Chapter 20: When the Disciple Is Ready.
And Jesus is saying to them, “I am not an actor, and I am not trying to be Jesus Christ. I am Jesus Christ.”
And they all laugh. They say, “Don’t try to befool us. We are Christians, and it will be good for you that you immediately disappear from here before the archbishop comes out, otherwise you are going to be in trouble.”
But Jesus says, “This is strange. You are my followers.”
And they say, “Forget all this nonsense. We are followers of Jesus Christ, who was crucified eighteen hundred years ago. You seem to be either a film actor or working in a circus - but we certainly accept that you are doing your act perfectly.”
Jesus tries in thousands of ways: “Listen, I am the same man who was crucified!”
And the archbishop comes and the crowd immediately gives way respectfully. The archbishop is a great religious man. And the archbishop, with authority, says to Jesus, “Come down from that platform and follow me inside the church. These are simple people, and you should not destroy their faith by such stupid acts.”
“But,” Jesus says, “you are my representative.”
The archbishop says, “Shut up! You are going beyond your limits. Just come inside with me.” And he tells a few people, “Hold this man. Tie him inside in a cell and later on I will see about it, when I have time.”
Jesus says, “This is strange. This is what happened before. But they were not my people; at least there was a consolation that they didn’t understand me. I asked God at the last moment, ‘Father, forgive these people, because they don’t know what they are doing. They don’t know that they are mistreating the only begotten son of God.’ But now even that consolation is not there. These are my people, and it seems I am going to be crucified again - by Christians!”
He is tied down to a pole in a dark cell. In the middle of the night the archbishop comes with a candle in his hand and falls at the feet of Jesus. He says, “I recognized you, but I cannot accept you in public. You are a great disturbance, a nuisance. In eighteen hundred years somehow we have managed the whole business of Christianity in a perfectly smooth way. Now everything is going well. You are not needed.
“Remain with your father, serve your father, and we are here to serve you. But you are not needed here because you will immediately start disturbing things. The rabbis who crucified you - now we can understand that they had also recognized you; it was really their recognition that ‘This man has the truth’ which led them to crucify you. And if you don’t disappear, forgive us: we will have to do the same - to crucify you again. So be a little intelligent, don’t create trouble.”