|Chapter 57||The Great Gospel of John|
At Sychar. The answer to the ticklish question. ‘So You are the Messiah?!’ Welcome: For Him have I worked all my days! The Lord accepts the merchant's invitation to lunch.
1. Says the merchant: 'Friend, you now have conversed with me in the fullness of wisdom, telling me what I have only too often felt within me. But I can't understand your insistence on my saying what I think of you and in particular Him. What I had thought him to be from the start you said he wasn't, yet something much more. But how one can be more than a god of the world, I do not understand! Jehovah alone is terrestrially and spiritually more than the worldly emperor-god! Yet surely he is not going to be that?!'
2. Says Jonael: 'I tell you, observe our company more closely; maybe something shall stand out after all! What do you make of the many glorious youths you see in our company. Observe them and then speak!'
3. The merchant says, 'Up till now I took them to be noble lads of the emperor's, and sons of Roman Patricians, although, on account of their fine white skins and colour, to rather be disguised girls from Caucasian Asia Minor. Because truly, notwithstanding my former dealing in such merchandise, with Egypt and Europe and mostly with Sicily and its big Romans and their penchant for voluptuousness, forms of such inexpressibly glorious kind nevertheless I have not struck before! Will you not tell me whence they are! Your daughters of course also are of glorious shape; but in comparison with these - one could say radiant figures - they trail behind considerably. Since you are bound to know more about them than I, please tell me how and whence they are!'
4. Replies Jonael: 'It is not up to me but only to Him Who stands here amidst my daughters to tell you that. Hence turn to Him! He will clear you up.'
5. Here at last the merchant turns to Me, saying; 'Lord, all these throngs which seem to follow You like sheep their shepherd, will You not please tell me who I have the privilege of speaking with in your person! Because I was asked and settled for the highest earthly status; yet it was indicated to me that I had erred. Now I have nothing further to say; therefore please regard me worthy of finding out more about your status!'
6. Say I: 'You too are one of those who will not believe without seeing signs. But when seeing them they say: Behold, this either is a disciple of the Essenes or a magician from Egypt, or even from the land watered by the river Ganges, or he is a servant of Beelzebub!' What can one do then? But if I tell you straight out who I am you won't believe Me!
7. You voiced your opinion and it was wrong. But when Jonael told you that I was more than your worldly god, you said: only Jehovah is greater than an emperor!, and secretly guard against the supposition that I am more than an emperor of Rome, to whom you concede highest rank only for fear of his worldly power, but whom in your heart you despise more than the plague, and his power more than swarms of locusts.
8. Yet it is already the third day of My stay in Sychar, and only an inconsequent walk to the city from here; it would greatly surprise Me if you have not received news of Me from your colleagues in town!'
9. Replies the merchant: 'Ah, so it is you of whom I was told already yesterday and today that He is the Messiah, supporting it with marvelous deeds! You are supposed to have restored beautiful Irhael's old house and fitted it out miraculously and regally. And I was also told of a pungent sermon you delivered from the Mount, with which many were offended, as it was supposed to have been brimmingly anti-Mosaic! Now then, You are He?
10. Now, I am happy You are visiting me and hope to get to know You better! Do You know that I am not averse to this idea and firmly believe that the Messiah will, and must come! The time would according to my estimation be about right, as the pressure from the Romans is barely tolerable! And why could the long-awaited Messiah not be You? Oh, this I would soon and easily accept!
11. If you are sure of your power, knowing how to properly present yourself thus, then I am at your service with all of my great wealth. These heathen pigs from the West shall soon clear the land of our fathers! Because verily, I have spent all my powers from my youth exclusively on amassing as many fortunes as possible on account of the awaited Messiah, so that a great army of the most martial and boldly cunning warriors can be bought for good wages! I have already established contact with quite a few of the most valiant peoples of the Far East, and it only needs a few messengers and in the space of a few moons a dreadful might shall be massing in these parts! But now no more of this; in my most spacious house we shall be able to resume our mediations!
12. But lunch should by now be readied for you all; therefore do come, all of you, to eat and drink to your heart's content!'
13. Say I: 'Right then, let it all stand till then; then we shall discuss and finalise things! Therefore lead us all to your big hall. But those men at the far back leave here; these don't belong to Mine but only to the world!'
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