With light feet the Jerusalem company, some six score in number, made the journey north to Galilee. One subject only was on their lips, as they followed the road through Samaria to Kurn Hattin, near the Sea of Tiberias. Here the Lord at the opening of his mission had spoken his nine blessings to needy mortals; most fitting it now was that on this memorable hillside he should utter his farewell to those who had come to believe on him. Thus would the circle of his teachings end where it had begun. Bright was the picture. The glint of the sunlight on the Galilaean sea so near at hand, with the uncounted flowers of the spring-time that covered the lower plains, lent a charm to the scene that Quintus remembered always.
At the outset the Roman convert is impressed with the goodly number of those first disciples. They are not twelve or six score, but many more. They greet each other with the salutation, “Peace be to you,” and then they rapturously add, “To-day we shall see our Lord.” In that intimacy which should always mark the followers of Christ, they give Quintus their welcome; and at once he feels himself among a congenial brotherhood.
One is by name Nicodemus, a member of the Great Sanhedrin. Another is one Bartimaeus, from southern Jericho, whose finger tips have been his eyes, till the Lord has healed his blindness. A third has been a demoniac among the hills of the Gergesenes, and has been a wandering and truculent challenge to his times. A woman is there from Jacob’s well, with Salome and Susanna and the virgin mother herself. They are from southern Bethlehem; they have come from the wild hills of Peraea, beyond the Jordan; many are from Galilee, where Christ has found so many devoted followers. All these, as well as the immortal eleven who have composed the inner circle of the Master’s associates.
Two other peculiar disciples does Quintus see, both of whom have been raised from the dead. Lazarus has come, who has so often welcomed the Lord to his home in Bethany; and with him are the sisters, of whom one has heard the Teacher say. “Whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” The other is a young vineyard keeper from the neighboring village of Nain, whom Christ has restored. His word to Quintus is:
“Last year I sickened with a fever and passed through the door of death. They were carrying me out for burial, and my widowed mother was weeping as one weeps who has lost her only son. The Master halted the mourners, and called me back to earth. I have never told of the wonders which I saw in the spirit world; it would not be lawful. But I have been in the great spaces beyond the stars, and know that the tomb is only a resting place for a little sleep.”
“How many disciples are there here?” Quintus asks of the good John. To which question the other answers:
“Over a half thousand. It has been our Master’s wish that every disciple of his throughout the land should come to this meeting place. Unto all he would show himself once more, before he returns to the upper life. So they shall have a glad memory of his face, and shall be strengthened in their coming tribulations by the hope of immortality.”