Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

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Jesus in Regaba


 remained behind and endeavored, as well as they could, to bring the crowd to order. The people followed Jesus to the mountain, where He taught of the Our Father, of prayer that should not be made with ostentation and in public places to be seen, and of the granting of prayer. He also healed many of the sick, and then returned to the synagogue in Regaba. During these last days, Jesus had spoken much upon prayer both on His journeys and in the schools. There were some disciples with Him who had not been present at all the explanations of the Our Father. They said to Him: "Teach us, also, to pray as Thou hast taught the others!" and He again explained the Our Father, and warned them against sanctimonious prayers.

Regaba was situated very high and had a mag­nificent view over the lake, across Genesareth, and off to Thabor. Still higher than the city, which was not very large, stood upon a rock a square building with great, steep walls, as if hewn from the rocks. It was provided with vaults and chambers, and was a home for soldiers. It was roofed by a platform upon which trees were growing. It was a citadel. From Regaba to the lake the distance was about five hours toward the southwest; to the Mount of Beatitudes, from three to four hours westward; about five hours to Bethsaida-Julias; and from seven to eight hours from the place in which Jesus drove the devil into the swine. To Caesarea-Philippi, it may have been five hours. A road for caravans ran over the high mountain between Regaba and Caesarea.

During these days, Jesus spoke much of the dark future before Him. Men would, He said, persecute Him everywhere and even attempt His life, and once He said that His arrest was near. Since the last excitement at Capharnaum, He had not spoken in public of the Bread of Life, nor of eating His Flesh and drinking His Blood. He had taught of this mys­tery chiefly in order to try His disciples and to get


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 rid of the bad, whom He wished no longer to retain as His followers.

The elevated surroundings of Regaba were very lovely, though somewhat wild. Off toward the north­east, however, the country was barren and rocky. Excellent fruit, such as they had in Genesareth, did not grow here, but there were quantities of grain, and on the mountains fine pasturelands. Grazing around were great herds of asses and cows. Some of the latter had very broad horns and black snouts which they carried high in the air; others bore their heads lower and their horns forward, while the horns of many others were broken off short. There were also large herds of camels, which at a distance looked quite small. They often slept standing, supported against the trees and rocks. In one quarter, in which trees like beeches were growing, I saw droves of swine. I have never seen either the Jews or the pagans prepare smoked meat, though they dried fish in the sun and salted it. Up here on the mountains there was great scarcity of water, consequently there were cisterns lower down in which the rain was caught, and the water then carried up in leathern bottles.

From Regaba Jesus went with His followers to Caesarea-Philippi, where He arrived about midday. The road thither ran over mountains, and in many places it was very wild. The situation of Caesarea was extraordinarily beautiful. It lay between five hills on one side and a mountain chain on the other. It was surrounded by groves and gardens, and was built in the pagan style of columns and arches. There were perhaps as many as seven palaces, and num­bers of pagan temples. Still, the pagans dwelt apart from the Jews. In a little vale outside the city there was a very large pond, in the center of which was a little revolving building. The water welled from it into the pond and thence flowed down to the Jor­dan. In the pagan quarter of the city, there was a

Jesus in Caesarea


 very deep well over which was built a beautiful edi­fice. It was very deep to look down into, I think it communicated through the mountain with the source that flowed from Lake Phiala. I saw outside the city arches and vaults also through which the water flowed, as if through caves and over bridges.

Jesus was well received. They were on the watch for Him, the caravan having announced His coming. Some of the relatives of the woman whom Jesus had cured of a flow of blood came out as far as the pond to meet Him. He put up near the synagogue at an inn belonging to the Pharisees, and soon was sur­rounded by a crowd of sick and others. The Apos­tles healed here and there. Some of the Pharisees of this place were badly disposed toward Jesus. They had formed part of the Commission of Capharnaum.

Jesus cured and taught on a hill outside the city. Strangers from all quarters had brought thither their sick, and these latter were continually crying out: "Lord, command one of Thy disciples to help us!" The Pharisees taunted Jesus, asking Him why He went around with people so mean, why He did not associate with the learned.

Alms consisting of food and clothing were dis­tributed by the disciples. They had been supplied by Enue (she who had been cured of the issue of blood) and her uncle, still a pagan, who dwelt in Caesarea.

The three Apostles and all the disciples who from Ornithopolis had been sent by Jesus to Tyre, Cabul, and the tribe of Aser, met Jesus here at Caesarea as He had appointed. The meeting on such occasions is always very touching. They clasp hands and embrace. The people washed the feet of the new­comers, who immediately took part in the distribu­tion of food and other alms, and the healing of the sick.

Jesus went afterward with all the Apostles and disciples, about sixty in number, to the house of Enue's uncle, where He was received most solemnly


Life of Jesus Christ

 according to pagan customs, carpets being spread for Him to walk upon, and green branches and wreaths being carried. The uncle, led by Enue and her daughter, came to meet Jesus, and the women cast themselves down before Him.

It was partly in answer to the prayer of this old man that Jesus had come to Caesarea. He and sev­eral other pagans wanted to be baptized, but they had scruples on the subject of circumcision. Jesus never touched upon this point in His public dis­course, but He had a private interview with the uncle. In such cases, He never commanded circum­cision; though, at the same time, He did not advo­cate its discontinuance. When pious old pagans, upon receiving Baptism, told Him in confidence of their trouble on this head, Jesus used to console them by telling them that if they did not wish to become Jews, they should remain as they were, but believe and practice what they heard from Him. Such peo­ple then lived apart from both Judaism and pagan­ism. They prayed, they gave alms, and became Christians without passing through Judaism. Even to the Apostles, Jesus refrained from expressing Him­self on this point, in order not to scandalize them, so that I never remember having heard the Phar­isees, who listened so closely to catch Him in His words, ever accuse Him on that head, no, not even at the time of His Passion.

Over the beautifully paved inner court of the old man's house an awning of white stuff was stretched, and through an opening in the center hung a wreath. Besides the trees, the whole court was adorned with garlands of flowers. Baptism was administered under the awning. Before the ceremony, Jesus gave an instruction and spoke in private with the neophytes, who opened their hearts to Him. They exposed to Him their whole life and made their profession of faith in Him. Jesus then absolved them from their sins, and they were baptized by Saturnin in a basin

Jesus in Caesarea


 of water which Jesus had previously blessed. The ceremony was followed by a grand entertainment in which all the disciples and the friends of the fam­ily took part. The meal was conducted according to pagan customs. The table was higher than those in use among the Jews, and the guests reclined upon long, raised divans, the feet turned out, and one arm resting on a cushion. The edge of the table was indented, and before each of the guests were some small dishes, though the principal viands were on large ones in the center of the table.

Enue, since her cure, was scarcely recognizable, so well and hearty had she become. She and her daughter, who was about twenty-one years old, sat at table beside their uncle. During the entertain­ment, they arose and withdrew for awhile. When they returned, the mother stood somewhat back while the daughter, wearing a beautiful veil and carrying a little white vase of perfume, went behind Jesus, broke it, and poured the contents over His head. Then with both hands she smoothed it right and left over His hair, and drew the part behind the ears through her hands. After that she gathered up the end of her veil, passed it over His head in order to dry it, and retired. A quantity of food was distrib­uted to the poor outside the house.

This house was not the uncle's former residence. It was one to which he had removed with Enue, in order to avoid intercourse with the pagans and the frequenting of their temples; still it was not in the Jewish quarter. Enue was the daughter of either his brother or sister. She had had communications with the Jews, one of whom she had married, but he was now deceased. It was, however, from her pagan parents that she inherited all her wealth. On leaving their old home, Enue and her uncle had left behind quantities of corn, clothes, and covers for the poor.

Caesarea-Philippi was four hours east of Lesem,


Life of Jesus Christ

 or Lais, whither the Syrophenician had come to Jesus; they were consequently not one and the same city.

During Jesus' stay in Caesarea, the pagans cele­brated a feast near the fountain in the city. It had reference to the benefit they derived from the water. Incense was burned on tripods before an idol, around which was gathered a crowd of maidens wearing crowns. The idol was made up of three or four fig­ures sitting back to back, each having its own head, hands, and feet. The arms down to the elbows were fastened to the body, but the hands were out­stretched. The fountain on all sides poured out water into basins. On one side it flowed into an enclosed place in which were private halls and bathing cis­terns. This was the Jews' bathing place.

When the pagan feast was over, Jesus went thither and prepared several of the Jews, who after­ward received Baptism from the disciples. The cer­emony concluded, Jesus with several of His disciples returned to the home of Enue and her uncle and took leave of them. Humbly, reverently, and with many tears, these worthy people bade goodbye to Jesus. They had previously sent presents to the place outside the city gate where Jesus continued a while longer His instructions to the poor travelers belonging to the caravan and to others from the city. The presents consisted of bread, corn, gar­ments, and covers, all of which with whatever else they had received, Jesus caused to be distributed among the needy. Many of the devout Jews and the newly baptized followed this example of charity. They measured out corn and distributed linen, cov­ers, mantles and bread to the poor, for whom this was a gala day.

Jesus was afterward constrained by the Phar­isees, though in the most polite manner, to enter the synagogue and explain some points to them. The Apostles accompanied their Master, and quite a considerable crowd was present. The Pharisees

The Pharisees Reproach Jesus


 had devised all kinds of captious questions on the subject of divorce, for there were many complicated matrimonial affairs in this place, and Jesus had already reconciled some parties and set them right. The Pharisees now began to dispute maliciously with Jesus, and call Him to account for all that He exacted of His disciples, for a young man in their party had complained to them of Him. This young man was rich and well-educated, and he had long before pushed himself upon Jesus as His disciple. But Jesus had laid down to him several conditions, namely, that he should leave father and mother, distribute his wealth to the poor, etc. He had again, at Cae­sarea-Philippi, offered himself to Jesus. But he still wanted to retain his fortune and the right to admin­ister it himself, in consequence of which Jesus had again dismissed him. The Pharisees asked Jesus why He imposed such unheard of conditions upon people. The young man alleged divers things that Jesus had said and called upon the Apostles to wit­ness to his statements, for they too had heard them. The Apostles became embarrassed. They were not prepared for such an attack, and they knew not what to answer. The Pharisees therefore reproached Jesus with fraternizing with the ignorant only, and ascribed His sending away the young man to the fact that the latter was educated. Jesus replied to them in very severe words, and left them to resume His journey.

On leaving the city, Jesus gave instructions to the Apostles and disciples, and sent them to places at a considerable distance east and northeast. They had before them a long and difficult journey to Dam­ascus, to Arabia, and to cities which they had never yet visited. Jesus Himself with two disciples, leav­ing Lake Phiala on the left, went to Argob, a city built on a height four hours direct from Caesarea. There He put up with the Levites near the syna­gogue. Argob was for the most part inhabited by


Life of Jesus Christ

 Jews. The few pagans in it were poor and worked for them. Cotton goods were manufactured here, women, children, and men being engaged in spin­ning and weaving. The place suffered from want of water, which had to be carried up to the city in leathern bottles, and then poured into the cisterns. Jesus taught in a public square, healed some of the sick, and visited in their own homes some old and infirm people, whom He cured and consoled. Almost all the inhabitants had been baptized, and there were no Pharisees among them. A very distant view could be commanded from Argob. They could see far over into Upper Galilee, the Mount of Beatitudes rose before them, and the prospect down into Beth­saida-Julias was remarkably beautiful.

Jesus, with His two disciples, and escorted a part of the way by several people of Argob, started again on His journey. He crossed the mountainous district eastward toward Regaba, and halted at a distance of two hours from that city, at an open cabin belong­ing to the inn. The caravans, which three times a year passed in this direction, often encamped in this place. Jesus was here met by four of His young dis­ciples, who brought with them a supply of provi­sions. They had come from Jerusalem, taking Capharnaum in their route.

From the inn Jesus went to the citadel, or strong­hold of Regaba, where a great multitude—besides many from the caravan—had gathered. The citadel looked as if hewn out of a rock. Around it stood some rows of houses and a synagogue. Six of the Apostles again joined Jesus here. They had been to neigh­boring places east of Caesarea, the others having gone to greater distances. These six were Peter, Andrew, John, James the Greater, Philip, and James the Less. There were many Pharisees here. The syn­agogue was so crowded that even the standing room was occupied. Jesus took His text from Jeremias. He said that now they were eager to see and to hear

Jesus and the Pharisees


 Him, but the time would come when they would all abandon Him, mock and maltreat Him.

The Pharisees began a violent dispute with Jesus, again bringing forward their charge that He drove out the devil through the power of Beelzebub. Jesus called them children of the father of lies, and told them that God no longer desired bloody sacrifices. I heard Him speaking of the Blood of the Lamb, of the innocent blood that they would soon pour out, and of which the blood of animals was only a sym­bol. With the Sacrifice of the Lamb, He continued, their religious rites would come to an end. All they that believed in the Sacrifice of the Lamb, would be reconciled to God, but they to whom He was address­ing Himself should, as the murderers of the Lamb, be condemned. He warned His disciples in presence of the Pharisees to beware of them. This so enraged these men that Jesus and His disciples had to with­draw and hurry off into the desert. I saw among the listening crowd, some men with cudgels. Jesus had never before attacked His aggressors so boldly. He and His disciples passed the night in the desert and then went to Corozain.

Crowds of people flocked thither, and laid their sick along the road by which Jesus was to come. On His way to the synagogue, He cured the dropsical, the lame, and the blind.

In spite of the violent attacks of the Pharisees, Jesus spoke in prophetic terms of His future Pas­sion. He alluded to their repeated sacrifices and expiations, notwithstanding which they still remained full of sins and abomination. Then He spoke of the goat which at the Feast of Atonement was driven from Jerusalem into the desert with the sins of the people laid upon it. He said very significantly (and yet they did not understand Him) that the time was drawing near when in the same way they would drive out an innocent Man, One that loved them, One that had done everything for them, One that


Life of Jesus Christ

 truly bore their sins. They would drive Him out, He said, and murder Him amid the clash of arms. At these words, a great din and jeering shouts arose among the Pharisees. Jesus left the synagogue and went out into the city. The Pharisees came to Him and demanded an explanation of what He had just said, but He replied that they could not now under­stand it.

While Jesus was being thus pressed upon, a deaf and dumb man was brought to Him that He might cure him. He was a shepherd of that region, good and pious. His friends brought him to Jesus, whom they implored to lay His hand upon him. Thereupon Jesus commanded that he should be separated from the crowd. His friends obeyed, but the Pharisees fol­lowed. Jesus therefore cured him in their presence, that they might see that He healed by virtue of prayer and faith in His Heavenly Father, and not through the devil. Jesus put His fingers into the ears of the mute, moistened His fingers with His own saliva and touched the man's tongue with it. Then sighing, He glanced up to Heaven and said: "Be thou open!" At the same instant, the man could both hear and speak perfectly, and full of joy he gave thanks. But Jesus commanded him to refrain from talking or boasting about his cure.

The crowd becoming greater, for a caravan had just arrived, Jesus and His companions left the city and went two or three hours farther on to Matthew's custom house. But as here too the crowd was on the increase, Jesus, leaving a couple of His disciples behind, embarked with the others and rowed to Beth­saida-Julias, where they landed and remained until night in a solitary place at the foot of the Mount of Beatitudes.

Before daylight they left Bethsaida and rowed again to the east side of the lake, where Jesus deliv­ered a discourse on the mountain ridge beyond Matthew's custom house. There were pagans from

Jesus Teaches of Prayer


 Decapolis present, also the people belonging to the caravan. Many sick were brought up the mountain on litters and asses, and Jesus healed them.

Jesus taught of prayer, how and where it should be made, and of perseverance in it. He said: "When a child asks for bread, the father does not give it a stone, nor does he give it a serpent when it asks for a fish, or a scorpion instead of an egg." He remarked as an illustration that He knew pagans who had such confidence in God that they never petitioned for anything, but took with thanks all that was given them. "If servants and strangers have such confi­dence," said Jesus, "what ought not that of the chil­dren of the Father to be?" He spoke also of gratitude for restoration to health, which gratitude should be evinced by amendment of life, and of the punish­ment incurred by a relapse into sin. The spiritual state of those that relapse is always worse than before their cure. By this time the crowd had become so great that Jesus was again forced to withdraw—not, however, before He had announced a great instruction to be delivered on the following day upon another mountain. This last-named mount was east of the Mount of Beatitudes, and to it flocked the multitude from all sides. The whole region around, mountains and valleys, was covered with encamp­ments, and everywhere resounded the question: "Where is Jesus?" Jesus taught upon the seventh and the eighth Beatitudes, after which, to escape the crowd, He went with the Apostles and disciples on board Peter's ship. They rowed down the lake, but did not land, because the people, having secured boats, were following them.


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19. Conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. Feeding of the Four Thousand. The Pharisees Demand a Sign

Next morning Jesus and His followers ascended the high mountain one hour to the northeast of Lit­tle Corozain, and beyond that, one upon which the first multiplication of the loaves had taken place. It was in the desert to the right of Corozain, two and a half hours west of Regaba, which was on a still higher elevation. Up where Jesus delivered the instruction there was a large level space, not far from the road by which He had lately travelled from Caesarea-Philippi to Regaba. The place was much used as a camping ground for travelers. The ruins of fortifications were found on it, and a long rocky ledge, upon which the travelers used to spread their provisions at meals. Once upon a time this region was a perfect solitude. Below this plateau were lit­tle dells and dales, in which the asses and other beasts of burden could graze. A considerable crowd was already assembled on the plateau, while others were still flocking thither from all quarters.

Here it was that Jesus concluded the Eight Beat­itudes and delivered the so-called Sermon on the Mount. His words on this occasion were more than ordinarily forcible and impressive. Crowds of strangers and pagans were present, the whole mul­titude, exclusive of women and children, numbering about four thousand. Toward evening, Jesus paused in His teaching and said to John: "I have compas­sion on the multitudes, because they continue with Me now three days, and have nothing to eat; but I will not send them away fasting lest they faint in the way." John replied: "We are far in the desert, and to bring bread this distance would be hard. Shall we gather for them the fruits and berries that are still on the trees around here ?" Jesus answered by

Jesus Prophesies


 telling him to ask the other Apostles how many loaves they had. The latter answered: "Seven loaves and seven little fishes." The fishes were, however, an arm in length. Upon receiving this answer, Jesus directed that the empty breadbaskets the people had brought with them, along with the loaves and fishes, should be laid upon the rocky ledge; after which He con­tinued to teach a good half-hour. He spoke very plainly of His being the Messiah, of the persecutions that awaited Him, and of His approaching impris­onment. But on that day, He said, those mountains would quake and that rock (here He pointed to the stone ledge) whereon He had announced the truth they had refused to receive, would split asunder. Then He cried woe to Capharnaum, to Corozain, and to many other places of that region. On the day of His arrest they should all become conscious of hav­ing rejected salvation. He spoke of the happiness of this region to which He had broken the Bread of Life, but added that the strangers passing through had carried away with them that happiness. The children of the house threw that Bread under the table, while the stranger, the little whelps, as the Syrophenician had called them, gathered up the crumbs, which were sufficient to vivify and enliven whole towns and districts. Jesus then took leave of the people. He implored them once more to do penance and amend their life, repeated His menaces in the most forcible language, and informed them that this was the last time He would teach in those parts. The people wept. They were full of admira­tion at His words, although they did not compre­hend them all.

After that, Jesus commanded them to take their places on the declivity around the mountain, and, as on the preceding occasion, the Apostles and dis­ciples were directed to range them in order. Jesus divided the bread and fish as before, and the disci­ples carried the portions round in baskets to the


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 people on both sides of the mount. When all was over, seven baskets of scraps were gathered up and distributed to poor travelers.

During Jesus' discourse, a number of Pharisees had been standing among the crowd. Some of them left and went down into the valley before the close, while others remained long enough to hear Jesus' menaces and to witness the multiplication of the bread. Before the people dispersed, however, these latter descended the mountain, in order to confer with the others as to how they should meet Jesus on His coming down. These Pharisees numbered about twenty. Under the pretext of visiting the syn­agogues, they constantly followed Jesus in little bands, in order to spy His actions. They had been in Caesarea-Philippi, in Nobah, Regaba, and Corozain. By messengers or by word of mouth, they transmitted to Capharnaum and Jerusalem all they saw and heard.

Jesus took leave of the people, who shed tears and lifted up their voices thanking and praising Him. He broke away from them only with difficulty and went to the lake with the disciples, in order to cross over to the southeastern side into the region of Mag­dala and Dalmanutha. When about to embark just above Matthew's custom office, the Pharisees approached and, at the foot of the mountain upon which the first multiplication of the loaves had taken place, demanded from Him a sign from Heaven. This they did because He had spoken of frightful tremors of the earth and other signs in nature. He replied to them as is recorded in the Gospel. I heard Him mention also a certain number of weeks at the end of which the sign of Jonas would be given them. This number exactly corresponded with His Cruci­fixion and Resurrection. Jesus then left them stand­ing there, and went with the Apostles to Peter's ship, which the other disciples had in readiness to receive Him. They rowed out into full sea, and then descended

Jesus Instructs His Followers


 the Jordan current, in which the ship needed only to be steered. They passed the night on board, pray­ing at certain hours, and thus reached the confines of Magdala and Dalmanutha.

Next morning, getting out of the current, they rowed back to the west side of the lake, and then remarked that they had only one loaf with them.

The passage was slow, and Jesus instructed His followers on many points. He spoke of His impend­ing captivity, of His Passion, of the persecution He should endure, and said in terms more significant than ever that He was Christ, the Messiah. They believed His words; but although they could not make them square with their simple, human way of com­prehending things, and indulged in their customary views, views derived from their own experience, yet they made a note of them, and ranked them among others of a deeply significant and prophetic nature. He spoke also of His going to Jerusalem and of the persecution that would be attendant on the same. They would, He said, be scandalized on His account, and things would go so far that they would cast stones after Him. Jesus said also that whoever would not renounce all his property and his relatives and follow Him faithfully in His time of persecution, could not be His disciple. He spoke likewise of the journeys He still had to make and of the multiplied labors to be accomplished before His arrest. Many, He said, who had abandoned Him would again return. The disciples asked whether that young man who wanted first to bury his father, would return; whether Jesus would not then receive him, for indeed he appeared to them to deserve it. But Jesus laid open to them that youth's disposition, and showed them how he clung to earthly things. I understood on this occasion that the expression "to bury one's father" was figurative, and meant "to put one's affairs in order." It was this that the young man wanted to do. He wanted to put his affairs in order,


Life of Jesus Christ

 and obtain a division of the inheritance between himself and his old father, in order to secure his own share before separating from him. When Jesus spoke of the young man's hankering after temporal goods, Peter exclaimed with animation: "Thank God, I have never had such thoughts since I have fol­lowed Thee!" But Jesus rebuked him, saying that he should be silent on that point, until asked to speak.

When Jesus and the disciples arrived at Beth­saida, they went to Andrew's to refresh themselves and there remained undisturbed and without the annoyance of a great crowd since, not knowing whither Jesus had retired, the people had dispersed. There was in Bethsaida an aged man blind from his birth, whom Jesus had hitherto refused to cure. Now, however, he was brought to Him again and when Jesus and the disciples were on the point of return­ing to the ship, the man cried out to Him for help. Jesus took him by the hand, led him outside the city, and there before His Apostles and disciples, touched his eyes with His tongue and with saliva, laid His hands upon them, and asked whether he saw anything. At these words, the man opened his eyes and stared around, saying: "I see people as large as trees walking about." Jesus laid His hand once more on his eyes, and bade him again look around. Now he saw perfectly. Jesus ordered him to go home and thank God, but not to go about the city boast­ing of his cure.

Toward evening, Jesus and His Apostles rowed to the opposite shore of the lake and, having landed, took the road up the eastern bank of the Jordan to Bethsaida-Julias. On this journey, the Apostles and disciples who had been dispatched from Caesarea-Philippi on their mission toward the east, as they were coming down from the mountains, met Jesus and His party, and all set out together for Beth­saida-Julias.

On the way, Jesus spoke of His approaching arrest

The Scribes


 and of the dangers that menaced; whereupon the Apostles implored Him not to send them away any more, that they might be near Him in case of need.

An inn had been prepared for them in Bethsaida-Julias. As they drew near to the city, where Jesus' coming had already been announced by the people that had gone thither for the Sabbath, some of the inhabitants came out to meet them. They were received graciously and conducted to the inn for refreshments and washing of the feet. A great num­ber of Gentiles dwelt in Bethsaida, and they now saluted Jesus from a distance.

Jesus taught in the synagogue. There were pre­sent many Scribes and Pharisees from Saphet, at which place was a school for the study of science, human and divine.

All were greatly rejoiced at the sudden arrival of Jesus, who visited them now for the first time; the generality of the people were sincere in their desire to see Him, but the Scribes were actuated by van­ity. They wished to hear the Teacher whose fame was sounded throughout the whole country, espe­cially at Capharnaum, and to judge of His merits. They were perfectly courteous, though like certain professors cold and proud in their bearing. They dis­puted with Jesus, putting to Him questions out of the Law and the Prophets. Still there was nothing malicious in their intentions. They were moved rather by curiosity, and impelled by vanity to dis­play their learning before the people.

Jesus read and commented upon the Lesson for the Sabbath, and taught upon the Fourth Com­mandment: "Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land." To the words, "thy days may be long in the land," He gave a most admirable and profound explanation. "That stream must dry up," He said, "which obstructs its own source." The instruction was followed by a festal entertainment, at which the school children


Life of Jesus Christ

 assisted at separate tables. During it, Jesus explained the parable of the workmen in the vineyard.

Julias was a modern city, not yet completed. It was very beautiful, constructed upon the pagan style with numerous arches and columns. It lay along the Jordan. On the east, where it was contiguous with the rising heights, the rear of many of the houses was hewn out of the solid rock.

When Jesus, after having taught once more in the synagogue, was walking outside the city, the inhab­itants stopped Him to ask about the true doctrine and what they should do. He answered that they would not follow His instructions, even if He gave them to them. They were, He said, inquisitive. They had already in this region heard His doctrine so often. Did they by these questions, ask another? He had even announced it openly in the synagogue. These people led Jesus to some of their newly constructed buildings, and to a place where lay stores of build­ing materials, wood and stone. They spoke to Him of the beautiful new style of architecture. Jesus embraced the opportunity to relate to them the para­bles of the house built upon the sand, and of the other built upon a rock. He referred to the corner­stone which the builders would reject, and of the overthrow of their building. On the way He healed several sick people, some lame, others dropsical, and a couple of possessed who were, besides, deprived of reason.

From Bethsaida-Julias, Jesus with The Twelve and about thirty disciples went to the country town Sogane, an hour and a half from Caesarea, where He taught and cured. Some of the inhabitants of Bethsaida-Julias escorted Jesus and His party as far as the point where the Jordan flowed into Lake Merom. The people of Sogane came crowding around Jesus, begging for an instruction. He taught and healed until toward evening, and then with His dis­ciples went back about the distance of an hour to a

"Thou Art Christ"


 mount, upon which He spent the greater part of the night in prayer.

20. Peter Receives the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven

On the way to the mount and until Jesus retired to pray, the Apostles and disciples that had last returned from their several missions gave their Mas­ter a full account of all that had happened to them, all that they had seen and heard and done. He lis­tened to everything and exhorted them to pray and hold themselves in readiness for what He was going to communicate to them.

When before daybreak they again gathered about Jesus, The Twelve stood around Him in a circle. On His right were first, John, then James the Elder, and thirdly, Peter. The disciples stood outside the circle, the oldest of them nearest. Then Jesus, as if resuming the discourse of the preceding night, asked: "Who do men say that I am?" The Apostles and the oldest of the disciples repeated the various conjec­tures of the people concerning Him, as they had heard here and there in different places; some, for instance, said that He was the Baptist, others Elias, while others again took Him for Jeremias, who had arisen from the dead. They related all that had become known to them on this subject, and then remained in expectation of Jesus' reply. There was a short pause. Jesus was very grave, and they fixed their eyes upon His countenance with some impa­tience. At last, He said: "And you, for whom do you take Me?" No one felt impelled to answer. Only Peter, full of faith and zeal, taking one step forward into the circle, with hand raised like one solemnly affirm­ing, exclaimed aloud and boldly, as if the voice and tongue of all: "Thou art Christ, the Son of the liv­ing God!" Jesus replied with great earnestness, His voice strong and animated: "Blessed art thou, Simon,


Life of Jesus Christ

 son of Jona, because flesh and blood hath not revealed this to thee, but My Father who is in Heaven! And I say to thee: Thou art a rock, and upon this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven!" Jesus made this response in a manner both solemn and prophetic. He appeared to be shining with light, and was raised some distance above the ground. Peter, in the same spirit in which he had confessed to the Godhead, received Jesus' words in their full signification. He was deeply impressed by them. But the other Apos­tles appeared troubled. They glanced from Jesus to Peter as the latter exclaimed with such zeal: "Thou art Christ, the Son of God!" Even John allowed his anxiety to become so manifest that Jesus afterward, when walking along the road with him alone, reproved him gravely for his expression of surprise.

Jesus' words to Peter were spoken just at the moment of sunrise. The whole scene was so much the more grave and solemn, since Jesus had for that purpose retired with His disciples into the moun­tain and commanded them to pray. Peter alone was sensibly impressed by it. The other Apostles did not fully comprehend, and still formed to themselves earthly ideas. They thought that Jesus intended to bestow upon Peter the office of High Priest in His Kingdom, and James told John, as they walked together, that very probably they themselves would receive places next after Peter.

Jesus now told the Apostles in plain terms that He was the promised Messiah. He applied to Him­self all the passages to that effect found in the Prophets, and said that they must now go to Jerusalem for the Feast. They then directed their steps south­westwardly and returned to the Jordan bridge.

Life of Jesus Christ by Anne Catherine Emmerich
Vol 3

This document is: ACE_3_0251

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