Jesus' Precepts and Deeds through His Three Years of Teaching

The Lord on the Mount of Olives. (cont.) Gospel of John, Chapter 8

- Chapter 173 -
About the apparent unjust guidance of the people.

he scribe said: "Yes, Lord and Master, in this way the prophet is easy to understand, and the meaning is now clear to me, although one could ask the following question: why do You, Lord, allow that 2,000 years in the future, men will become again so evil as they were at the time of Noah? And why must especially the poor people suffer the most, and even when they lead a life that is in everything as much as possible pleasing to God?
So also, I myself know about a situation of a poor family who lived strictly according to the commandments of God and who possessed a small piece of land. Not far from there, a rich and for the world prominent family, possessed a large landed property. That family was hard-hearted and never gave alms to a poor man, while the poor family was always willing to share its small amount of bread with the other poor. On a hot and humid day came a heavy storm, and the lightning hit the hut of the good, poor family, who was at that moment on the field and was gathering their barley. The hut burned down of course, with everything that was inside, like clothing, food reserve and the necessary house and farming equipment. However, the same storm was passing by the big house of the rich, unmerciful family, but no destructive lightning stroke down from the clouds in the house of the rich owner. Why then was the rich hard-hearted man spared here, and why rather not the poor man?
Such things are happening very often, and because of that, the people are easily coming to the belief that there is no God at all or that God does not care about the people at all. And according to me, this is one of the most important reasons for the decline of faith. Because every man has a natural sense of justice that is closely connected to faith in a good and very righteous God. When this feeling is too often offended in mostly a to Heaven crying way, then gradually, also faith is offended and affected, and then humanity is sinking slowly but surely still deeper into the night of unbelief and superstition. And in its need, it is starting to search for help and comfort at any place where help is offered, and in this way it turns to idolatry or indifference.
Once humanity, within a few centuries, has in this way become for the greatest part evil, then comes of course one punishment after another. But I think that those would not be necessary if the faith of the people had not been so often severely tested by certain incidents.
I am only thinking about it here as a natural man, but as I am thinking about it now, a lot of people are thinking the same way, and thereby and by that they are only becoming worse. Lord and Master, what do You say on this now?"
I said: "Did your poor family remain unhappy also after the accident. And after that, did it have to wither away in great need and great misery?"
The scribe said: "No, this not at all, because the accident made the hearts of the neighbors soft, and they gave the poor family so much that it possessed more after the accident than before.
But there are also cases where a family, when they once have an accident without their fault is also remaining unhappy afterwards. And also these cases that happen oftentimes are actually the reason why, according to my opinion, humanity is mostly becoming worse. Or am I also about this, thinking incorrectly?"
I said: "Firstly, such cases are happening very seldom, and then secondly, if they happen they certainly have a good reason. With the first poor family that you gave as example, the reason for their accident was the following: their hut was already in a very ruinous condition and it would have collapsed with a small earthquake, and easily would have killed its righteous inhabitants. For this reason the family asked already a few times to their rich neighbors to help them, so that they could build a new hut. But the neighbors did not go for it. Then one day it was allowed that a lightning would make an end to the old, ruinous hut. Then this made the heart of the neighbor's softer. They quickly brought a small amount of money together, build a new stone dwelling hut for the poor family and still supplied them so abundantly with all kinds of provisions, so that the condition of the poor family was much better after the accident than before, and moreover, they were also able to do something in a much easier way for someone who was still poorer. And therefore, your presumed accident was for the righteous poor family only a true bliss, that was foreseen and allowed by Me.
Concerning the other afflictions that happen to man as adversity, which are then also not leaving him, of this I say that such a family always comes into poverty by their own fault. If then, in their poverty they are again easily hit by a still harder blow, in order to wake them up from their daily laziness, it is again their own fault if they are still further persisting in their laziness, and thus also remain in their unhappy state. This kind of people are then indeed of the opinion that God does not hear their questions, or that He is not concerned at all about the people. But these people are only too lazy. They are not serious with their worldly work, and also not in the keeping of God's commandments and their lukewarm and without trust uttered questions to God. And therefore, they are also left in their adversity until they - by the still more pressing need - are finally awakened to activity and by that will then also become happier.
Listen, there was once in the morning land a king of a great people. The people became lazy, because they were living in a fertile land and became poorer from year to year, more and more. Then the king thought by himself how he could correct this evil.
He got a good idea, and he said by himself: 'I will charge to the people greater and heavier taxes and collect them by my army with an uncompromising strictness, and that as long as the people in general will become more active.'
So he said, so he did. And see, in the beginning the people were grumbling and complaining terribly, and if only it would be easier to get rid of their laziness they would have stood up against the king of whom they were supposing that he was too hard. The bitter need brought the people however to greater activity. By that, they soon became wealthier and they paid the king more easily the demanded heavy taxes than before the light taxes.
When after a few years the king noticed that his people became zealous and active, he sent messengers to all the parts of his kingdom and announced a substantial tax reduction.
But then the elders of the people said: 'We thank the wise king for this favor, but nevertheless, we are asking him also to leave the current taxes as they are for the true welfare of the people, because as soon as the people will be charged less taxes, then they also soon will become lazier and inactive, and finally they will have it more difficult to raise the light taxes than the heavy taxes.'
When the king heard this remark from the elders of his people, he praised them for their wisdom, and saw how his people became more and more active, and by that became also more and more wealthy and happier. And when the people of the elders heard that the wise king only charged them such high taxes to make them more active and happier, they praised the wisdom of the king and paid him voluntarily even more than it had to pay him.
And see, that I also am doing with the lazy and inactive people. Therefore, am I doing someone injustice?"
The scribe said: "Lord, now it is again completely clear to me and I thank You out of the deepest of my heart because You have lightened my understanding.
However, I am asking You to continue the explanation of Isaiah. The sixth verse is even more incomprehensible than the preceding five. Therefore, we ask you urgently to give us more explanation."