a beautiful grassy enclosure on the Temple mount. All the household of Lazarus performed today their purifications. Lazarus himself brought the water to be used in preparing the unleavened bread, and he also went with a servant into the different rooms. The servant carried a light and Lazarus cleaned out the corners a little. It was a ceremonial performance, after which the servant men and maids swept and cleaned thoroughly. They washed and scoured likewise the vessels and other things that were to be used in preparing the unleavened bread. All this was symbolical of the cleaning out of the old leaven. Simon the Pharisee, of Bethania, had already visited Jesus. Not long ago he appeared to be approaching the state of leprosy, but now he looked more healthy. He was a timorous follower of Jesus. The man healed at the Pool of Bethsaida hurried to Bethania and wherever Jesus permitted Himself to be seen. He told all the Pharisees he met that it was by Jesus he had been cured, consequently they determined to take Jesus into custody and make away with Him.
I saw Jesus several times walking with the disciples and other friends on the Mount of Olives, while Mary, Magdalen, and other women promenaded at some distance. I saw the disciples snapping off ears from the ripe cornfields, and here and there eating fruits and berries. Jesus gave the disciples minute instructions on prayer, warned them against hypocrisy in it, and repeated to them many things that He had before said. He likewise admonished them ever to walk by uninterrupted prayer in the presence of God, His own and their Father.
The Passover in Lazarus’ House
The Paschal lamb at this Passover was not slain in the Temple at so early an hour as at the time of Christ’s Crucifixion, when the slaughtering began at half-past twelve o’clock, the same hour at which Jesus Himself was slain upon the Cross. That day was a Friday and, on account of the approaching Sabbath, they began earlier. Today, however, they began about three in the afternoon. The trumpets were sounded, all was in readiness, and the people entered the Temple in separate groups. The rapidity and order with which everything was done were certainly admirable. Though the crowd was great, yet no one obstructed his neighbor’s way. Everyone had room to come, to slaughter, and to withdraw. The four lambs for Lazarus’ household were slaughtered by the four who were to preside at the tables: namely, Lazarus, Heli of Hebron, Judas Barsabas, and Heliacim, the latter a son of Mary Heli and brother of Mary Cleophas. The lambs were fastened to a wooden spit that had a crosspiece, which gave them the appearance of being crucified. They were roasted upright in a bake oven. The entrails, the heart, and the liver were either replaced in the lamb or fastened to the forepart of the head. Bethphage and Bethania were reckoned as part of Jerusalem, consequently the Pasch could be eaten in either place.
In the evening, when the 15th of Nisan began, the Paschal lamb was eaten. All were girded, new sandals on their feet, and each held a staff in his hand. They began by chanting the Psalms: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel” and “Blessed be the Lord,” while with raised hands they approached the table, two by two, and took their place opposite one another. At the table at which Jesus sat with the Apostles, Heli of Hebron presided; Lazarus was at that of his own family and friends; the disciples were at a third, presided over by Heliacim; and Judas Barsabas did the honors at the fourth. Thirty-six disciples here ate the Pasch.
After the prayer, a cup of wine was presented to the master at each table. He blessed it, sipped, and passed it round, after which he washed his hands. On the table were the Paschal lamb, a dish of unleavened bread, a bowl of brown sauce, another of broth, a third filled with little branches of bitter herbs, and a fourth in which the green herbs were arranged close together in an upright position, thus giving them the appearance of actual growth. The master of each table then carved the Paschal lamb and served it round among the guests, who consumed it very rapidly. They cut off pieces from the closely packed herbs, steeped them in the broth, and ate them. The master then broke one of the unleavened loaves and laid a little piece of it under the tablecloth. All was done very quickly and accompanied by prayers and passages from the Scriptures. The guests stood leaning against the seats. The cup went round once more, the master again washed his hands, and laid a little bunch of bitter herbs on a morsel of bread, which he steeped and ate, all the guests following his example.
The Paschal lamb had to be entirely consumed. The bones were scraped clean with ivory knives, then washed and burned. After some more chanting, the guests reclined at table in due form, to eat and drink. All kinds of elegantly prepared dishes now made their appearance, and mirth and joy prevailed. At Lazarus’ house all had beautiful plates from which they ate. At Jesus’ last Paschal feast, however, the plates consisted of disks of bread upon which were impressed various figures. They lay in the hollow places scooped out around the table.
The women likewise stood during the Paschal meal, and they too were clothed as for a journey. They sang Psalms, but observed no other ceremonies. They did not carve their lamb themselves, but portions were sent to them from another table. In the side halls of the supper room, a great number of poor ate their Paschal lamb. Lazarus defrayed all the expenses of their meal, and gave them presents besides.
During the supper Jesus taught and explained. He delivered an exceedingly beautiful instruction on the vine, on its cultivation, on the extermination of the bad, the planting of better shoots, and the pruning of the same after every new growth. He then turned to the Apostles and disciples and told them that they were the shoots of which He spoke, that the Son of Man was the true Vine, and that they must remain in Him; that when He would be subjected to the wine press they must continue to publish the knowledge of the true Vine, namely, Himself, and plant all the vineyards with the same. The guests did not separate till very late in the night. All were deeply impressed and joyful.
Judas Barsabas was, with the exception of Andrew, the eldest disciple. He was married, and his family lived in the pastoral state in a row of houses between Machmethat and Iscariot. Heliacim also was married, and lived in the pastoral state on the field of Ginnim. He was much older than Jesus. Jesus seldom sent these disciples into this region.
The Rich Glutton and Poor Lazarus
The Feast began very early in the Temple, which was opened soon after midnight, the whole place ablaze with lamps. The people came before daybreak with their thank-offerings, consisting of all kinds of birds and animals, which were received and inspected by the priests. Besides these, there were offerings of money, stuffs, corn, oil, etc.
When morning dawned, Jesus, the disciples, Lazarus with his household, and the women, went to the Temple where Jesus remained standing with His own party among the crowd. Many Psalms were sung, the musicians played, sacrifices were offered, and a benediction given which all received on their knees. The people entered in bands, the gates were closed behind them, and after they had sacrificed, they left before another band entered, that no confusion might arise. Numbers, especially strangers, went to the benediction given in the synagogues of the city where there were singing and reading of the Law. Toward noon, about eleven o’clock, there was a pause in the reception of offerings. Many of the people had already dispersed. Some went to the kitchens in the women’s porch where the flesh of the victims was prepared for eating, which took place in the dining halls, in which whole families were assembled. The holy women had returned earlier to Bethania.
Up to the moment at which the offerings ceased to be received, Jesus had remained standing with His party; but when the corridors were again thrown open, He went to the great teacher’s chair which stood in the Temple in the court before the sanctuary. A numerous crowd assembled around Him, among them many Pharisees, also the man who had been cured at the Pool of Bethsaida. For two whole days he had related what he knew of Jesus, frequently making use of the expression that whoever could do such works as He, must be the Son of God. The Pharisees had, it is true, forbidden him to speak, but to no purpose. As on the day before Jesus had taught very boldly in the Temple, the Pharisees feared that He might bring them into still greater disrepute before the people; and as all their colleagues from the country around, gathered here for the Feast, brought forward complaints and lies against Jesus, they determined to seize the first opportunity to take Him prisoner and pass sentence upon Him. When therefore Jesus began to teach, many of them closed around Him, interrupting His discourse with innumerable objections and reproaches. They asked Him why He did not eat the Paschal lamb with them in the Temple, and whether He had today offered a thanksgiving sacrifice. Jesus referred them to the masters of the feast who had discharged that duty for Him. Then they repeated the old charges, that His disciples observed not the customary usages, that they ate with unwashed hands and stole corn and fruit along the roadside, that He was never seen offering sacrifice, that six days were for labor and the seventh for rest, and yet He had healed that man on the Sabbath, and that He was a Sabbath-breaker. Jesus answered their charges in severe words. Of sacrifice, He said again that the Son of Man was Himself a Sacrifice, and that they dishonored the sacrifice by their covetousness and their slanders against their fellow men. God, Jesus went on to say, did not desire burnt offerings, but contrite hearts; their sacrifices would come to an end, but the Sabbath would continue to exist. It would indeed exist, but for man’s utility, for man’s salvation. The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
Then the Pharisees questioned Jesus on the subject of the parable of poor Lazarus which He had recently related. They asked in ridicule how He knew that story so well, how He knew what Lazarus, Abraham, and the rich man had said. Had He been with the rich man in Hell? Was He not ashamed of Himself to impose such things upon the people? Jesus again took up this parable and taught upon it, reproaching them with their avarice, their cruelty to the poor, their self-satisfied observance of empty forms and customs, along with their total want of charity. He applied the history of the rich glutton entirely to themselves. That history is true. The glutton was well-known until his death, which was a frightful one. I saw again that the rich glutton and poor Lazarus really existed and that by their death they had become well-known throughout the country. But they did not live in Jerusalem, where later on their dwellings so-called were pointed out to pilgrims. They died in Jesus’ early years, and they were much spoken of in pious families at that time. The city in which they dwelt was called Aram, or Amthar, and lay in the mountains west of the Sea of Galilee. I no longer know the whole history in detail, but I still remember this much: The rich man was very wealthy. He lived high, held the first position among his fellows, and was a distinguished Pharisee, very strict in the outward observance of the Law; but he was, on the other hand, extremely severe and merciless toward the poor. I saw him harshly reproving the poor of the place who applied to him, as to their chief magistrate, for help and support. There was a poor, wretched man in the place called Lazarus. He was full of misery and covered with ulcers, but at the same time humble and patient. Hungering for bread, he had himself carried to the house of the rich man, in order to plead the cause of the poor so rudely rebuffed. The rich man was reclining at table carousing, but Lazarus was harshly repulsed as one unclean. He lay at the gate begging for only the crumbs that fell from the rich man’s table, but no one gave him to eat. The dogs, more merciful, licked his sores, which means that the heathens were more merciful than the Jews. After that Lazarus died a most beautiful and edifying death. The rich man also died, but his death was frightful. A voice was afterward heard proceeding from his tomb, and the whole country was full of the report of it.
Jesus having ended the parable by the relation of hidden truths unknown to the rest of men, the Pharisees ridiculed Him, asking whether He had been with Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom to hear all that talk. As the rich glutton had been a very strict, pharisaical observer of customs, it was especially irritating to the Pharisees to have this parable applied to themselves, also because it was therein implied that they did not listen to Moses and the Prophets. Jesus said to them in plain words that whoever would not hear Him, heard not the Prophets, for they spoke of Him; whoever would not hear Him, heard not Moses, for he spoke of Him; and even if the dead arose, they would not believe their testimony of Him. But the dead should indeed arise and witness to Him (this happened the next year and in that same Temple, at the time of Jesus’ death), and yet they, the Pharisees, would not believe. They themselves, He continued, should one day arise, and He would judge them. All that He did, His Father did in Him even to the raising of the dead. Jesus spoke also of John and his testimony, of which, however, He had no need, since His own works bore a still more convincing testimony of His mission, and His Father Himself bore witness to it. But they knew not God. They wanted to be saved by the Scriptures, and yet they kept not the Commandments. However, He would not, as He said, bring a charge against them, for Moses, who had written of Him and whom they would not believe, would do that.
Jesus went on teaching many things in the midst of repeated interruptions. At last the Pharisees became so enraged that they set up a shout, pressed against Him, and sent for the guard of the Temple to take Him into custody. At this moment, it suddenly grew dark and, when the uproar was at its height, Jesus looked up to Heaven and said: “Father, render testimony to Thy Son!” Instantly a dark cloud covered the heavens, a loud noise like a thunderclap resounded, and I heard a piercing voice proclaiming through the edifice: “This is My beloved Son in whom I take My delight!” Jesus’ enemies were utterly dumbfounded, and gazed upward in terror. But the disciples, who were standing in a semicircle behind Jesus, began to make a move and closed round Him. Thus escorted, He went without further molestation through the now-opening crowd, out by the western side of the Temple, and out of the city by the corner gate near Lazarus’ house. They proceeded a little further northward to Rama.
The disciples had not heard the voice, only the thunder, for their hour was not yet come; but several of the most enraged of the Pharisees heard it. When it was again clear, they made no comment upon what had just taken place, but hurried out and sent people to seize Jesus. But He was not to be found, and the Pharisees were then incensed against themselves for being so taken by surprise as to allow Him to escape.
In His instructions of these days both in the Temple and at Bethania to the disciples and the crowd there assembled, Jesus alluded several times to the obligation of following Him and of bearing the cross after Him. “He that will save his life, shall lose it; and he that will lose his life for My sake shall find it. For what doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Whoever shall be ashamed of Me before this adulterous and sinful generation, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He shall come in the glory of His Father, to render to everyone according to his works.” Jesus added that there were some among His hearers who would not see death until they should see the Kingdom of God come in all its power. At these words they mocked Him. I cannot say now what Jesus meant by this. The words of the Gospel always sound to me like the mere headings of the principal doctrines, for Jesus’ instructions were much more extended. His discourses that often occupied hours may there be read in a couple of minutes.
Stephen was already in communication with the disciples. On the Feast upon which Jesus healed the man of Bethsaida, he became acquainted with John, and after that he went round a great deal with Lazarus. He was very slender, of an amiable disposition, and a scholar in the Holy Law. He was at this time in Bethania with several other disciples from Jerusalem, and heard Jesus’ teachings.
Jesus in Ataroth and Hadad-Rimmon
From Rama, Jesus went with the disciples to Thanath-Silo near Sichar. As all the Pharisees were away at the Feast in Jerusalem, Jesus was received very joyfully in Thanath. Only the aged and the infirm, the women and little children remained home from the Feast, also the old shepherds with their herds. In Rama and Thanath I saw the people going processionally through the cornfields, cutting off bunches of grain, and carrying them on a pole into their homes and synagogues. Here and there on the fields and likewise in Thanath-Silo, where He stayed overnight, Jesus taught and made allusion to His approaching end. He called all to Himself to seek consolation, and spoke of the sacrifice most pleasing to God, namely, a contrite heart.
From Thanath-Silo Jesus went to Ataroth, north of the mountain near Meroz, where the Pharisees once brought Him a dead man to be healed. The place was about four hours north of Thanath-Silo. Jesus arrived at Ataroth toward evening. He taught on a hill outside the city, to which a crowd of the aged and the sick, of women and children, followed Him. All the sick, and others that were afraid before the Pharisees, now made their appearance imploring help and consolation. The Pharisees and Sadducees of Ataroth were so exasperated against Jesus that once, when they heard that He was in their neighborhood, they caused the gates of the city to be closed. Jesus taught in very severe terms, though at the same time very lovingly, and warned the poor people against the wickedness of the Pharisees. He continued to speak in plain terms of His mission, of His Heavenly Father, of the persecution that would soon overtake Him, of the resurrection of the dead, of the judgment, and of following Him. He cured many sick: lame, blind, dropsical, sick children, and women afflicted with an issue of blood.
The disciples had prepared for their Master an inn outside Ataroth near a simple-hearted schoolteacher, an aged man, who dwelt there among the gardens. Jesus and His disciples washed their feet, took some refreshments, and repaired to the synagogue in Ataroth to celebrate the Sabbath. There were assembled many who had come hither from the country around, as well as all those that had been cured. An aged Pharisee, a cripple, who had not gone to Jerusalem, presided over the synagogue. He put on great airs, though to the people he was rather an object of ridicule. The Scripture lessons of the day consisted of passages referring to legal impurity contracted by childbirth, to leprosy, to Eliseus’ multiplication of the bread of the first fruits and the new corn, and to Naaman’s cure.
Jesus had been teaching a long time when He turned to where the women were standing, and called to Him a poor, crippled widow. Her daughters had conducted her into the synagogue and put her into the place she usually occupied. It never entered her mind to ask for help, although she had been sick eighteen years. She was crippled at the waist. When she walked, the upper part of her person was so bent toward the earth that she could almost have walked on her hands. Jesus addressed her as her daughters were leading her to Him: “Woman, be freed from thy infirmity!” and He laid His hand on her back. She rose up straight as a candle, and began to praise God: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel!” Then she cast herself at Jesus’ feet, and all present praised God.
But the deformed old rogue was angry that such a miracle had taken place in Ataroth during the time of his sway. Not daring to expose himself to what might follow from a direct attack upon Jesus, he turned to the people and, with an air of great authority, began to find fault and say: “There are six days upon which we may labor. Come upon them and be healed, but not upon the Sabbath day!” Jesus responded: “Thou hypocrite! Does not everyone of you loose his ox or his ass from the manger on the Sabbath day, and lead it to water? And shall not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, be loosed from the bond in which for eighteen years Satan has bound her?” The crippled Pharisee and his adherents were confounded, while the people praised God and rejoiced at the miracles.
It was truly affecting to behold the daughters and some lads belonging to her family expressing their joy around the cured woman. Yes, all the inhabitants rejoiced, for she was wealthy, beloved and esteemed in the city. It was laughable, though at the same time pitiable, to see the crippled Pharisee, instead of craving relief for himself, raging over the cure of the pious deformed woman. Jesus went on with His instruction upon the Sabbath, and spoke in as severe terms as He had used in the Temple on the occasion of their reproaching Him with the cure of the man at the Pool of Bethsaida. He stayed overnight with the schoolmaster outside of Ataroth, and next day visited the house of the cured woman, who fed numbers of the poor and gave large alms. After that He closed the Sabbath services in the synagogue, and went forward a couple of hours to an inn near Ginnim.
On the following day He and the disciples journeyed about eight hours northward through the vale of Esdrelon and across the brook Cison to Hadad-Rimmon, leaving Endor, Jezrael, and Naim on the right. Rimmon lay, at most, one hour east of Mageddo, not far from Jezrael and Naim, about three hours west of Thabor, and to the southwest about the same distance from Nazareth. It was quite an important and populous city, for a highway both military and commercial ran through it from Tiberias to the seacoast. Jesus put up at an inn outside the city. He taught all along the way and, here and there, cured shepherds and other poor sick. The subject of these instructions was the love of the neighbor. He commanded His hearers to love the Samaritans and all men. He likewise explained the parable of the compassionate Samaritan.
In Hadad-Rimmon Jesus taught chiefly upon the resurrection of the dead and judgment. He healed the sick. A great concourse of people carne to His instructions. They had been in Jerusalem, but had reached it only the day after Jesus had left. The Apostles and disciples taught in the surrounding places.
The day after Jesus’ departure from Jerusalem, Pilate had forbidden the Galilean zealots to leave the city under pain of death, although they were anxious to do so. Many of them had been arrested as hostages. Shortly after, Pilate set the latter at liberty and gave all of them permission to make their offerings at the Temple and leave the city. He himself toward noon made preparations for his own departure to Caesarea. The Galileans under arrest were no less surprised than delighted at their restoration to freedom. They hurried to the Temple to offer their propitiatory sacrifice, as they had incurred guilt and had not yet offered sacrifice for the same.
It was customary on this day to bring all kinds of gifts to the Temple. Many purchased an animal and brought it to be sacrificed, while others (and these were the most numerous) sold such objects as they could do without and put the proceeds into the box destined for such offerings. The wealthy supplied their poorer neighbors with the means to make their offerings. I saw three different boxes for this purpose, and by each of them instructions were being given, while some of the worshippers were busy with their devotions. Others were out in the place of
slaughter with their animals for sacrifice. The Temple was tolerably crowded, yet not to overflowing. I saw in different places little groups of Israelites bowed down in adoration, or standing upright, or prostrate on the ground, their heads enveloped in prayer mantles.
Judas the Gaulonite was standing near one of the alms boxes surrounded by his followers, the Galileans whom Pilate had imprisoned and afterward released. Some of them were mere dupes, others crafty tools of the Herodians. Many of them were from Gaulon, but a still greater number were from Thirza, its environs, and other places infested by Herodians. Now when these people had made the offerings of money and were lost in their devotions, turning neither to the right nor to the left, I saw about ten men stealing upon them from all sides. As they approached, they drew forth from under their mantles three-edged swords about an ell in length, with which they stabbed the nearest of the adorers. Then arose a frightful cry. The defenseless people fled confusedly in all directions, pursued by those that I had seen kneeling and enveloped in their mantles. They were Romans in disguise, and they struck down and stabbed all whom they met. Many of them pressed forward to the alms boxes, and tore out the bags of money; still they did not take all, a good part remained therein.
The tumult was so great that a considerable amount of money was thrown about the Temple. The Romans then hurried to the place of slaughter, and stabbed the Galileans there. I saw these Roman soldiers issuing from all corners of the edifice, even jumping in and out of the windows. As when the cry of murder was raised, all that were in the Temple ran in confusion to make their escape, many harmless people belonging to Jerusalem were killed in the tumult, as well as some of the poor people that sold eatables in the forecourt and the recesses of the walls. I saw some Galileans in a dark passage trying to save themselves. They had overpowered some of the Roman soldiers and wrested from them their arms. And now came Judas the Gaulonite into the same passage from the opposite entrance. He too was attempting to make his escape. The other Galileans took him for a Roman and pierced him with their weapons, in spite of his cries that he was Judas, for the confusion was so great, owing to the similarity of clothing between the murderers and their victims, that they indiscriminately attacked everyone they met. The massacre lasted about an hour. The inhabitants, armed with weapons, now began to crowd to the Temple, whereupon the Roman soldiers hurriedly withdrew and shut themselves up in the fortress of Antonia. Pilate had already gone away, the garrison had taken possession of all points in the city capable of being defended, and all avenues of communication were seized and cut off.
I looked down the dizzy height on one side of the Temple into the narrow streets below, and there I beheld frantic women and children running from house to house. They had just received the news of the murder of husbands and fathers, for many of the poor people that dwelt in the neighborhood of the Temple, hucksters and day laborers, had been slain in the melee. The confusion in the Temple was frightful, and the people rushed out by every loophole. Elders and superintendents, armed men and Pharisees—all came pouring out. Around were corpses, blood, and scattered coins, while the wounded and dying lay on the ground groaning and weltering in their blood. Soon appeared upon the scene the relatives of those belonging to Jerusalem that had been accidentally murdered, and lamentations, cries of indignation, rage, and anguish arose on all sides. The Pharisees and High Priests were terrified, for the Temple had been frightfully profaned. The priests dared not enter for fear of defilement from contamination with the dead. The Feast was consequently interrupted.
I saw the corpses of the massacred Jerusalemites enveloped in winding-sheets, laid on biers, and borne away by their weeping relatives; those of the others were removed by inferior slaves. Everything else—cattle, eatables, movables of all kinds—had to be left lying in the Temple, because all was now unclean. Everyone retired, excepting the guards and the workmen. The victims counted more in number than those of the overthrow of the building at the construction of the aqueduct. With the exception of the innocent people of Jerusalem, the massacred were, for the most part, adherents of Judas the Gaulonite, who had declaimed so zealously against the imperial tax and the contribution for the aqueduct levied, contrary to the privileges of the Temple, upon the money offered in sacrifice. It was these people who had so boldly inveighed against Pilate’s proposals, and who had also slain some Roman soldiers in the fray that had then taken place. Pilate, in attacking them unarmed, avenged the death of his soldiers, as well as wreaked his vengeance upon Herod for the latter’s malicious overthrow of the tower. There were among the victims many from Tiberias, Gaulon, Upper Galilee, and Caesarea-Philippi.
The Transfiguration on Mount Thabor.
From the inn near Hadad-Rimmon, Jesus went with some of the disciples eastward to Kisloth Thabor which lay at the foot of Thabor toward the south, about three hours from Rimmon. On the way thither He was joined, from time to time, by the disciples that were returning from their mission. At Kisloth another great multitude of travelers who had come from Jerusalem again gathered around Him. He taught, and then healed the sick. In the afternoon He sent the disciples right and left around the mountain, to teach and to cure. Taking with Him Peter, John, and James the Greater, He proceeded up the mountain by a footpath. They spent nearly two hours in ascent, for Jesus paused frequently at the different caves and places made memorable by the sojourn of the Prophets. There He explained to them manifold mysteries and united with them in prayer. They had no provisions, for Jesus had forbidden them to bring any, saying that they should be satiated to overflowing. The view from the summit of the mountain extended far and wide. On it was a large open place surrounded by a wall and shade trees. The ground was covered with aromatic herbs and sweet scented flowers. Hidden in a rock was a reservoir, which upon the turning of a spigot poured forth water sparkling and very cold. The Apostles washed Jesus’ feet and then their own, and refreshed themselves. Then Jesus withdrew with them into a deep grotto behind a rock which formed, as it were, a door to the cave. It was like the grotto on the Mount of Olives, to which Jesus so often retired to pray, and from it a descent led down into a vault.
Jesus here continued His instructions. He spoke of kneeling to pray, and told them that they should henceforth pray earnestly with hands raised on high. He taught them also the interspersing the several petitions with verses from the Psalms; and these they recited half-kneeling, half-sitting around Him in a semicircle. Jesus knelt opposite to them, leaning on a projecting rock, and from time to time interrupted the prayer with instructions wonderfully profound and sweet upon the mysteries of Creation and Redemption. His words were extraordinarily loving, like those of one inspired, and the disciples were wholly inebriated by them. In the beginning of His instruction, He had said that He would show them who He was, they should behold Him glorified, that they might not waver in faith when His enemies would mock and maltreat Him, when they should behold Him in death shorn of all glory.
The sun had set and it was dark, but the Apostles had not remarked the fact, so entrancing were Jesus’ words and bearing. He became brighter and brighter, and apparitions of angelic spirits hovered around Him. Peter saw them, for he interrupted Jesus with the question: “Master, what does this mean?” Jesus answered: “They serve Me!” Peter, quite out of himself, stretched forth his hands, exclaiming: “Master, are we not here? We will serve Thee in all things!” Jesus began again His instructions, and along with the angelic apparitions flowed alternate streams of delicious perfumes, of celestial delights and contentment over the Apostles. Jesus meantime continued to shine with ever-increasing splendor, until He became as if transparent. The circle around them was so lighted up in the darkness of night that each little plant could be distinguished on the green sod as if in clear daylight. The three Apostles were so penetrated, so ravished that, when the light reached a certain degree, they covered their heads, prostrated on the ground, and there remained lying.
It was about twelve o’clock at night when I beheld this glory at its height. I saw a shining pathway reaching from Heaven to earth, and on it angelic spirits of different choirs, all in constant movement. Some were small, but of perfect form; others were merely faces peeping forth from the glancing light; some were in priestly garb, while others looked like warriors. Each had some special characteristic different from that of the others, and from each radiated some special refreshment, strength, delight, and light. They were in constant action, constant movement.
The Apostles lay, ravished in ecstasy rather than in sleep, prostrate on their faces. Then I saw three shining figures approaching Jesus in the light. Their coming appeared perfectly natural. It was like that of one who steps from the darkness of night into a place brilliantly illuminated. Two of them
appeared in a more definite form, a form more like the corporeal. They addressed Jesus and conversed with Him. They were Moses and Elias. The third apparition spoke no word. It was more ethereal, more spiritual. That was Malachias.
I heard Moses and Elias greet Jesus, and I heard Him speaking to them of His Passion and of Redemption. Their being together appeared perfectly simple and natural. Moses and Elias did not look aged nor decrepit as when they left the earth. They were, on the contrary, in the bloom of youth. Moses—taller, graver, and more majestic than Elias—had on his forehead something like two projecting bumps. He was clothed in a long garment. He looked like a resolute man, like one that could govern with strictness, though at the same time he bore the impress of purity, rectitude, and simplicity. He told Jesus how rejoiced he was to see Him who had led himself and his people out of Egypt, and who was now once more about to redeem them. He referred to the numerous types of the Saviour in his own time, and uttered deeply significant words upon the Paschal lamb and the Lamb of God. Elias was quite the opposite of Moses. He appeared to be more refined, more lovable, of a sweeter disposition. But both Elias and Moses were very dissimilar from the apparition of Malachias, for in the former one could trace something human, something earthly in form and countenance; yes, there was even a family likeness between them. Malachias, however, looked quite different. There was in his appearance something supernatural. He looked like an angel, like the personification of strength and repose. He was more tranquil, more spiritual than the others.
Jesus spoke with them of all the sufferings He had endured up to the present, and of all that still awaited Him. He related the history of His Passion in detail, point for point. Elias and Moses frequently expressed their emotion and joy. Their words were full of sympathy and consolation, of reverence for the Saviour, and of the uninterrupted praises of God. They constantly referred to the types of the mysteries of which Jesus was speaking, and praised God for having from all eternity dealt in mercy toward His people. But Malachias kept silence.
The disciples raised their heads, gazed long upon the glory of Jesus, and beheld Moses, Elias, and Malachias. When in describing His Passion Jesus came to His exaltation on the Cross, He extended His arms at the words: “So shall the Son of Man be lifted up!” His face was turned toward the south, He was entirely penetrated with light, and His robe flashed with a bluish white gleam. He, the Prophets, and the three Apostles—all were raised above the earth.
And now the Prophets separated from Jesus, Elias and Moses vanishing toward the east, Malachias westward into the darkness. Then Peter, ravished with joy, exclaimed: “Master, it is good for us to be here! Let us make here three tabernacles: one for Thee, one for Moses, and one for Elias!” Peter meant that they had need of no other Heaven, for where they were was so sweet and blessed. By the tabernacles, he meant places of rest and honor, the dwellings of the saints. He said this in the delirium of his joy, in his state of ecstasy, without knowing what he was saying.
When they had returned to their usual waking state, a cloud of white light descended upon them, like the morning dew floating over the meadows. I saw the heavens open above Jesus and the vision of the Most Holy Trinity, God the Father seated on a throne. He looked like an aged priest, and at His feet were crowds of angels and celestial figures. A stream of light descended upon Jesus, and the Apostles heard above them, like a sweet, gentle sighing, a voice pronouncing the words: “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased. Hear ye Him!” Fear and trembling fell upon them. Overcome by the sense of their own human weakness and the glory they beheld, they cast themselves face downward on the earth. They trembled in the presence of Jesus, in whose favor they had just heard the testimony of His Heavenly Father.
Jesus went to them, touched them, and said: “Arise, and fear not!” They arose, and beheld Jesus alone. It was now approaching three in the morning. The gray dawn was glimmering in the heavens and the damp vapors were hanging over the country around the foot of the mountain. The Apostles were silent and intimidated. Jesus told them that He had allowed them to behold the Transfiguration of the Son of Man in order to strengthen their faith, that they might not waver when they saw Him delivered for the sins of the world into the hands of evildoers, that they might not be scandalized when they witnessed His humiliation, and that they might at that time strengthen their weaker brethren. He again alluded to the faith of Peter who, enlightened by God, had been the first of His followers to penetrate the mystery of His Divinity, and He spoke of the rock upon which He was going to build His Church. Then they united again in prayer, and by the morning light descended the northwestern side of the mountain.
While going down, Jesus talked of what had taken place, and impressed upon the disciples that they should tell no one of the vision they had seen, until the Son of Man should have risen from the dead. This command struck them. They became more timid in Jesus’ presence, more reverential, and since the words: “Hear ye Him!” they thought with sorrow and anguish upon their past doubts and want of faith. But as daylight advanced and they continued their descent, the wonderful impression they had received began to wear off, and they imparted to one another their surprise at the expression: “Until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.” “What does that mean?” they asked one another, though they did not venture to question Jesus upon it.
They had not yet reached the foot of the mountain when Jesus was met by people coming to seek Him with their sick. He healed and consoled. But the people were struck with awe at the sight of Him, for there was something unusual, something supernatural and glorious in His appearance. A little lower down the mount He found assembled a crowd of people, the disciples whom He had sent out into the environs the day before, and several Doctors of the Law. These people were returning home from the Feast. They had met the disciples at their encampment and accompanied them thither, to wait for Jesus. Jesus saw that they and the disciples were having some kind of dispute. When they perceived Jesus, they ran forward to meet and salute Him, but they were amazed at His extraordinary appearance, for the rays of His glorification were still around Him. The disciples guessed from the manner of the three Apostles, who followed Jesus more gravely, more timidly than usual, that something wonderful must have happened to Him. When now Jesus inquired into the subject of dispute, a man from Amthar—a city on the Galilean mountain chain, the scene of the history of Lazarus and the rich glutton—stepped forth from the crowd, threw himself on his knees before Jesus, and implored Him to help his only son. The boy was a lunatic and possessed of a dumb devil, who hurled him sometimes into fire, sometimes into water, and laid hold of him so roughly that he cried out with pain. The father had taken him to the disciples when they were in Amthar, but they had not been able to help him, and this was now the subject of dispute between them and the Doctors of the Law. Jesus addressed them: “Ounbelieving and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you?” and He commanded the father to bring the boy to Him. The father now led the boy up by the hand. During the journey he had been obliged to carry him like a sheep flung round his neck. The child may have been between nine and ten years old. As soon as he saw Jesus, he began to tear himself frightfully, and the demon cast him to the earth, where he writhed in fearful contortions, foam pouring from his mouth. Jesus ordered him to be quiet, and he lay still. Then He asked the father how long the boy had suffered in this way. He answered: “From early childhood. Ah, if Thou canst, help us! Have mercy on us!” Jesus responded: “If Thou canst believe, for all things are possible to him that believes!” And the father, weeping, exclaimed: “Lord, I do believe! Help Thou my unbelief!”
At these words uttered in a loud voice, the people, who had remained timidly standing at a distance, approached. Jesus raised His hand in a threatening manner toward the boy and said: “Thou dumb and impure spirit, I command thee to go out of him and never again to return into him!” The spirit cried out frightfully through the boy’s mouth, convulsed him violently, and went out, leaving him pale and motionless like one dead. They tried in vain to restore consciousness, and many from among the crowd called out: “He is dead! He is really dead!” But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him up well and joyous, and restored him to his father with some words of admonition. The latter thanked Jesus with tears and canticles of praise, and all the lookers-on blessed the majesty of God. This scene took place about a quarter of an hour eastward of that little place near Thabor where Jesus, the year before, had healed the leprous property holder, the one that had sent his little servant boy after Him.
Jesus then proceeded on His way with the disciples. They passed near Cana, crossed the valley of the Baths of Bethulia, and reached the little town of Dothain, three hours from Capharnaum. They took mostly the byways, in order to escape the multitudes returning in troops from Jerusalem. Jesus and His disciples went in bands. Jesus walked sometimes alone, sometimes with this or that band. The Apostles who had been witnesses of His Transfiguration approached their Master on the way, and questioned Him upon the words: “Until the Son of Man is risen from the dead,” which were still for them a subject of reflection and discussion. They argued: “The Scribes indeed say that Elias must come again before the Resurrection.” Jesus responded: “Elias indeed shall come and restore all things. But I say to you that Elias is already come, and they knew him not but have done unto him whatsoever they had a mind, as it was written of him. So also the Son of Man shall suffer from them.” Jesus said several other things, and the Apostles understood that He was speaking of John the Baptist.
When all the disciples were again reunited around Jesus in the inn at Dothain, they asked Him why it was not in their power to free the lunatic boy from the demon. Jesus answered: “Because of your unbelief. For, amen I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, ‘Remove from hence hither,’ and it shall remove, and nothing shall be impossible to you. But this kind is not cast out but by prayer and fasting.” Then He instructed them upon what was necessary to overcome the demon’s resistance. Faith gives to action life and power, while at the same time it derives its own strength from fasting and prayer. He who fasts and prays deprives the demon that he wishes to cast out of his power, which power the exorciser attracts, as it were, into himself.