The main difference between this and version 1 is that I have rendered the name of the main character into his native Galilean Aramaic (which is closer to Babylonian Aramaic than to the Palestinian Aramaic of Samaraea and Iudaea) as well as several of the place names and those of supporting characters. Where Greek or Latin is more appropriate, I’ve used those rather the anglicized version of those names as I did previously.
* * * * *
What follows is a harmony of the four canonical gospels with material from several non-canonical gospels and other works, such as the Didache. Several later alterations to earlier versions of the canonical works have been removed. The foundation of the whole work presented here is the Gospel of Mark, but with many additions from the other three canonicals and the other works mentioned at the end.
I did one of these back in the late 1980s, but the goal then was to include as much as possible in as coordinated a manner as possible. This time, the effort is tied to the motivations behind my essay “The Real Jesus Christ”, and as such I have focused on what a first century Galilean prophet may have said or done.
I have deliberately left out anarchronistic allegories to later events such as the Little Apocalypse of the Olivet Discourse, the story of “Legion” being cast out of a human into two thousand pigs, and the feedings of the five thousand and of the four thousand. I have left out “plot devices” such as filler material and voyages across “the sea” that really go nowhere. I have also excised all of the “magical” elements found in the canonical gospels such as people being resurrected from the dead and water transmorphosing into wine. Several of the healing stories involved other elements than the miraculous, and seemingly miraculous cures for which there is nonetheless a scientific explanation are not unheard of.
The gospel of *Isho Nasraya of Kaparnahum
(*also known as Isho Meshiha, Isho bar Maryam, Yeshu ha-Notzri, Iesous Nazoraios, Iesous Galilaios, Iesous Nazarenos, Iesous Chrestos, Iesous Christos, Iesus Chrestus, Iesus Christos, Jesus the Nazorean, Jesus the Galilean, Jesus Christ)
Baptism of Isho
Isho went up from Kaparnahum in Galilaea, and was baptized by Yohannan in the River Jordan.
Coming up from the water, he heard a voice come out of the sky, ‘You are my Son; this day have I begotten you’. Immediately the Spirit drove him out into the wilderness, where he was tempted by Beliar for forty days.
Beginning of the Galilean ministry
After the forty days, Isho went into Kaparnahum, and on the Sabbath he went to synagogue and taught. They were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as having authority, and not as the scribes, asking each other, ‘Where did this man get these things?’ and, ‘What is the wisdom that is given to this man, that such mighty works come about by his hands? Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Maryam, and brother of Yacub, Yosep, Yehuda, and Shamayon? Aren’t his sisters Maryam and Salome with us?’
Man with the unclean spirit
There was at their assembly a man with an unclean spirit, and he cried out, saying, ‘Ha! What do we have to do with you, Isho Nasraya? Have you come to destroy us?’
Isho rebuked him, saying, ‘Be quiet, and come out of him!’
The unclean spirit, convulsing him and crying with a loud voice, came out of him. The report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilaea and its surrounding area.
Isho heals many at Symeon’s house
After they left the assembly, they came into the house of Symeon and Andreas. Symeon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever, and they told him about her. He came and took her by the hand, and raised her up. The fever left her, and she served them.
At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick, and those who were possessed by demons. All the city was gathered together at the door. He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons.
Preaching tour in Galilaea
Early in the night, Isho rose up and went out, and departed into a deserted place, and prayed there. Symeon and those who were with him followed after him; and they found him, and told him, ‘Everyone is looking for you’.
He said to them, ‘Let’s go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this reason I came forth’. He went to synagogues throughout all Galilaea, preaching and casting out demons.
Cleansing of a leper
There came to Isho a leper, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, ‘If you want to, you can make me clean’.
Being moved with compassion, he stretched out his hand, and touched him, and said to him, ‘I want to. Be made clean’. When he had said this, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean. He strictly warned him, and immediately sent him out, and said to him, ‘See you say nothing to anybody, but go show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing the things which Mazas commanded, for a testimony to them’.
But he went out, and began to proclaim it much, and to spread about the matter, so that Jesus could no more openly enter into a city, but was outside in desert places: and they came to him from everywhere.
Healing of a paralytic
When he returned to Kaparnahum after some days, it was heard that he was in the house. Many gathered together there, so that there was no more room, not even around the door; and he spoke the word to them.
Four people came, carrying a paralytic to him. When they could not come near to him for the crowd, they removed the roof where he was. When they had broken it up, they let down the mat that the paralytic was lying on. Isho, seeing their faith, said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven you’.
But there were some of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, ‘Why does this man speak blasphemies like that? Who can forgive sins but God alone?’
Isho, perceiving in his spirit their thoughts, said asked, ‘Why do you reason these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to tell the paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven”; or to say, “Arise, and take up your bed, and walk”? But that you may know that I have authority on earth to forgive sins’—he said, turning to the paralytic—‘I tell you, arise, take up your mat, and go to your house’.
He arose, and immediately took up the mat, and went out in front of them all; so that they were all amazed.
Isho calls Levi
As he passed by, Isho saw Levi bar Alphaios sitting at the tax office, and he said to him, ‘Follow me’. And he arose and followed him.
It happened that many tax collectors and sinners sat down with Isho and his disciples at the table in Levi’s house, for there were many who followed him. The scribes, when they saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, asked his disciples, ‘Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?’
When Isho heard it, he told them, ‘Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners’.
Question about fasting
Yohannan’s disciples and the scribes were fasting, and some came and asked him, ‘Why do Yohannan’s disciples and the disciples of the scribes fast, but your disciples don’t?’
Isho replied, ‘Can the groomsmen fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they can’t fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them’.
It happened that Isho was going through the grain fields on Shabbat, and his disciples began, as they went, to pluck the ears of grain. The scribes said to him, ‘Why do your disciples do that which is not lawful on Shabbat?’
Isho answered, ‘Did you never read what David did, when he had need, and was hungry, he, and they who were with him? How he entered into the house of God when Abiathar was high priest, and ate the show bread (which it is not lawful to eat except for the priests) and gave also to those who were with him?’
He concluded, ‘Shabbat was made for man, not man for Shabbat. Therefore man is lord even of Shabbat’.
Man with a withered hand
When Isho went to synagogue, there was a man with his hand withered. He told Isho, ‘I was a mason and earned my livelihood with my hands; I beg you, rabbi, to restore me to my health that I may not with ignominy have to beg for my bread.’
The scribes and elders watched Isho, to see whether he would heal him on Shabbat.
Isho said to the man who had his hand withered, ‘Stand up’.
He asked those of the assembly, ‘Is it lawful on Shabbat to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill’? But they were silent.
When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, ‘Stretch out your hand’. He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other.
Sermon on the Plain
He came to a broad level place with a crowd of his disciples, and a great number of the people who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases; as well as those who were troubled by unclean spirits, and they were being healed. All the multitude sought to touch him, for power came out of him and healed them all. Then he lifted up his eyes to his disciples and the masses, and taught them.
‘Come to me, all you who struggle and labor under heavy burdens, for easy is my yoke and my burden is gentle, and you shall find rest for yourselves.’
Blessings and curses
‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God; but cursed are you who are rich, for you have already received your consolation.
‘Blessed are you who are hungry, for you will be filled; but cursed are you who are full, for you will be hungry.
‘Blessed are you who weep, for you will laugh; but cursed are you who are laughing, for you will mourn and weep.
‘Blessed are you whom people hate, and exclude, and revile, and defame; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. But cursed are you of whom all speak well, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets.’
On the validity of the Torah
‘Don’t think that I want to destroy the Torah or the Prophets. I don’t want to destroy them but to bring them to fulfillment. Truly I tell you, unless heaven and earth pass away, not even one iota or one stroke shall in any way pass away from the Torah.’
The spirit of the Torah
‘You have heard it said, “You shall not kill”; and “Whoever kills will be in danger of the judgment”. But I tell you, that everyone who is angry with his brother without a cause will be in danger of the judgment; and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ will be in danger of the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of Gehenna.
‘You have heard it said, “You shall not commit adultery”, but I tell you that everyone who gazes at a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
‘Again you have heard it said, “You shall not make false vows, but shall perform to the Lord your vows’, but I tell you, don’t swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is his footstool, nor by Jerusalem, for it is his city. Nor shall you swear by your head, for you can’t make one hair white or black. Let your “Yes” be “Yes” and your “No” be “No”. Whatever is more than these is of the evil one.
‘You have heard it said, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”. But I tell you, don’t resist evil. Whoever strikes you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. If anyone sues you to take away your coat, let him have your cloak. Whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to any who ask you, and don’t turn away any who desire to borrow from you.
‘You have heard it said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy”. But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust.
‘If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Don’t sinners and tax collectors do the same? If you only greet your friends, what more do you do than others? Don’t sinners and tax collectors do the same? If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Don’t sinners do the same? Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.
‘Love your enemies, do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; for your reward will be great, and you will be children of Hypsistos; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil.’
Reconciliation before offering
‘If you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has anything against you leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are with him on the way; lest perhaps the prosecutor deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. Most certainly I tell you, you shall by no means get out of there, until you have paid the last penny.’
‘In everything, what you do not want to be done to you, do not do to another; this is the Torah and the Prophets.’
‘Be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful. Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.’
Masters and disciples
Isho spoke a parable to them. ‘Can the blind guide the blind? Won’t they both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully trained will be like his teacher’.
Worry about your own shortcomings
‘How can you tell your brother, “Brother, let me remove the speck of chaff that is in your eye,” when you yourself don’t see the beam that is in your own eye? First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck of chaff that is in your brother’s eye.’
A tree and its fruit
‘For there is no good tree that produces rotten fruit; nor again a rotten tree that produces good fruit. For each tree is known by its own fruit. For people don’t gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings out that which is good, and the evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings out that which is evil, for out of the abundance of the heart, his mouth speaks.’
The two foundations
‘Everyone who comes to me, and hears my words, and does them, I will show you who he is like. He is like a man building a house, who dug and went deep, and laid a foundation on the rock. When a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it was founded on the rock. But he who hears, and doesn’t do, is like a man who built a house on the earth without a foundation, against which the stream broke, and immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.’
A royal official’s son
In the town of Kaparnahum once again, a royal official came to ask Isho for help.
He said, ‘Rabbi, my son is in bed at my house. He cannot move and has much pain’.
Isho said, ‘I will come and heal him’.
The official said, ‘Rabbi, I am not worthy to have you come into my house. Just say the word, and my son will be healed’.
Isho was amazed when he heard this. He said to the officer, ‘Go home. Your son has been healed’. At that very same time the official’s son was healed.
On following Isho
As they went on the way, a scribe came and said to him, ‘Rabbi, I will go anywhere you go’.
Isho said, ‘Foxes have holes to live in, and birds have nests; but I have no place to lay my head’.
Another man who was a follower of Yohannan, said to Isho, ‘Mari, let me go first and bury my father’.
But Isho said to him, ‘Come with me, and let the dead bury the dead’.
Nothing stays hidden
‘Everything that is hidden will be seen. Everything that is hidden will be known. What I say to you in the dark, tell it in the light. What you hear in secret, shout to others from the rooftops.’
Whom to fear
‘Do not fear people who can kill the body. They cannot kill the spirit. But fear the one who can destroy both spirit and body in hell. Are not two sparrows worth only a small amount of money? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father knowing about it. Even the number of hairs on your head is known. So do not fear. You are worth more than many sparrows.’
Not peace but a sword
‘Do not think that I have come to bring peace on earth; I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s foes will be those of his own house’.
Conditions of discipleship
‘Now great multitudes were going with him. He turned and said to them, ‘If anyone comes to me, and doesn’t disregard his own father, mother, wife, children, brothers, and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he can’t be my disciple’.
Isho chooses disciples
Isho called those whom he desired, and they came. He appointed several to be with him, that he might send them out to preach, and to have authority to heal sicknesses and to cast out demons: Yaqub his brother, Kephas, Yohannan, Andreas, Levi, and Yehuda his brother.
Soon afterwards, he went about through cities and villages, preaching and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. With him were the disciples, and certain women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Maryam Magdalena; Yohanna, the wife of Chuzas, Herod’s steward; Susanna; and many others who served them from their possessions.
Isho and Beliar
He came into a house. The multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. When his friends heard it, they went out to seize him: for they said, ‘He is insane’. The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, ‘He has Beliar’, and, ‘By Beliar the prince of the demons he casts out the demons’.
Isho summoned them, and said to them in parables, ‘How can Beliar cast out Beliar? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. If Beliar has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can’t stand, but has an end. But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house’.
Parable of the Sower
Again he began to teach by the seaside. A great multitude was gathered to him, so that he entered into a boat in the sea, and sat down. All the multitude were on the land by the sea.
He taught them many things in parables, and told them in his teaching, ‘Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow, and it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds came and devoured it. Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some brought forth thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much’.
The purpose of the parables
When he was alone, those who were around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. He said to them, ‘To you is given the mystery of the kingdom of God, but to those who are outside, all things are done in parables, that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest perhaps they should turn again, and their sins should be forgiven them’.
A lamp under a bushel basket
He said to them, ‘Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn’t it put on a lamp stand? For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light’.
Parable of the Growing Seed
He said, ‘The kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn’t know how. For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come’.
Parable of the Tares
Isho told the people another story.
‘The kingdom of God is like a man sowing good seed in his field. While people were sleeping, a bad man came and sowed weeds among the good seed. Then he went away. The good seed grew and the plants gave more seeds. Then the weeds grew too.
‘The servants came and said to the man who owned the field, “Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How did the weeds get here?”
`He answered them, “An evil man has done this”.
‘They asked him, “Do you want us to go and pull up the weeds?”
‘”No,” said the man. “If you pull up the weeds, then the good plants will come up with them. Let them both grow together until the harvest time. When it is time to cut it, I will say to the men who cut it, “Cut the weeds first. Tie them in bundles to be burned. Then put the grain into my storehouse”.’
Parable of the Mustard Seed
Isho said, ‘How will we liken the kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it? It’s like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth, yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow’.
Parable of the Leaven
Again Isho said, ‘To what shall I compare the kingdom of God? It is like yeast, which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, until it was all leavened’.
Parable of the Hidden Treasure
‘The kingdom of God is like this. Something worth a lot of money is buried in a field. A man found it and covered it again. He was so glad that he went and sold everything he had. Then he bought that field.’
Parable of the Pearl of Great Price
‘The kingdom of God is like this. A trader was looking for fine stones called pearls. He found a pearl that was worth a lot of money. Then he went and sold everything he had and bought it.’
Parable of the Fish Net
‘The kingdom of God is like this. A fish net was thrown into the sea. It caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the men pulled it to the land. They sat down and picked out the good fish into baskets. But they threw the bad fish away. That is the way it will be at the end. The angels will come and take the wicked away from the good. They will put the wicked into the never-ending hell fire, where they will wail and gnash their teeth.’
Parable of Treasures Old and New
‘Anyone who knows the Torah and has learned about the kingdom of God, is like the headman of a house. He can bring both new things and old things out of what he has stored up.’
Isho began to send his disciples out two by two. He charged them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse, but to wear sandals, and not put on two tunics. He said to them, ‘Wherever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from there. Whoever will not receive you nor hear you, as you depart from there, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them’.
They went out and preached that people should repent. They cast out many demons, and anointed many with oil who were sick, and healed them.
Traditions of the elders
Then the Parisayya, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come down from Urislem. Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with unwashed hands, they found fault. The Parisayya and the scribes asked him, ‘Why don’t your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?’
Isho said to them, ‘You wash the outside of a cup and dish clean, but inside they are full of filth, like the greed and excess within you. Hypocrites! Did not God make the inside as well as the outside? Do good, and do it from your heart, then everything is clean for you’.
‘You set aside the mitzvot of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men; the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things. For Mazas said, “Honor your father and your mother”; and, “He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death”. But you say that if a man tells his father or his mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban”, then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother, making void the mitvah of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this’.
He said to the multitude, ‘Hear me, all of you, and understand. There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man’.
When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the saying.
He said to them, ‘Are you thus without understanding also? Don’t you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can’t defile him, because it doesn’t go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus making all foods clean?’ He continued, ‘That which proceeds out of the man is what defiles the man. For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts, covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and defile the man’.
The Phoenician woman’s faith
Along the borders of Tyre and Sidon, Isho entered into a house, and didn’t want anyone to know it, but he couldn’t escape notice. For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet.
Now the woman was a Goya, a Phoenician. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter.
But Isho said to her, ‘Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs’.
But she answered him, ‘Yes, Mari. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs’.
Isho was amazed and embarrassed at the depth of her humility. He said to her, ‘For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter’.
She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.
Curing of a blind man at Bethsaida
Isho came to Bethsaida. They brought a blind man to him, and begged him to touch him. He took hold of the blind man by the hand, and brought him out of the village. When he had spit on his eyes, and laid his hands on him, he asked him if he saw anything.
He looked up, and said, ‘I see men; for I see them like trees walking’.
Then again he laid his hands on his eyes. He looked intently, and was restored, and saw everyone clearly. He sent him away to his house, saying, ‘Don’t enter into the village, nor tell anyone in the village’.
Challenge to the multitude
Isho called the multitude to himself with his disciples, and said to them, ‘Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life will save it. For what does it profit a man, to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? For what will a man give in exchange for his life?’
He said to them, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, there are some standing here who will in no way taste death until they see the kingdom of God come with power’.
Healing of a boy possessed by a spirit
Coming to the disciples, Isho saw a great multitude around them, and scribes questioning them. When they saw him, all the multitude were greatly amazed, running to greet him. He asked the scribes, ‘What are you asking them?’
One of the multitude answered, ‘Rabbi, I brought to you my son, who has a mute spirit; and wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and grinds his teeth, and wastes away. I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they weren’t able’.
He answered him, ‘Bring him to me’.
They brought him to him, and when he saw him, immediately the spirit convulsed him, and he fell on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth.
He asked his father, ‘How long has it been since this has come to him?’
He said, ‘From childhood. Often it has cast him both into the fire and into the water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us, and help us’.
Isho said to him, ‘If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes’.
The father of the child cried out with tears, ‘I believe. Help my unbelief!’
When Isho saw that a multitude came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to him, ‘You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!’ Having cried out, and convulsed greatly, it came out of him. The boy became like one dead; so much that most of them said, ‘He is dead’. But Jesus took him by the hand, and raised him up; and he arose.
When he had come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting’.
They went out from there, and passed through Galilaea. He didn’t want anyone to know it. For he was teaching his disciples.
They came to Kaparnahum. There the men who were collecting the tax for the temple came to Kephas. They asked him, ‘Does not your teacher pay the tax for the temple?’
Kephas said, ‘Yes, he does’.
When he came into the house, Isho spoke to him about it first. He said, ‘Symeon, what do you think? From whom do kings on earth take taxes? Do they take them from their own people or from other people?’
Kephas said, ‘From other people.’.
Isho said, ‘Then the children do not pay a tax. But we must not make them think something wrong about us. So go to the sea. Throw a fish-hook into the water. Take the first fish you catch. Open its mouth and you will see a piece of money. Take it and pay them the tax for you and me’.
Who is the greatest?
When Isho was in the house he asked them, ‘What were you arguing among yourselves on the way?’
But they were silent, for they had disputed one with another on the way about who was the greatest.
He sat down, and called the Twelve; and he said to them, ‘If any man wants to be first, he shall be last of all, and servant of all’. He took a little child, and set him in the midst of them. Taking him in his arms, he said to them, ‘Whoever receives one such little child in my name, receives me, and whoever receives me, doesn’t receive me, but him who sent me. And whoever causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck’.
An exorcist outside the group
Yohannan said to him, ‘Teacher, we saw someone who doesn’t follow us casting out demons in your name; and we forbade him, because he doesn't follow us’.
But Isho said, ‘Don’t forbid him, for there is no one who will do a mighty work in my name, and be able quickly to speak evil of me. For whoever is not against us is on our side’.
Temptations and consequences
Isho said, ‘If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having your two hands to go into Gehenna into the unquenchable fire. If your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life lame, rather than having your two feet to be cast into Gehenna. If your eye causes you to stumble, cast it out. It is better for you to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into the Gehenna, where their worm doesn’t die, and the fire is not quenched. Everyone will be salted with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.’
Blessing on the troubled
‘Blessed are they who have been persecuted in their heart; these are they who have known the Father in truth.’
Parable of the Lost Sheep
Tax collectors and sinners all came close to Isho to hear him.
The scribes and other religious leaders did not like it, and said to each other, ‘This man is glad to have sinners come. He eats with them’.
So Isho told them this story.
‘Which one of you will not do this? A man has a hundred sheep. He loses one of them. He leaves the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and he goes to look for the one that is lost. He looks until he finds it. And when he has found it, he is very glad. He carries it on his back. When he comes home, he calls his friends and neighbors to come. He says, “Be glad with me! I have found my lost sheep”.
‘I tell you, the angels in heaven will be glad like that when one sinner repents. The angels will be more glad about that one person than about ninety-nine good people who do not need to repent.’
Parable of the Lost Coin
‘What woman will not do this? She has ten coins of silver. If she loses one of them, she lights a lamp and sweeps the house. She looks for the coin until she finds it. When she has found it, she calls her friends and neighbors to come. She says, “Be glad with me! I have found the coin I lost”. I tell you, the angels of God are glad when even one sinner repents’.
Parable of the Prodigal Son
Isho also said, ‘A man had two sons. The younger son said to his father, “Father, give me my part of what will belong to me”. So his father divided all he had between the two sons.
‘After a few days, the younger son packed up his things. He left home and went to a country far away. There he spent his money in foolish and wrong ways. He spent everything he had.
‘There was no food in that country for a long time. He began to be in trouble. So he went to stay with a man in the country who had a farm. The man sent him out to his farm to feed the pigs. He would have been glad to eat the food the pigs ate. But no one gave him anything.
‘Then he started to get sense. He said, “My father has many men who work for him. They have plenty of food. But here I am dying because I have nothing to eat! I will get up and go to my father. I will say to him, “Father I have been a bad son. I have done wrong to God in heaven and to you. I am not good enough now to be called your son. Let me be like one of these men who work for you”.
‘So he got up and went to his father. While he was still far away, his father saw him. He loved him and wanted to share in his troubles. He ran and put his arms around him and kissed him.
‘The son said to him, “Father, I have been a bad son. I have sinned against God in heaven and against you. I am not worthy to be called your son. Let me be like one of these men who work for you”.
‘But his father said to his servants, “Go quickly and bring the best clothes. Dress him. Put a ring on his hand. Put shoes on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let us have a feast and a good time. This is my son. He was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and is found”. And they began to have a good time.
‘The older son was out on the farm. When he came home and was near the house, he heard music and dancing. He called one of the servants and said, “What is going on?”
‘The servant said, “Your brother has come home. Your father has killed the fat young cow because your brother is home and he is well”.
‘But the older son was angry. He would not go into the house. His father came out and begged him to come in. But the son said to his father, “Look. I have worked hard for you for many years. I have always done everything you told me to do. And yet you never even gave me a young goat to make a feast with my friends. But now this son of yours has come back. He has spent all your money and was with bad women. And yet you kill the fattened calf for him!”
‘The father said, “Son you have always been with me. And all that I have is yours. But now we should have a good time and be happy. Your brother was dead and now he is alive again. He was lost and is found”.’
If your brother sins against you
‘If your brother sins against you, go to him. Talk alone to him and tell him what he has done. If he listens to you, you have kept your brother as a friend. But if he does not listen to you, take one or two others with you to talk to him. Then two or three people will hear every word and can prove what was said. If he does not listen to them, tell the synagogue. If he does not listen to the synagogue, treat him as Gentile or a tax collector.
What you bind
‘I tell you the truth. What you tie on earth will be tied in heaven. What you set free on earth will be set free in heaven.’
Two or three gathered
‘I tell you another thing. If two of you on earth agree together to ask for something, my Father in heaven will do it for them. Where two or three people meet together in my name, I am there with them.’
Then Kephas came to Isho and asked him, ‘Mari, how many times should I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Should I forgive him seven times?'
Isho answered him, ‘I say not seven times only, but seventy times seven; for in the prophets even after they were anointed with the Holy Spirit was the word of sin found’.
Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
‘In that way the kingdom of God is like this. A king was ready to finish his business with his servants. The first servant was brought in. He owed the king a very large sum of money. He could not pay it. So his master said, “Go sell him, his wife, his children, and everything he has, and pay me!” So the servant bowed down in front of him. He begged, “Sir, give me time. I will pay everything”. His master was sorry for him and let him go. He did not make him pay the money.
‘That same servant went out and met another servant. This man owed him a much smaller sum of money. He caught him by the throat and said, “Pay me what you owe me!” Then this servant bowed down in front of him. He begged, “Give me time. I will pay you”. But he said, “No”. He went and put the man in prison until he could pay what he owed him.
‘The other servants saw what he did. They were very sad. They went and told their master everything that had been done. Then his master called the first servant to him. He said, “You evil man! I let you go. I did not make you pay all you owed me, because you begged me to be kind to you. You should have been kind to the other servant, as I was kind to you”.
‘His master was very angry. He turned the servant over to the prison guards until he could pay all he owed him.
‘That is like what my Father in heaven will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart’.
Rejection by the Shamerayya
They went to one of the towns of the Shamerayya to get ready for him. But the people would not take him in.
When the disciples saw that, they said, ‘Maran, do you want us to ask for fire to come down from the sky and burn them up?’
But he turned and said to them, ‘Knock it off! You do not think about what kind of spirit you are showing. I did not come to kill people, but to save them’. And they went on to another town.
One day Isho was in a place praying. When he had finished, one of his disciples asked him, ‘Mari, teach us to pray as Yohannan the Baptist taught his disciples’.
Isho said, ‘When you pray, say, “Father, blessed be your name. Send your Spirit to purify us. Give us what is sufficient day-by-day. Forgive us our debts, as we forgive those indebted to us. Prevent us from succumbing to temptation, and protect us from evil. Your will be done. Amen’.
‘Maybe one of you has a friend. You go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves of bread. A friend has come to my house. He has been on the road. I have no food to give him to eat”.
‘Maybe the friend in the house answers you and says, “Do not trouble me. The door is locked. And my children and I are in bed. I cannot get up and give you anything”. I tell you this. Maybe he will not give him anything because he is his friend. But he will get up and give him what he needs because he keeps on asking for it.
‘Ask and it will be given. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened. For everyone who asks will receive. He who seeks will find. And the door will be opened to him who knocks.
‘Which of you fathers will give your child a snake if he or she asks for a fish? Will you give them a scorpion if they ask for an egg? You are sinners and yet you know how to give good things to your children. Much more, the Father in heaven will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.’
Evil spirits return
‘When an evil spirit has gone out of a man, he goes through dry places. He looks for a place to rest, but he does not find any. Then he says, “I will go back to my house from where I came”.
‘When he comes back, he finds it clean and all fixed up. Then he goes and brings seven other spirits who are worse than he is. They go in and live there. Now the man is worse than he was at first.’
As Isho said this, a woman among the people called out, ‘Blessed is your mother who gave birth to you, and fed you as a baby’.
But Isho replied, ‘Blessed are those who hear the Word of God and keep it!’
‘Your body gets its light through your eyes. When you have good eyes, all your body has light. But when your eyes are bad, your body is in darkness. So be sure that it is not dark in you where it should be light. If no part of your body is dark, it will all be light. It will be like a lamp that shines to give you light.’
Against the scribes
Then Isho talked to the people and to his disciples. He said, ‘The scribes sit in Moses’ seat; so obey and do everything they tell you to do. But do not do what they do. They say what should be done, but they do it not. They make heavy loads and put them on people’s backs, but they themselves will not put up even one finger to help carry the loads.
‘They do all their work to be seen by other people. They widen their tefillin and lengthen their tzitzit. They want to sit in the best places at the feasts. They want to have the front seats in the meeting houses. They want people to greet them in the market, and to call them ‘rabbi’. But people should not call you ‘rabbi’. You have one Teacher, and you are all brothers.
‘The one who is greatest among you will serve the others; anyone who exalts himself humbled, and anyone who humbles himself will be exalted.’
Parable of the Rich Fool
One of the people in the crowd said, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide with me the things my father left when he died’.
Isho said, ‘Man, who made me a judge over you or gave me power to divide your things?’
Then he said to the people, ‘Take care. Do not be greedy in any way to get more and more things. Even if a man has much more than he needs, it cannot give him life’.
Then he told them a story. He said, ‘A rich man had a farm. The things that grew on it were many. He said to himself, “What will I do? I have no place to keep all the food I have grown”. So he said, “This is what I will do. I will break down my storehouses and build bigger ones. I will keep in them all the food and everything I have. Then I will say to myself, Man, you have much in your storehouses for many years. Rest now. Eat, drink, and have a good time.
‘But God said to him, “You fool! Tonight you will die. Then who will have all the things you have kept for yourself?” So anyone who keeps things for himself is not rich in the way God wants him to be rich.’
Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
Then Isho told this story: ‘A man had a fruit tree on his farm. He came to look for fruit on it, but did not find any. He said to the man who cared for the trees, “For three years I have come to look for fruit on this tree, but I have not found any. Cut it down. Why should it spoil my farmland?” The man who cared for the trees answered, “Sir, let it stay one more year. I will dig around it and put good soil around it. If it has fruit on it next year, that will be good. But if it has no fruit, you can have it cut down”.’
Healing of the sick woman on Shabbat
Isho was teaching in one of the synagogues on Shabbat.
A woman was there who had a spirit that had made her sick for eighteen years. She had to bend down all the time and could not stand up straight. Isho saw her and called her to come to him. Then he said, ‘Woman, you are healed. You are not sick any longer’.
Isho put his hands on her, and right away she stood up straight. And she praised God.
The chief of the synagogue was angry because Isho had healed on Shabbat. He said to the people, ‘There are six days to work. You should come to be healed on those days, and not on the Shabbat’.
Isho said, ‘Hypocrites! Every one of you unties his cow or horse and takes it to the water to drink on Shabbat. Do you not? This woman is a child of Avrahim. Satanah has tied her for eighteen years. Is it not right that she should be set free on Shabbat?’
When he said that, all those who had talked against him were ashamed. All the other people were very glad for all the wonderful things Jesus did.
The Two Ways
‘Try hard to go in by the small gate. Many will want to go in but they will not be able. The Way of Death is broad and the gate to enter it wide; many go that way. But the Way of Life is narrow and the gate to enter it small, therefore few find it’.
Healing of the man with dropsy on Shabbat
One Shabbat Isho went to eat at the house of one of the chief scribes. They were watching him closely. At one point, a man stood in front of him, sick with dropsy.
Isho asked the scribes, ‘Is it right to heal a person on the Sabbath or not?’
They did not answer. So he took the man and healed him. Then he sent him away.
Isho said to them, ‘If your horse or cow falls into a hole, which one of you will not pull him out right away on Shabbat?’
They could not answer that.
Isho told a story to the people who were asked to eat at the house. He saw that they chose to sit at the best places. He said to them, ‘When you are called to a wedding, do not sit in the best place. It may be that a better man than you has been called. Then the man who called you both will come and say to you, “Get up and let this man sit here”. Then you will be ashamed. And you will go and sit down in the last place. But when you are asked to go to a wedding, go and sit down in the last place. Then when the man who called you comes, he will say to you, “Friend, come to a better place”. Then all the people who sit at the table will see how he respects you. All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted’.
Then Isho said to the man who had asked him to come, ‘When you make a dinner or a feast, do not ask your friends, or your brothers, or the people in your family, or your rich neighbors. They will repay you by making a dinner for you. But when you make a dinner, ask the people who are poor, hurt, lame, or blind. You will be made happy because they cannot pay you. You will be repaid when all good people are raised from death’.
Price of discipleship
Many people were going with Isho. He turned to them and said, ‘If any man comes to me, he must hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sister. Yes, he must hate himself too. If he does not, he cannot be my disciple.
‘When any of you wants to build a high house, you sit down first and see how much it will cost. You want to see if you have enough money to finish it. If you do not have enough money, you will not be able to finish it after you have made the foundation. Then all the people who see it will laugh at you. They will say, “This man started to build a house and could not finish it”.
‘When a king goes to fight against another king, he sits down first and thinks about the matter. He will ask himself, “Can I fight him with ten thousand soldiers? He has twenty thousand soldiers”. If he cannot fight him, he will send some men to meet the other king while he is still far away. He will try to make peace with him.
‘In the same way, any one of you who does not give up all he has cannot be my disciple.’
Parable of Salt
‘Salt is good. But if the salt has lost its taste, how can it be made salty again? It is not good for the land or the dirt pile. People throw it away.’
Parable of the Dishonest Steward
Isho also talked to his disciples. He said, ‘A rich man had a steward in charge of his things. People told the rich man that the manager was wasting his things. He called the steward and asked him, “What is this I hear about you? Tell me what you have done. You cannot be my steward anymore”.
‘Then the manager thought to himself, “What will I do? My master is taking my work away from me. I am not strong enough to go out and dig. I am ashamed to beg. I know what I will do. Then, when I lose my job, these people will take me into their own homes”.
‘So he called to him everyone who owed his master something. He asked the first man, “How much do you owe my master?” He answered, “A hundred tins of oil”. The manager said, “Take your paper. Sit down right now and write on it fifty”. Then he asked the next man, “How much do you owe?” He said, “A hundred bags of grain”. The manager said, “Take your paper and write on it eighty”.
‘Then the master praised the manager who did wrong. He praised him because he did what was wise. The people of this world are wiser than the people who have the Light. They know how to get along with people like themselves.
‘I tell you this. Money may be a wrong thing, but use it to make friends for yourselves. Then when your money is spent, they will be glad to see you come into that place where people live forever.
‘Anyone who can be trusted in a little matter can also be trusted in a big matter. Anyone who does wrong in a very little matter will do wrong also in a big matter. So if you could not be trusted to use money, which is bad, who will trust you to use true riches? If you could not be trusted with what belonged to another person, who will give you something for yourself?’
God and mammon
‘No servant can work for two masters. He will hate one and love the other, or he will obey one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and wealth.’
Parable of Elazar and Dives
‘There was a rich man named Dives who dressed and lived like a king every day. A poor man named Elazar was put at his door. He had many sores on his body. He wanted to eat the pieces of food that fell from the rich man's table. Dogs came and licked his sores. The poor man died. Angels carried him to be with Avrahim.
‘Dives also died and was buried. He was in great pain in the world of dead people. He looked up and saw Avrahim far away. With him was Elazar. He called out, “Father Avrahim, help me! Send Elazar to dip his finger in some water and cool my tongue. This fire is very hot for me”.
‘But Avrahim said to him, “Son, remember this. You had good things when you were living, and Elazar had bad things. But now he is happy here and you are in pain. But that is not all. A wide abyss is between you and us. No one can go from here to you if he wanted to. And no one can come from where you are to us”.
‘If your servant is working in the field or taking care of sheep, what will you say to him when he comes in from the field? Will you say, “Come now and sit down to eat”? No, you will say, “Get my food ready. Get ready to wait on me. I will eat and drink. After that, then you may eat and drink”. Will you thank the servant for doing what you told him to do?
‘It is the same with you. When you have done all you were told to do, you should say, “We are servants. We have not done a big thing. We have only done what we should do”.’
Healing of ten lepers
Isho was on the road between the countries of Samaraea and Galilaea. When he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy came to him. They stood far away. And they called out, ‘Isho, Son of Dawid, have mercy on us!’
When Jesus saw them, he said to them, ‘Go and let the priests look at you’. While they were going, they were healed of the leprosy.
One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back. He praised God with a loud voice.
He bowed down in front of Isho and thanked him. He was a Shamera.
Then Isho asked, ‘Were not ten people healed? Where are the other nine? Is this stranger the only one who has come back to praise God?’
Then he said to the man, ‘Get up and go on your way. Your faith has healed you’.
The kingdom of God is within
The scribes asked Isho, ‘When will the kingdom of God come?’
He answered them, ‘You will not see the kingdom of God coming. People will not be able to say, “Look, here it is!” or “Look, there it is!”, because the kingdom of God is inside each and every one of you’.
Parable of the Widow and the Unjust Judge
Isho told them a story to teach them that they should keep praying and not give up.
He said, ‘There was a judge in a city. He did not respect God or care about people. There was a woman in that city whose husband was dead. The woman came to the judge again and again. She said, “Save me from my enemy!” For a long time he would not do it. But after a time he said, “I do not respect God or care about people. But this woman is troubling me. So I will save her from her enemy. If I do not, she will keep coming until I am tired”.’
Isho explained, ‘The judge was a bad man. And yet you should listen to what he says. When the people whom God has chosen call to him day and night, he will save them from their enemies. He may let them wait a time. But I tell you, he will save them from their enemies soon. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find any people who believe in him?’
Parable of the Parisa and the Publican
‘Two men went to the temple to talk with God. One was a Parisa and the other one was a tax collector.
‘The Parisa stood and said to himself, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men. They steal, cheat, and commit adultery. I thank you that I am not like this tax collector. Two times in the week I fast, and I tithe of all that I have”.
`The tax collector stood far away. He did not even look up towards heaven, but he beat his chest, saying, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner”. I tell you, when this man went home, he was right with God. The other one was not.’
The adulterous woman
One day after teaching in the assembly, Isho was returning to his place and encountered some of the local elders taking a captive woman somewhere. When he stopped them and asked what they were doing, they told him, “Rabbi, we found this woman in adultery, in the very act. Now in the Torah, Mazas commanded us to stone such women. What do you say?”
He stooped down, and began writing on the ground: ‘Whoever looks on a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.’ Then he stood and answered them, ‘Let he who is without sin among you throw the first stone at her’.
Being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning from the oldest, even to the last. Isho was left alone with the woman where she was, in the middle.
Isho, standing up, saw her and asked, ‘Woman, where are your accusers? Does no one condemn you?’
She said, ‘No one, Mari’.
Isho said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, and sin no more’.
Another time scribes asked him, ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?’
He answered, ‘What did Mazas command you?’
They said, ‘Mazas allowed a certificate of divorce to be written, and to divorce her’.
But Isho said to them, ‘For your hardness of heart, he wrote you this mitzvah. But from the beginning of the creation, “God made them male and female. For this cause a man will leave his father and mother, and the two will become one flesh”, so that they are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man rend asunder’.
In the house, his disciples asked him again about the same matter. He said to them, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her. If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery’.
Blessing of children
People were bringing to Isho little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them. But when Isho saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, ‘Let the little children to come to me, and don’t forbid them; the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Whoever will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child, he will in no way enter into it’. He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.
The rich young man
As he was going out into the way, one ran to him, knelt before him, and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do that I may inherit eternal life?’
Isho asked him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except one, God. But you know the mitzvot: Honor your parents, Do not kill, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not give false testimony, and Do not covet’.
He said to him, ‘Rabbi, I have observed all these things from my youth’.
Isho replied, ‘How can you say, “I have fulfilled the Torah and the Prophets”? For it stands written in the Torah: “Love your neighbor as yourself”, but many of your brothers and sisters, children of Avrahim, are filthy and starving, while your house is full of good things and nothing at all comes forth from it to them! One thing, therefore, you lack: go, sell all that you have, and give the money to the poor, so that you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me’.
The young man’s face fell at that saying, and he went away sorrowful, for he was one who had great possessions. Isho remarked to his disciples, ‘How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the kingdom of God!’
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Isho said further, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God’.
They were exceedingly astonished, and asked, ‘Then who can be saved?’
Isho, looking at them, said, ‘With humans it is impossible, but not with God, for all things are possible with God’.
Kephas told him, ‘We have left all, and have followed you’.
Isho said, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, there is no one who has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or land, for my sake, and for the mission’s sake, but he will receive one hundred times more now in this time, houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and land, with persecutions; and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last; and the last first’.
Parable of the Workers
‘The kingdom of heaven is like this. A man owned a vineyard. Early in the morning he went out to look for men to work on his vineyard. He agreed to pay them a day's wages and sent them out to his farm.
‘At the third hour he went out again. He saw some men standing around at the market. They were not working. He said to them, “You go out to work on the vineyard too. I will pay you what is right”. And they went to work.
‘The man went out again at sixth hour and at the ninth hour, doing the same as he had done before.
‘About the eleventh hour, he went out again and found other men standing around. He said to them, “Why have you been standing here all day? Why are you not working?” They replied, “No one has hired us to work’. So he said to them, “You go out to work on the vineyard too”.
‘When evening came, the man who owned the vineyard said to his manager, “Call the workmen and pay them. Begin with those who came last and end with those who came first”. Each of the men who started work at the eleventh hour was paid a day’s wages. Those who started work first thought they would get more than that, but they also were paid a day’s wages. They took it, but they were angry and talked against the man who owned the vineyard.
‘They said, “These men came last, and worked only one hour. Yet you paid them the same as you paid us. We worked all day, when the sun was hot”.
‘But he said to them, “My friends, I am not doing any wrong to you. You agreed that I should pay you a day’s wages. Did you not? Take your money and go. I want to give the last man the same pay as I gave you. It is my own money. Can I not do with it as I like? Do you think it is a wrong thing for me to be kind?”
‘In the same way, people who are last will be first, and those who are first will be last.’
Healing of Bartimaeus in Yeriho
They were on the way, going up to Urislem for the Feast of Sukkot, the festival of Ingathering and of Tabernacles, also that at which many Jews believed the Meshiha bar Dawid would bring the kingdom of God. Isho was going in front of them, and they were amazed; and those who followed were afraid.
They came to Yeriho. As he went out from there with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Isho Nasraya, he began to cry out, and say, “Isho, son of Dawid, have mercy on me!” Many rebuked him, that he should be quiet, but he cried out much more, ‘Bar Dawid, have mercy on me!’
Isho stopped, and said, ‘Call him’.
They called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Cheer up! Get up. He is calling you!’
He, casting away his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus.
Isho asked him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’
The blind man said to him, ‘Rabboni, that I may see again’.
Isho said to him, ‘Go your way. Your faith has made you well’. Immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.
As Isho was passing through Yeriho, a man named Zacchaeus was there. He was the head tax collector, and a rich man. He wanted to see who Isho was but he could not see him because he was a short man and there were many people around him. So he ran ahead and climbed into a tree, for Jesus was coming that way.
When Isho came to the tree, he looked up. He said, ‘Zacchaeus, come down right now. I must stay at your house today’.
So Zacchaeus came down right then. He was glad to have Isho come in his house. When all the people saw this, they did not like it. They said, ‘He has gone to visit a sinner’.
Zacchaeus stood up and said to Isho, ‘Look, Mari, I will give to the poor people half of all I have. And if I have cheated anyone, I will give him back four times as much as I took’.
Isho said to him, ‘The head of this house has been saved today! He also is a son of Abraham. I came to look for and to save those who are lost’.
Triumphal entry into Urislem
When they came to Urislem for Sukkot, he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, ‘Go your way into the village that is opposite you. As you enter into it, you will find a young donkey tied, on which no one has sat. Untie him, and bring him. If anyone asks you, “Why are you doing this?” say, “Isho needs it”, and immediately he will send him back here’.
They went away, and found a young donkey tied at the door outside in the open street, and they untied him. Some of those who stood there inquired, ‘What are you doing, untying the young donkey?’ They told them just as Isho had said, and they let them go.
They brought the young donkey to Isho, and threw their garments on it, and Jesus sat on it. Many spread their garments on the way, and others were cutting down branches from the trees, and spreading them on the road. Those who went in front, and those who followed, cried out, ‘Hosanna, we beseech you, O Yahuweh! O Yahuweh, we beseech you, give us success! Blessed is he who comes in the name of Yahuweh. We bless you from the house of Yahuweh’.
Isho entered into the temple in Urislem. When he had looked around at everything, it being now evening, he went out to Bethany with his disciples.
Cursing of the fig tree
The next day, when they had come out from Bethany, he was hungry. Seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came to see if perhaps he might find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. Jesus said to it, ‘May no one ever eat fruit from you again!’, and his disciples heard it.
Cleansing of the Temple
They returned to Urislem, and Isho entered into the temple, and began to throw out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of those who sold the doves. He would not allow anyone to carry a container through the temple. He preached to them, saying, ‘Isn’t it written, “My house will be called a house of prayer for all the nations?” But you have made it a den of thieves!’
The chief priests and the scribes heard it, and sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him, because all the multitude was astonished at his teaching.
Lesson of the fig tree
When evening came, he went out of the city. As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away from the roots. Kephas, remembering, said to him, ‘Rabbi, look! The fig tree which you cursed has withered away’.
Isho answering said to them, ‘Have faith in God. For most assuredly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, “Be taken up and cast into the sea”, and doesn’t doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says’.
Isho’s authority questioned
They came again to Urislem, and as he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders came to him, and they began saying to him, ‘By what authority do you do these things? Or who gave you this authority to do these things?’
Isho9 said to them, ‘I will ask you one question. Answer this question first, and I will tell you; the baptism of John; is it from heaven, or from men?’
They reasoned with themselves, saying, ‘If we should say, “From heaven”, he will ask, “Why then did you not believe him?” If we should say, “From men”, we will have to worry about the people, for many held Yohannan to be a prophet. So they answered, ‘We don’t know’.
Isho said to them, ‘Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things’.
Parable of the Two Sons
Isho began to speak to them in parables.
‘A man had two sons, and he came to the first, and said, “Son, go work today in my vineyard.” He answered, “I will not,” but afterward he changed his mind, and went. He came to the second, and said the same thing. He answered, “I go, sir,” but he didn’t go. Which of the two did the will of his father?’
They said to him, ‘The first.’
Isho said to them, ‘Most certainly I tell you that the tax collectors and the prostitutes will enter into the kingdom of God before you’.
Pontius Pilatus, praefectus of Iudaea, had undertaken to bring water to Urislem by aqueduct, and did so by spending money from the temple treasury. The aqueduct ran to a spring two hundred furlongs away. When he was come to Urislem from the capital at Caesarea Maritima for the feast with his troops, tens of thousands of Jews came to his tribunal to protest, and made a clamor at it. Some of them also used insults, and abused the man, as crowds of such people usually do.
Now since he had been apprized beforehand, he had mixed his own soldiers in their armor with the multitude, and ordered them to conceal themselves under the habits of private men, and not indeed to use their swords, but with their staves to beat those that made the clamor. He then gave the signal from his tribunal. The Jews were so badly beaten that many of them died, and many were trodden to death in the stampede. Others of them ran away wounded. Some of the survivors were arrested.
Question about taxes to Caesar
Some of the Parisayya and the Herodians came to trap Isho with words. When they had come, they asked him, “Teacher, we know that you are honest, and don’t defer to anyone; for you aren’t partial to anyone, but truly teach the way of God. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not? Shall we give, or shall we not give?’
But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said to them, ‘Why do you test me? Bring me a denarius, that I may see it’.
They brought it.
He asked them, ‘Whose is this image and inscription?’.
They said to him, ‘Caesar’s’.
Isho answered them, ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s’.
They marveled greatly at him.
Question about the resurrection
There came to him Seduqayya, asking, ‘Teacher, Mazas wrote to us, “If a man’s brother dies, and leaves a wife behind him, and leaves no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up offspring for his brother”. There were seven brothers. The first took a wife, and dying left no offspring. The second took her, and died, leaving no children behind him. The third likewise; and the seven took her and left no children. Last of all the woman also died. In the resurrection, when they rise, whose wife will she be of them? For the seven had her as a wife’.
Isho answered them, ‘Isn’t this because you are mistaken, not knowing the Tanakh, nor the power of God? For when they will rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. But about the dead, that they are raised; haven’t you read in the book of Mazas, how God spoke to him from the burning bush, saying, “I am the God of Avrahim, the God of Yitzaq, and the God of Yaqub”? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are therefore badly mistaken’.
The Greatest Mitzvah
One of the scribes came, and heard them questioning together. Knowing that he had answered them well, asked him, ‘Which commandment is the greatest of all?’
Isho answered, ‘Love Yahuweh your God with all your heart; love your neighbor as yourself; and do not do to another that which you would not want them to do to you. There is no other mitzvah greater than these’.
The scribe said to him, ‘Truly, Teacher, that is what is more important than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices’.
When Isho saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God’.
Parable of the Good Shamera
Another scribe, watching the exchange, asked Isho, “But who is my neighbor?”.
Isho answered, ‘A man was going from Urislem to Yeriho. Bandits caught him on the road. They took his clothes and beat him. Then they went away and left him half dead. A cohen (priest) happened to be going down that road. He saw the man but he passed by on the other side of the road.
‘A Levite from the temple came along to that place also. He saw the man but he passed by on the other side.
‘A Shamera was going on that road also, and came to the place. He saw the man and wanted to share in his troubles. He went to him and tied up the sores he had from the beating. He washed them with oil and wine. Then he lifted the man up and set him on his own animal to ride. He took him to the house for strangers. And he cared for him.
‘The next day he gave two pieces of money to the man who was in charge of the house for strangers. He said, “Take care of this man. If it costs you more than this, I will pay you when I come back”.’
Isho asked that scribe, ‘What do you think? Which of these three was a neighbor to the man who was caught by the bad men?’
He said, ‘The man who was kind to him’.
Isho said, ‘Go and do likewise’.
Maryam and Marta in Bethany
Isho and his disciples returned to Bethany. A woman named Marta, whose younger brother was Elazar, took him into her home.
While Marta was very busy doing many things for Isho, her sister Maryam sat at his feet listening to what he said. Marta complained to Isho and said, ‘Mari, my sister has left me to do all the work. Do you not care? Tell her to come and help me’.
Isho answered, ‘Marta, Marta, you worry too much about too many things. Only one thing is needed right now. What Maryam has chosen is good, and it will not be taken away from her’.
Question about the Meshiha
Isho asked, as he taught in the temple, ‘How is it that the scribes say that the Meshiha is the son of Dawid? For Dawid himself said in the Holy Spirit, “Yahuweh said to my Lord, sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies the footstool of your feet”. If Dawid himself calls him “Lord”, so how can he be his son?’
Isho denounces the scribes
The common people heard him gladly. In his teaching he said to them, ‘Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces, and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts: those who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation’.
Isho sat down opposite the treasury, and saw how the multitude cast money into the treasury. Many who were rich cast in much. A poor widow came, and she cast in two small brass coins, which equal a quadrans coin. He called his disciples to himself, and said to them, ‘Most assuredly I tell you, this poor widow gave more than all those who are giving into the treasury, for they all gave out of their abundance, but she gave all that she had’.
Anointing and supper at Bethany
In the house of Symeon the leper in Bethany, Isho ate his last supper with the disciples the evening of the third day of the week. As he sat at the table, Maryam, the sister of Elazar and Marta, came with an alabaster jar of ointment of pure nard that was very costly and broke it, pouring nard over Jesus’ head.
There were some who were indignant among themselves, saying, ‘Why has this ointment been wasted? For this might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor’. They grumbled against her.
But Isho said, ‘Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work. As it says in the Torah, the poor will never cease from the Land and will always be here, so you can do good to your brother and to the needy and to the poor whenever you want; but you will not always have me. She has done what she could’.
When supper was finished and they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Mount of Olives
They came to the Mount of Olives. He said to his disciples, ‘Sit here, while I pray. He took with him Yaqub his brother and Kephas and Yohannan, and began to be greatly troubled and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here, and watch’.
He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed.
He came and found them sleeping, and said to Kephas, ‘Symeon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you watch one hour? Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak’.
Again he went away, and prayed,. Again he returned, and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy, and they didn’t know what to answer him.
He came the third time, and said to them, ‘Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, I am betrayed into the hands of sinners. Arise, let us be going’. It was just before dawn on the fourth day of the week
Arrest of Isho
While he was still speaking, soldiers came from the chief priests, elders, and scribes with swords and clubs. They laid their hands on Isho, and seized him.
Isho answered them, ‘Why have you come out as against a terrorist, with swords and clubs to seize me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching; why you didn’t arrest me then?’
The disciples all left him, and fled.
Isho before Pilatus
Isho remained imprisoned in the house of the high priest all through the fourth day of the week, and in the morning of the fifth day, the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation, and bound Isho, and carried him away to the praetorium on Gareb Hill, in the former palace of Herod Archelaus.
There, they delivered him up to Pilatus, the praefectus of Iudaea who was in the city because of the feast, for judgment. The prefect was also overseer of the administration of the temple.
After waiting in the prison throughout the fifth day of the week, Isho was brought to the tribunal before the praefectus at dawn on the sixth day, the Day of Preparation for Shabbat. Pilatus found Isho guilty of the charges, and handed him over to be flogged and then crucified.
The soldiers clothed him with purple, and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him. They began to salute him, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ They struck his head with a reed, and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him.
When they had finished mocking him, they took the purple off of him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him. They compelled one passing by, coming from the country, Simon of Cyrenaica, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to go with them, that he might bear his cross. They brought him to the place called Gulgalta, which is, being interpreted, ‘the place of a skull’.
They offered him wine mixed with myrrh to drink, but he didn’t accept it.
Crucifying him, they parted his garments among them, casting lots on them, what each should take. It was the third hour, and they crucified him.
The superscription of the charge for which he was convicted written over him was this: “The King of the Jews”. This ridiculed Isho as a messianic claimant, the manner of death signifying him a rebel.
With him they crucified two terrorists, Dismas and Gestas, taken in the recent insurrection; one on his right hand, and one on his left.
Those who passed by verbally abused him; likewise, also the chief priests and the scribes. Those who were crucified with him also insulted him.
When the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
At the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, asking, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’
Some of those who stood by, when they heard it, said, ‘Behold, he is calling Eliyahu’, for in Aramaic the words Jesus spoke were, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachtahni’.
One ran, and filling a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, ‘Let him be. Let’s see whether Eliyahu comes to take him down’.
Then another took a spear and pierced his side, and out came water and blood.
Isho cried out again with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit.
There were also women watching from afar, among whom were both Maryam Magdalena, and Maryam the mother of Yaqub and Yosep, and Salome; who, when he was in Galilaea, followed him, and served him; and many other women who came up with him to Urislem.
When evening came, Yosep of Arimathaea, a prominent Sanhedrin member who was was looking for the kingdom of God, went to Pilatus, and asked for Isho’s body. The praefectus wondered if he were already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had been dead long. When he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Yosep. He bought a linen cloth, and taking him down, wound him in the linen cloth, and laid him in a tomb which had been cut out of a rock. He rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. Maryam Magdalena and Maryam, the mother of Yaqub and Yosep, saw where he was laid.
The empty tomb
When the Sabbath was past, Maryam Magdalena, and Maryam the mother of Yaqub and Yosep, and Salome, bought spices, that they might come and anoint him.
Very early on the first day of the week, which was also the feast of Shemini Atzeret, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were asking themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’ for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back.
Entering into the tomb, they saw the linen cloths in which Isho had been wrapped and the napkin which had been on his head. Then they went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come on them. They said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid.
The disciples later reported that Isho was alive and had appeared after his crucifixion, first to Maryam Magdalena, then to Kephas, then to Yaqub his brother, then to all the apostles. Therefore, they continued as his disciples, and the tribe of Chrestians exist to this day.
The following were consulted in the composition of the foregoing: the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Luke, the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of John, the Gospel of the Nazarenes, the Gospel of the Hebrews, the Gospel of the Ebionites, the Secret Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Didache, the Didascalia Apostolorum, the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, prayers from the Reformed siddur, and the Antiquities of the Jews by Flavius Josephus. The article “Dating the Gospels” on the blog Common Paine (http://commonpaine.blogspot.com/2010/07/dating-gospels.html) was quite helpful. The canonical gospel passages which formed the foundation of this work were taken from the World English Bible© and are in the public domain.
Some explanation of the more glaringly obvious changes, inclusions, exclusions, rewriting are probably in order.
Until the third century, “Chrestos” was the title or epithet with which the subject of our story was most often saddled. Used thus, it literally means “the Good”. Standing alone rather than acting as a modifier, it could be translated “the Righteous One”, as much a messianic title as the more specifically thus “Christos”.
Unlike version 1, I have used the Galilean Aramaic version of “Jesus” rather than “Jesus Chrestos”, the Galilean Aramaic differing in several points from Palestinian Aramaic. For instance, Isho Nasraya, as he is usually referred to among the Syriac churches, becomes Yeshu ha-Notzri in Palestinian Aramaic, his usual name in the Talmud. The second-century sect leader Marcion of Sinope, and the members of his sect after him, used the name “Isu”, as reported by Latin Fathers, which would probably be “Iso” in Greek, indicating that the Assyrians probably have the correct name, “Isho”.
The majority of scholars and archaeologists agree that the town of “Nazareth” did not exist before the third century CE. The need to invent one came about when a scribe mistranslated “Iesous Nazaraios” (Jesus the Nazorean) as “Jesus of Nazareth”. This is further supported by the fact that Assyrians (Syriac Christians) of all varieties have always referred to our subject as Isho Nasraya.
The earliest copies of Mark lack “Son of God” in the opening sentence.
The background material on John the Baptist is not here because its purpose for being was to present John as the Forerunner of the Messiah ben David. Extrabiblical sources indicate he had a rather strong and lasting following all his own; the Early Church Fathers refer to his sect as the Hemerobaptists. The Mandaeans also claim John the Baptist as their founder. Flavius Josephus places his death in proximity to the war between Herod Antipas of Galilee and Perea and Aretas IV Philopatris of the Nabataeans in the winter of 36/37 CE, more than three to six years after the time when Jesus was crucified according to most sources.
From the second century BCE at least through the first century CE, the boogie man was usually named as “Beliar”, a later form of Belial, among Palestinian Israelites. The title-become-name “Satan” was not used until much later; the being called Satan in Judaism was and still is part of the divine court, a heavenly attorney general; in fact, this role is alluded to in Revelation 12:10.
Lake Gennesaret was never called the “Sea of Galilee”, not until the writer of the original version of the Gospel of Mark, who almost certainly lived in Alexandria.
Most scholars and linguists agree that “Nazorean” is more correct than “Nazarene”, although both forms are used in the New Testament; the first, derived from Nazaraios, appears thirteen times while the second, derived from Nazarenos, is used six times.
Changing water into wine was borrowed from Dionysos, thus no wedding feast at Cana, no matter how amusing the idea that Jesus and his disciples drank so much that he had to perform a miraculous resupply.
The story of the energumen (ecclesiastical term for one possessed by a demon or other evil spirit) possessed by the “Legion” of demons who were cast out into two thousand pigs is almost certainly an allusion to the Legio X Fretensis. This legion took a lead role in the First Jewish Revolt (Great Jewish War) of 66-73 CE, then served as the primary occupying force with their base camp and headquarters on the western hill of Jerusalem, what had been the Upper City before the entire city was destroyed in 70 CE. Specifically, they occupied the site of the former praetorium, which had previously been the palace of Herod the Great and of his son Herod Archelaus. The fact that one of the four symbols of the legion was a boar (its main symbol was a bull) strengthens that case considerably.
The feeding of the five thousand, after which twelve baskets of leftovers were collected, and the feeding of the four thousand, after which seven baskets of leftovers were collected, are allegories of the Twelve Apostles and the Seven Deacons.
Two anachronistic motifs in the gospels of Jesus’ mission in Galilee are synagogues, with the physical building implied, and the abundant presence of Pharisees. Though Pharisees were quite plentiful after the academy and the Patriarchate were transferred to Galilee in the second century, in the first century their presence was almost nonexistent. References to them have been changed to “scribes”, as the religious teachers were then denominated. The same is the case with synagogue buildings; the number of those in Galilee in the first century can be counted on one hand. The one in Capernaum, for example, dates no earlier than the late fourth century. References to synagogue before that date refer to the congregation alone.
The Little Apocalypse, or Olivet Discourse, as originally written was an “apocalypse” about the First Jewish Revolt and the resulting siege and destruction of Jerusalem. The earlier version warning of “Jerusalem surrounded by armies” can be found in the Gospel of Luke; that in Mark and the Gospel of Matthew warning of the “abomination of desolation” dates from after the Third Jewish Revolt (Bar Kokhba War) of 132-135. It was after that war that Hadrian Augustus put a statue of himself on horseback right over the spot where the Holy of Holies had been, along with temples to Jupiter, Juno, and Minerva atop what used to be the Temple Mount.
I have included the Pericope Adulterae, the story of the woman caught in adultery whom the scribes wanted to stone, because even though it is a later addition to the Gospel of John, the story was around at least as far back as the time of Papias of Hierapolis (in Egypt), who flourished around the cusp of the first and second centuries. Eusebius of Caesarea reports that Papias commented on the story which he had found in the Gospel of the Hebrews. The version here is based on that of the fourth century Alexandrian theologian Didymus the Blind in his Commentary on Ecclesiastes.
The healing at the pool of Bethesda is a clear anachronism, its description of being “five-sided” an allusion to the Asclepeion built by Herod Agrippa I, who was King of the Jews 41-44 CE, roughly a decade after the Crucifixion (the date given in the Didascalia Apostolorum for that event is the year three hundred thirty-nine of the Persians, or 27 CE).
In most places where the gospels have “Master” or “Teacher”, I have used “Rabbi”, but I do want to stipulate that I know that was not an official title that early in the century. However, it is likely to have been used informally for some period before it was made formal. For “Lord”, in reference to Jesus, I have used “Mari”, the Aramaic for the same thing.
The transfer of the events of the Passion Week from Pesach-Matzot to Sukkot are my own twist, based on the picture painted of the Triumphal Entry and the fact that the timeline of events syncs up with the seven-day Sukkot which was and still is followed immediately with the one day feast of Shemini Atzeret. The “Day of Preparation” in the gospels was not a day preparing for Pescah, or Passover, but for the Sabbath. Every sixth day of the week was a Day of Preparation, just like every seventh day was the Sabbath. The Synoptics also make the Diaspora mistake of equating Pesach with the first day of Matzot; Pesach is actually the day upon which the sacrifice was performed in the Temple, not that in which the seder was observed, which, coming after sundown, was indeed the first day of Matzot.
As for the timing of the events of the week, I relied upon the sequence laid out in Chapter 21 of the Didascalia Apostolorum, which places the Passover supper on Tuesday night.
The story of the alleged “Last Supper” itself I have left out to be consistent with my opinion that the story was invented in the first place because of the problems in many local churches with the fellowship meals. Too, the earliest Eucharistic prayers we have, those of the Didache, make no mention of the so-called "Institution" nor do they mention either the crucifixion or the resurrection.
The story of Pilate and the aqueducts is found in both the Wars of the Jews and the Antiquities of the Jews, both written by Josephus.
I left out descriptions of the trial because what we have is clearly a literary invention based on the actual events centered around a peasant preacher named Jesus ben Ananius in 62 CE. Also, with the disciples all hiding out, there wouldn’t have been any witnesses to report.
The names Dismas and Gestus came from the Gospel of Nicodemus. “Terrorists” is the nearest twenty-first century term to “lestai”, which literally meant “bandit” but was used in the first century almost exclusively for terrorists.
The original ending of the first (known) written gospel was the same as here. The final word about what the disciples reported, which clearly they did, or at least believed, was adapted from combining the account of Jesus in the Arabic version of Antiquities with Paul of Tarsus’ account in 1 Corinthians 15.