Biographical Gospel of the Lord

- Chapter 53 -
The Roman Military Inspection

HEREUPON JOSEPH and Mary immediately set out on the short trip, and Joseph's oldest son accompanied them, showing them the way to the fortress where Cyrenius was staying.
When they arrived at the great square, behold, it was completely filled with soldiers, so that it was very difficult to reach the entrance of the fortress.
At this Joseph advised Mary, 'Beloved wife, see, what is impossible for us human beings, will remain impossible for us.
Consequently it is now utterly impossible to reach the fortress through all these rows of soldiers, so we should turn right back again and await a more favorable time.
The Baby also looks at these rough rows of warriors quite timidly. He could easily become frightened and become sick after that, and we would then be to blame, so let us go back!'
And Mary said, 'Beloved Joseph! See, if my eyes do not deceive me, then that man who is walking in front of this last row with a shining helmet on his head is none other than Cyrenius!
So let us wait a little until he gets over here. Perhaps he will notice us and then he will surely give us a hint as to what we are to do - whether we should come to him or not.
Joseph replied, 'Yes, beloved wife, you are right, it obviously is Cyrenius himself.
But just look quite sharply at the other warrior who walks beside him. If that is not the notorious prefect of Jerusalem my name is not Joseph.
What is he doing here? Could his presence concern us? Could Cyrenius thus most shamefully have delivered us over to Herod?
The best part of the matter is that he surely does not know you and me personally, so we can still save ourselves by a new flight deeper into Egypt.
But if he knew me or you, we would already be lost, for he is now hardly more than twenty steps away from us and could have us seized immediately.
So let us withdraw in all haste - for if we are seen by Cyrenius, who surely still knows us well, we are lost!'
At this Mary took fright and wanted to flee back at once. But the pressure of the crowd permitted no flight here, for curiosity drew so many people to the square that it was as good as impossible to push one's way through.
Joseph therefore said, 'What is impossible, is just impossible. Let us therefore resign ourselves to God's will! The Lord will surely not leave us this time either!
But as a precaution let us put our heads right closely together, so that at least Cyrenius does not recognize us by our faces.'
On this occasion Cyrenius came quite close to Joseph and pushed him a bit out of the way. But Joseph could not give way because of the pressing throng; hence Cyrenius looked at his unbudging man more closely and promptly recognized Joseph.
And when he caught sight of Joseph and Mary and the at him smiling Child, his eyes became filled with tears of joy - yes, he was so overjoyed that he could hardly speak.
But he regained his composure as quickly as possible, grasped Joseph's hand in haste, pressed it to his heart and said,
'My venerated friend! You see my preoccupation!
Oh forgive me that I have not been able to visit you sooner, but the review is just completed. I shall immediately let the troops withdraw to their quarters,
give the garrison commander my short orders for tomorrow, then promptly change uniform and join you here to lead you to your home.'
Still full of joy he then turned to Mary and to the Child and asked, while at the same time caressing the Baby,
'O my Life, my all, do You still know me? Do You love me, my loveliest little Child?'
And the little Child spread His little hands widely toward Cyrenius, smiled at him tenderly and then said clearly:
'Oh Cyrenius! I well know you and love you, because you love Me so much! Come, come to Me - for I must be sure to bless you!'
This was too much for Cyrenius' heart, and he took the Baby in his arms, pressed Him to his bosom and declared,
'Yes, my Life, with You on my arms I will give the command for a long peace among the nations!'
He now called the commander over, let him know that he was wholly satisfied and told him to let the troops withdraw and to provide for them for three days at his expense as governor, and then invited the commander as well as several centurions to a good meal at Joseph's villa.
And he himself, while carrying the Baby and accompanied by the ever more wondering Maronius Pilla, immediately went as he was out to the villa with Joseph and Mary and there promptly had his servants prepare a festive meal. Now this caused a great sensation in the city, for all the people were inflamed with love for Cyrenius since they found him to be such a great friend of children.