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THE STORY OF JESUS CHRIST
THE STORY OF
THE ANGEL BY THE ALTAR
STORY OF JESUS
THE BABE OF BETHLEHEM
THE STORY OF THE STAR AND THE WISE MEN
THE STORY OF THE CHILD IN THE TEMPLE
THE STORY OF THE WATER THAT WAS TURNED INTO WINE
THE STORY OF THE STRANGER AT THE WELL
STORY OF THE FISHERMEN
THE STORY OF THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
THE STORY OF THE MIRACLE WORKER
THE GOOD SHEPHERD AND THE GOOD SAMARITAN
STORY OF THE PALM BRANCHES
STORY OF THE BETRAYAL
STORY OF THE EMPTY TOMB
STORY OF THE MAN AT THE BEAUTIFUL GATE
THE STORY OF
THE ANGEL BY THE ALTAR
At the time when the story of the New Testament begins, the
land of Israel, called also the land of Judea, was ruled by a
king named Herod. He was the first of several Herods, who at
different times ruled either the whole of the land, or parts of
it. But Herod was not the highest ruler. Many years before this
time, the Romans, who came from the city of Rome in Italy, had
won all the lands around the Great Sea, the sea which we call
the Mediterranean; and above king Herod of Judea was the great
king of Rome, ruling over all the lands, and over the land of
Judea among them. So Herod, though king of Judea, obeyed his
overlord, the emperor at Rome. At the time when this story
begins, the emperor at Rome was named Augustus C?sar.
At this time, the land where the Jews lived was full of
people. Jerusalem was its largest city, and in Jerusalem was
standing the Temple of the Lord, which king Herod had lately
built anew, taking the place of the old Temple built very many
years before, which had long needed repair. There were also
many other large cities besides Jerusalem. In the
south was Hebron among the mountains; on the shore of the
Great Sea were Gaza, and Joppa, and C?sarea; in the middle
of the land were Shechem and Samaria; and in the north were
Nazareth, and Cana; down by the shore of the Sea of Galilee
were Tiberias, and Capernaum, and Bethsaida. Far up in the
north, at the foot of snowy Mount Hermon, was another
C?sarea; but so that it might not be confused with C?sarea
upon the seacoast this city was called C?sarea-Philippi, or
"Philip's C?sarea," from the name of one of Herod's
One day, an old priest named Zacharias was leading the
service of worship in the Temple. He was standing in front of
the golden altar of incense, in the Holy Place, and was holding
in his hand a censer, or cup, full of burning coals and
incense; while all the people were worshipping in the court of
the Temple, outside the court of the Priests, where the great
altar of burnt-offering stood.
Suddenly, Zacharias saw an angel from the Lord, standing on
the right side of the altar of incense. He felt a great fear
when he saw this strange being with shining face; but the angel
said to him:
"Do not be afraid, Zacharias"
"Do not be afraid, Zacharias; for I have come from the Lord
to bring good news. Your wife Elizabeth shall have a son, and you shall
name him John. You shall be made glad, for your son John
shall bring joy and gladness to many. He shall be great in
the sight of the Lord; and he shall never taste wine nor
strong drink as long as he lives; but he shall be filled
with God's Holy Spirit. He shall lead many of the people
of Israel to the Lord, for he shall go before the Lord in
the power of Elijah the prophet, as was promised by Malachi,
the last of the old prophets. He shall turn the hearts of
the fathers to the children, and those who are disobeying
the Lord to do his will."
As Zacharias heard these words, he was filled with wonder,
and could hardly believe them true. He was now an old man, and
his wife Elizabeth was also old; so that they could not expect
to have a child. He said to the angel:
"How shall I know that your words are true, for I am an old
man, and my wife is old?"
"I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God," said the
angel. "And I was sent from the Lord to speak to you, and to
bring you this good news. But because you did not believe my
words, you shall become dumb, and shall not be able to speak,
until this which I have said comes to pass."
All this time the people outside in the court were wondering
why the priest stayed so long in the Temple. When at last he
came out, they found that he could not speak a word; but he
made signs to them, to tell them that he had seen a vision in
After the days of his service were over, Zacharias went to
his own home, which was near Hebron, a city of the priests, among the
mountains in the south of Judea. When his wife Elizabeth
found that God was soon to give her a child, she was very
happy, and praised the Lord.
About six months after Zacharias saw the vision in the
Temple, the same angel Gabriel was sent from the Lord to a city
in the part of the land called Galilee, which was in the north.
The city to which the angel was sent was Nazareth. There the
angel found a young girl named Mary, who was a cousin to
Elizabeth. Mary was soon to be married to a good man who had
sprung from the line of king David, though he was not himself a
king, nor a rich man. He was a carpenter, living in Nazareth,
and his name was Joseph. The angel came into the room where
Mary was, and said to her: "Hail, woman favored by the Lord;
the Lord is with you!"
Mary was surprised at the angel's words, and wondered what
they could mean. Then the angel spoke again, and said: "Do not
be afraid, Mary. The Lord has given to you his favor, and has
chosen you to be the mother of a son whose name shall be Jesus,
which means 'salvation,' because he shall save his people from
their sins. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of
God; and the Lord shall give to him the throne of his father
David. He shall be a king, and shall reign over the people of God
forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end."
But Mary could not see how all this was to come to pass. And
the angel said to her:
"The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the
Most High God shall be over you; and the child which you shall
have shall be called holy, the Son of God."
Then the angel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was soon
to have a child, through the power of the Lord. And when Mary
heard all this, she said: "I am the servant of the Lord, to do
his will. Let it be to me as you have said."
When the angel had given his message and had gone away, Mary
rose up in haste and made a journey to the home of Zacharias
and Elizabeth. When Elizabeth saw Mary, she was filled with the
Spirit of the Lord, and said:
"Blessed are you among women, and blessed among men shall be
your son! And why is it that the mother of my Lord comes to
visit me? Blessed is the woman who believed that the promise of
the Lord to her shall be made true!"
Then Mary was filled with the Spirit of the Lord, and broke
out into a song of praise. She stayed with Elizabeth for nearly
three months, and then went again to her own home at
As the angel had said, to the aged woman Elizabeth was given a son. They were
going to name him Zacharias, after his father. But his
mother said: "No, his name shall be John."
"Why," they said, "none of your family have ever been named
They asked his father Zacharias, by signs, what name he
wished to be given to the child. He asked for something to
write upon; and when they brought it, he wrote, "His name is
John." Then all at once, the power to hear and to speak came
back to Zacharias. He spoke, praising and blessing God; and he
sang a song of thanks to God, in which he said:
"You O child, shall be called a prophet of the Most High; to
go before the Lord, and to make ready his ways."
When John was growing up, they sent him out into the desert
on the south of the land, and there he stayed until the time
came for him to preach to the people; for this child became the
great prophet John the Baptist.
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OF JESUS, THE BABE OF BETHLEHEM
Soon after the time when John the Baptist was born, Joseph
the carpenter of Nazareth had a dream. In his dream he saw an
angel from the Lord standing beside him. The angel said to
"Joseph, sprung from the line of king David, I have come to
tell you, that Mary, the young woman whom you are to marry,
will have a son, sent by the Lord God. You shall call his name
Jesus, which means 'salvation,' because he shall save his
people from their sins."
God's people had had several kings. Some of them had been
selfish and cruel, but Jesus was to be a new kind of king, one
who would save, not destroy men.
Soon after Joseph and Mary were married in Nazareth, a
command went forth from the emperor Augustus C?sar through all
the lands of the Roman empire, for all the people to go to the
cities and towns from which their families had come, and there
to have their names written down upon a list, for the emperor
wished a list to be made of all the people under his rule. As
both Joseph and Mary had come from the family of David the king, they went together from
Nazareth to Bethlehem, there to have their names written
upon the list. For you remember that Bethlehem in Judea, six
miles south of Jerusalem, was the place where David was
born, and where his father's family had lived for many
It was a long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem; down the
mountains to the river Jordan, then following the Jordan almost
to its end, and then climbing the mountains of Judah to the
town of Bethlehem. When Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem they
found the city full of people who, like themselves, had come to
have their names enrolled or written upon the list. The inn or
hotel was full, and there was no room for them; for no one but
themselves knew that this young woman was soon to be the mother
of the Lord of all the earth. The best that they could do was
to go to a stable where the cattle were kept. There the little
baby was born, and was laid in a manger, where the cattle were
On that night, some shepherds were tending their sheep in a
field near Bethlehem. Suddenly, a great light shone upon them,
and they saw an angel of the Lord standing before them. They
were filled with fear, as they saw how glorious the angel was.
But the angel said to them:
"Be not afraid; for behold I bring you news of great joy, which shall be to all the
people; for there is born to you this day in Bethlehem, the
city of David, a Saviour who is Christ the Lord, the
anointed king. You may see him there; and you may know him
by this sign: He is a new-born baby, lying in a manger, at
They were filled with fear
And then they saw that the air around and the sky above them
were filled with angels, praising God and singing:
"Glory to God in the highest. And on earth peace among men
in whom God is well pleased."
While they looked with wonder, and listened, the angels went out of sight as suddenly
as they had come. Then the shepherds said one to
"Let us go at once to Bethlehem, and see this wonderful
thing that has come to pass, and which the Lord has made known
The baby in the manger
Then as quickly as they could go to Bethlehem, they went,
and found Joseph, the carpenter of Nazareth, and his young wife Mary, and
the little baby lying in the manger. They told Mary and
Joseph, and others also, how they had seen the angels, and
what they had heard about this baby. All who heard their
story wondered at it; Mary, the mother of the child, said
nothing. She thought over all these things, and silently
kept them in her heart. After their visit, the shepherds
went back to their flocks, praising God for the good news
that he had sent to them.
When the little one was eight days old, they gave him a
name; and the name given was "Jesus," a word which means
"salvation," as the angel had told both Mary and Joseph that he
should be named. So the very name of this child told what he
should do for men; for he was to bring salvation to the
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THE STORY OF
THE STAR AND THE WISE MEN
For some time after Jesus was born, Joseph and Mary stayed
with him in Bethlehem. The little baby was not kept long in the
stable sleeping in a manger; for after a few days they found
room in a house; and there another visit was made to Jesus by
strange men from a land far away.
In a country east of Judea, and many miles distant, were
living some very wise men who studied the stars. One night they
saw a strange star shining in the sky, and in some way they
learned that the coming of this star meant that a king was soon
to be born in the land of Judea. These men felt a call of God
to go to Judea, far to the west of their own home, and there to
see this new-born king. They took a long journey, with camels
and horses, and at last they came to, the land of Judea, just
at the time when Jesus was born at Bethlehem. As soon as they
were in Judea, they supposed that every one would know all
about the king, and they said:
"Where is he that is born king of the Jews? In the east we
have seen his star, and we have come to worship him."
THE SHEPHERDS IN THE FIELD—And there were
in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping
watch over their flock by night.... And the angel said unto
them, 'Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of
great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is
born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is
Christ the Lord.'—(Luke 2: 8-10-11.)
But no one of whom they asked had ever
seen this king, or had heard of him. The news of their
coming was sent to Herod the king, who was now a very old
man. He ruled the land of Judea, as you know, under the
emperor at Rome, Augustus C?sar. Herod was a very wicked
man, and when he heard of some one born to be a king, he
feared that he might lose his own kingdom. He made up his
mind to kill this new king.
He sent for the priests and scribes, the men who studied and
taught the books of the Old Testament, and asked them about
this Christ for whom all the people were looking. He said: "Can
you tell me where Christ, the king of Israel, is to be born?"
They looked at the books of the prophets, and then they said:
"He is to be born in Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written
by the prophet, 'And thou Bethlehem in the land of Judah are
not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall
come forth one who shall rule my people Israel.'"
Then Herod sent for the wise men from the east, and met them
alone, and found from them at what time the star was first
seen. Then he said to them:
"Go to Bethlehem; and there search carefully for the little
child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, so
that I also may come and worship him."
The wise men went their way
Then the wise men went on their way toward Bethlehem; and
suddenly they saw the star again shining upon the road before
them. At this they were glad, and followed the star until it
led them to the very house where the little child was. They
came in, and there they saw the little one, with Mary, its
mother. They knew at once that this was the king; and they fell
down on their faces and worshipped him as the
Lord. Then they brought out gifts of gold and precious
perfumes, frankincense and myrrh, which were used in
offering sacrifices; and they gave them as presents to the
That night God sent a dream to the wise men, telling them
not to go back to Herod, but to go home at once to their own
land by another way. They obeyed the Lord, and found another
road to their own country without passing through Jerusalem
where Herod was living. So Herod could not learn from those men
who the child was that was born to be a king.
And very soon after these wise men had gone away, the Lord
sent another dream to Joseph, the husband of Mary. He saw an
angel, who spoke to him, saying:
"Rise up quickly; take the little child and his mother, and
go down to the land of Egypt, for Herod will try to find the
child to kill him."
Then at once Joseph rose up in the night, without waiting
even for the morning. He took his wife and her baby, and
quietly and quickly went with them down to Egypt, which was on
the southwest of Judea. There they all stayed in safety, as
long as the wicked king Herod lived, which was not many
King Herod waited for the wise men to come back to him from
their visit to Bethlehem; but he soon found that they had gone to their
home without bringing to him any word. Then Herod was very
angry. He sent out his soldiers to Bethlehem. They came, and
by the cruel king's command they seized all the little
children in Bethlehem who were three years old, or younger,
and killed them all. What a cry went up to God from the
mothers in Bethlehem, as their children were torn from their
arms and slain!
He took his wife and baby and went down to Egypt
But all this time, the child Jesus whom they were seeking
was safe with his mother in the land of Egypt.
Soon after this king Herod died, a very old man, cruel to
the last. Then the angel of the Lord came again and spoke to
Joseph in a dream, saying: "You may now take the young child
back to his own land, for the king who sought to kill him is
Then Joseph took his wife and the little child Jesus, and
started to go again to the land of Judea. Perhaps it was his
thought to go again to Bethlehem, the city of David, and there
bring up the child. But he heard that in that part of the land
Archelaus, a son of Herod, was now ruling, and who was as
wicked and cruel as his father.
He feared to go under Archelaus' rule, and instead took his
wife and the child to Nazareth, which had been his own home and
that of Mary his wife before the child was born. Nazareth was
in the part of the land called Galilee, which at that time was
ruled by another son of king Herod, a king named Herod Antipas.
He was not a good man, but was not so cruel nor
bloody as his wicked father had been.
So again Joseph the carpenter and Mary his wife were living
in Nazareth. And there they stayed for many years while Jesus
was growing up. Jesus was not the only child in their house,
and he had many other playmates among the boys of
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THE STORY OF
THE CHILD IN THE TEMPLE
Jesus was brought to Nazareth when he was a little child not
more than three years old; there he grew up as a boy and a
young man, and there he lived until he was thirty years of age.
We should like to know many things about his boyhood, but the
Bible tells us very little. As Joseph was a working man, it is
likely that he lived in a house with only one room, with no
floor except the earth, no window except a hole in the wall, no
pictures upon the walls, and neither bedstead, nor chair, nor
looking-glass. They sat upon the floor or upon cushions; they
slept upon rolls of matting, and their meals were taken from a
low table not much larger than a stool.
Jesus may have learned to read at the village school, which
was generally held in the house used for worship, called the
"synagogue." The lessons were from rolls on which were written
parts of the Old Testament; but Jesus never had a Bible of his
own. From a child he went with Joseph to the worship in the
synagogue twice every week. There they sat on the floor and
heard the Old Testament read and explained, while Mary and the younger sisters of
Jesus listened from a gallery behind a lattice-screen. The
Jewish boys of that time were taught to know almost the
whole of the Old Testament by heart.
It was the custom of the Jews from all parts of the land to
go up to Jerusalem to worship at least once every year, at the
feast of the Passover, which was held in the spring. Some
families also stayed to the feast of Pentecost, which was fifty
days after Passover; and some went again in the fall to the
feast of Tabernacles, when for a week all the families slept
out of doors, under roofs made of green twigs and bushes.
When Jesus was a boy twelve years old, he was taken up to
the feast of the Passover, and there for the first time he saw
the holy city Jerusalem, and the Temple of the Lord on Mount
Moriah. Young as he was, his soul was stirred, as he walked
among the courts of the Temple and saw the altar with its
smoking sacrifice, the priests in their white robes, and the
Levites with their silver trumpets. Though a boy, Jesus began
to feel that he was the Son of God, and that this was his
Sitting in a company of the doctors of the law
His heart was so filled with the worship of the Temple, with
the words of the scribes or teachers whom he heard in the
courts, and with his own thoughts, that when it was time to go home
to Nazareth, he stayed behind, held fast by his love for the
house of the Lord. The company of people who were traveling
together was large, and at first he was not missed. But when
night came and the boy Jesus could not be found, his mother
was alarmed. The next day Joseph and Mary left their company
and hastened back to Jerusalem. They did not at first think
to go to the Temple. They sought him among their friends and
kindred who were living in the city, but could not find
On the third day, they went up to the Temple with heavy
hearts, still looking for their boy. And there they found him
sitting in a company of the doctors of the law, listening to
their words and asking them questions. Everybody who stood
near was surprised to find how deep was the knowledge of
this boy in the word of the Lord.
His mother spoke to him a little sharply, for she felt that
her son had not been thoughtful of his duty. She said: "Child,
why have you treated us in this way? Do you not know that your
father and I have been looking for you with troubled
"Why did you seek for me," said Jesus. "Did you not know
that I must be in my Father's house?"
They did not understand these words; but Mary thought often
about them afterward; for she felt her son was no common child,
and that his words had a deep meaning. Though Jesus was wise
beyond his years, he obeyed Joseph and his mother in all
things. He went with them to Nazareth, and lived contented with
the plain life of their country home.
As the years went on, Jesus grew from a boy to a young man.
He grew, too, in knowledge, and in wisdom, and in the favor of
God. He won the love of all who knew him, for there was
something in his nature that drew all hearts, both young and
Jesus learned the trade of a carpenter
with Joseph; and when Joseph died, while Jesus
was still a young man, Jesus worked as a carpenter, and
helped his mother take care of the family. And so in the
carpenter shop, and the quiet life of a country village, and
the worship of the synagogue, the years passed until Jesus
was thirty years of age.
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STORY OF THE WATER THAT WAS TURNED INTO WINE
A few days after Jesus met his followers or disciples at the
river Jordan, he came with these men to a town in Galilee
called Cana, to be present at a wedding. In those lands a feast
was always held at a wedding, and often the friends of those
who were married stayed several days, eating and drinking
The mother of Jesus was at this wedding as a friend of the
family; for Nazareth, where she lived, was quite near to Cana.
Before the wedding feast was over, all the wine had been used,
and there was no more for the guests to drink. The mother of
Jesus knew that her son had power to do whatever he chose; and
she said to him; "They have no wine."
Jesus said to her: "O woman, what have I to do with thee? My
hour is not yet come."
But his mother knew that Jesus would in some way help the
people in their need, and she said to the servants who were
waiting at the table:
"Whatever he tells you to do, be sure to do it."
In the dining hall were standing six large stone jars, each
about as large as a barrel, holding twenty-five gallons. These
jars held water for washing, as the Jews washed their
hands before every meal, and washed their feet as often as
they came from walking in the street, since they wore no
shoes, but only sandals. Jesus said to the servants:
"Fill the jars with water."
"Fill the jars with water"
The servants obeyed Jesus, and filled the jars up to the
brim. Then Jesus spoke to them again, and said:
"Now draw out some of the water, and take it to the ruler of
They drew out water from the jars, and saw that it had been
turned into wine. The ruler did not know from what place the
wine had come; but he said to the young man who had just
been married, the bridegroom:
"At a feast everybody gives his best wine at the beginning,
and afterward, when his guests have drunk freely, he brings on
wine that is not so good; but you have kept the good wine until
This was the first time that Jesus used the power that God
had given him, to do what no other man could do. Such works as
these were called "miracles"; and Jesus did them as signs of
his power as the Son of God. When the disciples saw this
miracle, they believed in Jesus more fully than before.
After this Jesus went with his mother and his younger
brothers to a place called Capernaum, on the shore of the Sea
of Galilee. But they stayed there only a few days, for the
feast of the Passover was near, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem
to attend it. You remember that the feast of the Passover was
held every year, to keep in mind how God had led the people of
Israel out of Egypt long before.
When Jesus came to Jerusalem, he found in the courts of the
Temple men who were selling oxen and sheep and doves for the
sacrifices, and other men sitting at tables changing the money
of Jews who came from other lands into the money of Judea. All
this made the courts around the Temple seem like a market, and
not a place for the worship of God.
"Take these things away"
Jesus picked up some cord and made from it a little whip.
With it he began to drive out of the Temple all the buyers and
sellers. He was but one, and they were many; but such power was
in his look, that they ran before him. He drove the men and the sheep and the oxen;
he overturned the tables and threw on the floor the money,
and to those who were selling the doves he said: "Take these
things away; make not my Father's house a house for selling
The acts of Jesus were not pleasing to the rulers of the
Jews, for many of them were making money by this selling of
sacrifices and changing of money. Some of the rulers came to
Jesus and said to him: "What right have you to come here and do
such things as these? What sign can you show that God has given
to you power to rule in this place?"
Jesus said to them: "I will give you a sign. Destroy this
house of God, and in three days I will raise it up."
Then said the Jews, "It has taken forty-six years to build
this Temple, and it is not finished yet. Will you raise it up
in three days?"
But Jesus did not mean that Temple on Mount Moriah. He was
speaking of himself, for in him God was dwelling as in a
temple, and he meant that when they should put him to death, he
would rise again in three days. Afterward, when Jesus had died
and risen again, his followers, the disciples, thought of what
he had said, and understood these words.
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THE STORY OF
THE STRANGER AT THE WELL
While Jesus was teaching in Jerusalem and in the country
places near it, John the Baptist was still preaching and
baptizing. But already the people were leaving John and going
to hear Jesus. Some of the followers of John the Baptist were
not pleased as they saw that fewer people came to their master,
and that the crowds were seeking Jesus. But John said to them:
"I told you that I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before
him. Jesus is the Christ, the king. He must grow greater, while
I must grow less; and I am glad that it is so."
Soon after this, Herod Antipas, the king of the province or
land of Galilee, put John in prison. Herod had taken for his
wife a woman named Herodias, who had left her husband to live
with Herod, which was very wicked. John sent word to Herod,
that it was not right for him to have this woman as his wife.
These words of John made Herodias very angry. She hated John,
and tried to kill him. Herod himself did not hate John so
greatly, for he knew that John had spoken the truth. But he was
weak, and yielded to his wife Herodias. To please
her, he sent John the Baptist to a lonely prison among the
mountains east of the Dead Sea; for the land in that region,
as well as Galilee, was under Herod's rule. There in prison
Herod hoped to keep John safe from the hate of his wife
Soon after John the Baptist was thrown into prison, Jesus
left the country near Jerusalem with his disciples, and went
toward Galilee, the province in the north. Between Judea in the
south and Galilee in the north, lay the land of Samaria, where
the Samaritans lived, who hated the Jews. They worshipped the
Lord as the Jews worshipped him, but they had their own Temple
and their own priests. And they had their own Bible, which was
only the five books of Moses; for they would not read the other
books of the old Testament. The Jews and the Samaritans would
scarcely ever speak to each other, so great was the hate
When Jews went from Galilee to Jerusalem, or from Jerusalem
to Galilee, they would not pass through Samaria, but went down
the mountains to the river Jordan, and walked beside the river,
in order to go around Samaria. But Jesus, when he would go from
Jerusalem to Galilee, walked over the mountains straight
through Samaria. One morning while he was on his journey, he stopped to rest beside an old well at
the foot of Mount Gerizim, not far from the city of Shechem,
but nearer to a little village that was called Sychar. This
well had been dug by Jacob, the great father or ancestor of
the Israelites, many hundreds of years before. It was an old
well then in the days of Jesus; and it is much older now;
for the same well may be seen in that place still. Even now
travelers may have a drink from Jacob's well.
It was early in the morning, about sunrise, when Jesus was
sitting by Jacob's well. He was very tired, for he had walked a
long journey; he was hungry, and his disciples had gone to the
village near at hand to buy food. He was thirsty, too; and as
he looked into the well he could see the water a hundred feet
below, but he had no rope with which to let down a cup or a jar
to draw up some water to drink.
Just at this moment a Samaritan woman came to the well, with
her water-jar upon her head, and her rope in her hand. Jesus
looked at her, and in one glance read her soul, and saw all her
He knew that Jews did not often speak to Samaritans, but he
said to her:
"Please to give me a drink?"
The woman saw from his looks and his dress that he was a
Jew, and she said to him:
"How is it that you, who are a Jew, ask
drink of me, a Samaritan woman?"
Jesus answered her:
"If you knew what God's free gift is, and if you knew who it
is that says to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would ask him to
give you living water, and he would give it to you."
There was something in the words and the looks of Jesus
which made the woman feel that he was not a common man. She
said to him: "Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the
well is deep. Where can you get that living water? Are you
greater than our father Jacob, who drank from this well, and
who gave it to us?"
"Whoever drinks of this water," said Jesus, "shall thirst
again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him,
shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall
be in him a well of water springing up unto everlasting
"Sir," said the woman, "give me some of this water of yours,
so that I will not thirst any more, nor come all the way to
Jesus looked at the woman, and said to her, "Go home, and
bring your husband, and come here."
"I have no husband," answered the woman.
"Yes," said Jesus, "you have spoken the
truth. You have no husband. But you have had
five husbands, and the man whom you now have is not your
The woman was filled with wonder as she heard this. She saw
that here was a man who knew what others could not know. She
felt that God had spoken to him, and she said:
"Sir, I see that you are a prophet of God. Tell me whether
our people or the Jews are right. Our fathers have worshipped
on this mountain. The Jews say that Jerusalem is the place
where men should go to worship. Now, which of these is the
"Woman, believe me," said Jesus, "there is coming a time
when men shall worship God in other places besides on this
mountain and in Jerusalem. The time is near; it has even now
come, when the true worshippers everywhere shall pray to God in
spirit and in truth; for God himself is a Spirit."
The woman said: "I know that the Anointed one is coming, the
Christ. When he comes, he will teach us all things."
Jesus said to her:
"I that speak to you now am he, the Christ!"
Just at this time the disciples of Jesus came back from the
village. They wondered to see Jesus talking with this Samaritan
woman, but they said nothing.
The woman had come to draw water, but in
her interest in this wonderful stranger, she forgot her
errand. Leaving her water-jar, she ran back to her village,
and said to the people:
"Come, see a man who told me everything that I have done in
all my life! Is not this man the Christ whom we are looking
Soon the woman came back to the well with many of her
people. They asked Jesus to come to their town, and to stay
there and teach them. He went with them, and stayed there two
days, teaching the people, who were Samaritans. And many of the
people in that place believed in Jesus, and said:
"We have heard for ourselves; now we know that this is
indeed the Saviour of the world."
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THE STORY OF THE
When Jesus began to teach the people by the river Jordan, a
few young men came to him as followers, or disciples. Some of
these men were Andrew and John, Peter and Philip and Nathanael.
While Jesus was teaching near Jerusalem and in Samaria, these
men stayed with Jesus; but when he came to Galilee, they went
to their homes and work, for most of them were fishermen from
the Sea of Galilee.
One morning, soon after Jesus came to Capernaum, he went out
of the city, by the sea, followed by a great throng of people,
who had come together to see him and to hear him. On the shore
were lying two fishing boats, one of which belonged to Simon
and Andrew, the other to James and John and their father
Zebedee. The men themselves were not in the boats, but were
washing their nets near by.
Jesus stepped into the boat that belonged to Simon Peter and
his brother Andrew, and asked them to push it out a little into
the lake, so that he could talk to the people from it without
being crowded too closely. They pushed it out, and then Jesus
sat in the boat, and spoke to the people, as they stood upon
the beach. After he had finished speaking to the people, and had
sent them away, he said to Simon Peter:
"Put out into the deep water and let down your nets to catch
The net caught so many fishes they could not pull it
"Master," said Simon, "we have been fishing all night, and
have caught nothing; but if it is your will, I will let down
the net again."
They did as Jesus bade them; and now the net caught so many
fishes that Simon and Andrew could not pull it up, and it was
in danger of breaking. They made signs to the two brothers,
James and John, who were in the other boat, for them to come
and help them. They came, and lifted the net, and poured out
the fish. There were so many of them that both the boats
were filled, and began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he was struck with wonder, and
felt that it was by the power of God. He fell down at the feet
of Jesus, saying: "Oh Lord, I am full of sin, and am not worthy
of all this! Leave me, O Lord."
But Jesus said to Simon, and to the others, "Fear not; but
follow me, and I will make you from this time fishers of
From that time these four men, Simon and Andrew, James and
John, gave up their nets and their work, and became disciples
On the Sabbath, after this, Jesus and his disciples went
together to the synagogue, and spoke to the people. They
listened to him and were surprised at his teaching; for while
the scribes always repeated what other scribes had said before,
Jesus never spoke of what the men of old time had taught, but
spoke in his own name, and by his own power, saying, "I say
unto you," as one who had the right to speak. Men felt that
Jesus was speaking to them as the voice of God.
On one Sabbath, while Jesus was preaching, a man came into
the synagogue who had in him an evil spirit; for sometimes evil
spirits came into men, and lived in them and spoke out from
them. The evil spirit in this man cried out, saying:
"Let us alone, thou Jesus of Nazareth! What
have we to do with thee? Hast thou come to destroy us? I
know thee; and I know who thou art, the Holy one of
Then Jesus spoke to the evil spirit in the man:
"Be still; and come out of this man!"
Then the evil spirit threw the man down, and seemed as if he
would tear him apart; but he left the man lying on the ground,
Then wonder fell upon all the people. They were filled with
fear, and said: "What mighty word is this? This man speaks even
to the evil spirits, and they obey him!"
After the meeting in the synagogue, Jesus went into the
house where Simon Peter lived. There he saw lying upon a bed
the mother of Simon's wife, who was very ill with a burning
fever. He stood over her, and touched her hand. At once the
fever left her; she rose up from her bed and waited upon
At sunset, the Sabbath day was over; and then they brought
to Jesus from all parts of the city those that were sick, and
some that had evil spirits in them. Jesus laid his hands upon
the sick, and they became well; he drove out the evil spirits
by a word, and would not allow them to speak.
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THE STORY OF
THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT
Among the Jews there was one class of men hated and despised
by the people more than any other. That was "the publicans."
These were the men who took from the people the tax which the
Roman rulers had laid upon the land. Many of these publicans
were selfish, grasping, and cruel. They robbed the people,
taking more than was right. Some of them were honest men,
dealing fairly, and taking no more for the tax than was
needful; but because so many were wicked, all the publicans
were hated alike; and they were called "sinners" by the
One day, when Jesus was going out of Capernaum, to the
seaside, followed by a great crowd of people, he passed a
publican, or tax-gatherer, who was seated at his table taking
money from the people who came to pay their taxes. This man was
named Matthew, or Levi; for many Jews had two names. Jesus
could look into the hearts of men, and he saw that Matthew was
one who might help him as one of his disciples. He looked upon
Matthew, and said:
At once, the publican rose up from his
table, and left it to go with Jesus. All the people
wondered, as they saw one of the hated publicans among the
disciples, with Peter, and John, and the rest. But Jesus
believed that there is good in all kinds of people. Most of
the men who followed him were poor fishermen. None of them,
so far as we know, was rich. And when he called Matthew he
saw a man with a true and loving heart, whose rising up to
follow Jesus just as soon as he was called showed what a
brave and faithful friend he would be. The first of the four
books about Jesus bears Matthew's name.
A little while after Jesus called him, Matthew made a great
feast for Jesus at his house; and to the feast he invited many
publicans, and others whom the Jews called sinners. The
Pharisees saw Jesus sitting among these people, and they said
with scorn to his disciples:
"Why does your Master sit at the table with publicans and
Jesus heard of what these men had said, and he said:
"Those that are well do not need a doctor to cure them, but
those that are sick do need one. I go to these people because
they know that they are sinners and need to be saved. I came
not to call those who think themselves to be good, but those
who wish to be made better."
One evening Jesus went alone to a mountain
not far from Capernaum. A crowd of people and his disciples
followed him; but Jesus left them all, and went up to the
top of the mountain, where he could be alone. There he
stayed all night, praying to God, his Father and our Father.
In the morning, out of all his followers, he chose twelve
men who should walk with him and listen to his words, so
that they might be able to teach others in turn. Some of
these men he had called before; but now he called them
again, and others with them. They were called "The Twelve,"
or "the disciples"; and after Jesus went to heaven, they
were called "The Apostles," a word which means "those who
were sent out," because Jesus sent them out to preach the
gospel to the world.
"I came not to call those who think themselves to be
The names of the twelve disciples, or
apostles, were these: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew;
James and John, the two sons of Zebedee; Philip of
Bethsaida, and Nathanael, who was also called Bartholomew, a
name which means "the son of Tholmai"; Thomas, who was also
called Didymus, a name which means "a twin," and Matthew the
publican, or tax-gatherer; another James, the son of
Alpheus, who was called "James the Less," to keep his name
apart from the first James, the brother of John; and
Lebbeus, who was also called Thaddeus. Lebbeus was also
called Judas, but he was a different man from another Judas,
whose name is always given last. The eleventh name was
another Simon, who was called "the Cananean" or "Simon
Zelotes"; and the last name was Judas Iscariot, who was
afterward the traitor. We know very little about most of
these men, but some of them in later days did a great work.
Simon Peter was a leader among them, but most of them were
common sort of men of whom the best we know is that they
loved Jesus and followed him to the end. Some died for him,
and some served him in distant and dangerous places.
Then, on the mountain, he preached
Before all the people who had come to hear him, Jesus called
these twelve men to stand by his side. Then, on the mountain,
he preached to these disciples and to the great company of people. The disciples stood beside him,
and the great crowd of people stood in front, while Jesus
spoke. What he said on that day is called "The Sermon on the
Mount." Matthew wrote it down, and you can read it in his
gospel, in the fifth, sixth, and seventh chapters. Jesus
began with these words to his disciples:
"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom
"Blessed are they that mourn: for they
shall be comforted.
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after
righteousness: for they shall be filled.
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the
children of God.
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness'
sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute
you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for
"Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad: for great is your reward
in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were
"Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his
savor, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for
nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of
"Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an
hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it
under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto
all that are in the house. Let your light so shine
before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father which is in heaven."
It was in this Sermon on the Mount that Jesus told the
people how they should pray, and he gave them the prayer which
we all know as the Lord's Prayer.
And this was the end of the Sermon:
"Therefore, whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and
doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his
house upon a rock:
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds
blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not; for it was
founded upon a rock.
"And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth
them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his
house upon the sand:
"And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds
blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the
fall of it."
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THE STORY OF THE
There was at Capernaum an officer of the Roman army, a man
who had under him a company of a hundred men. They called him
"a centurion," a word which means "commanding a hundred"; but
we should call him "a captain." This man was not a Jew, but was
what the Jews called "a Gentile," "a foreigner"; a name which
the Jews gave to all people outside their own race. All the
world except the Jews themselves were Gentiles.
This Roman centurion was a good man, and he loved the Jews,
because through them he had heard of God, and had learned how
to worship God. Out of his love for the Jews, he had built for
them with his own money a synagogue, which may have been the
very synagogue in which Jesus taught on the Sabbath days.
The centurion had a young servant, a boy whom he loved
greatly; and this boy was very sick with a palsy, and near to
death. The centurion had heard that Jesus could cure those who
were sick; and he asked the chief men of the synagogue, who
were called its "elders," to go to Jesus and ask him to come
and cure his young servant.
"Speak the word and my servant shall be cured"
The elders spoke to Jesus, just as he came again to
Capernaum, after the Sermon on the Mount. They asked Jesus to
go with them to the centurion's house; and they said:
"He is a worthy man, and it is fitting that
you should help him, for, though a Gentile, he loves our
people, and he has built for us our synagogue."
Then Jesus said, "I will go and heal him."
But while he was on his way—and with him were the
elders, and his disciples, and a great crowd of people, who
hoped to see the work of healing—the centurion sent some
other friends to Jesus with this message:
"Lord, do not take the trouble to come to my house; for I am
not worthy that one so high as you are should come under my
roof; and I did not think that I was worthy to go and speak to
you. But speak only a word where you are, and my servant shall
be made well. For I also am a man under rule, and I have
soldiers under me; and I say to one 'Go,' and he goes; and to
another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,'
and he does it. You, too, have power to speak and to be obeyed.
Speak the word, and my servant shall be cured."
When Jesus heard this, he wondered at this man's faith. He
turned to the people following him, and said:
"In truth I say to you, I have not found such faith as this
in all Israel!"
Then he spoke to the friends of the centurion who had
brought the word from him:
"Go and say to this man, 'As you have
believed in me, so shall it be done to you.'"
Then those who had been sent, went again to the centurion's
house, and found that in that very hour his servant had been
made perfectly well.
On the day after this, Jesus with his disciples and many
people went out from Capernaum, and turned southward, and came
to a village called Nain. Just as Jesus and his disciples came
near to the gate of the city, they were met by a company who
were carrying out a dead man to be buried. He was a young man,
and the only son of his mother, and she was a widow.
When the Lord Jesus saw the mother in her grief, he pitied
her, and said, "Do not weep."
He drew near, and touched the frame on which they were
carrying the body, wrapped round and round with long strips of
linen. The bearers looked with wonder on this stranger, and set
down the frame with its body, and stood still. Standing beside
the body, Jesus said:
"Young man, I say to you, Rise up!"
And in a moment the young man sat up and began to speak.
Jesus gave him to his mother, who now saw that her son who had
been dead, was alive again.
And Jesus went through all that part of Galilee, working
miracles and preaching and teaching in all the villages, telling the people
everywhere the good news of the kingdom of God.
The children loved to gather around him, and when his
disciples would have driven them away he said, "Suffer the
little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of
such is the kingdom of heaven."
The children loved to gather around him
One Sabbath day, as Jesus and his
disciples were walking in Jerusalem, they met a blind man
begging. This man in all his life had never seen; for he had
been born blind. The disciples said to Jesus as they were
passing him: "Master, whose fault was it that this man was
born blind? Was it because he has sinned, or did his parents
For the Jews thought that when any evil came, it was caused
by some one's sin. But Jesus said:
"This man was born blind, not because of his parents' sin,
nor because of his own, but so that God might show his power in
him. We must do God's work while it is day, for the night is
coming when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am
the light of the world."
When Jesus had said this, he spat on the ground, and mixed
up the spittle with earth, making a little lump of clay. This
clay Jesus spread on the eyes of the blind man; and then he
said to him: "Go wash in the pool of Siloam."
The pool of Siloam was a large cistern, or, reservoir, on
the southeast of Jerusalem, outside the wall, where the valley
of Gihon and the valley of Kedron come together. To go to this
pool, the blind man, with two great blotches of mud on his
face, must walk through the streets of the city, out of the
gate, and into the valley. He went, and felt his way down the
steps into the pool of Siloam. There he washed, and then
at once his life-long blindness passed away, and he could
When the man came back to the part of the city where he
lived, his neighbors could scarcely believe that he was the
same man. They said: "Is not this the man who used to sit on
the street begging?"
"This must be the same man," said some; but others said:
"No, it is some one who looks like him."
But the man said, "I am the very same man who was
"Why, how did this come to pass?" they asked. "How were your
"The man, named Jesus," he answered, "mixed clay, and put it
on my eyes, and said to me, 'Go to the pool of Siloam and
wash,' and I went and washed, and then I could see."
"Where is this man?" they asked him.
"I do not know," said the man.
Some of the Pharisees, the men who made a show of always
obeying the law, asked the man how he had been made to see. He
said to them, as he had said before:
"A man put clay on my eyes, and I washed, and my sight came
Some of the Pharisees said:
"The man who did this is not a man of God, because he does not keep the Sabbath. He
makes clay, and puts it on men's eyes, working on the
Sabbath day. He is a sinner!"
Others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such
And thus the people were divided in what they thought of
Jesus. They asked the man who had been blind: "What do you
think of this man who has opened your eyes?"
"He is a prophet of God," said the man.
But the leading Jews would not believe that this man had
gained his sight, until they had sent for his father and his
mother. The Jews asked them:
"Is this your son, who you say was born blind? How is it
that he can now see?"
His parents were afraid to tell all they knew; for the Jews
had agreed that if any man should say Jesus was the Christ, the
Saviour, he should be turned out of the synagogue, and not be
allowed to worship any more with the people. So his parents
said to the Jews:
"We know that this is our son, and we know that he was born
blind. But how he was made to see, we do not know; or who has
opened his eyes, we do not know. He is of age; ask him, and let
him speak for himself."
Then again the rulers of the Jews called the man who had
been blind; and they said to him:
"Give God the praise for your sight. We
know that this man who made clay on the Sabbath day is a
"Whether that man is a sinner, or not, I do not know,"
answered the man; "but one thing I do know, that once I was
blind, and now I see. We know that God does not hear sinners;
but God hears only those who worship him, and do his will.
Never before has any one opened the eyes of a man born blind.
If this man were not from God, he could not do such works as
The rulers of the Jews, these Pharisees, then said to the
man: "You were born in sin, and do you try to teach us?"
And they turned him out of the synagogue, and would not let
any one worship with him. Jesus heard of this; and when Jesus
found him, he said to him:
"Do you believe on the Son of God?"
The man said:
"And who is he, Lord, that I may believe on him?"
"You have seen him," said Jesus, "and it is he who now talks
The man said, "Lord, I believe."
And he fell down before Jesus, and worshipped
Back to Top
SHEPHERD AND THE GOOD SAMARITAN
Soon afterward Jesus gave to the people in Jerusalem the
parable or story of "The Good Shepherd."
"Verily, verily (that is, 'in truth, in truth'), I say to
you, if any one does not go into the sheepfold by the door, but
climbs up some other way, it is a sign that he is a thief and a
robber. But the one who comes in by the door is a shepherd of
the sheep. The porter opens the door to him, and the sheep know
him, and listen to his call, for he calls his own sheep by name
and leads them out to the pasture-field. And when he has led
out his sheep, he goes in front of them, and the sheep follow
him, for they know his voice. The sheep will not follow a
stranger, for they do not know the stranger's voice."
The people did not understand what all this meant, and as
Jesus explained it to them, he said: "Verily, verily, I say
unto you, I am the door that leads to the sheepfold. If any man
comes to the sheep in any other way than through me and in my
name, he is a thief and a robber; but those who are the true
sheep will not hear such. I am the door; if any man goes into the fold through me, he shall be
saved, and shall go in and go out, and shall find
"The thief comes to the fold that he may steal and rob the
sheep, and kill them; but I came to the fold that they may have
life, and may have all that they need. I am the good shepherd;
the good shepherd will give up his own life to save his sheep;
and I will give up my life that my sheep may be saved.
"I am the good shepherd; and just as a true shepherd knows
all the sheep in his fold, so I know my own, and my own know
me, even as I know the Father, and the Father knows me; and I
lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which
are not of this fold; them also I must lead; and they shall
hear my voice; and there shall be one flock and one
The Jews could not understand these words of Jesus; but they
became very angry with him, because he spoke of God as his
Father. They took up stones to throw them at him, and tried to
seize him, intending to kill him. But Jesus escaped from their
hands, and went away to the land beyond Jordan, at the place
called "Bethabara," or "Bethany beyond Jordan," the same place
where he had been baptized by John the Baptist more than two
years before. From this place Jesus wished to go out through
the land in the east of the Jordan, a land which is called "Perea," a word that means
"beyond." But before going out through this land, Jesus sent
out seventy chosen men from among his followers to go to all
the villages, and to make the people ready for his own
coming afterward. He gave to these seventy the same commands
that he had given to the twelve disciples when he sent them
through Galilee, and sent them out in pairs, two men to
travel and to preach together. He said:
"I send you forth as lambs among wolves. Carry no purse, no
bag for food, no shoes except those that you are wearing. Do
not stop to talk with people by the way; but go through the
towns and villages, healing the sick, and preaching to the
people, 'The kingdom of God is coming,' He that hears you,
hears me; and he that refuses you, refuses me; and he that will
not hear me, will not hear him that sent me."
And after a time the seventy men came again to Jesus,
"Lord, even the evil spirits obey our words in thy
And Jesus said to them:
"I saw Satan, the king of the evil spirits, falling down
like lightning from heaven. I have given you power to tread
upon serpents and scorpions, and nothing shall harm you. Still,
do not rejoice because the evil spirits obey you; but rejoice that your names are written in
And at that time, one of the scribes—men who wrote
copies of the books of the Old Testament, and studied them, and
taught them—came to Jesus and asked him a question, to
see what answer he would give. He said: "Master, what shall I
do to have everlasting life?"
Jesus said to the scribe: "What is written in the law? You
are a reader of God's law; tell me what it says."
Then the man gave this answer:
"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and
with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy
mind; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."
Jesus said to the man: "You have answered right; do this,
and you shall have everlasting life."
But the man was not satisfied. He asked another question:
"And who is my neighbor?"
To answer this question, Jesus gave the parable or story of
"The Good Samaritan." He said: "A certain man was going down
the lonely road from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among
robbers, who stripped him of all that he had and beat him; and
then went away, leaving him almost dead. It happened that a
certain priest was going down that road; and when he saw the man lying there, he passed by on the
other side. And a Levite, also, when he came to the place,
and saw the man, he too went by on the other side. But a
certain Samaritan, as he was going down, came where this man
was; and as soon as he saw him, he felt a pity for him. He
came to the man, and dressed his wounds, pouring oil and
wine into them. Then he lifted him up, and set him on his
own beast of burden, and walked beside him to an inn. There
he took care of him all night; and the next morning he took
out from his purse two shillings, and gave them to the
keeper of the inn, and said: 'Take care of him; and if you
need to spend more than this, do so; and when I come again I
will pay it to you.'"
Then he lifted him up
"Which one of these three, do you think,
showed himself a neighbor to the man who fell among the
The scribe said: "The one who showed mercy on him."
Then Jesus said to him: "Go and do thou likewise."
By this parable, Jesus showed that "our neighbor" is the one
who needs the help that we can give him, whoever he may
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THE STORY OF THE
Came to Bethany where his friends Martha and Mary
From Jericho, Jesus and his disciples went up the mountains,
and came to Bethany, where his friends Martha and Mary lived,
and where he had raised Lazarus to life. Many people in
Jerusalem heard that Jesus was there, and they went out of the
city to see him, for Bethany was only two miles from Jerusalem.
Some came also to see Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the
dead; but the rulers of the Jews said to each other:
"We must not only kill Jesus, but Lazarus,
also; because on his account so many of the people are going
after Jesus and are believing on him."
The friends of Jesus in Bethany made a supper for Jesus, at
the house of a man named Simon. He was called "Simon the
leper"; and perhaps he was one whom Jesus had cured of leprosy.
Jesus and his disciples, with Lazarus, leaned upon the couches
around the table, as the guests; and Martha was one of those
who waited upon them. While they were at the supper, Mary, the
sister of Lazarus, came into the room, carrying a sealed jar of
very precious perfume. She opened the jar, and poured some of
the perfume upon the head of Jesus, and some upon his feet; and
she wiped his feet with her long hair. And the whole house was
filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
But one of the disciples of Jesus, Judas Iscariot, was not
pleased at this. He said: "Why was such a waste of the perfume
made? This might have been sold for more than forty-five
dollars, and the money given to the poor!"
This he said, but not because he cared for the poor. Judas
was the one who kept the bag of money for Jesus and the twelve;
and he was a thief, and took away for his own use all the money
that he could steal. But Jesus said:
"Let her alone; why do you find fault with
the woman? She has done a good work upon me. You have the
poor always with you, and whenever you wish, you can give to
them. But you will have me with you only a little while. She
has done what she could; for she has come to perfume my body
for its burial. And truly I say to you, that wherever the
gospel shall be preached throughout all the world, what this
woman has done shall be told in memory of her."
She wiped his feet with her hair
Perhaps Mary knew what others did not believe, that Jesus
was soon to die; and she showed her love for him, and her sorrow for his
coming death, by this rich gift. But Judas, the disciple who
carried the bag, was very angry at Jesus; and from that time
he was looking for a chance to betray Jesus, or to give him
up to his enemies. He went to the chief priests, and said:
"What will you give me, if I will put Jesus in your
They said, "We will give you thirty pieces of silver."
And for thirty pieces of silver Judas promised to help them
take Jesus, and make him their prisoner.
On the morning after the supper at Bethany, Jesus called two
of his disciples, and said to them:
"Go into the next village, and at a place where two roads
cross; and there you will find an ass tied, and a colt with it.
Loose them, and bring them to me. And if any one says to you,
'Why do you do this?' say, 'The Lord has need of them,' and
they will let them go."
They went to the place and found the ass and the colt, and
were loosing them, when the owner said:
"What are you doing, untying the ass?"
And they said, as Jesus had told them to say:
"The Lord has need of it."
Then the owner gave them the ass and the colt for the use of Jesus. They brought them to
Jesus on the Mount of Olives; and they laid some of their
own clothes on the colt for a cushion, and set Jesus upon
it. Then all the disciples and a very great multitude threw
their garments upon the ground for Jesus to ride upon.
Others cut down branches from the trees and laid them on the
ground. And as Jesus rode over the mountain toward
Jerusalem, many walked before him waving branches of palm
trees. And they all cried together:
They threw their garments upon the ground for Jesus to
"Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he
that cometh in the name of the Lord! Blessed be the kingdom
of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord!
Hosanna in the highest!"
These things they said, because they believed that Jesus was
the Christ, the Anointed King; and they hoped that he would now
set up his throne in Jerusalem. Some of the Pharisees in the
crowd, who did not believe in Jesus, said to him:
"Master, stop your disciples!"
But Jesus said:
"I tell you, that if these should be still, the very stones
would cry out!"
And when he came into Jerusalem with all this multitude, all
the city was filled with wonder. They said: "Who is this?"
And the multitude answered:
"This is Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth in Galilee!"
And Jesus went into the Temple, and looked around it; but he
did not stay, because the hour was late. He went again to
Bethany, and there stayed at night with his friends.
These things took place on Sunday, the first day of the
week; and that Sunday in the year is called Palm Sunday,
because of the palm branches which the people carried before
Many people heard him gladly, but the
great city was deaf to his pleadings. "O Jerusalem,
Jerusalem," he cried, "thou that killest the prophets, how
often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a
hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would
The great city was deaf to his pleadings
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THE STORY OF THE
At the foot of the Mount of Olives, near the path over the
hill toward Bethany, there was an orchard of olive trees,
called "The Garden of Gethsemane." The word "Gethsemane" means
"oil press." Jesus often went to this place with his disciples,
because of its quiet shade. At this garden he stopped, and
outside he left eight of his disciples, saying to them, "Sit
here while I go inside and pray."
He took with him the three chosen ones, Peter, James, and
John, and went within the orchard. Jesus knew that in a little
while Judas would be there with a band of men to seize him;
that in a few hours he would be beaten, and stripped, and led
out to die. The thought of what he was to suffer came upon him
and filled his soul with grief. He said to Peter and James and
"My soul is filled with sorrow, a sorrow that almost kills
me. Stay here and watch while I am praying."
He went a little further among the trees, and flung himself
down upon the ground, and cried out:
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass away from
me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou willest!"
So earnest was his feeling and so great
his suffering that there came out upon his face great drops
of sweat like blood, falling upon the ground. After praying
for a time, he rose up from the earth and went to his three
disciples, and found them all asleep. He awaked them, and
said to Peter: "What, could you not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray that you may not go into temptation. The
spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
He left them, and went a second time into the woods, and
fell on his face, and prayed again, saying:
"O my Father, if this cup cannot pass away, and I must drink
it, then thy will be done."
He came again to the three disciples, and found them
sleeping; but this time he did not awake them. He went once
more into the woods, and prayed, using the same words. And an
angel from heaven came to him and gave him strength. He was now
ready for the fate that was soon to come, and his heart was
strong. Once more he went to the three disciples, and said to
them: "You may as well sleep on now, and take your rest, for
the hour is at hand; and already the Son of man is given by the
traitor into the hands of sinners. But rise up and let us be
going. See, the traitor is here!"
The disciples awoke; they heard the noise of a crowd, and saw the flashing of torches
and the gleaming of swords and spears. In the throng they
saw Judas standing, and they knew now that he was the
traitor of whom Jesus had spoken the night before. Judas
came rushing forward, and kissed Jesus, as though he were
glad to see him. This was a signal that he had given
beforehand to the band; for the men of the guard did not
know Jesus, and Judas had said to them:
"The one that I shall kiss is the man that you are to take;
seize him and hold him fast."
Jesus said to Judas, "Judas, do you betray the Son of man
with a kiss?"
Then he turned to the crowd, and said, "Whom do you
They answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
Jesus said, "I am he."
When Jesus said this, a sudden fear came upon his enemies;
they drew back and fell upon the ground.
After a moment, Jesus said again, "Whom do you seek?"
And again they answered, "Jesus of Nazareth."
And Jesus said, pointing to his disciples, "I told you that
I am he. If you are seeking me, let these disciples go their
PETER DENIES CHRIST—And Peter remembered
the word of Jesus, which said unto him, 'Before the cock
crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.—(Matt. 26:75.)
But as they came forward to seize Jesus, Peter drew his sword, and struck at one of the
men in front, and cut off his right ear. The man was a
servant of the high-priest, and his name was Malchus. Jesus
said to Peter:
"Put up the sword into its sheath; the cup which my Father
has given me, shall I not drink it? Do you not know that I
could call upon my Father, and he would send to me armies upon
armies of angels?"
Then he spoke to the crowd, "Let me do this." And he touched
the place where the ear had been cut off, and it came on again
and was well. Jesus said to the rulers and leaders of the armed
"Do you come out against me with swords and clubs as though
I were a robber? I was with you every day in the Temple, and
you did not lift your hands against me. But the words in the
scriptures must come to pass; and this is your hour."
When the disciples of Jesus saw that he would not allow them
to fight for him, they did not know what to do. In their sudden
alarm they all ran away, and left their Master alone with his
enemies. These men laid their hands on Jesus, and bound him,
and led him away to the house of the high-priest. There were at
that time two men called high-priests by the Jews. One was
Annas, who had been high-priest until his office had been taken from him by the
Romans, and given to Caiphas, his son-in-law. But Annas
still had great power among the people; and they brought
Jesus, all bound as he was, first to Annas.
Simon Peter, and John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, had
followed after the crowd of those who carried Jesus away; and
they came to the door of the high-priest's house. John knew the
high-priest and went in; but Peter at first stayed outside,
until John went out and brought him in. He came in, but did not
dare to go into the room where Jesus stood before the
high-priest Annas. In the court-yard of the house, they had
made a fire of charcoal, and Peter stood among those who were
warming themselves at the fire.
Annas in the inner room asked Jesus about his disciples and
his teaching. Jesus answered him:
"What I have taught has been open in the synagogues and in
the Temple. Why do you ask me? Ask those that heard me; they
know what I said."
Then one of the officers struck Jesus on the mouth, saying
"Is this the way that you answer the high-priest?"
Jesus answered the officer calmly and quietly:
"If I have said anything evil, tell what
the evil is; but if I have spoken the truth, why do you
While Annas and his men were thus showing their hate toward
Jesus, who stood bound and alone among his enemies, Peter was
still in the court-yard warming himself at the fire. A woman,
who was a serving-maid in the house, looked at Peter sharply,
and finally said to him:
"You were one of those men with this Jesus of Nazareth!"
Peter was afraid to tell the truth, and he answered her:
"Woman, I do not know the man; and I do not know what you
are talking about."
And to get away from her, he went out into the porch of the
house. There another woman-servant saw him and said: "This man
was one of those with Jesus!"
And Peter swore with an oath that he did not know Jesus at
all. Soon a man came by, who was of kin to Malchus, whose ear
Peter had cut off. He looked at Peter, and heard him speak, and
"You are surely one of this man's disciples; for your speech
shows that you came from Galilee."
Then Peter began again to curse and to swear, declaring that
he did not know the man.
Just at that moment the loud, shrill
crowing of a cock startled Peter; and at the same time he
saw Jesus, who was being dragged through the hall from Annas
to the council-room of Caiphas, the other high-priest. And
the Lord turned as he was passing and looked at Peter.
Then there flashed into Peter's mind what Jesus had said on
the evening before!
"Before the cock crows to-morrow morning, you will three
times deny that you have ever known me."
Then Peter went out of the high-priest's house into the
street; and he wept bitterly because he had denied his
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THE STORY OF THE EMPTY
After Jesus was taken before the high-priest where he was
ridiculed and the people spat upon him, he was taken before the
Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, who ruled over Judea. He heard
their complaints, but did not find any cause for putting him to
death. But at last he yielded to their demands, although he
declared Jesus was innocent of all wrong.
He heard their complaints
And so Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, gave command that Jesus should die by the
cross. The Roman soldiers then took Jesus and beat him most
cruelly; and then led him out of the city to the place of
death. This was a place called "Golgotha" in the Jewish
language, "Calvary" in that of the Romans; both words
meaning "The Skull Place."
With the soldiers, went out of the city a great crowd of
people; some of them enemies of Jesus, glad to see him suffer;
others of them friends of Jesus, and the women who had helped
him, now weeping as they saw him, all covered with his blood
and going out to die. But Jesus turned to them and said:
"Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for
yourselves and for your children. For the days are coming when
they shall count those happy who have no little ones to be
slain; when they shall wish that the mountain might fall on
them, and the hills might cover them, and hide them from their
They had tried to make Jesus bear his own cross, but soon
found that he was too weak from his sufferings, and could not
carry it. They seized on a man who was coming out of the
country into the city, a man named Simon, and they made him
carry the cross to its place at Calvary.
It was the custom among the Jews to give to men about to die
by the cross some medicine to deaden their feelings, so that they would
not suffer so greatly. They offered this to Jesus, but when
he had tasted it and found what it was, he would not take
it. He knew that he would die, but he wished to have his
mind clear, and to understand what was done and what was
said, even though his sufferings might be greater.
At the place Calvary, they laid the cross down, and
stretched Jesus upon it, and drove nails through his hands and
feet to fasten him to the cross; and then they stood it upright
with Jesus upon it. While the soldiers were doing this dreadful
work, Jesus prayed for them to God, saying: "Father, forgive
them; for they know not what they are doing."
The soldiers also took the clothes that Jesus had worn,
giving to each one a garment. But when they came to his
undergarment, they found that it was woven and had no seams; so
they said, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see
who shall have it." So at the foot of the cross the soldiers
threw lots for the garment of Christ.
Two men who had been robbers and had been sentenced to die
by the cross, were led out to die at the same time with Jesus.
One was placed on a cross at his right side, and the other at
his left; and to make Jesus appear as the worst, his cross
stood in the middle. Over the head of Jesus on his cross, they placed, by
Pilate's order, a sign, on which was written:
"This is Jesus of Nazareth,
The King of the Jews."
This was written in three languages; in Hebrew, which was
the language of the Jews; in Latin, the language of the Romans,
and in Greek. Many of the people read this writing; but the
chief priests were not pleased with it. They urged Pilate to
have it changed from "The King of the Jews" to "He said, I am
King of the Jews." But Pilate would not change it. He said:
"What I have written, I have written."
And the people who passed by on the road, as they looked at
Jesus on the cross, mocked at him. Some called out to him:
"You that would destroy the Temple and build it in three
days, save yourself. If you are the Son of God, come down from
And the priests and scribes said:
"He saved others, but he cannot save himself. Come down from
the cross, and we will believe in you!"
And one of the robbers, who was on his own cross beside that
of Jesus, joined in the cry, and said: "If you are the Christ,
save yourself and save us!"
But the other robber said to him: "Have
you no fear of God, to speak thus, while you are suffering
the same fate with this man? And we deserve to die, but this
man has done nothing wrong."
Then this man said to Jesus: "Lord, remember me when thou
comest into thy kingdom!"
And Jesus answered him, as they were both hanging on their
crosses: "To-day you shall be with me in heaven."
Before the cross of Jesus his mother was standing, filled
with sorrow for her son, and beside her was one of his
disciples, John, the disciple whom he loved best. Other women
besides his mother were there—his mother's sister, Mary
the wife of Cleophas, and a woman named Mary Magdalene, out of
whom a year before Jesus had sent an evil spirit. Jesus wished
to give his mother, now that he was leaving her, into the care
of John, and he said to her, as he looked from her to John:
"Woman, see your son."
And then to John he said: "Son, see your mother."
And on that day John took the mother of Jesus home to his
own house, and cared for her as his own mother.
At about noon, a sudden darkness came over the land, and
lasted for three hours. And in the middle of the afternoon, when Jesus had
been on the cross six hours of terrible pain, he cried out
aloud words which meant:
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" words which are
the beginning of the twenty-second psalm, a psalm which long
before had spoken of many of Christ's sufferings.
After this he spoke again, saying, "I thirst!"
And some one dipped a sponge in a cup of vinegar, and put it
upon a reed, and gave him a drink of it. Then Jesus spoke his
last words upon the cross:
"It is finished! Father, into thy hands I give my
And then Jesus died. And at that moment, the veil in the
Temple between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies, was torn
apart by unseen hands from the top to the bottom. And when the
Roman officer, who had charge of the soldiers around the cross,
saw what had taken place, and how Jesus died, he said: "Surely
this was a righteous man; he was the Son of God."
After Jesus was dead, one of the soldiers, to be sure that
he was no longer living, ran his spear into the side of his
dead body; and out of the wound came pouring both water and
There were even among the rulers of the Jews a few who were
friends of Jesus, though they did not dare to follow Jesus
openly. One of these was Nicodemus, the ruler who came to see
Jesus at night. Another was a rich man who came from the
town of Arimathea, and was named Joseph. Joseph of Arimathea
went boldly in to Pilate, and asked that the body of Jesus
might be given to him. Pilate wondered that he had died so
soon, for often men lived on the cross two or three days.
But when he found that Jesus was really dead, he gave his
body to Joseph.
Then Joseph and his friends took down the body of Jesus from
the cross, and wrapped it in fine linen. And Nicodemus brought
some precious spices, myrrh and aloes, which they wrapped up
with the body. Then they placed the body in Joseph's own new
tomb, which was a cave dug out of the rock, in a garden near
the place of the cross. And before the opening of the cave they
rolled a great stone.
And Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, and some other
women, saw the tomb, and watched while they laid the body of
Jesus in it. On the next morning, some of the rulers of the
Jews came to Pilate, and said:
"Sir, we remember that that man Jesus of Nazareth, who
deceived the people, said while he was yet alive, 'After three
days I will rise again.' Give orders that the tomb shall be
watched and made sure for three days, or else his disciples may
steal his body, and then say, 'He is risen from the dead'; and thus even after his
death he may do more harm than he did while he was
Pilate said to them:
"Set a watch, and make it as sure as you can."
Then they placed a seal upon the stone, so that no one might
break it; and they set a watch of soldiers at the door.
And in the tomb the body of Jesus lay from the evening of
Friday, the day when he died on the cross, to the dawn of
Sunday, the first day of the week, when he arose from the dead
and appeared unto his disciples.
But the brightest day in all the world was this Sunday
morning. For on that day the stone was rolled away from the
tomb and Jesus came forth from the dead to gladden his
disciples. This he had told them he would do. On this Sunday
morning, Mary Magdalene and another Mary, called Salome, came
to the tomb, found the stone rolled away and an angel standing
by the open tomb. He told them that Jesus was not there, but
Afterward Jesus was with his disciples for forty days, after
which he was taken up into heaven.
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For fear of the people, they let them go. And being
let go, they went to their own friends, the company who met in
the upper room, and there they gave thanks to God for helping
them to speak his word without fear.
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