Chapter 1: Raw, Alive, Rebellious
This man Jesus is claiming that he is someone who was, even before Abraham. They had known that he was born in their village, they knew his birth date, they knew his father and his mother and his sisters and his brothers. They were still working in their workshop and this man said, “I am, before Abraham was.” This was going too far - “No, he cannot be forgiven for it.” But what he was saying was the truth, because Jesus is a quality, which has nothing to do with any person. It is a quality like love. If you say, “Before Abraham was, love is,” nobody will be offended because love is not a person. You don’t take it as a person, you take it as a quality. Jesus is a quality of tremendous love. Jesus is a quality of tremendous perception, vision, of tremendous realization. Jesus is a quality - but to see that quality you will have to drop your egos. Only then can you see, otherwise your egos will be heavy on your eyes and it will be almost impossible to see.
Just a few days ago, I was reading G. K. Chesterton’s life. He lived his whole life in London.
One day he was preparing for a journey, a long journey, and everything was packed, everything was ready. A friend asked, “Where are you going?”
Chesterton said, “I am going to London.”
The friend said, “Your wit, your remark escapes me. What do you mean? We are in London, so where are you going?”
Chesterton said, “I am going to London via Paris, via Bombay, via Tokyo, via New York, because I have lived in London so long that my eyes have become clouded and I cannot see where London is, what London is.”
When Jesus is standing just in front of you, you cannot see him. You will have to go via - via the Vatican, via Rome, via popes and preachers and churches. Only then may you be able to see who Jesus is. When Jesus confronts you, he offends. His very being, his height, his depth, become offensive. You feel that you have failed. You feel that you have not lived. You feel that you have not loved. You will become an enemy. With Jesus these are the two possibilities: either you follow him or you become the enemy. You cannot remain neutral, you cannot remain indifferent. Either you follow him if you can drop the ego - then you take a jump, you flow with him; or, if you are defensive, you become the enemy, you become the foe and you start destroying him. Because his very presence is offensive, he has to be destroyed.
When Jesus was crucified, a great weight disappeared from the Jewish mind. You felt relieved. He was somebody who was a constant reminder that you were failures, somebody who was a constant reminder that you had not lived, somebody who was a constant reminder that you were empty, hollow within, that you were not fulfilled. Contemporaries cannot understand. Very rare people, rare because they can drop their egos, can see what Jesus is. And even their vision is always shaking, even their vision is not very certain, even their vision has deep hesitation and doubt in it. Even those who follow, follow with much doubt in them
Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side.
And.he went up into a mountain apart to pray.