Then Jesus called the people who stood near, and His disciples too, and He told them that if they followed Him, they too might have to die for His sake. But He told them that they must not mind that, because heaven is better than this world. And He told them that if they were ashamed of Him, He should be ashamed of them before His Father and the holy angels. Dear children, I hope, when you go to school, or are with your little friends, that you will never be ashamed of Jesus.
About a week after that talk with His disciples, Jesus took Peter, and James, and John into a high hill alone to pray. There is a splendid high mountain near Caesarea Philippi, called Hermon. All at once, as Jesus was praying, the disciples saw that His face shown like the sun, and His clothes were white and shining like the light. And as the disciples looked, they saw two men talking with Jesus, called Moses and Elijah, two holy men who went to heaven long, long ago. We do not know how long they talked. Peter, and James, and John were men, so they could not look very long at those heavenly visitors; soon their eyes closed, and they fell fast asleep. When they woke up, Moses and Elijah were still there, and when the disciples saw Jesus again, looking so bright and beautiful, they were very much afraid.
When they came down from the mountain, they saw a crowd down below. Jesus had left nine of His disciples behind when He went up Mount Hermon; and now He saw a great number of persons all round them, and heard some Jews worrying them with questions. When Jesus came near enough to speak, He asked what was the matter. And a man came running to Him out of the crowd, and begged Him to look at his boy -- his only child. And he said to Jesus, 'If Thou canst do anything, take pity on me, and help me.' And Jesus made the boy well from that very hour. The disciples had not had faith enough themselves to be able to do that sick boy any good.
Every year the Jews had to pay half a shekel of money for the splendid Temple in Jerusalem; and when Jesus came back to Capernaum, the men who were collecting the money came to Peter, and said, 'Does not your Master pay the half-shekel?' And Peter said, 'Yes.' Now the Temple was God's house, and Jesus was God's Son. And Jesus explained to Peter when he came into the house that kings did not expect their own sons to pay them taxes. But it was not wrong to pay the half-shekel, and Jesus never vexed people if He could possibly help it, so He said to Peter, 'Go thou to the sea and cast a hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up, and when thou hast opened its mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money. That take, and give unto them for Me and thee.'
And now, after a long time, Jesus and His disciples went up to Jerusalem again; and as they walked along, they saw ten lepers standing a long way off. As Jesus came near, they cried out, 'Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.' Nine of the lepers were Jews, and one was a Samaritan. And Jesus was sorry for them all, and said, 'Go, show yourselves to the priests.' So they turned straight round to go to the priests, and lo! as they were going along the road, they suddenly felt that they were strong and well again. When the Samaritan felt in himself that the leprosy had gone away, he turned back, and threw himself down at the feet of Jesus, and thanked Him, and thanked God too for all His goodness. But none of the nine Jews came back to thank Jesus.
A few days after that a man came to Jesus, and asked how he could get to heaven. Jesus said that he must love God with all his heart, and his neighbor as himself. Then the man said, 'Who is my neighbor?' So Jesus told him this story, THE GOOD SAMARITAN: 'A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him. And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, 'Take care of him: and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.' When Jesus had finished that story, He said, 'Which now of these three was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves?' You can answer that question, and can go and do like that good Samaritan.
[Illustration: The good Samaritan.]
Just opposite the Temple hill, Mount Moriah, there was another hill, called the Mount of Olives. On the other side of the Mount of Olives was a village, called Bethany, and Jesus often walked over the hill to see some friends of His there, a brother and two sisters who lived in the village. Their names were Mary and Martha and Lazarus. Jesus loved them very much, and they loved Him. But Mary and Martha showed their love in very different ways. Mary sat as quiet and still as possible when Jesus came in, and listened to every word that He said; and Martha wanted so much to make Him happy and comfortable that she ran about the whole time doing things for Him, instead of listening to the beautiful words He was saying.
Jesus likes you and me to work for Him; but He likes us to talk to Him in prayer too, and to listen to the things that He whispers in our hearts, and to the words that He says to us in the Bible.
[Illustration: Child at prayer.]