Jesus and his band of twelve went to Jeri-cho, a town on the road to Je-ru-sa-lem. Great crowds joined him on the way, and when they drew near the town they saw a poor blind man named Bar-tim-eus who sat near the town gate to have a good chance to beg from all who went in and out.
Bar-tim-eus asked what all the noise meant, and when he heard that Je-sus was there he thought no more of mere alms, but cried out with a loud voice, Je-sus, thou son of Da-vid, help me! Those who stood near tried to make him hold his peace, but he cried the more: Thou son of Da-vid help me ! Then Je-sus stood still and called Bar-tim-eus to him and asked him, What wilt thou that I should do to thee? The blind man said, Lord, give me my sight, and Je-sus said, Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole. And at once sight came to his eyes, and he gave thanks and joined the ranks of those who went on with Je-sus.
This crowd had grown to a long train, and as they marched through the streets of Jer-i-cho, a rich man named Zac-che-us who had heard much of Je-sus runs in front so that he may get a good place to stand and see him pass. But he is so short that he fears he can not see well in such a crowd, so he climbs a tree by the side of the road. From his safe perch he looks down on the dense throng, and the young Jew on whom all eyes are bent. He has no thought that Je-sus will care to see him. When Je-sus came to the tree he looked up and saw him and said: Zac-che-us, make haste and come down, for I must be thy guest to-day. Zac-che-us came down and took Je-sus to his home with joy.
The crowd were full of spite and scorn when they saw Je-sus had made choice of such a man for his host, and said Je-sus ought not to go with Zac-che-us, for he was not a good man and had won his wealth by fraud. This was true, Zac-che-us was chief of those who took toll for Rome, and had sinned in more ways than one; but now his heart was full of love to the Lord, and he wished to do all the good he could to show his grief for his past wrongs. He owned that he had not been kind to the poor, but said he would now give them half of his goods, and that to those from whom he once took more than he had a right to take lie would now give five times as much as he took from them. This was a proof that he meant to turn from his sin and try to lead a pure life; so Je-sus went home with him, and to those who blamed him for this he said that the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost, and that the worse a man had been the more did lie stand in need of a friend to help him do right.
The next day Je-sus went to Beth-any. Si-mon, a lep-er whom Je-sus had healed, lived in Beth-any, and in his house a feast was spread for the Lord. Laz-a-rus and Si-mon, two men for whom Je-sus had done such great things, sat at the feast with him, and Mar-tha served. Ma-ry Mag-da-len brought a box of choice salve and poured it on the head and feet of Je-sus while he sat at meat, and then she wiped his feet with her hair. This salve cost a large sum and was so rich and rare that when she broke the box the whole house was filled with the sweet scent.
But there is one man there whose bad heart robs the scene of all the sweet. Ju-das, one of the twelve, does not like what Ma-ry has done. Why was not this salve sold for a great sum, as it might have been, that the poor might have had it in place of such a waste as this? This he said not from care for the poor; for he was a thief and had the bag in which all the funds were kept, and had the whole charge of these funds. He had put his hand in that bag more than once for his own good, and he could not bear to see such a prize as this box of salve would have been to him so lost.
But Je-sus said, Do not scold Ma-ry nor find fault with her, for she has done the best she could; she did it for love, and love is worth more than gold. You have the poor with you all the time and can help them when you choose; but you will not have me long, for the day of my death draws near. Ma-ry hath wrought a good work on me, and I tell you that in all the world this thing which she hath done shall be told to her praise. This feast in Si-mon's house was served on the Lord's day, and the next day Je-sus left for Je-ru-sa-lem. There was a crowd with him, as there was all the time, and more folks came out from Je-ru-sa-lem to meet him on the way; for it was the time of the Great Feast which was held there once a year, and the town was full of Jews from all parts of the land who had come to take part in the feast.
At a small town called Beth-phage Je-sus bade two of his friends walk on till they came to a place where they would see an ass tied, and a colt with her; that they were to loose and bring to him. He told them if the man who owned the ass and colt asked them why they did this, just to say: The Lord hath need of them, and that then the man would let them do as they liked. They did what Je-sus bade them, and they put their robes on the ass and Je-sus sat on them, and he rode thus to the great town.
Some of the folks spread their clothes on the ground and some cut boughs from the palm trees to spread in the path; and they waved palm boughs in the air, too, and cried: "Hosan-na to the son of Da-vid! Blest is he who comes in the name of the Lord."
As the vast throng move on with shouts of praise, all at once Je-ru-sa-lem comes in view from the heights. At this sight there came to Je-sus the thought of how soon the pride of Je-rusa-lem must fall; how soon the hosts of Rome would lay siege to it, starve those who dwelt there, push down its walls and burn the Grand House of God. And as Je-sus looks at the fair sight, and thinks of the woe that is sure to come, he weeps and cries. If thou hadst known at least in this thy day, the things which would give thee peace! But now they are hid-from thine eyes!
The crowd kept on with him all the way through the streets and up to the church ; and there the lame and the blind were brought to him, and he healed them. When the Pharisees and chief priests saw him do these things, and heard the boys and girls in the church cry Ho-san-na ! they came to Je-sus and said Do you hear what these chil-dren say, and all the noise they make? Why do you not stop them? Je-sus said, Yes, I hear them: have you not read in the Psalms that God has made the mouths of babes to praise Him?
Je-sus went back to Beth-any to spend the night; but for the next four days he was in the Temple each day and taught the folks and made such hosts of friends that the hate his foes felt for him grew worse day by day; but they did not dare to take him by force for they knew that all who stood by had faith in him. But they set sharp men to watch him, that they might catch him in his words.
The first set whom they sent came with a lie in,their mouths. "Lord, we know that thou art true, and dost teach the way of God in truth, and hast no fear at all of man. Now tell us what thou dost think. Is it right for us Jews who are God's own heirs to pay a tax to Caesar, and thus own that we are slaves of Rome?" But Je-sus read their bad hearts, and saw the trap which they had set for him, and said, "Why do you tempt me? Show me some of the coin with which you pay the tax." So, they brought him one of their pence. "Whose face is on this coin and whose seal?" "Caesar's," they said. "Then give to Caesar the things which are his, and give to God the things which are God's." They were caught in their own trap, and went their way in shame.
New men took their place, and sought to catch Je-sus in like ways, but they were all put to shame by him. At length when they found they could not take him by force nor by craft, they sought to find some one of the twelve that they might bribe. And in this they did not not fail.