The Old Testament says that “tit for tat” is the most fundamental law. If somebody throws a brick at you, reply by throwing a rock at him. If somebody takes out one of your eyes, take out both of the eyes of that man…murder for murder, violence for violence. Jesus says, “If somebody hits you on one cheek, give him the other cheek too because God is love.” But the Old Testament God is not love. God himself declares, “I am a very jealous God.” Now jealousy can never be love; it is impossible for jealousy to be loving. The Old Testament God says, “Remember, I am not nice, I am not your uncle. Beware! I am a very jealous God. If you worship somebody else, some other God, then be ready to be punished – punished for eternity.”
And Jesus says, “Love your enemies just as you love yourself.” Jesus brings a new horizon with him. Every awakened master brings a new light, a new universe, a new perspective – and that is the trouble. Otherwise Jesus was not a troublemaker at all but a simple, innocent man.
Why did the Jews want him to be crucified? He was shaking their foundations, their very foundations. They had lived according to a certain ideology, and this man’s presence was proof enough that they were wrong. He was talking about higher values, higher truths. The whole establishment was shaken up.
The Jews were slaves, they were dominated by the Romans and the Romans and the Jews both conspired to kill Jesus. It was not only the Jews, remember: fifty percent of the crime was committed by the Jews in the case of Jesus’ crucifixion and fifty percent was committed by the Romans – because the Romans were politically powerful and the Jews, of course, had the religious tradition. The priests and the politicians both conspired. They were enemies in a way, because the Roman conquerors were not friendly with the conquered and the conquered were not friendly with the conquerors, but as far as Jesus was concerned both agreed that this man had to be destroyed – because he was cutting the very roots of both the establishments, the religious and the political.
But now Jesus is imitated, and a strange irony has occurred: that he was killed by the Romans, who are now Italians – and now the Vatican has become their headquarters. Strange, but in a way significant, in a way not just accidental. Once Jesus himself was absorbed by the establishment, then there was no problem; he started functioning just like Moses. Before him it was said, “Be like Moses.” Now they started saying, “Be like Jesus.” Now Christianity was itself a part of the vested interests. The same people who had killed Jesus started worshipping him!
And it has been happening almost all over the world. It happened with Mahavira, it happened with Buddha, it happened with Lao Tzu, it happened with Nanak, it happened with Mohammed – the same people. They are not different people – the same unconscious humanity….
One thing can be concluded: the unconscious humanity always worships the established structure, because it is familiar with it. And a man like Jesus or Buddha or Krishna is a stranger. He does not belong to the common, he does not belong to the unconscious; he comes as if from another world. He speaks a different language, he brings new messages – and the masses are afraid to go into the unknown, into the unexperienced. They cling to the old, to the past, to the dead. They worship the dead and they destroy the living.