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

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Opposition of the Pharisees

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 peculiar disposition of each recipient. They exclaimed: "Lord, we feel ourselves endued with strength! Thy words are truth and life!" And now each knew just what he had to do in every case in order to effect a cure. There was no room left for either choice or reflection.

After that Jesus with all His disciples arrived at Elcese, a place distant from Capharnaum one hour and a half. There in the synagogue He delivered the sermon of the Sabbath, in which reference was made to the building of Solomon's Temple. I remember that He addressed the Apostles and disciples as the workmen who were to fell the cedars on the moun­tain and prepare them for the building. He spoke also of the interior adornment of the Temple. The services over, at which many Pharisees were in atten­dance, Jesus was invited to dine. The meal was taken at a house of public entertainment. Many people stood around during it, to hear what Jesus was say­ing, and numbers of the poor were fed. The Phar­isees, having remarked that the disciples had not washed their hands before coming to table, asked Jesus why His disciples did not respect the pre­scriptions of their forefathers, and why they did not observe the customary purifications. Jesus responded to their question by asking why they themselves did not keep the Commandments, why with all their tra­ditions they did not honor their father and mother, and He reproached them with their hypocrisy and their vain adherence to external purification. Dur­ing this dispute the meal came to an end. Jesus, however, continued to address the crowd that pressed around Him: "Hear ye and understand! Not that which goeth into the mouth defiled a man; but what cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. He that has ears to hear, let him hear!" The disciples who had remained behind in the entertainment hall told Jesus that these words of His had greatly scan­dalized the Pharisees. To which He responded: "Every

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 plant that My Heavenly Father hath not planted, shall be rooted up! Let them alone! They are blind and leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both fall into the pit."

When on the following evening Jesus was closing the Sabbath instruction, the Pharisees again reproached Him on account of the irregular mode of the disciples' fasting. But Jesus retorted by charg­ing them with their avarice and want of mercy. Among other things, He said: "The disciples eat after long labor, and then only if others are supplied. But if these latter are hungry, they give them what they have, and God blesses it." Here Jesus recalled the multiplication of the loaves, on which occasion the disciples had given their bread and fish to the hun­gry multitude, and He asked the Pharisees whether they would have done the same.

From Elcese, Jesus went with the Apostles and disciples through Cedes-Nephtali to Dan, called also Lais, or Leschem. Cedes Nephtali was a stronghold and Levitical city built of black, shining stone. On the way Jesus instructed His followers, His subject always being prayer. He explained the Our Father. He told them that in the past they had not prayed worthily, but like Esau had asked for the fat of the earth; but now, like Jacob, they should petition for the dew of Heaven, for spiritual gifts, for the bless­ing of spiritual illumination, for the Kingdom accord­ing to the will of God, and not for one in accordance with their own ideas. He reminded them that even the heathens themselves did not petition for tem­poral goods alone, but also for those of a spiritual nature.

The city of Dan, situated at the base of a high mountain range, covered a wide extent owing to the fact that everyone of its houses was surrounded by a garden. All the inhabitants were engaged in gar­den tillage. They raised fruits and aromatic plants of all kinds, also calamus, myrrh, balsam, cotton,

Jesus Healing in Dan

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 and many sweet-scented herbs, which formed the staple of their trade with Tyre and Sidon. The pagans of Dan were more mixed up with the Jews than in other cities. Although this region was so delightful and fertile, yet there were many sick in it.

Jesus put up with the disciples at one of His own inns situated in the heart of the city. The Apostles and disciples had established it when on their last mission here. Counting the Apostles, the disciples with Jesus at this time amounted to thirty. They who had already been here and to whom consequently the inhabitants applied, led Jesus around to the dif­ferent sick. The rest of the disciples scattered among the surrounding places. Peter, John, and James stayed with Jesus, who went about from house to house healing the sick. He cured the dropsical, the melancholy, the possessed, several slightly affected with leprosy, the lame, and especially numbers of blind, and others with swollen cheeks and limbs.

The blindness so prevalent came from the sting of a little insect that infested this country. Jesus pointed out an herb, with whose juice He bade them anoint their eyes in order to prevent the insect from stinging them. He gave to them also a moral appli­cation of its meaning. The swellings, which became inflamed and produced gangrene that ended in the death of many thus afflicted, were likewise caused by little insects like mildew that were blown from the trees. They were grayish black, like chimney soot, and were borne like a dense black cloud through the air. The insect bit into the skin and raised a large swelling. Jesus pointed out another insect, which was to be crushed and applied to the bite. He told them in future to make use of it in similar cases. It had fifteen little points on the back, as large as an ant's egg, and it could roll itself up into a ball.

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16. The Syrophenician

While Jesus was going from house to house in Dan healing the sick, He was perseveringly followed by an aged woman, a pagan, who was crippled on one side. She was from Ornithopolis. She remained humbly at some distance and, from time to time, implored help. But Jesus paid no attention to her, He even appeared to shun her, for He was now heal­ing sick Jews only. A servant accompanied the woman bearing her baggage. She was habited in the garb of a foreigner. Her dress was of striped material, the arms and neck trimmed with lace. On her head she wore a high, pointed cap, over which was tied a col­ored kerchief, and lastly a veil. She had at home a daughter sick and possessed, and for a long time she had been hoping for aid from Jesus. She was in Dan at the time of the Apostles' mission there, and they now more than once reminded Jesus of her. But He replied that it was not yet time, that He wanted to avoid giving offense, and that He would not help the pagans before the Jews.

In the afternoon Jesus went with Peter, James, and John to the house of one of the Jewish Elders of the city, a man very well disposed, a friend of Lazarus and Nicodemus, and in secret a follower of Jesus. He had contributed largely to the common fund of the holy women and to the support of the inns. He had two sons and three daughters, all of mature age, he himself being an old man far advanced in years. The children were unmarried. The sons wore their long hair parted on top of the head and allowed the beard to grow. Through the daughters' headdress, the hair could be seen similarly parted. They were Nazarites. All were clothed in white. The old father, whose beard was long and white, was led by the sons to meet Jesus, for he could not walk alone. He was shedding tears of reverential joy. The sons washed the feet of Jesus and the Apostles, and

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 presented them with refreshments, fruit and rolls. Jesus was very affable and treated the family with great confidence. He spoke to them of the journeys He was about to make, and told them that He would not show Himself openly in Jerusalem at the cele­bration of the coming Pasch. He did not remain long in the house, for the people, having found out His whereabouts, had gathered outside and in the fore­court. Jesus went out through the court and into the garden where for several hours He taught and cured between the terraced walls that supported the gardens. The pagan woman had waited long at a distance. Jesus never went near her, and she dared not approach Him. From time to time, however, she repeated her cry: "Lord! Thou Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is grievously tormented by an unclean spirit!" The disciples begged Jesus to help her. But He said: "I was not sent but to the sheep that are lost of the house of Israel." At last the woman drew nearer, ventured into the hall, cast herself down before Jesus, and cried: "Lord, help me!" Jesus replied: "It is not good to take the bread of the children and to cast it to the dogs." But she continued to entreat: "Yea, Lord! For the whelps also eat of the crumbs that fall from the table of their masters." Then Jesus said: "0 woman, great is thy faith! On account of these words, help shall be given thee!"

Jesus asked her whether she herself did not want to be cured, for she was crippled on one side. But she replied that she was not worthy, and that she asked for her daughter's cure only. Then He laid one hand on her head, the other on her side, and said: "Straighten up! May it be done to thee as thou dost will! The devil has gone out of thy daughter." The woman stood upright. She was tall and thin. For some instants, she uttered not a word, and then with uplifted hands, she cried out: "0 Lord, I see my daughter lying in bed well and in peace!" She was out of herself with

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 joy. Jesus turned away with the disciples.

Jesus afterward took a repast at the house of the Nazarites. The Levites of Cades were present, as well as all the Apostles and disciples who had again met together at the inn. It was a grand entertain­ment, such as had not been given for a long time, and from it abundant alms were distributed to the poor by the disciples. After all was over, Jesus returned to the inn. The Feast of the New Moon was celebrated yesterday and today.

When Jesus on the following morning was heal­ing and teaching under the market porticos, the pagan woman brought to Jesus one of her relatives who had come with her from Ornithopolis. He was paralyzed in the right arm besides being deaf and dumb. The woman begged Jesus to cure him and also to visit her home, that they might there thank Him worthily.

Jesus took the man aside from the crowd, laid His hand on the lame arm, prayed, and stretched out the arm perfectly cured. Then He moistened his ears with a little spittle, told him to raise his cured hand to his tongue, glanced upward, and prayed. The man arose, spoke, and gave thanks. Jesus stepped back with him to the pressing multitude, and the man began to speak wonderful and prophetic words. He cast himself at Jesus' feet and gave Him thanks. Then turning to the Jews and pagans, he uttered menaces against Israel, named some particular places, referred to the miracles of Jesus and the obstinacy of the Jews, and said: "The food that ye, the children of the house, reject, we outcasts shall gather up. We shall live upon it, and give thanks. The fruit of the crumbs that we gather up will be to us what you allow to go to waste of the Bread of Heaven." His words were so wonderful, so inspired, that great agitation arose in the crowd.

Immediately after this, Jesus left the city and climbed with the Apostles and disciples a mountain

Jesus Instructs the Apostles and Disciples

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 range to the west of Lesem. They reached a soli­tary height, where they found a roomy cavern con­taining seats cut out of the rock. Caves of this kind served as resting places for travelers. Jesus and His followers had been journeying a good two hours, and here passed the night. Jesus instructed the Apostles and disciples on diverse modes of healing and the various ceremonies accompanying them, for they had asked Him why He had ordered the dumb man to put his own hand into his mouth, and why He had taken him aside. Jesus satisfied them on these points, instructed them again upon prayer, and praised the pagan woman who had always implored, not for temporal goods, but for the knowl­edge of the truth. He prescribed a certain order to be followed by them: They were to go on their mis­sions two and two, they were all to teach the same things, they were to proclaim the last instructions that He had given them. From time to time, they were to meet together in order severally to com­municate all that had occurred to them. The Apos­tles were then to impart to the disciples whatever had happened in the meantime and which ought to be known in common. They should pray together on their journeys, and speak only of the affairs of their mission.

Having resumed their route, they passed the great and very elevated city of Hammoth Dor, after which they climbed steep and toilsome heights until they reached the lofty ridge that commanded a view of the Mediterranean. They now descended the moun­tain for several hours, passed over a stream that flowed into the sea through the north of Tyre, and put up at an inn on the roadside, between three and four hours from Ornithopolis.

The Syrophenician was a very distinguished lady in her native place. She had passed through these parts on her way home, and had fitted up a very comfortable inn for Jesus. The pagans came out most

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 humbly to meet Jesus and His party, guided them to their destination, and showed them all kinds of attentions with an air at once timid and reveren­tial. They looked upon Jesus as a great Prophet.

Next day Jesus and the disciples ascended a hill in the neighborhood of a little pagan city, and there found a teacher's chair. It had been in existence since the times of the early Prophets, some of whom had often preached from it. The pagans had always held this place in high esteem, and today they had ornamented it by erecting a beautiful awning over the chair.

There were numbers of sick assembled on the hill, but they remained shyly at a distance, until Jesus and the disciples approached and cured many of them. Some had tumors, others were paralyzed, oth­ers wasted away, some were melancholy or half- pos­sessed. These last, when cured, appeared as if awaking from sleep. The limbs of some were greatly swollen and inflamed. Jesus laid His hand on the swelling, which was immediately reduced and the inflammation allayed. He directed the disciples to bring a plant that grew there on the naked rock. It had large, succulent, and deeply notched leaves. He blessed one of these leaves, poured on it some water that He carried with Him in a flask, and the disci­ples bound it, the notched side down, on the part affected.

The healing over, Jesus delivered an instruction on the vocation of the Gentiles. It was more than ordinarily impressive. He explained several passages from the Prophets, and depicted the vanity of their idols. After that He went with the disciples three hours in a north-westwardly direction to Ornithopo­lis, which was distant from the sea three-quarters of an hour. This city, which was not very large, con­tained some beautiful buildings. On a height in the eastern environs stood a pagan temple.

Jesus was received with more than ordinary affec­tion.

The Syrophenician's Feast

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 The Syrophenician had prepared everything for the occasion in the most sumptuous and honorable manner, but in her humility, she left to the few poor Jewish families living in the city the liberty of doing the honors of reception. The whole place resounded with the cure of her daughter, as well as with that of her own and her deaf and dumb relative. The last named, in recounting his cure, spoke of Jesus in words of inspiration. The inhabitants were ranged outside the houses. The pagans stood back humbly and closed the procession that went with green branches to meet Jesus. The Jews, about twenty in number, among them some very aged men who had to be led, also the teachers with all the children, headed the procession. The mothers and daughters followed, veiled.

A house near the school had been prepared for Jesus and the disciples. It was fitted up by the lady with beautiful carpets, furniture, and lamps. There the Jews most humbly washed the feet of Jesus and His disciples and changed their sandals and clothes, until their own were shaken, brushed, and cleaned. Jesus then went with the Elders to the school and taught.

After that, a magnificent entertainment was given in a public hall, at the expense of the Syropheni­cian. One could see in all the preparations, in the dishes, the viands, and the table furniture gener­ally, that it was a feast given by the pagans. There were three tables much higher than those in use among the Jews, with couches correspondingly high. Some of the viands were very remarkable, being made up into figures representing animals, trees, mountains, and pyramids. Some others were quite deceptive, being in reality very different from what they appeared; for instance, there were all kinds of wonderful pastry, birds made out offish, fish formed of flesh, and lambs made of spices, fruits, flour, and honey. There were also some real lambs. At one table,

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 Jesus ate with the Apostles and the oldest among the Jews; at the two others, the disciples and the rest of the Jews. The women and children were seated at a table separated from the others by a screen. During the meal, the lady with her daughter and relatives entered to give thanks for the cures wrought among them, their servants following with presents in ornamented caskets, which they bore between them on tapestry. The daughter, veiled, stepped behind Jesus, broke a little vial of precious ointment over His head, and then modestly returned to her mother. The servants delivered the gifts (they were those of the daughter) to the disciples. Jesus returned thanks. The lady bade Him welcome to her native place, and declared how happy she should be if she could only show her good will and, in spite of her unworthiness, repair even the least of the many injuries that He experienced so often from her fel­low pagans. She spoke humbly and in few words, remaining all the while at a respectful distance. Jesus ordered the money that formed part of the gifts, as well as the food, to be distributed in her presence among the poor Jews.

The lady was a widow and very rich. Her hus­band had been dead five years. He possessed in his lifetime many large ships at sea and a great num­ber of servants, besides much property. He owned whole villages. Not far from Ornithopolis there was a heathen settlement on a cape jutting out into the sea, all of which belonged to the lady, his widow. I think he was a large merchant. His widow was held in more than ordinary esteem in Ornithopolis, where the poor Jews lived almost entirely upon her boun­ty. She was both intelligent and beneficent, and not without a certain degree of illumination in her pagan piety. Her daughter was twenty-four years old, tall and very beautiful. She dressed in colors and adorned her neck with chains, her arms with bracelets. Her wealth brought around her numerous suitors, and

The Syrophenician's Feast

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 she became possessed of an evil spirit. She was afflicted with convulsions so violent that in her frenzy she would spring from her couch and try to run away; consequently she had to be guarded and even bound. But when the paroxysm was over, she became again good and virtuous. Her state caused great afflic­tion to herself and her mother, and to both it was a subject of deep humiliation. The poor girl was obliged to live retired, and she had now endured her sufferings for several years. When the mother neared her home, she was met by her daughter who had come out for that purpose, as well as to tell her of her cure, which had taken place at the very instant in which Jesus had promised it. And, oh, her joy and wonder at seeing her once-crippled mother again a tall, graceful woman! And to hear herself distinctly and joyfully greeted by her paralyzed, deaf, and dumb relative! She was filled with gratitude and rever­ence for Jesus, and helped to prepare everything for His reception.

The gifts that Jesus received consisted of trinkets belonging to the daughter. They had been given to her in her early years by her parents, principally by her father, whose business opened to him communi­cations with distant lands, and whose only and well beloved child she was. Some were jewels of ancient workmanship, objects wrought of precious metals, such as are ordinarily given to the children of the wealthy. Among them were some things that had for­merly belonged to her parents' parents. There were many wonderful-looking little idols of pearls and pre­cious stones set in gold, rare stones of great value, tiny vessels, golden animals, and figures about a fin­ger long, the eyes and mouth formed of gems. There were also odoriferous stones and amber and golden branches that looked like little live trees, laden with colored gems instead of fruit—and very, very many such things! It was a treasure in itself, for some of these objects would now be worth a thousand

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 dollars apiece. Jesus said that He would distribute them to the poor and the needy, and that His Father in Heaven would reward the donors.

On the Sabbath, Jesus visited everyone of the Jewish families, distributed alms, cured, and com­forted. Many of these Jews were poor and aban­doned. Jesus assembled them in the synagogue where He spoke to them in terms at once deeply touching and consoling, for the poor creatures looked upon themselves as the outcast and unworthy chil­dren of Israel. He also prepared many of them for Baptism. About twenty men were baptized in a bathing garden, among them the cured deaf and dumb relatives of the pagan lady.

Jesus visited the Syrophenician also, along with His disciples. She dwelt in a beautiful house sur­rounded by numerous courts and gardens. Jesus was received with great solemnity. The domestics in fes­tal garments spread carpets under His feet. At the entrance of a beautiful summerhouse, which was supported on pillars, the widow and her daughter came forward veiled to meet Him. They cast them­selves at His feet and poured forth their thanks, in which they were joined by their cured relative, once deaf and dumb. In the summerhouse were set forth odd-looking figures in pastry and fruit of all kinds on costly dishes. The vessels were of glass, which looked as if made of many colored threads that appeared to run together and cross one another, as if dissolving one into the other. Among rich Jews I have seen similar vessels, but only in small num­bers. Here they seemed to be in abundance. Many such vessels were held in reserve behind curtains in the corners of the hall. They were arranged on shelves up high on the wall. The dishes were set on little tables, some round, others with corners, that could be placed together to form one large table.

Among the refreshments there were very fine dried grapes still hanging on the vine laid on those col­ored

Sarepta

243

 glass dishes, also another kind of dried fruit which arose from the branches as from a little tree. There were reeds with long, cordate leaves and fruit in form like the grape. They were perfectly white, perhaps sugared, and looked like the white part of the cauliflower. The guests snapped them off the stem, and found that they had a sweet, pleasant taste. They were raised not far from the sea, in a swampy place belonging to the Syrophenician.

In a separate part of the hall, the pagan maidens, friends of the daughter, were standing along with the domestics. Jesus went and spoke to them. The lady very earnestly entreated Jesus on behalf of the poor people of Sarepta. She begged Him to visit them as well as others in the neighborhood. She was very intelligent and had a clever way of proposing things. Her words were something to this effect: "Sarepta, whose poor widow had shared her little all with Elias, is itself a poor widow threatened with starvation. Do Thou, the greatest of Prophets, have pity on her! For­give me, a widow and once poor, to whom Thou hast restored her all, if I make bold to plead also for Sarepta." Jesus promised to do as she wished. She told Him that she wanted to build a synagogue, and asked Him to indicate where it should be. But I do not remember Jesus' reply.

The lady possessed large weaving and dyeing fac­tories. In the little place near the sea and at some distance from her residence, there were great build­ings on the top of which were platforms where gray and yellow stuffs were spread out. Among the gifts presented to Jesus were many little dishes and balls of amber, considered in those parts very precious.

Jesus celebrated the close of the Sabbath in the Jewish school, which was very beautifully adorned. In order to console the poor Jews, He taught that the proverb: "Our fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the teeth of the children are on edge," should no longer pass current in Israel. "Everyone that

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 abides by the Word of God announced by Me, that does penance and receives Baptism, no longer bears the sins of his father." The people were extraordi­narily rejoiced upon hearing these words.

On the afternoon of the following day, Jesus took leave of the lady who, in union with her daughter and cured relative, presented Him with golden fig­ures a hand in length, and provisions of bread, bal­sam, fruits, honey in reed baskets, and little flasks. These provisions were destined for His journey and for the poor of Sarepta. Jesus addressed words of advice to the whole family, recommended to them the poor Jews and their own salvation, and departed from the house amid the tears and reverential salu­tations of all. The lady had always been very en­lightened and very earnest in seeking after perfection. Henceforth neither she nor her daugh­ter went any more to the pagan temple. They observed the teachings of Jesus, joined the Jews, and sought by degrees to bring their people after them.

Several times again Jesus repeated His instruc­tions to the disciples upon the order they were to observe and the duties they were to fulfill in their present mission. Thomas, Thaddeus, and James the Less went with some of the disciples (the others remaining with Jesus) down to the tribe of Aser. They were allowed to take nothing with them. Jesus with the nine remaining Apostles, with Saturnin, Judas Barsabas, and another, went northward to Sarepta. Sixteen of the Jews accompanied Jesus the whole of the way, while all the rest and many of the pagans went only a part. He did not enter Sarepta, which was about two and a half hours distant from Ornithopolis, but stopped at a row of houses toler­ably far from the city. They occupied the site of the spot upon which the widow of Sarepta was gather­ing sticks when Elias approached the city. Some poor Jews had settled there. They were still poorer than those of Ornithopolis, who enjoyed the bounty of the

Jesus Goes To Gessur

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 Syrophenician. Here too was an inn prepared for Jesus and His followers, and presents for the poor had been sent on in advance—all through the good­ness of that lady. The inhabitants, unspeakably happy and deeply impressed, came out with the women and children to meet Jesus and to wash His feet, also those of His followers.

Jesus consoled and taught them. Then He pro­ceeded on His journey a couple of hours to the east, accompanied by the sixteen men from Ornithopolis and some others from Sarepta. The country was ris­ing, and the road uphill. On an eminence near a lit­tle pagan city, Jesus delivered an instruction to the inhabitants whom He found there awaiting Him, after which He pressed on farther. Those that had followed Him from Ornithopolis here took leave.

At some distance farther on, Jesus and the dis­ciples ascended in an easterly direction toward Mount Hermon, which forms the culminating peak of the high mountain range that bounds Upper Galilee. He crossed Hermon into an elevated valley and stopped at Rechob to the southwest at the foot of the mountain below Baal-Hermon. This last city was very large and, with its numerous pagan tem­ples, looked down upon Rechob.

17. Jesus in Gessur and Nobe. Celebration of the Feast of Purim

Jesus journeyed seven hours northeastward from Rechob to Gessur, where He stopped with the pub­licans, many of whom dwelt on the highroad lead­ing to Damascus. Gessur was a beautiful, large city garrisoned by Roman soldiers. Jews and pagans occu­pied separate quarters, notwithstanding which the communications between them were very intimate. The Jews of Gessur were, on this account, held in low esteem by those of other places.

Many of the Jews and pagans of Gessur had been

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 present at the sermon on the Mount of Beatitudes, and some of their sick were cured by the Apostles who had recently visited the place. There was also a blind man who had been restored to sight at the instruction before the multiplication of the bread. The husband of Mary Suphan was from Gessur, but he was now residing with her at Ainon.

When Absalom was fleeing from David, he took up his abode in Gessur for a time, as his mother Maacha was the daughter of the king of the place, who was named Tholmai. (1 Par. 3:2).

The Apostle Bartholomew, who had accompanied Jesus hither, was a descendant of that same royal house. His father had for a long time made use of the baths of Bethulia, on which account he had removed to Cana and settled in the valley of Zabu­lon. It was owing to this that Bartholomew had become an inhabitant of that part of the country. He still had in Gessur a very aged grand-uncle on his mother's side, a pagan and possessed of great property and riches. This old man resided in a large house in the heart of the city. He had himself con­ducted to the publican quarter in order to see Jesus, who was teaching on a terrace upon which the mer­chandise passing this way was examined, taxed, and repacked. The old uncle conversed with the Apos­tles, especially with his nephew Bartholomew, and invited Jesus to his house to dine. All the inhabi­tants, men and women, Jews and pagans, attended Jesus' instructions. It was a promiscuous audience. Jesus also took a meal with the publicans and many others. There was considerable bustle attending it, for the publicans were putting all their goods in order to make a distribution to the poor.

When Jesus entered the pagan quarter of the city, to visit Bartholomew's uncle, He was received with magnificence according to pagan style. Carpets were spread before Him, and sumptuous refreshments set forth, all in accordance with pagan manners.

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The pagans of Gessur adored a many-armed idol, which supported on its head a bushel measure filled with ears of wheat. Many of them inclined to Judaism, and many others to the doctrines of Jesus. Numbers of them had already been baptized either by John, or by the Apostles at Capharnaum.

The publicans distributed the greater part of their wealth. On the place upon which Jesus had taught, they heaped up great quantities of corn which they afterward measured out to the poor. They likewise bestowed fields and gardens upon poor day laborers and slaves, and repaired all the wrong they had done.

When Jesus was again teaching at the custom house before the pagans and Jews, some strangers arrived, Pharisees, to celebrate here the Sabbath. They reproached Jesus for lodging among the pub­licans and for having familiar communications with them and the pagans.

Bartholomew's uncle, along with sixteen other aged men, was baptized in a bathing garden, the water from a well of the city being conducted into the gar­den by a very elevated canal. Joses Barsabas admin­istered the Baptism. The garden had been adorned in festive style, the ceremony was most solemn, and the poor were abundantly supplied with alms, to which the old uncle largely contributed.

Jesus closed the Sabbath by an instruction in the synagogue, took leave of all the people at the cus­tom house, distributed alms to the poor, and went accompanied by a numerous retinue a distance of five hours to the fisher village on the borders of the lake of Phiala. This lake was on a plateau about three hours east of Paneas. He arrived late and lodged with the teacher in a house next the school. The people of the place were for the most part Jews.

Lake Phiala was scarcely one hour long. Its shores were sloping, its waters clear, and its outlet flowed toward a mountain where it disappeared. There were

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 some boats on its surface. The region was covered with fields of grain and beautiful meadows, in the latter of which numbers of asses, camels, and other cattle were grazing; there were also groves of chest­nuts. On both sides of the lake lay Jewish fisher vil­lages, each of which had its own school.

Jesus taught in the schools, and went with some of the inhabitants and the Apostles into the homes of the shepherds around the lake. John the Baptist had once sojourned in this region.

From this place, Jesus with John, Bartholomew, and a disciple went three hours southward to Nobe, a city of Decapolis. The inhabitants were pagans and Jews. They dwelt apart, the city being divided into two quarters, each of which had a somewhat dif­ferent name. All the cities of this part of the coun­try were built of black, glimmering stone. Jesus taught in Nobe and in some of the little places around. John and Bartholomew were with Him, the other Apostles and disciples being scattered through­out the neighboring country.

Jesus prepared the people for Baptism, which was administered by Bartholomew. The water in these places was black and muddy, but it was purified in great, round, stone reservoirs, whence it was allowed to flow into others that were kept covered. The Apos­tles poured into it some of the water from their drinking vessels, and Jesus blessed the whole. The people, with inclined heads, knelt for Baptism around the stone basin.

The pagans of Nobe received Jesus very solemnly. They went to meet Him carrying green, blooming branches, stretched cordons on either side to keep back the crowd, and spread carpets for Him to walk on. These latter were laid across the streets, and, when Jesus had passed over them, they were raised quickly, carried some distance ahead, and held again in readiness for His approach. This was repeated many times, and as often did Jesus walk over them.

Jesus in Nobe

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 The rabbis, who were Pharisees, received Him in the Jewish quarter, where He taught in the synagogue, for it was the Sabbath of the Purim festival. When all was over, there was a banquet given in the pub­lic hall. During the entertainment, the Pharisees again disputed on certain points, and twitted Jesus upon His disciples' eating fruit by the wayside and stripping the ears of wheat.

Jesus related the parable of the laborers in the vineyard, also that of the rich glutton and poor Lazarus. He reproached the Pharisees for not hav­ing, according to custom, invited the poor to the feast; whereupon they replied that their revenues were too small to allow it. Then Jesus asked whether the pre­sent entertainment had been prepared for Him, and when they answered, yes, He laid on the table five large, yellow, three-cornered pieces of money attached to a little chain, saying that they might let the poor have them. Then He directed the disciples to call in many of the poor, who sat down at the table and par­took of the viands. Jesus Himself served them, in­structing them meantime and distributing to them quantities of food. The money presented by Jesus was perhaps the customary Temple tax usually paid on that day, or merely a gift usual at the time, for the people on this feast interchanged presents of fruits, bread, grain, and garments.

On this feast they read in the synagogue the whole of the history of Esther. They did the same to the sick and aged in their own homes. Jesus also went around reading to the old people the roll of Esther, and healing some of the sick. I saw too festive games and processions of the young maidens and women, who had great privileges on this day. Once they entered the synagogue as if on an embassy, and pen­etrated even into the upper part. They had chosen one of their number as queen, whom they now escorted in regal robes, and presented to the priests beautiful priestly vestments. They had some games

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Life of Jesus Christ

 among themselves in a garden. They chose some­times this one, again that one for queen, and in turn dethroned them. They had also a puppet which they ill-treated and then hanged, while little lads struck with hammers on boards and uttered imprecations. This was meant for a representation of the punish­ment merited by the wicked Aman.

18. Jesus in Regaba and Caesarea-Philippi

From Nobe, Jesus went to Gaulon. The road wound westwardly round a high mountain chain for a dis­tance of four hours. Gaulon was inhabited by both Jews and pagans and was distant from the Jordan a couple of hours. Jesus tarried here only a few hours teaching and healing. Continuing His journey, He passed the city of Argos, built at a high eleva­tion on a mountain ridge, and arrived late that night at the stronghold Regaba. He rested with His com­panions on the grass of a solitary place outside the city, and awaited the other Apostles and disciples, fifteen in number. When these arrived, they all went with their Master to the inn established here for their accommodation. Regaba belonged to the Gerge­sean district. It was the most northerly of their towns, and one of the best disposed. Gaulon was a frontier town of the tetrarch Philip.

Most of the inhabitants, both Jews and pagans, were already baptized, and their sick had been healed on the Mount of Beatitudes. Jesus spent the whole day in teaching, consoling, and strengthening souls in faith. An immense crowd from the whole country around was here assembled for the Sabbath, and to it was added a caravan from Arabia. This crowd of people brought with them their lame, their blind, their dumb, and other sick. They pressed with such violence that Jesus left the synagogue with the dis­ciples and retired to a mountain. Some of the dis­ciples

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

This document is: ACE_3_0231

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