The Story of Jesus The Christ

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Adapted for Children


The story of the life of Christ has been written time and

time again, yet it is one that is ever fresh and attractive.

Little children love to hear it if it is told in language which

their minds are able to grasp, and the aim of this book has

been to tell the story so simply that the youngest child can

enjoy it because he can understand it.

The account recorded in the four gospels has been closely

followed, and the order of events is that accepted by the greatest

thinkers and writers. Many of the laws and customs of the

times have been introduced to make the text more clear; and,

that the lessons taught may be more attractive and better

remembered, the book is abundantly illustrated.

The writer does not claim originality, but, knowing that all

children love to read or hear a good story, she has tried to tell

this old, old story in a way that will make them love it and

absorb into their own beings the elements of true living which

only the life and teachings of the Christ can give.



Far away over the sea, on the continent of Asia, is the land

of Palestine, which is also called the Holy Land. If you look

for it on the map you will find that it is a very small country.

Yet, though it is so small, such great things have happened

there that all the world knows of Palestine. This story will tell

you why it is called the Holy Land, and why so many people

love it.

Very many years ago there lived in Palestine a man by the

name of Jacob, who was the son of Isaac, and the grandson of

Abraham. He had twelve sons, each of whom was the head of a

large family called a tribe. The twelve tribes together made a

nation which was known either as the Jews, or as the Children

of Israel. Israel was another name given to Jacob after he was

a man.

The Jews were better than any other people living at that

time, just because they worshipped God. There were a good

many people then, as there are now, who did not know about the

true God in heaven. They made images, or idols, of wood or

stone, which they called gods. They prayed to these idols, asking

them to take care of them. They even thanked these gods

for giving them life and health, and so many beautiful things.

They were heathen, for that is what we call those who pray to




Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were not heathen; they knew

and loved the true God, and taught their children to do the

same. But the Jews were not always good. They did wicked

things over and over again, but after they had done wrong they

were sorry for it, and asked God to forgive them. Then they

started over again, and tried to do better.

When Jacob was an old man, he and his children and grand¬

children went to live in Egypt, and lived there happily a good

many years. But the time came when the Children of Israel

were not happy; for the kings who were then on the throne were

not kind to them. They made slaves of them, and the Jews had

to work so hard and so long that they almost forgot their God.

But at last a child was born who had a different life from the

rest of his people. He was named Moses, and was brought up

by the king’s daughter, in the king’s palace. He was very wise

and learned. He thought a great deal about his people. He

could see how badly they were treated, and how unhappy they

were, and his greatest wish was to set them free and take them

back to Palestine. The time came when God allowed him to do


It was hard to get so many people started, and harder yet to

make them do as God would have them. They found fault with

everything if things did not please them: with Moses, and even

with God. There were many years of very hard work for Moses

and their other leaders before they were at last settled in their

own country, in homes of their own.

For a great many years God was really their king. He gave

them laws through Moses, and all their leaders were chosen by

God. They all talked with God, and learned from him what to

do for the people. But the time came when they wanted to be

like the other nations around them and have a king whom they

could see, and who could go before their army when it went to war.



The first king was not a good raler; but after he died a young

man named David came to the throne, and David was a good

king. He tried to do as well as he could himself, and tried to

teach the people to obey the laws of their God.

David belonged to the tribe of Judah, and was born in Beth¬

lehem. He was only a shepherd boy when he was chosen to be

king, and for that reason he is often called the Shepherd King.

Although he left his country home and went to Jerusalem to live

when he was quite a young man, he never forgot the lessons he

learned in the fields of Bethlehem. He wrote beautiful songs that

show that while he stayed with the sheep, hour after hour, his

thoughts were about God and his goodness. It was thousands of

years ago that David lived, yet ever since that time people have

read and sung these songs, and we can read them now in that

part of the Bible called the Psalms. One of them begins, u The

Lord is my shepherd.» Perhaps you know it.

After David died, his son Solomon became king. He was very

rich, and knew so much that he has been called the wisest man

that ever lived. He built for the people a beautiful temple where

they could meet to worship God. When this temple was built

the people promised to always love and obey the God who had

been so good to them and to their fathers. If they had remem¬

bered this promise, and kept it, they would have been a strong

nation even now; but very soon they began to break God’s laws.

Some of them even began to pray to idols.

After King Solomon died things grew worse and worse, until

at last the Jews were conquered by other nations, their cities de¬

stroyed, and the people carried away to other countries. After a

time some were allowed to go back to Palestine to live, but there

has never been a real Jewish nation since that time, and that was

a great many years ago.

But the Jews kept up their courage; for their prophets had



told them that they should have a king who should rule the

whole world, and who should reign for ever and ever. Prophets

are men who tell what is going to happen long before it does

come; they foretell things. We have men whom we call

weather-prophets. By studying the sky, the clouds, and the

winds, they can tell what sort of weather we are likely to have.

But these Jewish prophets talked with God, and he told them

what to foretell, so they never made any mistakes.

These prophets did not all live at one time; nor did they all

tell the same things about the king. One said he was to be born

in Bethlehem, and was to belong to David’s family. Another

said when he should be born; and others told something else

about his life. Still another said that before he came God would

send a great prophet, who would teach the people how to get

ready for the Christ, their king.

At the time of our story there had been no prophet for four

hundred years; but the Jews, remembering and believing what

the prophets had promised so long ago, were looking for their king.

For, if the prophets had spoken truly, it was almost time for him

to come. They had forgotten that some of the prophets had said

that the king was to be poor, and a man of sorrows. They ex¬

pected him to come in great power, and make them a strong free

nation again.

Although many Jews were now living in Palestine, they were

under the rule of the Homan Emperor. The Emperor had so

large a country that he could not look after it all himself; but

divided it into what were called provinces and appointed rulers

to take charge of them for him. The Jews did not like to obey

the Roman Emperor, they did not like the rulers who were sent

to them, and they did so long for their own strong king.

Herod, one of the Roman rulers, who was called a king, was

very much disliked, and he began to be afraid that he would lose



his throne. So to please the Jews he built them a temple, even

more beautiful than the one which Solomon had built for them.

That one had been destroyed when the’ Jews were driven out of

their country, and the one which had been built when they had

returned was now so old that it was falling to pieces.

The temple was not much like our churches, nor was the ser¬

vice like ours. There was one building of two rooms. In the

smaller of these only the High Priest went, and only once a year.

In the other any priest could go.

Around this building were four large open spaces called

courts, separated from each other by walls. The one next the

building was for the priests alone; the next for the Jewish men;

the third for the Jewish women, and the fourth for all who were

not Jews. No one could go farther than the court in which he

belonged. When we speak of people going into the temple, we

mean they went into one of these courts.

The priests were the ministers, who did all the work of the

temple, and, took charge of the services. In those days the peo¬

ple did more than pray to God to forgive their sins. In the tem¬

ple was an altar, or sort of table covered with brass. On this

altar a fire was kept burning day and night. Twice every day a

lamb which had just been killed was burned on this altar, and

while it was burning the people prayed to God, asking him to

forgive their sins, and to destroy the memory of them as the fire

was destroying the lamb. This was called offering a sacrifice.

Another thing the priests did was to offer incense. Incense

was made of sweet spices, and was very fragrant. While it was

burning the people in the courts outside were praying that their

prayers might rise to God as sweet and pure and well pleasing as

the incense.

One day, just about the time that our story begins, the work

of burning the incense fell to the lot of a priest named Zacharias,



who had a wife Elizabeth, but who had no children. Both were

very sorry for this, and often when they prayed, they asked God

to give them a little son.

On this day, as Zacharias alone in the temple was burning

the incense, and praying to God, he looked up and saw an angel of

the Lord standing at the right side of the altar. When Zacharias

saw him he was afraid. But the angel said: “ Do not be afraid,

Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; God will give you and Eliza¬

beth a baby boy, and you must call his name John. He will

bring you joy and gladness, and many other people will rejoice

that he is born. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord,

and will turn many from their wicked ways, and teach them to

love God. This child is the one whom the prophets said would

come to make the world ready for the Christ.»

Zacharias could not believe what he heard, and asked, “ How

shall I know that what you say is true?» The angel answered,

«God sent me to tell you about it, and because you have not

believed my word you will not be able to speak again until the

day when it comes true.»

The people outside in the courts waited for Zacharias to come

back, and wondered why he stayed so long in the temple. When

he did come out he could not speak to them. They knew that

something had happened, for he made signs to them, but did not

speak. When his week of service was over he went to his home

in the hill country of Judea, and there, when the time came, the

baby boy was born.

Little Jewish children were not named until they were eight

days old. When it w r as time for this baby to be named, the

friends called him Zacharias, after his father. His mother said,

«No, he is to be called John.» The friends thought it was

strange to call him that, for no one in the family ever had that

name; and, too, it was the custom to call the first boy by his



father’s name. They made signs to Zacharias, asking how he

would have him called. Zacharias asked for a writing tablet and

wrote, “ His name is John.»

The friends wondered still more when the father also chose

that name, but they soon had still greater reason for surprise.

Zacharias, who had not spoken for so long, began to talk again.

Would you like to know what he said first? He thanked God

for what had happened, and then told the friends who were with

them that the Christ, the promised king, was coming very soon,

and that this child of his was the prophet who would teach the

people about their king. This story was told all through the hill

country of Judea, and the people asked, “ What kind of a child

will he be?»




In Galilee, in the northern part of the Holy Land, is the

little town of Nazareth. In this town lived a beautiful young

woman, loving and gentle and pure. She was named Mary, and

was the cousin of Elizabeth.

A little while before John was born, as Mary was sitting

alone one spring day, the angel who was sent to Zacliarias came

to her and said, «God is very kind to you, Mary, for he has

chosen you to be the mother of the Christ-child. You must call

his name Jesus (which means Saviour), for he will save the

people from their sins. He shall be great, and be called the

Son of God, and shall rule the world for ever and ever.»

Mary believed what the angel told her, and gently answered,

«Let it be to me as you have said.» Then the angel left her.

In the early part of the winter the Emperor of Rome, Caesar

Augustus, commanded that all the people should be enrolled,

which means that they should have their names written down on



a roll of paper. Every Jew of the same tribe must have his

name written on the same roll. The Jews were very much

scattered, and to do this

each had to go to the city

or town where the fathers

of his tribe had lived, be¬

cause the tribal roll was


Mary and her hus¬

band were both of the

tribe of Judah, and Beth¬

lehem was the city of

that tribe. You remem¬

ber, do you not, that

David was of the tribe of

Judah, and lived in Beth¬

lehem when he was a

shepherd boy? Because

the Jews were so fond of

David they called Bethle¬

hem the City of David.

Bethlehem was eighty

miles away from Naza¬

reth, and the roads be¬

tween the two places were

very rough and stony, up hill and down hill. It was a hard

journey to take. Mary and Joseph could not travel very fast,

and when they reached the city the houses were all full, for

strangers from every part of the country had come to Bethlehem

on the same errand as theirs. They were very tired when their

journey was over, but they found no one there ready to welcome

them. There was no room for them anywhere, except in a stable.

Arrival at Bethlehem



There they found a resting-place, and there that night God

gave to Mary the baby he had promised her, the baby that was

the long-expected King of the Jews.

The poor people in that country often wrapped a long band

around their little babies

to clothe them, and this

sort of dress was called

swaddling clothes. Mary

wrapped her baby in

swaddling clothes, and

since there was no other

crib for him she laid him

in a manger.

In the beautiful val¬

ley just outside the city,

where David had taken

care of his father’s

sheep so many years

before, some shepherds

were watching their

flocks that night. They

watched them day and

night, for it was not

safe to leave them alone. Angels and Shepherds

Robbers and wild beasts

were about, and the sheep might come to harm if left without


The shepherds knew that it was time for the Christ to come,

and this night they were probably thinking of him and talking

one to another, when all at once a bright light shone around

them, and the angel of the Lord came before them. They were

very much afraid, but the angel said: 44 Fear not, for, behold, I



bring you good tidings of great joy that shall be to all people.

For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour

which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign to you:

you will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a


And suddenly there w^ere with this angel a great many more

who sang, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace,

good will to men.»

When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the

shepherds said to one

another, “ Now let us

go to Bethlehem right

away, and see this baby,

of whom the angels

have been telling us.»

They started at once

and soon came to the

city, for it was not

more than a mile away.

And there they found

Joseph and Mary and

the baby.

The shepherds were

very happy. They had

so longed to have the

Christ come; now he

had come, and they

were looking at him.

Do you not think that

Mary was happy, too,

when she learned from the shepherds how they knew of her

baby’s birth? She did not talk much about it, but the thought

Adoration of Shepherds



was a comfort to her for the rest of her life. The shepherds

went out and talked with every one whom they met about the

wonderful child, and what the angels had said of him; and

thanked God for what they

had seen and heard, as

they went back to their


When the child was

eight days old Mary named

him Jesus, as the angel

had told her. When he

was forty days old he was

taken to the temple at Je¬

rusalem. This was done

in order to obey a Jewish

law that said that a mother

must take her child to the

temple and offer sacrifices

for him. If she could af¬

ford it she must take a

lamb and a turtle dove for

the sacrifice; if she were

poor she could take two

turtle doves or two young

pigeons. As Joseph and Mary were poor, they took two turtle


There was an old man in Jerusalem, named Simeon, who

loved God, and who had so longed to see the Christ that God

had promised him that he should not die until he had seen the

child. Simeon was in the temple when Joseph and Mary brought

in the child Jesus. He looked at the baby, and knew at once

that this was the Christ he had so longed to see.

Presentation in the Temple



He took Jesus in liis arms, and thanked God that he had

been allowed to see his Christ. 44 Lord, now I am willing and

glad to go,» he said, 44 for I have seen thy Christ; the Saviour

who has come to make the world brighter and better.» Then

he said, as he gave the child back to his mother: 44 This child is

born to be a great help to many people, but others will not

believe him. They will speak against him, and will bring much

sorrow to him, and his trouble will cause you sorrow too.»

While these things were happening in Palestine, there were

in another country in the East some wise men who saw a bright

new star in the sky. These men studied the stars so much that

they knew those that generally shone as they did old friends,

and they knew that they had not seen this before. It seemed to

tell them that some great thing had happened. They knew that

the Jews were expecting a king, and they decided that this star

was sent to tell them that he was born; and they thought they

should go to honor him.

So, although they lived a long way from Palestine, they took

splendid gifts in their hands and went to find the king. They

followed the star until they came to Jerusalem, where Herod

the king lived. They were sure that a king would be found in a

king’s house, so they went to Herod’s palace and asked him :

44 Where is he that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen

his star in the East, and have come to worship him.»

Herod could not answer them. If he had ever heard of the

birth of Jesus, it had not interested him enough to make him

remember it. But he called together the learned Jews, and asked

them where they expected the Christ to be born. They told him

that the prophets had said that he should be born in the little

town of Bethlehem.

After Herod had found out all he could about the child, he

called the wise men and asked them how long it had been since



they first saw the star. He wanted to know bow old the child

was. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying to them, u Go

and look carefully for the child, and when you have found him

bring me back word where he is, that I may go and worship

him also.»

The wise men then left Herod and went to Bethlehem, follow¬

ing the star until they came

to the house where Jesus

was. And when they had

come into the house they

saw the child with Mary

his mother, and they fell

down and worshipped him.

And when they had opened

their treasures they gave

him their gifts: gold,

frankincense, and myrrh.

Frankincense and myrrh

are costly perfumes.

This is the first time

that any child ever had a

Christmas present. And

when Christmas conies

round year after year bring¬

ing with it gifts from those

who love us, we will re¬

member this story, will we

not? And we will think

with love of the little child whose birth we celebrate on Christ¬

mas Day.

After giving Jesus their presents, the wise men started home

again. But they did not go back to tell Herod where they had

The Three Wise Men



found the child, for God had told them in a dream that Herod

did not mean what he said, that he did not want to worship

Jesus, but to kill him. So they went home another way.

When Herod had heard the strangers asking him where the; y

could find the King of the Jews he had been greatly interested,

and a good deal worried. He was afraid that he would have more

trouble than ever with the Jews if they had a king of their own

So he, too, wanted to find the child. He had expected the wise

men to tell him when they went back to Jerusalem just where

he could be found, and there would be no more trouble after that,

But the wise men did not come back to tell him. He waited

and waited, till at last he found that they had gone to theit

homes without seeing him again. Herod was very angry wheri

he heard this. “ I must find the child,» he said; “ it will not do

to let him live to be king.» One of his plans had failed, but h. <t

thought of another.

He did not know how old the child king was, but he watf

sure that he could not be more than two years old. So, as ho

did not know where to find him, he sent his soldiers to kill eveiy

boy in Bethlehem that was two years old, or younger. (The

word “ child ” in our Bibles really means boys; Herod did not

need to kill girls in order to be sure of killing Jesus.) The

soldiers did as they were told, and there were many sad home /

in Bethlehem that day. This sounds even more cruel than it

really was, for Bethlehem was a very small town, and there were

probably not more than twenty or thirty boys there.

But even this plan of Herod’s failed to harm the child Jesus.

For on the night after the wise men had started for their homes,

an angel of the Lord said to Joseph in a dream, “ Take the child

and his mother and flee into Egypt, and stay there until I bring

you word; for Herod will look for the young child to destroy




So Joseph took the child and his mother that very night,

and left Bethlehem to do as the angel had told him. In

Egypt they were safe, for

Herod had no power there,

and could not touch them,

even if he had been able to

find out that they had gone

there. Probably he never

knew that he had not killed

the boy king when he sent

his soldiers to the city where

he had been born.

They lived in Egypt till

the wicked king Herod died.

We do not know what they

did there, or where they

stayed, although many sto¬

ries are told about them.

They probably lived very


After the death of Herod

Joseph dreamed again, and

again the angel came to him,

saying, “ Rise, take the child

and his mother, and go back

to your own land; for they are dead who sought to kill the child.»

Joseph obeyed this dream as he had the other.

But they did not go to Bethlehem to live; for they heard that,

although the king Herod was dead, yet his son Archelaus, who was

ruler there now, was a very wicked man. They went to Nazareth,

the early home of Joseph and Mary. There Jesus lived all the

years of his childhood, and all but three years of his whole life.

Flight into Egypt


We do not know much about him when he was a boy. The

Bible says that he was “ filled with wisdom/’ and that he was in

favor with God and man.» We know by this that he was a good

boy, and was loved by every one who knew him.

The people in Nazareth were not thought to be very good,

and sometimes, when Jesus was older, he was looked down

upon because he had once lived in Nazareth. But if the people

were not good the country

was beautiful. Jesus proba¬

bly went to school with

the other Jewish boys, and

studied Jewish history and

law, from the books of the

Bible. We can also think

of him as playing and work¬

ing in his father’s carpen¬

ter’s shop, and with his

mother in the house.

He learned, too, from

other teachers than books.

The mountains and lakes,

the birds and flowers, the

storms, the sunshine, and

indeed everything he saw

or heard, had lessons for

him which he was happy in


This was how he became

filled with wisdom; because he saw something to learn in every¬

thing about him, and was willing to try to learn the lesson.


Infancy of Christ



The Bible tells of a journey Jesus took when he was twelve

years old. Every year in the spring there was a great feast in

Jems ale m,

called the Feast

of the Pass-

over; and Jews

from all parts

of the country

went to it. The

women and old

men commonly

rode on mules or

donkeys; some¬

times on horses

or camels. The

young men, with

long sticks in

their hands,

walked beside

them and led the animals. Children were not generally taken

till they were twelve years old; those who did go ran a part

of the way, but when they were tired they were given a ride.

Ever so many people travelled together, and had such a good

time on the way! They talked and laughed and sang together,

stopped at the springs to get water when they were thirsty, and,

as they walked along, picked the fruit and berries they found by

the roadside. When they were tired they stopped to rest; for

manjf of them had a long way to go.

Thousands of strangers were in Jerusalem when the feast

began. Every house was full, and tents were put up for those

who could not find room anywhere else.

When Jesus was twelve years old his parents took him, for

Jesus, Twelve Years Old, on His Way to Jerusalem



the first time, to this feast. It lasted seven days, and then the

long procession started home again. Jesus was so much inter¬

ested in what he was seeing and hearing that when the others

left the city he stayed behind. His parents did not know this;

they supposed that of course he was with some of their friends in

the company, and did not look for him until evening. Then he

was nowhere to be found, and no one remembered seeing him all

day. Think how troubled his parents must have felt! The boy

who had never been away from them was lost, and so far away

from home, too! They

must go back to Jeru¬

salem to find him.

It took them an¬

other day to get to the

city, so it was the third

day before they saw

their boy again. Then

where do you think

they found him? In

the temple, hearing the

old, gray-haired men

talk, and asking them

questions so wise that

they were astonished to

find a boy of twelve

years who knew so


Do you think his

Christ in the Temple parents were glad to

see him? His mother

hurried to him and said: “ My son, wiry did you leave us? Your

father and I have been looking for you, and have been very sad.»



Jesus answered her: “ Why did you look for me? Did you

not know that I must be about my Father’s business?» Jesus

did not mean Joseph when he said “ my Father,» he meant God.

He was a young boy, but he was very thoughtful, and he knew

that there was work for him to do in the world; and that his

work was to teach people how his Father wants them to live.

He would have liked to have begun his work even now, but it

was not yet time for him to do so. He went back to Nazareth

with his parents, and was the same loving, obedient boy that he

had always been.

Until a Jewish boy was twelve years old he was called a little

boy; but after that he was a young man, and was expected to

study and work as the young men did. Every one must learn

some trade, or some kind of work by which he could earn his

living. Joseph was a carpenter, and he taught Jesus to do car¬

pentry work: to make houses, tables, yokes for oxen, or anything

that is made of wood.

So, busy with his studies and his work, Jesus lived at Naza¬

reth till he was thirty years old. We will leave him there for a

while, and see what has become of the son of Zacharias.

John, too, grew to be a thoughtful, manly boy; for his father

told him what his work was to be, and taught him what he

needed to know, to be ready for it. As he grew older he knew

that he could not do good work unless he thought, studied, and

prayed much about it. To do this he left his home and his

friends, and went to live all alone in the wilderness.

He could find enough to eat there: locusts, and the honey

which the bees left in the rocks and the hollow trees. Locusts

are something like our grasshoppers, and even now, in that coun¬

try, people eat a great many of them. There were caves in the

sides of the hills, where John could find shelter from the cold

and storms, and from any wild beasts that might be about. His



clothing was made of the coarse hair which grows on a camel>

and was fastened around his waist with a leather belt.

There in the woods he lived alone for many years with noth¬

ing to take his mind from his work. At last the time came for

him to preach.

There is a river in Pal¬

estine called the Jordan,,

and it was to the banks

of the Jordan that John

came from the wilderness

and began to preach. He

was so much in earnest,

and spoke so well, that

people liked to listen to

him; and before long great

crowds from all around

came everyday to hear him.

They all thought he

must be the Christ; but

John said: 66 No, I am not

the Christ. I am the

prophet from the wilder¬

ness whose work it is to

prepare the way for the

Christ, and tell people about

John the Baptist in the Wilderness llim.

«He is to be so much

greater than I am that I am not good enough even to be his ser¬

vant. Your Saviour is coming very soon, but he will not save

you unless you are sorry for your sins. You must not say to} T> ur-

selves: ‘ God will love us because we are the children of Abraham/

You must be good yourselves if you want to be loved and saved/»»



Over and over again John said to the people, “ Repent, and

be baptized, every one of you.» To repent is to be so sorry

for something we have

done that we will ask

God’s forgiveness and

try very hard never to

do it again. After they

repented he baptised

them. You know how

pure and clean water

makes things that are

Washed in it. So water

is used in baptism as a

sign that the one who

is baptized wants his

heart made pure and


J ohn baptized so

many people that he

is called John the Bap¬

tist, but he told them

John the Baptist Preaching

all that the baptism did

not make them good;

it only show r ed others that they meant to try to be better men

and women. “ When the Christ conies,“ he said, „he will give

you a new heart, and that is what you need to be really good.»

We should all pray just as David did so long ago: «Create

in me a clean heart, 0 God; and renew a right spirit within

me.» This is nfot a very long prayer, but it means a great deal;

for when we have been given new, clean hearts we will never

again do wrong without being very, very sorry, and praying to

be forgiven.



One day John was preaching as usual, when a stranger came

to him and asked to be baptized. John looked at him for a

minute, and then said:

«I need to be baptized

by you. Why do you

come to me?» For in

that one look something

in the stranger’s face

told John that it was

Jesus, the Christ, who

had asked to be bap¬

tized. Although they

were cousins, their

homes were so far apart

that they had never

seen each other.

John knew that the

Saviour did not need to

repent, for he had never

done anything that was

wrong. He did not want

to baptize him, but Jesus

said: «I want you to do it. It is right that you should, even if

you do not know the reason why.» Then they both went into the

Jordan, and Jesus was baptized.

When he came up out of the water something in the form of

a dove rested on his head, and a voice from heaven said, “ This

is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.» It was God’s


Baptism of Jesus




Jesus did not wait to talk to the people then; he went off by

himself into the wilderness, where he could be alone with God.

He wanted to think about the new life he had just begun. He

had no home now, for he had given up his home and everything

that was dear to him in Nazareth, to spend the rest of his life in

doing good to others, and in teaching them how ’to be happy.

Forty days and forty nights he spent in this wilderness, think¬

ing much of what others needed, but so little about what he him¬

self needed that in all that time he had eaten nothing. Now he

felt hungry. Round about him were some smooth stones shaped

much like the loaves of bread they used in that country. They

were something like our crackers.

Has not the wicked spirit Satan sometimes whispered in your

ear, asking you to do something which you knew was not right?

Well, that wicked spirit came to Jesus now when he was so

hungry, and said: “ If you are the Son of God, you can do any¬

thing you want to. Just turn these stones into bread.» Jesus

was able to do this, for in a few days he did something just as

wonderful; but he had been asking God for power to help other

people, not to help himself. He did not turn the stones into

bread, but answered Satan with a Bible verse which means that

although we need to feed our bodies we also need to trust and

obey God, w T ho has promised to take care of us.

Satan whispered to him again and said: “ If you are the Son

of God, why do you not throw yourself down from the high roof

of the temple at Jerusalem? God will send his angels to take

care of you, for he has promised to do so. They will hold you

up in their hands so that you will not get hurt. And when the

people see angels taking care of you, and not allowing you to fall,

they will believe at once that you are the Christ, and they will

worship you.» Again Jesus answered with a Bible verse. What

he said means that although it is true that God has promised to



help us when we are in trouble, it is wicked to do things that

are dangerous just to see if he will help us.

Satan now took Jesus where he could see a long way oh, and

as he thought of all the cities lying beyond the hills, filled with

people and riches, Satan said: u All these you can have, if you

will obey me. The people

will he glad to have you

for their king if you will

not find fault with their

wicked ways. Never mind

if they are wicked. Try

to please them and me in¬

stead of trying to please


But Jesus answered him:

«Go away from me, Satan,

I will have nothing to do

with you. It is written,

4 Thou shalt love the Lord,

thy God, and him only shalt

thou serve.» ” The wicked

spirit found that here was

a man whom he could not

tempt to do wrong, and he

Temptation of Christ went away for that day.

Many other times the evil

spirit tried to make Jesus do what was wrong, for the Bible says

that he was tempted in every way just as we are, but never

sinned. That is why our Saviour can help us conquer sin, if we

ask him; because he knows just how hard it is for us to do

right, and just what we need to conquer Satan. After Satan had

gone angels came and comforted Jesus.



Shortly after this Jesus went back to the Jordan, where John

was still preaching to a great many people. As John looked up

and saw Jesus coming toward them,

he said to his hearers,» Behold the

Lamb of God, which taketh away

the sins of the world.» What did

John mean? Just this. Before

long, Jesus, a pure, gentle man

who had never done a wrong thing,

would be put to death like the

lamb in the temple service, for the

sins of other people. After this

happened people need not offer

sacrifices any more; for their sins

would be forgiven if they asked

God to do it for Jesus’ sake.

The next day Jesus passed that

way again. John the Baptist was

there talking to two of his friends,

John and Andrew, and seeing Je¬

sus coming he said again, “ Behold

the Lamb of God.» This time the

two men followed Jesus, who,

turning round and seeing them

close behind him, asked, “ What

are you looking for?» They answered, «Rabbi» (which means

master or teacher), “ where do you live?» He said, “ Come and

see.» They went with him to the place where he was staying,

and spent the rest of the day there. Andrew was so much pleased

with his new friend that he found his brother Simon, afterward

called Peter, and brought him to Christ.

The next day Jesus started on a journey to Galilee, and his

Jesus walking by the Sea



three new friends went with him. On the way they met a man

named Philip, who lived in the same town as Andrew and Peter.

Jesus invited Philip to go with them, and he was very glad to do

so. Before he went he found his friend Nathanael, and asked

him to join them.

Nathanael did not wish to go when he heard that Jesus was

from Nazareth. You remember that the people of Nazareth were

not thought to be good, so Nathanael did not think a man from

that place could be the Christ. But Philip asked him to go and

see Jesus before he decided, and Nathanael went with him. Af¬

ter talking for a little while he said, 44 Rabbi, you are the Son of

God; you are the King of Israel.» He was as much pleased with

the new friend as the others were, and was glad to join the little

company on their w T ay to Galilee. There were six in the company

now, — Jesus, and the five men, John, Andrew and Peter, Philip

and Nathanael, who were dear friends of Jesus the rest of their

lives. They are called his disciples, or learners, because they lis¬

tened to his teachings and learned from him.

On the third day that they were together there was a wedding

in Cana of Galilee, and Jesus and his disciples were invited to the

feast. When they came to the house, they found Mary, the mother

of Jesus, there. The feast lasted several days, and before it was

over the wine gave out. What should they do? It would not

do to be without any, yet they did not know where to get more.

Mary told Jesus that they had no wine, and although he seemed

very unwilling to do anything about it, she was so sure that life

would help them that she said to the servants, 44 Do whatever he

tells you.»

There were six water-pots, or large stone jars, outside the door,

filled with water. For it is so hot and dusty in that country that

the people need to bathe often, and jars for that use are kept out¬

side the doors of most houses. The tops of the jars are filled



with fresh, green leaves, and these leaves keep the water clean and

cool. Jesus told the servants to empty all the water from the jars,

and then to fill them again with clear water. This they did, fill¬

ing them to the brim.

Then Jesus said, u Draw some out now, and take it to the gov¬

ernor of the feast. This was the chief guest, who had the

direction of much of the

feast. The servants did

as he told them. The

governor took a taste of

what they brought him,

and said: 66 How is this?

At most feasts they

serve their best wine at

the beginning, and keep

the poorest till the last;

but here at the end of

the feast they are serv¬

ing their best wine.»

And it was so, for Jesus

had changed the water

in the six jars to the

richest of wine.

You remember that

although he was very

hungry in the wilder- The Marriage Feast at Cana

ness a few days before

this he would not turn the stones into bread for his own use.

Now it was different; other people were in trouble, not he him¬

self. By using this power which God had given him, he could

not only do a kindness to these people, but he could also show

them that he was different from the other teachers they had



known; that he was the Son of God. And so he did what no one

else could possibly have done; it was a miracle. It was the first

time Jesus had done anything of the kind, so far as we know;

but we shall hear of a good many miracles after this, and we

shall find that every time that he used this wonderful power,

during all his life, it was for this very same reason; to do a

kindness to some one. He never used it to make himself more

comfortable; and, least of all, to make any one else uncomfort¬


No one was more interested in what he had done than his five

new friends. They had known their Master only a few days, but

in that time they had learned to love him; and now they were

sure that they had made no mistake in believing him to be the

Christ, for no one could do such things as this unless God gave

him the power.

After the feast was over Jesus and his disciples went to Caper¬

naum, a busy city on the shore of a lake which is known by three

names; the Sea of Galilee, the Sea of Tiberias, and Lake Gen-

nesaret. It was a beautiful lake thirteen miles long and six miles

wide; and on it were thousands of boats of every kind. There

were the war-ships of the Romans, which were very tiny in com¬

parison with those of our time. There were the little rough boats

of the fishermen, and many gay pleasure boats.

The country around the lake was beautiful also. Mountains

and hills sloped down to the shore, and on these mountain-sides

anything that was planted would grow; for the soil was very rich.

Scattered about were fields of wheat, groves of palms, olives, figs,

and oranges. Where nothing else was planted, wild flowers

sprang up in great plenty. There are a great many kinds of

wild flowers in Palestine, many of them very beautiful, with

rich, gay colors. A field of these flowers is said to be a won¬

derful sight that no one ever forgets who has seen it once.



All along the shores of the lake cities and larg^ towns had

been built; and Capernaum was one of the busiest of these cities.

Roman soldiers were always there on guard, and strangers were

coming and going all the time, for Capernaum was a central place,

through which people passed in going from one country to another,

and from every direction people came here to trade.

It was a place where Jesus could meet and talk with people

of many nations. Later in his life he spent much time in Caper¬

naum; for, besides the work which he could find to do right in

the city, it was easy to make short trips into the country around.

But now Jesus stayed in the city only a few days, for it was time

to go to the Passover Feast at Jerusalem.

You remember how delighted he was when his parents took

him for the first time to the Passover, when he was twelve years

old, and how he loved to stay in the temple? But this time

when he entered the temple courts, he was not at all pleased.

Site of Capernaum, Sea of Galilee



Instead of tjie quietness and respect which belong to the house

of God, there was the greatest confusion. Money was being

changed, doves and sheep and oxen were being sold, even inside

the temple wall. Such a noise as there was! And all the while

the temple service was going on!

Jesus saw some small cords which had probably been used to

tie the animals. Out of these curds he made a whip, and drove

from the temple the sheep

and oxen, and the men who

had charge of them. He

upset the tables of the

money-changers, and their

money rolled about on the

floor. Then he said to

those who sold the doves:

«Take these things away

from here, and do not make

my Father’s house a place

of business.» His voice

was stern, and no one dared

to disobey him; so the

temple court was soon


You may wonder why

they ever thought of doing

such things as buying and

selling animals in the tem-

The Purification of the Temple pie. The reason Was that

many of the people who

came to worship lived a long way from Jerusalem, and could not

easily bring with them the animals for their sacrifices; it was

better that they should buy them in Jerusalem and near the



temple. Then, too, money had to be changed; for nothing but

Jewish money would be taken at the temple, and people from

different parts of the world had to bring the kinds of money that

were used where they lived.

If these things were true, what was there wrong about it?

Why was Jesus displeased? It was not because the things were

done, but because they were done in the wrong place; for the

temple, was built to worship God in, not for a place of business.

There was plenty of room outside of the temple, and if they had

cared about God’s house, and keeping it sacred, as God had told

them, they would not have wanted to do their selling there.

The priests should not have allowed such things to be done; but

probably they got a share of the money that was taken, and so

they were willing.

These priests were astonished and angry at what was done.

They might lose some money if the buying and selling in the

temple was stopped. They had another reason, too: they were

the rulers of the people, and they did not like to have this

stranger come and take the control they thought belonged to

them. So they asked Jesus to give them a sign that he had the

right to do such things. He answered them in a way that no one

understood then; but years afterward the disciples remembered

the answer he gave, and then they knew what he had meant.

Jesus stayed in Jerusalem through the Passover week. The

Bible says that many people believed that he was the Christ

when they saw the miracles that he did, but it does not tell us

what these miracles were. One of these men was a very promi¬

nent man among the Jews, named Nicodemus. This man wanted

to learn more from this wonderful teacher, but he was afraid to

have his friends know that he did so. So he waited till one

night after dark. Then, when no one could see what he was

doing, he came to the place where Jesus was staying.



Jesus was always willing to teach those who wanted to learn

from him, and now he was glad to tell Nicodemus about the new

life that every one

must live who wants to

please God and make

the best of himself. He

said that because men

did not know the best

way to live, God sent

his Son into the world

to teach them; and

whoever believes on

him and obeys his

teachings has this life

that goes on forever

and ever. He told him

that the coming of the

Son of God, like the

sunshine, brought light

into the world, showing

people what was good

Jesus and Nicodemus and what was bad. But

as people who have

been doing wrong do not like to have the light show what they

have been doing, but want to hide away in the dark, so these

people would like their own wicked ways and thoughts better

than those he had come to bring.

After the Passover was over, Jesus and his disciples left

Jerusalem and travelled through Judea, until they came to the

place where John the Baptist was still preaching and baptizing.

Jesus, too, began to preach. At first only a few people listened

to him; soon more and more became interested in hearing him



talk. Before long the crowds who had been so fond of hearing

John, left him to follow this new Rabbi, or teacher. He did not

baptize any of them, but his disciples baptized more than John

did. The friends of John did not like to have the crowds leave

their master to follow this new teacher; they went to John, find¬

ing fault with Jesus and with the people. But John said: «It

is just as it should be. I am not the Christ. My work is almost

done, but his will be greater and greater. You must take him

for your master, and believe what he tells you. He is the Son

of God.»

Some of the Jewish teachers, too, were envious because he

was winning so many friends. They did not like John very well,

but they liked Jesus even less. This was because the people who

had trusted them and come to them to be taught were leaving

them to listen to these two men. Jesus knew that they did not

feel kindly toward him, and he thought it best for him to leave

Judea for a while and to go into Galilee.


The shortest road between Judea and Galilee lay through the

province of Samaria. Few Jews ever took that way, for there

had been a quarrel between the Jews and Samaritans hundreds

of years before this time, and they had never become friends

again. They hated each other so much that the Jews were

unwilling to have anything to do with them, and would much

rather take a longer journey than to go through their country.

And the few Jews who did go there were not always treated very

well by the Samaritans.

After they decided to go to Galilee Jesus and the five disciples

who were still with him left Judea early in the morning; for the

days were so hot that they wanted to travel as far as they could

before the sun was high. They took the shortest way, the one



through Samaria. At noontime they came to a well, and Jesus,

who was hungry, thirsty, and tired, sat down by the well to rest,

while his disciples went into the city to buy food. The well was

one which Jacob had built when he lived there hundreds of years

before, and it was still in use. It was wide and deep, and held

water enough for all the people and their flocks.

As Jesus sat there, weary and alone, a woman of Samaria

came to this well to get some water. Jesus spoke to her and

asked, “ Will you give

me a drink? ” It was

a little favor to ask,

was it not? Yet the

woman was so sur¬

prised to have a Jew

speak to her that she

said: “ How does it

happen that you, who

are a Jew, are asking

a drink from me, a

woman of Samaria?»

This gave Jesus

the chance he wanted,

and he told her about

the Living Water,

which was the spirit

of love and kindness

which he had himself,

Jesus and the Samaritan Woman and which lie WOllld

give to all who would

ask him for it. The woman asked him to give her some of this

water; but she did not know what he meant by it. She thought

that if she could have some of it she would never need to go to



the well again. Jesus did not explain to her what he meant; he

began to talk to her about the wicked life she was leading; for

she was not a good woman. She was very much surprised that

he should know all about her when he had never seen her before,

and she was sure he was a prophet. So she asked him one of

the questions about which Jews and Samaritans had often quar¬

relled, whether people ought to worship in Jerusalem or in a tem¬

ple they had built in Samaria. But Jesus told her that neither

was necessary; that if people prayed to God in their hearts they

would be heard wherever they were. She was not satisfied, and

said that when the Christ came he would tell them what was

right. Jesus said, “ I, who am speaking to you, am he.»

The woman was so anxious to tell her friends that the Christ

had come that she forgot her water and went right into the city.

On the way she met some of her friends, and said to them: u Come

and see a man who told me all things that ever I did. Is not

this the Christ?»

The disciples had come back while Jesus was talking to the

woman, and had been very much surprised; but they said noth¬

ing about it. They had learned that their Master had some good

reason for everything he did, although they could not understand

it. After she had gone they begged him to eat of the food they

had brought him. But he was no longer hungry. The chance

to help somebody to be better was more to him than food, or

anything else. It was this that made him so lovable.

Very soon the Samaritans came to see him, and were so

pleased with him that they asked him to stay with them, instead

of going to Galilee. He was always glad to stay where he could

do good, so he went with them and stayed there two days. In

that time many of the people believed from listening themselves

to his teaching that he was the Christ, the Saviour of the world.

At the end of these two days Jesus and his disciples started



again on their journey. They were together, however, only a

short time. The disciples went back to their homes, and Jesus

travelled alone through the towns of Galilee.

While Jesus had been doing these things John the Baptist had

been getting into trouble. John was a preacher who spoke to

any one whom he saw doing wrong, whoever he was, and wherever

he was. One day he told King Herod that he was leading a sin¬

ful life, and that both

he and his wife were

wicked people. This

was true, but they did

not like to hear John

say it. They were so

angry that they would

have killed John if

they had dared. But

the Baptist had so

many friends that

thought he was a great

prophet that Herod

was afraid to do this.

So instead of killing

him he took him and

put him in prison.

Jesus, you remem¬

ber, was travelling in

John the Baptist in Prison Galilee. The people

there were glad to

have him with them once more. Many of them had seen what

he had done at the feast at Jerusalem, and others had heard so

much about this preacher who talked so well and did so many

miracles that they wanted to know him.



In the course of liis journey he came to Cana where he had

made the water into wine. While there, one day at noon, a

nobleman came to him

in great haste. He had

come twenty miles, from

Capernaum, on purpose

to see Jesus and ask

him a great favor. He

had a son at home who

was very, very ill; it

seemed as if he must

die. But the father

had known of the mir¬

acles of Jesus, and be¬

lieved that he could

make his child well.

So when he heard

that Jesus was in Cana

he went to him as

quickly as he could, and

begged him to go to

Capernaum and heal

the boy. Jesus said to him, “ Unless you see wonders you will

not believe.» But the father only thought of his sick boy, and

said, “ Sir, come down before my child dies.» The Saviour

looked at the father who seemed to trust him so, and said, “ Go

home, your son will live.» Did the man believe that Jesus had

the power to cure a sick boy twenty miles away, without any

medicine? Yes, he believed, and went home, sure that he would

find him well.

When be was almost home he met his servants coming to tell

him that his boy was well. He asked them when he began to get

The Appeal of the Nobleman



better, and they told him it was at one o’clock, just the time when

Jesus had said, «Your son will live.» So the nobleman and all

his family believed that Jesus was the Christ, and became hi?


Though the Jews had only one temple they had in every town

places where they met to worship when they did not want to offer

sacrifices. These were called synagogues. They had only one

room. The men sat on one side of the room and the women on

the other behind a screen. There was a raised seat for the

preacher and ten «chief seats» where the leading Jews sat.

The service was much like ours. There were prayers and

hymns, and a passage was read from the Scripture, or that part

of our Bible which we call the Old Testament. The most of what

our New Testament tells had not yet happened. Any one could

read this lesson, and could explain it afterward, if he had permis¬

sion from the ruler of the synagogue, who was the man who had

the charge of the service. It was the custom for the reader to

stand while he read the lesson, and to sit down in front of the

people when he began to talk. The hymns they sang were not

like ours, and they had no hymn books. What they usually sang

were the Psalms, which we can read in our own Bibles. One

man, standing in front of the others, led the singing, sometimes

singing alone, while the people joined in the chorus.

Soon after healing the nobleman’s son Jesus spent a Sabbath

day at his old home, Nazareth. As his custom always was, he

went to the synagogue, to read the lesson and talk to the people.

They handed him the book from which the lesson was to be read,

and he found one of the places where the prophet Tsaiah tells

about the Christ that was to come, and what he was to do to help*

the people. You can find just what Jesus read to them that day

if you look in your Bibles at the first two verses of the sixty-first

chapter of Isaiah.



After reading a few words he handed the book to the man

who took care of it, and began to talk to the people. He told

them that these words that he had just read were even then com¬

ing true; that he was doing just the things that Isaiah said the

Christ would do.

For a little while they were glad to listen to him, for he spoke

very gently and lovingly. But soon they began to ask one

another: “ Is this not

the son of Joseph the

carpenter? We know

his father and mother,

and we know him.

He is no better than

we are. What does

he mean by saying

that he is the Christ?

How can he do all

these things?» They

wanted him to do some

miracle to prove that

he was the Christ.

When they saw he

would do no miracle,

but only wanted to

talk to them, they

grew more and more

angry, till at last they Jesus rejected at Nazareth

were too angry to

listen any longer. They rose, took hold of him, and led him out

of the room to a high hill, meaning to throw him down and kill

him. But Jesus passed through the midst of them and went

away, very sad.



Jesus went from Nazareth to Capernaum, and there the people

made him very welcome. As soon as they heard of his being in

the city they crowded around him to hear him talk. One morn¬

ing as the people were pressing close about him lie stood by the

Sea of Galilee. There

were two fishing-boats

on the shore of the lake

belonging to his four

disciples. The fisher¬

men were not in their

boats but were near

by washing their nets.

Jesus stepped into one

of the boats, which be¬

longed to Peter and

Andrew, and asked

Peter to push out a

little from the land.

He could talk more

easily if the people

were not so close about

him. Peter did as he

was asked. Then Jesus

sat down and taught

Christ on the Shore of the Lake

the people.

When he had finished talking he said to Peter, «Now push

out into deep water and let down your net for a haul of fishes.»

Peter had seen enough of his Master to trust him, and obeyed at

once. But when they came to the deep water he said, “ Master,

we have been out all night, and have caught nothing. Yet, be¬

cause you have asked me to do so I will let down the net.» And

he let it down. When he began to pull it in it seemed heavy.



He looked; the net was so full of fishes that it had broken. He

and Andrew could not pull it in, and called to their friends in the

other boat to come and help them. John and James came at

once, and together the four men pulled in so many fishes that

both boats were full, and began to sink. How surprised they


Peter, who had obeyed his Master because he loved him, but

who had not believed that they would catch any fish, fell down at

his Lord’s knees and

said, “ Depart from me,

for I am a sinful man,

0 Lord.» He said this,

not because he wanted

Jesus to leave him, but

because he did not feel

good enough to be the

friend of this wonderful


Jesus knew what he

meant, and after they

had taken their boats

to land he asked Peter

and the other disciples

too, if they would not

like to go with him and

become fishers of men.

How could they be

that? By helping to Christ and the Fishermen

save men as their Mas¬

ter was doing; by throwing a net of love around them, which

would draw them away from wicked places and wicked com¬

panions; then by teaching them to love God and keep his com-



mandments. When Jesus asked if they would do this, they

gladly left their boats and nets and followed him. They stayed

with him all the time he was on earth, travelling through the

cities and villages with him, hearing him teach the people, and

learning many things from him in their long quiet talks. After

he left them they still

tried to teach the people

what they had learned

from him.

On the Sabbath day

they went together to

the synagogue at Ca¬

pernaum and Jesus

taught the lesson.

Most of the people of

this city loved to listen

to him; for he knew

how to explain what he

had read and made the

service very interest¬


This day an insane

man was in the syna¬

gogue. The Jews be¬

lieved that if a person

was insane it was be¬

cause a wicked spirit got into him which was stronger than he

was and so made him do these strange things. They thought

that if the evil spirit could be driven out the man would be like

other people.

The people were quietly listening to what Jesus was saying

w T hen all at once this insane man called out: “ Let us alone. What

The Cure of the Insane Man



have we to do with you, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to

destroy us? I know who you are; the Holy one of God.»

Every one else was very much frightened; but Jesus looked

at the man and said to the evil spirit, “ Be quiet, and come out

of him.» The man fell to the floor where he tossed about for a

few minutes. When he stood again he was like other people.

The evil spirit had gone forever. He was insane no more.

Every person in the synagogue was filled with wonder, and

one began asking another: “ What does this mean? Where does

this nian get his power? For he commands even the unclean

spirits and they obey him.» And in all the country round about

in Galilee people talked of what had happened here.

After the service was over Jesus and his four friends went to

Peter’s house, for they were all to take dinner there. Peter’s

wife’s mother lived with him, and when Jesus reached the house

he found her very sick with a fever. He went right into the

room where she lay. Her skin was dry and hot, and she was in

great pain. The Saviour stood over her, took her hand in his,

and lifted her up. At once the fever left her, and she was well;

so well that she was able to get up and wait on the visitors.


The Jewish Sabbath ended at sunset on the day we call Sat¬

urday, and hardly had the sun gone down this Sabbath afternoon

when men and women came in crowds to Peter’s door. They

had heard of what Jesus had done that day, and every one had

brought with him some sick friend whom he wanted the Saviour

to help. All sorts of peo] 3le came; men and women, old and

young, those who had been sick a little while, and those who had

been sick so long that they never expected to be any better.

There were also many with evil spirits, like the one who had

cried out in the synagogue that morning.



Jesus was tired. Do you think he felt like seeing all these

needy people and doing something for every one of them? He

did not think of himself. He thought of their pain, and, laying

his hands on all the sick ones, he cured them and drove out all

the evil spirits.

Early the next morning, long before sunrise, he slipped quietly

away from the house and walked out into the country where he

could be alone with God

and pray. For Jesus, the

Son of God, felt that he

needed to ask his Father

for help and strength to

do his work. But he was

not alone long. Peter and

the other disciples came to

him, and said, “ The people

have come again this morn¬

ing for help and are look¬

ing for you.» Jesus an¬

swered: “ We must not stay

here any longer, for people

in other places need us.

Let us go to the next towns

that I ma}» preach there


By this time many of

the men and women who

Healing the Sick had followed the disciples

joined them and begged

Jesus not to leave Capernaum. But he could not do as they

wished. He said, u 1 must go and preach the Kingdom of God

to other cities, also, for that is my work.»



So lie left Capernaum and went through other towns of

Galilee, healing the sick and teaching in the synagogues.

While passing through one of these cities a man who was a

leper saw him and kneeled down before him. Now leprosy is

a very dreadful disease or

sickness that people in hot

countries sometimes have;

and one who takes the dis¬

ease almost never gets free

from it. He is called a

leper, and is not allowed

to touch anybody, for a

touch might give the dis¬

ease to the one who did not

have it. He must leave

his home and live with

other lepers, and if he sees

any one coming near him

he must call out so that

they will keep away. The

Jews always called out

«Unclean! Unclean!»

But this leper did not

cry “ Unclean.» He went

as near Jesus as he dared,

fell down before him and said, «Lord, if you are willing you can

make me well.» The Saviour felt sorry for the poor man; he

put out his hand and touched him and said, “ I am willing; you

shall be well.» As soon as he spoke the leprosy left the man;;

he was well.

Jesus said, “ Tell no man how you were cured, but go and

show yourself to the priest.»

The Great Physician



The leper must do that to obey the law of the country, which

was somewhat like this: If a man who thought he had leprosy

found that it was a mistake and he did not have the disease, or

if one who was a leper had been cured of his trouble, he must

first go to the priest and prove that he was free from the disease.

Then he must go through a form of cleansing, and the priest must

offer sacrifices for him. After all this had been done he was

called clean and allowed to live with his family again. The

lepers went to the priests to be sure that they did not have the

disease, because the priests were the ones who were taught to

know the disease whenever they saw it; and they were the ones

who had a right to decide. There were no good doctors, except

among the priests, so the people always went to them for such

things as this, just as we go to some doctor.

Jesus told this man to obey the law by showing himself to the

priest, and being cleansed, but not to say anything about how he

was cured. But the man was so happy and grateful that he

could not keep still; he went out and told every one he met that

the Lord Jesus had cured him, and he was well.

The news spread fast. People from far and near came to see

the preacher who made more wonderful cures than any doctor

they had ever known. Jesus needed rest, and for a few days he

kept away from the crowded cities and spent the time in the


But in a very few days he was ready for work again, and went

to his friends in Capernaum. It did not take long for people to

find out that he was there again, and crowds came to hear him

from that city, and from all the towns in Galilee and Judea.

Scribes and Pharisees were often among his hearers. The

scribes were lawyers; they spent much time in studying the Jew¬

ish law, and taught the people what they must do to obey it.

They were the men who made the copies of the Scriptures. You



know they did not know then how to print with machines as we

do now. Every book had to be written by hand with a pen,

and it took a long time. The books did not look like ours, but

were on long rolls of paper, with a stick fastened to each end, so

they could be rolled up smoothly. When any One wanted to read

from a book he must unwind the roll until he came to the place

he wanted.

The Pharisees were another very important class among the

Jews. Jesus called them hypocrites, for they pretended to be one

thing when they were something else. They made long prayers

at the corners of the streets where people could hear them; and

gave money and food to the poor when they would be seen doing

it. They were very strict about some things, but their hearts

were bad, and when no one was watching them they could not be

trusted. They were dishonest and sly and very unloving. These

Pharisees did not like Jesus because he had told them they were

not honest men. They wanted to find something to say against


One day in Capernaum a number of these people had come to

the house where Jesus was preaching. The houses of Palestine

are not like ours. Many of them are only one story high, and

are covered with a flat roof that can be reached from the outside

by stairs. This roof is quite useful; for after the sun goes down

in the hot summer days families sit on the roof, and even sleep

there. A railing around the edge makes it safe. It is very easy

to carry the beds up there, for the bed of that country is only a

thin mattress or heavy mat which is spread on the floor when

needed, but rolled up and put one side when not in use. In the

centre of the house there is often a large room called the court,

and the part of the roof over this court is made in such a way

that it can easily be taken off. It was in the court of such a

house that Jesus was preaching.



The crowd had filled the house, and the doorway was blocked

with those who could get no farther. Four men came bringing

with them a man who

was sick with the palsy.

Palsy, or paralysis, is

a disease which takes

the life from some part

of the body. If one

has palsy in his arm, he

cannot use that arm to

help himself; if it is in

his throat, he cannot

swallow; if it is in the

leg, he cannot walk, or

even move the leg.

This man had the palsy,

and because he could

not walk his friends

were bringing him on a

bed to see the Saviour.

They tried to get in

The Man Sick with the Palsy through the door, but

the crowd would not

make way. What should they do? They must see Jesus!

Their friend must be healed. There was another way to get to

him besides going through the door, and that they now tried.

The stairs which led to the roof were usually on the outside of

the houses in that country. They would have no trouble in go¬

ing there, for all the people were crowding the door. So they

took the sick man up to the housetop, and, uncovering the roof,,

they let him down, still lying on his bed, to the court at Jesus»




The Saviour knew what trouble they had taken to come to

him, and it pleased him to have them show such trust that they

were willing to do so much hard work. He stopped his lesson and

said to the man who was sick with the palsy, “ Son, be of good

cheer, your sins are forgiven.»

You remember there were many scribes and Pharisees there

who were trying to find something to say against Jesus, so that

they could prove that he was a bad man, who was making the

people believe what was wrong. Now they thought they had

found something. They said to one another, “ This man pretends

to be God; for no one can forgive sins but God.» They accused

him of one of the very greatest sins that any man could commit.

Pretending to be God, or to have the power that belongs only to

God, or trying to make people think that God is not so great and

good as He really is, was called “ blasphemy.» The Jewish law

commanded that any man who spoke blasphemy, or “ blas¬

phemed,» should be put to death. What Jesus said would have

been blasphemy if any one else had said it. But Jesus was the

Son of God, and to him God had given power which had never

been given to any one before.

Jesus knew what they were saying, and he answered them.

u Why do you think evil of me? ” he said; “ which words are

easier to say, ‘ your sins are forgiven,» or 4 arise and walk ’? But

I will show you that I did not say mere words, but that I, the Son

of man, have the power to forgive sins.» Then he turned to the

sick man and said, “ Arise, take up your bed, and go to your

house.» And immediately that man who was not able to get to

Jesus without being carried by his friends rose, rolled up his bed,

took it under his arm, and walked away. His heart was full of

love and thankfulness to God. The crowd, filled with wonder,

left the house soon afterward, saying, «We have seen strange

things to-day.»



After the people had all gone, Jesus went out to take a walk.

While walking he came to the place where Matthew, a publican

or tax-collector, was sit¬

ting at his work. Jesus

stopped and spoke to

him, saying, «Will you

follow me? ” Matthew

probably knew Jesus,

and was glad to be

chosen a disciple of

the great Master. He

arose at once, left his

work, and followed the


The publicans were

the men who gathered

the money which the

Jews had to pay to the

Roman Emperor. Some

of them were Romans

and some were Jews.

Calling of Matthew Probably many of them

were dishonest men,

who tried to collect more money than they should, especially

from the poor. The scribes and Pharisees thought no publican

was honest, and never tried to make one of them a better man.

They looked down on them all as wicked men, who should not

be allowed to associate with any one who was good.

They hated to pay the taxes, and hated the publicans who

collected them, whether they were Jew or Roman. But they

hated the Jews who did this work the most, because they

thought they should have more love for their country than to



help the Romans get money from them. But Jesus did not

think as the Pharisees did, and chose Matthew, who was some¬

times called Levi, to be one of his disciples.

Matthew very soon made a feast and invited his publican

friends to come to his house and meet the Master and the new

companions he had chosen. It was the custom then to allow

anybody who wished to go into. a house where there was a

feast, and look on while the real guests were eating. So the

scribes and Pharisees followed Jesus to Matthew’s house. When

they saw Jesus at the table eating with these publicans, they said

to the disciples, «How is it that your Master is willing to eat

and drink with these wicked. people? ” Now Jesus heard what

they said, and he himself answered them in these words:

«They that are well need not a physician [or doctor], but they

that are sick. I came, not to call the righteous, but sinners to


The Pharisees knew/what he meant by this answer. He

called them the well and the righteous because they thought

they were good enough, and did not need help to be better. He

who had come to make people’s souls well and happy could do

nothing for them because they would not take what he offered

to give them. That is why he did not work with them. But

the publicans, who knew that they were wicked people and were

willing to be made better, were the sick; and Jesus, the great

Physician, went among them because he could do them good.

And now it was time again for one of the Jewish feasts at

Jerusalem, and Jesus went to the feast. Many of the cities in

those times were surrounded with strong walls, and in the walls

were gates through which the people went in and out of the

town. Jerusalem was one of these walled cities, and had five

gates. Near one of them, known as the Sheep Gate, was a pool

of water, called Bethesda, which means House of Mercy. Water



was never very plentiful in Jerusalem, and all the wells and pools

were much prized by the people. But they were especially fond

of Bethesda, for the water there was supposed to cure disease.

Some one had built around the pool five stone porches, with

steps leading down into the water. Here, sheltered from the

weather, the sick people could wait until they could step into

the pool. They could not do this whenever they wanted to. At

certain times only there was a bubbling motion of the water*

which they believed was made by an angel going into the pool.

Then, as they thought, whoever stepped into the water first was.

cured of any disease he had. Of course every sick person wanted

to be the first, and as no one could tell when the moving of the

water would be, the

porches were usually

filled with the people

who were waiting for

the time to come.

It was on the Sab¬

bath day that Jesus,

walking by this pool

of Bethesda, saw in

one of the porches a

very feeble man, who

had been sick thirty-

eight years. His friends

had brought him to the

pool and left him there

alone. The Saviour

saw him lying there,

and knowing how long

he had been sick he

felt pity for him.

The Infirm Man at Bethesda

the ministry of tiie ciirist


«Would you like to be made well?» he asked. The poor man

did not know that the one who spoke to him was better able to

cure him than the waters of Bethesda, and answered, “ Sir, I

have no one to put me into the pool at the right time, and while

I am trying to get there myself, some one steps in before me.»

Jesus said to him as he did to the palsied man at Capernaum,

«Rise, take up your bed and walk.»

Strange enough the man did not say: “ I cannot do it. I have

not walked for thirty-eight years.» He felt as if he could walk

now. He rose at once and walked away, carrying his bed with

him. The Bible does not say that he even stopped to thank the

one who had done so much for him, who was soon lost to his

sight in the crowd about the pool.

The man had not gone very far when he was stopped by some

of the Pharisees, who thought it was wrong to carry anything

in the hands on the Sabbath day. They thought it was wrong

to cure the sick, or move them in bed, or even to do any of the

little things that make sick people more comfortable. When

these very strict Jews saw this man with the bed under his arm

they said, “ Do you not know that it is the Sabbath day, and that

it is against the law to carry your bed? ” The man excused him¬

self by saying, “ He that made me well told me to take up my

bed and walk.» It seems as if every one would have been glad

that the man was able to do that, but the Jews were not. They

asked, angrily, “ Who was it that told you to take up your bed?»

The man could not tell them, for he himself did not know.

A little while after this they met again in the temple, and

Jesus talked with the man about the kind of life he was living.

If he had been a really good man he probably would not have had

this trouble, so the Christ said to him, “ You are well now, but if

you keep on doing wicked things something worse may happen

to you. Go, and sin no more.» The man left the temple, saw



the Jews again and told them that it was Jesus who had cured

him. Then they crowded about the Saviour, and began to abuse

him, because he had done these things on the Sabbath day.

Who do you think spent the day in the way best pleasing to

God? The Christ, with a heart full of love, doing what he could

to help some one who was in trouble, or the Jews whose hearts

were so full of hatred to him because he had done what they

called wrong that they wanted to kill him?

Jesus was not afraid of them. He told them that he was only

doing his Father’s work. It made them still more angry to have

him call God his Father. He tried to prove to them that he was

the Son of God; that he could not do such things as they had

seen him do if his Father did not give him the power. He said

that if they would trust him they would see still greater works,

and asked them if they did not remember that John the Baptist had

called him the Christ. More than that, his Father at his baptism

had said, 66 This is my beloved Son.» “ You study the Scriptures,»

he said, u because you think they will save you; and they tell of

me. Why do you not come to me and learn what I can teach

you? I know why you do not come. It is because your hearts

are not full of the love of God. How can you believe?» After

he had said all he wanted to, he left them.

They did not dare to touch him then, but they did not forgive

him, and they made up their minds that they would watch him,

and see if they could not find something for which they could

punish him. It seems very strange that they would not listen

to him, and believe what he taught. Probably if they had been

better men they would have been willing to listen, and would have

learned to love the man who was always doing so much for others.

But they liked to be the rulers of the people, and they were afraid

that if Jesus were allowed to teach, the people would leave them,

and they would lose their power. They were jealous.



One Sabbath not long after this, Jesus and his disciples were

walking through a field of grain in Galilee. The disciples were

hungry, and as they

walked along they

picked some of the grain

and ate it. It was per¬

fectly right for them to

pick this grain, for the

Jewish law said that

any one could pick the

ears with his hands

if he wanted to eat

them, but that no one

must cut the grain with

the sickle and take it

home unless it was his.

Wherever Jesus

went now some of the

Pharisees followed to

see what he was about.

So when these men saw

the friends of Jesus eat¬

ing the grain they said to him, “ Your disciples are doing what

is not right on the Sabbath.»

If the law gave the people the right to pick the grain in this

way, why was there any reason why the Pharisees should blame

them? You remember that these Jews were very strict about

some things, although in other ways they were very bad. One

of the things they were very strict about was the keeping of the

Sabbath. Their law said that they must not work on the Sab¬

bath, and they said that rubbing off the grain with the hands was,

work. So they did not allow it to be done on the Sabbath. They

The Disciples plucking Grain



could not blame Jesus for breaking the law, because he had not

picked any of the grain. But they blamed him for allowing his

disciples to do so.

Jesus said to them: “ The priests in the temple do more work

than this when they offer the sacrifices and burn the incense.

Do they break the law? If you had any love in your hearts

you would not try to find fault with those who have done no


The disciples went with their Master to the synagogue, and

the Pharisees followed. There was a man there who had a with¬

ered hand, one which had dried up and was of no use to him.

Jesus saw this man, and the Pharisees saw him, too. They won¬

dered if he would dare to do anything for him on the Sabbath

day. The Saviour knew that they were watching him, but that

did not make any difference. He felt displeased with them

because they were so hard-hearted, and asked them this question:

u Which is right, to do good on the Sabbath, or to do evil? to

save life, or to destroy it? If any of you men have one sheep and

it should fall into a deep hole on the Sabbath day, will you not

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