When Jesus was crucified, Judea, the country where he was born, was under the Roman Empire. A Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, could not see why Jesus should be crucified. But all the rabbis and the highest priest of the Jewish temple were insistent, unanimous, that he should be crucified.
Pontius Pilate could not see any reason – he has not committed any crime, he has not harmed anybody. There is no valid reason to murder this innocent young man, and he is only thirty-three. All that he does…he has certain teachings and those who want to listen to him – and they are not many – it is their freedom to listen to him.
But the problem was that Pontius Pilate was Roman and Jesus was a Jew. Whatever Jesus was saying was going against the Jewish lies. It was not at all concerned with Roman paganism, so it was not hurting Pontius Pilate. So for his consolation, he made a last attempt to save Jesus.
It was the convention that every year when the Jews have their holidays, they were allowed to ask for one man who was going to be crucified, and he would be given freedom – he would not be crucified.
So this was his last hope. Three persons were going to be crucified and Pilate was hoping that they would ask for Jesus because the other two were murderers, rapists – they had done all kinds of crimes. But the whole crowd of rabbis and Jews shouted for a murderer who had committed seven murders to be released. Not a single voice was heard shouting that Jesus should be released.
But the psychology is very simple to understand. Jesus was saying truths which were going against the Jewish tradition. For example, in the old testament, which is a Jewish book, God is made to say, “I am not a nice man. I am very jealous. That I never forgive, and those who go against me will have to suffer. I am not your uncle.”
And Jesus said, “But I say unto you that God is love.” Now Jews cannot tolerate this; he is turning the whole philosophy upside down. God Himself is saying that He cannot forgive, and Jesus says, “Don’t be worried, He is pure love. You will be forgiven.”
It was not against the Roman conceptions, Roman beliefs. Truth is simply truth, neither pleasant nor unpleasant. If you silently listen to it, without prejudice, you will not feel that it is pleasant or unpleasant. But your mind is full of prejudices, and if it goes against your prejudices, then it becomes unpleasant. If it supports your prejudices, it becomes pleasant.
No man of truth ever contemplates the consequences. And it is good; otherwise this world would have been even poorer in spirit, more ugly in its behavior than it is now.
These are the people: Socrates, Mansoor and Jesus, who have raised the human consciousness by sacrificing themselves. They knew perfectly well that to say the truth was inviting death, but death does not matter to the man of truth. He knows there is no death – the body dies, but your consciousness remains always.