Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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Jesus' Teaching on True Love of Neighbor


The disciples questioned Jesus also upon the reproach made Him by the Nazarenes, that He had no love for His neighbor, and in His own city, which ought to be the nearest and dearest to Him, He would work no cures. They asked if one's fellow townsmen should not be looked upon as neighbors. Then Jesus gave them a long instruction upon the love of the neighbor, proposing to them all kinds of similitudes and questions, the former of which He drew from different states of life in the world. He dwelt long upon them and pointed out place after place that rose up in the distance, and said in which such or such an industry was especially pursued. He spoke, too, of those that were to follow Him. They were, He said, to leave father and mother, and yet obey the Fourth Commandment. They must treat their native city as He had done Nazareth, if so it deserved of them, and still exercise the love of the neighbor. God, their Heavenly Father, and He who had been sent by Him, had the first claim to their love. Then He spoke of the love of the neighbor such as the world understands it, and of the publicans of Galaad (which city they were then passing), who loved those most that paid them the highest tax. He pointed after­ward to Dalmanutha, which lay to the left, and said: "Those tentmakers and carpet-weavers love as their neighbor those that buy many tents from them, but their own poor they leave without shelter."

He then borrowed a comparison from the san­dal makers, which had reference to the vain curios­ity of the people of Nazareth. "I have no need," He said, "of their homage which they clothe in beauti­ful colors like the variegated sandals in the work­shop of the sandal maker, but which will afterward be trodden underfoot in the mud." And again, point­ing to a certain city, He said: "They are like the sandal maker of that city. They slight and disparage their own children, and so the latter are forced to go abroad. But when among strangers they have learned a new


Life of Jesus Christ

 style of making beautiful, green sandals, their fel­low citizens recall them through desire to see their work. They boast of the new-fashioned articles which, like the glory attached to them, are soon to be trod­den underfoot." Then Jesus put the question: "Sup­pose a traveler tears one of his sandals and goes to a sandal maker's to buy one. Will the latter present him with the other one, also?" In this way Jesus drew comparisons from fishermen, architects, and other avocations.

The disciples asked Him where He intended to fix His abode, whether He would build a house in Capharnaum. He answered that He would not build upon sand, and He mentioned another city that He had to found. I could not so well understand the con­versation between Jesus and the disciples when they were walking; when they were seated I could hear better. I remember this much, however, that Jesus expressed His desire for a little boat, that He might go here and there upon the lake. He wanted to teach on water as well as on land.

They now went into the country of Galaaditis. Abra­ham and Lot had sojourned here, and even at that early period had divided the country between them. Jesus referred to that circumstance. He told the dis­ciples also that in order to avoid scandalizing any­one, they should not speak of the lepers who had lately been cleansed. He warned them to be partic­ularly circumspect now to cause no excitement, for the Nazarenes would certainly stir up alarm and hatred. He told them that on the Sabbath He would again teach in Capharnaum. They should then have a chance to see the love of the neighbor and the grat­itude of men exemplified, for the welcome extended to Him this time would be very different from that received on the occasion of the cure of the Centu­rion's son.

They may have been journeying for some hours to the northeast around a curve of the lake, when they



 arrived near Galaad to the south of Gamala. As in most of the cities in this district, the population was made up of heathens and Jews. The disciples were disposed to enter the city. But Jesus told them that, if He went to the Jews of the place, they would nei­ther welcome Him nor give Him anything; and if to the heathens, the Jews would be scandalized and would pursue Him with calumny. He predicted the entire destruction of the city, saying that iniquity abounded in it.

The disciples spoke of a certain Agabus, a prophet living at that time in Argob, a city of that region. For a long time, he had had numerous visions of Jesus and His doings, and had lately uttered some prophecies regarding Him. Later on Agabus joined the disciples. Jesus informed them that Agabus was the son of Herodian parents, who had reared him in the errors of their sect, but he had afterward rejected them. He called the sects beautifully covered sepul­chers full of corruption.

The Herodians were numerous on the west side of the Jordan in Perea, Trachonitis, and especially in Ituraea. They lived very privately and had some kind of mysterious organization by which they secretly helped one another. Many poor people applied to them, and received immediate relief. These Herodians were outwardly great sticklers for the prescriptions of the Pharisees; in secret they aimed at freeing Judea from the Roman yoke, and consequently were closely attached to Herod. They were something like the modern freemasons. I understood from Jesus' words that they feigned to be very holy and magnanimous, but in reality they were hypocrites.

Jesus and the disciples remained at some distance from Galaad at an inn resorted to by publicans. Quite a number of them were gathered there at the time, to whom the heathens paid taxes on their imported goods. They did not appear to know Jesus, and He did not address them. He taught, however, of the


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 nearness of the Kingdom, and of the father who had sent his son into the vineyard. He gave them very clearly to understand that He Himself was the Son, adding that all who do His will are children of the Father. But these last words perplexed them. Jesus exhorted them to Baptism. Many were converted, and asked whether or not they should be baptized by John's disciples. He answered that they should wait patiently until His own disciples baptized in those parts. The disciples also asked their Master today whether His Baptism was different from that of John, because they had received the latter. Jesus, in His answer, made a distinction between the two, calling John's a baptism of penance.

In Jesus' instruction to the publicans, something entered relating to the Trinity, something about the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost in their Unity, though expressed in other terms. The disciples were not at all reserved before the publicans of this place.

As Jesus when in Nazareth had stopped with the Essenians, a circumstance that drew upon Him the reproaches of the Pharisees, the disciples put ques­tions to Him concerning that sect. I heard Jesus answering in sentences expressive of praise, though interrogative in form. Mentioning various ways by which justice and fraternal love might be wounded, He asked after each: "Do the Essenians do this? Do the Essenians do that?" etc.

Near Galaad some possessed, who were running around in a desolate region outside the city, began to cry after Jesus. They were perfectly abandoned. They robbed and killed anyone that ventured within their reach, and committed diverse kinds of excesses. Jesus looked back after them and gave them His blessing. They instantly ceased to rave, were freed from the evil spirit and, hurrying to Him, fell at His feet. He exhorted them to penance and Baptism, though bidding them wait for the latter until His dis­ciples should go to Ennon to baptize. The country

Jesus Cures the Possessed


 about Galaad was rocky, of a white, brittle formation.

Jesus and the disciples went from here across the mountain, to the south of which lay Gamala, and took a northwesterly direction to the lake. He passed Gerasa which, at about one hour's distance, lay between two ridges of the mountain. Nearby was a kind of morass formed from a brook whose waters were dammed up, and whose only outlet into the lake was through a ravine. Jesus related to the disciples some incidents connected with this place: The people of Gerasa had once upon a time ridiculed a Prophet, on account of his misshapen form, whereupon he had said to them: "Listen, O ye that insult my misfor­tune! Your children shall remain obdurate when One greater than I shall teach and heal in this place. Troubled at the loss of their unclean herds, they will not rejoice at the salvation that is offered them." This was a prophecy regarding Jesus Christ and the dri­ving of Satan into the swine.

Jesus told the disciples what awaited Him in Capharnaum: that the Pharisees of Sephoris, exas­perated by His teaching upon divorce, had sent their emissaries to Jerusalem; that the Nazarenes had joined their complaints to theirs; and that a whole troop of Pharisees from Jerusalem, Nazareth, and Sephoris was now dispatched to Capharnaum, to be on the watch for Him and to dispute against Him.

Just at this moment they encountered several immense caravans of heathens with mules and oxen. The latter had great, thick jaws, broad, heavy horns, and went along with lowered head. It was a trading caravan going from Syria into Egypt. They had come over into the country of Gerasa partly in ships, and partly over the bridge of the Jordan higher up. There were many among them who had joined the caravan for the purpose of hearing the Prophet. A company waited upon Jesus to know whether the Prophet would teach in Capharnaum. But He told them that they should not now go to Capharnaum, but encamp on


Life of Jesus Christ

 the declivity of the mountain to the north of Gerasa, whither the Prophet would soon go. There was some­thing in Jesus' tone and manner that made them respond: "Master, Thou too art a Prophet!" and His glance roused in them the doubt as to whether He might not Himself be the one for whom they were in search.

When Jesus entered the inn outside Gerasa with His disciples there to lodge, the crowd of heathens and travelers was so great that He left at once, but the disciples stayed with the heathens, talking to them of the Prophet and instructing them.

Gerasa lay on the declivity of a valley about an hour and a half from the lake. It was larger and cleaner than Capharnaum and, like almost all the cities of these parts, it had a mixed population of heathens and Jews. The former had their own tem­ples. The latter formed the poor and oppressed por­tion of the inhabitants, although they had their synagogue and Rabbi. There was much business car­ried on and the trades were numerous, for the car­avans from Syria and Asia passed through Gerasa going down into Egypt. I saw before the city gate a long building, seven and a half minutes in length, wherein were manufactured long iron bars and pipes. They forged the bars flat, and then soldered them together into a circular form. Leaden pipes also were made. The furnaces at which they worked were not fed with wood, but with some kind of a black mass dug out of the earth. The iron they used came from Argob.

The heathens of the caravan had encamped to the north of Gerasa and on the southern side of the ris­ing mountain. To the same place some heathens belonging to the city had come, also some Jews; but these latter stood apart by themselves. The heathens were differently clad from the Jews, their tunics reach­ing only halfway down the lower limbs. Some of them must have been rich, for I saw women who had their

Jesus Instructs the Heathens


 hair so braided with pearls as to form a perfect cap. Some wore it on the top of the head above their veil, braided with pearls into a little basket.

Jesus ascended the mountainside, where walking about He taught the crowds. He went among them, here and there, and at times He stood still, keeping up a kind of conversation with the travelers. He addressed them questions, which He answered Him­self in words full of instruction. He asked, for instance: "Whence are ye? What impelled you to take this jour­ney? What do ye expect from the Prophet?" and then He taught them what they must become, in order to share in salvation. He said: "Blessed are they that have journeyed so long and so toilsome a way, to seek salvation! But woe to them among whom it arises and who will not receive it!" He explained the Prophecy of the Messiah and the call of the hea­thens, told of that of the Three Kings (of whom these people knew) and also of their expedition in obedi­ence to it.

In the caravan were some people from that coun­try and city where the envoy of Abgarus of Edessa had stayed overnight near the brick kilns, on his return journey with Jesus' picture and letter. Jesus did not cure any sick here. The strangers were for the most part well-disposed, but there were some among them who regretted having undertaken such a journey. They had expected to hear something very different from the Prophet's words, something more flattering to the senses.

After these instructions, into which Jesus intro­duced many similitudes, He went with His four dis­ciples to dine with a Jewish Doctor of the Law, a Pharisee, who dwelt outside the city. He had invited Jesus to be his guest, though his pride prevented his appearing at the instruction given the heathens. There were present at table some other Pharisees from the city. They received Jesus in a friendly manner which, however, was only feigned, for they were hypocrites.


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 A circumstance occurred during the course of the meal that gave Jesus a suitable opportunity for telling them the truth. A heathen slave, or servant, laid upon the table a beautiful dish of many colors filled with confectionery, made of spices kneaded together in the shape of birds and flowers. One of the guests raised the alarm. There was, he said, something unclean on the dish, and he pushed the poor slave back, called him opprobrious names, and put him last among the other servants. Jesus interposed: "Not the dish, but what is in it is full of uncleanness." The master of the house replied: "Thou mistakest, those sweetmeats are perfectly clean and very costly." Jesus responded in words like these: "They are truly unclean! They are nothing else than sensual plea­sures made of the sweat, the blood, the marrow, and the tears of widows, orphans, and the poor," and He read them a severe lesson upon their manner of act­ing, their prodigality, their covetousness, and their hypocrisy. They grew wrathy, but could make no reply. They quitted the house, leaving Jesus alone with the host. This latter was very smooth and affable toward Jesus, but it was all hypocrisy. He was hoping in this way to entrap Him and get something at last to report against Him to the committee at Capharnaum.

Toward evening Jesus again taught the heathens on the mountain. When they asked Him whether they should be baptized by John and expressed a wish to settle in Palestine, Jesus counseled them to put off their Baptism until better instructed. He told them, moreover, to go first of all across the Jordan to Upper Galilee and into the region of Adama, where they would find good people and heathens already instructed, and where He Himself would again teach. It was dark and Jesus taught by torchlight. The instruction over, He left His hearers, and went to the shore of the lake and down to the spot where Peter's men were waiting for Him with a boat. It was late. The three sailors made use of lights when they

Jesus and Peter's Boat


 disembarked about half an hour below Bethsaida-Julias. Peter and Andrew, with the help of their ser­vants, had built especially for His use the little boat in which Jesus had crossed. They were not only mariners and fishermen, but shipbuilders also.

Peter owned three vessels, one of them very large, as long as a house, Jesus' little boat held about ten men. It was oval in form, almost like an egg. In the forepart and stern were enclosed places for storing, and affording accommodations for washing the feet. In the center rose the mast with poles extended from it to the sides of the vessel for support; above and around these poles swung the sails. The seats were ranged around the mast. Jesus often taught from this little barque, which He used likewise to cross from point to point and to sail about among the other ships. The large vessels had around the lower part of the mast decks formed like terraces, or galleries, one above another. They were supported by posts placed at regular intervals, so that a view could be had through them from side to side. They were fur­nished with canvas curtains that could be drawn so as to form separate compartments like little cells. The poles supporting the mast had projecting rounds to facilitate climbing, and on either side of the ves­sel were floating chests, or barrels like wings or fins, to prevent its being overturned in a storm. They could be filled with water or emptied, according as it was necessary for the ship to ride more lightly or sink to a greater depth. The fish caught was some­times preserved in them. At either end of the vessel were movable planks which, on being shoved out, facilitated access to the casks, to neighboring boats, or to the nets. When not in use for fishing purposes, the vessels were held in readiness to transport car­avans and travelers across the lake. The sailors and servants of the fishermen were, for the most part, pagan slaves. Peter owned some.


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7. Jesus in Peter's House. Measures Taken by the Pharisees. Cures

Jesus landed above Bethsaida not far from the house of the lepers where Peter, Andrew, John, James the Greater, James the Less, and Philip were await­ing His coming. He did not go with them through Bethsaida, but took the shorter route over the height to Peter's dwelling in the valley between that city and Capharnaum, where Mary and the other women were assembled. Peter's mother-in-law was in bed sick. Jesus went to see her, but did not cure her yet. They washed the Master's feet and then sat down to a meal, during which the conversation turned prin­cipally upon the fact that, from the several most famous schools in Judea and Jerusalem, fifteen Phar­isees had been sent to Capharnaum to spy Jesus' actions. From the larger places, two had been sent; from Sephoris only one; and from Nazareth came that young man who had several times begged of Jesus to be admitted to His disciples, and whom Jesus had again rejected at His last visit to His native city. He had married lately, and was now appointed Scribe of the commission. Jesus said to the disciples: "Behold, for whom you interceded! He desired to become My disciple, and yet he is now come to lay snares for Me!" This young man wanted to join Jesus through a motive of vanity and, not being allowed to do so, he took part with Jesus' ene­mies. The Pharisees forming the commission were empowered to remain for some time in Capharnaum. Of those that came in pairs, one returned to report, the second remaining to spy Jesus' conduct and teach­ing. They had already held a meeting before which the Centurion Zorobabel, the son, and father had to appear and answer interrogatories respecting the boy's cure and Jesus' doctrine. They could neither deny the cure nor challenge the doctrine, neverthe­less

Jesus in Peter's House


 they could not reconcile themselves to what had happened. They were angry because Jesus had not studied under them; they found fault with His fre­quenting the company of common people, such as the Essenians, fishermen, publicans, and sinners; they were indignant at His presuming to teach without a mission from Jerusalem, from the Sanhedrin; they were offended at His not having recourse to them­selves for counsel and instruction; and they could not endure that He was neither Pharisee nor Sad­ducee, that He taught among the Samaritans, and cured on the Sabbath day. They were in short furi­ous at the thought that to render Him justice would be to denounce and condemn themselves. The young man from Nazareth was a violent enemy of the Samar­itans, whom he persecuted in many ways.

Jesus' friends and relatives did not want Him to teach in Capharnaum on the Sabbath. Even His Mother was full of anxiety, and she expressed her opinion that it would be more advisable for Him to go to the other side of the lake. From such objec­tions, Jesus turned aside with a few brief words and without explanations.

There were in Bethsaida and Capharnaum immense numbers of sick, of heathens, and Jews. Several troops of the travelers that Jesus had lately met on the other side of the lake were here await­ing Him. Near Bethsaida were large open inns cov­ered with reeds, some for heathens, some for Jews. Above this place were the heathen baths; below were the Jewish.

Peter accommodated many of the Jewish sick in the precincts of his dwelling, and Jesus next morn­ing healed a large number of them. Jesus had said to Peter the evening before that he should leave his fishery on the following day and help Him to fish after men; soon would He call upon him to quit it entirely. Peter obeyed, though not without some inward embarrassment. He was always of the opinion


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 that life with the Master was too high for him, he could not understand it. He believed in Jesus, he saw His miracles, he shared freely his substance with the other disciples, he did willingly all that was enjoined upon him, but yet he felt unfit for such a vocation. He thought himself too simple, too unwor­thy, and to this was added a secret anxiety for the welfare of his business. Sometimes also it was very vexatious to him to find himself the object of such railleries as, "He is only a poor fisherman, and yet look at him going around with the Prophet! And his house is a perfect rendezvous for fanatics and sedi­tious persons. See how he neglects his business!" All this made it a struggle for Peter since, though full of faith and love, he was not at that time so enthu­siastic, so zealous as Andrew and the other disci­ples. He was timid and humble, attached to his ordinary occupations, and in his simplicity would have preferred being left in the peaceful discharge of them.

Jesus went from Peter's dwelling over the moun­tain ridge to the north side of Bethsaida. The whole road was full of sick, pagans and Jews, separate how­ever, the leprous far removed from all others. There were blind, lame, dumb, deaf, paralytic, and an exceedingly large number of dropsical Jews. The cer­emony of curing was performed with the greatest order and solemnity. The people had already been two days here, and the disciples of the place, Andrew, Peter, and the others whom Jesus had notified of His coming, had arranged them comfortably in the nooks, retired and shady, and the little gardens on the road. Jesus instructed and admonished the sick, who were carried or led and ranged around Him in groups. Some desired to confess their sins to Him, and He stepped with them to a more retired spot. They sank on their knees before Him, confessing and weeping. Among the heathens were some that had committed murder and robbery on their journeys. Jesus passed

“Rise! Thy Sins are Forgiven Thee!”


 by some, leaving them lying unnoticed for a time while He turned to others; but afterwards coming back to them, He exclaimed: "Rise! Thy sins are for­given thee!" Among the Jews were adulterers and usurers. When Jesus saw in them proofs of repen­tance, He imposed on them a penance, repeated some prayers with them, laid His hands upon them, and cured them. He commanded many to purify them­selves in a bath. Some of the heathens He ordered to receive Baptism or to join their converted brethren in Upper Galilee. Band after band passed before Him, and the disciples preserved order.

Jesus went through Bethsaida also. It was crowded with people, as if upon a great pilgrimage. He cured here in the different inns and along the streets. Refreshments had been prepared in Andrew's house. I saw some children there: Peter's stepdaughter and some other little girls of about ten years, two others between eight and ten, and Andrew's little son who wore a yellow tunic with a girdle. There were also some females of advanced age. All were standing on a kind of covered porch outside the house, speaking of the Prophet, asking whether He would soon come, and running from side to side to see whether He were in sight. They had assembled here in order to get a glimpse of Him, though ordinarily the children were kept under greater restraint. At last Jesus passed, turned His head toward them, and gave them His blessing. I saw Him going again to Peter's and curing many. He cured about one hundred on that day, pardoned their sins, and pointed out to them what they should do in the future.

I saw again that Jesus exercised many different manners of curing, and that probably He did so in order to instruct the disciples as to how they should act, also the ministers of the Church till the end of time. All the actions of Jesus, even His sufferings, appeared to be of a purely human nature. There were no sudden, no magical transformations in the cures


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 He wrought. I saw in them a certain transition from sickness to health analogous to the nature of the malady and the sins that had given rise to it. I saw stealing upon those over whom He prayed or upon whom He laid His hand a certain stillness and inward recollection, which lasted for some moments, when they rose up as if from a slight swoon, cured. The lame rose without effort and cast themselves cured at His feet, though their full strength and agility returned to some only after a few hours, to others not for days. I saw some sick of the dropsy who could totter toward Him without assistance, and others who had to be carried. He generally laid His hand on their head and stomach and pronounced some words, after which they at once arose and walked. They felt quite relieved, the water passing from them in perspiration. The leprous, on being cured, im­mediately lost the scales of their disease, though still retaining the red scars. They that recovered sight, speech, or hearing, had at first a feeling of strange­ness in the use of those senses. I saw some swollen with gout cured. Their pains left them, and they could walk, but the swelling did not go down at once, though it disappeared very soon. Convulsions were cured immediately and fevers vanished at His word, though their victims did not instantly become strong and vigorous. They were like drooping plants regain­ing freshness in the rain. The possessed usually sank into a short swoon from which they recovered with a calm expression of countenance and quite worn out, though freed from the evil one. All was con­ducted quietly and methodically. Only for unbelievers and the malevolent had the miracles of Jesus any­thing frightful in them.

The heathens present on this occasion had been influenced to come chiefly by people that had been to the baptism and teaching of John, and by other heathens from Upper Galilee where Jesus had for­merly taught and cured. Some had already received

Jesus Teaches and Cures


 John's baptism, and some had not. Jesus did not order them to be circumcised. When questioned on this point, He instructed them upon the cir­cumcision of the heart and the senses, and taught them how to mortify themselves. He spoke to them of charity, temperance, frugality, ordered them to keep the Ten Commandments, taught them some parts of a prayer like the petitions of the Lord's Prayer, and promised to send them His disciples.

8. Jesus Teaches and Cures In Capharnaum

On the preceding evening, flags with knots and strings of fruit were raised on the synagogues and public buildings of Bethsaida, to herald the last day of the month Ab. With the Sabbath, the first day of the month Elul began. Next morning after Jesus had healed many sick Jews in Bethsaida, He went with the disciples to Peter's, near Capharnaum. The women had preceded Him thither, and crowds of sick were again awaiting Him. There were two deaf men into whose ears Jesus put His finger. Two others were brought forward, who could scarcely walk, besides which their arms were perfectly stiff and their hands swollen. Jesus laid His hand on them and prayed; then grasping them by both hands, He swung their arms up and down, and they were cured. The swelling did not, however, disappear at once, but only after a couple of hours. He exhorted them for the future to use their hands for the glory of God, for it was sin that had reduced them to this state. He cured many others, and then went into the city for the Sabbath.

The concourse of people at Capharnaum was very great. The possessed had been released from their place of confinement and ran crying out along the streets to meet Jesus. He commanded them to be silent and delivered them; whereupon, to the aston­ishment


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 of the multitude, they followed Him quietly to the synagogue and listened to His instruction. The Pharisees, and among them those fifteen from the other cities, sat around His chair, forced to treat Him with respect and hypocritical reverence. They gave Him the Scriptures, and He taught from Isa­ias 49, that God had not forgotten His people. He read aloud: "If even a woman should forget her child, yet would not God forget His people"; and then explained from the following verses that the impi­ety of men could not restrain God, could not hinder Him from realizing His thoughts of mercy. The time of which the Prophet speaks, that the eyes of God are always on the walls of Sion, had now come, now should the destroyers flee and the builders com­mence their labor. The Lord would gather together nations to ornament His sanctuary. There will be so many good and pious souls, so many benefactors and leaders of the poor nations that the sterile syna­gogue will say: Who has begotten to me so many children? The Gentiles shall be converted to the Church, the kings of the earth shall serve her! The God of Jacob shall snatch from the enemy, from the perverted synagogue, her children; and they that like murderers lay hands on the Saviour, shall rage against one another, and choke one another. (Isaias 50:1 et seq.) Jesus explained this as referring to the destruction of Jerusalem, since it would not receive the Kingdom of grace. God demands whether He has separated from the Synagogue, whether He has given her a bill of divorce, whether He has sold His peo­ple. Yes, on account of their sins, have they been sold! On account of her transgressions, has the Syn­agogue been abandoned! He has called, He has warned, and no one has heeded. But He is the mighty God, He can cause Heaven and earth to tremble, Jesus applied all to His own time. He showed that all had been led astray, those that had been for­saken by the synagogue. And then, as if speaking

The Pharisees


 to Himself, He uttered the words of this passage of Isaias: "The Lord hath given me a learned tongue, that I should know how to uphold by word him that is weary: He hath opened His ears to Him in the morning to hear His commands, and He hath not resisted." The Pharisees took these words as foolish self-praise, though they were ravished by His preach­ing, and said to one another at the end of it: "Never before has any Prophet so taught!" They whispered, nevertheless, some malicious remarks into one another's ears, Jesus went on with the explanation of this passage: "I have given My body to the strik­ers, and My cheeks to them that plucked them," applying it to the persecutions that He had already endured and to what He had still to suffer. He spoke of the ill-treatment He had received at Nazareth, saying: "Let him who can condemn Me, come for­ward!" His enemies, He said, would grow old and come to naught in their vain teachings, the Judge would come upon them. The godly would hear His voice, while the ignorant, the unenlightened should call to God and hope in Him. The Day of Judgment would come, and they that had kindled the fire would go to ruin. (Is. 1:11). This passage, also, Jesus explained of the destruction of the Jewish people and Jerusalem.

The Pharisees had not a word to reply. They lis­tened in silence, transported by His words, though occasionally whispering a jeering remark into their neighbor's ear. Jesus then explained something from Moses as He always did at the termination of His sermons, and added a parable, which He addressed more particularly to the disciples and to the faith­less young Scribe of Nazareth. The parable was that of the talent put out at interest, for the young Scribe was vain of his acquirements. He was humbled inte­riorly by it, but not improved. Jesus related the para­ble in terms similar to, though not quite the same as those given in the Gospel.


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In front of the synagogue, Jesus cured the sick on the streets, and then went with His disciples to Peter's outside the city gate. Nathaniel Chased and the bride­groom, also Thaddeus, had come hither from Cana for this Sabbath. Thaddeus was often in Capharnaum, for he travelled a great deal throughout the country, dealing in fishing nets, sailcloth, and tackling. That night the house was again full of sick persons, and separated from the rest were several women afflicted with a flow of blood. Some women, completely en­veloped, were brought on portable beds by their friends. They were pale and emaciated, and had already sighed long after Jesus' help. This time I saw that He imposed hands on the sufferers, and blessed them. Then He commanded those on the beds to throw off their covers and arise. They obeyed, one helping the other. Jesus exhorted them and bade them adieu. During the night, He retired to pray.

The spying Pharisees had not spoken openly in Capharnaum of the object of their mission; even the Centurion Zorobabel had been questioned only secretly. They had sufficient pretexts to account for their pres­ence: The Jews were in the habit of going from one place to another for the celebration of the Sabbath, especially if a distinguished Doctor was expected to preside; it was customary, besides, for crowds to retire into the country of Genesareth, to rest from business and enjoy the beauty and luxuriance that everywhere abounded.

On the following day Jesus went very early to Capharnaum. There was an innumerable concourse gathered before the synagogue, among them crowds of sick, of whom He healed many. When He entered the synagogue wherein the Pharisees were assem­bled, some possessed who were present began to cry out after Him. One in particular, more noisy than his fellows, went running toward Him crying: "What have we to do with Thee, Jesus of Nazareth? Thou hast come to destroy us! I know that Thou art the

Jesus Expounds Isaias


 Holy One of God!" Jesus commanded the demon to be silent and to go out of the man. The latter, tear­ing himself, ran back among his companions, but the devil, uttering great cries, went out of him. The man then became perfectly calm, and cast himself at Jesus' feet. Many of those present, and especially the dis­ciples, said in the hearing of the Pharisees, who were scandalized at what they saw: "What kind of a new doctrine is this? Who can this Teacher be? He has power over the impure spirits!"

The crowd was so dense, there were so many sick in and around the synagogue, that Jesus had to take His stand on a spot to be seen and heard not only from within, but also from the court, which was crowded. The Pharisees stood around Him inside, while Jesus turned toward the court to address the people. Sometimes He turned toward the interior of the synagogue, and again toward those outside. The halls around the building were open for the accom­modation of the immense throng of hearers, who filled not only the court, but mounted the steps leading to the flat roofs of the buildings that enclosed it. Below were the cells and oratories reserved for penitents and those that came to pray. There were some places specially reserved for the sick.

Jesus again clearly and energetically expounded Isaias, applying all to their own time and to Him­self. The times, He said, were fulfilled and the King­dom was near. They had always longed after the fulfillment of the Prophecies, they had sighed for the Prophet, the Messiah, who would relieve them of their burdens. But when He would come, they would not receive Him, because He would fail to realize their erroneous notions of Him. Then taking the signs of the coming of the Prophet for whose accomplish­ment they always sighed, those signs that were still read from the Scriptures in their synagogues and for which they prayed, He proved that they had all been fulfilled. He said: "The lame shall walk, the blind


Life of Jesus Christ

 see, the deaf hear. Is there not something of this now? What mean these gatherings of the Gentiles to hear instruction? What do the possessed cry out? Why are the demons expelled? Why do the cured praise God? Do not the wicked persecute Him? Do not spies surround Him? But they will cast out and kill the Son of the Lord of the vineyard, and how shall it be with them? If ye will not receive salva­tion, yet shall it not be lost. Ye cannot prevent its being given to the poor, the sick, to sinners and pub­licans, to the penitent, and even to the Gentiles in whose favor it shall be taken from you." Such was the substance of Jesus' discourse. He added: "That John whom they have imprisoned ye acknowledge to be a Prophet! Go to him in his prison and ask him for whom did he prepare the ways and of whom did he bear witness?" While Jesus spoke, the rage of the Pharisees increased, and they whispered and mut­tered together.

During Jesus' discourse, four distinguished men of Capharnaum, sick of an unclean malady, were car­ried by eight others less sick to the synagogue and placed in such a position in the court that Jesus could see them and they could hear His teaching. On account of their sickness, they were allowed to enter only by one particular gate, but that being just at present obstructed by the crowd, the eight semi invalids had to lift them in their beds to a place over a wall and force their own way through the crowd, which at once retreated before the unclean sickness. When the Pharisees saw the newcomers, they became angry and began to snarl at them as public sinners suffering from an unclean malady. They spoke aloud against them, asking what kind of irregularity was this, that such people should venture into their vicin­ity? When their remarks ran through the crowd and reached the objects of them, the poor sick men became sad and frightened lest Jesus, being informed of their sins, should refuse to cure them. They were

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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