Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 36 -
Joseph Vindicates Himself Before Cyrenius

OSEPH WAS greatly surprised at this himself and said to Cyrenius: 'Listen to me, mighty ruler of the land! It cannot be unknown to you that according to the law of my people every sorcerer must be burned.
If accordingly I were a sorcerer, I would not have become as old as I am, for as such I would long ago have fallen into the hands of the high priests in Jerusalem!
Hence the only thing I can tell you here is that this manifestation must surely be connected with the great holiness of this Child.
For even at the birth of this Child signs occurred at which everyone was amazed: the firmament stood open - the winds were hushed - the brooks and rivers stood still - the sun remained standing on the horizon -
the moon did not leave its position, not for about three hours; thus the stars did not move onward either - the animals did not feed nor drink, and everything which normally creeps and stirs sank into a dead rest - I myself was walking and had to remain standing!'
When Cyrenius heard this from Joseph he said to him, 'So this is that remarkable Child, of whom my brother wrote me with the words:
Brother, I must give you the following news - In the neighborhood of Bethlehem a Child has been born to a young woman of the Jewish nation from which emanates a great, wondrous power. I am just about convinced that He is a Child of the gods!
But His father is such a completely honest Jew that I just cannot bring myself to undertake a closer investigation of the matter.
If you should happen to come to Jerusalem in the near future, it might not be uninteresting to you to visit this man in Bethlehem. I keep on thinking that the Child is some sort of masked young Jupiter or at least Apollo. But come, and use your own judgment. -
See, good man, that much of the matter is known to me, but what you have now told me is quite new to me. Therefore tell me whether you are the same man of whom my brother informed me from Bethlehem.'
And Joseph answered, 'Yes, mighty ruler, I am the same! And it is well for your brother that he did not tell you more about the Child!
For he received a word from heaven to be silent about that which took place. Truly, had he told you more, then that would have happened with Rome, which there before your eyes just happened to the images of the gods that stood there on the table!
And great good fortune to you and your brother if you will be silent! For you shall both be blessed for that by the Lord who is the eternally living God, the Creator of heaven and earth!'
These words instilled a great respect of Joseph in Cyrenius and a fear of the Child, so that he promptly laid the Child on Mary's arms again.
After that he again turned to Joseph and said: 'Good, upright man, now listen carefully to what I shall say to you,
for a good thought has just come to my mind, which you shall hear and answer me concerning it!
See, if this Child is of divine descent, then you as His father must also be the same, for ex trunco non fit Mercurius and grapes do not grow on thorns. Neither can a child of the gods be a descendant from an ordinary human being.
Now you as well as your five other sons who are standing behind you appear to be only ordinary human beings to me - yes even the young mother, while, to be sure, a well-mannered Jewess, does not seem to have anything particularly divine about her.
That requires a great, almost unearthly beauty and great wisdom, as we know from the traditional stories about those women with whom at one time the gods are said to have consorted - which to believe requires an indeed great faith that I do not in the least have.
'Besides, I must also call your attention to something else - which is that it was possible for you with your divine Child as one wishing to travel from Bethlehem to Egypt to have gone astray to here, as manifest by your being sad and confused when I pointed out to you that you had gone so far astray on the way to Egypt!
Should your God - or the gods of Rome - really be ignorant of the nearest route from Bethlehem to Egypt?
See, these are sharp contradictions which build up the more one pursues the matter! And on top of that you have even made a threat as to the destruction of Rome if I or my brother were to betray the Child!
Now why should gods threaten the weak mortal, as if they were afraid of him? After all, they need only to openly set foot on the earth, and everyone must blindly obey their mighty will!
So you see, your whole story seems to me to be nothing but a weak deception, intended to mislead me so I might not recognize you for what you really are, either a Jewish magician who sets out for Egypt to make his living with this trade there, since his life is not safe in his homeland -
or perhaps even a crafty Jewish spy, bribed by the power-hungry Herod to detect how the Roman shore-fortifications are set up?
I do of course have the letter of safe-conduct from my brother, and the earlier letter which I mentioned to you - but I still have not discussed this with my brother and therefore these documents could be forged, for my brother's handwriting can also be imitated.
And I now consider you to be both, in other words, a magician and a spy! Now justify yourself in every detail - otherwise you are my prisoner and will not escape a just punishment!'
At these words Joseph looked Cyrenius firmly in the face and asserted: 'Send a fast messenger to your brother Cornelius, have him take both letters with him, and your brother shall bear witness whether matters with me are of such a scandalous nature as you are of the bad opinion!
And such I now insist on from you, for my honor is justified before the eternal God and shall not be crushed underfoot by a pagan! For while you are a patrician of Rome, I am none-the-less a direct descendant of the great king David before whom the circle of the earth trembled, and as such I will not allow myself to be dishonored by a pagan!
And I shall not leave your side now until you have restored my honor to me, for no pagan shall deprive me of the honor which I have received from God!'
These energetic words took Cyrenius aback, for in this manner he as governor, who had command over life and death without restriction, had never heard anyone speak to him. He therefore thought by himself, 'If this man were not conscious of an extraordinary power with him as concerns me, he could not speak like that! Hence I must talk to him now in quite a different manner!"