Support for Christianity
Chapter 15, GGJ Book 1
23. While He was in Jerusalem for Passover, many believed in Him when they saw the signs He performed.
1. “I tell you: It is now Passover and I shall be staying in Jerusalem during this time. Follow Me where I shall be and you will be seeing a great number of proper signs. But see to it that these signs do not bring you death.’
2. The Jews were astonished at these words, but I left them and with My disciples walked out of the temple into the open. The Jews, however, followed Me secretly, for they did not have the courage to follow Me openly since I had spoken of ‘My signs causing death’. They did not understand that this meant the death of the spiritual element, but were thinking of the death of the body, and like all the rich on earth they were great friends of the earthly life.
3. However one of them joined Me outside the temple and said, ‘Master, I have recognised you and want to be with you. Where are you staying?’
24. But Jesus would not trust Himself to them; He knew them all so well.
25. He needed no evidence from others about a man, for He Himself could tell what was in a man.
4. But I saw that he was not sincere and that his wish to find out where I was staying was dishonest. Therefore I said to him - as I did later on to a number of similarly serf-interested priests - the familiar words, ‘Foxes have their holes, the birds their roosts, but he Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head, least of all in this city. But go first and cleanse your heart and then come with honest intention, not with treachery and you will se how you can hold your own at My side.’
5. This Man said, however, ‘Master, you are wrong concerning me and my friends. If you have nowhere to stay, come to us and we shall put you and disciples up and provide for you as long as you wish.’
6. But I saw clearly that this man did not have honest intentions and said, ‘We cannot trust you, for you are friends of Herod and like him are keen on spectacles, particularly if you can watch them free of charge. But I have not come to this city to entertain the friends of Herod with comedies, but to announce that the Kingdom of God is close and that you therefore, should repent so that you may participate in this Kingdom. Behold, that is the purpose of My presence here at this time, and for that your lodging is not needed. For he who lives in a house can leave it only through the door which is fitted with lock and bolt and by which a guest can also be made a prisoner. But whosoever says in the open is also free and can go where he wants.’
7. Says the Jew, ‘How can you offend us like that! Do you think we no longer know about the sanctity of the right to hospitality? If we invite you as a guest into our house, you are most sacred therein and woe betide him who should lay violent hands upon you. Thus with us the right to hospitality is upheld and respected above all. How then can you be suspicious of this established order in our houses?’
8. Say I, ‘With this domestic order in your houses I am quite familiar, but that does not mean that I do not know the other one as well. As long as a guest is in your house, he enjoys the right to hospitality, but when he wants to leave the house, myrmidons and soldiers who have been sent for receive the guest outside the door and put him in chains. Tell Me, is that also part of the old custom of hospitality?’
9. Says the Jew, somewhat embarrassed, ‘Who can claim this of your houses with a good conscience?’
10. Reply I, ‘The One Who knows! Has not a man been thus delivered into the hands of the judges a few days ago?’
11. Says the Jew even more embarrassed, ‘Master, who told you that? If this did take place, tell me, has not that criminal deserved it?’
12. Say I, ‘With you many things are considered a crime which are not a crime with God and with Me, because the hardness of your hearts considers many a thing a crime for which Moses did not give a law. Those are your laws which as far as I am concerned do not make a man a criminal. For your ruling are a sin against the laws of Moses. How, then, can he be a criminal who offends against your rulings, if he observes the laws of Moses? Oh, I tell you: All of you are full of malice and disgraceful deceitfulness.’
13. Remarks the Jew, ‘How can that be? Moses gave us the right to introduce laws for special occasions, and thus our well-considered laws are as good as laws of Moses. Therefore, is not he who disregards them quite as much a criminal as the one who offends against Moses’ laws?’
14. Say I, ‘With you indeed, but not with Me. -Moses demanded that you should love and respect your parents, but you say, and the priests even bid you do this, “Who instead sacrifices in the temple, for him it is better as thereby he redeems himself from this law.” But if now a man faces up to you and says, “You are deniers of God and miserable deceivers, abolishing because of your greed the law of Moses, substituting another for it by which you torment poor mankind!” -behold, therein also that man had offended against you, and at the threshold of the door you delivered him to judgement. Tell Me, had this worthy man deserved it or are not you by far worse offenders against Moses?’
15. Here the Jew became angry and walked away to his other companions whom he told all that he had heard from Me. They shook their heads and said, ‘Strange. How could this man know about it?’ -But I left that spot and went with My followers to a small inn outside the city where I stayed for several days.
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