Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

This document is: ACE_1_0381

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_1_0361 List of documents Next document: ACE_1_0401
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

The Three Rich Youths


15. Jesus Rejects Three Rich Youths. He Confounds Many Learned Men In the Synagogue of Nazareth

To the five followers of Jesus, four others were now added, relatives and friends of the Holy Fam­ily. I think there was a son of one of the three wid­ows among them, and one from Bethlehem, who had found out that He was a descendant of Ruth who had married Booz in that city. Jesus formally received them to the number of His disciples. There were in Nazareth a couple of rich families who had three sons. In childhood these latter had associated with Jesus. They were now quite cultured and well edu­cated. The parents, who had heard much of Jesus' wisdom and teaching, agreed together that their sons should today hear a specimen of it. They would then offer Him money to let the young men travel with Him that they might profit by His knowledge. The good people had so high an opinion of their sons that they thought Jesus would gladly become their tutor. So the young men went to the synagogue whither, by the connivance of their wealthy parents and the Pharisees, all the learned men of the city had flocked. They were determined to put Jesus to the test in every way. Among these men were a lawyer and a physician, the latter a tall, portly man with a long beard. He wore a girdle and had some kind of a badge upon one shoulder of his mantle. I saw Jesus, on entering the school, again blessing many children whom their mothers brought to Him, among them some afflicted with leprosy whom He healed. Dur­ing His discourse, He was interrupted in various ways by the literati who proposed to Him all kinds of subtle questions. But His wisdom silenced them.

To the lawyer's speech, Jesus answered most wonderfully from the Law of Moses, and when divorce was spoken of, He rejected it entirely. Divorced, hus­band and wife could never be; but if the former could


Life of Jesus Christ

 not in any way live with the latter, he might leave her. Still were they one body, and could not again marry. These words of the Lord greatly displeased the Jews.

The physician asked whether He could tell whether a man was of a dry, matter-of-fact nature or of a phlegmatic disposition, under what planets such a one was born, what simples were good for this or that temperament, and how the human body is formed. Jesus answered him with great wisdom. He spoke of the complexion of some of those present, their diseases and the remedies, and of the human body, with a depth of knowledge quite unknown to the physician. He spoke of life, of the spirit, and how it influences the body, of sicknesses that could be cured only by prayer and amendment, of such as needed medicine for their cure—and that in lan­guage so profound, and yet so beautiful, that the physician in astonishment declared himself van­quished and that he had never before heard such things. I think he afterward became one of Jesus' disciples. Jesus described to him the human body with all its members, muscles, veins, nerves, and intestines, their special functions and their various relations one with another, in general terms and yet with such accuracy that His questioner was hum­bled and silenced.

There was an astrologer present who spoke of the course of the stars. He explained how one constel­lation ruled another, how different stars possess dif­ferent influences, and he discoursed upon comets and the signs of the Zodiac. Jesus in most appropriate language treated with another upon architecture; with others of trade and commerce with foreign nations, taking occasion at the same time to censure severely the various fashions and frivolities lately introduced from Athens. He condemned likewise the games and juggling now in use among them, and which were also spreading throughout Nazareth and

The Three Rich Youths


 other places. These games were likewise a product of their intercourse with Athens. Jesus stigmatized them as unpardonable since they that indulge in them look upon them as no sin; consequently, they do no penance for them, and therefore they cannot be pardoned.

His hearers were ravished at His wisdom. They begged Him to take up His residence among them, offering to give Him a house and all that He needed, questioning Him also as to why He and His Mother had removed to Capharnaum. Jesus replied that He could not remain with them, and He spoke of His mission and the duties it imposed. In answer to their question as to why He had gone from among them, He said that it was because of His desire to dwell in a more central locality, etc. But they did not under­stand His reasons, and they were offended at His rejection of their offer, which they thought a very fine one. They looked upon His words, "mission," and "duties" as the offspring of pride. And so they left the school that evening.

The three youths, who were about the age of twenty, greatly desired to speak with Jesus. But He would not allow them to do so until His nine disci­ples were present. That annoyed them. Jesus told them that He insisted upon having witnesses to what He might say to them. When at last they were admit­ted to an audience, they very modestly and humbly laid before Him their own and their parent's wishes that He would receive them as His pupils. Their parents, they said, would remunerate Him, and as for themselves, they would bear Him company in all His labors, they would serve and help Him. I saw that Jesus was troubled at having to refuse their request, partly for their own sake, and partly on account of His disciples, for He was obliged to assign reasons for His refusal which they could not as yet comprehend. He replied to the youths that he who gave money to obtain something, aimed at gaining


Life of Jesus Christ

 some temporal advantage; but that whoever would follow Him, must abandon all earthly possessions, must leave parents and friends, and that His disci­ples must neither woo nor marry. He laid down many other hard conditions, so that the young men became very much discouraged. They argued that many of the Essenians were married. Jesus replied that they, the Essenians, acted rightly and in accordance with their laws, but that His doctrine was to accomplish fully that for which theirs only paved the way, etc. With this remark and bidding them take time to reflect, He left them.

The disciples were intimidated by His words. His teaching was so severe that they could not under­stand it, and they grew fainthearted. But on the way from Nazareth to Eliud's, He bade them not despond, that He had good reasons for talking as He had done, that those youths would only at some distant day, and perhaps never, come to Him; but as for themselves, the disciples, they should follow Him calmly and be without anxiety, etc. And so they arrived at Eliud's. I do not think He will again go to Eliud's, for great talk and excitement had arisen in Nazareth on His account. The inhabitants were vexed at His not remaining among them. They thought that He had acquired all His knowledge during His travels. "True," they said, "He is a very clever and extraordinary man; but, for a carpenter's son, He is rather conceited." I saw the three young men returning to their homes. Their parents were very much displeased at the objections Jesus made to receiving them. The sons chimed in with the par­ents, and all talked at random in their indignation against Him.

On the following day, the three youths went again to Jesus and begged once more to be accepted. They promised Him perfect obedience and faithful service. But Jesus again dismissed them, and I saw that their inability to seize the meaning of His refusal trou­bled

Jesus and Eliud


 Him. He spoke then with His nine disciples who, by His directions, were to go first to a certain place and afterward to John. On the subject of those whom He had dismissed, Jesus said that they desired to follow Him for the sake of what they might gain, that they were not willing to give all for love. But that they, the disciples, sought for nothing, conse­quently they had been received. He spoke again in significant and beautiful terms of the baptism, telling them to go over to Capharnaum and say to His Mother that He was going to the baptism. He charged them likewise to speak to the disciples, John, Peter, and Andrew about John (the Baptist) and say to the last named that He (Jesus) was coming.

16. Jesus with Eliud In the Leper Settlement

I saw Jesus journeying with Eliud in a south­westerly direction from Nazareth, but not exactly on the highroad. He wanted to go to Chim, a leper set­tlement. They reached it at daybreak, and I saw that Eliud tried to restrain Jesus from entering it, that He might not be defiled; for, as Eliud urged, if it were discovered that He had been there, He would not be allowed to go to the baptism. But Jesus replied that He knew His mission, that He would enter, for there was in it a good man who was sighing for His coming. They had to cross the Kishon. The leper set­tlement lay near a brook formed by the waters of the Kishon which flowed into a little pond in which the lepers bathed. The water thus used did not return into the Kishon. This settlement was perfectly iso­lated; no one ever approached it. The lepers dwelt in scattered huts. There were no others in the place, excepting those that attended the infected. Eliud remained at a distance and waited for the Lord. Jesus entered one of the most remote huts wherein lay stretched on the ground a miserable creature entirely


Life of Jesus Christ

 enveloped in sheets. He was a good man. I have for­gotten how he contracted leprosy. Jesus addressed him. He raised himself, and appeared to be deeply touched at the Lord's deigning to visit him. Jesus commanded him to rise and stretch himself in a trough of water that stood near the hut. He obeyed, while Jesus held His hands extended over the water. The rigid limbs of the leper relaxed, and he was made clean. He then resumed his ordinary dress, and Jesus commanded him not to speak of his cure until He should have returned from the baptism. He accompanied Jesus and Eliud along the road till Jesus ordered him to go back.

I saw Jesus and Eliud the whole day journeying toward the south through the valley of Esdrelon. Sometimes they conversed together, and at others walked apart as if in prayer and meditation.

The weather was not very pleasant at that time, the sky dark, and fog in the valley. Jesus had no stick. He never carried one. But Eliud had one with a little shovel on it like those of the shepherds. Jesus wore only sandals, though a kind of perfect shoe, consisting of a thick, woven upper of coarse cotton, was in use at the time. Once I saw Jesus and Eliud at noon resting by a well and eating bread.

17. Jesus Transfigured Before Eliud

During the night, I saw them again walking, some­times together, sometimes separate. And then I wit­nessed something extraordinary, an unspeakably lovely vision. While Jesus was walking on ahead, Eliud passed some remarks upon the symmetry and beauty of His person. Jesus replied: "If thou shouldst behold this Body two years hence, thou wouldst find in it neither beauty nor symmetry, so greatly will they abuse and maltreat Me." But Eliud understood not His words. Above all he could not comprehend why Jesus always spoke of His Kingdom as existing

Jesus Transfigured


 so short a time; for he thought ten, or even twenty years must elapse before it would be founded. He could not bring himself to think otherwise, since his thoughts were all of an earthly kingdom.

When they had gone on a short distance, Jesus paused and bade Eliud, who was following lost in thought, to approach and He would show him who He was, of what nature was His Body, and of what kind His Kingdom. Eliud drew near to within sev­eral steps of Jesus. Then Jesus raised His eyes to Heaven and prayed. A cloud, like those seen in a thunderstorm, descended and enveloped both. From without they could not be seen, but over them opened a Heaven of light which seemed to descend toward them. Above I saw a city of shining walls, I saw the Heavenly Jerusalem! The whole interior was lit up with a rainbow colored light. I saw a figure like God the Father, and Jesus, His form perfectly luminous and transparent, connected with Him by beams of light. Eliud stood awhile gazing upward as if entranced, and then sank prostrate on his face, in which position he remained until the apparition and the light had melted away. Then Jesus resumed His way, and Eliud followed speechless and frightened by what he had seen. It was a vision like the Trans­figuration, but I did not see Jesus lifted up.

I think Eliud did not live to see the Crucifixion of Christ. Jesus was more confidential toward him than toward the Apostles, for Eliud was very enlight­ened and very familiar with many of the mysteries connected with the family of Jesus. Jesus took him as a friend and companion, and clothed him with authority, so that he did much for His community. He was one of the best instructed of the Essenians. In Jesus' time, the Essenians did not dwell all together on the mountains as formerly; they were more scattered throughout the cities. I had that won­derful vision about twelve o'clock at night.

In the morning, I saw Jesus and Eliud arrive at


Life of Jesus Christ

 a shepherd field. It was daybreak, and the shepherds were already out of their huts and with the cattle. They came forward to meet Jesus, who was known to them. They cast themselves down before Him, and then led Him and His companion under a shed where they had their cooking utensils. Here they washed their feet, prepared for them a couch, and set before them bread and little drinking cups. They roasted some turtledoves for their guests. The birds had their nests in the roofs of the huts, and were hopping around in great numbers like hens. And now I saw Jesus dismissing Eliud, who knelt to receive His bless­ing. The shepherds were present. Jesus told him that he would end his days in peace, that the path which He Himself had to walk would be too difficult for him, that He had admitted him to His Community, that he had already done his part in the vineyard, and that he should receive his reward in His King­dom. Jesus explained this by the parable of the labor­ers in the vineyards. Eliud was very grave since the vision of the preceding night, very silent, and deeply impressed. I think he was afterward baptized by the disciples. He accompanied Jesus a part of the way from the shepherd field. The Lord embraced him, and he departed with signs of manly emotion.

The place to which Jesus was going for the Sab­bath could be seen from here. Some of His relatives once dwelt there. The place to which He now went alone was called Gur. It was built on a mountain. Joseph's brother, who afterward removed to Zabulon and who had had frequent communication with the Holy Family, once dwelt there. Jesus went unno­ticed to an inn, where they washed His feet and presented Him food. He had a chamber to Himself. He caused a roll of the Scriptures to be brought to Him from the synagogue, and out of it He read and prayed sometimes standing, sometimes kneeling, often raising His eyes toward Heaven. He did not go to the school. Once I saw some people going to

The Baptism


 the inn and asking to speak to Jesus, but He would not see them.

18. A Glance at the Disciples Going to the Baptism

I saw the disciples whom Jesus had dispatched with messages arrive in Capharnaum. They were about five of the best-known. They had an interview with Mary, and then two of them went to Bethsaida for Peter and Andrew. James the Less, Simon, Thad­deus, John, and James the Greater were present. The disciples spoke of the mildness, meekness, and wis­dom of Jesus, while the followers of John the Bap­tist proclaimed with enthusiasm the austere life of their master, and declared that they had never before heard such an interpreter of the law and the Prophets. Even John spoke enthusiastically of the Baptist, although he already knew Jesus. His parents had once lived only a couple of hours from Nazareth, and Jesus loved him even as a child. The disciples cele­brated the Sabbath here.

The next day I saw the nine disciples along with those named above on the road to Tiberias, whence they were to go to John, passing near Ephron and then through the desert toward Jericho. Peter and Andrew particularly distinguished themselves by the zeal with which they spoke of the Baptist. He was, they said, of a noble, priestly race; he had been edu­cated by the Essenians in the wilderness, he would suffer no irregularity around him, he was as rigor­ous as he was wise. Then Jesus' disciples put for­ward the mildness and wisdom of their Master, to which the others retorted that many disorders arose from such condescension, and they cited instances in proof of what they said. Jesus' disciples replied that their Master, too, had been educated by the Essenians and that, moreover, He had but lately returned from travelling. But John entered not into


Life of Jesus Christ

 this discussion. I did not hear him saying anything more in that strain. They started together for the place of baptism, but after a few hours took differ­ent directions. As I listened to their conversation, I thought, "Men were then as they now are."

19. Jesus in Gophna

Gur, where Jesus prayed alone in the inn, lay not very far from a city, Mageddo, and a field of the same name. I have clearly seen that, toward the end of the world, there will be fought in that field a battle with Antichrist. Jesus arose with the dawn, rolled up His couch, laid a coin on it, girded Himself, and went forth. His way led Him around many towns and villages, but He met no one, put up at no inn. He passed Mount Garizim near Samaria, which lay to the left, as He journeyed southward. Occasionally He ate a few berries and some other fruit, and in the hollow of His hand or with a concave leaf scooped up some water to quench His thirst.

Toward evening, Jesus entered Gophna, a city on Mount Ephraim. It was built upon very jagged foundations, some high, some low, numerous gardens and pleasure grounds scattered between the houses. Some relatives of Joachim dwelt here, but they had not maintained intimate communications with the Holy Family. Jesus put up at an inn where they washed His feet and gave Him some little refresh­ment. But soon there came to the inn some of His relatives accompanied by a couple of Pharisees of the better sort, and escorted Him to their own home, one of the handsomest houses in the city. The city itself was of some importance, and possessed at this time jurisdiction over a portion of the country around. Jesus' relative was an official, and was much employed in writing. I think the city belonged to Samaria. Jesus was received with respect. There were several guests at His relative's house and all, stand­ing



 or walking, took refreshments in a pleasure gar­den. Jesus slept here overnight.

It was a day's journey from Gophna to Jerusalem. There was a little river in this region. During the loss of the Boy Jesus in the Temple, the Holy Fam­ily went to Gophna in search of Him; for when they missed Him at Machmas, they thought He might per­haps have gone to His relatives there. Mary feared that He had fallen into the little river.

Jesus, having gone to the synagogue, asked for the writings of one of the Prophets, and taught of bap­tism and the Messiah. He proved to His hearers from the Prophets, that the time must have arrived for His appearance. He cited events which were to pre­cede His coming, and which had actually been accom­plished, alluding especially to one that had happened three years before. I do not now remember whether that particular event was a war, or whether it was that the scepter had passed from Juda. And so He went on enumerating proofs of accomplished signs which were to precede the coming of the Messiah. He mentioned also the multiplication of sects and the irreligious nature of so many of their ceremonies. He told them that the Messiah would be in their midst, and they would not know Him. He alluded, in words something like the following, to the con­nection existing between Himself and John: "There will be one who will point Him out (the Messiah), but ye will not acknowledge Him. Ye wish to see a conqueror, an illustrious personage, a man sur­rounded by magnificence and eminently learned com­panions. Ye will not recognize as the Messiah one that comes among you destitute of wealth and author­ity, unattended by the pomp of worldly splendor and magnificence, one whose companions are unlettered peasants and laborers, whose followers are made up of beggars, cripples, lepers, and sinners."

In this way Jesus spoke at length, interpreting the Prophecies, and putting forth clearly the con­nection


Life of Jesus Christ

 between Himself and John. Still, He never once said, "I", but spoke of Himself in the third per­son. His instruction occupied the greater part of the day. His relatives concluded that He must be an envoy, a forerunner of the expected Messiah. On His return to their house, they referred to a book in His presence wherein they had recorded all that had hap­pened in the Temple to Jesus, the Son of Mary, in His twelfth year. They were struck by the similar­ity between what He had then said and His teach­ing of today, and on perusal of that record they were still more astonished.

The father of the house was an aged widower. His two daughters, both widows, lived with him. I heard the two daughters talking together of the marriage of Joseph and Mary in Jerusalem, at which they had been present. They recalled the magnificence of that wedding, how well-off Anne had been, but how changed the circumstances of the family had become. They spoke just as people of the world are accus­tomed to do, a vein of blame and reproach running through their words, as if they of whom they were speaking had greatly degenerated. While thus con­versing and, womanlike, recounting the particulars of the wedding and Mary's bridal dress, I saw a circumstantial vision of the whole ceremony and espe­cially of the Blessed Virgin's ornaments. Meanwhile the men were hunting up what had been written years before about Jesus and His teaching as a Boy in the Temple. The parents of Jesus had anxiously sought Him here, and it was thus that the news of where and how He was found had reached them. The affair had attracted much attention, especially as He was a relative of theirs.

While His relatives were still expressing surprise at the connection between His former and His pre­sent teaching, by which they were even more preju­diced in His favor, Jesus informed them that He must take leave and, in spite of their remonstrances, set

Jesus Condemns Herod's Adultery


 out accompanied by several of the men. They had to cross a little river over a bridge of masonry on which trees were growing. They journeyed some hours to a plain covered with meadows. It was here the Patri­arch Joseph was when Jacob sent him to his brethren in Sichem. The regions from which Jesus had lately come had also been much frequented by Jacob. Late in the evening Jesus entered a shepherd village this side of a small river, and His companions left Him. The village lay on both sides of the river, the part on the opposite bank being the larger. The synagogue was on this side. The Lord went to an inn where were assembled two sets of candidates for baptism. They were on their way through the desert to the appointed place. They had spread the news here of Jesus' coming. He conversed with them that evening, and they departed next morning. The servants washed the Lord's feet. He partook of a light repast, and then retired for prayer and rest.

20. Jesus Condemns Herod's Adultery. The Journey of the Holy Women

Next morning Jesus went to the school, where many were assembled. He spoke, as usual, of the baptism and of the nearness of the Messiah whom they would not acknowledge. He reproached them for their obsti­nate adherence to old, meaningless customs, on which point these people had a special failing. They were, on the whole, tolerably simple-minded and received His remonstrances well. Jesus requested the High Priest of the synagogue to conduct Him to the sick. He visited about ten, but cured none; for, in the neighborhood of Jerusalem, He had told Eliud and His five disciples that He would perform no more cures until He had been to the baptism. The sick in this place were mostly dropsical, gouty, and infirm women. Jesus exhorted them and told them sepa­rately what religious acts they should perform,


Life of Jesus Christ

 according as their infirmities were a part punish­ment of sin. Some He ordered to purify themselves and go to the baptism.

There was a meal prepared for Him at the inn, at which many men of the place were present. Before the hour for it these men spoke of Herod, of his unlawful connection with his brother's wife, blaming him severely and inquiring into Jesus' opinion on the point in question. Jesus warmly censured Herod's conduct and denounced the sin of adultery, but He told them likewise that if they judged others, they would themselves be judged.

Now there were in this place many sinners. Jesus spoke with them privately and earnestly reproved them for living in adultery. He told many all their secret sins. Trembling with fear, they promised to do penance. Jesus went from here to Bethania, a dis­tance of perhaps six miles, and again entered a moun­tainous region. It was the winter season, foggy and cloudy by day, and sometimes white frost by night. Jesus enveloped His head in a scarf, and journeyed straight on toward the east.

I saw Mary and four holy women leaving the house and wending their way through a field near Tiberias. They had with them two servants from the fishery. One went on ahead, the other followed, both laden with baggage which they carried on a pole across the shoulder, a pack in front and another behind. The four women were Johanna Chusa, Mary Cleophas, Mary Salome, and one of the three widows. They, too, were going to Bethania by the usual route which ran by Sichem to the right. When Jesus passed it, it was on His left. The holy women walked gener­ally in single file, a couple of steps apart. They went in this way probably because most of the roads, excepting the broad highways, were narrow, intended for foot passengers, and led through the mountains. They walked quickly with a firm step, not swaying from side to side, as the country people do here. Very

Jesus in Bethania


 probably this is because from early youth the inhab­itants of that country are accustomed to making long journeys on foot. They had their gowns tucked up to about the middle of the calf, their lower limbs ban­daged tightly down to the ankle, and bound to the soles of their feet were thick, padded sandals. Over the head was a veil, the ends of which were fastened into the scarf wound round the neck. This scarf was crossed on the breast, thence carried behind and caught in the girdle; sometimes the wearers ran their hands into its folds and there let them rest. The man, going on before the travelers, prepared the way for them. He opened the hedges, removed stones from the path, laid bridges, gave orders at the inns and, in fine, saw to everything. The one who followed put everything again into its first order.

21. Jesus in Bethania

About six miles from Bethania, the road upon which Jesus was travelling again led through a mountain­ous country. That evening He entered a little village consisting of only one street, about half an hour in length, which ran across a mountain. Bethania was probably still three hours further on. One could see in the distance the region in which it lay, for it was a low plain. From this mountain stretched north and east a desert of about three hours in breadth toward the desert of Ephron. It was between these two deserts that I saw Mary and her companions tonight putting up at an inn.

The mountain is that one upon which Joab and Abisai, in the persecution of Abner, stopped when the latter addressed them. It is called Amma, and lies to the north of Jerusalem. The place where Jesus was faced both north and east. I think it was called Giah. It was opposite the desert Gibeon, which began at the foot of the mountain and stretched off to the desert Ephron. It was about three hours long. Jesus


Life of Jesus Christ

 arrived in the evening and entered a house to pro­cure some refreshment. They washed His feet, and set before Him a drink and little rolls. Several per­sons soon gathered around Him. As He had just come from Galilee, they questioned Him about the Teacher from Nazareth, of whom they had heard so much from John and other sources. They asked also whether John's baptism was of any value. Jesus instructed them in His usual style, exhorted them to baptism and penance, and spoke of the Prophet from Nazareth and of the Messiah. He said that the latter would appear among them, but they would not acknowledge Him, yea, they would even persecute and ill treat Him. They must indeed remark that the time was come for His advent. He would not appear in splendor and triumph. He would be poor and would walk among the simple. The people of this place did not know Jesus, but they received Him well and expressed ven­eration for Him. Aspirants to baptism had passed through the place and had spoken of Him. After rest­ing about two hours, He continued His journey accom­panied by some of the good people.

He arrived in Bethania at night. Lazarus had been perhaps for some days at his house in Jerusalem on the west side of Mount Sion, the same side as Mount Calvary. But he must have heard from the disciples of Jesus' intended visit to Bethania, for he had come thither in time to receive Him. The castle in Betha­nia belonged in reality to Martha; but Lazarus loved to be there, so he and his sister kept house together. They were expecting Jesus, and a repast was in readi­ness. Martha dwelt in a house on the other side of the courtyard. There were guests assembled in both houses. With Martha were Seraphia (Veronica), Mary Marcus, and an aged woman of Jerusalem who had been in the Temple when Mary entered and had left soon after. She had desired to remain, but God had other designs for her, and she married. With Lazarus were Nicodemus, John Marc, the only son of Simeon,

Jesus in Bethania


 and an old man named Obed, a brother or brother's son of the Prophetess Anna. All were, in secret, friends of Jesus, partly through John the Baptist, partly through the Holy Family, and again through the prophecies of Simeon and Anna in the Temple.

Nicodemus was a thoughtful, inquiring man, who was anxiously awaiting Jesus' coming. All had received the baptism of John, and all were secretly assembled here at Lazarus's invitation. Nicodemus afterward served Jesus and His cause, but in secret.

Lazarus had sent some of his servants to meet Jesus on the way. About thirty minutes from Betha­nia, Jesus came up with a trusty old servant who afterward joined the disciples. The old man pros­trated on his face before Him, saying, "I am the ser­vant of Lazarus. If I have found favor before Thee, my Lord, follow me to his house." Jesus bade him rise, and followed him. He was kind to the old man, but at the same time He conducted Himself in accor­dance with His dignity. It was just that way of act­ing that gave Him such power to attract. People loved the Man, but felt the God. The servant led Jesus to a porch near a fountain at the entrance of the cas­tle, where all had been prepared for washing His feet and changing His sandals. He wore thick, green, padded soles which He now exchanged for a pair of stout ones with low, leather uppers. From that time He continued to wear these latter. The servant dusted and aired His garments. When the washing of His feet was over, Lazarus and his friends appeared, bringing to Jesus a light refreshment and something in a drinking cup. Jesus embraced Lazarus and greeted the others, extending to them His hand. They served Him hospitably and escorted Him to the house. Sometime after, Lazarus conducted Him across the courtyard to Martha's dwelling. The women there knelt veiled before Him. Jesus raised them by the hand, and told Martha that His Mother was coming to await there His return from the baptism.


Life of Jesus Christ

They all went back to Lazarus' where a meal was awaiting them. It consisted of roasted lamb, doves, vegetables, little rolls, honey, and fruits. On the table were cups, and the guests reclined on leaning stools, two and two. The women ate in an antechamber. Jesus prayed before the meal began and blessed the food. He was very grave, even a little sad. During the repast, He said that a time of trial was ap­proaching, that He was about to begin a toilsome journey, which would come to a bitter end. He exhorted them, if they were His friends, to stand firm, for like Himself they would have much to suf­fer. He spoke so feelingly that they all wept, though they did not perfectly understand Him and knew not that He was God.

That want of understanding on the part of those around Jesus is always a subject of wonder to me, since I have seen innumerable testimonies of His Godhead and mission; and I cannot help asking why was not that, which I perceive so clearly, shown to those people. I have seen man created by God, Eve taken from his side and bestowed upon him as a wife, and both fallen from their first innocence. I have seen the Promise of the Messiah, the disper­sion of mankind, the wonderful providence of God and His mysteries preparing the way for the com­ing of the Blessed Virgin. I saw the descent of the Blessing from which the Word became Flesh running like a path of light through all the generations of Mary's ancestors. At last I saw the angel's message to Mary and the ray of light from the Godhead which penetrated her at the instant the Saviour became Man. And after all this, how wonderful did it not seem to me, miserable, unworthy sinner, to see those holy contemporaries and friends of Jesus in His pres­ence—though loving and honoring Him—yet pos­sessed by the thought that His Kingdom was to be an earthly one; to see them regarding Him, indeed, as the promised Messiah, and yet never dreaming

Jesus in Bethania


 that He was God Himself. He was to them only the son of Joseph and Mary, His Mother. None guessed that Mary was a virgin, for they knew not of her supernatural Immaculate Conception; indeed, they did not even know of the Mystery of the Ark of the Covenant. It was already a great deal, and a sign of special grace, that they loved Him and acknowledged Him. The Pharisees, although they knew of the prophecies of Simeon and Anna at the time of His Presentation in the Temple, and who had listened to His wonderful teaching in the Temple when still only a child, were perfectly obdurate. They had indeed made some inquiries at the time concerning the fam­ily of the Child and later on concerning His in­structors; but they esteemed Him and His relatives too poor, too insignificant, too despicable. They wanted a Messiah in every way magnificent. Lazarus, Nicode­mus, and many of the followers of Jesus entertained the secret belief that He was called with His disci­ples to take possession of Jerusalem, to free the Jews from the Roman yoke, and to establish them in a kingdom of their own. Truly, it was then as now, when each man might look upon him as a Saviour who would restore his fatherland to freedom and once again establish the beloved old government. Neither was it known at that time that the King­dom which alone can help us, is not of this world of penance. Yes, they indeed rejoiced for the moment in the thought, "Now it will soon be all over with the glory of such or such a tyrant." They did not, however, venture to mention their thoughts to Jesus. They stood in great awe of Him; besides, they could read a fulfillment of their hopes in no trace of His behavior, in no word that He uttered.

After the meal, all retired to an oratory where Jesus offered a prayer of thanksgiving that His time, His mission was now to begin. It was extremely affect­ing, and all shed tears. The women were present, but standing back. They recited together the usual


Life of Jesus Christ

 prayers, after which Jesus gave them His blessing, and was conducted by Lazarus to His chamber for the night. This was a large room divided off into alcoves where the men slept; but these alcoves were more beautiful than those of ordinary houses. The beds were not rolled up, as they were in general; they were placed on a kind of stationary platform with a cornice in front ornamented with hangings and fringes. A fine mat was rolled up on the wall by the bed. It could, by means of a pulley, be drawn up or let down before the bed, thus concealing it when not in use, and forming a kind of slanting roof. Beside the bed was a small table, and in a niche of the wall stood a tall water vessel, along with a smaller one for drawing and pouring. A lamp projected from the wall, and on the arm of the same hung a toilet towel. Lazarus lighted the lamp, cast himself on his knees before Jesus, who again blessed him, and departed.

Silent Mary, the simple sister of Lazarus, did not make her appearance. Before others she never uttered a word; but when alone in her room or the garden, she talked aloud to herself and to all the objects around her, as if they had life. It was only before others that she was perfectly mute and still; her eyes cast down, she looked like a statue. On being saluted, however, she inclined and was very polite in all her bearing. When alone, she busied herself in various occupations, attending to her own wardrobe, and keep­ing all things in order. She was very pious, though she never appeared in the school. She prayed in her own chamber. I think she had visions and conversed with apparitions. Her love for her brother and sis­ters was unspeakable, especially for Magdalen. From her earliest years she had been what she now was. She had a female attendant, but she was perfectly neat in her person and surroundings with no trace of insanity to be found about her.

No word had as yet been spoken in Jesus' pres­ence in reference to Magdalen, who was then living

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 1

This document is: ACE_1_0381

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_1_0361 List of documents Next document: ACE_1_0401
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)