Of our going up to Jerusalem; and of the division between parents and children
Too Long; Didn't ReadAs we passed through the country to Capernaum, we began to tell the people everywhere that Jesus had now determined to go up to Jerusalem at the head of his followers, and that the time of Redemption was at hand. But Jesus forbade us; for he would not that any man should know that he was passing through. Howbeit, even though we were silent, the rumour of his journey was everywhere noised abroad, so that he could not be hid. Many therefore left their ploughs, and their fishing-boats, and their trades, and followed with us: or, if they followed not, they appointed to be with us at the next Passover when we went up to the Holy City. For it was already the month called Adar, so that it wanted no more than four or five weeks to the Passover.
Now certain youths and striplings followed us, not deliberately, nor with forethought, but because they were ever unstable and ever seeking after new things. Them therefore Jesus warned to go back to their homes, telling them that they had not counted the cost of the journey. Others were fain to have come with us; but their friends sought by all means to prevent them, telling them what cruelties the Romans had wrought upon their fathers and kinsfolk in former times; how some had been [pg 277]sold for slaves, some slain with the sword, some crucified; and with many tears sisters besought their brothers, and mothers their children, not to go up to Jerusalem, nor to bring them down with sorrow to the grave. Now Jesus did not call upon such as these to come to him; but if they were minded to come, he bade them remember that they must above all things trust in him and love him; yea, he said that they must love him better than houses, or lands, or kinsfolk.
Hence also it came to pass that in a certain village he spake words which have been a stumblingblock to many. For so it was that a certain young man of that village had come forth to meet Jesus; and after he had saluted him, the young man had promised to follow in his army, and to serve him even to the death. Howbeit he besought Jesus that he would suffer him first to go and bid farewell to his father and mother. Now Jesus looked on him, and perceived that he was as a reed that bendeth with the wind. So he said unto him that he must not go: “For,” said he, “he that putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back, is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” Thereupon the face of the young man fell and he became very sad; yet he obeyed Jesus, for that day, and followed him; but on the morrow he secretly departed for to bid his parents farewell, meaning shortly to return to Jesus. So when Jesus passed through the village wherein the young man abode, behold, the young man was even then coming forth from the door of his home. But his mother ran behind him, and caught him by the cloak, and embracing him besought him again and again not to go with Jesus. Thus she constrained him. But Jesus, looking back on the youth, [pg 278]said, “Verily he that hateth not his father and his mother cannot be my disciple.”