Jesus in Capharnaum and Its Environs
Jesus went from Dothain by a direct route to Capharnaum, where the feast of the homecoming was solemnly celebrated. Jesus and the disciples were invited to an entertainment in which some Pharisees also took part. When about to take their places at table, the disciple Manahem from Korea presented himself before Jesus, and with him a young man of good education from Jericho. Jesus had already rejected the latter, but he again requested to be received among the disciples. He had applied to Manahem, because he knew him. He had large possessions in Samaria, which Jesus had told him some time before to renounce. Having arranged his affairs and divided his property among his relatives, he now returned a second time to Jesus. He had, however, reserved one estate for his own support, about which he was extremely solicitous. It was for this reason that Jesus refused his request, and he went away displeased. The Pharisees were scandalized, for they were in favor of the young man. They reproached Jesus, saying that He was destitute of charity; that He talked of the insupportable burdens imposed by the Pharisees, and yet He Himself laid on others burdens equally insupportable. This young man, they continued, was educated, but Jesus favored only the ignorant. He refused men the necessaries of life, and yet sanctioned the violation of long-established customs. Once again they brought forward their old charges, Sabbath-breaking, the plucking of corn, the neglect of hand-washing, etc., but Jesus confounded them.
While Jesus was staying in Peter’s house, some people from Capharnaum said to Peter outside: “Does not your Master pay the tribute, the two didrachmas?” Peter answered: “Yes.” And when he went into the house, Jesus said to him: “What is thy opinion, Simon? The kings of the earth, of whom do they receive tribute or custom? Of their own children, or of strangers?” Peter answered: “Of strangers” and Jesus replied: “Then the children are free! But that we may not scandalize them, go to the sea and cast in a hook; and that fish which shall first come up, take; and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a stater. Take that and give it to them for Me and thee!” Peter went in simple faith to his fishery, let down one of the hooks kept there always ready for use, and with it drew up a very large fish. He felt in its mouth, and found an oblong yellowish coin, with which he paid the tribute for Jesus and himself. The fish was so large that it gave the whole company a plentiful dinner.
After that Jesus asked the disciples upon what subject they had been conversing on the way from Dothain to Capharnaum. They were silent, for they had been questioning who would be the greatest among them. Jesus, however, knew their thoughts, and He said: “Let him that will be the first among you, become the last, the servant of all!”
After dinner Jesus, The Twelve, and the disciples went into Capharnaum where a feast was being celebrated in honor of those that had returned from Jerusalem. The streets and houses were adorned with flowers and garlands. Children and old men, women and scholars, went forth to meet the returned travelers, who marched in crowds through the streets like a procession, and visited the houses of their friends and principal personages of the city. The Pharisees and many others from time to time joined Jesus and the disciples and went around with them.
Jesus visited the homes of the poor and many of His friends, and they presented to Him the children, whom He blessed and to whom He made little presents. On the marketplace, on one side of which stood the old, on the other the new synagogue built by Cornelius, were houses with porticos in front. Here the school children and mothers with their little ones were assembled to salute Jesus. Jesus had been teaching in different places all along the way, and here He blessed and taught the children. He had little tunics distributed among them, the same to the rich as to the poor. They had been prepared by the stewardesses of the Community and brought hither by the holy women of Jerusalem. The children received also fruit, writing tablets, and other gifts. The disciples having asked again who would be the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven, Jesus called to Him a wealthy lady, the wife of a merchant, who was standing with her four-year-old boy at the door of her house close by. She drew her veil and stepped forward with her boy. Jesus took him from her, and she at once went back. Then Jesus embraced the boy, stood him before Him in the midst of the disciples and the crowds of children standing around, and said: “Whoever becomes not like the children, shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me, yes, rather receives Him that sent Me. And whoever humbleth himself like this little child, he is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
John interrupted Jesus when He spoke of receiving in His name. The disciples had checked a certain man who, although not among their number, had nevertheless expelled the devil in Jesus’ name. Jesus reproved them for so doing and continued His instruction for awhile longer. Then He blessed the boy, who was very lovely, gave him some fruit and a little tunic, beckoned to the mother, and restored her child to her with some prophetic words concerning his future, which were understood only at a later period. The child became a disciple of the Apostles and was named Ignatius. He was afterward a bishop and martyr.
During the whole procession and the teaching of Jesus, a veiled lady had followed in the crowd. She seemed to be out of herself with emotion and joy. With clasped hands she frequently uttered the words half aloud, so that the women standing near her were deeply touched and moved to devotion: “Blessed the womb that bore Thee! Blessed the breasts that gave Thee suck! But far more blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it!” She spoke these words with abundant tears and a touching movement of the hands. They came from her inmost heart at every pause that Jesus made, at every striking expression that fell from His lips, and this with extraordinary emotion, love, and admiration. She took an inexpressibly childlike, absorbing interest in the life, the career, the teachings so full of love of the Redeemer. It was Lea, the wife of a malicious Pharisee belonging to Caesarea-Philippi, and sister of the deceased husband of Enue, the woman (also of Caesarea-Philippi) who had been cured of the issue of blood. She it was who, on a former occasion, had exclaimed at one of Jesus’ instructions: “Blessed is the womb,” etc., and to whom Jesus had replied: “But still more blessed are they that hear the Word of God and keep it!” Since then she had coupled Jesus’ response with her own words of admiration. They were constantly on her lips, and had become for her a prayer of love and devotion. She had come hither to visit the holy women, and had made many rich gifts to the Community.
Jesus continued to instruct at the marketplace until the Sabbath began, when He repaired to the synagogue to teach. The Sabbath Lesson was upon the purification of the leprous, and the famine of Samaria that ceased so suddenly according to the prophetic words of Eliseus.
Jesus, the Apostles, and some of the disciples went next to Bethsaida, whither came also many of the other disciples, some from missions, some from their homes. Most of them came from the opposite side of the lake, from Decapolis and Gerasa. They were very much fatigued, and stood in great need of care and attention. They were affectionately received on the shore by their fellow disciples, who embraced them and served them in every way. They were conducted to Andrew’s, their feet washed, baths made ready for them, fresh garments supplied, and a meal prepared.
As Jesus was very busily lending a helping hand in their service, Peter entreated Him to desist. “Lord,” said he, “art Thou going to serve! Leave that to us.” But Jesus replied that He was sent to serve, and that what was done for these disciples was done for His Father. And again His teaching turned upon humility. He that is the least, he that serves all others—he shall be the greatest. But whoever does not serve from a motive of charity, whoever lowers himself to help his neighbor, not in order to comfort a needy brother, but in order to gain distinction at that cost—he is a double-dealer, a server to the eye. He already has his reward, for he serves himself and not his brother. There were on this occasion perhaps seventy disciples present, and there were still some others in and around Jerusalem.
Jesus delivered to the Apostles and disciples a deeply significant and wonderful instruction, in which He said plainly that He was not conceived by man, but by the Holy Ghost. He explained the testimony of His Heavenly Father at the time of His baptism, but He made no mention of that upon Thabor. He spoke of the present time as happy and holy, since He had come, and declared that the relationship between God and man was once more restored. He referred in most profound words to the Fall of man, his separation from the Heavenly Father, and to the power of Satan and the evil spirits over him. He said that, by His own birth from the purest, the most desired of virgins, the Kingdom and the power of God among men had taken new life, and that by Him and in Him all should again become the children of God. Through Him, both in the order of nature and of grace, was the bond, the bridge between God and man again established, but whoever desired to pass over that bridge must do so with Him and in Him, must leave behind the earthly and the pleasures of this world. He said that the power of the evil spirits over the world and mankind, as well as his share therein, was by Himself brought to naught, and that all the misery arising from that diabolical influence upon nature and mankind could in His name, by interior union with Him through faith and love, be crushed out. Jesus spoke of these things most earnestly and vehemently. The disciples did not comprehend all that He said, and they shuddered when He spoke of His Passion. The three Apostles that had been with Him on Thabor had since then been very grave and meditative.
All this took place during and after the Sabbath. Some of the disciples put up in Capharnaum, some at Peter’s outside the city. All expenses were defrayed out of the common stock. It was almost like a Religious Community.
The day after the Sabbath, Jesus went with the disciples northward from Capharnaum toward the mountain from which He had sent them on their first mission. He journeyed about two hours around among the peasants who were cutting corn and among the shepherds, at one time instructing these people, at another the disciples. It was just harvest time.
The corn stood higher than a man. They cut it off at a convenient height, about half an arm long. The ears were longer and thicker than those of our corn and, that the stalks might not sink under their load, the fields were at short intervals provided with hedges of stakes. They had a kind of sickle more like a shepherd’s crook than ours. With the right hand they cut off a handful of stalks, which they held against their breast with the left, and so directed that they fell into their arms. They afterward bound them into little sheaves. It was laborious work, but they performed it very quickly. All that fell to the ground belonged to the poor gleaners who followed in the wake of the reapers.
During the pauses for rest, Jesus instructed the laborers. He questioned them as to how much they sowed, how much they reaped, to whom the corn belonged, what kind was the soil, how they worked it, etc., and around these questions He wove parables relating to sowing, to weeds, to the little grains of wheat, to the judgment, and the consuming of the tares by fire. He taught the disciples also how they should teach, and He gave them another instruction upon teaching. He explained the spiritual signification of the harvest, called them His sowers and reapers, and told them that they must collect the seed-corn for the treasure of a coming harvest, since He would not now be with them long. The disciples became very anxious, and asked if He would not remain with them till Pentecost. Jesus said to them: “What will become of you when I am no longer with you?”
To the shepherds also Jesus introduced His discourse in many ways: “Is this your own flock? Are these sheep of several flocks? How do you guard them? Why do your sheep wander around dispersed?” etc. In this manner He put questions with which He linked His parables of the lost sheep, the good shepherd, etc.
Jesus then went to a valley that layoff toward the west and in a region more elevated than Capharnaum. The mountain of Saphet was on the right. Here He journeyed through valleys and solitary places, teaching now the reapers and shepherds, now the disciples. He enumerated all the duties of a good shepherd and applied them to Himself, since He was about to give His life for His sheep. He thereby indicated to the disciples how they should treat with such people whom they found in out-of-the-way districts deprived of spiritual assistance, and should sow good seed among them. These journeys of Jesus through solitary places, and His teaching full of peace and love, were deeply touching and impressive.
They returned by a route somewhat more to the northeast and put up at the little city of Lecum, one half-hour from the Jordan, whither the six Apostles had gone on their first mission. Jesus Himself had not yet been there. The inhabitants that had gone to Jerusalem for the Pasch had returned, and there were likewise Scribes and Pharisees in the city. When the disciples visited their acquaintances, the latter related to them the circumstance of the massacre of the Galileans in the Temple, but they made no mention of it to Jesus.
Lecum was a small, well-to-do place, about one half-hour from the Jordan and a couple of hours from the point at which it emptied into the lake. The inhabitants were Jews. Only on the outskirts of the place dwelt a few poor pagans in huts. They had, from time to time, remained behind from the caravans. The raising of cotton formed the chief industry here. They prepared the raw material, and spun and wove covers and various kinds of fabrics. Even the children were thus employed.
The welcome home feast for those that had returned from Jerusalem was being celebrated in Lecum, as it had just been in Capharnaum. The streets were adorned with flowers and garlands of green. Those that had come home visited the houses of their friends, and the schools went out to meet them.
Jesus went into some of the houses to visit the old people, and He cured some sick. On the market square of the place in front of the synagogue, He delivered a long discourse first to the children, whom He caressed and blessed, then to the youths and maidens who, on account of the general festival, were present with their teachers. After they had gone home, He taught successively several groups of men and women, making use of all kinds of similitudes. His subject was marriage, which He treated in very beautiful and deeply significant terms. He began by saying that in human nature much evil is mixed with good, but that by prayer and renunciation the two must be separated and the evil subdued. He who follows his unbridled passions works mischief. Our works follow us and they will at some future day rise up against their author. Our body is an image of the Creator, but Satan aims at destroying that image in us. All that is superfluous brings with it sin and sickness, becomes deformity and abomination. Jesus exhorted His hearers to chastity, moderation, and prayer. Continence, prayer, and discipline have produced holy men and Prophets. Jesus illustrated all this by similitudes referring to the sowing of the grain, to the clearing out of stones and weeds from the field, to its lying fallow, and to the blessing of God upon land justly acquired. In speaking of the married state, He borrowed His similitudes from the planting of the vine and the pruning of the branches. He spoke of noble offspring, of pious families, of improved vineyards, and of races exalted and ennobled. He spoke of the Patriarch Abraham, of his holiness, and the alliance concluded with God in circumcision, and said that his descendants had fallen into disorders by their indulgence of unrestrained passion and their repeated marriages with the heathens. Jesus spoke also of the lord of the vineyard who had sent his son, and He recounted all that had happened to him.
The people were very much moved; many wept and felt impelled to amend their lives. Jesus gave that instruction principally because they had never been taught anything about such mysteries, and also because they lived in a very dissolute way.
Jesus taught also of the essential action of good will in prayer and renunciation, and of man’s own cooperation. He said that what they deprived themselves of in food and drink and superfluous comforts, they should place with confidence in the hands of God, imploring Him to allow it to benefit the poor shepherds in the wilderness and others in need. The Father in Heaven would then like a true father of a family hear their prayer, if they like faithful servants shared the abundance He had given them with the poor whom they knew or whom they lovingly sought out. This was real cooperation, and God works with His true servants strong in faith. Here Jesus brought forward the example of a tree (the palm), which by love and desire as it were, but without contact, imparts fertility to its mate.
From Lecum Jesus crossed the Jordan to Bethsaida-Julias, where He taught.
The welcome home feast was being celebrated here likewise. I saw Jesus with the disciples, some of the Scribes and Pharisees, and other distinguished personages of Julias walking about and teaching. Here they told Jesus of the massacre of the Galileans in the Temple. I heard at this time that a hundred persons belonging to Jerusalem and a hundred and fifty of the seditious followers of Judas the Gaulonite had been murdered. These last-named had persuaded many, perhaps forced them by threats, to go with them and offer sacrifice. The hundred Jerusalemites had united with the rebels, although they knew of their unjust determination not to pay the tax to the Emperor, and they were consequently murdered with them.
The country around Julias was extraordinarily charming, fertile, solitary and verdant, full of grazing asses and camels. It was like a zoological garden, the abode of all kinds of birds and animals. Serpentine footpaths wound down to the harbor, and springs were abundant. The noonday sun shone full upon it and flashed on the mirror-like surface of the lake. The highroad to Julias ran nearer to the Jordan, but the country of which I speak was a solitude. Jesus and the disciples recrossed the Jordan and proceeded to Bethsaida and Capharnaum. In the latter place, Jesus taught in the synagogue, for it was the Sabbath. The Scripture assigned for the day were passages from Moses, 16-19), treating of the annual sacrifice of expiation, of that offered before the tabernacle, of the prohibition to eat the blood of animals, and of the degrees of kindred in which marriage could not be solemnized. Passages were read from Ezechiel, also, upon the sins of the city of Jerusalem.
Jesus and the disciples were invited by one of the Pharisees to dine not far from the dwelling of Cornelius the Centurion. There He found a man afflicted with dropsy, who begged for help. Jesus asked the Pharisees whether it was lawful to heal upon the Sabbath day. They gave Him no answer, so He laid His hand upon the sick man and healed him. As the poor man was retiring with many thanks, Jesus remarked to the Pharisees, as He usually did on such occasions, that not one of them would hesitate to draw out on the Sabbath day his ox or his ass that had fallen into a pit. The Pharisees were scandalized, but they could make no reply.
The Pharisees had invited only their own relatives and friends, and when Jesus perceived that they had taken the best places at table for themselves, He said: “When invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited also, and the host constrain thee to make room for that one, and thus bring thee to shame. But if one takes the last place and the host says, ‘Friend, go up higher,’ that brings with it honor. Because everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Then Jesus addressed the host: “Whoever invites to his feast his relatives, friends, and rich neighbors, who will in turn invite him to theirs, has already received his reward. But whoever invites the poor, the lame, the blind, the infirm, who can make no return to him, he will happily receive his recompense at the Resurrection.” To this one of the guests responded: “Yes, blessed indeed will he be that shall sit at the feast in the Kingdom of God!” whereupon Jesus turned to him and related the parable of the great feast.
Jesus had, by means of the disciples, caused many of the poor to be assembled at the Pharisee’s. Now He asked the host whether the entertainment had been prepared for Him, and on receiving an answer in the affirmative, He ordered what was left after the guests had finished to be distributed to the poor.
After that Jesus went with the disciples through the Centurion Zorobabel’s estate into a beautiful, solitary region between Tiberias and Magdalum. As a numerous crowd followed Him, He took the opportunity to speak of renouncing all things to follow Him. Whoever, He said, wanted to follow Him and be His disciple must love Him more than all his nearest relatives, yes, even more than himself, and must carry his cross after Him. He who wanted to build a tower must first calculate the cost, otherwise he might never finish it, might make himself ridiculous. He who goes to war ought, first of all, to compare the number of his forces with those of his enemy, and if he finds it insufficient, he ought rather to sue for peace. One must renounce all things, in order to become His disciple.
Jesus Teaching on the Mountain Near Gabara
Jesus journeyed on, teaching through the country of Genesareth, and dispatched a large number of the elder disciples to invite the people to an instruction to be given on the mountain beyond Gabara. It was to begin on the following Wednesday and last several days. I heard the day indicated differently, but I knew that the coming Wednesday was meant.
A great many of the disciples rowed across the lake to the country of the Gergeseans, to Dalmanutha, and into the Decapolis. They were commissioned to invite all, for Jesus would not be with them much longer, and they were to bring back as many with them as they could. About forty disciples went on this mission. Jesus kept with Him the Apostles, as well as the disciples that had last returned, all of whom He continued to instruct. He went with them to Tarichaea at the southern extremity of the lake. The journey to Tarichaea could not be made along the lakeshore, for at two hours’ distance from that place rose steep cliffs that extended off to the lake. Jesus went around Tarichaea to the west, and crossed over a bridge to a place that seemed to be one of the environs of the city. The bridge spanned the stone dam which extended from Tarichaea to the spot at which the Jordan flowed out of the lake. Near the bridge ran two rows of houses. Before reaching them, Jesus had to pass the abode of the lepers, where He had wrought some cures the preceding year. Being informed of His approach, these cured came out to thank Him, while others, who had come hither since His last visit, now cried to Him for help and He healed them. When arrived at the houses mentioned above, many sick were presented to Him. They had been rowed across the lake from Dalmanutha. Jesus helped them. That dam, along with most of the houses, was overturned by the earthquake at Jesus’ death. They were abandoned and never rebuilt, since the lake-shore was much changed by the catastrophe. Tiberias was in reality only half a city, being quite unfinished on one side.
From all quarters poured immense crowds to the mountain of Gabara, and ships full of passengers came over the lake. They brought with them tents and provisions, also sick borne in basket-litters on the backs of asses. The disciples arranged the multitude, and lent assistance everywhere.
As Jesus, with the Apostles, was proceeding to Gabara, He was met by some of the Pharisees, who interrogated Him as to the meaning of that great movement of the people, those multitudes hastening to the mountain. The whole country, they said, was in a state of agitation! Jesus answered by telling them that they too might, if they chose, come to hear His discourse next morning, that He had invited the multitude because He would not be among them much longer.
The holy women went to the inn at the foot of the mountain in order to provide for the wants of the disciples.
It was toward ten o’clock next day when Jesus appeared upon the mountain. The disciples had put the people in order and indicated to them how they should in certain numbers exchange places from time to time, in order to hear Jesus’ discourse, for the multitude was far greater than could be accommodated within hearing distance of the teacher’s chair. The people were under tents, those from the same district camping together. Each district had its own camp, the entrance to which was adorned with an arch formed of the fruits peculiar to that district and surmounted by a crown made of the most magnificent specimens. Some had grapevines and corn; others, cotton plants, sugar cane, aromatic herbs, and all kinds of fruits and berries. Every district had its own distinctive sign, adorned with flowers and beautifully arranged. The whole produced a very pleasing effect. Numbers of birds, among them pigeons and quails, had taken up their quarters in the camp and were busy picking up the scattered crumbs. They had grown so familiar, so tame, that the people fed them from their hands. A great many Pharisees, Sadducees, and Herodians, Scribes and magistrates of different places were present and had taken possession of the places around Jesus’ chair. They had provided themselves with comfortable seats, a kind of stool, or chair, which they had ordered to be brought for their own use.
Jesus collected His disciples close around Him, to the displeasure of the Pharisees who were unwilling to see them preferred to themselves. Jesus began by prayer and calling the people to order. He bade them be attentive, because He was going to teach them what they would not learn from others, but what was at the same time necessary for their salvation. What they could not then comprehend, would be repeated and explained to them later by His disciples whom He would send to them, for He Himself would not be among them much longer. Then loudly and openly He warned the disciples gathered around Him against the Pharisees and false prophets, and instructed the multitude upon prayer and love of the neighbor. The disciples led up the different groups in turn. The Pharisees and others versed in the Law frequently interrupted Jesus with all kinds of contradictory remarks, but He paid no attention to them. He went on with His instruction, speaking very severely against them and warning the people against them until they were greatly incensed. He performed no cures today, but ordered that the weary sick on their beds should be brought up in their turn and placed under awnings near Him, that they too might hear His teaching. He sent word to them to be patient until the close of His instruction. He taught till evening without intermission, the people taking refreshment by turns. I did not see Jesus eating. He taught the great multitude so unremittingly that toward evening His voice became quite shrill and weak. At last, He went down to the inn on the plain. It had once formed part of Magdalen’s property in Magdalum, and at its sale had been reserved for the use of the Community.
Lazarus and Martha, Dina and the Suphanite, Maroni of Naim, Jesus’ Mother, and the other Galilean women were come hither with quantities of provisions, materials for clothes, and also readymade clothing. They had prepared a frugal meal for Jesus and the disciples, and all the rest was distributed to the poor.
Next day Jesus continued His teaching on the mountain. He again spoke of prayer, of the love of the neighbor, of vigilance in good, of confidence in the goodness of God, and admonished the people not to allow themselves to be confounded by oppressors and calumniators.
The Pharisees today were even more disquieted. They had gathered in still larger numbers than yesterday, to dispute with Jesus. They called Him an agitator of the people, a mischief-maker. They said that He enticed the people from their labor that they might follow Him around the country. They had their Sabbath, their festivals, and their own teaching; there was no need of His innovations. They repeated for the thousandth time the old reproaches against Himself and His disciples, and ended by threatening Him with Herod. They would, they said, complain to him of Jesus’ actions and teaching; he already had an eye upon Him, and would soon make short work of His doings. Jesus replied with severity. He said that He would, undisturbed on Herod’s account, teach and heal until His mission was fulfilled. The Pharisees were so bold and violent that the people pressed forward. The confusion became great as they were pushing and treading on one another’s toes, so that the Pharisees withdrew at last in great disgust.
Jesus nevertheless went on teaching in a very touching and impressive manner. As a great many of those that were on their return journey from Jerusalem, as well as others, had exhausted their pro-visions, Jesus directed the senior disciples to distribute among them bread, honey, and fish, numerous baskets of which had been brought up from the inn. The holy women had seen to its preparation. Garments, pieces of linen, covers, sandals, and little tunics for the children also were distributed to the needy. The holy women had brought all these things in abundance. They distributed them to the women, and the disciples, to the men.
Meanwhile Jesus continued to instruct the disciples alone, speaking upon the character of the Pharisees and telling them how they should, in the future, comport themselves toward them. After that He descended with them to the inn, where a meal was awaiting them.
During it Lazarus spoke of the massacre of the Galileans in the Temple, of which there was much question among the disciples and the people at large. He told also of the women from Hebron, relatives of the Baptist, and of some from Jerusalem who had gone to Machaerus in search of John’s head, as the sewers were being cleared out and the fortress enlarged. Lazarus himself had taken steps in the matter.
Early on the morning of the third day, Lazarus and the holy women returned home, while Jesus and the Apostles went to visit the sick whose huts and tents had been arranged, some in the neighborhood of the inn, and others in the public encampment at the foot of the mount of instruction. They cured all that were there, and did not leave the spot until all were again on their feet. The disciples busied themselves distributing among them what remained of the provisions, clothes, and unmade materials. The cured and their friends filled the air with Psalms of thanksgiving. At last all took their departure, in order to reach their homes before the Sabbath.
Jesus next went to Garisima, about one hour to the north of Sephoris, on a height at the end of the valley. He sent some of the disciples on ahead to prepare the inn while He Himself, on account of some sick whom He wished to visit, took a circuitous route thereto. I saw Him and His party tarrying awhile in the little place Capharoth near Jetebatha. The road from Capharnaum to Jerusalem ran through it. Saul wandered about this part of the country shortly before his visit to the witch of Endor and his disastrous battle. It was about five hours from Capharoth to Garisima, which lay in the midst of vineyards. It enjoyed the morning and some of the noonday sun, but on the west and north it had nothing but shade.
The disciples that had been sent on in advance came a part of the way to meet Jesus, who had an inn just outside the place. They washed one another’s feet and, after partaking of the customary refreshments, Jesus proceeded to the synagogue, where He taught from Leviticus and the prophet Ezechiel. He had to endure no contradiction this time, for His hearers were astonished at His knowledge of the Law and His wonderful explanations. The instruction over, He took a repast with His own followers at the inn. Some of His relatives from the region of Sephoris were in Garisima, and they ate with them. Jesus spoke on this occasion of His approaching end.
Almost a hundred disciples, along with the Apostles, gathered around Jesus in Garisima for the Sabbath. The two sons of Cyrinus of Cyprus, who had been baptized at Dabereth, were also here with other Jews from the same place. A great multitude of these latter were here encamped. They were returning to Cyprus from the Paschal festival at Jerusalem and they listened with admiration to Jesus’ teaching on the Sabbath. Jesus’ presence was ardently longed for in Cyprus, where there were numbers of Jews, all in a state of spiritual abandonment.
Jesus instructed the disciples in Garisima also, assembling them for this purpose on a hill. Many of them had until now served merely as messengers between the disciples dispersed in various quarters
and the friends of Jesus. There were others who had for the most part been detained at home, and who in consequence had missed much of Jesus’ teaching, had heard nothing of the way in which they were to conduct themselves on their missions, nor of the application and interpretation of parables. Jesus then, continuing His instruction, explained all things to these disciples in a simple and easy style, and ran quickly through all that He had taught up to the present. After that He went with them from four to six hours northwest from Garisima to the mountains of a very retired region, and there they passed the night. Herds of asses and camels, and flocks of sheep were grazing off in the valleys on the west side of the lofty mountain range that ran through the heart of the country. The valleys here run in a zigzag direction, like the plant known as the common club moss, or wolf’s claw. There were a great many palm trees in this wilderness, also a kind of tree whose interlaced branches fell to the earth, and under which one could creep as into a hut. The shepherds of the region used to take shelter under them. Jesus and the disciples spent most of the night in prayer and instruction. Jesus repeated many of the directions He had given when first sending them out upon their earlier missions. I was especially struck on hearing that they were to possess no private purse. That was to be confided to their Superior, one of whom was appointed for every ten. Jesus indicated to them the signs by which they might recognize the places in which they could effect some good, told them to shake the dust from their shoes before those that were ill-disposed, and instructed them as to how they should justify themselves when placed under arrest. They were not to be disturbed as to what they should answer, for words would then be put into their mouth, nor were they to be afraid, since their lives would not be in any danger.
I saw here and there around this region men with long staves and iron hoes. They were guarding the herds against the attacks of wild animals that came up from the seacoast.
Very early the next morning, Jesus sent the disciples and Apostles out on a mission. Upon the latter, as well as upon the eldest disciples, He imposed hands, but the rest He merely blessed. By this ceremony He filled them with new strength and energy. It was not, however, priestly ordination, but only an imparting of grace and vigor to the soul. He addressed to them likewise many words on the value of obedience to Superiors.
Peter and John did not remain with Jesus, but went toward the south, Peter to the country of Joppa, and John more to the east, to Judea. Some went to Upper Galilee, others into the Decapolis. Thomas received his mission to the country of the Gergeseans, whither he went with a troop of disciples, taking a circuitous route to Asach, a city situated on a height between two valleys, about nine hours from Sephoris and one at most to the left from the road. There were a great many Jews in this city, which belonged to the Levites.
Jesus now journeyed in a northwesterly direction. With Him were five Apostles, each of whom had under him ten disciples. I remember having seen on this occasion Judas, James the Less, Thaddeus, Saturnin, Nathanael, Barnabas, Azor, Mnason, and the youths from Cyprus. They accomplished on the first day six to eight hours. Several cities lay to the right and left on their road and, from time to time, some of the party would separate from their Master in order to visit them. Jesus passed Tyre on the seacoast to the left. He had indicated to the Apostles and disciples a certain place where, in about thirty days, they were again to join Him. He spent the night like the preceding, under some trees with His companions.