PORTRAIT OF THE MASTER
He once became God to those confessing his name; while to those who never understood the profundity of his teaching he became victim of fantasies out of touch with reality, and so the exalted Master, bearer of ‘glad tidings’, was handed down at some later stage in a portrait which only preserved weak traces, in the feeblest of outlines, of his earthly features.
And yet anyone who would comprehend the true teaching of the exalted Master must first gain a clear picture of the earthly appearance of the ‘Anointed One’. Otherwise he will fall prey to fantasy and become intoxicated by sentimentally pious dreams.
It was related that he said:
“WHY CALLEST THOU ME GOOD?
NONE IS GOOD, SAVE ONE, THAT IS GOD.”
– how enraged in his innermost being he would have been, had one of those close to him ever dared to pay him divine honour and call him God…
And just as he drove out the money-changers and merchants from the temple courts of their God, so too he would have driven away with a ‘whip made of cords’ anyone who would have said to him: “Master, a temple will be built to you one day!” – – –
Truly, he was well aware of his spiritual dignity, even though at times he felt small and diffident.
But where could you find a person who constantly showed himself to be aware of all his powers and of his supreme worthiness?! –
When his consciousness is illuminated within the high spiritual union with the ‘Father’, revealed by the First Word from the First Light – the great ‘primeval one’ who was in the ‘beginning’: the man of eternity in his original given propagation – then his word becomes ‘powerful’, and he feels himself raised above all that is of this earth.
The Luminary of the First Light reveals himself then in his supreme spiritual power. –
Yet in hours of attachment to the earth he does not in any degree shy away from revealing the deepest anxiety of his soul; his elevated insight apparently threatens to abandon him.
“NOW IS MY SOUL TROUBLED; AND WHAT CAN I SAY? FATHER, SAVE ME FROM THIS HOUR!”
He never withdraws from contact with others, even if they are far from being his followers. He rejoices with the joyful and mourns with those who grieve.
His pity makes him a protector of the poor and oppressed, to whom he belongs; yet, at the same time, he is a friend to many who are wealthy and distinguished.
He gladly accepts hospitality even when he knows that those offering it scarcely believe in his mission and have only invited him so that they can see such an unusual guest.
Wherever he finds goodness of the heart he is full of the most compassionate understanding; only hypocrisy and hard-heartedness cause him to utter angry words.
He does not force his teaching on any man; yet where he senses that there is a demand for it even if not yet consciously known, he imparts to his listeners those things which – in his estimation – they should be able to grasp.
He seeks no honours, but when he is honoured he feels worthy of it. If a narrow mind among his followers moans about waste because precious ointment has been used to refresh the Master’s feet instead of being sold to alleviate the plight of the poor, he calmly says:
“FOR THE POOR YE ALWAYS HAVE WITH YOU; BUT ME YOU HAVE NOT ALWAYS.”
In saying this he is far from foreseeing – as later interpretation would have it – his imminent death, but merely remarking that he did not often tarry in the same place.
Nothing that is human was foreign to him; he was very familiar with the struggle of man’s spiritual nature against the rebellious lusts of the beast in man. –
“YE JUDGE ACCORDING TO THE APPEARANCE; I JUDGE NO MAN, FOR THE FATHER JUDGETH NO MAN.”
Fully alive to his mission he declares that: the ‘Temple’ – the ruling doctrine of the priests – might be brought down, and in ‘three days’ he would dare to ‘rebuild’ it.
Those who heard him speak these words knew very well what he was speaking about, even though they made careful note so that they could then find him guilty of blaspheming against the Temple.
But he is not worried about being misunderstood when he knows that every explanation would not produce the understanding he seeks. –
In full consciousness of his special spiritual status among the men of his time he can declare with supreme authority:
“YE ARE FROM BENEATH; I AM FROM ABOVE.
YE ARE OF THIS WORLD; I AM NOT OF THIS WORLD.”
Yet he also knew, like none of those close to him, the derivation of his elevated dignity, – knew of the many years of spiritual training, – knew of the bitter struggle within himself to which he finally owed the certainty from which he now could speak and teach ‘not as the scribes.’– – –
The high mystery of his mission was known only to a few; even those few failed to comprehend it, apart from the one he ‘loved’.
Only this one knew of his Master’s spiritual background and of the deepest foundation of his right to teach.
When, after the Master’s death, ‘the flock was scattered’, this disciple gathered around him those of like mind. He imparted his knowledge to those who proved themselves worthy of his teaching.
It was a later age, a time long after the steady growth of the external cult formed from available ancient rites which created a cult-god from the exalted Master’s image, that saw disappear the small circle of the spiritually enlightened which had grown up around John.
Branded ‘heretics’, they disappeared in seclusion along with the portrayal of the Master who had never claimed in his lifetime to be the ‘Messiah’. He would have regarded it as self-defilement to apply to himself the words of the prophet – those having quite a different meaning, through which later generations, after his death, imagined him to have been ‘foretold’. – – –