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Chapter 58 - Peter and the wealthy citizen from Capernaum.
58,1. Little was said during the meal, but all the more so after the meal; for soon a number of guests came from the city, partly to see the angry sea, but partly also to partake of a good breakfast of fish; for our innkeeper had namely a good reputation in the whole city in this respect. It was not easy to avoid coming into contact with these guests, and so many asked whether I was not also present; for they saw several of My disciples who were well known to them and thus came to the conclusion that I would also not be far away from them.
58,2. A very eminent man from Capernaum whom Simon Peter knew well called him over and said: “Dear friend! You know that I have always taken fish from you and have supported your house as far as I could; however, it has been more than a year since you and several very good and solid people travelled around with the Nazarene prophet for nothing at all and thereby have drawn a number of enemies among the Jews onto you. At the same time you are all neglecting your households and your families, and according to the Law of Moses that cannot be pleasing to God! It is indeed true that the Nazarene has in the mean time performed very extraordinary signs and one is almost tempted to consider him to be a prophet anointed by God; but when one hears him speaking, then one does not know whether he is lacking something in the brain or whether he is not intentionally speaking nonsense so that no man can listen to, like for example yesterday in the synagogue. We were generally keen to see what he would say, since otherwise one has experienced many a thing already from his truly extraordinary capabilities and had heard several things from very trustworthy eye-witnesses; in itself his speech yesterday was indeed such a brainless thing that everyone had to become annoyed at it! Truly, if you all do not learn anything better from him, then you are very much to be regretted for your own sakes and the sakes of your families! Am I right or not?”
58,3. Somewhat annoyed, Peter said: “Friend, if you want to make a valid judgment about our Master, you must get to know Him better like I do! I have now been around him constantly for over a year and know significantly more than you could ever know. I also have not been falling on my head, I know the Scriptures and can therefore judge many a thing very thoroughly; but I have never heard a word from His mouth in which the deepest, divine wisdom did not shine through as bright as the sun. Even yesterday’s speech was full of the innermost divine life and spirit. He can truly do nothing to help the fact that it was understood by only few! If He revels Himself clearly and finally says who He actually is, and no-one believes Him, how can His speech from yesterday ever possibly be understood by such hard disbelief?!
58,4. Just look out! The sea, how it swells and rages like never before! And look also at this significant stretch of near-shore area, how it is as calm as a mirror, and no wave crashing against it with all force can shake it out of its rest! And look, it is the Nazarene’s will that this is and happens so! Hardly half an hour ago the stormy waves were also just as powerful here at the bank as there on the open sea; but He commanded calm to this stretch and it calmed in a moment, as it is still calm now. But who indeed may He be, that even the dumb elements obey in an instant?!
58,5. But yesterday He told you all freely and candidly who He is. Why did you not believe Him then and bend your knees and your hearts before Him?! Was it cleverer indeed of you to declare Him to be a fool than to step up before Him and say: ‘Oh Lord, You, as life and all power from God Himself, who gives us the word of life, be merciful and compassionate to us poor blind sinners!’ You see, I know and see who He is, and remain therefore with Him and will reap eternal life from Him alone, of which I am now much surer than that I am now alive and speaking! And if it were not so, then believe me, I would cease being His disciple a long time ago; for my mind is clear as of many a citizen in this city!
58,6. But I have recognized, along with all the prophets of the Scriptures, that only He alone can be and is the promised Messiah, the great anointed of God in eternity, and so I remain with Him and consider it to be the highest glory in all the world to have been called to be a disciple by Himself. Go to my family and ask them whether they have ever missed anything in my absence! Who but He cares for them?! And they have bread and wine in abundance! He does not go over and work the fields and does not catch the fish for them; His all-powerful will does all this, through which alone the whole surface of the earth is tilled! And you say that it is not right to leave one’s house and family for the sake of this Nazarene! Oh you blind friend!
58,7. You see, I truly do not need a lesson from you or from any other man; for I have enough for eternity in the lesson from the One! But if you were not so foolish as you are in all truth, you would ask us what your Nazarene teaches and does, and you would do much wiser than with your worldly-wise speeches of selfishness! I know what I know and the other disciples know it too and are witnesses along with me of the great love and truth of the Father, which now has come to us into this world in our Lord Jesus, the anointed of God, for the salvation of all who believe in Him, and for the judgment for those who do not want to accept Him and are always against Him with advice and deed and make every effort to bear witness against Him.
58,8. But we nonetheless do not suppose to call any of you foolish or blind or frivolous; but you do that to us and consider us to be work-shy lazybones and airy adventurers, without us giving you all the slightest reason for this! Tell me openly whether that is correct before God and before any eminent man!”
58,9. The rich citizen said: “Well, well, my dear Simon Judas, I did not mean to offend to such a degree for you to get so excited about me! If you know the miraculous Nazarene better than I, that is not my fault; for I have not had the opportunity to be with him as you have, and to see all his works and to hear all his words. I only judged him according to what I have indeed seen myself and what I have heard about him from other people. As a pure human I cannot do anything other than judge humanly about another man to the best of my will; and because I as your old friend now do such a thing to you, you, as a much more experienced and wiser person should not have found it difficult to speak out against my mistake with somewhat more temperate words! I am not angry towards you for it, however, because I have always loved you.
58,10. But even the most divine wisdom must agree with me that no-one can demand anything more from a person than he is capable of giving. I would like to know the God who would like to say to me commandingly and at the same time threateningly: ‘Yes, you miserable worm of the earth, lift this mountain and carry it from here to the end of the world, otherwise I will curse you to eternal misery!’ Would you consider such a divine demand to be wise?! Could a wise God, who must know my powers, demand such a deed from me?! I ask you whether it was so totally wise of you to demand from me recognition, understanding and faith beyond my spiritual powers, and to also ensure me immediately of a judgment because of my shaky faith and recognition.
58,11. But spiritual power obviously stands higher than every natural one. Whoever does not have this, does not have it, and one can just as little understand deeper and more secret truths without the possession of the greater and higher spiritual power and recognize it as such faithfully, as little as one can lift a mountain with too little physical strength and carry it away. But I believe however that one achieves more everywhere with love and patience with man than with such seriousness as you now have developed without necessity towards me. Am I right or not?”
58,12. Somewhat embarrassed, Peter said: “Yes, yes, you can indeed be right in your own way, and I cannot say anything against this opinion of yours; but you must also see that it was not at all nice on your part to consider me to be a gullible person because I left my house, my trade and my family and followed the Holy God from Nazareth!
58,13. I know well that you are lacking in spiritual strength, as many others, to understand the deep secrets of God at first glance; but there is still a very good middle path, and this according to me goes approximately so: If I hear or even see for myself extraordinary things, I remain modest and consider my judgment inside until I possibly receive a clearer light about it from somewhere else; and if I have not understood it at all, then I investigate it further, and if no higher and stronger light comes over me, only then am I justified in saying: ‘I do not understand that and I leave it to others who are more capable than I of making a judgment about it!’ But to go overboard about an issue that is not understood, is certainly less wise than my enthusiasm against you!
58,14. You have certainly read Solomon’s High Song and also certainly understood no syllable of it, like me! Would it be clever to throw it away because we do not understand it?! We nonetheless have a great respect for this song, although we do not understand it and will probably never understand it fully in this world. If we had lived during the lifetime of that king who was so talented with high wisdom, with our present very limited understanding, then we would probably not have made any better judgment about the High Song than you made yesterday about the speech given by the Lord and Master; but because the king’s song is already very old one respects it because of its age, even if one does not understand it at all.
58,15. Our Lord and Master performs deeds that Solomon never dreamed about, and His wisdom and respective fullest omniscience is to the wisdom of Solomon as infinity is to the smallest point in it; but because it is not almost a thousand years old and is here before your eyes and ears, performs and shines, it is foolishness for you all. Just think yourself a little about it maturely and tell me whether that was clever for men of some understanding!
58,16. Indeed I met you with enthusiasm, but a justified one, since I had to show you that I and the other brothers are no work-shy fools if we have left everything and followed Him; but it is all of you who do not see, recognize and do the same as we do. For now is the time before our eyes in which everyone who wants it can be taught and drawn directly by God; for truly, I tell you as your old friend: In this prophet of Nazareth as He is called by you, lives not only the animated spirit of a prophet but instead the whole fullness of the divinity physically and thus all the more so in spirit! But you are all blind and can never see that and all the less believe it to your own great harm, and it is therefore difficult to talk to you all.”
58,17. The rich citizen said: “But – dear, old friend, you are saying all the time one and the same thing! Think just once with a sober mind that firstly no-one has ever yet come down to our earth from heaven as a full wise man – and namely as a man like us all the less! How could we have learned that we should know that behind the son of the carpenter whom we know ourselves only too well, who worked for us with his father Joseph and his brothers several times, should now all of a sudden be the whole fullness of the divinity?!
58,18. Yes, if he had come to us from Egypt or Persia with his miraculous deeds, his whole being would obviously have more for itself and would certainly attract us short-sighted people more easily and strongly; but as it is he is known to us since his childhood and previously, as long as his father was alive, he never let us see even in the slightest that he was something more than a very usual, quiet, industrious and highly well-bred person! Now all of a sudden he has risen to teacher and extraordinary saviour for the sick and even seemingly dead people, which is all the more striking and must be so because previously he never let us see any of this and we know very well that he never attended a school and was never in a foreign land in which he could have made such his own.
58,19. All of a sudden he stands before us equipped with such extraordinary abilities, about which every man must with justification be amazed! What remains for us with our natural mind to judge but this: one night he was awakened as a prophet by the spirit of God as a pious man, and thus we are doing nothing unholy if we declare him to be a prophet from Nazareth, which even the Nazarenes do themselves. Only from you I am now hearing quite different things, which certainly must seem still somewhat strange to me; but that does not matter either because every man must indeed hear something about an issue before he can judge, check and only then accept in faith as the whole truth.
58,20. I have now heard from you for the first time about what is actually behind our Nazarene, and behold, as great as your statement is about him, nonetheless I find it not at all damnable, but instead rather serious, to think about it, to assess it and also to accept it, if one has found all the conditions which are necessary to be in the best order! I do not find anything impossible in that and the circumstances now speak very much for this fact, since we all know only too well that the Nazarene could never have learned such extraordinary capabilities in any secret school of prophets, because he has never attended one. According to his father’s statement, he is supposed to have never learnt to read or write enough so that one could say he is fully aware of these things. And so his sudden ability is all the more striking and the incomprehensible power of his will all the more amazing, which, as far as I have heard, literally the hardest stones obey. I consider that all to be true, because last year I was witness myself of such a deed which he performed obviously only through his own will. But you, my old friend, should not become angry with me if I as only a simple and straightforward man speak to you humanly!”
58,21. Peter said: “There can be no talk of me getting angry by a long shot; but telling the truth to an old friend, I will not shy away from. But for now enjoy yourself in the name of My Lord and purely divine Master! I must now go to Him in the adjacent room; since I have heard His call in me.”
58,22. At this Peter left his friend and came back to us in our room.
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