THE CHILDHOOD OF JESUS
THE GOSPEL OF JAMES

Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 32 -
Joseph Reassures Cornelius


 
T
HE THREE WISE MEN now came together in a tent and counseled what they should do next.
 
2
Should they keep the word they gave Herod, or should they here break their word for the first time?
 
3
If they should go back to their country by another route, it was to be questioned which one would safely bring them back to their country again.
 
4
So one asked the other, 'Do you suppose the wonderful star that led us hither will also lead us home again over another route?'
 
5
While they were thus counseling together, behold, suddenly an angel came among them and said to them, 'Do no concern yourselves vainly, for the way is already laid out!
 
6
As directly as the sun's rays fall on the earth at noonday, just that directly shall you be led into your country commencing tomorrow, and by another route than by way of Jerusalem.'
 
7
Thereupon the angel disappeared and the three went to rest. And early in the morning they departed with a sure faith in the only God and soon returned to their homeland by the shortest route.
 
8
On the same morning Joseph asked the captain how much longer he would still have to remain in the cave.
 
9
Here the captain said to Joseph in a most friendly manner, 'Man in my highest esteem! Do you suppose that I am keeping you here like a prisoner?
 
10
Oh what a thought! How should I, a worm in the dust before the power of your God, ever hold you a prisoner? But what my love for you does, see, that certainly is not imprisonment.
 
11
As far as my power is concerned you are free at any hour and can go where you wish. But you are not that free as far as my heart is concerned, which would indeed like to hold you here for all time - for it loves you and your little Son with a power that is indescribable!
 
12
Now just sit still for a couple of days and I will send scouts to Jerusalem right away to find out what that gray fox will do when he finds out that the Persians have not kept their word to him!
 
13
Then I will know what steps to take and will shield you from every persecution of this frenzied tyrant.
 
14
For you can believe me: this Herod is the greatest enemy of my heart and I am determined to smite him when and wherever I can!
 
15
I am of course only a captain and am only a subordinate myself to the higher commander who resides in Sidon and Smyrna and has command over twelve legions in Asia.
 
16
Still I am no common centurion but am a partrician and by virtue of my rank am therefore also in command of the twelve legions in Asia. If I want to make use of one or the other, I need not first get permission from Smyrna, but as a patrician need only to command, and the legion must obey me! Hence you can count on me if Herod should rise up!'
 
17
Joseph thanked the captain for this most friendly concern but then added the following,
 
18
'Hear me now, highly honored friend! See, just the other day you also concerned yourself in all watchfulness with the Persians, but what good did all that do you?
 
19
The Persians came unseen by all your thousand eyes and had their camp set up long before you could discover even one of them.
 
20
See, if the Lord my God had not protected me there, where would I be even now with your help? Before you appeared the Persians could long have strangled me along with my family!
 
21
Therefore I now say to you as a friend filled with the warmest gratitude: Human help is of no use, for all men are nothing before God!
 
22
And if the Lord God wants to help us and He alone can help, then we should not go to much trouble, for despite all our effort everything will happen just as the Lord wants - but never the way we want it!
 
23
Hence refrain from the difficult and dangerous gathering of information in Jerusalem, through which in the first place you probably would find out little of value and secondly, if it became known, it could prepare a bitter lot for you on my account.
 
24
Besides, the Lord will surely let me know this night what Herod will do and what I will have to do, so you can be quite at ease along with me and let the Lord alone have the say over me and you, and everything will be for the best!'
 
25
When the captain heard these words from Joseph, he was stirred up in his heart and it hurt him that Joseph had declined his help.
 
26
Here Joseph said: 'My good, very dear friend, you are hurt because I "advised you against concerning yourself further for my welfare.
 
27
But if you look at the matter in a clear light, you must necessarily come to the same conclusion!
 
28
See, which of us has ever carried the sun and the moon and all the stars through the vault of heaven? Which of us has ever commanded the winds, storms and lightnings?
 
29
Who has dug the mighty ocean its bed? Which of us determined the course of the great rivers?
 
30
Which bird have we taught its rapid flight and when did we give it its plumage? When did we form its throat so rich in melody?
 
31
Just where does the grass stand for which we formed the living seed?
 
32
See, all that the Lord does every day! - Now if His mighty and wonderful rule reminds you of His immeasurably great love and concern at every moment, why should it seem strange to you if I in a most friendly manner call your attention to the fact that before God all human help sinks back into the dust of nothingness?'
 
33
These words restored the captain to a more receptive mood, but for all that he still sent scouts to Jerusalem secretly to find out what was taking place there.