The Childhood of Jesus
Chapter 168 - A Lesson In Love, Gentleness And Patience
HERE MARY tasted the mush which Joel had prepared for the little Child, and found that it was a bit sour and contained little gruellike curds.
2 At this she promptly called Joel who was still quite busy frying fish in the kitchen.
3 When he came, Mary sternly rebuked him, saying, 'Joel, just taste this mush!
4 Do you really have so little regard for the Child, for father Joseph and for me, the loyal wife of your father, that you can do this to me?
5 Do our cows and goats not have any more fresh milk in their udders?
6 Why did you take yesterday's already sour milk, which one can drink cold when one is thirsty, but not when it is cooked because it then is harmful, especially for children?'
7 Joseph now also tasted the mush and was all ready to give Joel a dressing down;
8 but the little Child sat erect and protested: 'Oh you children of men, why do you want to outdo Me everywhere?
9 Was My remark about Joel not enough? Why do you want to fully condemn him after I have dealt with him?
10 'Do you suppose I have a liking for such severity on your part? - Oh no! I am pleased only with love, gentleness of manner and patience!
11 Joel, to be sure, made himself liable to rebuke through his carelessness,
12 which is why I promptly rebuked him with My critical remark. Now this rebuke is sufficient; to what purpose then is an additional rebuke and a dressing down on top of that?
13 Every father does right when he punishes the naughty little children with the rod, but he should always be a wise and gentle teacher to his grown-up sons.
14 'Only, if a son were to rebel against his father, he shall be threatened!
15 If he then changes his attitude, he shall be restored to the old harmony.
16 But if he does not change his attitude, he shall be expelled from the house of the father and driven from the land of his fathers.
17 Now Joel has not transgressed in anything, only his desire to prepare the fish did not leave him enough time to have milked a goat.
18 But from now on he surely will never do that again, so let everything be forgiven him.'
19 Thereupon the little Child called Joel over to Himself and admonished him, 'Joel, if you love Me as I love you, then do not cause your father and your mother any more such anxiety in the future!'
20 This so stirred Joel that he began to weep, and he fell on his knees and asked the little Child, Mary and Joseph for forgiveness.
21 And Joseph assured him, 'Arise, my son! What the Lord forgives you, that is also forgiven you by me and by mother.
22 Go now, and see how the fish are doing.'
23 To this the little Child quickly added, 'Yes, yes, do go, otherwise the fish will be overfried, and then they would not be good - for I want to eat of them Myself.'
24 This concern pleased the other eight children so well that they laughed aloud for joy.
25 And the little Child laughed with them quite heartily and put the entire company at the table in a very happy frame of mind, and Jonathan's eyes were filled with enraptured tears of joy.
Chapter 236 - The Humility Of The Lord
NOW WHILE HE ATE of the fish, the little Child asked Jonathan, 'Can that be the best sort of fish?
2 For I tell you that this fish does not taste good to Me at all!
3 In the first place it is tough and then as dry as straw.
4 Truly, that cannot be a good sort of fish, which is also evident by its many troublesome fish-bones.'
5 And Jonathan answered, 'Yes, My Lord and my God! It is truly the sort of the lowest quality!
6 Oh if Joseph had only said something to me sooner, I certainly would have gladly run back and forth ten times more and would have brought You the very best fish!'
7 Hereupon Joseph became irritated with his sons because they had taken such poor care of his table.
8 But the little Child said, 'We must not exactly become irritated on account of that;
9 but it does always seem strange of My brothers that they keep the best in the kitchen to themselves, and actually serve us the worst of everything.
10 As far as that goes may everything be blessed for them; but it is not considerate or praiseworthy of them.
11 See, you have really given Me the best piece of the fish; but I just cannot eat it all although I am still quite hungry -
12 and that is a sure sign that the fish is bad.
13 Here, taste this little piece, and you will be convinced that I am right!'
14 Here Joseph tasted the fish and found the assertion of the little Child fully confirmed.
15 At this he promptly stood up and went into the kitchen where he found that the four sons were eating a tuna of the best sort.
16 Thereat Joseph lost his patience, and he began to give the four sons a thorough dressing-down.
17 But the sons objected, saying, 'Father, we have to do all the hard work - why then should we not eat a better morsel once in a while than those who do not work?
18 Besides, the fish which we have given for your table certainly is not bad,
19 but the little Child is sometimes just too full of caprice because He has been spoiled by you, and then nothing is right or good enough for Him!'
20 This made Joseph angry and he declared, 'Good, because you answer me with such speech, you shall never prepare food for my table again!
21 Mary will be my cook from now on, and you may cook for yourselves what you will; but none of you shall ever be seen again at my table!'
22 Joseph then left the four sons and in quite an aroused frame of mind returned to his table through a little side door.
23 Hereupon the little Child became sad and began to weep and sob unrestrainedly.
24 At this Mary, Joseph and James immediately asked Him with worried expressions what was the matter with Him, whether He felt any pain -
25 or what it might be that all of a sudden caused Him to become so sad and distressed?
26 And the little Child sighed deeply and said to Joseph in a very melancholy tone,
27 'Joseph, is it really so sweet to show the poor and the weak one's authority and to condemn them for a minor offence?
28 Just look at Me for once, how many ever so miserably poor cooks do I have in the world who would long ago have let Me, the Father of fathers, starve to death if it were possible to do that with Me!
29 I tell you, cooks who have forgotten that I exist, and who do not want to hear or know anything about Me!
30 And behold, I nevertheless do not go out so I may judge them in My just anger!
31 'Is it really so sweet to be a ruler? See, I am the only Lord of infinity, and beside Me there is eternally no other!
32 And behold I, the Creator and Father of all of you wanted to become a weak human being before you in full concealment of My eternal and infinite, divine splendor,
33 so that you by this above all humble example should come to despise your old spirit of despotism!
34 But no, in none other than this time of all times, in which the Lord of glory has humbled Himself below all men so He may win them all in such lowliness of His, men want to be lords and rule more than ever!
35 I well know that you judged the four sons primarily because of Me -
36 but if you recognize Me as the Lord, why did you anticipate Me there?
37 'See, we are all far from being miserable because we have been served with a poor fish, for we can quickly have a better one prepared for us.
38 But the four brothers are now the most miserable beings on earth because you as their father have judged them;
39 and behold, that is no just punishment for such a small offence! -
40 What indeed would you children of men be if I did with you as you do with one another and if I were as short of temper and as impatient as you are?
41 You do not know why we were served so meagerly; but I know why.
42 Therefore I say to you: Go over and withdraw your condemnation, and James will make the reason for the poor meal known to you.'
43 Here Joseph went and called the four sons so they might acknowledge their error before him and be forgiven.
- Chapter 237 - The Child's Love For His Brothers
AND THE FOUR SONS promptly came into Joseph's dining room, where they quickly fell down on their knees, acknowledged their guilt and besought their old father for forgiveness.
2 Joseph thereupon forgave them and withdrew his condemnation.
3 Then he said to the four, 'I have indeed forgiven you;
4 but I was also the least insulted by you in the matter.
5 Now here is the little Child of which you said to me to my greatest annoyance
6 that He was spoiled and therefore sometimes full of caprice, at which time nothing were right and good enough for Him.
7 Thereby you have abused Him most rudely!
8 Go over and first of all ask Him for forgiveness, or you could be severely dealt with!'
9 Here the four sons went over to the little Child and said to Him,
10 'Oh our dear little Brother! See, we have unjustly abused You to our father,
11 and made him so angry that he nearly put a curse on us.
12 We have sinned most rudely against You and the good father Joseph.
13 Oh will You, dear little Brother, ever be able to forgive us our rude sin? Will You lift us up again to be Your brothers?'
14At this the little Child smiled at the brothers in a most friendly manner, stretched out His tender arms and said with tears in His divine eyes:
15 'Oh My dear brothers, arise and come here so I may kiss and bless you!
16 For truly, whoever comes to Me as you do, he shall be forgiven, though his sins were more than there is sand in the sea and grass on the earth!
17 Truly, truly, before this earth was founded, I already saw this sin in you and have already forgiven you long before you ever were.
18 Oh My dear brothers, do not have any fear because of Me, for I do indeed love all of you so much that I shall in fact die one day in My body from love for you.
19 So do not ever fear Me, for truly, even though you had cursed Me, I still would not have judged you but would have wept instead because of the hardness of your hearts!
20 So come here, My dear brothers, that I may bless you, since you have abused Me a bit!'
21This infinite goodness of the little Child broke the hearts of the four, and they wept like little children.
22 The others at the table also were so greatly moved that they could not keep from weeping.
23 The little Child then arose and went over to the four, blessed and kissed them, and then said to them,
24 'Now, dear brothers, you will surely know that I have forgiven you everything?
25 But I beg you: go into the kitchen now and bring us all a better fish!
26 For truly, I am still quite hungry, but just cannot eat the fish you prepared for us a little while ago!'
27 At this the four quickly arose, kissed the beyond measure good-hearted little Child and then, deeply stirred, hurried into the kitchen and prepared a most excellent fish for Joseph's table.
Chapter 238 - The Interpretation Of The Poor Meal
WHEN ALL HAD STILLED their hunger with the well-prepared fish on Joseph's table
2 and the meal was over, Joseph asked James if he could give him a possibly prophetic reason for the at first meager and finally ever so tasty meal?
3 And James answered in a most humble and unassumming manner,
4 'Oh yes, dear father Joseph, insofar as the Lord will give it to me, to that extent will I faithfully tell you what this meal means.
5 So I would ask you to listen attentively!'
6 All now directed their attention toward James, and he began to speak as follows:
7 The poor and meager meal exemplified that future time in which the word of the Lord will be misrepresented.
8 At that time His servants will keep the best part for themselves and will feed their congregations with the husks as the heathen feed their swine.
9 'The Jews will be like the fried sea onion;
10 for although it is a root which grows luxuriantly by the ocean of divine grace and is now being fully roasted at the fire of divine love,
11 it will, for all that, be a poor food and a most scanty fare at the table of the Lord, and no one will reach for it.
12 'The monotonous milk dish will be the Greeks. These will indeed preserve the Lord's word in its true form more than anyone else;
13 but since they will lead only an outward but not an inward life according thereto, they will be lukewarm, unscented and tasteless like this cooked dish which, although it contains the best, life-giving ingredients, is cool and poorly cooked, and thus makes a poor showing on the Lord's table also;
14 for it has no pleasant odor and thus, as in effect raw, also has no pleasant taste for the Lord's palate.
15 'The melon is Rome. This fruit grows on a creeping stem winding in all directions,
16 on which many.barren blossoms come forth; but a fruit appears behind only a few.
17 And although the fruit is there and ripens to maturity, and in fact has a pleasant scent that is quite strong -
18 still when it is cut open and the inner meat is savored, the taste is far inferior to the scent.
19 If seasoned honey is not eaten with it, nausea to the point of vomiting quickly follows,
20 yes, even death can easily result from partaking of this fruit!
21 This is the way it will be with Rome for a considerable time, and many will eat themselves to death at this fare. This fruit will also be present as a bad dish on the Lord's table and will not be touched by Him.
22 'Now we still have bread, butter, some honey and a few lean fish.
23 These foods are naturally somewhat better, are noticeably separated from the others and appear to be quite acceptable;
24 but there is no warmth in them either, for they have not all been seasoned with the main ingredient, the fire, therefore they also stand here on the Lord's table and are not praised.
25 The fish, of course, were at the fire, but they had too little fat, consequently they are as tough as straw and the Lord cannot partake of them either.
'These foods denote certain sects which will separate themselves from the former and will indeed have faith,
27 but it will not be possible to discover any or at least very little love in them, hence they also will not be pleasing to the Lord.
28 That in short is the meaning of this meal. I have imparted everything made known to me, and since I received nothing more, I shall say no more!' - This explanation caused a great stir, but no one understood it.
- Chapter 239 - One Flock And One Shepherd
THEREUPON JOSEPH said to James, 'You have spoken most wisely in the name of the Lord although I, along with the others, still cannot grasp what you have spoken.
2 But since I recognize the wisdom of God in you just the same,
3 and we were all finally given a select and very tastily prepared fish for our table,
4 I would also like to have you explain what this highly palatable and select fish finally represents.
5 The Lord will surely reveal to you what is good also,
6 since He has just shown you what is and will be bad for all the world.'
7 And James replied, 'Dear father Joseph, that does not depend on me, but on the Lord alone.
8 I am only a weak instrument of the Lord and can only speak when the Lord loosens my tongue.
9 So do not request of me what I do not have and therefore cannot give you,
10 but turn to the Lord in the matter - if He will give it to me, then you shall immediately receive it from me as He gives it!'
11 Here Joseph turned to the little Child and asked in a low tone of voice,
12 'My Jesus, let me know the meaning of the good fish also!'
13 But the little Child replied, 'Joseph, you can see that I have not quite finished with My fish, so be patient.
14 Cyrenius also is still far from finished with his meal; so we two still have half an hour's time,
15 in which much can be deliberated and decided on.'
16 Thereupon He turned to James and said to him,
17 'James, while I am eating this small piece of fish, you may as well speak what comes to your mind.'
18 The little Child then ate of His fish again, and James promptly began to speak as follows:
19 This last good fish represents the Lord's love and His great compassion which He will bestow upon mankind in that time when all the world will stand on the abyss of eternal death.
20 But before this the cooks will have to withstand a strong judgment.
21 'Only after this judgment will that time come which the prophet Isaiah has already foretold.
22 And this time will remain on the earth and will not be taken from it henceforth, and the earth will be transformed into the likeness of the sun,
23 and her inhabitants will also dwell on the sun's great fields of light and will shine as they do.
24 And the Lord will be Lord alone and will be the Shepherd Himself, and all the shining inhabitants will be one flock!
25 And thus the earth will remain forever, and her inhabitants forever, and the Lord will be among them forever - a Father to His children in eternity!
26 There will be no more death; whoever lives then will live forever and will never see death! Amen.'
27 Here James was silent again, and the whole company was altogether speechless from surprise at the great wisdom of James - whereupon the little Child finally said, 'And now I have finished with the fish - therefore: Amen - to this also!'
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