March 4th, 2002
Received by H.
My dear brother,
To begin this message, I just want to remind you of the news you
heard today. In your country, an ex-commander of the police, a retired
general, was murdered. Three thieves assaulted and robbed some peasants,
who in turn went for help to this man. He pursued the criminals
in what he considered his duty, and was killed by gunshot.
So often you complain about the police, you call them corrupt and
inept. However in real life there are no black and white
pictures. Do not criticize what you do not know. The only life that
you know is yours. If you want to criticize, start there. But even
in this case, do not criticize just for criticizing, but for improving
However, this is not the topic of today's message. I wish to continue
with the story of Jesus' life. The wedding at Cana did not last just one day, as was the norm.
We slept several nights in the ample house of Nathanael, having
fun from sunrise to sunset. Finally, the moment came to say good-bye.
We did not return to Kpar Nahum, but we accompanied Jesus
family to Nazareth. There I came to know Josephs house and
prosperous workshop. We stayed one night as their guests in an atmosphere
of hospitality, but on the following day, something unexpected happened.
In the Gospel according to Matthew
13:55, you can read:
And He came into His own country and proceeded to teach in
their synagogue, so that they were filled with astonishment
and exclaimed, "Where did he obtain such wisdom, and
these wondrous powers? Is not this the carpenters son?
Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers, James,
Joseph, Simon and Judah? And his sisters are they not
all living here among us? Where then did he get all this?"
So they turned angrily away from Him. But Jesus said to them,
"There is no prophet without honor except in his
own country and among his own family." And He performed
but few mighty deeds there because of their want of faith.
You thought that this referred to Jesus discourse in the
synagogue, where he proclaimed himself the Messiah, but in fact,
here two very similar events are mixed.
The unexpected incident of the following day was simply that Jesus
went out to the street and began to preach, in spite of his prior
painful experience. And one more time, people faced him with rejection,
incredulity and indifference. They began to insult him, and Jesus
repeated almost the same words, that is, that a prophet is not accepted
in his own country. And the crowd grew furious. They even brought
a paralytic and ordered him to heal him, but Jesus showed not the
slightest intent. He would not have been able to succeed, as you
can understand now.
Almost the same scene repeated as on that Saturday in the synagogue,
but this time, Joseph and his family and Jesus' few friends came
running and were not silent, defending the Master. And then Joseph said: Leave him alone, don't you see that he is
crazy?" And all laughed with malice and went away.
[H.: Did Joseph really think so?]
He was not sure what to think of Jesus. He said this to save the
situation, to calm down the tumult and to avoid bloodshed. But in
fact, it was a reflection of his doubts and of his internal struggle.
Well, he himself had experienced the events in Bethlehem that
made him suffer one decade of exile in Egypt; he himself had tried
to educate Jesus so that he could fulfill his function as the Messiah;
he himself had inculcated his other children with the idea that
Jesus would be the Messiah. And now Jesus simply did not comply
with the ideas and concepts Joseph had developed. He doubted himself,
the world, and Jesus. In other words, he was hopelessly confused.
Jesus looked at his father with sad eyes, and Joseph turned his
head, avoiding his sons look, and returned to his house. Then
the Master asked his brothers James and Judas, Do you still
want to follow me?" They hesitated for a moment, exchanging
glances, but finally they agreed. And so, we left Nazareth, without
farewell and under the mocking laughs of the crowd that observed
The question is, whether Jesus had really acted with imprudence, or
perhaps, his acting was the consequence of his nature, of always
giving another chance, of never surrendering, as if a voice in him
had called ceaselessly: Dont give up!"
We did not return to Kpar Nahum, but Jesus headed south. There,
under the open sky, we camped some miles from Nazareth. We sat around
the campfire, and Jesus spoke to us of the Kingdom of Heaven. He
was not dismayed, but I know that deep inside he felt very sad.
On the following day, we arrived at a village called Nayn, near
Mount Tabor, whose cone-shaped formation rose abruptly from the
plains, towering majestically towards the sky.
The Bible tells us: (Luke 7:11-16)
Shortly afterwards He went to a town called Nain, attended
by His disciples and a great crowd of people. And just as
He reached the gate of the town, they happened to be bringing
out for burial a dead man who was his mothers only son;
and she was a widow; and a great number of the townspeople
were with her. The Lord saw her, was moved with pity for her,
and said to her, "Do not weep." Then He went close
and touched the bier, and the bearers halted. "Young
man," He said, "I command you, wake!" The dead
man sat up and began to speak; and He restored him to his
All were awe-struck, and they gave glory to God some
saying, "A Prophet, a great Prophet, has risen up among
us." Others said, "God has not forgotten His People."
And the report of what Jesus had done spread through the whole
of Judea and in all the surrounding districts.
And so it happened. You can also imagine the awe we felt. Jesus
had raised a person from the dead! That was something unheard of,
something wonderful, yes, a true miracle, unbeatable!
Of course, you understand that the young man was not dead. He lay
prostrate in a deep coma, a case very similar to that of Lazarus
or of Tabitha. You remember that once you saw on television, how
more than one century ago they installed in the central cemetery
of Vienna, an ingenious system, so that those buried ones could
get the attention of the cemetery guards. Everybody was afraid at
that time of being buried alive. That happened relatively frequently.
And Jesus saw that the young man was not dead, and he healed him.
There is no doubt about it, his healing powers were enormous
and they still are, in fact even greater now.
Soon afterwards the funeral procession transformed into a great
feast, with us as the guests of honor. Do you remember what I have
told you of the ups and downs in life, of this roller coaster that
first takes us up high, and then puts us down?
This event that is related only in passing in the New Testament
actually was the key for the future development of Jesus' ministry.
Due to this feat, Jesus next visit to Nazareth would
be very different, and very soon we could feel its effect.
However, there was also an immediate consequence. After having
spent the night in the village, welcomed by grateful people, on
the following morning when we got ready to leave, this young man
approached the Master, asking him for permission to follow him.
And Jesus granted it to him.
His name was Taddi bar Levi, and he is the apostle Thaddaeus, who
is only mentioned twice in the Bible, in the listings of the apostles.
Don't get confused. Taddi was not Lebbaeus, and the mess with the
names is due to the fruitless effort of the editors of the Scriptures
to reconcile a relatively long list of the Masters close followers
with the number twelve, the symbol of the tribes of Israel. Now
you can read that "it is supposed, comparing the lists of apostles,
that Judas, Thaddaeus and Lebbaeus are one and the same person."
Yes, it is supposed, however, it is not correct.
Now we were already a considerable group of people that walked
through Galilee, preaching the Kingdom of God: The Master, Andrew,
Simon Kefa (Peter), John, James, Simon the Zealot, Philip, Matthew,
I Judas, Nathanael, James Lebbaeus and Judas, Jesus' brothers, and
finally Thaddaeus. Now you can count twelve people besides the Master,
but more would join us.
We left Naym, provided with food and wine, and the Master guided
us toward the imposing Mount Tabor. But of that, we will speak on
It is time to say good-bye. You have already received a lot. Tomorrow
well meet again.
Until then, God bless you always,
© Copyright is asserted in this message by Geoff Cutler 2013