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THE CRUCIFIXION
BY AN EYEWITNESS
continues

Jesus said to them: "Peace be with you."

At first he believed them to be Essene friends, but soon thereafter he recognized them as two of his own friends from among the people, who often heard him teach. They gave no heed to the quiet traveler. But he heard them speak of his death, and of the deep despair of his disciples. And from their words he conceived that his doctrine and his teachings were in danger of being destroyed and lost, by reason of the despair of his friends, who were without a leader to keep them from being scattered.

When one of these travelers lamented that the prophecy had not been fulfilled and that Jesus had not risen from the dead, Jesus spoke with ardor, and the two disciples were greatly interested in what he said, for it appeared to them that they had heard the same teachings before.

At the place in their journey where the two disciples stopped, they detained Jesus when he desired to go farther on alone and in the nighttime. And at the common feast of love, in the house where they had stopped, the two disciples recognized Jesus, but he did not wish to be known in this place. He therefore, unobserved, passed out through the door and went to the house of the Essene friend to whom he had been recommended.

Meanwhile, the two disciples retraced their steps to Jerusalem to carry to their friends there the news of the risen one. Here they found Peter, and with him, John.

But the Essene friends met together and counseled what they were further to do. There was with them also the youth that our Order had sent to follow Jesus.

And Jesus conceived that he immediately must return to Jerusalem to reanimate the hope of his friends and correct the report given out by the two disciples who so hurriedly had returned to Jerusalem.

The Essene friend gave him a beast of burden that he might mount and thus travel more easily, and the novice whom we had sent accompanied him and walked by the side of the animal.

And thus it came to pass that, soon after the arrival of the disciples, Jesus came to the well known home where our friends used to meet together. Jesus gave the sign by which the bar fell from the door by the hand of the doorkeeper, for the disciples were then in secret council.

When Jesus heard how his followers spoke of his resurrection, and were considering if it were possible, he came forward among them, and as they did not know him at first, they were alarmed, not knowing that the door had been opened.

But Jesus spoke to them, comforted them, and proved to them that he was really flesh and bones. Thereupon they joyously surrounded him, touched his hands, and Jesus leaned upon the breast of John, being faint from the fatigue of the Journey.

After he had rested, Jesus still more fully proved to his friends that he still lived, as do other people, by asking for food. Inasmuch as the friends had already eaten, there was some bread, honey, and fish of which he ate and refreshed himself.

Thereupon he admonished them that they fulfil the work he had undertaken and not give up but be of good cheer. And he blessed them and said to them that he could not disclose to them where he should go, and that he should go alone, but that when they should want him, he would come to them, for he yet had much to say to them.

Outside the door the novice was waiting with the animal, and when Jesus came forth, he directed the novice to conduct him to the quiet dwelling of the Essenes. But another Essene youth had come to seek information of him in Jerusalem, and the two now carried Jesus between them as he was still weak and faint from the fatigue he had endured on his journey.

After much effort and many difficulties, they brought him in the night time to the Brotherhood, to the house of the elder, which is located a few stadis from Jerusalem and close by Olive Mountain.

Here Jesus was placed on a soft bed of moss, where he soon fell into a profound slumber. And the Essene youths hastened to Joseph, Nicodemus and the other Essene friends to inform them of what had occurred.

Before the dawning of day a council was held that they might further protect Jesus, he having returned to Jerusalem so openly, for the sake of the Holy Spirit, that he might strengthen his followers in their work. And with one accord, they determined that no time should be lost, the priests in the city having their secret spies who were trying even to entrap his disciples.

It was in council agreed that he immediately must depart hence, that he might not be discovered, and that he should return to the quiet valley not far distant from Jutha and the castle of Masseda, where there is a wild and mountainous country. Here Jesus had lived before, together with John the physician, with whom he was admitted to the holy Order of our Brethren. This was considered also a safe place in that many Essenes lived there.

While they yet were in council considering, Jesus awoke from his refreshing slumbers, and wondered greatly to see that he was surrounded by his brethren. But Joseph and Nicodemus beseeched him that he save himself and not again permit himself to fall into the power of the priests.

Joseph even told him that it had come to him that Caiaphas had fixed his suspicions upon him, that he, with the Galileans, formed a secret plot to overthrow the present condition of things, and that Caiaphas would demand of him an explanation why he had laid Jesus in his own tomb.

He had suspicion even on Pilate that he had secretly contrived with me, because that he had given the supposed corpse to me without receiving pay therefore.

And as Joseph persuaded Jesus, with much ardor, to comply with his wishes, and as all the elders supported him, Jesus answered:

"Be it so; but I conjure you to encourage my disciples. Help and protect them and tell them that they shall have no doubts, for I am with them still in body and spirit."

And Joseph entreated him that he take further rest, as Nicodemus had expressed fear lest the excitement and enthusiasm of Jesus would endanger and not help his martyred body. For even if the wounds in his hands were beginning to heal, and the wound in his side emitted no more humor, his body was still weak and easily affected by the excitement of his mind. But, having slept, he for the immediate present felt himself refreshed.

After further consideration, Jesus said: "If my disciples are not convinced that I really live, and if I do not go forth among them, they will think me an apparition and a delusion of their imagination."

Joseph answered him and said: "Let us advance John to the higher degrees of our Order, that he may be convinced of thy living and may execute thy directions and inform the other disciples concerning thee."

But the elders of the brethren were not willing that John should be admitted into all the secrets, inasmuch as he was yet only in the lowest degree, and they feared that in his ardor he might inform the others that Jesus was here.

While they were yet in council considering, a novice of our Order arrived, who had been sent into the city. He reported that John, with his friends, had hastened to Bethania to comfort the women in Lazarus' house, and inform them that Jesus was yet alive and had rested upon his bosom.

And John had wondered that Jesus had not directed him to go to Galilee, as he had ordered the women to do. He did not think, therefore, that it was the intention of his Master, and that the disciples ought to wait for coming events.

And Jesus remained all that day with the Essene friends; but when night came on we all departed by the secret road -- Joseph, Nicodemus and the elders of the Order -- and having passed the Valley of Rephaim, we arrived at Masseda at the breaking of day; and following a narrow path known only to the Essenes, we came at last to the brethren in that wild valley.

Here the elder provided for Jesus. And when Joseph and we others were about to depart Jesus gave us his word that he would remain there until the Father should call him to fulfill his mission.

And each day the brethren sent a messenger to us to inform us of the health of our dearly beloved Brother. And we were told that Jesus had rested a number of days, but that his heart was sad and sorely afflicted with melancholy thoughts.

This was the same valley where he had wandered with John, his beloved companion, and with whom he had been initiated into our Order.

And Jesus meditated on that John who, as a physician, had founded a school and had baptized, and had been slain by the enemies, while he had been saved by the hand of God, wherein he saw the command of God that he should not rest, in that his body had been restored to him for some purpose.

By this thought his mind was oppressed and overwrought, and as he came to the place where he and John had solemnly vowed that they would die for truth and virtue, he felt that he was called to follow the mission in the cause of which his friend had died.

And Jesus went every day to this blessed spot, and refreshed his body, viewing the splendors of nature. And he selected a place whence he could see the high tower of Masseda toward the west, shielded from the morning and the noonday sun by lofty mountains, whilst on the other side the view was unobstructed and he could see far away over an open country toward the sea and the valley of Sittim.

But the elder of the Brotherhood left him not alone, inasmuch as he had observed that Jesus would lie in profound reverie, and that the longing to be among his disciples would overcome all care for his own safety.

About this time, it came to pass that our brethren of the Brotherhood in Jerusalem remembered the promise they had made to Jesus to protect his disciples and strengthen them in their belief in the resurrection of their Master. It had come to them that not all of the disciples were convinced of the resurrection of their Master. And one of them that doubted was Thomas, a deep thinker, who had received his education from the Essene brethren. Because of this, he possessed profound knowledge in the secret powers and processes of nature. According to nature's laws he explained all the things that had come to pass, and he believed that there was no miracle, for as an Essene, he was raised above superstition.

Jesus confided in him and told him his mission, and Thomas believed in him and saw that his mission was one of great importance. This Jesus did in that Thomas was a man of clear vision and strong reason, excitement and passion being unknown to him; and with patience and great perseverance he tried all things before his mind would be convinced.

And when the disciples were together in their secret place of meeting Thomas was with them, and he reasoned with them, not believing that a man can rise from the grave.

But John had himself seen and felt Jesus and held him on his breast. Nevertheless, Thomas would not be convinced, even though he believed in the prophecies of the prophets and that they would surely be fulfilled.

For, dear Brethren, the Jews hoped to see the Messiah come in the manner Elias had proclaimed.

And as our Brotherhood had promised to report all, especially as the disciples themselves did not agree, it was to be feared that in their ardor in the good cause would diminish. We, therefore, sent two youths to the valley at Masseda to inform the brethren that they might council with Jesus.

When Jesus heard these things his heart was filled with a great desire to leave the solitude and show himself once more to his disciples.

And the messenger had reported that Thomas would not believe that Jesus was still alive, except he could feel his hands and the wound in his side, Jesus no longer could restrain his desire, and even the elder counseled him to go and convince them.

This came to pass on the seventh day that Jesus had been in concealment.

And thus it happened that our brethren went with Jesus. And on the eighth day, when the disciples were together in Jerusalem, Jesus went forth among them, and Thomas was convinced.

Having accomplished this, Jesus spoke to his disciples and admonished them, for his own sake, that they were not safe. He also exhorted them to faith and to be of one accord. But he could not tell them when or where to meet him in Galilee, inasmuch as he had first to consider thereon.

After this he departed from them in the evening, and John went with him. And outside the house there was an Essene youth that desired to commit himself to the service of Jesus. And Jesus sent him to report that he was in Bethania.

Thereupon Jesus crossed Kidron with John as his companion. The night was beautiful and clear, and the moon shed a dim radiance over the scene.

At Gethsemane Jesus rested by the wall and spoke with John of his martyrdom and sufferings. Having received information of his disciples, he sent John forward to the house of Lazarus in Bethania, that he might announce his coming and learn if he might there be safe.

Immediately thereafter Jesus went to the house to see his mother and his friends.

After having thanked God that they were permitted once more to see each other, they ate and refreshed themselves together. On the following day, he remained with them, comforting them and exhorting them that they believe in truth. He warned them of their false expectations, in that they had come to think that he could forever remain with them.

He told them that it now was the time that he should go, as the night was at hand. He said to them that he would hasten to Galilee, there to strengthen his disciples that they persevere in the good work.

But even while Jesus was in Bethania dangers were threatening him. Caiaphas, the high priest, had been informed that Jesus had been seen in Jerusalem. And he had spread the rumor that the disciples had stolen the body of Jesus, and had invented a miraculous story.

But there were many among the people in the city who believed that Jesus had risen by the hand of God, and these commenced to complain of the injustice done to him, and to believe his doctrines.

And the high priest feared a revolution among the people, and believed that the Galileans were intending to overthrow the government and set up a new ruler. He was therefore suspicious and watchful.

In the evening of the same day came Nicodemus to our Brotherhood and brought to us the information that Joseph of Arimathea had been arrested, and that they falsely attributed to him criminal purposes, in that he had been in secret association with Jesus. Whereupon great anxiety arose among our brethren, for we feared that also Jesus had been arrested, inasmuch as he had not been seen by any of us since the evening when he convinced Thomas.

Our elders thereupon met in council, wherein it was agreed that we should search for Jesus, and use all efforts to liberate Joseph.

Two of our brethren were commissioned to array themselves in their white holiday-garb and search for Jesus in Bethania, as Jesus had informed the Essene youth that he would go thither.

And as they came to Bethania in the evening, and in the moonlight saw the house of Lazarus not far distant, they met with a man on the secret road who carefully scanned the road. But the Essenes knew him, and they asked of him if Jesus was at his house. For this was Lazarus, and having recognized our brethren, he acknowledged that it was even so, and that Jesus intended that very night to go to Bethania, and therefore he had examined the secret road to see if it were safe.

The brethren were conducted into the house. Here in a small-secluded room, they spoke with Jesus. And when the brethren had told Jesus of the arrest and danger of Joseph, Jesus recommended him to the protection of the Order, prayed to God, and thereafter sent John to Jerusalem that he might warn his disciples of their danger.

Having taken leave of the women, we were accompanied by Lazarus as far as Gilgad. Thence he went further on alone in the night, and in the early morning he had come to the river Jordan, in the place where through John he was baptized by the Order.

Our holy Brotherhood in Jerusalem was now planning how to liberate Joseph; whereto we were in possession of many secret means.

And John had warned his friends, the disciples, as he had been ordered. And the next morning they went in great numbers to the border of Galilee. Arriving there they asked, one from another: "Whither shall we go? Our Master has fixed no time nor place."

And they thought of their homes from which they had so long been separated, and as they were considering whether they would search for Jesus in Nazareth or in Capernaaum, Peter said: "Let us provide for sustenance, and not be idle, but let us work till the Master shall call us to a higher labor."

After hearing what Peter had said, they resolved to resume their former trades, and Peter repaired to Bethsaida, where some of the others also arrived before many days, to assist him and receive his council.

And Peter was a skillful fisherman, and he invited the others to go with him to sea in the evening.

Jesus traveled each day, but a short distance, and on the way, stopped only with the Essene friends, who lived in the valleys. And these brethren were well informed by the Brotherhood in Jerusalem of all that happened to us and from these Jesus learned that Joseph had been liberated from prison and was on the way to meet him.

And when Jesus declared that he would go forth in Galilee into the places where he had been known before, the Essene friends entreated him that he should not do this, and explained the many dangers that were about him.

And Jesus heeded them, and reflected as to the place where he would meet with his disciples. And he selected a safe and lonely place where he was not known and where there was opportunity for his disciples to dwell.

But the Essene friends had been advised by the elder of the Brotherhood in Jerusalem to choose for a place of meeting the lonely valley at the foot of Mount Carmel, for the country is beautiful, and there live many Essenes. The valleys abound in powerful herbs, and the odors they give forth are healthful to the wanderer.

From this place our Brotherhood received the herbs its physicians use in medicines. The clear water runs sparkling from the rocks. These rocks contain many caverns in which dwell they who seek the solitude.

And when the Essene brethren advised Jesus to go to this country, he remembered how the prophets of old were said to have lived in the same places, Elias as well as Elisha.

And so it was that his mind was made up to go thither, for there he could teach his disciples without fear that his enemies would find his dwelling place, for in the country lived only members of our Order, our brethren.

But Jesus desired that none of the brethren should accompany him, and so he journeyed alone the road to Bethsaida, there to remain with Simon, who was one of his disciples.

Arriving in the early morning at the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he there found a hut, which Peter had built, for his own convenience in the pursuit of his trade. And he found there Peter, and with him John, and they were fishing. Here Jesus refreshed himself, partaking with them of the feast of love. Here he learned that all the disciples had agreed to come together in Bethsaida that they might there counsel together what to do.

But Jesus called them to Mount Carmel, as he had promised the Essenes. And on the evening of the next day, Jesus again pursued his journey.

Having rested and refreshed himself some days at the foot of Mount Carmel, Jesus was prepared to teach again. Here his disciples came, bringing with them many of his followers, for here in this lonely valley they were safe from danger, and the account of the resurrection of Jesus had created great excitement in Galilee.

But many of those who came were moved only by the spirit of wonder. They had come, therefore, to see Jesus do wonders and perform miracles. Others hoped for the coming of the New Kingdom of Messias, and the deliverance of the Jews from the Romans.

Jesus was sorely grieved in his heart by these interpretations of his mission, for often he had spoken of these things, saying to his disciples that it was not meek that the son of God should be clothed with worldly power and splendor.

But the Essene brethren understood and did not share in these errors, for they well knew that according to the laws of the Order which he had vowed to keep, our brethren can take no part in matters of state, nor aspire to worldly power.

And the people, desiring much to see Jesus, were informed by the disciples that the meeting would take place early in the morning.

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Crucifixion By An Eyewitness

                                                   

 

 

 

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