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THE STRUGGLE WITH TEMPTATION


So, not to fall into temptation, we must at every moment Of
our life be at one with the Father.

"AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION"

AFTER this, the Orthodox chief priests tried to do all they could to ensnare Jesus, so as in one way or other to destroy him. They assembled in council and began to consider.

They said: We must somehow finish with this man. He so proves his teaching that if we let him alone everyone will believe in him and cast off our belief. Now already half the people believe in him. But if the Jews come to believe his teaching that all men are sons of one Father and are brothers, and that our Hebrew people are not different from others, then the Romans will overwhelm us completely and we shall no longer have a Hebrew kingdom.

And the Orthodox chief priests and scholars long consulted together and could not decide what to do with him, for they could not make up their minds to kill him.

Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was the high priest that year, said to them: You must remember that it is expedient to kill one man rather than let the whole people perish, and if we leave this man alone the people will perish. I warn you of that, so it is better to kill Jesus. Even if the people did not perish, still they will be scattered and will go astray from the one faith unless we kill this man. So it is better to kill him.

And when Caiaphas said this they all agreed not to hesitate, but that it was necessary to kill Jesus without fail.

They would at once have taken him and killed him, but he withdrew from them into the desert. But just then the feast of the Passover occurred, when many people assembled in Jerusalem for the holiday; and the Orthodox chief priests counted on Jesus coming with the people to the feast. So they made known to the people that if anyone saw Jesus he should bring him to them.

And it so happened that six days before the Passover Jesus said to his pupils: Let us go to Jerusalem.

But the pupils said to him: Do not go. The chief priests have resolved to stone you to death. If you go there they will kill you.

Jesus said to them: I cannot fear anything because I live in the light of understanding. And as every man, that he may not stumble, walks by day and not by night, so every man, that he may not doubt or fear, must live by this understanding. Only that man doubts and fears who lives by the flesh; he who lives by understanding neither doubts nor fears anything.

And Jesus came to the village of Bethany near Jerusalem, to the house of Martha and Mary. And when he sat at supper Martha waited on him. But Mary took a pound of fresh scented oil, poured it over his feet and wiped them with her hair.

When the scent of the oil had filled the whole room, Judas Iscariot said: Mary was wrong to waste this expensive oil; it would have been better to sell it for three hundred pence and give it to the poor.

But Jesus said: You will have the poor always with you, but I shall soon have gone away. She has done well! She has prepared my body for its burial.

In the morning Jesus went to Jerusalem where many people had come for the feast, and when they recognized Jesus they surrounded him, tore branches from the trees, and threw down their clothes on the road before him, and all shouted: He is our true King, he has taught us to know the true God.

Jesus rode on an ass's foal, and the people ran before him and shouted. So he entered Jerusalem. And when he had ridden thus into the town all the people were excited and asked: Who is he? And those who knew him answered: Jesus, the prophet of Nazareth in Galilee.

And Jesus went into the temple and again drove out thence all the buyers and sellers.

When the Orthodox chief priests saw all this they said to each other: See what this man is doing. All the people follow him.

And they dared not take him straight from among the people, because they saw that the people were on his side, and they considered how to take him by cunning.

Meanwhile Jesus was in the temple and taught the people, among whom besides the Jews there were Greeks who were heathen. The Greeks had heard of Jesus's teaching and understood that he taught the truth not only to Hebrews but to all men; so they also wished to be his pupils and spoke about this to Philip. And Philip told it to Andrew.

These two feared to bring Jesus and the Greeks together. They feared that the people would be angry with Jesus for not making any difference between the Hebrews and other nations, and they long hesitated about telling, him. Afterwards they told him both together, and hearing that the Greeks wished to be his pupils Jesus was troubled. He knew that the people would hate him for making no difference between Hebrews and heathen, and yet he acknowledged himself to be one with the heathen.

He said: The time is come to explain what I understand by the 'son of man'. And though I perish in explaining this because I destroy the distinction between Jews and heathen, I will still speak the truth. A grain of wheat only fructifies when it itself perishes. He who loves his fleshly life loses the true life, but he who disregards the life of the flesh preserves the life everlasting. Let him who wishes to follow my teaching do as I do. And he who does as I do shall be rewarded by my Father. My soul is now troubled: shall I yield to consideration for my temporal life, or fulfill the will of the Father now at this hour? Can it be that now, when the hour in which I live has come, I shall say: Father, deliver me from that which I ought to do? I cannot say that, for I now live. Therefore I say: Father, show Thyself in me.

And Jesus said: Henceforth the present society of men is doomed to destruction. From this time that which rules this world shall be destroyed. And when the son of man is exalted above the earthly life he will unite all in one.

Then the Jews said to him: We understand from the scriptures that there is an eternal Christ. How then do you say that the son of man shall be exalted? What does it mean-to exalt the son of man?

To this Jesus replied: To exalt the son of man means to live by the light of understanding that is in you. To exalt the son of man above the earthly life means to believe in the light while there is light, in order to be a son of understanding.

He who believes in my teaching believes not in me but in that spirit which gave life to the world. And he who understands my teaching understands that spirit which gave life to the world. If anyone hears my words and does not fulfill them, it is not I who blame him, for I came not to accuse but to save. He who does not accept my teaching is accused, not by my teaching but by the understanding which is in himself. It is that which accuses him. I do not speak of myself, but say what my Father-the living spirit within me-suggests to me. That which I say has been told me by the spirit of understanding, and that which I teach is the true life.

Having said this, Jesus went away and again hid from the chief priests.

And among those who heard these words of Jesus were many powerful and wealthy people who believed his teaching but were afraid to acknowledge it to the chief priests. Not one of the chief priests acknowledged that he believed the teaching, for they were accustomed to judge by human standards and not by God's.

After Jesus had hidden himself, the chief priests and elders again gathered together at the palace of Caiaphas. And they began to plan how to take Jesus unknown to the people, for they were afraid to take him openly.

And one of the first twelve pupils of' Jesus, Judas Iscariot, came to their council and said: If you want to take Jesus secretly so that the people may not see it, I will find a time when there will be few people with him, and will show you where he is and then you can take him. But what will you give me for that? They promised him thirty pieces of silver. He agreed; and from that time began to seek opportunity to lead the chief priests upon Jesus to take him.

Meanwhile Jesus withdrew from the people and only his pupils were with him. When the first feast of unleavened bread was at hand the pupils said to Jesus: Where shall we keep the Passover? And Jesus said: Go into the village, enter a house, say that you have not had time to prepare for the feast, and ask the man who lives there to admit us to celebrate the Passover.

The pupils did this: they asked a man in the village and he invited them in.

So they came and sat down to table Jesus and twelve pupils, Judas among them.

Jesus knew that Judas Iscariot had already promised to betray him to death: but he did not accuse him and did not revenge himself, but as all his life he had taught his pupils love, so now he only reproved Judas lovingly. When they all twelve had sat down to table, he looked at them and said: Among you sits one who has betrayed me. Yes, he who eats and drinks with me will destroy me. And he said nothing more, so that they did not know of whom he spoke, and began to eat.

When they began to eat, Jesus took bread, broke it into twelve pieces, gave each of the pupils a piece, and said: Take and eat this-it is my body. And then he filled a cup with wine, handed it to the pupils and said: Drink all of you of this cup. And when they had all drunk he said: This is my blood. I shed it that people may know my will that they should forgive one another their sins. For I shall soon die and shall not be with you any more in this world, but shall join you only in the kingdom of heaven.

After that, Jesus rose from table, girt himself with a towel, took a ewer of water, and began to wash the feet of all the pupils. When he came to Peter, Peter protested and said: Why should you wash my feet? Jesus said to him: It seems strange to you that I should wash your feet, but you will soon know why I do this. Though you are clean, not all of you are so: among you is my betrayer, to whom I gave bread and wine with my own hands and whose feet I wish to wash.

And when Jesus had washed the feet of all his pupils, he sat down again and said: Do you understand why I did this? I have done it that you may always do the same to one another. I, your teacher, do this that you may know how to behave with those who do you harm. If you have understood this and will do it, then you will be happy. When I said that one of you would betray me I did not speak of you all, for only one of you, whose feet I washed and who ate bread with me, will destroy me.

And having said this Jesus was troubled in spirit and again said: Yes, yes, one of you will betray me.

And again the pupils began to look at one another, not knowing of whom he spoke. One of them sat near Jesus, and Simon. Peter made a sign to him that he should ask Jesus who the betrayer was. And he did so.

Jesus said: I will soak a bit of bread and will give it to him and he to whom I give it is my betrayer. And he gave the bread to Judas Iscariot and said to him: What you wish to do, do quickly.

And Judas understood that he must go away, and as soon as he had taken the sop he at once went out. And he could not be followed as it was night.

When Judas had gone, Jesus said: It is now clear to you what the son of man is that in him is God, to make him as blessed as God Himself.

Children! I shall not be with you long. Do not argue over my teaching, as I said to the Orthodox, but do what I do. I give you a new commandment: as I have always and to the end loved you; do you always and to the end love one another. By that alone will you be distinguished. Seek only thus to be distinguished from other men-love one another.

And after that they went to the Mount of Olives.

On the way there Jesus said to them: Now the time is coming when what was said in the scriptures will happen: the shepherd will be killed and the sheep will all be scattered. It will happen tonight. I shall be taken and you will all abandon me and scatter.

And Peter said to him: Though all others may be frightened and scatter, I will not deny you. I am ready to go with you to prison and to death.

And Jesus said to him: I tell you that tonight, after I have been taken, before cock crows, you will deny me not once but thrice.

Peter answered that he would never deny him; and all the other pupils said the same.

Then Jesus said to them: Formerly neither I nor you lacked anything. You went without a wallet and without change of shoes, as I bade you. But now that I am considered an outlaw we can no longer do this, but must procure supplies and get knives that we may not perish uselessly.

The pupils said: See, we have two knives-and Jesus replied: It is well.

Having said this, Jesus went with the pupils to the garden of Gethsemane. And on reaching the garden he said: Wait you here, I wish to pray.

And coming up to Peter and the two sons of Zebedee he was sorrowful and distressed and he said to them: It is very hard for me-I am sad before my death.

Wait here, and do not be cast down as I am.

And he went off a little way, lay prone on the ground, and began to pray, saying: My Father, the spirit! Let it be not as I wish, which is that I should not die, but as you wish. Let me die. But for you, as a spirit, all is possible-grant that I may not fear death and may not be tempted by the flesh.

Then he arose, went to the pupils, and saw that they were cast down. And he said to them: How is it that you are not able for one hour to live in the spirit as I do? Exalt your spirit, so as not to yield to the temptation of the flesh. The spirit is strong, but the flesh is weak.

And again Jesus went apart from them, and again began to pray, saying: Father! If I must suffer and die, then let me die, and let Thy will be done!

Having said this, he again came to the pupils and saw that they were still more cast down and were ready to weep.

And he again went apart from them and for the third time said: Father, let Thy will be done.

Then he returned to his pupils and said to them: Now calm yourselves and be at ease, for it is now decided that I shall give myself up into the hands of worldly men.



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