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Chapter 53 - The punishment of the liar and slanderer
53,1. Along the way Peter speaks again: ‘Now I am getting really dizzy with all the wonders upon wonders. No, anyone still doubting that this Jesus of Nazareth is the true Son of Jehovah must be either struck with the tenfold blindness of Pharaoh, or he is fully dead. The sick are suddenly healed just through the Word, the blind see, the deaf and dumb hear and the lame walk. And those with the most obstinate leprosy get as clean as if they had never sinned.
53,2. On top of that the Heavens open and hosts of the most magnificent angels hurriedly sail down, serve and carry on with us as if they had not left the Earth since the appearance of the first man. And their beauty is such that at their mere sight one could perish with delight. And when He speaks with His unheard of wisdom, how these beautiful servants of Jehovah are all sweetest reverential attention and holy devotion, yet as cheerful as swallows on the nicest of summer days. Truly, whoever still can say: ‘This Jesus is a magician pure and simple’ ought to be slaughtered like an ox. Because such a man cannot be a man but only a talking animal, and should therefore not die like a man but like a domestic animal.’
53,3. While Peter is ruminating thus, not noticing what is going on around him, one unbelieving inhabitant of this city roughly taps him on the shoulder and says: ‘In that case I as an honest man shall dutifully prophesy that you shall die as a barest ox. Because if you haven’t reached the stage of realizing what a real magician is capable of then you shouldn’t open your big mouth where experienced and knowledgeable people live.’
53,4. Says Peter: ‘Tell me, you coarse, dark spirit. Can those magicians of yours also heal all the sick with one word, and open the high Heavens where no magician’s hand or intellect can reach?’
53,5. Says the local: ‘Oh you stupid, blind Galilean. Don’t you know that a real magician can make a fish or snake out of a piece of wood? Only recently there was one here from Egypt who threw sticks in the water and they at once turned into fish, but when he threw the sticks on dry land they turned into snakes and vipers. He then breathed into the air and it filled with locusts and other flying insects. Then he took white stones, threw them in the air and they turned into pigeons and flew off. Then he scooped up a handful of dust from the road, flung it in the wind and watch it, the air was instantly filled with mosquitoes to where the sun could hardly get through. But when he blew into these mosquitoes, a wind came, blowing these mosquitoes off like a cloud. Then he took us to the pond behind the creek from where he first drew fish from sticks. He touched the water with his cane and look, it instantly turned into blood, and when he touched it again it again turned into water. In the evening he calls to the stars and they fly into his hands like tame pigeons. Then he commands them and they fly back to the firmament. Yet you say: where is the man whose hands reach up to the Heavens? But that all this took place here I can testify with a hundred witnesses. What do you say to your Son of God from Nazareth now, of whom I know only too well whose son he is and where he learnt all this?’
53,6. Says Peter: ‘If you haven’t in fact lied like a crocodile with its baby-cry, after buying yourself your hundred witnesses for a few coppers, then these many recognizing Jesus as the Christ must also know something of this magician of whose wonders you tell me. I will ask Jonael straight away. You'll be sorry if you lied.’
53,7. Says the local: ‘These won’t clear you up because they wouldn't attend such shows in the first place for fear that the magicians did all this with the help of the devil, and he could do them much harm. Only us brave few, not believing in a devil went out, because we are slightly more acquainted with the powers of nature, convincing ourselves with supreme amazement at what man can do.’
53,8. Says Peter: ‘You should be a fine customer for sure. But I tell you that you are not going to get away with it and not escape your punishment. Just follow me to the high priest of this city now. We shall finalize this matter in front of him.’
53,9. Says the local: ‘What have I to do with this high priest? I am a Galilean, and more of a Greek than a Jew at that; this high priest however is a stupid fanatic, even while at night-time his four eldest daughters, with their mother's consent carry on shamefully, so the story goes, surrendering to fornication. What use such idiot to me? I rate art and science above everything and I reserve my highest respect for all true scholars and artists, but they mustn't make out to be more than they are.
53,10. If your truly clever and scholarly master in all kinds of art and science had stuck to what he is, he would have been one of the most highly regarded among the Jews, Greeks and Romans. But he makes a god out of himself and this is very stupid and belongs to dark antiquity.
53,11. You people however are honest and upright souls in your own right. Only your knowledge and experience doesn’t seem to go much over fishing. Therefore we shall leave further argument aside. You can believe what you like, but you won't pull the wool over our eyes so easily, because we are versed in all kinds of knowledge and science and not without a smattering of magic, and know therefore what to think of your master.’
53,12. Says Peter: ‘Friend, you are trying to whitewash yourself in vain. This is not at all about whether you regard my Master as this or that and now with seeming cleverness try to make me forget about telling me a rotten lie before. May the high priest be just a fanatic to you as much as he likes, but as a public person in this small city he is bound to know whether a magician had recently been performing here as described by you. Because on this depends what I am to think of my Master.
53,13. I tell you that I and many of us have left everything, indeed even wife and children and unquestioningly follow Him, since we saw Him perform deeds which would not be possible to any human ever, in addition hearing Him speak wisely as no man ever spoke before Him and hardly ever shall after Him.
53,14. Yet you introduced another master besides mine who, even though not surpassing Him, nevertheless performs deeds equaling His, which should be respected by every person. Everything now simply depends on whether it can be proven that such magician in fact performed the deeds you mentioned.
53,15. If your witness is true then I give you my holy word that although I fully attribute purely divine power to my Master, I nevertheless shall leave Him at once and go home to my family. Because I don’t intend following a questionable magician even one more step, as I am still a true Jew, believing more in Moses than hundreds of thousands of the craftiest magicians. If however, as I fully suspect, from a purely evil will, you lied to me in order to just cast suspicion on my Master, then, as I already warned you, beware. You shall find out that I too out of the grace of My divine Master am quite capable of effecting certain things, without however introducing myself to anyone as a worker of miracles.
53,16. Therefore just come with me to the high priest, who right now is conferring with your tax-collector Matthew, who is bound to know something about your magician as well, because he too was here in the city constantly and must know something about it. Therefore come of free will or I shall use force.’
53,17. Says the local: ‘Why force, since I don’t feel like it? Just have a look, there are hundreds behind me. Just dare lay hands on me and see what happens.’
53,18. Says Peter: ‘I shall not put my hand on you the way you quite indelicately put yours on me before, yet you shall nevertheless be hauled over. Hosts of angels are traveling with us, whom you don't seem to see. It requires only a hint and they will immediately have you where I want and must have you.’
53,19. Says the local: ‘These boys clad in white are not going to be your angels? Ha, ha, ha! Well, if these are our protective legion then we'll just hand out a few hooks and you and your protection-boys are spread outside the city wall.’
53,20. This remark gets Peter quite beside himself and he straight away calls upon one of the youths to punish him. But the youth says: ‘I am all for it, as long as it is the Lord’s will, but the Lord has not given me a hint yet, and so I cannot accede to your request yet. But if He wants it I shall act.’
53,21. Peter moves forward towards Me a little straight away and tells Me his problem. But I said, even while arriving in front of Jonael’s house: ‘Go and bring Me this person’.
53,22. Peter was greatly relieved and hurried back and said to the youth: ‘It is His will.’
53,23. Here the youth gazed at the local and the latter began to quake and, driven by the youth, followed Peter over to Me without protest. But I just looked at him, and the local confessed that he had lied and that he had never seen such a magician, but that he had only heard of such and only wanted to see if this disciple was firm in his faith, having otherwise meant no evil at all.
53,24. I said: ‘You are one who wants to use a second lie to get out of the first, and therefore of the devil. Go and let him give you your reward, since you are such a good servant of his.’
53,25. Immediately an evil spirit steps up to the local to agonizingly torment him. But the local puts out a tremendous yell: ‘Lord, help me, as I admit loudly that I have sinned.’
53,26. But I say: ‘So did you hear that Jonael’s four eldest daughters were whores? Confess it loudly or I let you be tormented till the end of the world.’
53,27. Says the local: ‘Oh Lord, I never heard it from anyone, but I once met the four daughters at night as they were carrying water from Jacob’s well and tried to seduce them. But the daughters told me off in a way that made me glad to leave them, but I swore them revenge, invented this shamefulness out of my evil heart and spread the rumor all over the place. The daughters are perfect virgins. Oh, Lord, I alone am evil; everyone else is good and pure.’
53,28. Here I command the evil spirit to leave the local. The latter has nevertheless to make up to Jonael. He is a merchant however and goes back and brings the daughters ten times what I commanded him, asking Jonael and the daughters for forgiveness.
53,29. But I say unto him: ‘The gift alone does not rectify such injustice. Go and recant all evil you spread everywhere, only then shall your sins be forgiven. Let it be so now.’
53,30. The local promises to do everything immediately, but asks that I absolve him where in the case of strangers having found out, he doesn't know how to locate them.
53,31. But I say unto him: ‘Do what is possible; everything else I shall do and you shall then be without sin.’
53,32. The local is happy with that and goes off to undo all the evil he has committed.
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