Jesus Goes from Misael, The Levitical City, Through Thanach, Naim, Azanoth, And Damna to Capharnaum
To the north of the suburb and on a declivity halfway up the height lay the beautiful pleasure garden of Misael, commanding a magnificent view of the gulf. Higher up on the hill one could see the pond, or morass, of Cendevia and Libnath, the “City of Waters,” which was an hour and a half distant. It was nearer the sea, which here makes a bend into the land, than Misael, which was a couple of hours from the sea. Debbaseth was five hours to the east of the Cison, and Nazareth about seven. Jesus walked in the garden with His disciples and related the parable of a fisherman that went out to sea to fish, and took five hundred and seventy fishes. He told them that an experienced fisherman would put into pure water the good fish found in bad, that like Elias he would purify the springs and wells, that he would remove good fish from bad water, where the fish of prey would devour them, and that he would make for them new spawning ponds in better water. Jesus introduced into the parable also the accident that had happened on the sandbank to those that, out of self-will, had not followed the master of the vessels. The Cypriotes who had followed Jesus could not restrain their tears when they heard Him speak of the laborious task of transporting fish from bad to good water. Jesus mentioned clearly and precisely the number “five hundred and seventy good fish” that had been saved, and said that that was indeed enough to pay for the labor.
He spoke of Cyprus to the Levites, who rejoiced that Jews from that country were coming hither. Many were coming also from Ptolemais, and would pass this way. There was question of measures to be taken. Jesus spoke of the danger that threatened them there, whereupon the Levites asked anxiously whether the heathens of their country would ever become so powerful as to prove dangerous. Jesus answered by an allusion to the judgment that was to fall upon the whole country, the danger that threatened Himself, and the chastisement that would overtake Jerusalem. His hearers were unable to comprehend how He could again return to Jerusalem. But He said that He had still much to do before the consummation of His labors.
The Syrophenician from Ornithopolis sent hither by some of the disciples little golden bars and plates of the same metal chained together. She was desirous to send one of her ships to Cyprus, in order to facilitate Mercuria’s flight from the island.
On an invitation from the Levites, Jesus accompanied them to Misael, a very ancient city, surrounded by walls and towers, in the latter of which dwelt some pagans. Elizabeth had for a long time sojourned here with her father, who exercised the functions of a Levite, and Zachary too was once at Misael. Elizabeth was born in an isolated country house two hours from Misael in the plain of Esdrelon. The property belonged to her parents, and she afterward inherited it. In her fifth year she entered the Temple. When she left it, she returned for a time to Misael and, after another period spent at the house in which she was born, she went to Zachary’s home in Judea. Jesus spoke of her and of John. He insisted in terms so significant upon John’s office of precursor of the Messiah that it was easy to guess who He Himself was.
While in the city, Jesus went with the Levites, to visit and cure the sick of several families. Some of the invalids were children, and several of the adults were lame. They held out to Jesus their hands enveloped in linen bands. Jesus visited Simeon also in his own house, and then proceeded to the synagogue’ where He closed the Sabbath exercises. Here the women stood in a kind of high tribune not far from the chair of the teacher. Jesus’ teaching turned upon sacrifice for sin and upon Samson. He rehearsed the principal deeds of the latter, and spoke of him as of a saint whose life was prophetic. Samson, Jesus said, did not lose all his strength, for he had retained sufficient to do penance. His overturning of the heathen temple upon himself was owing to a special inspiration from God.
Judas, who loved to execute business commissions, and Thomas, whose family owned rafts in the port and who was well-known here, went with several disciples to Hepha to make arrangements for the expected Cypriotes.
Jesus meanwhile, with about ten of His disciples, among them Saturnin, went on to the Levitical city of Thanach, where He was received by the Elders of the synagogue. The Pharisees here, though not open enemies of Jesus, yet were cunning and on the watch to catch Him in His speech. I saw that by their own equivocal language. They said that He would undoubtedly visit their sick, and asked Him whether He would extend that same charity to a man who had been in Capharnaum, and who was now in a very suffering state. They thought that Jesus would refuse to see the latter, who had shown himself one of His bitterest opponents in Capharnaum. His present sickness, a very singular one indeed, they supposed to be a punishment for his conduct on that occasion. He hiccoughed and vomited continually, the upper part of his body was constantly convulsed, and he was visibly pining away. He was a man between thirty and forty, and had a wife and children. When Jesus went to see him, He asked him whether he believed that He could help him. The poor man, quite dejected and ashamed of his former conduct, answered: “Yes, Lord! I do believe!” Then Jesus laid one hand on his head and the other on his breast, prayed over him, and commanded him to rise and take some nourishment. The man arose, and with tears thanked Jesus, as did likewise his wife and children. Jesus addressed some gracious and comforting words to them, but made not the slightest allusion to the man’s proceedings against Himself. That evening when the Pharisees beheld the cured man appear in the synagogue, they completely renounced all desire to contradict Jesus in His speech. He taught of the accomplishment of the Prophecies; of John the Baptist, the Precursor of the Messiah, and of the Messiah Himself. His words were so significant that His hearers might readily conclude that He was alluding to Himself.
From Thanach, Jesus went to a carpenter shop, in which Joseph had first worked after his flight from Bethlehem. It was a building wherein fully a dozen people were engaged in the manufacture of wooden articles. They dwelt in little homes around the enclosure. The shop in which Joseph had worked was now occupied by the descendants of his master. They no longer worked at the business themselves, but employed poor people for that purpose. The goods, which consisted of thin planks, rods, grated screens, and lattice-work, were principally exported on ships. The report was still current in this place that the Prophet’s father had once labored here, but they no longer knew distinctly whether it was Joseph of Nazareth or not. I thought at the time: “If these people, after so short a lapse of time, know so little about these things, it is certainly not surprising that we too should know so little.” Jesus delivered an instruction in the yard adjoining the workshop, taking for His subjects the love of labor and the thirst for gain.
From Thanach, Jesus went to Sion, a horrible old place two hours west of Thabor. With its ancient citadel and synagogue, near which some Pharisees dwelt, it lay somewhat high. Below and far behind some ramparts on the banks of the Cison, was a group of houses whose locality was not very healthful. The ramparts were so high that one could not see over them. The occupants of these houses appeared to be dependents upon those above them, by whom they were oppressed and tormented. Jesus, in His instruction given in the synagogue, inveighed against the Pharisees who imposed upon others grievous burdens that they would not themselves touch, against the oppression of the neighbor, and the thirst after power. He spoke also of the Messiah who, He said, would be very different from what they expected. Jesus had gone to Sion in order to console the poor, oppressed people. He visited their low, narrow, and obscure quarter of the city, and cured several poor sick in their huts, most of them gouty and paralyzed. The Pharisees banished all the sick to this miserable place, in which they could scarcely get a breath of fresh air. Jesus and the disciples gave the poor creatures presents of linen and strips of other materials.
Jesus and the disciples went from this place to Naim in about an hour and a half. Several disciples and the youth of Naim whom Jesus had raised from the dead came to meet Him near the well outside the city, so that Jesus had with Him now about twelve disciples, though no Apostles. The disciples belonging to Jerusalem had come hither from the Holy City with some of the holy women, while others, having celebrated the Feast of Pentecost with Mary at Nazareth, awaited at Naim on their return journey the coming of Jesus. He put up at an inn prepared for Him at Naim in one of the houses belonging to the widow, whom He went to see shortly after His arrival. The female portion of the family came out veiled to meet Him in the portico of the inner court, and cast themselves at His feet. Jesus saluted them graciously, and accompanied them into the reception hall. There were five women present besides the widow herself; namely, Martha, Magdalen, Veronica, Johanna Chusa, and the Suphanite. They, the holy women, sat apart at the end of the hall, on a kind of raised trestle like a long, low sofa. They sat cross-legged on cushions and rugs. The seat they occupied was raised high enough to. show the feet upon which it rested. The women were silent until Jesus addressed them, and then each spoke in her turn. They related what was going on at Jerusalem, and told Jesus of the snares Herod had laid for Him. They became so animated in their recital that Jesus raised His finger and reproached them with their worldly solicitude and their judgments of others. Then He told them all about Cyprus, of those whom He had won to the truth, and spoke in words of love of the Roman Governor in Salamis. When the women expressed it as their opinion that it would be well if he too left the island, Jesus replied: “No. He must stay there and render service to many souls until My own work shall be accomplished. Then another will succeed him, and he too will prove himself a friend of the Community.”
Magdalen and the Suphanite were nothing like as beautiful as they used to be. They were pale and thin, and their eyes red from weeping. Martha was very energetic, and in business affairs very talkative. Johanna Chusa was a tall, pale, vigorous woman, grave in manner, but at the same time active. Veronica had in her deportment something very like St. Catherine; she was frank, resolute, and courageous. When the holy women were thus gathered together, they used to work industriously, sewing and preparing for the Community all sorts of things, which were distributed among their private inns, or laid away in the storerooms. From these latter the Apostles and disciples supplied their own needs, as well as those of the poor. When there was no special work of this kind to be done, the holy women spent their time in sewing for poor synagogues. They generally had with them their maid-servants, who preceded or followed them on their journeys, and carried the various materials, sometimes in leathern pouches, sometimes attached to their girdle under their mantle. These maids wore tightly fitting bodices and short tunics. When the holy women were to remain some time at any place, their maids returned and awaited their coming at some of the inns along the route. Veronica’s maid was with her a long time. She was in her service even after Jesus’ death.
When on the Sabbath Jesus repaired to the synagogue, He did not go to the teacher’s chair, but stood with His disciples in the place in which travelling teachers were accustomed to stand. But after bidding Him welcome and the prayers being said, the rabbis constrained Him to take His place before the open rolls of Scripture and to read therefrom. The Sabbath Lesson treated of the Levites, the murmuring of the people, the quails sent by God, and the punishment that befell Miriam; 8-12) and from the Prophet Zacharias, some passages referring to the vocation of the Gentiles and to the Messiah. 2:10; 4:8). Jesus’ words were severe. He said that the heathens would occupy in the Messiah’s Kingdom the places of the obdurate Jews. Of the Messiah, He said that they would not recognize Him as such, for He would be totally different from what they expected. Among the Pharisees were three more insolent than the others; they had been on the commission at Capharnaum.
The cure of the Pharisee at Thanach had vexed them exceedingly, and they said that Jesus had effected it merely that the Pharisees of that place might connive at His doings. They recommended Him to be quiet and not to disturb the Sabbath with His cures. It would be just as well for Him, they said, to go back whence He came and to forbear creating any excitement. Jesus replied that He would fulfill the duties of His mission, journeying and teaching until His hour had arrived. The Pharisees gave no entertainment to Jesus in Naim. They were full of spite against Him, because His doctrine and charity drew after Him all the poor, the miserable and the simple hearted, whom their own severity alienated.
The season about this time in Naim was indescribably delightful. Jesus took the Sabbath day’s journey with the disciples, to whom He unfolded, in very earnest and confidential words, His own future. He exhorted them to remain true and faithful, for great sufferings and persecutions were in store for Him. They should not, He said, be scandalized at Him. He would not forsake them, neither must they abandon Him, although the treatment He would receive would put their faith to the proof. The disciples were touched to tears. They went to the garden of Maroni, the widow, where too came the holy women. Jesus told them about the reconciliation that had taken place among the married couples in Mallep, and dwelt especially upon that between the couple with whom He had once taken a meal, and who had resolved to remove to Palestine. He spoke of Mercuria also, saying that she would first join the Syrophenician, who was likewise making preparations to leave Ornithopolis. They would first go to Gessur and thence proceed further on. Already many people had left Cyprus, and a certain number would soon land at Joppa.
When Jesus left the garden with the disciples, in order to close the Sabbath in the synagogue, He found on His way several sick persons who had caused themselves to be carried there in litters. They stretched out their hands to Him, imploring His help, and He cured them. And so He reached the synagogue whither also some others had had themselves conveyed on their beds. There was one man among them ill of the gout and terribly swollen, and there were others whom on His last journey Jesus had refused to cure because their faith was not pure. He had allowed them to continue in their sufferings that they might be brought at last to implore their cure more humbly. And now came the Pharisees, greatly incensed at Jesus’ curing these invalids, for they had spread the report that He was unable to do so. They set up a great hue and cry at what they called His desecration of the Sabbath. But Jesus went on with the cures until seven had been effected.
Jesus answered the infuriated Pharisees sharply, asking them whether it was forbidden to do good on the Sabbath; whether they did not nourish themselves, take care of themselves, on the Sabbath day; whether the curing of these sick was not in itself a sanctification of the Sabbath day; whether they ought not on the Sabbath day to console the afflicted; whether they should on the Sabbath day retain possession of goods unjustly acquired; whether, on the Sabbath day, they should leave in their affliction the widows, the orphans, and the poor whom they had oppressed and tormented during the whole week; and He upbraided them soundly for their hypocrisy and their oppression of the poor. He told them openly that, under the pretext of providing for the synagogue, which already had a superfluity of all that was necessary, they extorted the means of the poor, and in that same synagogue made the Law for them a heavy burden; but not content with that, they would now cut them off from the grace of God on the Sabbath, prevent their receiving health on the Sabbath, while they themselves on the Sabbath feasted and drank upon what they had pitilessly wrung from them. By these words Jesus silenced the Pharisees, and all entered the synagogue. The Pharisees laid before Jesus the rolls of Scripture and invited Him to teach. This they did craftily in the hope of being able to convict Him of error and bring a charge against Him. When, then, Jesus alluded to the era of the Messiah and said that numbers of pagans would come over to the people of God at that time, they asked Him mockingly whether He had not gone Himself to Cyprus, in order to bring the pagans back with Him. Jesus spoke likewise of the tithes, of imposing burdens on others and not carrying them one’s self, and of the oppression of orphans and widows, for from Pentecost till the Feast of Tabernacles the tithes were brought to the Temple. But in places remote from Jerusalem, as this was, the Levites collected them. And here it was that abuses crept in, for the Pharisees extorted the tithes from the people and converted them to their own use. It was against this that Jesus inveighed. The Pharisees were highly exasperated and on leaving the synagogue gave vent to their spleen.
From Naim Jesus went with some of the disciples up the height this side of the Cison. Proceeding in a northeasterly direction, they arrived at Rimmon where there was a school under the charge of some Levites. These now came to the school to meet Jesus, who gave an instruction to the youths and little boys on an open square in front of the schoolhouse. Thither also flocked many of the people who had already listened to Jesus’ teachings at Naim. He explained to the children the general duties imposed by the Mosaic Law, but did not enlarge before them upon the dangers of the present time, as He was accustomed to do before His more elderly audiences. Rimmon consisted of a long row of houses on a slope of the mountain. The inhabitants were mostly gardeners and vinedressers who disposed of their fruits at Naim and worked also in the gardens of that place. From Rimmon, Jesus ascended the eastern side of Thabor. He was accompanied a good part of the way by the Levites who had been collecting the tithe offerings in Rimmon. After a journey of about three hours, He reached Beth – Lechem, a place in ruins east of the city of Dabereth. It comprised only one row of houses occupied by poor peasants, whom Jesus visited in their homes, encouraging them in their miseries and healing their sick.
Leaving Beth-Lechem, He journeyed on for about four hours through the valley in which was the well of Capharnaum, and toward dusk arrived at Azanoth where He had a private inn. Here He found some friends from Capharnaum awaiting Him: Jairus and his daughter; the blind man of Capharnaum to whom He had restored sight; the female relatives of Enue, the woman healed of the bloody flux; and Lea, the woman who had cried out to Him, “Blessed is the womb that bore Thee!” The women, their veils down, fell on their knees before Jesus, and He blessed them. They shed tears of joy upon beholding Him again, Jairus’ daughter was well and full of life, and withal quite changed, for she was now devout and modest. Jesus taught until far into the night. On the following day He went to Damma, where He had outside the city a private inn over which a relative of Joseph’s family presided. Lazarus and two disciples belonging to Jerusalem were here waiting for Him. Indeed, Lazarus had already been eight days in those parts attending to the real estate in land and houses of the Magdalum property, for only the household goods and similar effects belonging to Magdalen had as yet been disposed of. Jesus embraced Lazarus, a favor He was accustomed to extend only to him and the elder Apostles and disciples; to the others, He merely extended His hands. Jesus spoke of the Cypriotes, those that had accompanied Him and those that were to follow later, and made some remarks as to how they should be supported. I heard on this occasion that James the Less and Thaddeus were to proceed to Gessur, in order to receive and accompany the seven pagan philosophers who were to arrive there. Jesus treated Lazarus with marked confidence. On this occasion they walked alone together for a long time. Lazarus was a tall man, grave and gentle and very self-possessed in manner. Moderate in all things, even his familiar intercourse with others was stamped with a something that wore an air of distinction. His hair was black and he bore some resemblance to Joseph, though his features were sterner and more marked. Joseph’s hair was yellow, and there was something uncommonly tender’ gentle, and obliging in his whole deportment.
From Damma Jesus with Lazarus, the disciples, the steward of the inn along with his son who was soon to be admitted to the number of the disciples, went almost two hours eastward to the village belonging to the Centurion Zorobabel of Capharnaum. It was situated on the southern side of a rocky hill which shut in the valley of Capharnaum on the south, and upon which lay the Centurion’s gardens and vineyards. Here Jesus instructed the servants and field laborers. He took for His text the Messiah and the near coming of His Kingdom, announced to them the signs enumerated by the Prophets and showed how they had all been fulfilled, warned and implored them to amend their lives, and assured them that the Messiah would not appear under the form expected by the Jews, consequently only the small number of the humble and contrite would recognize Him. He told them too that the Messiah would make known His doctrines by the lips of more than one, as He had formerly spoken through the mouth of many Prophets. Some melancholy and possessed mutes were brought to Jesus. He laid His finger moistened with spittle under their tongues, and commanded Satan to depart, whereupon I saw some of them fall unconscious and then rise up cured, while others fell into convulsions for a short time, after which they too were restored to perfect health. All praised God and gave thanks for their cure. After that, Jesus, taking a solitary route, went to His Mother’s in the valley east of Capharnaum, a distance of about three-quarters of an hour.
The holy women were already with the Blessed Virgin, they having come from Naim by the direct road. They did not leave the house to receive Jesus, neither did Mary hurry out to meet her Son. After He had washed and let down His robe, Jesus entered the large apartment, in which several little alcoves were cut off by curtains. Mary, her head veiled and humbly inclined, stretched out to Him her hand when He had first proffered His, and He graciously, though gravely, saluted her. The other women stood veiled, forming a semicircle in the rear. I have indeed seen Jesus when alone with Mary, in order to console and strengthen her, press her to His breast while conversing with her. But Mary herself, since His going forth to teach, treated Him as one would treat a saint, a Prophet; or as a mother might treat her son were he a Pope, a Bishop, or a King. Still, there was something much more noble, more holy in Mary’s demeanor, though marked at the same time with indescribable simplicity. She never embraced Him now, but only extended her hand when He offered His.
Some time after, I saw Jesus and Mary eating together alone. A little, low table stood between them. Jesus reclined at one side, and Mary sat at the other. On it was a fish, some bread, honey, cakes, and two little jugs. The other holy women were in the little curtained alcoves in groups of two or three, or in a side hall serving the repast of the disciples, among whom they had several relatives. Jesus told His Mother about Cyprus and the souls He had there gained. She expressed her joy quietly, but asked few questions. Her words were chiefly those of maternal solicitude touching the dangers that awaited Him. Jesus replied gently that He would fulfill His mission until the hour came for His return to His Father.
Arrival of the Apostles and Disciples in Capharnaum
Not long after Jesus’ return to Capharnaum, there were gathered around Him almost thirty disciples. Some were come from Judea with the news of the arrival at Joppa of ships bringing two hundred Cypriote Jews, who were there to be received by Barnabas, Mnason, and his brother. John, who was still at Hebron with the relatives of Zachary, was charged with providing suitable quarters for these emigrants. The Essenians also occupied themselves with the same cares. For a time the Cypriotes were lodged in the grottos until proper destinations could be assigned them. Lazarus and the Syrophenician provided settlements near Ramoth-Gilead for the Jewish emigrants from the region of Ornithopolis. The disciples lately come to Capharnaum put up, some at Peter’s outside the city, some in Bethsaida, and some at the school in the city itself. James the Less and Thaddeus came from Gessur with three of the pagan philosophers—fine, handsome young men who had received circumcision. Andrew and Simon came also with several other disciples, and the welcome they received was most touching. Jesus, according to His wont, presented the newly converted to His Mother. There was a tacit understanding, an interior agreement between Jesus and Mary, that she should take the disciples into her heart, into her prayers, into her benedictions and, to a certain degree, into her very being, as her own children and the brothers of Jesus, that she should be their spiritual Mother as she was His Mother by nature. Mary did this with singular earnestness, while Jesus on such occasions treated her with great solemnity. There was in this ceremony of adoption something so holy, something so interior, that I am unable to express. Mary was the vine, the ear, the spike of Jesus’ Flesh and Blood.
The disciples related where they had been and all that had happened to them. In some places stones had been thrown after them, but without striking them; from others they were obliged to flee, but everywhere they were wonderfully protected. They had, too, met good people, had cured, baptized, and taught, Jesus had commanded them to go to the lost sheep of Israel only. They had likewise sought out the Jews in the pagan cities, though without meddling with the heathens excepting with such as were servants to the Jews. In Gazora, northeast of Jabes Galaad, Andrew and the disciples that accompanied him had redeemed Jewish slaves from bondage, sacrificing to this purpose all that they possessed. They asked Jesus whether they had done rightly, to which He answered in the affirmative. Jesus did not hearken to all that some of them had to say. Many of them, while eagerly and with a certain warmth of manner relating their missionary labors, Jesus interrupted with words something like these: “I know that already.” To others who spoke simply and humbly, He listened for a length of time, and called upon the silent to relate what had happened to them. When they whom He had interrupted asked why He would not hear their account, Jesus answered by showing them the difference between their own and their brethren’s speech. Frequently also He interrupted their narratives with parables; for instance, that of the tares sown among the good seed and which, after it had grown up, was to be burnt at the time of harvest. He said that all that had been sown would not come up. He spoke of several that had fallen away from the disciples, and exhorted those present not to place too great security in their good works, for they would still have to undergo great temptations. He recounted the parable of the lord going afar to take possession of a foreign kingdom. He gave over to his servants remaining behind a certain number of talents for which later on he required an account. This parable referred to Jesus’ own journey to Cyprus and to the account He was now exacting from the disciples of their activity during His absence. As He spoke, He frequently turned first to one, then to another whose thoughts He divined, with the words: “Why art thou thinking useless thoughts?” or, “Do not think in that way!” or, “Thy thoughts are now taking a wrong direction. Think in this way, and not in that!” He read the thoughts of His hearers and reproved them accordingly.
When the hour sounded the commencement of the Sabbath, Jesus went with the disciples to the synagogue, where He found the Pharisees already standing around the lecture hall. But Jesus walked straight up to it, and they at once made room for Him. The instruction was on Rahab and the scouts sent by Josue to Jericho. 13, 14; 2). The Pharisees were furious at what they called Jesus’ audacity, and they said to one another: “Let Him go on now with His talk. This evening, or when the Sabbath is over, we shall hold a council and soon find means to close His lips.” Jesus, knowing their malice, remarked that they were spies of a very peculiar kind, for they came not to find out the truth but to betray Him and His followers. His language against them was very severe, and He spoke likewise of the destruction of Jerusalem, and the judgment in store for those of the people that would not do penance and recognize the reign of the Messiah. He introduced into His discourse also the parable of the king whose son was slain in the vineyard by the unfaithful servants. The Pharisees dared not interrupt Him. All the holy women were present in the synagogue, where they had places set apart for them.
That afternoon Jesus, at the earnest request of the parents of some sick children, went with several of the disciples to about twenty houses of Capharnaum, both of the rich and of the poor, and cured a great many children, boys and girls from three to eight years old. The malady must have been a sort of epidemic, for they were all affected in pretty much the same way. The little sufferers’ color was quite yellow, their throat, cheeks, and hands swollen. Their condition was similar to that attendant on many other sicknesses, scarlet fever, for instance. Jesus did not cure them all in the same way. On some He laid His hand on the parts affected, others He anointed with spittle, and over others He breathed. Many of them rose up at once. Jesus blessed them and gave them over to their parents with some words of admonition. For others, He commanded prayer and a certain kind of nursing. This was for the greater good of both children and parents. The marketplace of Capharnaum was on an eminence, and to it four streets ran. Jesus visited this part of the city and entered the home of Ignatius, whom He cured. The boy was a very lovely child of about four years. His parents were wealthy. They were engaged in the sale of brass or bronze vessels, for I saw many such standing in long corridors. For a couple of days the parents of Ignatius had begged Jesus to visit them, for He had just cured the child of their neighbor, the carpet merchant. The market was surrounded by arcades, in which the goods of the various dealers were exposed for sale. In the center played a fountain, and at either end rose two large edifices. The Pharisees were full of wrath at these cures. Three of them went into the courtyard before Peter’s house, in the porticos of which lay sick who had been transported thither, and whom Jesus was now healing. They forced their way through the crowd till they stood before Him. Then they addressed Him, suggesting that He should leave off curing, excite no disturbance on the Sabbath, and expressed their desire to enter into an argument with Him. But Jesus turned away from them saying that He had nothing to do with them, that He could not cure them, since they were incurable.
At the closing Sabbath exercises that evening, Jesus again taught in the synagogue. He spoke of the murmuring of the Israelites on the news brought by the scouts sent to view the Promised Land, of the curse that fell upon them, in consequence of which they perished in the wilderness, and only their children were permitted to see the Land of Promise. He laid special stress upon malediction and benediction, of which He spoke in very energetic terms. Then He went on to speak of those that falsify the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God, of those that would never enter into it, of the non-recognition of the Messiah, and of the chastisement that menaced Jerusalem and the whole country. And now two of the Pharisees, mounting the teacher’s stand, began to comment upon some passages in the day’s Lesson, in which it was recorded that God had commanded Moses in the wilderness to cause a certain man to be stoned by all the people for having gathered sticks on the Sabbath day. This fact the Pharisees cited as an argument against the cures wrought on the Sabbath. Jesus responded by asking whether the health of the poor and necessitous was like wood destined for the fire; whether hypocrisy, lifeless and inflexible, had not in it much more of the nature of wood; and the looking out for scandal in the healing of the poor, the uncharitable faultfinding of those that had beams in their own eyes, was not a gathering of sticks—not, however, to prepare food for themselves, but to cast them as stumbling blocks in the path of truth, to use them as fuel for distilling the poison of discord and persecution. Is it not per-mitted to receive on the Sabbath that for which we pray on the Sabbath, and also to give it to others on that same day if we have it? Then Jesus explained the passages in the Law that referred to manual labor. He said that it was prohibited on the Sabbath only to leave man free for the performance of spiritual exercises. How could the Sabbath prevent the cure of the sick, since such cures sanctified the Sabbath? In this way Jesus refuted the Pharisees and so confounded them that they had nothing more to say. Some few of His hearers were moved by His words. They reflected in silence upon what they had heard, while others put their heads together, saying: “Yes! It is He! He is the Messiah! No mere man, no Prophet could teach in that way!” Significant looks were exchanged throughout the crowd generally, for the people rejoiced over the Pharisees’ humiliation; some, however, obdurate at heart, joined with the latter in taking scandal.
After about fifteen of the disciples had assembled in Capharnaum, Jesus took them with Him to the mountain near Bethsaida, where He had taught about the eating of His Flesh and the drinking of His Blood. On this occasion, His instruction turned upon their own mission and labors, and the fruit they were to bring forth. The holy women were present. In this instruction Jesus related the parable of the workmen in the vineyard. He praised and encouraged the disciples and blessed them in a body, His hands outstretched above their heads, and they were again filled with strength and courage.
On the evening of that day, Peter, James the Greater, and Matthew, together with some of the ancient disciples of John, went to salute Jesus at His Mother’s. Peter shed tears of joy. During the meal they took together Jesus again related the parable of the fisher, the five hundred and seventy fishes and their transportation into good water, the same upon which He had taught in Misael, also in Capharnaum before the holy women and the disciples. In the same manner, all the other parables were often repeated and explained in various ways by Him. The next day He went with the Apostles and disciples down to the ships. Peter’s large barque and that of Jesus were bound together at some distance from the shore. They allowed them to float on the water without oar or rudder, for Jesus wanted to converse with the disciples undisturbed by the crowd. It was a beautiful day. They had stretched the sails overhead for shade, and they did not return till evening. Peter was very eager to talk, and he related with a certain complacency how much good they had effected. Jesus turned to him, and bade him to be silent. Peter, who so loved his Lord, immediately held his peace, and saw with regret that he had again been too ardent. Judas was vehemently desirous of praise, though he had not the candor to let it appear. He was on his guard more, however, that he might not be put to shame than that he might not sin.
When I consider the life of Jesus and His travelling about with His Apostles and disciples, the certain conviction often forces itself upon me that, if He came now amongst us, He would encounter difficulties still greater than in His own day. How freely could He and His followers then go around teaching and healing! Apart from the Pharisees, thoroughly hardened and vain-glorious as they were, no one put obstacles in His way. Even the Pharisees themselves knew not on what ground they stood with Him. They did indeed know that the time of the Promise had come in which the Prophecies were to be fulfilled, and they saw in Him something irresistible, something holy and wonderful. How often have I seen them seated consulting the Prophets and the ancient commentaries upon them! But never would they yield assent to what they read, for they expected a Messiah very different from Jesus. They thought that He would be their friend, one of their own sect, and still they did not venture to decide upon Jesus. Even many of the disciples thought that He must certainly possess some secret power, a connection with some nation or king. They fancied that He would one day mount the throne of Jerusalem, the holy king of a holy people, that then they themselves would hold desirable positions in His Kingdom and would also become holy and wise. Jesus allowed them to indulge these thoughts for awhile. Others looked upon the affair in a more spiritual sense, though not going so far as to the humiliation of the Crucifixion. But very few acted through childlike, holy love and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
When at last all the Apostles were returned from their missions, the latest arrivals being Thomas, John, and Bartholomew, Jesus went with them to Cana, whither came also the seventy disciples and the holy women from Capharnaum. On an eminence in the center of the city there was a teacher’s chair, from which Jesus taught, taking for His subject His own mission and its accomplishment. He said that He had not come into this world to enjoy the comforts and pleasures of life, and that it was foolish to demand of Him anything else than the fulfillment of His Father’s will. He said in terms more significant than ever that He Himself was the One so long expected, but that He would be received by only a few, and that when His work was done, He would return to His Father. He spoke warningly and entreatingly, begging His hearers most earnestly not to reject salvation and the moment of grace. He again pointed out the accomplishment of the Prophecies. His teaching was so wonderful, so impressive, that the people of Cana said one to another: “He is more than a Prophet! No one has ever before spoken this way in Israel!”
In the house of the father of the Bride of Cana, an entertainment was given, at which the poor of the place were fed and presents bestowed upon them. Jesus and the Apostles served. At the close of the feast, Jesus related the parable of the wise and the foolish virgins, explained it to His hearers, and spoke much of the near coming of the Bridegroom. It was a kind of memorial feast of the marriage at Cana, for now as then all the Apostles, disciples, and friends were again assembled together. The house was garlanded with flowers, and the water urns of the first miracle were again in use. Children, bearing wreaths and pyramids of flowers, entered the festive hall playing on musical instruments. Bartholomew, Nathanael Chased, and some of the disciples had made some beautiful mottos relative to the spiritual nuptials of the soul with God.
From Cana Jesus went with all the Apostles and disciples to the mount of instruction near Gabara. They walked slowly in bands, and frequently paused around Jesus to hear His words. He was very affectionate to them and often addressed them with the words: “My beloved children!” He commanded them to relate their experience, to tell how things had gone with them. The Apostles spoke first. They had on the preceding days recounted some of their experience, though not all. Now each was to hear what the others had done and all that had happened to them. Jesus said to them so sweetly: “My dear little children, now will be seen who has loved Me and in Me My Heavenly Father; who has published the word of salvation and wrought cures in order to do My will, not his own, or not for the sake of vain renown.” Thereupon they began to relate their experience: first, an Apostle, and after him, the disciple that had accompanied him. This took place principally upon a hill which was about two hours from the mount of instruction and the same distance from Cana. People used to ascend it for sake of the view, which around these parts was somewhat limited.
Peter began eagerly to tell of the different kinds of possessed that had fallen in his way, his manner of treating them, and how Satan had retired before him when commanded in the Name of Jesus. In his enthusiasm, he had again forgotten the reproof received on board the ship. Once more, he was all fire and zeal. He said that in the land of the Gergeseans, he had encountered a couple of possessed whom several others were unable to free from the demon. Here he named the unsuccessful disciples, among whom were the two Gergeseans themselves once possessed. But he, Peter, had easily expelled the devils; they had instantly submitted to him. Jesus silenced him by a look. Then raising His eyes to Heaven, while all looked on in breathless expectation, He said: “I have seen Satan falling from
Heaven like lightning.” And at the same moment, I saw a lurid light whirling and shooting through the air. Jesus reproved Peter for his too great warmth, as well as all the others that had, either in thought or word, yielded to a spirit of boasting. They should, He said, act and work in His Name and by Him, in humility and faith, never harboring the thought that one could do more than another. He said: “Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions and upon all the might of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. But yet rejoice not in this, that spirits are subject to you, but rejoice in this, that your names are written in Heaven.” Several times He addressed them kindly and lovingly in the words: “Beloved little children,” and listened to the account given by many of them. Thomas and Nathanael received a reprimand for some negligence of which they had been guilty, but it was given with great love and sincerity.
While standing on the hill, Jesus appeared to be penetrated with joy, grave and celestial, and He held His hands raised to Heaven. I saw Him surrounded with splendor that fell upon Him like a transparent cloud of light. He was perfectly enraptured and, in a transport of joy, He exclaimed: “I confess to Thee, OFather, Lord of Heaven and earth, because Thou hast hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them to little ones. Yea, Father, for so it hath seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knoweth who the Son is but the Father, and who the Father is but the Son, and to whom the Son will reveal it!” And then turning to the disciples, He said: “Blessed are the eyes that see the things which you see! For I say to you that many Prophets and kings have desired to see the things that you see, and have not seen them; and to hear the things that you hear, and have not heard them.”
Having arrived at the mount beyond Gabara, Jesus delivered an instruction in detail upon all that the Apostles had related to Him. He imparted to them the knowledge of many things of which they as yet knew not, and showed them wherein they had erred or acted with too little resolution. He enlightened them upon the different kinds of possession and taught them how the demon should be expelled. He spoke of all that was in store for them, of His own mission and its near accomplishment, and told them that He would shortly allow them to return to their homes to rest awhile, after which they were again to labor, to teach, and spread abroad the Kingdom of God. He thanked them for their diligence and obedience, and then returned with them to Capharnaum whither they arrived as night closed in. There were many others on the mountain besides the Apostles and disciples.
On the following Sabbath Jesus taught in the synagogue of Capharnaum upon Samuel’s resignation of the judicial office. His words were grave and forcible. The Pharisees felt themselves attacked on all sides, but as they could detect nothing false in Jesus’ doctrine of which to accuse Him, they reproached Him with the trifling imperfections they had discovered in the actions of His disciples. They said that His disciples did not observe the fast rigorously, that they even stripped the ears of corn on the Sabbath, and gathered fruit by the roadside and ate it, that they were rough and unclean in their clothing, that they entered the synagogues in garments covered with the dust of travel and without being decently let down, and that they were not particular about washing before meals. Thereupon Jesus delivered a discourse full of severe censure against the Pharisees, in which He depicted their conduct and actions, called them a race of vipers, who imposed upon others burdens that they would by no means take upon themselves. He alluded to their Sabbath promenades, their oppression of the poor, their dishonesty with regard to the tithes, their hypocrisy. They blamed, He went on to say, the mote in their neighbor’s eye, while unmindful of the beam in their own, and He ended by declaring that He would continue His journeys, His teaching, and His healing, until the time for His departure from this earth. While Jesus was delivering this severe lecture a young man from among the Pharisees, rising suddenly and approaching nearer to Him, lifted his hands to Heaven and cried out in a loud voice: “Surely, this is the Son of God, the Holy One of Israel! He is more than a Prophet!” and thus he continued to sound Jesus’ praises in an inspired strain. This incident created great excitement throughout the synagogue. Two old Pharisees grasped the young man by the arm and dragged him out, he proclaiming all the while the praise of Jesus, who meantime went on with His discourse. When outside the synagogue, the young man loudly and vehemently declared to those that he found there that he had separated from the Pharisees. When Jesus left the synagogue, he cast himself at His feet and earnestly implored to be admitted among His disciples. Jesus assented on condition that he would leave father and mother, give all that he had to the poor, take up his cross, and follow Him. Then some of the disciples, among whom was Mnason, took the young man off with them.
That evening Jesus closed the Sabbath exercises in the synagogue. He had repaired thither with the Apostles and disciples some time before the usual hour, that all might hear what He had to say to His followers and thereby understand that He had no need to teach in secret. In this instruction, He warned them against the Pharisees and false Prophets, commanded them to be vigilant, explained the parable of the good and watchful servants and contrasted it with that of the slothful. As Peter during the discourse asked whether His words were meant for all His hearers or only for the disciples, Jesus now addressed Himself to him. He spoke to him as if he were the master of the house, the overseer of the servants. He extolled the good householder, and at the same time condemned severely the negligent one that fulfilled not his duty.
Jesus continued to teach until the Pharisees came to close the Sabbath, and when He wanted to give place to them, they very courteously addressed Him with, “Rabbi, do Thou explain the Lesson,” and laid the roll of Scriptures before Him. Thereupon Jesus taught, in a manner most impressive, upon Samuel’s abdication of the judicial office. He quoted the words used by him on that occasion: “I am old and gray headed”; (1 12:2) and explained them in such a way that the Pharisees could plainly see that He was applying them to Himself. He said something to this effect: “Ye have had Me a long time among you, and ye are tired of Me! Ye are constantly renewing your accusations, but I am always the same.”
Samuel’s questions to the people, “Have I committed this or that injustice against you? Have I taken any man’s oxen or ass? Have I oppressed anyone?” Jesus cited as those of God and the Sent of God, and the explanation that He gave of them pointed most clearly to those Doctors and Pharisees who could not venture to put similar questions to the people. The clamoring of the Israelites after a king by whom, like the heathen nations, they wanted to be ruled, and their rejection of Judges, signified, Jesus said, their perverse expectation of a worldly kingdom, of a king and a Messiah surrounded by magnificence, with whom they could pass their lives in splendor and enjoyment; a Messiah who, instead of expiating their sins and disorders by His own labors, sufferings, penance, and satisfaction, would envelop them together with their filth and vices in his own rich mantle of royalty, and even reward them for their crimes.
That Samuel did not cease to pray for the nation and that by his prayer he caused thunder and lightning in the sky above them, Jesus explained as an effect of God’s compassion for the good; and He assured them that the Sent of God, whom instead of receiving they would reject, would likewise implore His Father’s mercy for them until the end. The rain and thunder granted to prayer, Jesus explained as the signs and wonders that were to attend upon the Sent of God to rouse and convert the good. They and their king, as Samuel had said, would find favor with God if they walked before Him who would not reject them. Then Jesus declared to them that the righteous would receive justice and the grace of knowledge, but against the wicked, Samuel would rise up in judgment. Jesus afterward referred to David and his anointing as king in opposition to Saul, to the separation of the good from the bad, and to the destruction of Saul and his family.
The Pharisees took care not to contradict Jesus in the synagogue, that they might not (as was always the case on such occasions) be put to shame before the people. They had, however, resolved beforehand to attack Him at the entertainment to which they had invited Him along with the Apostles and a part of the disciples. It was given in an open hall of the house belonging to the Ruler of the synagogue, and there were at least twenty Pharisees present. Before taking their places at table, one of them put a large wash basin before Jesus, asking whether He did not want to wash, and he went on talking of the holy old customs and commandments of the Israelites, and called upon Jesus and His followers to observe them. But Jesus repulsed him. He told him that He saw through his trick, and wanted no water from him. When at table, they began to dispute with Him upon the discourse He had delivered that day. But He convicted and confounded them in such a manner that many of them became perfectly furious, and several others were so frightened and touched that during the disputation, which they carried on walking up and down, twelve of them withdrew from their obstinate colleagues. Thus was the number of Jesus’ enemies decreased.
One of the young men of Nazareth who had so often, but vainly, petitioned to be received among the disciples, here presented himself again before Jesus with the question: “Master, what must I do to possess eternal life?” Thereupon followed the scene recorded in the Gospel, 10:25-37), and Jesus recounted the story of the compassionate Samaritan. Meanwhile the Pharisees reproached Jesus for not receiving the young man among His disciples. It was, they said, because the youth was well educated, and Jesus knew that He could not silence him so easily as He could the others. They again accused the disciples of irregular conduct, of uncleanliness, of stripping the wheat ears on the Sabbath, of gathering fruit on the wayside, of eating out of time, of ill breeding, and of many other similar things. They reproached Peter in particular with being a wrangler and quarreler like his father. Jesus defended the disciples. They might indeed be joyful, He said, as long as the Bridegroom was with them. After these words He withdrew, passing through the beautiful cemetery near the synagogue that lay in the direction of Jairus’ house, and thence by the land route to Bethsaida. He prayed alone until after midnight, when He retired to His Mother’s. The Pharisees had hired the rabble to throw stones after the disciples, but God protected them. They knew not where Jesus had gone.
The Jews that had emigrated from Cyprus to Palestine lived at first in caves, but by degrees their settlement became a city, which received the name of Eleutheropolis. It was situated west of Hebron and not far from the well of Samson. More than once the Jews sought to destroy the little colony, but after every attack of the kind, the inhabitants again returned. The caves lay under the city, so that in times of persecution, the inhabitants could take refuge in them. In the first attack, which was made at the time of the stoning of St. Stephen, when the colony between Ophel and Bethania was destroyed, Mercuria lost her life. The people of this colony often went to the Cenacle and to the church at the Pool of Bethsaida, to carry thither their offerings and contributions, and at the destruction of Ophel they fled to Eleutheropolis. Joses Barsabas, son of Mary Cleophas and her second husband Sabas, became the first Bishop of that city, and there during a persecution he was crucified on a tree.