Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0031

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3_0021 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0041
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

Two Lepers

31

 and especially how they should conduct themselves when He should send them to teach the people. He gave them likewise some general rules for their deportment when in certain company. He did this in a few words before the departure of the four Hero­dians who had journeyed with His little party, and sufficiently loud for them to hear. He said: "If on your journeys worldly men join you—whom ye may recognize by their smooth speech and sly questions­—who will not be shaken off, who always, half agree­ing, half good-naturedly contradicting, question and discuss various subjects that agitate the heart, then should ye at any cost break away from them. And why? Because ye are still too weak, too simple-hearted. Ye might easily fall into the snares of such lurkers. I do not shun them, for I know them, and I wish them to hear My teaching."

6. Jesus Teaches in the Synagogue of Capharnaum, and Heals Two Lepers

Jesus again passed by the estate of the Centu­rion Zorobabel as He and His disciples were hurry­ing along, for the Sabbath had already begun. In his charity, Zorobabel had permitted two young Scribes of about twenty-five years, who on account of their dissolute life had been stricken with leprosy, to take up their abode in his garden. They were perfectly loathsome to look upon, and in their misery sub­jected to the greatest contempt. The red mantles that enveloped them hid the ulcers with which they were covered. They had once formed a part of Mag­dalen's gay coterie at Magdalum, had afterward car­ried on their excesses in other places, and fell at last into the extreme misery in which they now were. At Jesus' recent visit to these parts, they were ashamed to present themselves before Him, but now, convinced by the news of His miracles and great mercy, they had allowed themselves to be dragged

32

Life of Jesus Christ

 to a place near the road by which He would pass and where they could cry to Him for help. Jesus would not pause. He hurried on, but told two of Zorobabel's servants, who came running after Him pleading for the unfortunate creatures, to bring them to the synagogue in Capharnaum. When the people were assembled, they (the servants) were to conduct the lepers to the gallery one story high that had been built adjoining the synagogue, and from which the teaching going on inside could be heard by those from without. There they should pray and excite themselves to contrition until He should call them. The servants immediately hastened back, and took the poor men by a shortcut through the flowery ravine to Capharnaum. They dragged them, though not without difficulty, up the outside steps to the gallery where, leaning in at the windows of the syn­agogue, they could, apart from the throng and in the open air, listen to the teachings of Jesus and with penitent hearts await their Saviour's call.

Jesus soon arrived with the disciples. After they had washed their feet and ungirded their garments, they entered the synagogue. When Jesus approached the pulpit, He found it occupied by one who was reading aloud. The latter, however, at once arose and yielded his place to Jesus, who immediately took the roll of Scriptures and began to teach upon the pas­sages referring to Jacob's being called to account by Laban, his struggle with the angel, his reconcilia­tion with Esau, and the seduction of Dina, after which He turned to the Prophet Osee. When Jesus without the least hesitation took the rolls and began to read, the Pharisees smiled scornfully, as if to pro­nounce Him wanting in courtesy. They were exas­perated at Jesus' reappearance, for the raising of the youth of Naim, as well as His numerous cures in Mageddo, were already noised throughout Caphar­naum. They watched eagerly and with inquietude to see what new thing He was now going to under­take.

Cure of the Two Lepers

33

 Almost all of Jesus' relatives, including the women, were gathered today in the synagogue.

As the crowd was leaving the synagogue followed by Jesus, the disciples, and the Pharisees, these last thought they would still carryon the dispute with Jesus in the portico, but an unforeseen incident pre­vented their design. Jesus went to the door, looked up to the gallery where the two unclean men were still standing, and called to them to come down. But they were timid and ashamed. Through fear of the Pharisees, they did not venture to obey at once. Then Jesus commanded them, in a name that I cannot recall, to come down, and to their own great aston­ishment they found themselves able to descend the steps alone. The portico had been lighted up with torches for the convenience of the dispersing crowd. How furious were the Pharisees when they recog­nized by the dull glare of the torches the two poor, despised sinners in their red mantles! The lepers sank trembling on their knees before Jesus. He laid His hand on them, breathed into their faces, and said: "Your sins are forgiven you!" and admonished them to continence and the baptism of penance. He commanded them also to forsake their vain studies, for that He Himself would teach them the truth and the way. They rose up. Their disfigurement had visi­bly decreased, their ulcers had dried, and the scales had fallen off. With tears they thanked their Bene­factor, and left the place with Zorobabel's servants. Many of the well-disposed among the bystanders pressed around the cured, celebrating in words of praise their penance and their healing.

The Pharisees, however, were mad with rage. They cried out to Jesus: "What! Healest Thou on the Sab­bath! And dost Thou also forgive sins! How canst Thou forgive sins?" Then, turning to the people, they cried: "He has a devil who helps Him! He is a mad­man! That is easily seen in His wandering about. Scarcely had He begun to carryon His game here,

34

Life of Jesus Christ

 when off He goes to Naim to raise the dead, then to Mageddo, and then back here again! No good man in his senses would carryon in that way! He has a powerful, wicked spirit who helps Him!" And they added: "When Herod finishes with John, this Man's turn will come, unless He takes Himself out of the way!" But Jesus went out through the midst of them. His female relatives, who had waited for Him in a neighboring house after leaving the synagogue, wept and lamented over the violent rage of the Pharisees.

Jesus left the city and, taking the road to the northeast, directed His steps to the hill beyond the valley where Mary's house stood. On the way thither were clumps of trees and grottos in which He stopped to pray. He arrived late at Mary's, where He con­soled the women, after which He again went out and spent the whole night in prayer.

Next morning, Jesus repaired to the garden in the neighborhood of Peter's house. It was enclosed by a hedge, and in it all the preparations for Baptism had been made. There were several circular cisterns, formed in the ground and surrounded by a little channel, into which the water of a stream running nearby could be turned. A long arbor could, by hang­ings and screens, be divided into little compartments for the convenience of the neophytes when disrob­ing. An elevated stand had been erected for Jesus. The disciples were all present and about fifty aspi­rants to Baptism, among the latter some relatives of the Holy Family, an old man and three youths from Sephoris, the boy whom Jesus had healed at that same place, and the old woman from there, who had recently visited Jesus in Abez. There were pre­sent, moreover, Cyrinus from Cyprus; the Roman Centurion Achias and his little, miraculously cured son Jephte, of Giskala; the Centurion Cornelius, his yellow slave who had been cured by Jesus, and sev­eral of his domestics; many pagans from Upper Galilee; a dark-skinned slave of Zorobabel; the five

Jesus Instructing for Baptism

35

 publicans of Mageddo; some boys, among whom was Joses, the nephew of Bartholomew; likewise all the cured lepers and possessed of these parts, including the two young Scribes healed the preceding evening. The last mentioned were indeed free from ulcers, but their countenance was still disfigured and bore the marks of suffering.

All the neophytes were clothed in penitential robes of gray wool, a four-cornered kerchief over their heads. Jesus instructed and prepared them for Bap­tism, after which they retired into the arbor and put on their baptismal garments, white tunics, long and wide. Their heads were uncovered, the kerchief, now thrown round their shoulders, and they stood in the channel around the basins, their hands crossed on their breasts. Andrew and Saturnin baptized, while Thomas, Bartholomew, John and others imposed hands as sponsors. The neophytes, with bared shoulders, leaned over a railing around the edge of the basin. One of the disciples carried a ves­sel of water that had been blessed by Jesus, from which the baptizers scooped some with the hand and poured it thrice over the heads of those being bap­tized. Thomas was sponsor to Jephte, the son of Achias. Although several received Baptism at the same time, yet the ceremony lasted until nearly two 0' clock in the afternoon.

7. The Resurrection of the Daughter of Jairus, the Chief of the Synagogue

Later on when Jesus was curing some of the sick in the square before the synagogue of Capharnaum, Jairus, the Chief of the synagogue, presented him­self before Him. He cast himself at His feet and implored Him to visit and cure his sick daughter, who was then breathing her last. Jesus was on the point of starting with Jairus when messengers hastily arrived from the house of the latter and thus

36

Life of Jesus Christ

 addressed him: "Thy daughter has expired. There is no need further to trouble the Master." On hearing these words, Jesus said to Jairus: "Fear not! Trust in Me, and thou shalt receive help!" They directed their steps to the northern quarter of the city where dwelt Cornelius, whose house was not far removed from that of Jairus. As they drew near they saw a multitude of minstrels and female mourners already assembled in the courtyard and before the door. Jesus entered, taking with Him only Peter, James the Greater, and John. In passing through the court, He said to the mourners: "Why do ye thus lament and weep? Go your way! The damsel is not dead, but only sleeping." At this the crowd of mourners began to laugh Him to scorn, for they knew that she was dead. But Jesus insisted on their retiring even from the court, which He ordered to be locked. Then He entered the apartment in which the grief-stricken mother was busied with her maid preparing the winding sheet; thence, accompanied by the father, the mother, and the three disciples, He passed on to the chamber in which the girl lay. Jesus stepped toward the couch, the parents standing behind Him, the disciples to the right at the foot of the bed. The mother did not please me. She was cold and wanting in confidence. The father, too, was not a warm friend of Jesus. He would not willingly do anything to displease the Phar­isees. It was anxiety and necessity alone that had driven him to Jesus. He was actuated by a double motive. If Jesus cured his child, she would be restored to him; if not, he would have prepared a triumph for the Pharisees. Still, the cure of Cornelius' servant had greatly impressed him and awakened in him a feeling of confidence. The little daughter was not tall, and she was very much wasted. At most, I should say she was eleven years old, and even at that small for her age, for the Jewish girls of twelve are usu­ally full-grown. She lay on the couch enveloped in a long garment. Jesus raised her lightly in His arms,

The Daughter of Jairus

37

 held her on His breast, and breathed upon her. Then I saw something wonderful. Near the right side of the corpse was a luminous figure in a sphere of light. When Jesus breathed upon the little girl, that figure entered her mouth as a tiny human form of light. Then He laid the body down upon the couch, grasped one of the wrists, and said: "Damsel, arise!" The girl sat up in her bed, Jesus still held her by the hand. Then she stood up, opened her eyes, and supported by the hand of Jesus, stepped from the couch to the floor. Jesus led her, weak and tremulous, to the arms of her parents. They had watched the progress of the event at first coldly, though anxiously, then trembling with agitation, and now they were out of themselves for very joy. Jesus bade them give the child to eat and to make no unnecessary noise over the affair. After receiving the thanks of the father, He went down to the city. The mother was confused and stu­pefied. Her words of thanks were few. The news soon spread through the mourners that the maiden was alive. They immediately returned, some confused at their former incredulity, others still uttering vulgar pleasantries, and went into the house, where they saw the damsel eating.

On the way back, Jesus spoke with His disciples on the subject of this miracle. He said that these people, namely, the father and mother, had had nei­ther real faith nor an upright intention. If the daugh­ter was raised from the dead, it was for her own sake and for the glory of God's Kingdom. The death from which she had just been roused, that is, the death of the body, was a guiltless one, but from the death of the soul she must now preserve herself. Jesus then went to the great square of the city, cured many sick there awaiting Him, and taught in the synagogue until the close of the Sabbath. The Phar­isees were so agitated and incensed that it would not have taken much to make them lay hands on Jesus if He had trusted Himself among them. They

38

Life of Jesus Christ

 began again to declare that He effected His mira­cles by the power of sorcery. Jesus, however, slipped out of the city through Zorobabel's garden, and the disciples also dispersed.

Jesus spent part of the night retired in prayer. He supplicated for the conversion of sinners and besought His Heavenly Father to confound and frus­trate the designs of the Pharisees, for He acted in everything as man, in order that we should imitate Him. He also begged His Father to allow Him to perfect His work, since according to our way of think­ing, the Pharisees were ready to tear Him to pieces. He withdrew from their presence, but on the follow­ing day, the Sabbath itself, He again cured at the door of the synagogue and taught inside. And why did not the Pharisees drive the sick away? Why did they not forbid Jesus to teach in the synagogue? It was because Prophets and Doctors had at all times the right to teach, to help, and to heal. They did indeed accuse Him of error and blasphemy, though they were unable to prove their accusations. As for the Baptism that He gave, they did not trouble them­selves about it and went not to where it was admin­istered. There was no public highway through the valley; only a road over the mountains led to Beth­saida. The valley was traversed by only the footpath taken by the fishermen and the peasants when on their way to the lake.

Martha and the holy women of Jerusalem, Dina and others, after Jesus' departure went back to Naim and thence to their own homes. Maroni and her son were so beset by people desirous of seeing one raised from the dead that they were obliged to conceal themselves.

Cornelius the Centurion gave a feast at his house in honor of his cured servant. Numbers of heathens were in attendance, also crowds of the poor. Imme­diately after the miracle, Cornelius informed Jesus of his intention to sacrifice burnt offerings of all

Baptism

39

 kinds of animals. But Jesus replied that it would be better for him to invite his enemies in order to rec­oncile them one with another; his friends, that he might lead them to the truth; and the poor, that he might recreate and entertain them with the food he had destined for sacrifice, for God no longer delighted in burnt offerings. Multitudes of heathens went from beyond Bethsaida and the mountains to the house of Cornelius, where the feast was celebrated.

Jesus was again at the place of Baptism. Saturnin experienced great joy in baptizing his two younger brothers and an uncle, all of whom were heathens. Their mother also had come with them. She was already a Jewess. His father was dead. Saturnin was descended from a royal race. His parents dwelt in Patras. At the time of which I speak his father was dead, but his stepmother with two daughters and two sons still lived there. From a brown-skinned man, a relative and follower of the dark com­plexioned one of the Three Kings, and whom he had met on a journey, Saturnin heard the story of the star and the birth of Jesus. Thereupon he went to Jerusalem and, when John began his career, became one of his first disciples; but after Jesus' baptism, he went with Andrew to Jesus. His stepmother with her two little girls had removed to Jerusalem with him, while the boys remained behind with their uncle. They too were now come to their brother. They were rich.

There were about twelve other men baptized. When they stepped into the channel around the basin, they tucked up their long garments and leaned over the edge. After their Baptism they retired into the arbor and reclothed themselves, putting on a baptismal garment consisting of a long white mantle. The Jews did not trouble themselves about the baptized heathens. If the latter did not present themselves before the priests for circumcision, the former took no notice of it. They did not make much account of

40

Life of Jesus Christ

 the heathens, for they themselves were quite luke­warm and they avoided whatever could give them trouble. Cornelius, who dwelt among them and had caused a synagogue to be built, would probably have to receive circumcision if he wished to continue his intercourse with them.

Jesus afterward taught on the borders of the lake, not far from Peter's fishery. He had journeyed with the disciples over the mountain back of Mary's and Peter's dwellings in the direction of Bethsaida, and thence had descended to the lake. The shore near Bethsaida was steep, but at the point to which I now allude it gently sloped and afforded an easy landing place. Peter's ship and Jesus' little barque lay here. The latter was small and could at most contain fifteen men.

8. Jesus Instructs From His Barque. Call of Matthew

A great crowd of pagans who had been at Cor­nelius' feast were here assembled. Jesus was instruct­ing them and, as the throng became very great, He with some of His disciples went on board His little barque, while the rest of them and the publicans went on Peter's boat. And now from the barque He instructed the heathens on the strand, making use of the parables of the sower and the tares in the field. The instruction over, they struck out across the lake, the disciples in Peter's boat plying the oars. Jesus' barque was fastened to Peter's, and the disci­ples took turns to row. Jesus sat on a raised seat near the mast, the others around Him and on the edge of the boat. They interrogated Him upon the meaning of the parable and asked why He spoke in similitudes. Jesus gave them a satisfactory expla­nation. They landed at a point between the valley of Gerasa and Bethsaida-Julias. A road ran from the shore to the houses of the publicans, and into it the four who were with Jesus turned. Jesus meanwhile,

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
1774-1824
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0031

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3_0021 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0041
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)