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Jesus - A Blending of the New Testament - Ch. 10 - Back to Capernaum
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The Centurion's servant is healed  -  a widow's son is raised in Nain  -  John's messengers query Jesus  -  Chorazin and Bethsaida are denounced  -  a woman washes Jesus' feet  -  his family doubts his sanity  -  a deaf and dumb man is healed  -  the sin that cannot be forgiven  -  the parable of the seven devils.


Jesus left the area and returned to Capernaum. As he entered the city he was met by a delegation of elders from the local synagogue. They told him about a Roman Centurion in the city who owned a slave, a slave to whom he was strongly attached. The slave was at the point of death, paralyzed and in terrible pain.

"Will you help him?" they asked. "He deserves your help. He's a good friend of the Jewish community. He even built our synagogue for us."

Jesus set off with them. They had almost reached the Centurion's house when they were met by some of his friends.

"We have a message for you," they said, "Our friend doesn't want to inconvenience you. And he feels unworthy to have you in his home. That's why he sent us rather than come himself. He said to tell you this: 'I am an army man and I understand authority. I have superior officers whose orders I must obey and I have men who serve under me. I tell them to go or stay, and they do. It's the same with my servant; I tell him what to do and he does it, Consequently, I know that all you need to do is to say the word and my servant will be healed.'"

Jesus was amazed. "What faith!" he said. "I haven't seen faith like that even among Israelites."

He turned to the crowd. "Hear me now," he said. "I will give you a picture of the future: All kinds of people are going to come from anywhere and everywhere, and they will sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while on the outside - banished and beyond the pale - will be the legitimate heirs to the kingdom. And oh, the anguish of that day!"

The messengers returned to the Centurion's house and found the servant well.

Shortly afterward, Jesus set out to visit the city of Nain. The disciples were with him, and he was followed by a crowd. As they approached the city, they saw a large funeral procession coming through the gate and learned that the dead man was the young and only son of widow in the town. Jesus saw her grief and his heart went out to her. He left the disciples and walked over to her.

"Don't cry," he said. He then turned and walked up to the bier and put his hand on it . The men who were carrying it halted.

"Young man ," Jesus said. "Get up!"

The dead man sat up and began to talk. Jesus handed him over to his mother.

The crowd was filled with awe and praised God.

"A great prophet has come to Israel!" they said.

"God has come to visit his people."

Like lightning the report spread through all Judea and beyond.

In his prison cell, John's disciples had kept him abreast of all that had been happening. Now he sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus whether he was the Messiah for whom Israel had been looking or should they continue to live in hope. It so happened that while the messengers were waiting for an opportunity to speak to Jesus they saw him heal a number of the sick, cast out demons, and cure blindness. Finally they were alone with him, and they put John's question.

"Go back to John," he answered, "and tell him what you've seen and heard: that the blind see, the deaf hear and the lame walk. Tell him that lepers are being healed and the dead are raised. Tell him, too, that the good news of God's kingdom is being preached to the poor, and happy is the man who isn't offended by the things I do."

When the messengers had gone, Jesus spoke about John to the crowd.

"When you went to desert to hear John preach, what did you expect? A flimsy reed trembling in the breeze? What did you expect? Surely not some mincing clotheshorse: you find them in royal palaces. What did you expect to see? A prophet, right? And much more, You are familiar with that passage in the scriptures: Look! - I shall send my messenger ahead of you. He shall prepare the way for you. That passage refers to John. The truth is: no greater man than John has lived yet even the most insignificant member of the kingdom is greater than John.

"From the time John began his ministry until today, men have been permitted to battle their way into the kingdom and some have won the prize by sheer zeal. All prophecy points to John. If you have the insight to grasp it, you will realize that he's 'the Elijah' who is to appear. If you're disposed to listen, pay heed to that.

"When John preached, a great many people, including some of the most disreputable, submitted their lives to God and John baptized them. But the pharisees and the lawyers didn't. Not them: To what shall I compare them? They're like the children you see in the marketplace playing their childish games. You've heard them shout at each other: 'When we wanted to play Wedding you said you didn't feel like dancing. Then when we wanted to play Funeral you said you didn't feel like being sad!' Here's John the Baptist: he doesn't eat bread or drink wine and you say he's crazy. Then I come along and I do eat and drink, and what do you say? You say I’m a glutton and a drunk and that I run with the riffraff. And somehow you manage to rationalize it all!"

He launched into a denunciation of those towns in which he had done most of his miracles but which hadn't responded to his teaching.

"How sad for you, Chorazin, and for you Bethsaida. If I had done in Tyre and Sidon what I did in your streets, they would have repented in tears and humility long ago. I tell you, things will go better for Tyre and Sidon on judgment day than they will for you.

"And you, Capernaum. What about you? Will you be praised to the skies? No, you'll be brought down to the grave. If Sodom had seen the miracles you've seen it would be standing today. I tell you, things will go better for Sodom on judgment day than they will for you."

He paused to pray: "Oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, I thank you that it has pleased you to hide these things from the learned and the intelligent and to reveal them to the childlike.

"God has entrusted everything to me," he continued. "No one but the Father really knows who I am, just as I alone know him- I, along with those to whom I choose to reveal him. So come to me all of you who are weary and burdened. I have rest for you. Enroll in my school and learn my teaching. You'll find me gentle and not overbearing. The work will be easy, the burdens will be light, and your spirit will find rest."

He was invited to dinner at the home of a Pharisee named Simon. The meal had only begun when a woman- a notoriously immoral woman who had learned that he was there- came and knelt at Jesus' feet in tears. Her tears fell on his feet and she wiped them away with her hair. After kissing his feet, she opened an alabaster flask, poured some perfumed lotion on them, and smoothed it with her hands.

While this was happening, Simon was saying to himself, "If this fellow really was a prophet he'd know what a disreputable woman this is." After a while Jesus turned to him.

"Simon," he said, "I have something to say to you."

"Go ahead, Teacher."

"Here's a money-lender. He has two debtors. One owes him five hundred dollars and the other fifty. Neither of them can pay, so he graciously forgives both debts. Now, which of the two would be more grateful?"

"The one who was forgive the most, I suppose."


Jesus turned to the woman at his feet. "See this woman, Simon? When I came to your home this afternoon, you didn't offer me water to wash the dust from my feet. This woman has wet them with her tears and has dried them with her hair, Nor did you give me the customary welcoming kiss. She, on the other hand, has been kissing my feet almost since we sat down. You offered no oil for my head, whereas she has perfumed my feet. I tell you, Simon , her sins - as many as they are - are forgiven because she loves greatly, but to be forgiven little is to love little,"

He turned to the woman," Your sins are forgiven," he said. Then, While the other guests were saying to each other, "Who is this who even forgives sins?" he said to the woman, "You've been saved by your faith. Go, and be at peace."

Jesus now took an extended preaching journey through a number of Galilean towns, talking about the good news of the coming of the kingdom. In the group traveling with him were the apostles and a number of women, some of whom had been healed, other who had previously been possessed by devils. The group included Mary, sometimes known as the Magdalene, who had been exorcised of seven devils, a woman by the name of Susanna, and Joanna, the wife of Herod's agent, Chusa. They saw to it that his needs were met, paying the cost from their own means.

On their return, Jesus went into a house for a meal but such was the press of the crowd that it wasn't possible to eat. His family heard what was happening and, certain that he had gone out of his mind, came to the house to try to take him home bodily.

Inside the house, a man was pushed in front of him . He was possessed by a devil and was both blind and dumb. Jesus healed him, and the man stood there among them, talking and looking about, obviously able to see. The crowd was simple astounded.

"Do you think it's possible?" they whispered to each other. "Could he be the 'Son of David'?"

Some Pharisees, in town from Jerusalem, overheard them. "The Son of David!" they fumed. "He's the son of the devil! He drives out devils by the power of the prince of devils, by Beelzebub!"

Jesus responded with parables. "Now why would Satan drive out Satan?" he asked. "If there's a civil war within a nation, that nation won't endure. The same is true of a city or a home. Similarly, if the devil goes about driving out devils, what's going to happen to this kingdom? And if, as you say, I drive out devils because I'm in league with Beelzebub, with whom are your sons in league when they drive them out? But if, on the other hand, I drive them out through God's spirit, it must mean that God's Kingdom has arrived and it hasn't dawned on you yet. Surely, you must realize that anyone who wants to break into a strong man's house to plunder it must first deal with the strong man. Anyone not allied with me is opposing me, and if you don't help me gather, you're actually scattering.

"Listen carefully to me: there is one sin that will never be forgiven. Never! It is the blasphemy of attributing to the devil things done by God's Spirit. You may blaspheme against me and be forgiven but you may not speak against God's Spirit.  That's an eternal sin. So make up your mind, which will you choose: to be a good tree bearing good fruit or a rotten tree bearing rotten fruit? A tree is known by the fruit it bears.

"As for you, you brood of snakes. You are incapable of saying anything good because you are yourselves evil. What a man says is determined by what he is. Good flows from a good man because he's good, even as evil flows from an evil man. Hear me now: on judgment day you will have to answer for even your careless words. You'll be acquitted or condemned by the things you've said."

Someone among the scribes and Pharisees called out, "Let's see some proof."

"What a wicked and unfaithful generation you are," Jesus said, "always looking for proof. There'll be no proof except the proof of the prophet Jonah. Just as Jonah was three days and nights in the belly of that great fish, I'll be three days and nights in the belly of the earth.

"On judgment day, the citizens of Nineveh are going to stand up as a condemnation of this generation, because when Jonah preached they repented. And look - someone greater that Jonah is here.

"The Queen of Sheba is going to stand up on judgment day in condemnation of this generation. She traveled great distances to hear king Solomon expound his wisdom. And look - someone greater than Solomon is here!

"I'll give you an illustration of how it will be with this generation: Here's a man who's had a devil driven out of him. The devil goes wandering about in the desert vainly seeking rest. He says to himself, 'I'll go back to where I used to live.' And he does - taking with him seven other devils, each more demonic then he - and finds the place all neat and clean, but empty. So in they go and take up residence, and the man's condition is far worse than it was before. That's the way it will be with this wicked generation."

He paused and a woman in the crowd called out: "Happy the womb from which you were born and the breasts at which you nursed!"

Jesus responded to her. "Happy, rather," he said' "those who hear God's word and obey him."

His family was still outside, unable to get in because of the crowd. Someone told him that his mother and brothers wanted to speak to him.

"Who is my mother and who are my brothers?"4 he said. He looked around at the people in the room and stretched out his hand toward his disciples. "These are my family" he said. "Anyone who does God's will is a member of my family."

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(4)   In Aramaic, the word "brothers" is also used for cousins or more distant relatives of the same generation.