Then Je-sus left the coasts of Tyre and Si-don and went back to the Sea of Gal-i-lee, to the same part of the land in which he had once let the fiends he cast out of the poor wild man get in the herd of swine and drive them into the sea. At that time the folks there begged him to leave their coasts; but they now were glad to have him come back, for they had heard much of his good works and wished to see some of them. They brought to him a man who was deaf and whose tongue was tied, so that he could not speak plain.
Je-sus led him to one side and touched his ears and his tongue. At once he heard all that was said by the men near him, and the string of his tongue was loosed, so that he spake as well as they did.
Je-sus charged them to tell no man, but the more he charged them so much the more they spread the news, and said, He hath done all things well; he hath made the deaf to hear and the dumb to speak.
Great crowds came and brought the sick, the lame, the deaf, the dumb, and the blind and cast them at the feet of Je-sus to be healed. Je-sus cured them all, and they stayed with him day and night, and gave thanks for what he had done for them. When they had been there three days and had no food left, Je-sus said to his dis-ci-ples, I must give these men food ere I send them from me, for some of them came from far off and may faint by the way if they have naught to eat till they get home.
All the food the dis-ci-ples had was seven loaves and a few small fish --- and there were four thous-and folks in the throng, but Je-sus made the bread and fish hold out to feed them all, and there were seven trays full of scraps left. When the meal came to an end Je-sus sent the folks home, while he and his dis-ci-ples took ship and came to a town called Mag-da-la. The har-i-sees and Sad-du-cees came to him there and asked him to give them a sign from God. They did not ask this with a wish to learn or get help from such a sign, but in the hope that Je-sus might say or do what would give them a chance to find fault with him. Je-sus knew that they wished to set a trap for him; so he said they should have no sign but the sign of Jo-nah. By this he meant to tell them that as Jo-nah was in the whale three days so he (Je-sus) would be buried for three days in the earth ere he rose from the dead.
Je-sus went on to Beth-sa-ida. And they brought a blind man to him and begged him to touch him. And he took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes and put his hands on him he asked him if he saw aright. And he looked up and said, I see men walk, but they look like trees. Once more Je-sus put his hands on his eyes and made him look up, and this time all things looked clear and plain to him. Then Je-sus sent him to his house and told him not to go back to the town nor tell it to those on the way.
Je-sus now made a trip to the north with his dis-ci-ples, and on the way he asked them, "Whom do men say that I am?" They said, "Some say thou art John the Bap-tist come back from the dead, and some say one of the old seers has come to earth once more." Then Je-sus asked, "But whom do ye say that I am?" Peter said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of God." By these words he meant to let Je-sus know that his a-postles thought he was the Sa-vi-our whom God had said He would send to save the world. But though they put their trust in him they did not yet know how he was to save the world; they still thought of him as a king who would fight for them, but not as a God who would die for them. They knew he could do all things, and so they felt sure he would soon change from a poor man to a rich king, and would then make them the chief men in his king-dom.
Je-sus thought it was time for them to get rid of this false view of him and his work; so he now told them that the way in which he was to save men was to die for them on the cross. He said he must go to Je-ru-sa-lem, and that the chief priests and scribes would cause him to be put to death there, but on the third day he would rise from the dead. And he said, too, that his throne was on high, and that those who wished to share it with him must share his cross on earth, too; that is, they must care less for the things of the world than for the things of God; must give up wealth and rank and fame and ease-yea, their life if need be, for Je-sus' sake-for it would do a man no good to have all the fine things in the world while he lived if he must lose his soul when he died.
From that day Je-sus did not cease to speak, at times, of his death, which was now near at hand.
One day he went to the top of a high hill to pray. He took Pe-ter and James and John with him, and there he let them see him in a new, strange light. While he prayed his face shone as the sun and his clothes were as white as snow-so bright that they looked like robes of light. All at once two men stood by his side; they were Moses and Eli-as, who died long ere Je-sus was born, and had come back to the world to talk to him of his death which was soon to take place. The a-pos-tles knew who these men were, and wished to stay up there on the mount with them; so Pe-ter said, Lord, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tents --- one for thee, one for Mo-ses, and one for Eli-as.
While he yet spake a bright cloud shone round them, and from this burst of light they heard a voice say This is my much loved Son; hear ye him. They fell to the ground in great fear; but Je-sus drew near, touched them, and said, Rise and fear not. They rose at once, but when they dared lift their eyes they saw no one but Je-sus, for Mo-ses and Eli-as were gone. The bright cloud had passed, too, and they heard the voice no more; but they knew it was sent to tell them that the Mes-si-ah of whom Mo-ses and Eli-as spoke now stood at their side, and that they were to hear and heed his words.
Je-sus charged them not to speak of this thing till he should rise from the dead; so they kept it close, and told no man in those days of what they had seen and heard on the mount.
When they came down next day a crowd stood at the foot of the hill and a man came out of the crowd, knelt at the feet of Je-sus and said, "I pray thee to heal my son, for I have no child but him, and he has a de-mon that makes him fall in the fire, and does his best to kill him. As thou wast not here I brought the boy to thy dis-ci-ples that they might cast the de-mon out of him; but they could not, and I have no hope left but in thee."
Je-sus said, "Bring him to me," and as they brought him the de-mon tore him, and he rolled on the ground and foamed at the mouth. Je-sus asked the man, "How long. has your son been like this?" and he said, "Since he was a child, for years he has had no peace or rest, and I beg thee to help us if thou canst." Je-sus said, "I can help thee if thou canst have faith, but thou must trust me if thou dost wish me to cure thy son." With tears the poor man said, "Lord I do trust thee: I have some faith; help thou my want of faith." Then Je-sus bade the de-mon come out of the lad, and it cried with a loud voice and came out. But it shook him so hard and left him so sore and weak that the folks thought he was dead, till Je-sus raised him up and let them see that he was well.
Though Je-sus had more than once told the a-pos-tles in plain words that he must soon die, they still clung to the thought that when he rose from the dead he would be a king on earth and would keep them near his throne. One day they spoke sharp words as to which one of them was the best, which one did most good, which one loved Je-sus most, and which one ought to have the best place in his king-dom. They did not wish Je-sus to know what they said, but he read their thoughts, and to shame them and show them their sin, he took a child in his arms and said, Look at this child and learn of him, for he is the least of you all and the best; he is not proud of what he does, but is meek and does not try to have the chief place. Nor should you seek to be the first, but each one of you should try to serve the rest. lie who is most like this child shall be the first, and he who is least of all, the same shall be great.
A great feast of the Jews was near at hand, and some of the chief priests and Phar-i-sees formed a plot to get hold of Je-sus while he was at the feast. In fact, they sent some men to take him; but when these men saw Je-sus in the Tem-ple and heard him talk they were filled with fear, and did not try to lay hold of him --- for they said no man spake such words as he spake. They heard him say to those in the Tem-ple: "For a short while I shall be with you, and then I shall go back to my Fa-ther who sent me. When I am gone ye shall look for me and shall not find me; and where I am ye can not come, for --- since ye have no faith in me --- ye shall die in your sins. But those who trust me shall not die, but shall live with my Fa-ther.
Then they said: "Who art thou, and who is thy Fa-ther? Is he as great as our fa-ther A-bra-ham?"
Je-sus told them that A-bra-ham had had faith in him, and had wished to see the day when he should come to earth, and that by faith he did see it, though it was then a long way off. Then they said that could not be true, that A-bra-ham had died long ere Je-sus was born, and so Je-sus could not have seen him. But Je-sus told them that though A-bra-ham was an old man when he died, he was not so old as he (Je-sus) was, for He had lived with God ere he came to earth and ere A-bra-ham was born.
This made them rage, and they took up stones to throw at him but, as his hour was not yet come, he hid from them and left them, going through the midst of them. As he went on his way he saw a man who had been born blind, and so had no help from the skill of man. This sad sight touched him and he said to his dis-ci-ples, "as long as I am in the world I am the light of the world; so I will give light to these poor blind eyes."
Then he spat on the ground and made clay, and rubbed it on the man's eyes, and told him to go and wash in the Pool of Si-loam. He went and washed, and when he came back he could see, but he did not see Je-sus, for he had left the place while the man was gone. This was done on the Lord's Day. This blind man was well known, for he had long sat by the way side and begged, and those who passed saw him there each day. This day when they saw him, he saw them, too, and they did not know what to think when they found he had his sight. They said, "Is not this he that sat and begged?" Some said, "It is he," and some said, "He is like him;" but he said, "I am he."
They asked him how it was that he could see, and he said, "A man that is called Je-sus made clay and rubbed it on my eyes, and told me to go to the Pool of Si-loam and wash. I went and washed, and my sight came to me." Then they said, "Where is the man who made you see!" and he said, "I know not." So they took him to the Phar-i-sees and when they, too, asked him how he was cured, he said, "he put clay on my eyes and I washed and do see."
They asked him what he thought of the man who healed him, and he told them he thought he was a seer, a man of God. But the Phar-i-sees said if he was a man of God he would not break the law, for it was on the Lord's Day that Je-sus made clay and rubbed it on the man's eyes. But some said he must be a good man, for God would not let a bad man do such a great sign as this.
As they were not all of the same mind, they turned once more to the man who had been born blind and asked him, "What did he do to thee? How, did he make thee see?" The man said, "I have told you once; why do you still ask me? Do you wish to be his dis-ci-ples?" But they laughed at him and said they were the disci-ples of Mo-ses, for Mo-ses came from God, but this Je-sus was a bad man, and they knew not whence he came. Then the man who was cured said, "I do not know if he is a man of God or not; but I do know that once I was blind and now I see. It is a strange thing that you Pharisees, who think you know so much, can not tell a true seer from a false one. No bad man would do what Je-sus did, and if he were not sent by God I would still be blind."
This made the Phar-i-sees rage, and they told him he was a fool to try to teach them since they knew much more than he did. So they drove him out of their sight and said he should come to their meet-ings no more.
When Je-sus heard that he had been cast out by the Jews, he went to find him. When he had done so he said to him, "Hast thou faith in the Son of God?" The man said, "Who is he, Lord, that I might have faith in him?" Then Je-sus said, "Thou hast both seen him, and it is he who now talks with thee." When the man heard this he said, "Lord, I have faith in thee, and from that time he was one of the dis-ci-ples of Je-sus."
One day a man who was learned in the law came to Je-sus and asked him what he should do to be saved. Je-sus said, "You know the law -- what does it tell you to do?" The man said it bade him Love God with all his heart and soul and mind and strength, and to love and help men, too. Je-sus said, "That is right; do that and thou shalt be saved." But the man said, "What men must I love and help?"
Then Je-sus spoke a par-a-ble and said, "A man went down from Je-ru-sa-lem to the town of Je-ri-cho, and on the way he fell in with thieves, who took his goods, and beat him and left him half dead on the road. Soon a priest came that way, and when he saw the hurt man he crossed the road to get out of his way, and went off and left him there. Next came a Le-vite, and he, too, looked at the man and left him to his fate. But a Sa-mari-tan who saw his sad state, went to him and bound up his wounds and poured wine and oil in them to cleanse and heal the sores. Then he put him on his own beast and took him to an inn and nursed him all night. And when he left next day he gave the host two pence and said, Take good care of that poor sick man and the next time I come I will pay thee more. Now which of these three men do you think kept the law?"
"The one who was good to the man who stood in need of help." "Yes," said Je-sus, "thou hast well said, and the tale shows that the law means we must love and help all men."
Near Je-ru-sa-lem, and just at the foot of the Mount of Olives, lies the small town of Beth-any, where a wom-an named Mar-tha had a house, in which she lived with her brother Laz-a-rus and her sister Ma-ry. All three of them were warm friends of Je-sus and loved him with all their hearts. He loved them, too, and was as glad to go to see them as they were to have him come.
But one day when he was there Mar-tha felt vexed that Ma-ry left her to do all the house work, while she just sat at the feet of the Lord to catch each word that fell from his lips. Mar-tha wished to have the meals and all things in her house as good as they could be for so loved a guest, and she thought Ma-ry ought to help her cook and serve; so she went to Je-sus and said: "Lord, dost thou not care that my sis-ter leaves me to do all the work? Bid her come and help me." But Je-sus said, "Mar-tha, Mar-tha, you do not know what is best for you so well as Ma-ry does. In your zeal you do much that it is not worth while to do. There is more than one way to please me, and Ma-ry has made choice of the best way; for the things you do for me will not last long, but the things I do for you will last for aye. Do not call Ma-ry to help you make a feast for me, but come here and help her make the most of the feast I serve for you."
Thus did Je-sus teach Mar-tha that food and drink, and sleep and rest are not the best things in the world, and that those who are wise will care less for them than they do for things that help the soul.
But it was not just in the homes of his friends that Je-sus was, at times, a guest. He went with words of cheer to all who had need of him, and the worst of men, did they but try to turn from their sins, were sure of love and help from him.
The Phar-i-sees blamed him for this, and said it was wrong for him to walk and talk and eat with those whose sins were so well known. To show that God's thoughts were not as their thoughts, and God's heart not as their heart, Je-sus told them this story: There was a man who had two sons. One of them grew tired of his home and the dull life he led there under his fa-ther's eye. He thought it would be a fine thing to go off to some place where he could have a good time and do as he pleased, with no one to watch or scold him; so one day he said, "Fa-ther, give me my share of the goods and means you have laid up for us," and when he got his share, he set forth to see the world.
He went to a far off land, and there fell in with a bad set, and led such a wild life that he soon spent all his means. Then there was a fam-ine in the land, and as he had spent all his gold he soon came to want. That he might not starve, he tried to get some work; but all he could do was to tend swine. This was a low sort of work for a Jew (for Jews hate swine), but he was too poor to choose his work and was so near starved he would have been glad to eat the poor food which he fed to the swine.
In this sad plight his thoughts turned to his kind fa-ther and his old home, and he longed to see them both once more. So he said, I will not stay in this place. I will go back home and say, "Fa-ther, I have sinned in the sight of God, and have done much wrong to thee. I am too bad to be called thy son, but let me be as one of thy hired men."
As soon as this thought came to him, he rose at once and set out on the way back to his own land. When he drew near his old home his fa-ther saw him and ran to meet him and fell on his neck and kissed him. The son was much touched, and said, Fa-ther, I have sinned in God's sight, and in thy sight, and I dare not hope to be called thy son. I have been so bad thoud wilt not wish to own me for thy child.
But the Fa-ther said to his men, "Bring forth the best robe and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fat calf, and kill it and let us eat and be glad. For this my son was dead, and now he lives; he was lost and is found."
In this tale Je-sus taught the proud Pharisees that, though God hates sin, he does not cease to love those who grieve when they do wrong, but is glad to have them turn from their wrong ways and come back to him. The fa-ther was grieved for the woes of his poor wild son and was pleased to have him come back to his heart and home: much more does the great Fa-ther of all feel for the woes of those who, like the son in the tale, rue their wild ways and turn to him for love and help. Since the Fa-ther sent the Son to make him known to all men -- the bad as well as the good --- that Son (Je-sus), was bound to treat as friends all who came to him to learn his Fa-ther's will; and it was wrong for the Phar-i-sees to blame him for this.