Chapter 3: You Are Here to Be Yourself
Just the other day I was reading a passage. The Gospel describes the event: And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And he went to the synagogue and he stood up to read. He opened the book of the prophet Isaiah and read: “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recover sight to the blind.” In his commentary Jesus spoke one single sentence so explosive that his hearers did not allow him to continue but rushed him outside to kill him. And what did he say that was so outrageous? - simply, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” That was his comment.
This passage has been commented on by thousands and thousands of rabbis down the ages. Nobody had taken any offense. They were simply commenting on the prophet Isaiah’s statement. Jesus did not comment. He declared, “I am here! I have come! The spirit of the Lord is upon me! “ He is not a commentator. He himself is the commentary, an alive statement. He said, “The word has become flesh in me. The spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to preach good news!” The statement Jesus made is not in inverted commas. That is the only difference that he has made - he has removed the inverted commas. If those inverted commas had not been removed, people would not have been offended. If he had simply quoted Isaiah’s saying, there would have been no problem. But he said, “The spirit of the Lord is upon me! “ - without inverted commas - “because he has anointed me to preach good news. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recover sight to the blind.” And a small comment at the end: “Today this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” And people were so mad! They simply took him away. They took him on top of a cliff, they wanted to throw him to his death. They were immensely offended.
And Jesus belonged to that place. He was born there, he was brought up there - and that was the problem. People knew him perfectly well: “He is the son of that carpenter, Joseph, and his wife, Mary. And this carpenter’s son.uneducated, unfamiliar with the scriptures, not a learned man at all, is either mad or a hypocrite, has gone insane or is egoistic, declaring that ‘Today the scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing! I have come. Isaiah was talking about me. It has happened before your eyes. In your hearing the scripture is fulfilled.’”
It was on that day that Jesus made the famous statement: “No prophet is acceptable in his own country.”
If he had said. “The day will arrive when this will come to pass”, things would have been perfectly okay. But he had not said that. He was saying, “The day has come! I am standing before your eyes, fulfilled. All those prophets were declaring me!” Now this is too much.
In India the Upanishads declare: aham brahmasmi - I am God, I am absolute. Talk about it, discuss about it, philosophize about it, speculate about it, go into the metaphysics of the statement, but don’t become a witness to it.