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Chapter 192 - The Pharisees try to catch the Lord.
1. When I was resting for a bit, the two disguised Pharisees immediately came up to Me and cheekily asked Me: "Lord, we know that You are performing extraordinary things, things which no man has ever done before You! Do tell us, what power grants You these abilities? You are a Master after all, surely You would know best by which powers and means it is possible to perform all these wondrous works!"
2. Said I: "O yes, I do know indeed, and I do wish to tell you. But first I want to ask you something. If you are able to give Me the correct answer to My question, then I will tell you by which power I am performing My works."
3. The two said: "You may certainly ask us. We will not hold back any answers."
4. Said I: "Very well then. Do tell Me, freely and openly, before all the people: Where did the baptism of John come from, whose father, Zachariah, was strangled to death by none other than you in this very temple, between the altar and the holy of holies? Did John's baptism originate from within man or from Heaven? It is up to you to make a final statement before the people. You clothed yourselves with different garments and passed through the people's gate together with other pilgrims, but you were still quickly recognized. I am warning you, do answer truthfully, because otherwise you will lose the reward that was promised to you; the reward you would receive if you could trap Me with words."
5. This gave the two Pharisees something to think about, and they quietly debated among themselves: "This is a desperately subtle question, because if, for the sake of the people, we say: 'John's baptism came from Heaven', then he and the people would ask us: 'If this is so, then why did you not believe him. Why did you persecute him and see to it that Herod would throw him in the dungeon and have him beheaded later on?' If, however, we say that the baptism came from man, then all the people would rise up against us, because they still consider John a true prophet, and they would savage us for saying something like this about him. With this in mind, it is rather difficult to give this Man a proper answer."
6. Another one spoke in secret: "I just had a great idea. Regardless of what we say, in both cases we will be trapped. We must pretend that we never cared about such spawns of the corrupt Judaism, because such things are far beneath our dignity. To make a long story short, we will simply say: 'This we do not know, because we never cared about such insignificant incidents regarding the temple.'"
7. Upon having decided their course of action, the two Pharisees turned to Me once more and said: "Master, we cannot answer Your question. For we simply do not know where the baptism of John came from, because frankly, we never really cared too much about it."
8. I said to them: "Well then, if you will not tell Me this, then I will not tell you by which power I am performing My works either. (Matthew 21:27)
9. But what do you think of this? Behold, a man had two sons. He went up to the first and said: 'My son, go now and work in My vineyard today.' But the son said: 'Father, this I do not want, because the hard work is too much for me.' When his Father was gone, the son regretted his decision. He stood up, went to the vineyard and worked the whole day, with all the strength he could muster. (Matthew 21:28-29)
10. The father now went to his second son and said to him what he had told the first one. This one answered: 'Lord and father. Yes, I will get to work immediately.' But when the Father went away, the son stayed at home and did not go to work in the vineyard. Now, which of the two sons has actually fulfilled the will of the Father?" (Matthew 21:30)
11. The two Pharisees said: "This is truly a childish question. It is quite obvious that the first son has fulfilled the will of his father, because by answering that he did not wish to work, he merely wanted to pleasantly surprise his father, considering what one says is unmistakably less important than what one does. But what purpose does this parable serve; what did You want to tell and show us with this?"
12. Said I: "No worries, I will certainly explain it to you, if you are so blind that you cannot see it for yourselves. The Father is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Of the two sons, the first one represents the true prophets called by God, who were at first not happy with their calling, as Moses showed all too clearly when he refused this high office because he had difficulty speaking properly, and for this reason he asked God to task his brother Aaron to be his interpreter. But then it was still Moses who did all the work. The second son represents the spokesman, but only Moses worked in the end. And so it only became worse until today.
13. Since those belonging to the second category merely promised to work in God's vineyard, but did nothing in the end, God had to turn to those who were not so skilled with their tongue. Although these did not promise Him anything, they still ended up working, and when they did, those of the second category attacked and persecuted them out of jealousy. They attempted to prevent them from doing the good work, so that the true workers would not be accepted as such by the Father of the vineyard.
14. And thus, during this time, Zachariah and his son John were such good workers in the vineyard of the Lord, although they both refused this inner calling at first. They did not wish to take up this office because they knew of the great laziness and the burning jealousy of those who promised God to work in His vineyard, but then pridefully put their hands into their lazy laps. And not only did they not work, on top of that they prohibited on top of that the good and zealous workers with fire and sword to do their work.
15. Therefore, I say to you: Truly, truly, tax collectors and whores will surely enter Heaven sooner than you. John came to teach you the right way, but you did not believe him, just like your forefathers did not believe the old prophets. But the tax collectors and whores did believe John, they did penance and changed their lives. You have certainly taken notice of this and understood that you were wrong, but still, you did not do what the tax collectors did, because above all you did not want it to be known that you believed in him. And so it is that the tax collectors and whores will enter God's Kingdom sooner than you who assign such great importance to your calling, and you strut before everybody as if you had helped God with the creation of heaven and earth.
16. But I say to you: It is precisely for this reason that you are the last before God, because everything that is great and shiny in the eyes of the world is an abomination before God. You do not wish to be in heaven, and moreover you are blocking the way for those who do want to enter. For this you will receive all the more damnation later on.
17. I am telling you this because I have the right and the power to do so, and I do not fear the people of this world, like you do. I know God and the power of His will, which is now within Me, and it wills and acts. But you do not know God, and His will is not within you. That is why you fear the world and act according to what it dictates within your hearts. And because you are doing this, you are also preparing your own judgment, your damnation, and with it, the true, eternal death. This is because you continuously remain slaves to your ever increasing laziness and sensuality, and you will reap the wicked and despicable fruits thereof."
18. One of the two Pharisees said: "You are speaking freely and openly to us, who are men just like You. If it pleased God to create us men only for hell, then He surely could have spared Himself the trouble, because not a single soul will praise Him for that. However, we are still of the opinion that God has created men for something better, and that is why we are hoping that He, as the most wise and perfect Being, will not want to eternally torture us with all the sufferings of Hell, simply because we were forced to act a certain way in response to insurmountable difficulties.
19. The fact that we cannot instantaneously believe anyone who might be pretending to be a prophet is quite reasonable. If the temple were to do that, it would have long ago ceased to be a meeting place of the Jews who still believe in Moses. Why would a prophet, who is imbued with all the power and might of God, allow himself to be seized and even killed by the Jews? If this were to happen, then his disciples would certainly turn away from him, as we know from experience, and they would become Jews again, exactly the way they were before the arrival of the prophet. Why would God allow such a thing?
20. If the prophets are His specially awakened and called workers, and we represent the lazy son who had promised his Father to work in the vineyard, but who did not keep his word, then how come that the so highly esteemed workers repeatedly allow themselves to be defeated by us indolent loafers? How could Your God let this happen?"
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