One of the most dramatic stories in the Bible is Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem and his arrest, crucifixion, and subsequent resurrection. There are many lessons in it.
Christ’s prediction fulfilled
Christ’s disciples had the choice of defending their master, of giving up their lives or freedom for him—or of at least acknowledging that they were his disciples. But when the moment came, they lacked the strength to do any of that.
Christ said to Peter, his steadiest, most insightful disciple, “You will deny me three times before the cock crows twice.” Peter said, “No, no Lord, I will never deny you.” And yet he did just as Jesus predicted.
Christ had told not only Peter but all of his disciples that they would lose faith in him. And just as he had forewarned, the disciples went through the terrible torment of having had faith in the power of this great master and then, suddenly, seeing him taken away and crucified.
At the most crucial time, Jesus seemed to have lost his power. Suddenly, the one in whom they believed seemed untrustworthy.
The drama of faith and doubt
The disciples’ inability to carry through on their convictions calls to mind the times when we, too, have failed to live up to our ideals. Like Peter, all of us at some time have denied our principles, even when forewarned, and even when trying not to do so.
The disciples of Christ were great souls. They believed in him. They knew his public teachings and had received from him the inner secret teachings. They had great faith, but they also had doubts, just as we have doubts.
The story of the crucifixion and resurrection is so powerful for us because, at its crux, is the interplay between the disciples’ faith and doubts.
Imagine the release of tension the disciples felt when, at their lowest point, the resurrected Christ entered the room and said, “Peace be with you.” Easter morning is the proof of God’s goodness, of Christ’s reality, and that faith, in the final analysis, is justified.
It’s not enough to try to have faith
All of us go through that drama of faith and doubts for reasons that Paramhansa Yogananda repeatedly pointed out. He said that it’s not enough simply to try to have faith. It’s not enough to pray and expect the guru to do all the work.
We must take the life of Jesus, or the life of Yogananda, as a model for our own life. And we must attempt with every fiber of our mind, and with all our strength and feeling to live as they did. Their lives show us how God manifests in a soul that knows it has no existence other than God.
Love drives out doubt
God manifested in Jesus and Yogananda as great love and compassion, and both Jesus and Yogananda came to show us how to love unconditionally. Jesus said, “The whole of the law and the prophets hangs upon these two: love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and love thy neighbor as thyself.” It’s that simple.
Love is a light that drives out the darkness of doubt—and all other negativity: jealousy, self-righteousness, resentment. If you have a problem with another person, it’s because the love between you has diminished. To solve it, increase the love. You can’t control the other person, but you can control your own heart and mind.
We see ourselves as extensions of God
By learning to love in that way, we begin to live according to the example of the exteriorized Christ consciousness in the lives of Jesus and Yogananda. And we begin to perceive more and more clearly that the Christ consciousness resides not only in them but just as surely in us.
As that realization comes, the outer life of Jesus or Yogananda begins to fade as our model, and the Christ consciousness within us becomes more and more our model. It happens slowly at first, but gradually, with practice, it becomes stronger and stronger until there’s a complete change of consciousness.
We no longer think of ourselves as only human beings, but as extensions of God. And we see every other person in the world equally as an extension of God.
It’s impossible to hate or seek vengeance
In that consciousness, there’s no separation between the self and others. Even when people act wrongly or try to crucify us, it’s impossible to want anything other than their healing and well-being.
Jesus could do nothing other than forgive his enemies, nothing other than pray for them, because that was what God was manifesting through him. The great miracle of his life is that he was identified completely with God. That is the great goal, and the true model that these masters have come to give us.
To achieve that goal, we must combine a life of deep meditation and deep prayer. Everyday, in the stillness of our mind, we must try with all our might to withdraw our identification from the body and the personality and to experience our soul nature.
Then, in our outer life, we must try to live in perfect attunement with one of our great masters. We don’t yet have that realization, but to the extent that we act as if we did, we will transform ourselves and the world around us.