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Love and Light

The Easter Story and its Significance

Jesus teaches infinite love and compassion. To resurrect love and compassion, you must kill jealousy and selfishness, and purify your hearts. Speak sweetly; shed comfort with every glance of yours. Do not be slaves to your sensual desires. Dedicate your hand to the service of mankind. Earn the true mercy of Jesus. Follow the path shown by him.
( Sathya Sai Baba,25 December 1979)

“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

These words were spoken by Jesus nearly 2000 years ago and they still ring true today, two millennia later. Why did they have such a profound effect on so many people?

During Jesus’s short life of 33 years He spent the last 3 or 4 years in service to others, teaching, consoling and uplifting. Many people wanted to meet him and listen to his teachings, they wished to be healed by him and bathe in his love. Jesus performed many miracles, including the sensational raising of Lazarus from the dead, and his fame started to spread widely.

However there were some people, such as the Pharisees – these were the spiritual and political leaders at the time – as well as the temple priests who felt threatened by Jesus as they feared that their power would be diminished. They did not agree with His claim that he was the Son of God, indeed it was blasphemy to them, but they could see that the people were attracted to Jesus and they tried to find ways of silencing him.

A week before Easter Jesus and His disciples were on their way to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover. This was and still is celebrated every year in commemoration of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, symbolic of peace and humility. When people heard that this was happening they came out in great multitudes to greet Him with palm branches (still commemorated today on Palm Sunday). They all were eager to see him as they had heard of the many miracles he had performed. They were singing-

“Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord, Hosanna in the Highest!” (Matt 21:9) and “Blessed is the King of Israel”. It was clear by now that the crowd saw in Jesus not just a miracle-worker but the longed-for leader and King who would rid Palestine of the hated Roman rule.

On the Thursday Jesus and His Disciples had a meal together – this turned out to be their last supper. Jesus knew what was about to happen. He was aware that one of his Disciples, Judas, would betray him for 30 silver coins. He took bread and wine, gave thanks and said. ‘This is my body and my blood, given for you. Do this in future in remembrance of me.’ The re-enactment of this “Last Supper” is at the heart of the Eucharist and the Catholic Mass to this day. Swami reminded us in a discourse of this event when he said that when Jesus said the bread was His flesh and the wine His blood he meant that all beings alive with flesh and blood are to be treated as He Himself.

Jesus said that the bread taken in the "last supper" was his flesh, and the wine, his blood. He meant that all beings alive with flesh and blood are to be treated as he himself and that no distinction should be made of friend or foe, we or they. Every body is his body, sustained by the bread; every drop of blood flowing in the veins of every living being is his, animated by the activity that the wine imparted to it. That is to say, every man is Divine and has to be revered as such.
Sathya Sai Baba – 25 December 1978

At the end of the meal Jesus washed the feet of His disciples saying: ‘I have given you an example that you should do as I have done’ (John 13:15) He was showing his total humility, love and service. – Love all, serve all – as Swami so often reminded us.

In the meantime one of the disciples, Judas Iscariot, had met up with the elders and chief priests who were about to arrest Jesus for blasphemy. Judas walked towards Jesus and kissed him to identify him to the Priests. For this he received the 30 silver coins.

As the priests and elders, Jews, could not judge Jesus they brought him before Pilate, a Roman Governor, to secure the death sentence. Pilate then questioned Jesus, asking whether he was the King of the Jews, He answered that his kingdom was not of this world, that he was born to bear witness unto the truth. Pilate could not find any fault in Jesus and suggested that, as there was a custom to release a prisoner for Passover, it should be Jesus. But the crowd shouted to release a common thief not Jesus, as He had acted against Caesar by calling himself a king. By this time, most of the earlier support for Jesus seemed to have evaporated.

Pilate then relented and handed Jesus over to the Jews to be crucified on Golgatha (the place of the skull.) After much torture – a crown of thorn was put on Jesus’s head, His clothes were torn off, His body was lashed and He was nailed onto the cross with the cynical epithet written above his head ‘Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.’

Jesus prayed to God that he might take this cup of suffering away from him, but that not his own will but God’s will should prevail. He hung on the cross for three hours while He was tortured and mocked and then with the words: ‘Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:46), he died. At that time the temple curtain tore into two and the sky turned dark for several hours. This threatening phenomenon has been interpreted by Swami in an eye-opening revelation - the curtain of illusion falls away and the illumination of the Self-Effulgent-Sun of the Atma extinguishes all other lights.

Jesus’s body was placed in a tomb and a huge rock was rolled in front of it, so that nobody could say that he had risen, as Jesus had predicted. Guards from the temple were placed outside the cave.

On the third day after Jesus had died on the cross his mother and Mary Magdalen went to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away and that the tomb was empty. Two angels were outside and said: “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? He is not here, but he has risen” (Luke 24:6)
The Bible recounts that over the next 40 days Jesus appeared to the disciples on a number of occasions and showed them the wounds on His hands and feet before being “transfigured” and assumed into Heaven. In any case, the faith of the disciples, greatly shattered by the death of Jesus was wonderfully boosted by the miracle of his re-appearance. The claim that Jesus rose from the dead is one of the great tenets of Christianity and has given hope to the world indicating that there is a power greater than time, nature and maya.

We know from Swami that this is true and the great news for us as devotees, indeed for all of humanity, is that there is no death in the ultimate sense. This does not apply just to Jesus or even to Swami. The timeless all-pervading Self without which the world of appearances cannot exist is our very own essence, the truth of who we really are. Jesus was identified with that higher consciousness. It is accessible to all of us through the many paths that Swami has given us, not least the way of love and service. Then we can also proclaim the power of the Spirit over matter and exult with the disciples on that Easter morning “He is Risen”.

You are in God and God is in you. Understand this truth and act accordingly. You should be able to say with conviction that you are the spark of the Divine. You should say with courage and conviction that God is everywhere. You must fill yourself with the feeling that God is in you, beside you, around you, and with you wherever you go.
Sathya Sai Baba – 15 Jan 2000, 25 Dec 198

Gisela Robinson
Maureen O’Hara
Wandsworth, London

Please click for the video link Bhagawan Baba About Jesus