Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0041

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3_0031 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0051
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)

Call of Matthew


 with the disciples, continued along the shore to the right, thus passing Matthew's residence, though at a distance. A side path ran from this road to his custom office, and along it Jesus bent His steps, the disciples timidly remaining behind. Servants and publicans were out in front of the custom house, busied with all kinds of merchandise. When Matthew from the top of a little eminence beheld Jesus and the disciples coming toward him, he became con­fused and withdrew into his private office. But Jesus continued to approach, and from the opposite side of the road called him. Then came Matthew hurry­ing out, prostrated with his face on the ground before Jesus, protesting that he did not esteem himself wor­thy that Jesus should speak with him. But Jesus said: "Matthew, arise, and follow Me!" Then Matthew arose, saying that he would instantly and joyfully abandon all things and follow Him. He accompanied Jesus back to where the disciples were standing, who saluted him and extended to him their hands. Thaddeus, Simon, and James the Less were partic­ularly rejoiced at his coming. They and Matthew were half brothers. Their father Alpheus, before his marriage with their mother Mary Cleophas, was a widower with one son, Matthew. Matthew insisted upon all being his guests. Jesus, however, assured him that they would return next morning, and then they continued their way.

Matthew hurried back to his house, which stood in a corner of the mountains about a quarter of an hour from the lake. The little stream that flows from Gerasa into the lake ran past it at no great dis­tance, and the view extended over lake and field. Matthew at once procured a substitute in his busi­ness, an excellent man belonging to Peter's barque, who was to discharge his duties until further arrange­ments could be made. Matthew was a married man with four children. He joyfully imparted to his wife the good fortune that had fallen to him, as well


Life of Jesus Christ

 as his intention to abandon all and follow Jesus, and she received the announcement with corre­sponding joy. Then he directed her to see to the preparing of an entertainment for the next morn­ing, he himself taking charge of the invitations and other arrangements. Matthew was almost as old as Peter. One might easily have taken him for the father of his young half brother Joses Barsabas. He was a man of heavy, bony frame with black hair and beard. Since his acquaintance with Jesus on the way to Sidon, he had received John's baptism and regulated his whole life most conscientiously.

On leaving Matthew, Jesus crossed the mountain at the rear of his dwelling and proceeded northward into the valley of Bethsaida-Julias, where He found encamped caravans and travelling pagans, whom He instructed.

Toward noon the next day Jesus returned with the disciples to Matthew's, where many publicans who had been invited were already assembled. Some Pharisees and some of John's disciples had joined Jesus on the way, but they did not enter Matthew's. They stayed outdoors, sauntering around the gar­den with the disciples, to whom they put the ques­tion: "How can you tolerate your Master's making Himself so familiar with sinners and publicans?" They received for answer: "Ask Himself why He does so!" But the Pharisees responded: "One cannot speak with a man who always maintains that he is right."

Matthew received Jesus and His followers most lovingly and humbly, and washed their feet. His half brothers warmly embraced him, and then he pre­sented his wife and children to Jesus. Jesus spoke to the mother and blessed the children, who then retired, to return no more. I have often wondered why the children whom Jesus blessed usually appeared no more. I saw Jesus seated, and Matthew on his knees before Him. Jesus laid His hand upon him, blessed him, and addressed to him some words

Jesus Eats with the Publicans


 of instruction. Matthew had formerly been called Levi, but now he received the name of Matthew. The feast was a magnificent one. The table, in the form of a cross, was set in an open hall. Jesus sat in the midst of the publicans. In the intervals between the different courses, the guests arose and engaged in conversation with one another. Poor travelers passing by were supplied with food by the disciples, for the street on which the house stood led down to the ferry. It was on the occasion of their leaving table that the Pharisees approached the dis­ciples, and then occurred the speeches and objec­tions narrated in the Gospel of Luke 5:30-39. The Pharisees insisted particularly on the subject of fast­ing, because among the strict Jews a fast day began that evening in expiation of the sacrilege King Joachim committed by burning the Books of the Prophet Jeremias. Among the Jews, especially in Judea, it was not customary to pluck fruit by the wayside. Now Jesus permitted it to His disciples, and this the Pharisees made a subject of reproach to Him. While giving His answers to the Pharisees, Jesus was reclining at table with the publicans, whereas the disciples to whom the questions of the Pharisees were addressed were standing or walk­ing among them. Jesus turned His head from side to side in answering.

Capharnaum was much more lively now than for­merly. Crowds of strangers were streaming in on account of Jesus, some of them His friends, others His enemies, and most of them pagans, the follow­ers of Zorobabel and Cornelius.

9. The Final Call of Peter, Andrew, James, and John. Jesus Stills the Tempest on the Lake

Next morning when Jesus went to the lake, which was about a quarter of an hour distant from


Life of Jesus Christ

 Matthew's dwelling, Peter and Andrew were upon the point of launching out on the deep to let down their nets. Jesus called to them: "Come and follow Me! I will make you fishers of men!" They instantly abandoned their work, hove to their boat, and came on shore. Jesus went on a little farther up the shore to the ship of Zebedee, who with his sons James and John was mending his nets on the ship. Jesus called the two sons to come to Him. They obeyed im­mediately and came to land, while Zebedee remained on the ship with his servants.

Then Jesus sent Peter and Andrew, James and John into the mountains where the heathens were encamped, with the order to baptize all that desired it. He Himself had prepared them for it during the two preceding days. With Saturnin and the other disciples, Jesus went in another direction. All were to meet again that evening at Matthew's, and I saw Jesus pointing out with His finger the way they were to take. While He was calling the four disciples, the others had waited for Him at a little distance up the road, but when He commissioned those four to go and baptize, they were all together.

Jesus had indeed, at an earlier period, formally called the fishermen from their occupations, but with His consent they had always returned to them. So long as they themselves were not engaged in teach­ing, it was not necessary for them to follow Him constantly. Their means of navigation and their intercourse with the pagan caravans were very advantageous, likewise, while He sojourned at Capharnaum. When, after the last Pasch, they had for a longer time been with Jesus, they had indeed taught here and there, and had even wrought some miraculous cures. In these latter, however, they were not always successful, on account of their want of faith. They had also suffered persecution at this early stage of their apostolic career. In Gennabris they were led bound before the Pharisees and cast into

Call of "The Four"


 prison. They received at that time from Jesus the power to bless the water intended for Baptism. This power was not imparted to them by the imposition of hands, but with a blessing.

Peter was, besides his fishery, engaged also in agriculture and cattle raising; consequently it was harder for him than for the others to break away from his business affairs. To this was added the feel­ing of his own unworthiness and his fancied inca­pacity for teaching, which made separation from his surroundings still more difficult. His house outside Capharnaum was large and long, surrounded by a courtyard, side buildings, halls, and sheds. The waters of the brook of Capharnaum, flowing in front of it, were dammed nearby into a beautiful pond in which fish were kept. All around were grass plots, upon which bleaching was done and nets were spread.

Andrew had followed the Lord longer, and he was already more detached from worldly affairs than his brother. James and John up to this period were ac­customed to return at intervals to their parents.

It is understood that the Gospels do not contain the details of Jesus' intercourse with the disciples, but only a short statement of it. This call of the fish­ermen from their boats to make them fishers of men is there set down as happening at the beginning of His public life, and as the only call that Saints Peter, Andrew, John, and James received. Many of the mir­acles, parables, and instructions of Jesus are after­ward recorded as instance of His power and wisdom, without any reference whatever to their order of time.

Peter, Andrew, James and John went to the pagan encampment, and there Andrew baptized. Water was brought from the brook in a large basin. The neo­phytes knelt in a circle, their hands crossed upon their breasts. Among them stood boys from three to six years. Peter held the basin, and Andrew, scooping


Life of Jesus Christ

 the water up with his hand three different times, sprinkled the heads of the neophytes three at a time and repeated the words of Baptism. The other dis­ciples went around outside the circle laying their hands on the newly baptized. These latter then with­drew, and their places were immediately filled by others. The ceremony was discontinued at intervals, and then the disciples recounted the parables they had learned from their Master, spoke of Jesus, His doctrine, and His miracles, and explained to the pagans points of which they were still ignorant regarding the Law and the Promises of God. Peter was particularly animated in his delivery and accom­panied his words with many gestures. John and James likewise spoke very beautifully. Jesus meantime was teaching in another valley, and with Him was Sat­urnin, baptizing.

That evening when all were again assembled at Matthew's, the crowd was very great and pressed around Jesus. On that account, with the twelve Apos­tles and Saturnin He went on board Peter's barque and commanded them to row toward Tiberias, which was on the opposite side of the lake in its greatest breadth. It looked as if Jesus wanted to escape from the crowd that pressed upon Him, for He was worn out with fatigue. Three platforms surrounded the lower part of the mast, like steps one above the other. In the middle one, in one of the apartments used by the sentry, Jesus lay down and fell asleep, for He was very tired. The rowers were above Him. From Jesus' resting place, although protected by a roof, there was an unobstructed view over the whole lake. When the party put out from shore, the weather was calm and beautiful, but they had scarcely reached the middle of the lake before a violent tem­pest arose. I thought it very strange that, although the sky was shrouded in darkness, the stars were to be seen. The wind blew in a hurricane and the waves dashed over the boat, the sails of which had

Jesus Teaches, Cures, Delivers the Possessed


 been furled. I saw from time to time a brilliant light glancing over the troubled waters. It must have been lightning. The danger was imminent, and the disci­ples were in great anxiety when they awoke Jesus with the words: "Master! Hast Thou no care for us? We are sinking!" Jesus arose, looked out on the water, and said quietly and earnestly, as if speaking to the storm: "Peace! Be still!" and instantly all became calm. The disciples were struck with fear. They whis­pered to one another: "Who is this Man that can control the waves?" Jesus reproved them for their little faith and their fear. He ordered them to row back to Corozain, for so the place of Matthew's cus­tom house was called, on account of the city of Corozain. The region on the other side of the lake between Capharnaum and Giskala was named Gene­sareth. Zebedee's barque also returned with them, and another filled with passengers went off to Capharnaum.

There were in all about fifteen men on the boat with Jesus. We must not be surprised at the row­ers' position above the sleeping place of Jesus, nor at the fact of Jesus' being able, notwithstanding, to take in the whole view of the lake. The oars rested upon the high sides of the boat and struck far out into the water. They were provided with long han­dles and the rowers were obliged to stand high. It was about one hour from Corozain to the southwest and a little to the north of Gergesa, which occupied a less elevated position.

At the place where Jesus paused to address the multitude there was a stone seat intended for the teacher. The instruction had been announced two days before, and there were in all probability two thousand listeners in attendance. Jesus healed also a great crowd of people, the blind and lame, the dumb and leprous. As He began to teach, some of the possessed who had been led thither commenced to shout and to rave. Jesus commanded them to be


Life of Jesus Christ

 silent and to lie down on the ground. Like fright­ened dogs they lay on the ground and moved not until, at the close of His discourse, He went to them and delivered them.

Among the numerous cures, I remember that of a man with an arm perfectly withered and a hand shrunken and crooked. Jesus stroked down the arm, took the hand in His own, and straightened out each finger one after the other, at the same time gently bending and pressing it. All this took place almost instantaneously, in a shorter time than one takes to say how it was done. The hand was restored to its proper shape, the blood began to circulate, and the man could move it although it was still wasted and weak. Its strength, however, momentarily increased.

There were in the crowd many women and chil­dren of all ages. Jesus had them brought to Him in bands, one after another. He walked about among them, gave them His blessing, and instructed them in tones loud enough to be heard by all. I saw Him during this instruction take a child by the hand and turn it here and there, to show how men, without complaint or resistance, should allow themselves to be conducted by God. He paid great attention to the children. Most of these people were heathens, oth­ers were Jews from Syria and Decapolis. At the spreading rumor of Jesus' doings, they had come in great caravans with their servants and children and sick to the teaching, healing, and Baptism. Jesus came to meet them here, that the crowd in Caphar­naum might not become too great. Among them I saw the relatives of the woman mentioned in the Gospel, the woman afflicted with the issue of blood, who was then at Capharnaum. Those relatives were an uncle of her deceased husband from Paneas, in whose house she had been married; her grown daugh­ter; and another woman. They spoke to the disci­ples, begging them to conduct them to Capharnaum that evening, and they inquired also after their sick

Jesus Helps All in Need


 relatives. They heard Jesus' instructions.

Baptism was administered the whole day at this place. As on the preceding day, the neophytes knelt in circles. I saw again many little boys baptized. They stood in circles, their hands joined on their breasts. The water had been brought in leathern bottles from the valley of Corozain. Present among the crowd of hearers were some Pharisees from the surrounding districts and some of John's false dis­ciples, who acted as spies upon Jesus. In the evening He returned to Matthew's with the disciples. He related another parable, that of the treasure which a man found hidden in his neighbor's field. Without disclosing the secret, he went and sold all that he owned in order to buy that field. This parable Jesus applied to the great desire of the Gentiles to seize upon the Kingdom of God. To escape the crowd that pressed upon Him, Jesus again went on board a bar­que and there taught. He did not, however, go far out on the water, but returned and spent the night in prayer.

Next morning the disciples brought Him the news that Mary Cleophas was lying very ill at Peter's near Capharnaum, that His Mother entreated Him to come to her soon, and that a great multitude of sick of whom many were from Nazareth, were awaiting His arrival. Jesus again taught and cured numbers on the shore of the lake. Many possessed were brought to Him, and He delivered them. The crowd of peo­ple and the pressure of the throng were constantly on the increase, and no words can say how unwea­riedly Jesus labored and helped all in need.

That afternoon He and all His Apostles rowed over to Bethsaida. Matthew had delivered the cus­tom house to a man belonging to the fishery. Since his reception of John's baptism, he had carried on his business in an altogether blameless manner. The other publicans also were honest in their dealings and very liberal men, who gave large alms to the


Life of Jesus Christ

 poor. Judas is still good. He is uncommonly active and ready to render service, though in his distrib­ution of alms somewhat close and calculating. A large number of Gentiles crossed the lake today. Those that were not going on further, to Capharnaum for instance, left their camels and asses on rafts towed by the boats, or led them over the bridge that crossed the Jordan above the lake.

It was approaching four o'clock when Jesus reached Bethsaida, where Mary with Maroni and her son, who had been here for two days, were awaiting His coming along with others. Jesus took some refresh­ments, while Mary Cleophas' sons repaired at once to their sick mother. A crowd of people was assem­bled in front of Andrew's house, and Jesus taught and cured until after night had closed.

The throng of strangers to Capharnaum at this time, both Jews and Gentiles, surpassed anything that can be imagined. Great caravans were encamped in all the country around. Very probably the num­ber of strangers sojourning all around the country on Jesus' account amounted to twelve thousand. The valleys and nooks of the surrounding districts were alive with grazing camels and asses. The fodder was put before them at a convenient height, and then they were tied to it. They browsed also on the numer­ous buds of the hedges and thickets, though to the great prejudice of the same. Tents were pitched every­where. Since Jesus' sojourn Capharnaum had greatly increased in size, wealth, and importance. Many fam­ilies from afar had there taken up their abode, and the throng of visitors brought money into the city. Zorobabel's house, as well as that of Cornelius, were now almost connected with the city proper.

Numerous sick were brought to Capharnaum from the towns and villages lying around. All had been thrown into excitement by the raising of the youth of Naim, and the other astonishing miracles. Many sick from Nazareth, even those that were consid­ered

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0041

[click an item below to go to other documents]

Previous document: ACE_3_0031 List of documents Next document: ACE_3_0051
Table of Contents for this Volume
Cover page with links to All Volumes (1 to 4)