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Chapter 16: Recognizing the Master

The crucifixion of Jesus was not only the responsibility of the Jews. The real responsibility for his crucifixion was his disciples’.

It was very easy not to be caught by the Jews. Judea was such a small country; you could get out of Judea any moment. And Jews were not free people - they were in slavery under the Romans. They could not do anything directly. They had to persuade the Roman emperor, the Roman viceroy, and it was known almost all over Judea that if Jesus should go to Jerusalem for the Jewish holidays when people go on a holy pilgrimage, he would be crucified.

It was common knowledge. And there was no need for Jesus to go. Jews were not listening to him - what was the need? Jews were gathering and the rumor was that they would try to crucify him, they would put as much pressure as possible on the viceroy, Pontius Pilate. But if he is not there, nothing can be done. He insisted on going there.

And I suspect that George Gurdjieff is right - that Judas simply performed the function of a devoted disciple; he was not the enemy of Jesus and he did not betray. It was Jesus himself who sent Judas to inform the enemies where he was. It must have been very difficult for Judas, but to follow the master, he went against himself. And Jesus was caught because of the information given by Judas.

And I say that he must have done it against himself because as Jesus was crucified, suddenly he became aware of what he had done. Death is not a small matter. He had killed the man he loved, he had killed the man he worshipped. He was feeling so much repentance that within twenty-four hours he committed suicide.

Christians don’t talk about why Judas committed suicide, why Jesus insisted against the will of his disciples to go on that ugly night to Jerusalem.

As far as I am concerned, my feeling is that his disciples were fast asleep - and Jesus had tried everything to wake them up and they would not wake up. Hence, he had chosen the last resort of a master. Perhaps his life cannot help. There is no harm in taking the chance - maybe what life has not been able to do and perform, death succeeds in doing.

And it succeeded - the shock not only made an impact on the disciples but on sympathizers, on curiosity mongers, on people who were absolutely neutral, on people who had never thought about Jesus Christ. The crucifixion made everyone give a thought to this strange young man. Where do you think so many Christians have come from? Their basic number has come from the Jews.

While Jesus was alive, not even a single rabbi - and Jerusalem was full of learned rabbis; it had the Jewish university, all the scholars were there - not a single scholar, not a single rabbi recognized him. Not a single man of reputation.because everybody was afraid. Just to be associated with Jesus’ name could be dangerous to you. But when he was crucified - and crucified in such a primitive and ugly way that it shocked the whole nation - even those who were in opposition felt that what had happened was not right. Because the man was innocent.

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