Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

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Hebron, Dothain, Nazareth


 coldly received. When He sought to enter the synagogue in order to teach, they turned Him away. Then He repaired to the public marketplace and spoke of the Messiah to the crowd, of whom some were Sad­ducees, others Pharisees. He told them that the Mes­siah would be different from what each one's ideas pictured. John the Baptist, He called "The voice in the wilderness." Two youths, clothed in long garments and wearing girdles like priests, had followed Jesus from the country of Hebron; but they went not always with Him. Jesus kept the Sabbath in Nazareth.

After that I saw Jesus and Mary, Mary Cleophas, the parents of Parmenas, in all about twenty per­sons, leave Nazareth and go to Capharnaum. They had with them asses laden with baggage. The house in Nazareth had been cleaned and adorned. It was so well arranged that, with its rich hangings, it reminded me of a church. It was left unoccupied. The third husband of Mary Cleophas and some of her sons still carried on business in Anne's abode, and they took care of that house of the Holy Family. Mary Cleophas with her youngest sons, Joses Barsabas and Simeon, dwelt at this time quite near to the small house not far from Capharnaum which Levi had fitted up for the Lord, and the parents of Par­menas lived at no great distance.

Jesus journeyed again from place to place, and ap­peared chiefly where John had been when he left the desert. He entered the synagogue and instructed, He consoled and relieved the sick. When He taught in the synagogue of a certain little town and spoke of John's baptism, of the coming of the Messiah, and of penance, the people murmured. They mocked Him, and I heard some of them say: "Three months ago, His father, the carpenter, was still alive. Then He worked with him. Now He has travelled a little and back He comes to impart to us His wisdom."

Jesus went also to Cana and taught. He had rela­tives there whom He visited. At this time He was not


Life of Jesus Christ

 yet accompanied by any of His future disciples. It looked as if He were studying men, and building up upon the foundation that John had laid. Sometimes a good man accompanied Him from place to place.

Once I saw four men, among them some of His future disciples, on the high road between Samaria and Nazareth. They were in a shady place waiting for Jesus who, with one companion, was coming that way. When He arrived in sight, they set forward to meet Him. They told Him that they had been baptized by John, and that he had spoken of the near coming of the Messiah. They told Him also of John's severe lan­guage toward the soldiers, only a few of whom he had baptized. Among other things, he had said that it would be better to take the stones out of the Jordan and baptize them rather than such as they. I saw these disciples of John walking on with Jesus.

Jesus then went along the Sea of Galilee toward the north. He spoke very plainly of the Messiah. In many places, the possessed cried after Him. Out of one man He drove a devil, and He taught in the schools.

Six men who were coming from the baptism of John met Jesus. Among them were Levi, known later as Matthew, and two sons of the widowed relatives of Elizabeth. They all knew Jesus, some through rela­tionship, others by hearsay; and they strongly sus­pected, though they had had no assurance of it, that He was the One of whom John had spoken. They spoke of John, of Lazarus and his sisters, especially of Magdalen. They supposed she had a devil, for she was already living apart from her family in the cas­tle of Magdalum. These men accompanied Jesus, and were filled with astonishment at His discourse. The aspirants to baptism going from Galilee to John used to tell him all that they knew and heard of Jesus, while they that came from Ainon, where John bap­tized, used to tell Jesus all they knew of John.

Jesus went alone to the sea, passing through a

Sidon and Sarepta


 fence into an enclosed fishery where lay five ships. On the shore were several huts for the accommoda­tion of the fishermen. Peter, the owner of this fish­ery, was in one of the huts with Andrew. John and James, with their father Zebedee and several oth­ers, were on the boats. In the middle one was Peter's father-in-law with his three sons. I once knew all their names, but now I have forgotten them. The father was surnamed Zelotes, because he had gained his point in a dispute with the Romans concerning the right of navigation on the lake. There were about thirty men on the boats.

Jesus went along the shore by the fenced-off way between the huts and the boats, speaking with Andrew and the others. I know not whether he spoke to Peter. They did not know Him as yet. He spoke of John and of the near coming of the Messiah. Andrew was already a baptized disciple of John. Jesus told them that He would come to them again.

4. Jesus Journeys Over Libanus To Sidon and Sarepta

Jesus turned off from the lake, and went further on toward Libanus. This He was led to do chiefly by the numerous reports current throughout the country and the great excitement to which they gave rise. Many looked upon John as the Messiah, but others spoke of another whom John's words seemed to designate.

The companions of Jesus on this journey num­bered from six to twelve. Some turned off at differ­ent points on the road, while others joined Him. His instructions pleased them, and they began to think that He must be the One of whom John spoke. Jesus attached Himself particularly to none. He was prop­erly speaking alone, but He was sowing and prepar­ing. In all that He did I saw many relations to the actions of the Prophets and to their fulfillment, espe­cially to those of Elias.


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Jesus went with His companions over a spur of Libanus toward the great city Sidon lying along the sea. From the mountain height, the view was inde­scribably beautiful. The city was apparently quite close to the sea; but viewed from its own plane, one could see that it was fully forty-five minutes distant from the shore. It was a large, busy place. Gazing down upon it from on high, one might fancy that he was looking upon an innumerable fleet of ships; for from the numerous flat roofs arose a forest of high poles and flagstaffs, with long streamers of red and other colors, while white canvas was stretched from pole to pole, or floated in the breeze. These booths were swarming with people at their different avo­cations. Between the houses, I saw all kinds of shin­ing vessels being prepared. The country around was dotted with exceedingly fertile spots, all teeming with fruit. In and around these gardens were numbers of immense trees, some surrounded by seats. Steps led up into others, so that quite a company could sit in their branches as in a summer house. The plain in which the city lay between the mountain and the sea was not very broad.

There were both Jews and pagans in the city. They carried on business with one another, and idolatry was general. The Lord on His way taught and preached in the shady places under the great trees, speaking of John, of his baptism, and of penance.

Jesus was well received in the city. He had been there once before. In the school He taught of the coming of the Messiah and of the downfall of idola­try. Queen Jezabel who so persecuted Elias was from this city.

Jesus left His companions in Sidon, and went to a little place more to the south and away from the sea. He wanted to be alone to pray. On one side it was entirely flanked by a wood. It had thick walls, and was surrounded by vineyards. It was Sarepta, the place in which Elias was fed by the widow. The

Sidon and Sarepta


 Jews, as also the pagans, had a superstition con­nected with that fact. They always allowed pious widows to live in the city walls. They thought by so doing they secured themselves from every danger, and could practice every species of vice in the city. Old men dwelt in the walls at the time of which I am now speaking.

Jesus lodged with an old man in the city wall, in the house once occupied by that widow who fed Elias. The old men who then dwelt in the walls were some­thing like hermits. They lived there in accordance with an ancient custom honoring Elias, meditating and explaining the Prophecies, and chiefly engaged in prayer for the coming of the Messiah. Jesus taught them concerning the Messiah and the baptism of John. They were pious, but entertained many erroneous ideas, of which one was that the Messiah was to come in worldly splendor. Jesus often retired to the wood near Sarepta and there prayed alone. He taught in the synagogue, and occupied Himself also in instruct­ing the children. In the villages around, in which there were numbers of heathens, He exhorted the people not to mix with them. There were some good people here, and some very bad ones. Jesus had no com­panions, excepting occasionally some resident of the place. I saw Him teaching men and women in the open air, often on hillocks and under trees.

The climate here is such that it always seems to me we are in May, because in Palestine the grain for the second harvest is as far advanced as it is with us in that month. They do not cut the grain so close to the ground as we do. They grasp the stalk below the ear, and cut it off about an ell long. They do not thrash it. They stand the little sheaves upright and pass over them a roller fastened between two oxen. The grain is much drier than ours, and falls out readily. They separate it in the open air, or in a kind of circular barn with a thatched roof, but open on all sides.


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From Sarepta Jesus went to a place lying to the northeast, not far from the plain upon which Ezechiel, caught up in spirit, had the vision of the dry bones coming together. Sinews and flesh took possession of them, the winds passed over them, spirit and life entered into them. I was told that the coming together of the bones and their clothing with flesh were ful­filled by the teaching and baptism of John. But the spirit and life breathed into them was accomplished by Jesus through Redemption and by the descent of the Holy Ghost. Jesus consoled the people, who were very poor and oppressed, and explained to them the vision of Ezechiel.

When He left this place, He went northward to the country which John had first visited on leaving the desert. It was a little sheep rearing place. Noemi and her daughter Ruth dwelt there a long time. Noemi had so good a name among the people that she is still spoken of in those parts. Later she removed to Beth­lehem. The Lord taught very zealously here. The time approached for Him to retrace His steps southward and thence to Samaria for His baptism. Jacob also owned fields up here. Through this place ran a little river, back of which far up in the desert lay John's spring. From this spring the road became very steep, reminding me of that which Adam and Eve took when driven from Paradise. It led down to the battlefield of Ezechiel. On Adam and Eve's route, the trees became smaller and smaller and quite misshapen until at last they reached a desolate region where grew some mis­erable bushes. Paradise was as high above the earth as is the sun. After the Fall it disappeared behind a mountain which seemed to rise before it.

The Saviour, on His return from the shepherds' coun­try to Sarepta, followed the route trodden by the Prophet Elias when going from the brook Carith to Sarepta. Jesus taught here and there as He journeyed on, pass­ing by Sidon. From Sarepta He was soon to go south­ward for His baptism. He kept the Sabbath in Sarepta.

Sidon and Sarepta


After the Sabbath Jesus started for Nazareth, teaching at various points on the road. He was some­times attended by companions, and sometimes alone. He went barefoot, putting His sandals on only when about to enter any town or village. He passed through the valleys toward Mount Carmel, and once He was near the road leading down into Egypt, but He turned off to the east.

The Mother of God, Mary Cleophas, the mother of Parmenas, and two other women, I saw going to Nazareth, while Seraphia (afterward Veronica), Johanna Chusa, and the son of Veronica, who later on joined the disciples, were on their way to the same place from Jerusalem. They were going to visit Mary, with whom they had become acquainted on their yearly journeys to the Holy City.

Mary and Joseph, as also other pious families, were in the habit of visiting through devotion three places during the year; viz., the Temple of Jerusalem, the pine tree near Bethlehem, and Mount Carmel. Anne's family and other pious people usually went to the last named place in May when returning from Jerusalem. There were on the mountain a well and a cave of Elias, the latter like a chapel. Devout Jews were constantly visiting these hallowed places. They came, not at fixed times; but whenever it best suited them, and prayed for the coming of the Messiah. Jewish hermits dwelt on the mountain, and later on Christian cenobites had there their cells.

In a little town on the west side of Mount Tabor, Jesus taught in the school, and spoke of John's bap­tism. There were five followers around Him, among them some future disciples. The Sanhedrin of Jerusalem dispatched couriers with letters to all the principal places of Palestine in which were Jewish schools and rabbis, telling them to be on their guard against a certain Man, of whom the Baptist said that He was the One that was to come and that He would soon present Himself for baptism. They should have


Life of Jesus Christ

 an eye upon the Man and give information of His actions; for if He were indeed the Messiah, He needed not the baptism of John. The members of the San­hedrin also were very much annoyed when they learned that Jesus was He who as a Boy had taught in the Temple. The couriers went likewise to a city on the road near Hebron, four hours from the sea, in that country wherein the spies of Aaron and Moses found the huge bunches of grapes. The city is called Gaza. There was a very long row of tents reaching from the city to the sea, and under them different kinds of woolen and silk stuffs exposed for sale.

Jesus with five followers taught, here and there, down to the country around Jacob's Well, where He celebrated the Sabbath. When He and His compan­ions were returning to Nazareth, the Blessed Virgin went out to meet her Son. But when she saw that He was not alone, she paused at a distance and went back without saluting Him. I wondered at her self denial. Jesus taught in the school at Nazareth, the holy women being present.

The next day, when Jesus taught in the synagogue before a large audience, the holy women were not present. He was attended by five disciples and about twenty of the young Nazarenes, companions of His boyhood. His hearers murmured at His teaching. They whispered among themselves that He would now, perhaps, take possession of the place of baptism that John had abandoned and there baptizing give Him­self out for one like unto John. But, they continued, He was very different from John. John had dwelt in the desert preparing for his mission, but this Jesus they knew well, and they declared that they would not allow Him to deceive them.

5. Jesus in Bethsaida and Capharnaum

Jesus left Nazareth to go to Bethsaida where He aimed at rousing some of the people by His teach­ing.

Bethsaida and Capharnaum


 The Blessed Virgin and His followers remained behind. During His stay in Nazareth, Jesus had stopped with His friends in His Mother's house. But so much discontent and murmuring arose in the lit­tle town on His account that He resolved to go to Bethsaida for awhile, and return to Nazareth at some future time. He was accompanied by Amendor, the son of Veronica; a son of one of the three widowed relatives of Jesus, whose name sounds like Sirach; and one of Peter's relatives known later as one of the disciples.

At Bethsaida, Jesus taught very forcibly in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He told His hearers that they should now enter into themselves, repair to the baptism of John, and purify themselves by penance; otherwise a time would come when they would cry woe! woe! There were many people in the synagogue, but none of the future Apostles, excepting, I think, Philip. The others, belonging to Bethsaida and the country around, were celebrating the Sabbath else­where. They were in a house near the fishery in the neighborhood of Capharnaum. During this preach­ing of Jesus, I prayed that the people would go to the baptism of John and be truly converted. There­upon I had a vision in which I saw that John was the preparer, who washed from the people their raw­ness, their coarseness. I saw him working so actively, so vigorously, preaching so vehemently that his camel skin slipped from shoulder to shoulder. This, I think, was merely symbolical, for at the same time I saw something like scales falling from some of the newly baptized, black vapors issuing from others, and light, shining clouds descending upon others.

In Capharnaum also Jesus taught in the school. Crowds came from all sides to hear Him, among them Peter, Andrew, and many others who had already been baptized by John.

When Jesus left Capharnaum, I saw Him teach­ing two hours distant from the city toward the south.


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 His hearers were numerous. He had with Him only the three disciples, for the future Apostles who had heard Him in Capharnaum had, without exchanging words with Him, gone again to the sea. Jesus spoke here also of John's baptism and the fulfilled Promise. He then went on toward the south, teaching here and there, down to Lower Galilee in the direction of Samaria, and kept the Sabbath in a school between Nazareth and Sephoris. The holy women from Nazareth were present, also Peter's wife and the wives of some others of the future Apostles.

The place consisted of only a few houses and a school. It was separated from Anne's former resi­dence by a field. Of the future Apostles, Peter, Andrew, James the Less, and Philip, all disciples of John, carne to hear Jesus. Philip belonged to Bethsaida; he was tolerably well educated, and was much engaged in writing. Jesus did not tarry long here. He took no meal, but only taught. The Apostles had, probably, celebrated the Sabbath in the neighbor­hood, for the Jews often visited other places on the Sabbath. Being informed of Jesus' presence, they had come to hear Him. He had not yet spoken to any of them in particular.

6. Jesus in Sephoris, Bethulia, Cedes, and Jezrael

From the last place, Jesus crossed a mountain with the three disciples and went to Sephoris, four hours' distance from Nazareth. He stopped at His great aunt’s. She was Anne's youngest sister Maraha, and the mother of a daughter and two sons. These sons were habited in long, white garments. They were named respectively Arastaria and Cocharia, and later on they joined the disciples.

The Blessed Virgin, Mary Cleophas, and other women had also come hither. The feet of Jesus were washed, and a repast prepared in His honor. He



 passed the night in Maraha's house, which had been the home of Anne's parents. Sephoris was a large city, and in it were three different sects: the Phar­isees, the Sadducees, and the Essenians, each with its own school. This city often suffered severely from war. At the present day, it is scarcely in existence.

Jesus stayed some days here, preaching and exhort­ing His hearers to go to the baptism of John. He taught in two synagogues on the same day, in a large, high one, and in a small one. The large one belonged to the Pharisees. They listened indignantly to His words, and murmured against Him. The women were present at this instruction; but in the other syna­gogue, the small one that belonged to the Essenians, there was no place for women. Jesus was kindly received by the Essenians.

As Jesus was teaching in the school of the Sad­ducees, something very wonderful took place. There were in Sephoris numbers of demoniacs, simpletons, lunatics and possessed. They were instructed in a school near the synagogue, which latter place they were obliged to attend when prayer and teaching were going on. They had a hall in the rear reserved for themselves, and they were made to listen atten­tively. Custodians armed with whips stood among them, each with few or more under his charge, ac­cording as they were more or less troublesome. Before Jesus entered, I saw these poor creatures during the teaching of the Sadducees distorting their counte­nance and falling into convulsions. Their keepers had to bring them to order with the lash. When Jesus made His appearance, they were at first quite still; but after a little while one began and then another to cry out: "That is Jesus of Nazareth, born in Beth­lehem, and visited by Wise Men from the East. His Mother is now with Maraha. He is preaching new doctrine, which we must not tolerate." And so they went on recounting aloud the whole life of Jesus and all that had happened to Him up to the present time.


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 Now this one began, then that one took it up. The lashes of the custodians availed naught, for soon all began to cry out together and the confusion became general. Then Jesus commanded them to be brought to Him outside the synagogue, and He sent two dis­ciples to collect all the other insane from the dif­ferent quarters of the city and bring them also. Soon there was a crowd, fully fifty such unfortunates around Him, and multitudes of others, all eager to see what would happen. The insane kept up their cries. Then Jesus spoke, saying: "The spirit that speaks through these, is from below. Let it again go below!" And at the same instant, all became quiet. They were cured, and I saw several fall to the ground.

And now a great tumult, excited by the cure, broke out in the city, and Jesus and His followers were in great danger. The excitement became so great that Jesus escaped into a house and left the city that night. The Blessed Virgin, the three disciples, with Cocharia and Arastaria, the sons of Anne's sister, left the city also. The Mother of Jesus was in great trouble and anxiety, for this was the first time she had seen her Son so violently persecuted. Jesus had appointed some trees outside the city as a meeting place, and from there all went on together to Bethulia.

The majority of those cured by Jesus in Sephoris, went to John's baptism. Later on they were the prin­cipal ones of the city who followed Jesus.

Bethulia is that city at whose siege Judith slew Holofernes. It was built on a mountain southeast of Sephoris. The view from it extended far around into the distance. Magdalen's castle in Magdalum was not far off, and Magdalen herself was at this time at the height of her glory. Bethulia, too, possessed a castle and the place was rich in springs.

Jesus and His disciples entered an inn outside Bethulia, and thither came Mary and the holy women again to meet Him. I heard Mary talking to Him, begging Him not to teach here again, for she was



 afraid there might be another insurrection. But Jesus replied that He knew what He had to accomplish. Mary asked: "Shall we not now go to John's bap­tism?" To which Jesus answered gravely: "Why shall we now go to John's baptism? Have we need of it? I shall journey and reap still a while longer, and I shall say when it is time to go to the baptism." As afterward at Cana, Mary kept silence. I have seen that the holy women received baptism not till after Pentecost, and then in the Pool of Bethsaida. The holy women went on into the city. Jesus taught on the Sabbath in the synagogue, and many from the country around came to hear Him. Here in Bethu­lia, also, I saw numbers of insane and possessed on the highroad outside the city and, here and there, on the streets through which Jesus passed. They were quieted and freed from their paroxysms. The people said among themselves: "This man must pos­sess a power like unto that of the ancient prophets, since those unfortunates grow calm on His appear­ance." They felt benefitted by His presence, even though apparently He did nothing special for them; and so they sought Him in the inn to thank Him. He taught and exhorted to John's baptism, and spoke with as much vehemence as did John himself.

The people of Bethulia gave to Jesus and His fol­lowers a most honorable reception. They would not allow Him to put up at the inn outside the city, but strove among themselves as to who should have the honor of entertaining Him in their houses. They that had not Jesus, at least wanted one of the five disci­ples who were with Him. But they, the disciples, would not leave their Master. At last, Jesus promised to make the inn and the houses of the good people His headquarters alternately. Their great enthusiasm and love for Him were not altogether disinterested, and Jesus charged them with it during His instruction in the synagogue. They had a secondary design. They wanted, by entertaining the new Prophet, to attract


Life of Jesus Christ

 to their city that esteem which they had lost by their trade and intercourse with heathens. They were also destitute of a pure love of truth.

When Jesus left Bethulia, I saw Him in a valley teaching under the trees. Besides the five disciples, there were now about twenty others following Him. The holy women had already returned to Nazareth. Jesus had left Bethulia because He was so much besieged by the people. Numbers of sick and pos­sessed from the country around had gathered in the city, hoping to be cured; but Jesus did not as yet wish to heal so openly. As He journeyed away from Bethulia, He left the Sea of Galilee behind. The place in which He next taught was an old place of instruc­tion formerly used by the Essenians, or Prophets. It consisted of an elevated, grassy mound, surrounded by little parapets against which the audience could rest comfortably. There were about thirty people around Jesus in this place.

That evening I saw Him with His followers arrive at the little village with its synagogue, about one hour's distance from Nazareth, whence not long before He had set out to go to Sephoris. The inhab­itants received Him with every mark of kindness. They conducted Him to a large house in front of which was a courtyard, washed His feet, as also those of the disciples, cleaned and brushed His travelling garments, and prepared for Him and His followers a repast. Jesus taught here in the synagogue. The holy women were in Nazareth.

Next day He went about two miles further on toward the Levitical city, Cedes, or Cesion. He was followed by about seven possessed, who still more plainly than those of Sephoris, proclaimed His mis­sion and history. Aged priests and youths in long, white garments came forth from the city to meet Him, for some of His followers had already gone before Him into the city.

Jesus did not free the possessed here. They were

Cedes, Jezrael


 confined in a house by the priests, that they might not create disorder. But He freed them later after His baptism. He was quite well received and enter­tained in this place, but when He proposed to teach, they questioned Him: What call had He? What mis­sion? Was He merely Joseph and Mary's Son? Jesus answered evasively that He who had sent Him and to whom He belonged, would make all that known at His baptism. He taught many other things on this point and also of the baptism of John. His instruc­tions were given on a hill in the center of the place where, as at Thebez, a stand had been prepared for the purpose, not exactly in the open air, but under a rush-covered tent or shed.

Jesus went from here through the pastoral region where later, after the second Pasch, He healed a leper. He taught in the different little villages around. But for the Sabbath, He went with His companions to Jezrael, a scattered place, the houses, which were built in groups, being separated from one another by ruins, towers, and gardens. A high road ran through the city, called King's street. Jesus had with Him only three of His companions, several having gone on before.

Jezrael was the home of strict observers of the Jewish Law. They were not Essenians, however, but Nazarites. They made vows for a time, longer or shorter, and practiced various kinds of mortification. They had a large institution, comprising different sections. The unmarried men occupied one part exclu­sively, the unmarried women another. The married also made vows of continency for a certain period, during which the husbands lived in a house next to that of the unmarried men, while the wives retired to that of the single women. They were all habited in gray and white. Their Superior wore a long, gray garment edged with fringe and little white orna­ments like fruit, and bound by a gray girdle on which were inscribed white letters. Around one arm was a


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 band of coarse, gray and white woven stuff as thick as a twisted napkin, one end of which—ornamented with tufted fringe—hung down a little. He wore a collar, or little mantle, almost like that of Argos, the Essenian, excepting that it was gray and open behind instead of in front. A blank shield was fastened on it in front, while behind it was tied or laced. On the shoulders hung slit lappets. All wore black, shining, puffed caps, with some words stamped on the front; three bands met on top forming a ball, which, like the rim, was white and gray. The Nazarites had long, thick curly hair and beards. I tried to think which of the Apostles looked like them and, at last, I remem­bered that it was Paul. His hair and garments, when he persecuted the Christians, were in the style of the Nazarites. I saw him afterward, also, with the Nazarites, for he was one of them. They used to let their hair grow until their vow was accomplished, when they cut it off and burned it in sacrifice. They sacrificed pigeons, also. One could assume and ful­fill the unfulfilled vows of another. Jesus celebrated the Sabbath with them. Jezrael is separated from Nazareth by a mountain range. Not far from it is a well near which Saul once encamped with his army.

Jesus taught on the Sabbath of the baptism of John. He said that, although their piety was praise­worthy, yet excess was dangerous; that there are dif­ferent ways to salvation; that splits in the community would easily give rise to sects; that, in their pride, they looked down upon their weaker brethren who could not do so much as they themselves, but who should be succored by the stronger. Such teaching as His was very necessary here, for in the suburbs there were people who had mixed with the heathens, and who were destitute of rule or direction, because the Nazarites had separated from them. Jesus vis­ited these people in their homes, and invited them to His instruction on baptism.

Next day Jesus was present at a repast given Him

The Publicans


 by the Nazarites, at which circumcision was spoken of in connection with baptism. For the first time, I heard Jesus speaking of circumcision, but I cannot exactly recall His words. He said something to this effect, that the law of circumcision had a reason for its existence which would soon be taken away, when the people of God would come forth no longer accord­ing to the flesh from the family of Abraham, but spiritually from the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Great numbers of the Nazarites became Chris­tians; but they clung so tenaciously to Judaism that many of them, seeking to combine Christianity with it, fell into heresy.

7. Jesus Among the Publicans

When Jesus left Jezrael, He journeyed awhile toward the east, then went around the mountain which lay between Jezrael and Nazareth and, about two hours from the former place, reached a number of houses standing in rows on either side of the high­road. They were occupied by publicans. Some poor Jews dwelt under tents at a little distance from the road. That road, along which the dwellings of the publicans stood, was fenced in by wickerwork, the entrance at either end being closed. Rich publicans lived here who rented many tolls in the country and again leased the same to under-collectors. Matthew was one of these latter tax gatherers, but belonging to another place. Mary, the niece of Elizabeth, once dwelt here, I think. Having become a widow, she went to Nazareth and afterward to Capharnaum. She was the same that was present at the Blessed Virgin's death. The commercial highroad to Egypt from Syria, Arabia, and Sidon passed through this place. Great bales of white silk in bundles like flax were brought this way on camels and asses; also fine woolen stuffs both white and colored; great, heavy, woven strips of carpet; and lastly spices. When the


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 camels arrived in this district, the gates were closed and the merchants had to unpack their goods, which were carefully examined. They had to pay a tax, partly in merchandise, and partly in money. The lat­ter was mostly three-or four-cornered yellow, white, or reddish pieces, on which was stamped a figure, raised on one side and hollow on the other. They gave also coins different from these. I saw on those coins little towers, a virgin, also an infant in a lit­tle ship. Little bars of gold, such as were offered by the Kings at the Crib, I never saw again excepting with some strangers who came to John the Baptist.

The publicans were all leagued together. When one received more than his fellows, he divided with the rest. They were wealthy and lived well. Their homes were surrounded by courtyards, gardens, and walls, reminding me of those of our well-to-do peasants. They lived entirely among themselves, for others would not associate with them. They had a school of their own and a teacher.

Jesus was well received by them, His followers also. I saw several women arrive here; I think Peter's wife was among them. One of them spoke with Jesus, and they soon went away. Perhaps they were either coming from or going to Nazareth, and were exe­cuting some commission for the Mother of God. Jesus stayed first with one, then with another of the pub­licans, and taught in their school. He especially pointed out to them the fact that they often extorted from travelers more toll than was just. They became very much confused, and could not divine how He knew that. They were more humble than the other Jews, and took His words better. Jesus urged them to receive baptism.

8. Jesus in Kisloth-Thabor

Jesus left the publicans after having taught among them the whole night. Many of them desired to make



 Him presents, but He would accept nothing. Several followed Him, for they wanted to go with Him to baptism. On this day, He journeyed through the coun­try by Dothain and passed the madhouse where, on His first journey from Nazareth, He had calmed the raving and the possessed. As He was passing it, they called Him by name and clamored violently to be released. Jesus commanded their custodians to free them, promising that He would answer for the conse­quences. They were all set at liberty. Jesus cured them all, and they followed Him. Toward evening, He arrived at Kisloth, a city on Mount Thabor, inhab­ited mainly by Pharisees. They had heard of Jesus; but they were displeased at seeing Him followed by publicans (whom they looked upon as malefactors), possessed known to be such, and a motley crowd of others. He entered their school and taught of the baptism of John; then, addressing His followers, He exhorted them before attaching themselves to Him to think seriously whether they would be able to per­severe or not, for they must not think His path an easy one. He expounded to them also several para­bles on building. If a man desired to build himself a house, he should consider first whether the owner of the ground would allow him to use it for that pur­pose; in like manner, they that would follow Him should first expiate their offences and do penance. Again, if a man would erect a tower, he must first estimate the cost. And many other things Jesus taught that were not well received by the Pharisees. They listened only to catch Him in His words. I saw them concerting together to give Him an entertainment at which they hoped to ensnare Him in His speech.

They prepared a great feast in a public hall, down which stood three tables, side by side, and right and left burned lamps. Over the middle table, at which Jesus, some of the disciples, and the Pharisees sat, the aperture, customary in the roofs of that country, stood open. The followers of Jesus were seated at


Life of Jesus Christ

 the side tables. In this city there must have been an ancient custom commanding the poor, of whom there were numbers dwelling in the greatest abandonment, to be invited; for as soon as Jesus sat down at ta­ble, He turned to the Pharisees asking where were the poor, and whether it was not their right to take part in the feast. The Pharisees were embarrassed, and they answered that the custom had long fallen into disuse. Then Jesus commanded His disciples Arastaria and Cocharia, the sons of Maraha, and Kolaiah, the son of the widow Seba, to go gather together the poor of the city and bring them to the feast. The Pharisees were highly displeased at the command, for it gave rise to much comment through­out the city. Many of the poor were already in bed and asleep. I saw the disciples rousing them. Numer­ous and varied were the joyous scenes I then wit­nessed in the huts and haunts of the poor. At last they arrived and were received and welcomed by Jesus and His disciples. The latter served them while Jesus addressed to them a very beautiful instruction. The Pharisees, though greatly irritated, had not a word to say, for Jesus was in the right, and at this the people rejoiced. Great excitement prevailed in the city. After partaking plentifully of the various good things, the poor people departed, taking with them a supply for their friends at home. Jesus had blessed the food for them, prayed with them, and exhorted them to go to John's baptism. He would not tarry longer in the city, and left that night with His followers. Many of the latter, however, discouraged partly by His exhortations, left Him for their homes while others went to prepare for John's baptism.

9. Jesus in the Shepherd Village of Chimki

Jesus journeyed during the night between two val­leys. I saw Him sometimes conversing with His fol­lowers, then again falling behind and praying on His

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

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