Jesus Instructs the New Disciples Upon Prayer and the Eight Beatitudes
Early the next day Jesus left Mary’s house with the latest received and not yet well-instructed disciples, and crossing the road between Capharnaum and Bethsaida, went to that mount of instruction from which He had once dispatched the Apostles on their respective missions.1 It was about three hours from Capharnaum. On the way, He encountered Mnason and some other disciples along with the converted Pharisee from Thanach near Naim. The last-named had been very much touched by the cure of a Pharisee at Thanach, and still more deeply impressed by Jesus’ last discourse on the mountain beyond Gabara. On the Mount of the Apostolic Mission, there was a well-arranged and shaded place for holding instructions. At the foot of the mountain was a long hut in which ten poor paralytics belonging to the surrounding country lay, their limbs fearfully contorted. They were cared for by the shepherds of the district. Jesus cured and instructed them.
Here in the solitude of the mountain, the disciples entreated Jesus to teach them again how to pray. He did so, repeating to them the dwelling at length on each separate petition, and explaining it with the same examples that He had used on a former occasion: that, for instance, of the man seeking bread and persistently knocking at his friend’s door until he got what he wanted; that of the child asking an egg of its father, who would surely not give it a scorpion; and, in fine, all the other illustrations He had already brought forward to show the effects of persevering prayer and the paternal relations that existed between God and man. He taught all His disciples in the same way, going over and over the same instruction with touching patience and unwearying pains, that they might be able in turn to repeat everywhere on their missions exactly the same things. He conducted these instructions to the disciples just as one would do among children, questioning them separately upon the explanations He had given, setting them right, and again explaining what they had not understood. Finally, He went over the whole prayer and gave the interpretation of the word as He had formerly done in Cyprus, saying that this word contains everything in itself, that it is the beginning and the end of prayer. Some other people and a couple of Pharisees from Bethsaida-Julias arrived while Jesus was speaking, and they too heard a part of His instruction. One of the latter invited Him to dine at his house in Bethsaida-Julias, which invitation Jesus accepted.
When He and the disciples started for Bethsaida, they directed their steps to the south of the Jordan bridge. On their way they came, this side of Bethsaida, to an inn where His Mother, the widow of Naim, Lea, and two other women were waiting to take leave of Him, because He was now going to teach on the other side of the Jordan. Mary was very much afflicted. She had a private interview with Jesus, in which she shed abundant tears and begged Him not to go to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Dedication of the Temple. She spoke so supplicatingly and in so loving a manner that I felt she must surely divine the holy destiny of her Son. Jesus supported her on His breast and consoled her gently and lovingly. He told her that He must fulfill the mission for which His Father had sent Him and for which also she had become His Mother, and that she must continue strong and courageous, in order to strengthen and edify the others. Then He saluted the other women, gave them His blessing, and they returned to Capharnaum, while He and the disciples went on to Bethsaida-Julias where He was received by the Pharisees. Besides those belonging to the city, there were present some others from Paneas, for it was a kind of feast day commemorative of the burning of a bad book written by the Sadducees. The Pharisees brought forward their old complaints against Jesus. When about to take His place at table, one of them pulled Him by the arm, saying that he was astonished that a man who could teach so well as He, should be so little mindful of holy observances as to eat without washing. Jesus responded that the Pharisees purified the outside of the cup and platter, but that within they were full of wickedness. To this the Pharisee replied by asking how He knew the state of his interior. Jesus answered that God, who formed the exterior, made also the interior, and that His eye could scan it clearly. The disciples drew Jesus to one side and begged Him not to speak with too much warmth, for they might possibly be put out, but He reproved them for their cowardice.
That evening Jesus taught in the synagogue, but did not work any cures, for the Pharisees had intimidated the people. They were very proud, and had here a kind of high school.
From Bethsaida-Julias, Jesus took a northeasterly direction toward the mountain upon which the multiplication of the loaves had taken place. It was about an hour and a half from Bethsaida. There He found assembled all the Apostles and disciples with many people from Capharnaum, Caesarea-Philippi, and other places. He taught upon the Eighth Beatitude, “Blessed are ye when men hate and persecute you for the Son of Man’s sake,” also upon the passage “Woe to the rich, to them that are filled with the goods of this world, for in them they already have their reward; but as for you, rejoice that it is still in store for you.” He spoke likewise of the salt of the earth, of the city on the mountain, of the light on the candlestick, of the fulfilling of the Law, of the hiding of good works, of prayer made in the privacy of one’s chamber, and of fasting. Of the last-mentioned, Jesus said that it should be practiced joyously with anointing of the head, and not be turned into a sanctimonious parade of piety. He went on to the laying up of treasure in Heaven, freedom from worldly solicitude, the impossibility of a man’s serving two masters, the narrow gate, the broad road, the bad tree with its bad fruit, the wise man that built on a solid foundation, and the fool that built upon sand. This discourse lasted over three hours. During it the audience went down once to the foot of the mountain to get something to eat. Jesus continued His instruction to the Apostles and disciples, exhorting them upon all those points on which He had spoken when sending them out upon former missions. He animated them to believe, to have confidence, and to persevere. On the next day, the number of His hearers having increased to several thousands, Jesus taught again on the mountain. On account of the caravans that traversed these parts, there were people present from all sections of the country, also many sick and possessed. The Pharisees in attendance had not come to dispute, although they received some rather severe thrusts during the discourse. Jesus’ miracles were too manifest and the people too enthusiastic over Him, to allow them a word. The people had food with them, and they seated themselves on the ground to partake of it. Among the cured was a blind man from Jericho, who had also been lame. One of the disciples had cured him of lameness, but had not restored his sight. He was a cousin of Manahem. The latter led him to Jesus, who restored his sight.
The new disciples, whom during these last days He had with admirable patience taught like children by question and answer, Jesus now sent out two and two with the words: “I send ye like sheep among wolves.” One of Joseph of Arimathea’s nephews arrived here from Jerusalem with the news that Lazarus was sick.
Jesus kept with Himself only the Apostles Peter, James, John, Matthew, and some of the disciples, with whom He went to Matthew’s custom office and thence by sea to Dalmanutha. I saw Him afterward in the city of Edrai where He taught on the Sabbath, then in the Levitical city of Bosra, and finally in Nobah.
In Nobah, outside the pagan quarter of the city, dwelt a colony of sincere Rechabites. On their return from the Babylonian Captivity they found their city in the possession of the pagans, but they retook it and again re-established themselves in it. They cherished an extraordinary hatred against the Pharisees and Sadducees, whom they shunned as much as possible. They were engaged in cattle raising, and led a very strict life. They drank no wine, excepting on certain feast days, and tenaciously held to the letter of the Scripture. Jesus admonished them on this point, and gave them an instruction on the spirit of the letter. They were very humble, and took in good part all that He said. Many were baptized, among them some pagans, and a great number of possessed were delivered from the Evil One. There was a whole hospital full of these poor creatures at Nobah. Peter, James, and John cured and taught also. Jesus met no opposition in this place, and He effected a wonderful amount of good. He put up at the inn near the synagogue. Nobah was a free city which, although belonging to the Decapolis, ruled itself.
From Nobah, Jesus journeyed five hours southwestwardly to the exceedingly lovely pastoral village called the “Field of Jacob’s Peace.” It received this name from the fact that it was here, when returning to Palestine and pursued by Laban, he had encamped for the first time. The mountain range of Galaad 31:25) takes its rise here. The shepherds of this place were the descendants of that Eleazar, Abraham’s servant, who had brought Rebecca for his master’s son Isaac. Among them also were some of the posterity of those people whom Melchisedech had freed from the tyranny of Semiramis and established in these regions. They had afterward intermarried with the descendants of Eleazar. There were three beautiful wells in this place. They lay at the foot of a lovely hill all around which, as if built in a verdant rampart, were cool shepherd dwellings. At a distance one might have taken them for a mountain terrace. The oldest and most honorable among the herd owners dwelt on the hill, upon which there was likewise a place for instruction. Far around were enclosed pasture grounds for camels, asses, and sheep, each species having its own, and near the fountains were reservoirs for watering them. The shepherds dwelt in the neighborhood of the fountains, under tents that rested on solid foundations. There were long rows of mulberry trees, but the most beautiful sight of all was a long walk with palings on either side upon which ran a vine, often to the distance of two hundred paces, laden with fruit something like gourds. This walk led from the hill to Selcha and formed, as it were, one continuous arbor. Some days before, the inhabitants had celebrated a feast commemorative of the deliverance of their forefathers from the slavery of Semiramis. They attended the synagogue at Selcha, and it was from there too that teachers came to instruct them. This little village was held in respect throughout the country around, and was looked upon as a monument to Jacob’s memory. Hospitality was here exercised freely. For a trifle, the Arab caravans and all other strangers were lodged and cared for by the shepherds.
Toward midday, Jesus with three of the Apostles arrived at one of the fountains, where the eldest of the shepherds washed His feet and offered Him fruit, honey, and bread. Jesus’ coming had been expected, consequently many sick had been carried to the large house on the hill. Jesus cured them. Nearly four hundred shepherds, along with women and children, had assembled to greet Him. The women’s dresses were shorter than those worn in Palestine generally. Jesus gave them an instruction on the hill, speaking to them with the greatest simplicity and confidence. He reminded them of the caravan of the Three Kings which, two and thirty years before, had rested in this place. Then He spoke of the star that was to rise out of Jacob and of which Balaam had prophesied, of the newborn Child of whom the Magi had been in search, of John, his teaching and his testimony, and concluded by saying that the promised Messiah, the Consoler, the Saviour, was then in the midst of the Israelites, but that they would not recognize Him. Jesus related to them also the parables of the good shepherd, the seed sown in the earth, and the harvest, for in this region there was a harvest of fruit as well as of wheat, the ears of which were extraordinarily large. He told them also of the shepherds near Bethlehem, of their finding the Child even before the Kings, and of the announcement made to them of it by the angels. The people fell in love with Jesus, and many of them wanted to leave all and follow Him, just for the pleasure of listening to Him always. But He advised them to remain at home and practice what He had taught them. From Selcha, which was almost an hour north of this place, messengers arrived with an invitation to Jesus to visit their city. He did so with the disciples. He was solemnly received at the city gate by the teachers and children in procession, and He taught in the synagogue, taking for the subject of His discourse the testimony rendered by John. Many of His hearers were baptized and cured. The children received His blessing.
From Selcha Jesus went with His followers for about an hour and a half along the so-called Way of David which, following the windings of the valley, led down to the Jordan. This road was deep, a kind of hollow, in which water sometimes flowed. It ran through the solitudes of the mountains, and at several points along it were to be found places provided with troughs and stores of fodder for the camels, also rings for fastening them. When journeying through this country, Abraham saw a supernatural light on this road and had a vision, and when David, upon the advice of Jonathan, sought safety for his parents in the region of Maspha, (1 22:3), he lay concealed here with three hundred men, from which circumstance it received the name of “David’s Way.” David here received from God a prophetic vision in which he saw the caravan of the Three Kings and heard, as if from the heavens open above him, melodious chanting proclaiming the praises of the promised Consoler of Israel. Malachias also, being obliged to flee after a battle, followed a mysterious light that led him to this region where, too, he lay hid for a time; and the Three Holy Kings, giving rein to their camels upon leaving the confines of Selcha and entering this road, descended by it singing sweet hymns of thanksgiving. They then proceeded along the shore until they reached the point opposite Korea, where they crossed the Jordan and arrived at Jerusalem through the desert beyond Anathot. They entered the Holy City by the same gate through which Mary had passed when she went up from Bethlehem for her purification.
From “David’s Way,” Jesus turned to the little place called Thantia, where He went immediately to the synagogue and taught, His subjects being Balaam, the Star of Jacob, some passages from Micheas, and Bethlehem Ephrata. 22:2, 5:7,6:9). He next went to visit many sick in their own homes. He healed them along with several others whom the disciples had not been able to cure. There was no organized care of the sick and the poor in Thantia. The disciples had indeed endeavored to establish something of the kind, but it was Jesus Himself who effected the desired change. A great many of the people received Baptism from the disciples.
Both the people and the rabbis of Thantia were pious. They were in the habit of making pilgrimages to the “Way of David,” and there, in fasting and prayer, crying to Heaven for the coming of the Messiah. They indulged the hope of there having visions and apparitions of the Messiah who, they thought, would even come to them along that way. While Jesus was preaching, they said more than once to one another: “He speaks as if He were the Messiah Himself! But no, that is not possible!” As they were under the impression that the Messiah was to come invisibly like an angel into Israel, they thought that Jesus might possibly be His herald and precursor, Jesus told them that they would perhaps recognize the Messiah when it would be too late. I saw that many from Thantia, both before and after the Crucifixion, joined the Community. From Thantia Jesus journeyed four hours eastward to the ruined citadel of Datheman. Near it was the mountain that had been chosen by Jephte’s daughter upon which to mourn with her twelve young companions. Upon it were prophets and hermits, something like the Essenians. It was on this same mountain that Balaam was tarrying in solitude and meditation when summoned by the Moabite king to appear before him. 22:5). He was of noble origin, his family very wealthy. From early youth, he had been filled with the spirit of prophecy, and he belonged to that nation that was ever on the lookout for the promised star, among whom were the ancestors of the Three Holy Kings. Though a reprobate, Balaam was no sorcerer. He served the true God only, like the enlightened of other nations, but in an imperfect manner, mingling many errors with the truth. He was very young when he retired into the solitude of the mountains, and upon this one in particular he dwelt a long time. I think he had around him some other prophets, or pupils. When he returned from the Moabite king, Balac, he wished to take up his abode upon this mountain, but was prevented by divine interposition. By his scandalous counsel to the Moabites, 31:16), he fell from grace, and now he wandered in despair around the desert in which at last he miserably perished.
The people of this region believed firmly in the sacred character of “David’s Way.” They told Jesus that they would not dwell in the country beyond the Jordan where they could not dare make mention of all that had formerly been seen, all that had taken place on the “Way of David.”
THE RAISING OF LAZARUS. JESUS IN THE LAND OF THE THREE KINDS
Jesus in Bethabara and Jericho. Zacheus the Publican
When Jesus and the Apostles approached Bethabara on the Jordan, they found already assembled there an innumerable crowd of people. The whole country was full, and they were encamping under sheds and trees. Numbers of mothers with crowds of children of every age, even infants in the arms, were coming in procession. As they proceeded up the broad street to meet Jesus, the disciples who led the way wanted, on account of His great fatigue (for He had already blessed a great many), to repulse the women and children, and that even a little rudely. But Jesus checked them, and bade them bring the crowd to order. On one side of the street stood in five long rows children of all ages, one behind the other, the boys and girls apart, the latter being by far the more numerous. The mothers with infants in their arms were placed behind the fifth row. On the other side of the street stood the rest of the people, who passed in turn from the last rank to the first. Jesus now went down along the first row of children, laying His hand on their head and blessing them. He laid His hand on the head of some, on the breast of others; some He clasped to His breast, and some He held up as models to the others. He instructed them, exhorted them, encouraged them, and blessed them. When He had thus passed down one row of children, He crossed to the opposite side of the street and came up among the grown people, exhorting and instructing them, and even placing before them the example of some of the children. Then He went down the next row of children and came up, as before, among the grown people whose front ranks had been replaced by those from behind. And so it went on, until even the infants in the last row had received a loving caress and blessing. All the children blessed by Jesus received an interior grace, and later on became Christians. Jesus must have blessed fully a thousand children on this occasion, for the concourse continued during several days. He labored constantly, ever grave, mild, and gentle, with a certain secret sadness in His manner very touching to see. He taught now along the streets, now in some house into which they had pulled Him by His robe. He related many parables, by which He instructed both the wise and the simple, and impressed upon the former the obligation of thankfully returning to God all that they had received from Him, as He Himself did.
Of the holy women, Veronica, Martha, Magdalen, and Mary Salome were gone on to Jerusalem. I saw Mary Salome with her sons, John and James the Less, coming to Jesus and requesting that they should be allowed to sit, one at His right and the other at His left. Messengers had been sent thither by the Pharisees in Jerusalem, but many of them, being converted, remained; while others, returning in a rage to Jerusalem, repented on the way and later on became Jesus’ followers.
Jesus left Bethabara with the Apostles, and on His way He was entreated to visit a house in which lay ten lepers. The Apostles, dreading contact with the leprous, went on ahead in a southerly direction, with the intention of waiting for Jesus under a tree. The lepers, enveloped in their mantles and full of sores, lay in a retired part of the house. Jesus commanded them to do something, and it seems to me that He touched one of them and then left them. The lepers one after another were taken by two people to a little pool near the house, and washed in the bathing tubs, after which they were able to present themselves to the priests as cured.
Jesus next went through another building that had a four-cornered courtyard. On either side of the latter was a covered archway, in one of which lay men, sick and crippled, and in the other, afflicted women. The beds were laid in rows of hollow places, scooped out in the ground to receive them. Another covered way on the same line cut through the middle of the house and led to a space in which the cooking and washing were done. Between this middle walk and those in which the sick lay, were grass plots. Jesus again cured several here. As He proceeded on His way, I saw following Him one of the lately healed lepers proclaiming His praise. Jesus looked around, and the man fell on his face giving thanks. Further on the route, Jesus blessed many children who had been brought by their mothers to meet Him.
The road travelled by Jesus and the Apostles on leaving Bethabara ran on the right past Machaerus and the city of Madian. They again approached the Jordan, made a circuit of Bethabara, and went by roundabout ways through a desert region toward Jericho. As they proceeded on their journey, the disciples who had been sent out on missions returned to Jesus one after another and related to Him all that they had done. He instructed them in parables, but I remember only these words of His discourse: “They who say that they are chaste, but who eat and drink only what pleases their appetite, are like those that try to extinguish a fire with dry wood.” Another parable referred to the future of the Twelve Apostles. Jesus said: “Now ye cling to Me, because ye fare well”; but they did not understand that by these words He meant the peace and beautiful instructions that they then enjoyed. “In the time of need,” He continued, “ye will act otherwise. Even they whom I carry about with Me like a mantle of love, will cast that mantle off and flee.” These words referred to John in the garden of Gethsemane. In a little town near the Jordan, I saw a woman entreating Jesus to cure her daughter, who was covered with ulcers. Jesus told her that He would send one of the disciples to her. But she wanted Him to go Himself, which, however, He did not do. When He was drawing near to Jericho, the woman again approached and begged His aid. She urged that she had now renounced all that He had commanded her. Jesus, however, still repulsed her. Her child was the fruit of sin, and Jesus reproached her with a fault (it appeared to be but a small one) to which she had already clung for several years. He told her that she should not come again to Him until she had freed herself from it. Then I saw the woman hurrying past the Apostles and disciples toward Jericho.
Having almost reached the city, four Pharisees sent by their colleagues of Jerusalem came and warned Him not to enter lest Herod would put Him to death. This they did, however, not because they cared for Him, but because having heard of His numerous miracles, they were afraid of Him. Jesus replied that they should say to Herod, the fox, these words only: “Behold, I cast out devils and do cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I am consummated.” 13:32). Two of these Pharisees were converted and followed Jesus, but the other two returned in a rage to Jerusalem.
Then came to Jesus two brothers belonging to Jericho. They could not agree on the subject of their patrimony; one wanted to remain, the other desired to go away. One of them proposed that Jesus, so renowned everywhere, should divide the patrimony between them, and they had in consequence come to meet Him. But He refused, saying that it was not His business. And when even John remarked to Him that it was a good work, and Peter seconded the word, Jesus replied that He was not come to distribute earthly goods, but only heavenly ones. After which He took occasion to deliver a long exhortation before the rapidly increasing crowd. But the disciples as yet did not always understand Him rightly. They had not yet received the Holy Ghost and so they went on expecting an earthly kingdom.
Jesus was again met by crowds of women with their children, for whom they implored a blessing. The disciples, disturbed by the recent menaces of the Pharisees and desirous of shunning such excitement, tried to drive the women back, for they were entrusted with the duty of keeping order. But Jesus commanded them to allow the children to come forward. They needed His blessing, He said, in order that they too might become His disciples. Then He blessed many of the infants at the breast and the children of ten and eleven years. Some He did not bless, but later on these again presented themselves.
Just outside the city, which was surrounded by gardens, pleasure grounds, and villas, Jesus and His followers encountered a dense crowd composed of people from all parts of the country around. They had assembled with their sick, who were lying on litters under sheds and tents. They had been waiting for Jesus, and now they beset Him and His disciples on all sides. Zacheus, one of the chief publicans, who dwelt outside the city, had stationed himself on the road by which Jesus had to pass. As he was short in stature, he climbed a fig tree2 in order to be able to see Jesus better in the crowd. Jesus looked up into the tree and said: “Zacheus, make haste and come down, for this day I must abide in thy house.” Zacheus hurried down, bowed humbly to Jesus, and very much touched returned home to make preparations
2Pharaoh’s Fig, very common in Palestine. for receiving his honored Guest. When Jesus said that He must that day enter into Zacheus’ house, He meant into his heart, for on that day He went into Jericho itself, and not into the house of Zacheus. On arriving at the city gate, Jesus found none of the people assembled to welcome Him, for through dread of the Pharisees they were remaining quietly in their homes. The crowd, gathered at some distance from the city, were all strangers come to implore Jesus’ assistance in their various needs. He cured a blind man and a deaf mute, but some others He sent away. He blessed the children, especially the babes at the breast, and told the Apostles that men must in this way be accustomed to devote their children from earliest youth to Him, and that all thus blessed would follow Him. Among those sent away was a woman afflicted with a flow of blood. She had come some days before with the firm resolve to implore Jesus for her cure. I heard Jesus saying to the disciples that whoever does not persevere in prayer, is not in earnest and has no faith.
As the Sabbath now began, Jesus went with His Apostles and disciples to the synagogue of the city and afterward to the inn. He and the Apostles dined in the open refectory, the disciples in the archway. The meal consisted of little rolls, honey, and fruit. They ate standing, Jesus meantime teaching and relating parables. Every three of the Apostles drank from one cup, but Jesus had one to Himself. The woman that had already been twice repulsed came again to Jesus imploring help for her daughter, but with no better success than before, because she was not sincere. She had been questioning among the Pharisees of Jericho about what was said of Jesus in Jerusalem.
Zacheus also here presented himself to Jesus. The new disciples had already taken it ill outside the city that Jesus had accosted the ill-famed publican and even wanted to abide with him, for Zacheus in particular was a subject of scandal to them. Some were related to him, and they were ashamed of his remaining a publican so long and up to the present unconverted. Zacheus drew near the hall in which the disciples were dining, but no one wanted to have anything to do with him, no one invited him to eat. Then Jesus stepped out into the hall, beckoned Zacheus in, and offered him food and drink.
On the following day, when Jesus went again to the synagogue and told the Pharisees to give place to Him as He intended to read and explain the Sabbath Lesson, they raised a great contention, but they did not prevail. He inveighed against avarice, and cured an invalid who had been carried on a litter to the door of the synagogue. The Sabbath over, Jesus went with His Apostles to Zacheus’ dwelling outside of Jericho. None of the disciples accompanied Him. The woman so desirous of help for her daughter again followed Jesus on the road out to Zacheus’. He laid His hand on her to free her from her own bad disposition, and told her to return home, for her child was cured. During the meal, which consisted of honey, fruit, and a lamb, Zacheus served at table, but whenever Jesus spoke, he listened devoutly. Jesus related the parable of the fig tree in the vineyard which for three years bore no fruit, and for which the vinedresser implored one more year of indulgence. When uttering this parable, Jesus addressed the Apostles as the vineyard; of Himself He spoke as the owner; and of Zacheus as the fig tree. It was now three years since the relatives of the last-named had abandoned their dishonorable calling and followed Jesus, while he all this time had still carried on the same business, on which account he was looked upon with special contempt by the disciples. But Jesus had cast upon him a look of mercy when He called him down from the tree. Jesus spoke also of the sterile trees that produce many leaves, but no fruit. The leaves, He said, are exterior works. They make a great rustling, but soon pass away leaving no seed of good. But the fruits are that interior, efficacious reality in faith and action, with their capability of reproduction, and the prolongation of the tree’s life stored away in the kernel. It seems to me that Jesus, in calling Zacheus down from the tree, did the same as to engage him to renounce the noise and bustle of the crowd, for Zacheus was like the ripe fruit which now detached itself from the tree that for three years had stood unfruitful in the vineyard. Jesus spoke, likewise, of the faithful servants who watched for the coming of their lord, and who suffered no noise that could prevent them from hearing his knock.
It appeared as if Jesus was now in Jericho for the last time, and as if He wished to pour out upon it the fullness of His love. He sent the Apostles and disciples two by two out into the districts around into which He Himself would go no more. In Jericho itself, He went from house to house, taught in the synagogue and on the streets, and everywhere to a great concourse of people. Sinners and publicans encompassed Him on all sides, and on the roads by which He had to pass lay the sick, sighing and imploring help. He taught and cured without intermission, and was so earnest, so gentle, and so tranquil. The disciples, on the contrary, were anxious and dissatisfied on account of Jesus’ so unconcernedly exposing Himself to the snares that the enraged Pharisees, of whom almost a hundred were gathered here from different parts of the country, sought to prepare for Him. They sent messengers to Jerusalem to consult as to how they could take Him into custody. The Apostles too were in a certain dread, as if they thought that Jesus laid Himself open to danger and treated with the people rather rashly. Once I saw Jesus surrounded by a great crowd seeking His help, and among them were some sick that had caused themselves to be carried to Him. The disciples meanwhile kept at a distance. The palsied woman with the issue of blood whom He had already sent away more than once had caused herself to be carried to the bath of purification, or expiation, with which was connected the forgiveness of sin. She crept afterward to Jesus and touched the hem of His robe. He instantly stood still, looked after her, and healed her. The woman arose, thanked her Benefactor, and returned cured to her home in the city. Jesus then taught upon persevering and repeated prayer. He said that one should never desist from his entreaties. I was thinking meantime of the great charity of the good people who had brought the woman so long a distance, carrying her here and there after the Lord, and begging the disciples to inform them whither He was going next, that they might procure for her a good place. Owing to the nature of her sickness, which was regarded as unclean, she could not rest anywhere and everywhere. She had to solicit her cure for eight days long.
Before Jesus’ departure from Jericho, messengers from Bethania brought to the disciples the news of how earnestly Martha and Magdalen were longing for His coming, as Lazarus was very sick. Jesus, however, did not go to Bethania, but to a little village north of Jericho. Here too, a crowd had assembled, and numbers of sick, blind, and crippled were awaiting His arrival. Two blind men, each with two guides, were sitting by the roadside, and when Jesus passed by they cried out after Him, begging to be cured. The people tried to silence them with threats, but they followed Jesus, crying after Him: “Ah, Thou Son of David! Have mercy on us!” Then Jesus turned, commanded them to be led to Him, and touched their eyes. They saw and followed Him. A great tumult arose on account of the cure of these blind men, as well as of those to whom Jesus had restored sight on His entrance into Jericho. The Pharisees instituted an inquiry into the case, and interrogated the father of one of the cured as well as himself. The disciples meantime were very desirous that Jesus should go to Lazarus’, in Bethania, for there they would be in greater peace and less molested. They were in truth a little discontented, but Jesus went on curing numbers. Words cannot express how gentle and forbearing He was under such imputations, attacks, and persecutions, and how sweetly and gravely He smiled when the disciples wanted to divert Him from His purpose. He next went in the direction of Samaria. Not far from one of the little villages along the highroad, about a hundred paces to one side, there stood a tent in which ten lepers were lying in beds. As Jesus was passing, the lepers came out and cried to Him for help. Jesus stood still, but the disciples went on. The lepers, entirely enveloped in their mantles, approached—some quickly, others slowly, as their strength permitted—and stood in a circle around Jesus. He touched each one separately, directed them to present themselves to the priests, and went on His way. One of the lepers, a Samaritan and the most active of the ten, went along the same road with two of the disciples, but the others took different routes. These were not cured all at once; although able to walk, they were not made perfectly clean till about an hour afterward.
Soon after this last encounter, a father from a shepherd village a quarter of an hour to the right of the road came to meet Jesus and begged Him to go back with him to the village, for his little daughter was lying dead. Jesus went with him at once, and on the way was overtaken by the cured Samaritan who, touched by his perfect cure, had hurried back to thank his Benefactor. He cast himself at the feet of Jesus, who said: “Were not ten made clean? And where are the nine? Is not one found among them to return and give glory to God, but only this stranger? Arise, go thy way! Thy faith hath made thee whole!” This man later on became a disciple. Peter, John, and James the Greater were with Jesus at this time. The little girl, who was about seven years old, was already four days dead. Jesus laid one hand on her head, the other on her breast, and raising His eyes to Heaven prayed, whereupon the child rose up alive. Then Jesus told the Apostles that even so should they do in His name. The child’s father had strong faith, and full of confidence he had awaited Jesus’ coming. His wife wanted him to send word to Jesus, but he was full of hope and waited until He came. Soon after, he gave up his business to another and, when his wife died after Jesus’ death, he became a disciple and acquired a distinguished name. The little girl restored to life likewise became very pious.
Jesus next visited the shepherd huts that lay scattered far around, and cured many of the sick in them. He went from hut to hut all along the mountainous country in the direction of Hebron. I saw Him alone with Peter in one of these abodes, in which a marriage was being celebrated. The bridal couple returned from the nuptial ceremony, which was performed in the school, escorted by their friends and walking under a kind of canopy. A band of little girls adorned with wreaths of colored wool led the way playing on lutes, and gaily dressed boys with similar instruments brought up the rear of the procession. A priest from Jericho was present. When the party entered the house, they were both surprised and delighted to see Jesus, who bade them not to interrupt the wedding festivities lest some might be vexed at it. The guests then drank out of little glasses. The bride retired with the women, and the children played and danced before her. Then I saw the bridegroom and the bride go to Jesus in a room set apart, where He again joined their hands with His own right and blessed their clasped hands, and gave them an instruction upon the indissolubility of marriage and the merit of continency.
After that He reclined at table with Peter and the priest, while the bridegroom waited upon them. The priest, however, was angry that the most honorable places had been given to the stranger guests, Jesus and His Apostles, and so he soon withdrew from the entertainment. I saw too that he hunted up some of the Pharisees, who later on unexpectedly attacked the Lord and called Him to account. In the heat of their discussion, one of them pulled His mantle from His shoulder, but Jesus remained calm. As they could neither harm Him nor gain a victory over Him, they withdrew.
Jesus, with more than ordinary love and kindness, tarried awhile in this shepherd dwelling. The bride’s parents and some others of the old shepherds who presented themselves before Him, belonged to those that had visited Him at the Crib on the night of His birth. They began at once, in touching terms, to tell all about that night and to honor Jesus, and the younger ones related what they had heard about it from their deceased parents. They brought to Jesus some aged sick who, on account of the feebleness of old age, could no longer walk, also some sick children, and Jesus cured them all. He told the young married couple to go, after His death, to His Apostles, to be baptized and instructed, and to become His followers. During the whole journey, I never saw Jesus so bright and cheerful as He was among these simple people. I saw that all who had honored Him in His childhood received the grace to become Christians.
From this place, Jesus took a more southerly direction into the mountainous district toward Juttah. The wedding guests formed His escort. He had with Him now six Apostles, including Andrew. On the way He cured a number of sick children who were very much swollen and unable to walk. The people of this region were not very good. When Jesus reached a little village among the mountains, He went straight to the synagogue to teach. The priests forbade it, and went to call assistance, but they were obliged to resign the teacher’s chair to Jesus, to whom the people listened with joy. The disciples were eager for Jesus now to turn His steps to Nazareth, His native city, since He was always making allusion to His approaching end. But He was desirous that the good among the people here should profit by the time remaining to Him, and so He did not go to Nazareth. He taught upon the words: “No man can serve two masters.” He said also that He was come to bring the sword upon earth, that is to say, the separation from all that is bad. It was thus He explained this word to the disciples.