Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 20 -
Cornelius Sees A Great Light

OSEPH WAS greatly pleased at this and asked the captain, 'Bearer of the great emperor's power, what can a poor man like me possibly offer you in return for your great friendship? With what will I be able to serve you in this damp cave?
How can I set the table for you in keeping with your high station? - See, here in the cart are all my worldly goods, in part brought along from Nazareth, and in part a gift from the shepherds in this locality.
If you can partake of some of it, then may every bite you eat be blessed a thousandfold!'
Cornelius replied, 'Good man, do not be concerned about me in the least. For here as you see is my landlady on whom we can depend to look after the kitchen, and we will have all we need for a little coin decorated with the emperor's head.'
Here the captain gave the midwife a gold coin and left the preparation of a good noon and evening meal to her, as well as the procurement of better living quarters as soon as it would be possible for the young mother to leave.
Joseph thereupon said to Cornelius, 'Oh wonderful friend, please do not go to any expense and trouble for us, for we are anyhow - all praise to the Lord, the God of Israel! - well supplied for the few days we shall yet be here.'
At this the captain said, 'Good is good, but better is better. So just let it be and allow me thereby to bring a joyous offering to your God also. You see, I honor the gods of all peoples.
Thus I also want to honor your God, for He pleases me, since I have seen His temple at Jerusalem. And He must be a God of great wisdom, since you have learned such great artifice from Him.'
Joseph responded, 'Oh friend, if it were possible for me to convince you of the sole and absolute Being of our God, how gladly I would do so to your greatest eternal welfare!
But I am only a frail man and am not capable of doing that. But if you will seek out any of our books and read them, since you are so well versed in our language, you will find things there which will cause you the greatest astonishment!'
And Cornelius replied, 'Good man, what you now have advised me to do, that I have already done and have also found truly astonishing things!
Among other things I also came upon a prediction in which a new King is promised to the Jews forever. Tell me whether you know, according to the interpretation of this prediction, when this King will come and from where.'
At this Joseph was a bit embarrassed and said after a pause: 'The Latter will come from the heavens as the Son of the eternally living God! And His kingdom will not be of this, but of the world of the spirit and the truth!'
Cornelius said, 'Good, I understand you. But I have also read that this King is to be born in a stable near this town of a maiden. How is that to be taken?'
Joseph answered, 'Good man, you have sharp senses! I can tell you nothing else than: Go over and look at the little maiden with the new-born Child - there you will find what you are able to find!'
And Cornelius went over and with sharp eyes looked at the maiden with the Baby, so he might discover from her and the Child the future King of the Jews.
Accordingly he asked Mary, in what manner she had become pregnant so early.
Mary replied, 'Just man! As truly as my God lives, that truly also have I never known a man!
But three-quarters of the year ago it happened that a messenger of the Lord came to me and informed me in a few words that I would become pregnant by the Spirit of God.
And so it was, for I became pregnant without ever having known a man, and see, here before you is the fruit of the marvelous promise! And God is my witness that it all happened in this manner!'
At this Cornelius turned to the two sisters and inquired, 'What do you say to this story? Is it a clever deceit by this old man, a good pretense for a blind, superstitious people in order to avoid lawful punishment under such circumstances?
For I know that the Jews have decreed punishment by death in such cases! Or should there actually be something to it - which would be worse than in the first case, for then the law of the emperor would have to be invoked in the most drastic way, since it wants every usurper to be nipped in the bud? Now speak the truth, so I may know how I stand with this singular family!'
And Salome asserted, 'Listen to me, Cornelius, I beg you by your full imperial authority! Be sure that you do not undertake any serious and legal steps against this poor and then again infinitely wealthy family!
For you can believe me, and I will forfeit my head for the truth of it: all the powers of the heavens are at this family's disposal, like your own arm is to you, of which I received a most convincing witness!'
At this Cornelius was still more deeply startled and asked Salome, 'Then also Rome's holy gods, Rome's heroes, weapons and invincible power? - Oh Salome, how can you speak like that?'
Here Salome answered, 'Yes, as you have said, so it is! Of that I am convinced through and through. But if you are unable to believe it, then go outside and look at the sun! It is already shining almost four hours today, and behold, it still stands in the east and dares not travel any farther on its way!'
And Cornelius went outside, looked at the sun, promptly returned and said in great astonishment, 'In truth, you are right. If the matter has reference to this family, why then even the god Apollo obeys this family!
Hence Zeus, the mightiest of all the gods must be here, and it seems that the time of Deucalion and Pyrrha is again coming to pass. And if that is the case, then I certainly must report such an occurrence to Rome without delay!'
At these words two mighty angels appeared. Their faces shone like the sun and their garments like lightning. And they said: 'Cornelius, be silent even against yourself about What you have seen - or you and Rome will perish yet today!'
At this a great fear came over Cornelius. The two angels disappeared, and he went over to Joseph and declared: 'Oh man, here is infinitely more than a future King of the Jews! Here is He at whose command stand all the heavens and hells! Therefore let me go my way again from here, for I am not worthy to be present in such nearness of God!'