1967 YEARS AGO THIS WEEK -
GOOD FRIDAY REVISITED
Jesus was trying continuously to convince the
Jews only of one thing, because Moses had prophesied that "I will come to save
you" so Jews were waiting for him to come. And Jesus said, "I have come -- I am
the prophet about whom Moses has prophesied." And Jews could not believe that a
carpenter's son, illegitimate, uneducated...
And they had great learned rabbis -- Jerusalem in the days of Jesus was the
seat of great learning and wisdom. They could not accept this uneducated fellow
who was behaving like a buffoon. He could not afford more than a donkey --
sitting on his donkey, followed by twelve uneducated, illiterate, poor people,
and they had become his followers because he had given them the consolation and
the promise that "If you follow me, I am God's only son. I will take you into
the kingdom of God."
Those poor fellows knew perfectly well that on their own they could not go into
the kingdom of God, and this fellow... who knows? may be right. You can
suspect, but you have nothing to lose in following him. There is a possibility
he may prove right in the end. If he does not prove right, then too, you have
nothing to lose. You don't have anything.
All those twelve apostles, following him, and he proclaiming himself -- sitting
on his donkey -- from village to village: "I am the only begotten son of God,
and I am the last prophet of the Jews." The Jews could not tolerate it. It was
too much. A joke needs some limits. And Judea was a small place, an unknown
corner of the world. It was a harassment every day to come across this fellow
who looks at you as sinners, and only his twelve followers are the virtuous
saints. And he is the only begotten son of God! And the last prophet of the
Finally they got so freaked out... Jesus had not done anything, the crucifixion
was absolutely wrong, but the crucifixion shows how much he harassed people.
Jews are not violent people; he must have provoked them again and again.
They were telling him, "We have heard the whole thing. You just take your
donkey somewhere else. We believe -- you are the only begotten son of God! But
don't harass us. Can't you go somewhere else? The whole world is there." But he
went on trotting into that small area. Naturally, if somebody on a donkey moves
around, harassing you -- "Listen, where are you going? I am the son of God" --
even you will start thinking, "Should we shoot this fellow or what?"
All these prophets needed psychiatric treatment.