Chapter 25: Jesus: The Only Savior who Nearly Saved Himself
And on the cross they had written “King of the Jews,” just as a joke, because this man was constantly talking about the kingdom of God, and saying, “Those who believe in me will be saved. At the judgment day, I will be there with God indicating the people who are my people: sorting out people into those who have to be saved, and those who have not to be saved. And I am going to be your witness. The judgment is in my hand.”
On the cross he himself feels shaken up. He cries to God, “Have you forgotten me? Have you forsaken me?” - because he sees that the crucifixion is happening and there is no miracle. He looks upwards towards the sky.that God will be descending on a white cloud, angels will be coming, singing “Alleluia, Alleluia.”
But no angels are coming, no God is seen anywhere; the sky is completely clear, not even a cloud. And the crowd is shouting and rejoicing and dancing. They are hilarious, saying, “Look at the fool! He was going to save the whole world!”
And he feels thirsty, obviously. Walking a long way, carrying a heavy cross in the hot sun - and the crucifixion happened on a hill, Golgotha - he was thirsty, and on the cross as blood started oozing out from his hands and feet.
The Jewish crucifixion was the most cruel way of killing a man that has been practiced anywhere. It took sometimes thirty-six to forty-eight hours for a man to die. An electric chair is far more non-violent. You simply sit in it and you are gone - just a switch. Perhaps you may not even hear the click. By the time you hear the click, you are no more.
Every country has its way, but the Jews had the most torturous. Death is not a torture; death may be a relief from a torturous life, but on the Jewish cross you will be praying, “Kill me, God, kill me; I cannot wait anymore” - because you are hungry and thirsty, and as the blood goes out of your body, you feel more thirsty, more thirsty, because you are losing liquid. You are still alive, and the pain is tremendous. Such a slow death. It is not just death. Death can be very simple: you cut the head off the person; it’s not much of a problem. It does not need forty-eight hours, forty-eight hours of dying.
He started asking for water. Now, this is the man who used to walk on water. This is the man who used to turn water into wine. This is the man who raised the dead from their grave. But he cannot stop his blood flowing out of his body. He cannot make his blood flow backwards into the body. He cannot even manage a glass of water - and he was able to change stones into bread!
Why can’t he change the air into water? Why can’t he arrange a cloud to shower just on him so he can have a good shower and drink the water? He proved absolutely impotent on the cross.
But the Christians go on, all over the world, saving people. They don’t even understand what it means to save.
In the East, no religion has ever proclaimed that anybody can save you except yourself; and the East knows far more deeply about man’s life and its transforming forces. It has been working on the human psyche for thousands of years. Still much has to be discovered - perhaps that is not the right word: rediscovered will be the right word - by the West, which the East has already discovered long before.