When Je-sus got back to his own shore once more, he found a great throng who were on the watch for him, and while he spoke to them, a man made his way through the crowd, and knelt at his feet. All knew him, for it is Jai-rus, who rules a group in Ca-per-na-um, and is much thought of in the town. He begs Je-sus to go home with him, where his one dear child, a girl twelve years old, lies at the point of death. "I pray thee come and lay thy hands on her head, and she shall live!" he says, in his strong faith.
Je-sus rose at once and went with him. The crowd go, too, and more and more join them as they go on. In the midst of them is a poor wom-an who has been sick for twelve long years. She has spent all she had on men of skill who thought they could cure her, but all in vain; she grew worse and worse. She lost all hope of help, but now she hears of Je-sus, and the great cures he has wrought, and is sure if she can but touch the hem on his robe, it will make her well. She does not wish that he should see her, so she creeps up and puts out her hand that she may touch and fly.
The touch makes her well! and with a heart full of joy she gives way to the crowd, and thinks no one knows what great thing has been done to her. But at once Je-sus turns on the crowd, and asks whose touch it was that he had felt. Pe-ter said, How can you ask whose touch it was when there is such a throng on all sides?
But Je-sus says that the touch of faith had been felt by him, and a cure had been wrought in the crowd. He does not ask for his own sake for he knows right well who it was, but he wants to do still more for her, and make her faith firm as a rock. His eye finds her in all the crowd, and she who yet so thrills with what has been done in her, sees that she can not be hid, and falls down at his feet, and tells him and the crowd the whole tale. Jesus spoke to her in kind tones, and said, "My child, be of good cheer, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace."
But this scene, brief as it was, kept back Je-sus on his way to the sick child, and while he yet talks with her who yet kneels at his feet, the sad news came to Jai-rus. It is of no use to seek help, thy child is dead. This was a great shock to poor Jai-rus, but Je-sus is at hand to hold him up. "Fear not," Je-sus says to him, "If you have but faith, she shall be made whole." So they press on to the house, where they find a large throng.
Je-sus would let none of the crowd go in with him but Pe-ter, and James, and John, and said to those who wept and waited for the dead girl, "Give place! the maid is not dead, but sleeps." The tears of the folks changed to a laugh of scorn at these words, for they know that she is dead. But Je-sus goes in to the room of death with Jairus and his wife, and his own three friends, and takes hold of the girl's hand and bids her rise up. His words pierced the dull ear of death, his touch brought a thrill of life, the soul came back, and the maid rose up as if from a deep sleep --- and Je-sus bids them give her food.
As soon as Je-sus had left the house of Jai-rus, two blind men heard that he was near, and made their way to his house with him. As they went through the streets they cried, "Thou Son of David help us!" But Je-sus did not heal them till he got home. Then he said to them, "Have you faith that I can do this for you?" and they said, "Yes, Lord." Then he laid his hand on their eyes and said, "As is your faith, so be it to you." We know how great their faith must have been, for their blind eyes saw once more, and though Je-sus bade them tell no one, they went and spread the fame of him who gave them sight.
The blind men were but gone, when a new group of friends came to his door for aid. They have with them a man who is in a sad state. He has a fiend [de-mon] in him, and is dumb. Je-sus does not ask for faith in this poor soul, but heals him for the sake of those whose faith has brought him there. He casts out the fiend [de-mon], and the dumb man speaks. Of course he, too, used his voice to speak the praise of him who gave him the gift of speech, and so the fame of Je-sus spread day by day. But the Phar-i-sees, who did not like to hear his praise, said that he cast out fiends [de-mons] through the help of the prince of fiends [de-mons].
The Phar-i-sees were rich and proud and vain, and wished all men to praise them and speak well of them; so they used to fast two days a week, and would pray in the streets where folks could see them. They went to religious meetings and gave alms and did all that the law said men must do; but their hearts were cold and hard, and they did not love the Lord. They drew near to him with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. They had fine homes, wore good clothes, gave grand feasts, and liked to make a show in the world. As Jesus was poor and meek, they did not like him and would have naught to do with him; but they feared him and did all they could to make folks think he was a bad man and did not speak the truth.
In Je-ru-sa-lem there was a place called the sheep gate, and near this gate was the pool of Be-thes-da, which means House of Mer-cy, where the sick and the blind and the lame used to lie and wait for the wa-ter to be moved. At times an an-gel went down and stirred up the wa-ter, and then the one who stepped in it first, ere it grew smooth once more, was cured of his ills.
One day Je-sus was at this pool and saw there a man, who had been lame, near two score years. He said to him, "Wilt thou be made whole?" And the man said, "Sir, I have no one to put me in when the wa-ter is rough; while I am on the way, some one else steps in and I am too late." Then Je-sus said, "Rise, take up thy bed, and walk." And the man felt strength come to his weak limbs. He rose, took up his couch, and walked off; but as it was the Lord's day, the Phar-i-sees were shocked, and said to him, "It is a sin for thee to bear thy bed on the Lord's day."
But he told them the man who cured him, bade him do it. At first they did not know who had 'healed him, but when they found out it was Je-sus, their rage was great, and they sought to slay him, for that he had done this thing on the Sab-bath day. Je-sus told them how wrong it was for them to judge the Son of God, but they would not heed his words, nor cease to find fault with him for all that he did, and all that he did not do.
Once, on the Lord's day, as Je-sus walked through the corn field, with his dis-ciples, they plucked some ears of corn, and rubbed off the grains and ate them. The Phar-i-sees said this was a sin, for it was work, and no work should be done on the Lord's day. But Je-sus told them that he was Lord of the Sab-bath, and that the Sab-bath was made for man, and not man for the Sab-bath.
In the place where Je-sus preached one day, was a man whose right hand was so twisted with pain he could not stretch it out nor use it at all. The Phar-i-sees watched to see what Je-sus would do, but he knew their thoughts, so he said to the man, "Rise up and stand where all may see you." Then he turned to the Phar-i-sees and said, "I will ask you one thing: Is is right to do good on this day or to do wrong? --- To save life or to kill?" Then he bade the man stretch forth his right hand, and at once it grew straight and strong like the left one. The Phar-i-sees grew mad with rage: talked of how they might kill Je-sus; but his hour was not yet come, so he moved from that place, and went back once more to Gal-i-lee. Here crowds came to him to see the works he did, and the sick crept near, so that they might touch him and be healed.
It was in services and on the Lord's day that Je-sus once caught sight of a wom-an whose back was bent so that she could not raise her head. For near a score of years she had been bowed down this way, and when Je-sus saw her sad state his heart was touched. He did not wait for her to ask for help, but called her to him, laid his hands on her, and healed her. Then she stood up straight and gave praise to God. The chief man of the assembly was vexed that Je-sus had done this on the Lord's day. He dared not find fault with Je-sus, but he turned to the crowd and said, "There are six days in which men ought to work; come to be healed on those days and not on this day."
Je-sus turned to him and said, "Do you not on the Lord's day loose your ox or your ass from the stall and lead him out to drink? And should not I on this day loose this poor woman from the bond with which she hath been bound all these years?" At these words his friends were full of joy and, for once, his foes felt a sense of shame.
We are told of one more cure that Je-sus wrought on the Lord's day. A Phar-i-see had asked Je-sus to dine with him. There was a sick man in the house, and the Phar-i-see hoped that Jesus would cure him; not that they cared for the sick man to be made well, but that they might have a chance to say that Je-sus broke the Lord's day. When Je-sus saw how they watched him, he said, "Once more I ask you, is it right to heal on this day?" But they held their peace, so he healed the man and let him go. Then he said to them, "If one of your sheep should fall in a pit, would you not lift it out on this day? And if it is right to do good to a sheep, is it not right to do good to a man?" Still they had naught to say, and Je-sus felt that it was of no use to try to touch their hard hearts. But his own heart was sad at the sight of so much woe, and, as he could not be in all parts of the land at once to help and heal all who might wish his aid, he chose twelve of his dis-ci-ples, and sent them to teach and preach in all the towns of Is-ra-el.
An a-pos-tle means, one sent; and Je-sus called these twelve men a-pos-tles, since he sent them to tell good news and do good works. Their names were:
Si-mon Pe-ter, Le-vi (or Mat-thew), An-drew, Thom-as, James, James (2nd), John, Thad-de-us (or Leb-be-us), Phil-1p, Si-mon (2nd), Na-than-ael, Ju-das Is-ca-riot. All of these but Ju-das were from Gal-i-lee.
Je-sus said they were to take no gold with them, and no clothes but those they wore, for the men to whom they preached must take care of them, and give them food and drink and a place to sleep. He said they should heal the sick, cleanse the lep-ers, and cast out fiends [de-mons], just as they saw him do; and when they came to a house or town on the way they should say, Peace be to this house, or this town; but if the folks there would not hear their words, they should do no good works in that place, but should shake the dust of it off their feet and go on to the next house or town.
He told the twelve that they would have a hard time. That they would be like sheep in the midst of wolves, and they must be on their guard all the time. But to cheer them he told them that God, who took such care of the least of birds, that one of them could not fall to the ground and he not see it, would care for them who were far more dear. And, most of all, that he would count all that was done to them as if it were done to him.
It came to pass in those days that Je-sus went up on a high hill to pray, and when he had prayed all night he came down to the plain with his dis-ci-ples. A large crowd came to him there, and he preached what is called the Ser-mon on the Mount, and said: "Blest are the meek and those who grieve for their sins, for God is with them. Blest are those who long to be good, more than they long for food and drink. Blest are those who do not fuss and fight, and those who are kind to their foes, as well as their friends." He said, "Bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you; and pray for them that do ill to you." He warned them that they must not be like the scribes and Phar-i-sees, who prayed and gave alms just to be seen of men; but that they must go to their rooms to pray, and shut the door so that no one could see them --- and that they must not let men know when they gave alms, and did good works.
Then he told them of two men who each built a house. One man built his on the sand, and when the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house it fell, and was washed and swept out of sight. One man built on a rock, and, though the wind and rain beat on it with all their might, it did not fall, for the rock was so strong and firm it could not be blown off like sand. Je-sus said those who heard his words and did not heed them were like the man who built his house on sand --- they would be lost. But those who did as he bid them would be saved; for they were like the wise man who built on a rock --- and that rock was Christ.
When Je-sus went back to the town it was not to rest, though he had none for long hours. There were troops in the town, and at the head of them was a man who, though not a Jew, had won the love of the Jews. He had made the yoke of Rome as light as he could, and had gone so far in his good-will as to have built a meeting place for the Jews of the town.
Now this man had a slave who was most dear to him, and who lay at the point of death. He had heard of Je-sus and the cures he had wrought, and wants his help, but he shows that he is a well bred man, and has great tact in the way he takes to send for Je-sus. He does not send a slave from his house, nor some of the five score men in his troop. He asks some of the chief Jews (whom he had made his friends when he built their meeting place) to go for him and beg Je-sus to come to his aid. These Jews plead the case so well that Je-sus goes with them.
When the group had got near the house, he at whose call Je-sus had come, sent friends to meet him, and say, "Lord, do not take so much pains for me! I am not fit that thou shouldst come to my house. I did not dare to go and ask thee to do this great thing for me. But say the word, and I know my slave shall live. As I send my men from post to post, I say to this one, Go here, and to that one, Go there, so do I know that thou canst send life and health where thou wilt."
When Je-sus heard these words he turned to his friends as well as to the proud Jews and the throng who had come to join them, and said, "I say to you all, that I have not found such great faith as this; no, not in Is-ra-el! I came to teach the chil-dren of Is-ra-el, and the Jews are mine own peo-ple; but they do not trust me as does this poor Ro-man." He told the ru-ler to go his way, and it would be to him as he wished. And the slave was made whole that same hour.
The next day Je-sus went to a town called Nain. As he drew near the gate a sad sight met his gaze; for a long line of folks had just come from the town on their way to the grave with the corpse of a young man whose moth-er was a wid-ow and had no son but him. Her grief was great, but Je-sus soon changed it to joy. He told her not to weep; and when they that bore the bier stood still, he touched it, and bade the young man rise. At these words life comes back to him that was dead, love to his heart, and words come to his lips. He sits upon the bier and, speaks, and Je-sus gives the son back to the arms of her who thought she had held him there for the last time.
This is the first time that Je-sus gave life to the dead, and there came a fear on all. The crowd now learned that he could raise the dead as well as heal the sick, and they spread the great news through all the land.
A rich Phar-i-see named Si-mon asked Je-sus to dine with him. Je-sus goes to the proud man's feast just as he goes to a poor man's house. It is all one to him, for he looks at the man and not at his things. This proud Si-mon is not a well bred host, and does not treat Je-sus as men in those days were wont to treat guests who came to see them. He did not greet him with a kiss, nor pour oil on his head, nor give him wa-ter to wash his feet, as was the custom in that land.
Je-sus takes his seat at the board. They did not sit on chairs when they ate, as we do. They half lay on a couch, with the feet thrown back. While Je-sus sat at meat, there crept in a wom-an who has heard that he is a guest there. She stoops down by the couch, and her tears flow forth at the sight of his pure face and the thought of her bad life. Her tears fall in such floods that she bathes the dust from Je-sus' feet with them, and then wipes them with her long hair, which has been her pride; and gives kiss on kiss to those way-worn feet. Then she takes a box of rare salve and pours it on his feet, that she may cool and rest them.
Si-mon sees all this, and said in his heart, Je-sus is no seer; or he would shrink back from the touch of her who kneels at his feet, for he would know what a bad life hers has been. But the voice of Je-sus breaks on his ear. "Si-mon, I have a word for thee." "Say on," says the host, who does not dream that his heart has been read like a book by him who speaks. "There was once a man to whom two men were in debt. One man owed a small sum and one owed a large sum. But as they have no means, the man to whom they were in debt said he would let them each go free. Now which of them will feel the most love for the man who has been so kind to them?" Si-mon says, "I should think that he who had been most in debt would love him most."
"You are right," says Je-sus to his host, then he turns to her who weeps at his feet, and says, "Si-mon, do you see her who kneels here? I came to your house, but you sent no one to bathe the dust from my feet, while she pours out her own tears to wash them, and wipes them with the hairs of her own head."
"When I came in you did not give me the kiss on the cheek with which a host in our land is wont to greet his guests, but she rains kiss on kiss on my feet, and has done so with no pause since I came in! You brought no oil for my head, as is the way at our feasts, but she pours out on my feet her choice balm. For this cause I say to you, I will blot out all her sins, though they are, as you think them, and as she thinks them, not few; for she loves much. But he who thinks he does not owe much will not feel much love to him who frees him from the debt." Then, with a look full of love on the poor soul at his feet, he said, "I blot out thy sins; thy faith saves thee; go in peace."
Of course, Si-mon and those who sat at meat with him were shocked at these words, and would not own that Je-sus had a right so to speak them, though he had told them he was the Son of God.