Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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The Pharisees Murmur


 full of contrition, and had long sighed for Jesus' assis­tance. But when Jesus heard the murmuring of the Pharisees, He turned on the instant to where the sick men were lying in fear and anxiety, addressed His discourse to the crowd in the court and, casting a look full of earnestness and love on the sufferers, cried out to them: "Your sins are forgiven you!" At this the poor men burst into tears, while the Phar­isees, highly exasperated, growled out: "How does He dare say so? How can He forgive sins!" Jesus said: "Follow Me down there, and see what I am going to do! Why are ye offended at My doing the will of My Father? If ye do not want salvation yourselves, yet should you not grudge it to the repentant! Ye are angry that I cure on the Sabbath? Does the hand of the Almighty rest on the Sabbath day from doing good and punishing evil? Does He not feed the hun­gry, cure the sick, and shed around His blessings on the Sabbath? Can He not send sickness on the Sab­bath? May He not let you die on the Sabbath? Be not vexed that the Son does the will and the works of His Father on the Sabbath!" When He reached the sick men, He ordered the Pharisees to stand in a row at some distance, saying: "Stay here, for to ye these men are unclean, though to Me not, since their sins have been forgiven them! And now, tell Me. Is it harder to say to a contrite sinner, 'Thy sins are forgiven thee,' than to say to a sick man, 'Arise, and carry thy bed hence?'" The Pharisees had not a word to answer. Then Jesus approached the sick men, laid His hands on them one after the other, uttered a few words of prayer over them, raised them up by the hand, and commanded them to render thanks to God, to sin no more, and to carry away their beds. All four arose. The eight who had carried them and who were themselves half-sick, had become quite vigorous, and they helped the others to throw off the covers in which they were wrapped. These latter appeared to be only a little fatigued and embarrassed. Putting


Life of Jesus Christ

 together the poles of their portable beds, they shoul­dered them, and all twelve went off through the won­dering and exulting crowd joyfully intoning the song of thanksgiving: "Praised be the Lord God of Israel! He has done great things to us. He has had mercy on His people, and has cured us by His Prophet!"

But the Pharisees, full of wrath and deeply mor­tified, hurried away without taking leave of the Sav­iour. Everything about Jesus exasperated them: His actions and His manner of performing them, that He was not of the same opinion with them, that He did not esteem them just, wise, and holy, that He associated with people whom they despised. They had a thousand objections to make to Him; namely, that He did not keep the fasts strictly, He associ­ated with sinners, pagans, Samaritans, and the rab­ble at large, that He was Himself of mean extraction, that He gave too much liberty to His disciples and did not keep them in proper respect—in a word, everything in Him displeased them. Still they could bring no special charge against Him. His wisdom and His astonishing miracles they could not deny; consequently, they took refuge in ever-increasing rage and calumny. When one considers the life of Jesus in detail, the priests and people of His time are found to be pretty much the same as they are nowa­days. If Jesus actually returned to earth, from many Doctors of the Law, from many politicians, He would have to endure still worse things.

The sickness of the lately cured consisted in a dis­charge of impure humors. They were, before their cure, quite exhausted and motionless, as if they had had an apoplectic stroke. The eight others were par­tially lame on one side. The beds consisted of two poles with feet, a crosspiece in the middle, on which a mat was stretched. They rolled the whole together, and carried them on their shoulders like a couple of poles. It was a touching sight—those men going through the crowd singing!

Peter's Mother-in-Law


9. Jesus Cures Peter's Mother-in-Law. Peter's Great Humility

Jesus now went without delay with the disciples out of the city gate and along the mountain to Peter's in Bethsaida. They had urged Him to do so, for they thought that Peter's mother-in-law was dying. Her sickness had very much increased, and now she had a raging fever. Jesus went straight into her room. He was followed by some of the family; I think Peter's daughter was among them. He stepped to that side of the bed to which the sick woman's face was turned, and leaned against the bed, half-standing, half­ sitting, so that His head approached hers. He spoke to her some words, and laid His hand upon her head and breast. She became perfectly still. Then stand­ing before her, He took her hand and raised her into sitting posture, saying: "Give her something to drink!" Peter's daughter gave her a drink out of a vessel in the form of a little boat. Jesus blessed the drink and commanded the invalid to rise. She obeyed and arose from her low couch. Her limbs were bandaged, and she wore a wide nightdress. Disengaging herself from the bandages, she stepped to the floor and rendered thanks to the Lord, the entire household uniting with her.

At the meal that followed, she helped with the other women and, perfectly recovered, served at table. After that, Jesus, with Peter, Andrew, James, John, and several of the other disciples, went to Peter's fish­ery on the lake. In the instruction He gave them, He spoke principally of the fact that they would soon give up their present occupations and follow Him. Peter became quite timid and anxious. He fell on his knees before Jesus, begging Him to reflect upon his ignorance and weakness, and not to insist on his undertaking anything so important, that he was entirely unworthy, and quite unable to instruct oth­ers. Jesus replied that His disciples should have no


Life of Jesus Christ

 worldly solicitude, that He who gave health to the sick would provide for their subsistence and furnish them with ability for what they had to do. All were perfectly satisfied, excepting Peter who, in his humil­ity and simplicity, could not comprehend how he was for the future to be, not a fisherman, but a teacher of men. This, however, is not the call of the Apostles related in the Gospel. That had not yet taken place. Peter had nevertheless already given over a great part of his business to Zebedee. After this walk by the lake, Jesus again went to Capharnaum and found an unusual number of sick around Peter's house out­side the city. He cured many, and taught again in the synagogue.

As the concourse of people continued to increase, Jesus, without being noticed, disengaged Himself from the crowd, and went alone to a wild but very pleas­ant ravine which extended to the south of Caphar­naum, from Zorobabel's mansion to the dwellings of his servants and workmen. In it were grottos, bushes, and springs, numerous birds, and all kinds of tame, rare animals. It was a skillfully cared-for solitude belonging to Zorobabel, besides being a part of that garden of pleasure, Genesareth, thrown open to the public. Jesus spent the night alone and in prayer, the disciples being ignorant of His whereabouts.

Early next morning, He left the wilderness, but not to return to Capharnaum. He ordered Peter and another of the disciples who had come to seek Him to send Parmenas, Saturnin, Aristobolus, and Tharzis­sus to a certain place where He would meet them, and thence go to the Baths of Bethulia. He went around the height of the valley on which lay Mag­dalum, which He passed a couple of hours eastward to the left. On the south side of this height was the city of Jetebatha.

The Baths of Bethulia


10. Jesus at the Baths of Bethulia And in Jetebatha

At first I thought that Jesus was going to Gennabris, situated among the mountains, about three hours west of Tiberias. But He did not go there, but to the north side of the valley where was the fountain of Bethuel. A great many wealthy and dis­tinguished people from Galilee and Judea owned vil­las and gardens here, which they occupied in the beautiful season of the year. On the south side of the lake, formed by the northern declivity of the heights of Bethuel, were rows of houses and warm baths, those toward the east being the warmer. The baths had one large reservoir in common, around which were private apartments formed by tents; in them were tubs sunk to a greater or lesser depth in the water, according to the convenience of the bathers. These private apartments communicated with the reservoir. There were many inns in the neighborhood of the baths. A private house and garden could also be hired for the season with everything else free. The revenues belonged to the city of Bethulia, and were used principally to keep up the baths. The waters of the lake were uncommonly pure, clear as a mir­ror to the very bottom, which was paved with beau­tiful, little white pebbles. It was fed by a stream from the east which flowed from the baths in the valley of Magdalum. The lake swarmed with little pleasure boats, which in the distance looked like ducks. On the north side of the lake, but facing south, were dwellings for the accommodation of female vis­itors at the baths. Their walks and pleasure grounds, however, were near the brook that flowed through those of the men. Both sides of the valley formed a gentle declivity toward the lake. From the dwellings and baths there ran around the lake, crossing and opening into one another, shady avenues, embowered walks with wide-stretching trees and luxuriant


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 foliage, among which lay meadows of very high and beautiful grass, orchards, vegetable gardens, and grounds for riding and games. The view was enchant­ingly beautiful—hills and mountains, all teeming with the most exuberant fertility, rich especially in grapes and fruits. The second harvest of the year was now ripe.

Jesus remained on the side of the lake by which He had come, and put up at a traveler’s inn. Peo­ple soon gathered around Him, and He taught them with great sweetness outside the inn. Many women were among His hearers. Next morning I saw a num­ber of little boats coming over from the south side of the lake where the bathers were. It was a depu­tation of the most distinguished men come to invite Jesus courteously to return with them and preach. Jesus ferried across with them and went to an inn where they presented Him with a little luncheon. He taught in the cool of the morning and evening under shady trees, on a hill not far from the inn. Most of His hearers stood around Him, the women on one side veiled. The order observed was truly pleasing. The people were, for the most part, well-bred and well-inclined, cheerful and good-humored. As there were no factions among them, one did not fear to give vent to his feelings before the others, conse­quently they were all most reverential and attentive to Jesus. They were perfectly carried away and rejoiced by His very first discourse. He taught of purification by water, of the union, equality, and the feeling of confidence that reigned among them, of the mystery of water, of the washing away of sin, of the bath of baptism as administered by John, of the charity and good understanding that ought to unite the baptized, the converted, etc. He borrowed, more­over, subject matter and graceful similitudes from the lovely season, from the country around, the moun­tains, trees, fruit, and herds, in short from every­thing they saw about them. I saw His audience around

At the Baths


 Jesus in a circle, and at times exchanging places with newcomers to whom He repeated the substance of His last discourse.

I saw some gouty invalids moving slowly about. They were mostly government officials and officers who were enjoying a vacation. I recognized them by the uniforms they wore when leaving for their dif­ferent garrisons around the country. During their stay at the baths, all were dressed alike with noth­ing to distinguish them from other people. The men wore fine, yellow woolen stuff made into tunics of four separate skirts, one above the other, the lower one wrapped into a kind of trousers down to the knees; some went barefoot, others wore sandals. The upper part of the body was covered with a scapular open at the sides and bound at the waist by a broad girdle. The shoulders were covered with an arm flap that reached halfway to the elbow; the head was uncovered. They played at games, fighting with lit­tle sticks and armed with shields made of leaves. They attacked one another in rows and also singly, aiming at pushing their opponents from their places. They ran toward a goal for a wager, jumped over ropes, sprang through hoops upon which all sorts of glittering things were hanging. These they were not to touch in passing through, otherwise they tinkled and fell off. The contestant for the prize lost in pro­portion to the number thus displaced. The prizes con­sisted of fruit which I saw lying ready for the winners. I saw some playing on reed flutes; others had long, thick reeds through which they gazed into the dis­tance and into the lake. Sometimes they blew balls or little arrows through them, as if they were shoot­ing after fishes. I saw that these reeds were flexi­ble; they could be bent to form a ring and then hung on the arm. I saw them also sticking glass globes of different colors on the ends of the reeds and waving them to and fro, thus reflecting the light of the sun. The whole landscape was mirrored in the globes, but


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 in an inverted position. When the globes were revolved, the whole lake appeared to be passing over­head. This greatly diverted the beholders.

The fruits, and especially the grapes, were truly magnificent. I saw some persons very respectfully and courteously bringing some of the finest to Jesus.

The dwellings of the women were on the opposite side of the valley; but their baths were on this side, more toward the east and out of sight of those of the men. On the banks of the stream that flowed into the lake, I saw little boys in short, white woolen tunics with willow switches of various colors in their hands, driving flocks of different kinds of aquatic birds. The water from the stream and lake was con­ducted up to the inns on the height and also to the baths. It was received in channels from which it was raised to higher reservoirs, and from them to oth­ers, and so on. I saw the women also playing at dif­ferent games on the green. They were very modestly clothed in fine, white woolen wrappers that fell around them in numerous folds and were girded twice, over the breast and again at the waist. The wide sleeves could be raised or lowered by means of buckles. Around the wrists they had large, stiff frills with many folds, like the tail of a peacock. Their head­dress consisted of a cap of circular puffs graduated lower and narrower, wound with silk or small feath­ers of natural whiteness. It looked like a snail's shell made of feathers. It was tied behind and a long point made of tassels hung down the back. They wore no veil, but over the face were two sections of finely plaited, white, transparent stuff like half fans, which reached to below the nose, and had holes for the eyes. They could lower them in part if they wished to guard against the sun, or throw them entirely back. Before men they were lowered.

I saw the women amusing themselves lustily at the following game. Each had a girdle ending in a ring, or a loop, around her waist. They formed a cir­cle,

The Region Around Bethulia


 each holding her neighbor fast by the loop with one hand, the other being free. A trinket was con­cealed in the grass and they turned round here and there in a circle until one of the players spied it. When she stopped to pick it up, the others in the circle gave a sudden jerk; those following likewise stooped after the treasure, each one trying not to fall. Sometimes they tumbled over one another amid shouts of laughter.

Bethulia was situated on a plateau in a mountain­ous region, solitary and wild. It was an hour and a half south of the lake. Above it was a great, rough looking tower and many ruined walls and towers. Once upon a time, the city must have extended much further and been very strongly fortified. Trees were now growing on those walls, upon which vehicles could be driven, and I saw the visitors at the baths promenading on them. The city lay high up around the mountain. Here it was that Judith became illus­trious. The camp of Holofernes stretched from the lake through the ravine of Jetebatha around to Dothan, a couple of hours to the south of Bethulia. From Jetebatha also there were visitors at the baths. They did not wait to hear Jesus' instructions but, returning to Jetebatha, spread the news of His pres­ence in Bethulia. Jetebatha was situated about an hour and a half to the southeast, built in the bosom of the mountains as in an immense cave. Before it rose a mountain from which the descent into the city was over deep, wild ditches. It appeared to be built in a deep quarry, the mountain hanging high over it. To the north of this mountain, not quite two hours distant, was Magdalum, on the edge of a deep dale, with its surroundings of avenues, gardens, and tow­ers of all kinds stretching off into the middle of it. Between the mountain and Magdalum were still standing the remains of the channel of an aqueduct through whose arches one could look far off into the country. The channel was now overgrown by vines


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 and foliage. Southward from Jetebatha rose another wild mountain pierced right and left by broad ravines. It was a region full of wonderful hiding places. There were numerous Herodians in Jetebatha. In a wall of the fortifications they had a secret meeting place. The sect was composed of shrewd, intelligent people ranged under a secret superior. They had signs whereby they recognized one another, and the chiefs could also tell (how, I do not now know) if a mem­ber had betrayed anything. Secret enemies of the Romans, they were plotting a revolution in favor of Herod. Although in reality followers of the Sadducees, yet in the exterior they conformed to the Pharisees, thinking in this way to draw over both parties to their designs. They knew indeed that the time had come for the appearance of the Messiah, the King of the Jews, and they resolved to make use of the gen­eral belief for the furtherance of their ends. Exteri­orly and through motives of cunning, they were very bland and tolerant, though really treacherous sneaks. They had, properly speaking, no religion at all; but under the cloak of piety, they labored at the found­ing of an independent kingdom of this world, and Herod supported them in their intrigues.

When the synagogue of Jetebatha heard of Jesus' presence in the neighborhood, they sent two Hero­dians to the baths of Bethulia, to find out what sort of a person He was and to invite Him to Jetebatha. Jesus, however, gave them no decided answer as to whether He would go or not. About seven of the dis­ciples that had journeyed with Him a couple of weeks before met Him here again. Two of them were John's disciples, some relatives of his who also were disci­ples, from the country of Hebron, and one was a cousin from Lesser Sephoris. They had been seeking Him in Galilee, and had now found Him, During those days, I saw Jesus speaking confidentially with several of the guests at the baths. There must have been some of His own followers among them.

Discourse at Bethulia


When the Herodians returned to Jetebatha, one of them set about preparing the people in case Jesus should come to their city. He told them that Jesus, the Prophet of Nazareth, who was now nearby at the Baths of Bethulia, would probably visit their city for the coming Sabbath. He was the one who had made a great uproar in Capharnaum on the preceding Sab­bath and on the Sabbath before that in Nazareth. He warned them not to be seduced by Him, not to applaud Him, not even to let Him speak for any length of time, but to interrupt Him with murmurs and contradictions whenever He said anything sin­gular or unintelligible; and so the people were pre­pared for Jesus' coming.

Jesus delivered at the Baths of Bethulia another discourse full of beauty and simplicity. Numbers of men formed around Him a circle in which He moved about among them. At a distance in the background, several men lame with the gout were timidly stand­ing. They had come to make use of the baths, but had not yet ventured to approach Jesus. Jesus repeated what He had taught yesterday and the day before, exhorting His audience to purification from sin. All hearts were touched and turned to Him. Many exclaimed: "Lord, who could hear Thee and resist Thy words!" Jesus replied: "Ye have heard much about Me, and now ye listen to My words. Who do ye think I am?" Some said: "Lord, Thou art a Prophet!" Others answered: "Thou art more than a Prophet! No Prophet ever taught such things as Thou dost teach. None has ever done the things that Thou hast done!" But others, again, kept silence. Jesus, penetrating the thoughts of these last, point­ing to them, said: "These men's thoughts are the right ones." Someone then said: "Lord, Thou canst do all things! Is it not so? They said that Thou hast even raised the dead, the daughter of Jairus. Is it so?" The speaker alluded to that Jairus who dwelt in a city not far from Gibea, where Jesus had at an


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 earlier period instructed the poor, depraved inhab­itants. Jesus answered the question addressed to Him by a simple "Yes!" and then His questioner went on to inquire why Jairus still remained in so disreputable a place. Thereupon Jesus began to speak of fountains in the desert, applying the similitude to the necessity of the weak for a powerful leader. Jesus' hearers were full of confidence and they ques­tioned Him with simplicity. Then He asked them: "What do ye know of Me? What evil do men say of Me?" Some answered: "They complain that Thou dost not discontinue Thy works on the Sabbath day and that Thou healest the sick on that day." Then Jesus, pointing to a little neighboring field near a pond, in which shepherd boys were guarding tender lambs and other young cattle, said: "See those young shep­herd boys and their tender lambs! If one of the lit­tle animals should fall into the pond on the Sabbath and bleat for help, would not all the others stand around the brink bleating piteously also? Now, the poor little shepherds could not help the lamb out. But supposing the son of the master of the flocks were passing by—supposing he had been charged to look after the lambs and see to their pasture—would he not be touched with pity at the sound of the poor little thing's bleating? Would he not has­ten to draw it out of the mire?" Here all raised their hands like children at catechism, and cried out: "Yes, yes! He would!" Jesus went on: "And if it were not a lamb, if it were the fallen children of the Heav­enly Father, if it were your own brethren, yes, if it were yourselves! Should not the Son of the Heav­enly Father help you on the Sabbath?" All cried out again: "Yes! Yes!" Then Jesus pointed to the men sick of the gout standing afar off, and said: "Behold your sick brethren! Shall I not help them if they implore My assistance on the Sabbath day? Shall they not receive pardon of their sins, if they bewail them on the Sabbath day? If they confess them on

Jesus in Jetebatha


 the Sabbath and cry to their Father in Heaven?" With uplifted hands, they all cried out: "Yes, yes!"

Then Jesus motioned to the gouty patients, and they moved slowly and heavily into the circle. He spoke a few words to them on faith, prayed for awhile, and said: "Stretch out your arms!" They stretched out their afflicted arms toward Him. Jesus passed His hand down them, breathed for an instant on their hands, and they were cured, were able to use their limbs. Jesus commanded them to bathe, and warned them to abstain from certain drinks. They cast themselves at His feet giving thanks, while the whole assembly sang canticles of praise and glory.

Jesus wanted to depart, but they begged Him to remain with them. They were full of love and good intentions, they were very much impressed. He told them that He had to proceed further and fulfill His mission. They accompanied Him a part of the way with the disciples. He dismissed them with His bless­ing, and went on to Jetebatha about an hour and a half to the east.

It was afternoon when Jesus arrived at His des­tination. He washed His feet and took a luncheon at an inn outside the city. The disciples went before Him into Jetebatha to the chief of the synagogue, and requested the key for their Master, who wished to teach. The people hurriedly gathered in crowds, and the Doctors of the Law and the Herodians were all expectancy to ensnare Him in His doctrine. When He had taken His place in the synagogue, they put to Him questions upon the approach of the King­dom, the computation of time, the fulfilling of the weeks of Daniel, and the coming of the Messiah. Jesus answered in a long discourse, showing that the Prophecies were now fulfilled. He spoke, too, of John and his Prophecies, whereupon they took occa­sion to warn Him hypocritically to be careful as to what He said in His instructions, not to set aside the Jewish customs, and to take a lesson from John's


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 imprisonment! What He said of the fulfillment of the weeks of Daniel, of the near coming of the Mes­siah, and of the King of the Jews, was excellent and quite in accordance with their own ideas. But, as He told them, they might seek where they would, they would still nowhere find the Messiah. Jesus had, though rather vaguely, applied the Prophecies to Himself. They understood Him well enough, but they pretended that such things could not happen to anyone, and that they had failed to catch His meaning. In reality they wanted to force Him to speak out more clearly, so that they might get some­thing of which to accuse Him. Jesus said to them: "How ye play the hypocrite! What turns ye away from Me? Why do ye despise Me? Ye lay snares for Me, and ye seek to form new plots with the Sad­ducees, as ye did in Jerusalem at the Pasch! Why do ye caution Me, citing John and Herod?" Then He cast into their face Herod's shameful deeds, his mur­ders, his dread of the newborn King of the Jews, his cruel massacre of the Innocents, and his frightful death, the crimes of his successors, the adultery of Antipas, and the imprisonment of John. He spoke of the hypocritical, secret sect of the Herodians who were in league with the Sadducees, and showed them what kind of a Messiah and what sort of a King­dom of God they were awaiting. He pointed to dif­ferent places in the distance, saying: "They will be able to do nothing against Me until My mission is fulfilled. I shall twice traverse Samaria, Judea, and Galilee. Ye have witnessed great signs wrought by Me, and seeing still greater, ye shall remain blind." Then He spoke of judgment, of the death of the Prophets, and of the chastisement that was to over­take Jerusalem. The Herodians, that secret society, seeing themselves discovered, blanched with rage when Jesus referred to Herod's misdeeds and laid open the secrets of the sect before the people. They were silent and, one by one, left the synagogue, as

Jesus among the Harvesters


 did also the Sadducees who here had charge of the schools. There were no Pharisees in Jetebatha.

Jesus now found Himself alone with His seven dis­ciples and the people. He continued to teach some time longer, and many were very much impressed. They declared that they had never listened to such instructions, and that He taught better than their own teachers. They reformed their lives, and followed Him later. But a large part of the people, instigated by the Sadducees and Herodians, murmured against Him and raised a tumult. Jesus therefore left the city with the disciples and went southward through the valley, and then up for a couple of hours into a harvest field between Bethulia and Gennabris. Here He put up at a large farmhouse, whose occupants were well known to Him. The holy women had often stayed here overnight on their journeys to Bethania, and the messengers between them and the Saviour used to put up at the same place.

11. Jesus in the Harvest Field of Dothain and in Gennabris

Jesus in the harvest field of Dothain taught of reaping, gleaning, and binding into sheaves. This was the field in which later on He and the disciples plucked the ears of wheat. He went around the field, here and there, talking of seeds and stony soil, for such was the character of this region. He said that He was come to gather the good ears, and explained the parable of rooting up the tares at the harvest. He likened the harvest to the Kingdom of God. He instructed at intervals during the work and while going from one field to another.

The stalks remained standing high, the ears only having been cut off and bound together in the form of a cross.

In the evening after the harvest, Jesus from a hill­top delivered a long discourse before the laborers.


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 Borrowing a similitude from a brook that flowed in their vicinity, He applied it to the life, gentle and beneficent, of some men; He spoke of the flowing waters of grace, and of the conducting of those waters to our own field, etc. He sent John's two disciples to Ennon with a commission to say to His own disci­ples there that they should go to Machaerus and calm the people, for He knew that an insurrection had broken out in that place. Aspirants to baptism had crowded to Ennon; immense caravans had arrived. But when they found out that the Prophet had been arrested, they proceeded to Machaerus, their numbers increasing on the way. They raged and shouted, crying for John to be released, that he might instruct and baptize them. They even threw stones at Herod's palace, all the approaches to which the guards hastily closed. Herod pretended that he was not at home.

That evening Jesus put up near Gennabris in another farmhouse, and taught again of the grain of mustard seed. The master of the house complained to Him of a neighbor who for a long time had encroached upon his field and in many ways infringed his rights. Jesus went to the field with the owner, that he might point out to Him the injury done. As the present state of affairs had lasted some time, the damage was considerable, and the owner com­plained that he could not do anything with the tres­passer. Jesus asked whether he still had sufficient for the support of himself and his family. The man answered, yes, that he enjoyed competency. Upon hearing this, Jesus told him that he had lost noth­ing, since properly speaking nothing belongs to us, and so long as we have sufficient to support life, we have enough. The owner of the field should resign still more to his importunate neighbor, in order to satisfy the latter's greed after earthly goods. All that one cheerfully gives up here below for the sake of peace, will be restored to him in the Kingdom of his

Jesus Among the Harvesters


 Father. That hostile neighbor, viewed from his own standpoint, acted rightly, for his kingdom was of this world, and he sought to increase in earthly goods. But in Jesus' Kingdom, he should have nothing. The owner of the field should take a lesson from his neighbor in the art of enriching himself, and should strive to acquire possessions in the Kingdom of God. Jesus drew a similitude from a river which wore away the land on one side and deposited the debris on the other. The whole discourse was something like that upon the unjust steward, in which worldly arti­fice and earthly greed after enrichment should fur­nish an example for one's manner of acting in spiritual affairs. Earthly riches were contrasted with heav­enly treasures. Some points of the instruction seemed a little obscure to me, though to the Jews, on account of their notions, their religion, and the standpoint from which they viewed things, all was quite plain and intelligible. To them all was symbolical.

The field in which lay Joseph's Well was in this neighborhood, and Jesus took occasion from the cir­cumstance just related to refer to a somewhat sim­ilar struggle recorded in the Old Testament. Abraham had given far more land to Lot than the latter had demanded. After relating the fact, Jesus asked what had become of Lot's posterity, and whether Abraham had not recovered full propriety. Ought we not to imitate Abraham? Was not the kingdom promised to him, and did he not obtain it? This earthly kingdom, however, was merely a symbol of the Kingdom of God, and Lot's struggle against Abraham was typi­cal of the struggle of man with man. But, like Abra­ham, man should aim at acquiring the Kingdom of God. Jesus quoted the text of Holy Scripture in which the strife alluded to is recorded, (Gen. 13:7 et seq.) and continued to talk of it and of the Kingdom before all the harvest laborers.

The unjust husbandman likewise was present with his followers. He listened in silence and at a dis­tance.


Life of Jesus Christ

 He had engaged his friends to interrupt Jesus from time to time with all kinds of captious ques­tions. One of them asked Him what would be the end of His preaching, what would come of it all. Jesus answered so evasively that they could make nothing out of His words. They were, however, some­thing to this effect: If His preaching seemed too long to some, to others it was short. He spoke in para­bles of the harvest, of sowing, of reaping, of sepa­rating the tares from the good grain, of the bread and nourishment of eternal life, etc. The good hus­bandman, the host of Jesus, listened to His teach­ing with a docile heart. He ceased to accuse his enemy, later on gave over all he possessed into the treasury of the rising Church, and his sons joined the disciples.

There was much talk here of the Herodians. The people complained of their spying into everything. They had recently accused and arrested here at Dothain and also in Capharnaum several adulter­ers, and taken them to Jerusalem where they were to be judged. The people of Dothain were well pleased that such persons should be removed from among them, but the feeling of being continually watched was very distasteful to them. Jesus spoke of the Hero­dians with perfect freedom. He told the people to beware of sin, also of hypocrisy and criticizing oth­ers. One should confess his own delinquencies before sitting in judgment upon his neighbor. Then Jesus painted the ordinary manner of acting among the Herodians, applying to them the passage from the Prophet Isaias read in the synagogue on the preced­ing Sabbath, which treats of dumb dogs that do not bark, that do not turn away from evil, and that tear men in secret. He reminded them that those adul­terers were delivered over to justice while Herod, the patron of their accusers, lived in the open com­mission of the same crime, and He gave them signs by which they might recognize the Herodians.

Herod Interrogates John the Baptist


There were in several of the huts nearby some men who had received injuries during their labor. Jesus visited them, cured the poor creatures, and told them to go to the instruction and resume their work. They did so, singing hymns of praise.

Jesus sent some shepherds from Dothain to Machaerus with directions to John's disciples to induce the people to disperse, for their rebellion, He said, might render John's imprisonment more rigor­ous, or even give occasion for his death.

Herod and his wife were in Machaerus. I saw that Herod caused the Baptist to be summoned to his presence in a grand hall near the prison. There he was seated surrounded by his guard, many officers, Doctors of the Law, and numerous Herodians and Sadducees. John was led through a passage into the hall and placed in the midst of guards before the large, open doors. I saw Herod's wife insolently and scornfully sweeping past John as she entered the hall and took an elevated seat. Her physiognomy was different from that of most Jewish women. Her whole face was sharp and angular, even her head was pointed, and her countenance was in constant motion. She had developed a very beautiful figure, and in her dress she was loud and extreme, also very tightly laced. To every chaste mind she must have been an object of scandal, as she did everything in her power to attract all eyes upon her.

Herod began to interrogate John, commanding him to tell him in plain terms what he thought of Jesus who was making such disturbance in Galilee. Who was He? Was He come to deprive him (Herod) of his authority? He (Herod) had heard indeed that he (John) had formerly announced Jesus, but he had paid lit­tle attention to the fact. Now, however, John should disclose to him his candid opinion on the subject, for that Man (Jesus) held wondrous language on the score of a Kingdom, and uttered parables in which He called Himself a King's Son, etc., although He was only the


Life of Jesus Christ

 son of a poor carpenter. Then I heard John in a loud voice, and as if addressing the multitude, giving tes­timony to Jesus. He declared that he himself was only to prepare His ways; that compared with Him, he was nobody; that never had there been a man, not even among the Prophets, like unto Jesus, and never would there be one; that He was the Son of the Father; that He was the Christ, the King of Kings, the Sav­iour, the Restorer of the Kingdom; that no power was superior to His; that He was the Lamb of God who was to bear the sins of the world, etc. So spoke John of Jesus, crying in a loud voice, calling himself His precursor, the preparer of His ways, His most insignif­icant servant. It was evident that his words were inspired. His whole bearing was stamped with the supernatural, so much so that Herod, becoming ter­rified, stopped his ears. At last he said to John: "Thou knowest that I wish thee well. But thou dost excite sedition against me amongst the people by refusing to acknowledge my marriage. If thou wilt moderate thy perverse zeal and recognize my union as lawful before the people, I shall set thee free, and thou canst go around teaching and baptizing." Thereupon John again raised up his voice vehemently against Herod, rebuking his conduct before all the assistants, and saying to him: "I know thy mind! I know that thou recognizest the right and tremblest before the judg­ment! But thou hast sunk thy soul in guilty plea­sures, thou liest bound in the snares of debauchery!" The rage of the wife at these words is simply inde­scribable, and Herod became so agitated that he hastily ordered John to be led away. He gave direc­tions for him to be placed in another cell which, hav­ing no communication outside, would prevent his being heard by the people.

Herod was induced to hold that judicial examina­tion because of his anxiety, excited by the tumult raised by the aspirants to baptism and the news brought him by the Herodians of the wonders wrought

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 2

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