Now what had happened? Three thousand people had died and only he was saved. Even the emperor of Rome, the empress of Rome, became aware that this man seems to be a man of God – twice he has returned from death. So he was called to Rome. He had become so famous that people started touching him. He had become almost divine; just to touch him was a great experience. Even the empress wanted to touch Barabbas.
But the emperor said, “One test more; these two things may have been just accidental.”
And the last test was….every year they had games in which criminals were thrown before hungry lions, to fight with them without any weapons. Barabbas was thrown before a hungry lion, and he managed a third time: he killed the hungry lion.
Then even the emperor thought, “Now it cannot be an accident.” He had never seen before…. All criminals were eaten by the lions! This was the first time that a man had killed the lion; unscratched, he was victorious.
He was freed, he was given citizenship. He was no longer a slave – because in those days there were two categories of people, slaves and citizens. He was given citizenship. That was a great honor, and especially for a criminal…but he had proved three times that he can come back from death.
Christians have so much difficulty in proving that Jesus is a man of miracles. Barabbas is a man of miracles. They prove hard that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. It seems there is some mistake – Barabbas seems to be the only begotten son of God!
But all these years he was carrying the innocent Jesus’ face, and feeling guilty that he was saved: “There has been some mistake. And I have been saved thrice!” He started meeting Christians in underground caves, where they used to meet so that nobody would know. He listened for the first time to what Jesus used to say – and he became a Christian. The day he became a Christian he was caught and crucified, and then no miracle happened! It is a very strange story.
But the Roman people, who are now Italians, started feeling: “Thousands of people are being crucified just because they are getting involved with Jesus and his teachings.” The Roman empire disappeared, and the whole land of the Romans became Christian. And from there Christianity started moving all over the world.
A guilt feeling is very basic for being a Christian, for being a false religious person. Real religiousness arises not out of guilt, but out of silence, out of love, out of meditativeness.
These people who are in power are almost on the brink of destroying the world, rather than lose their power. I can understand their logic – they may not be aware of it. Their logic is: We are going to die anyway, so what if the whole world dies? Our death is certain, so why should we bother about whether the world lives after us or not? We should live in power as long as we are here, and there is no need to be bothered about what will happen if the world explodes into a third world war.