1 Taking only the twelve apostles and a few women who were also followers, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 set out for Kaisarea Philippi, a city renamed by the Tetrarch Philip when seeking Roman patronage.
2 One eventide, while on the way, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said to the twelve, “Who do the people in the places we pass through think I am?” They were not agreed, some saying the people believed him to be the Deliverer and some the Enlightener. Others said the people believed him to be ha’Mashiaḥ, while some said that many thought he was Yoḥanan of the Wilderness, for sometimes it seemed his ruaḥ had entered 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏.
3 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Who do you think I am?” Again, they were not agreed.
4 And 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “I am he whom all men need, whomever they seek. Call a thing by a hundred names and it remains the same. However, each of you keep your own conception in your own heart and discuss it with no one.”
5 Later, at a house at Balos, they were discussing the people’s expectations for ha’Mashiaḥ. And Yahuḏah said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “If you are truly he, then the people will believe and follow you, for the prophecies in the Qodesh Books must be fulfilled. He will surely come, and I believe you are he. I believe the reborn world is at hand, and the day of the people’s salvation is near.”
6 Yoḥanan said, “It is foreordained that ha’Mashiaḥ will suffer death by violence but will rise triumphant above it, to manifest again as proof that death is not the destined end.”
7 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Perhaps I am ha’Mashiaḥ, for will he not be all things to all men?”
8 Kĕpha said, “Master, we are your friends, and you are our guiding light, the hope of our lives. Do not say such things, for we could not bear to lose you.”
9 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 answered, “I must bear the cross of life, and on me it lies more heavily than on others. Each must do whatever he may be called upon to do, and great causes demand great deeds and sacrifices.”
10 Then he said to Kĕpha, “Do not be so blinded by worldliness that you cannot believe the ruaḥ can rise above the claims of the flesh. If you are, then it would be better for you to come no further.”
11 To the others he said, “Do not view these things as men do, but see them through the eyes of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄.”
12 Coming to a village, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 ate while a small crowd gathered. And there he addressed the people, saying, “If any of you intend to become followers of mine, you must put aside any thoughts of self and carry your own burden of suffering without complaint. If a man worries too much about his own safety and comfort, he gains nothing. But if he sacrifices these for the sake of my cause, he will not lose. What profit can a man make by gaining all that the world has to offer, in exchange for the welfare of his own soul? What can he take from his gains to buy back what has been lost?”
13 “Therefore, take care, for I give fair warning. If anyone in this adulterous and depraved generation choose to ignore my teachings, that person may find himself ignored when seeking entry into the state of glory. I can also tell you that some are here who will realize the nature of shamayim before undergoing the experience of death.”
14 Someone there said, “Adultery is kept in check by stoning. How can the punishment be increased to prevent it?”
15 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “If a tree is cut down, it will spring up in many places from the root. Evil is overcome by digging out the root of evil. Adultery has many causes. But if a man marries a woman who has fornicated, can he revile her for sorrow he has brought upon his own head? The dowry of a chaste woman is so much higher. But if a man accepts what she brings and revile her for what she has not, surely, he is mean hearted.”
16 “Before any man cast a stone at an adulteress, let him search his heart and see whether he be guiltless before women. I say to those men who have one rule for their wives and another for the wives of others, set one standard and abide by it, otherwise be branded as hypocrites.”
17 “Men too readily lay blame at the doors of others. For surely if anyone puts his hand into a snake hole, he can hardly blame the snake for being bitten. If a man enters a house of harlotry, who is to blame if he collects the whore’s dowry?”
18 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was invited into a house to eat and rest, and having done so, he sat outside in the courtyard amusing the children who played there. He told them stories which were seeds planted in their hearts. Some women were also listening. And when two of the twelve came into the courtyard and told the women to see the children did not bother 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, he overheard them and said, “Let the children come to me, for from such as these will come the Rule of Elohim.”
19 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 and the twelve entered Kaisarea on the day before the Shabbat, and on the Shabbat, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was invited to dine at the house of a Parashyim, for he had many friends among them. Seated not far from 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 was a man whose body was swollen by water, and 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 desired to heal him. But being a guest, he asked whether any there objected to this being done on the Shabbat. As none did, so 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 laid his hands on the man, who then became excited, going out and ejecting from all parts of the body so it became slackened.
20 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said to those present, “I am sure if any of you found an ox or donkey fallen into a well on the Shabbat, you would have no hesitation in rescuing it.” None disputed with him.
21 Seeing how those present scrambled for the best seats, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “When invited to a feast, do not rush for the best seats, because the host may have special guests in mind to occupy them. So, if you have grabbed one of these seats, he will come and request you to vacate it in favor of another, and you will then have to take a seat not wanted by anyone else. When invited as a guest, it is wiser to take one of the less desirable places; then your host will come and escort you to a better seat. Thus, the other guests will see that the host holds you in high regard. It is a rule of life that whoever makes himself out to be more important than he is will be humiliated, while he who is modest will be exalted.”
22 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Most of you here give formal feasts; and all have more food and the good things of life than they need. Yet because your stomachs have never been empty, you cannot understand the sufferings of the underprivileged. But if adversity descend upon you, the cry goes up, ‘Woe is me. Can there be an Elohim when I am thus afflicted?’ Do you not understand that misfortune and tribulation must be sent to such as you? For in what other way will you learn compassion?”
23 “When giving a feast, read the intentions of your heart. Are you giving it solely for love of those invited? Or do you seek to gain something from it? Are your motives centered on yourself, or on others? Also, is it not surely true that if you can afford to give a feast or indulge in good food, you can afford to provide for others who are underprivileged? Who is it that feeds the poor and needy? Is it not the poor themselves? And do not the rich entertain only the rich? I can assure you; it will not be so under the Rule of Elohim.”
24 “Many say, ‘But the poor are poor through no fault of ours.’ But I tell you that if many of you were as good as some of the poor, you would not be wallowing in luxury. How many here can truly say, ‘My goodness has brought me riches’?”
25 After this, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 went and addressed a crowd near a water fountain where several expressed intentions of becoming disciples.
26 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “It is sad that so many desire to become disciples without weighing the cost of discipleship. To follow me as a talmid means renouncing all home comforts, and this is not something to be lightly undertaken. Many have responsibilities which cannot be cast onto the shoulders of others. So, to those who follow me as disciples, burden is added to burden. Apart from privations and discomforts, disciples are subject to the mockery and scorn of men, and unforeseeable suffering may be in store for them. Those who follow me, taking up my cause but not as disciples, double the burden of their cross.”
27 “If you wished to erect a house, it would be very shortsighted to commence the building without working out the cost and being sure this could be met. If the cost and money available are not first calculated, the foundations may be laid but it will be found impossible to complete the job. Then you will become the laughingstock of the town, and people will say, ‘The fool started something he could not finish.’”
28 “What would be your opinion of a Sovereign who, with an army of a thousand men, marched against another with ten thousand, without carefully weighing his chances? Would he not do better to remain where he was and sue for peace?”
29 “So, I say to those who would become disciples, weigh the matter in your hearts; then, if still of the same mind, give up all you hold dear and follow me. But do not come if in so doing you cast aside responsibilities and obligations. For if you do so in relation to others, you will be no less inclined to do likewise with me when the road becomes difficult.”
30 Among the crowd were many self-righteous people and hypocrites – self-deceivers who, interpreting the Torah to suit their convenience, saw no wrong in themselves; who, setting themselves up as judges, were like blind men trying to sort black pebbles from white, and had no more success. They said to 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏, “You choose the wrong types. If you chose differently, we would follow; but sand does not mix with honey.”
31 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “Let me tell you a parable. Two men went into the Hĕyḵal to pray – one being a self-righteous man and self-deceiver, the other a man aware of his failings and shortcomings. The self-righteous man prayed in this manner: ‘I praise my Elohim for many blessings, giving thanks that I am not like the majority of men – avaricious, deceitful, dishonest, and adulterous. I fast twice weekly, pay all my subscriptions, and attend every Hĕyḵal gathering.’ The self-righteous man had a specially reserved seat, so the other was standing apart. And he prayed differently, saying, ‘My Elohim, do not desert me. I have many failings and need strengthening so I may overcome them and be a better man.’”
32 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “I assure you of this: The man who benefited from his prayer was the second one, not the first. This was because, though the first man had many virtues, he was unable to recognize his failings. The second man was reconciled with Elohim, while the other was not. He who prays must be as one looking into a mirror – not with the expectation of seeing a gratifying reflection, but seeking an image revealing his faults.”
33 “If a man put tinted glass before his eyes to enhance his image, thus putting out things he does not wish to see, he is not only a self-deceiver but a fool unto himself. The charioteer does not overhaul his chariot to seek the strong points, but to discover the flaws; and if he did not put these right, he would risk his life.”
34 When eventide came and 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 sat with the apostles, one of them said, “Master, we have given up all we have to follow you, and sometimes we get depressed.”
35 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “The blows life delivers are strengthening ones, and without adversity men would become weak in ruaḥ. The reward I can offer is small compared with your rewards in glory, for here you are small but in shamayim you will be great. There, the highest on Earth shall be lowest, and the lowliest here shall be the exalted there. This, however, does not follow as a natural sequence, but only providing the challenge of life is met as it should be, and surmounted.”
36 The following day, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 took Kĕpha, Ya’aqoḇ and Yoḥanan – three of the apostles – to a cave high up on the mountainside, where they remained in meditation for three days. On the third day, while seated in the cave, the others saw the whole body of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 exude a light and become radiant, the colors being blue and white. They were astonished at such an inflow of power, for no other body could have contained it. Though manifesting in them also, it was much weaker. The three with 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 covered their eyes before the brilliance.
37 And Yoḥanan said, “Master, while the Ruaḥ Ha’Qodesh manifests in us as no more than a faint blue glow seen only in total darkness, your brilliance is like that of the sun compared with the palest star.”
38 Kĕpha said, “It is good for us to have seen this, for now we know how poorly we compare with you.”
39 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “I do not teach things without purpose. The things I do are not beyond the reach of anyone. But keep these things to yourselves. I shall truly need all my power and strength to carry out the task ahead. What must be done will be done, not as I want it, but as the Father wants it. For now, I know the path I must follow and the ordeal I must undergo.”
40 Coming down from the mountain, 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏saw some disciples and two apostles in the midst of a crowd which parted to let 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 through. He found the apostles trying to heal a man who was deaf and dumb, but they could not, and the crowd was mocking them.
41 Then 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 said, “The man’s ears are not fast, neither is the tongue without speech, but the ruaḥ within cannot use them.”
42 Thereupon he strengthened the ruaḥ of the afflicted man with his, and the man fell to the ground, foaming at the mouth and tearing at himself. Then the crowd drew back from 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 in fear, while the man’s father abused him. But soon the man on the ground arose and walked away, and he could both hear and talk.
43 Later, the disciples asked 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏 why he had succeeded when they had failed. And he said, “These things are done through the power of the Ruaḥ Ha’Qodesh, which is the Hand of 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤄. Men have it according to their capacity to hold it. But before it can come in, evil must be driven out. I do not teach abstinence from evil for some purposeless end, but to bring to men the recognition of their heritage. All men were once sons of Elohim, but they became bastards of Elohim without heritage. I come to men so they may re-inherit and become true sons of Elohim.”
44 One said, “Master, while you were away there was another here who healed and did the same things as you. But he was not one of us, and we argued with him. He is a talmid of Shim’on the Sorcerer, who does many strange things, and the people listen to his words.”
45 𐤉𐤄𐤅𐤔𐤏said, “Separate the words from the deeds, but good is good whoever does it. Therefore, never speak disparagingly of anyone who does good. If he is not yet against us, he may be for us. Therefore, it is unwise to become angry in haste.”