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A Synopsis of Paper 152: Events Leading up to the Capernaum Crisis

Jesus' reputation as a healer was growing. The apostles and the common people seemed unable to discern the difference between true miracles and coincidence. Jesus' attempts to explain his apparent miracles as natural phenomenon had little effect, partly because people enjoyed the idea of miracles so much.

The story of Amos' cure reached Capernaum even before Jesus returned from Kheresa. A great crowd was waiting for him when his boat landed. Jairus, a leader from the Capernaum synagogue, asked Jesus to come to his house because his daughter was close to death. As Jesus walked to Jairus's house, he felt a "living energy" drawn from him. A sick woman in the crowd had touched his hem and was healed of her ailment. Jesus stopped to assure her that it was her faith, and not the touch of his hem, that had cured her. This miracle was genuine although unintended.

When the group arrived at Jairus's house, they were informed that the child was already dead, but Jesus saw that she was only sleeping. He asked her to arise, which she did. Jesus tried to explain to the family and the apostles that she had only been in a coma, but they all believed he had raised her from the dead. Nothing Jesus said could convince them otherwise.

Jesus continued to teach in Capernaum. Soon, he was so tired that he instructed his disciples to go home for a week, but half of his followers refused to leave. The crowds continued to grow. Jesus and the apostles tried to leave unnoticed. They went to Magadan Park on the opposite shore of the lake, hoping for a few days rest. Over five thousand people followed them. A rumor was spreading that Jesus had chosen this secluded spot as the place in which he wanted to be crowned king. The crowds refused to leave even after their food supplies were depleted.

Jesus decided to feed the people and asked Philip what food they had to share. Philip brought him five loaves of bread and two dried fish. Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, broke the bread, and passed it to his apostles who distributed it to the multitudes. He did the same with the fish. The crowd ate until they were full, and when they were done, the apostles gathered up the leftovers-twelve baskets full. This was the first and only nature miracle that Jesus ever performed with conscious preplanning. It was a genuine supernatural ministration.

The crowds finished eating and began to shout, "Make him king!" But Jesus said, "You would make me king, not because your souls have been lighted with a great truth, but because your stomachs have been filled with bread. How many times have I told you that my kingdom is not of this world? Go hence to your own homes. If you must have a king, let the Father of lights be enthroned in the heart of each of you as the spirit Ruler of all things."

The people were stunned; the apostles were speechless. Of the five thousand who were fed, only five hundred continued to follow the Master. Jesus asked Andrew to take the apostles to Bethsaida to pray while he went into the hills to be alone. 

When Jesus later rejoined the apostles at Zebedee's home, he tried to explain once and for all why the kingdom could not be inaugurated with miracle-working.

     "And now do you all see that the working of miracles and the performance of material wonders will not win souls for the spiritual kingdom? We fed the multitude, but it did not lead them to hunger for the bread of life neither to thirst for the waters of spiritual righteousness. When their hunger was satisfied, they sought not entrance into the kingdom of heaven but rather sought to proclaim the Son of Man king after the manner of the kings of this world, only that they might continue to eat bread without having to toil therefor. And all this, in which many of you did more or less participate, does nothing to reveal the heavenly Father or to advance his kingdom on earth. Have we not sufficient enemies among the religious leaders of the land without doing that which is likely to estrange also the civil rulers? I pray that the Father will anoint your eyes that you may see and open your ears that you may hear, to the end that you may have full faith in the gospel which I have taught you."

In April, 29 AD, Jesus and the apostles traveled once again to Jerusalem for the Passover. They traveled quietly, dividing into pairs to stay in various homes. During this trip, the apostles learned how bitter the talk against their Master was beginning to turn.

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