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Chapter 31 - The pagan village with the temple of Mercury.
31,1. There were however still a lot of people on the street who wanted to see and speak to Me one more time, because it became known by the servants of Zacchaeus’ house what I had done for his son. However, I did not let Myself be disturbed and walked quickly through the crowd without allowing them to hold Me up. But because a few hundred people wanted to escort Me, I stood still for a short while and indicated to those who walked behind Me that they should turn around and go home, which they also did.
31,2. But while I was in this way held up by the people, a woman who suffered already for several years of bleedings and who could be helped by no one, penetrated through the crown towards Me. The woman touched My cloak in the full belief that this would help her, and so on that same moment she was healed.
31,3. In order to try the disciples and the other people I asked: “Who touched Me in faith, for I noticed that a power went out from Me?”
31,4. The disciples and several other people said: “There, look, that obtrusive woman had touched You.”
31,5. Then the woman fell at My feet and asked Me forgiveness, because she was afraid that she would be punished for it.
31,6. But I said to her: “Stand up and go home, for your faith has helped you. But do not sin anymore if you want to stay healthy.”
31,7. Then the woman stood up immediately and went home, while she was praising God’s power.
31,8. Immediately after that, I hastily sent the people away and left quickly with the disciples.
31,9. And soon we came into a desolate region through which the way was going. At that time there were no travelers, and so we could cover the way unseen in the already known manner in less than ½ hour, which otherwise would have taken about 10 hours, and we reached a region that was partially inhabited by Jews and partially by Greeks and where Babylonians had settled.
31,10. We came in a little village that belonged to the Greeks. In the center of that village there was a temple on a hill that was dedicated to the pagan god Mercury. To permit that pagan temple in the Jewish country, the inhabitants of that village had to pay considerable taxes every year to the temple in Jerusalem after which they received then permission from the temple again to bring their god Mercury offerings for 1 whole year and keep certain feasts into his honor. Today it was a day of Mercury for the Romans, and although it was the day after the Sabbath for the Jews, it was precisely at the same time a feast day of the above mentioned pagan god, and the Greeks were busy with their idol.
31,11. When we arrived on that spot, the Greeks made us stand still and wanted us also to bend our knee for the idol, as a custom of old, thus as some kind of politeness.
31,12. But I said to them: “Listen, you blind gentiles should rather bend your knees and heart for the only true God of the Jews, because this dead and powerless idol of yours is a work of human hands and thus much less than the smallest, most insignificant moss plant. However, the one and only true God of the Jews has created only out of Himself Heaven and Earth and everything that it carries. That is why all men should only believe in the one, true God, worship Him only and have no other, dead idols to honor with all kinds of foolish ceremonies that are disgraceful for human dignity.”
31,13. A Greek said: “When we come to Jerusalem we do not refuse to bend our knees for your God, although we know very well that there is no God in the great temple of Salomon, no matter in what kind of form. The Jews have only a box, out of which on certain times a naphtha flame flares up, which is however considered so holy that it only may be seen and worshipped a few times a year by the supreme and highest Jewish priest. But we also know that that box is also made by human hands, just like our god. Then how can You say that the God of the Jews is the only true one and has created Heaven and Earth out of Himself for which all men should believe in Him, worship Him only and honor Him and must have no other idols?
31,14. Friend, it seems to me that we have nothing at all to blame each other for what concerns the truth of which God is the real one. In our gods, who are symbols of the different forces of nature, we only honor the forces of the great nature that are more or less known to us, and not the statue that is made by human hands and the temple that belongs to it, and this is certainly wiser than for you Jews to consider an old box and the temple that belongs to it as the only true God and to worship them. By asking you to bend your knee - out of politeness - for our Mercury while passing by, we certainly do not want to make you disloyal to Judaism and thus tempt you to commit a sin against your God.
31,15. But if You and all your companions can give us an actual proof that only your God is the only true one, despite my sensible arguments against the truth that you claim to have, then we are not so stubborn that we should not turn very quickly and without any difficulty simply and solely to your God.”
31,16. I said: “Friend, such a proof we can give you indeed without asking you to bend your knees before us. However, I have to make a condition to you before that, to which you first should try to comply, to see if you will succeed in it or not. If you succeed, then we also will bow our knees before your Mercury and will then continue our way as Jews. If you do not succeed to comply with this condition, then I will give you the actual proof that the God of the Jews is the only true one and will turn you away from your expensive gods and you will freely bend your heart and knees before our God.
31,17. The condition is as follows: you already have honored your idol yesterday and today, and you have put down the offerings in the temple, and therefore the idol should be well disposed and will quickly answer a prayer that is directed to him.
31,18. Look, there on the stairs of the temple sits a born-blind girl of 12 years old. She is the beloved one of her prosperous parents, and they would give everything if her sight could be given back. Thus, turn you all to your god, with the request to open the eyes of the blind one, because such blind ones cannot be healed by anyone on the whole Earth - only an almighty God can do that. If your god will heal the blind girl, then we also want to bend before him, but if he will not heal her, which is most likely, then I will heal her with the power of the Spirit of our God that lives in Me. But after the girl has been made seeing, I will, from the place where I am standing now, destroy the temple with the idol statue in one moment, in such a way that you will not even recognize the place anymore on which now the temple with that idol statue is standing. Go and fulfill the condition that is made to you.”
31,19. The Greek, who was also the father of that blind girl, said: “Friend, we want to attempt it, as I already have done several times - unfortunately always without the least of result. But what can we ask You, Friend, if Your only true God will maybe let You down also and not answer Your wish? For concerning this subject I already have spoken with a lot of Jews who also believed very seriously in their God, and every one of them admitted seriously to me that it is really not that easy at all concerning the direct answering of the prayers that you direct to Him. But with this I do not wish to bring any doubt on what You promised to do, because in Your words sounded a very sure confidence. However, if the result of Your God will finally look like that of our god, then what?”
31,20. I said: “Then we will be your slaves for the rest of our lives. But now go to your god and present your request to him.”
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