40. Some of the crowd who had been listening said, "He is indeed the prophet,"
41. and some said, "He is the Christ," but others said, "Would the Christ come from Galilee?"
42. Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"
43. So the people could not agree about him.
44. Some wanted to arrest him, but no-one actually laid a hand on him.
45. The guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees [the Sanhedrin] who said to them,
"Why haven't you brought him?"
46. The guards replied, "No-one has ever spoken like this man."
47. "So," the Pharisees answered, "You, too, have been led astray?
48. Have any of the authorities [the Sanhedrin] come to believe in him? Any of the Pharisees?
49. This rabble knows nothing about the Law - they are damned."
50. One of them, Nicodemus - the same man who had come to Jesus earlier - said to them,
51. "But surely our Law does not allow us to pass judgement on anyone without first giving him
a hearing and discovering what he is doing?"
52. To this they answered, "Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not arise in Galilee."
For those of my readers unused to reading, or uninterested in, the Bible, I crave your indulgence. I cited this passage in full because there are a number of ways in which this passage can be interpreted, which I wish to note but not develop. First, this passage can be read as being a true, historical account of the time. It must be said, however, that writers in ancient times were less interested in historical accuracy than in getting across a meaning, an idea, around which they fitted an historical motif. Second, It can be read as an all too human response of the 'Church' to a lay rebellion, applicable to modern times rather than biblical times. Third, and it is this interpretation to which I have been brought, one can see this as an activity which takes place within a person, a psycho-spiritual conflict involving the ego-self. In this case, the Sanhedrin, the rabble, the epithet 'Galilean' take on symbolic meanings.
It would make this post too long to go into each of these points, so I will close with an extract from my meditations recorded in my private diaries, which relates to this passage from the St. John's Gospel.
"One is required to descend into an inner hell, perhaps many times in life. To fall unendingly into the Abyss where what one thought was right may be wrong; where what one thought was bad may bear the hope that there is good; where certainties and reassurances disappear. From the pit of that hell there comes a spiritual resurrection, a new life in which the warping dominance of the ego-self is overcome and tamed.......at least in part."
"Life is uncertain. That may well be its chief characteristic. I breathe a breath. Will there be a next breath, or is this my last? There is a pause, a silence between breaths which opens into eternity. It is the space between the tick and the tock that counts the passing of the seconds. I fall, and continue to fall more through, rather than into, the Abyss for that experience is everywhere. It is what is. If God is seen as the Abyss, I have no choice but to trust it. What else is there? Nothing is certain anymore, except uncertainty. In the days when Newtonian physics was paramount the universe could be seen as a vast machine. It had ever been thus, and would continue so. But why and how? What guarantee existed that this state would continue? Who could guarantee that this breath of mine would be followed by another, and another? No-one!"
"No-one! No authority! To attempt to turn to authority is to turn to fundamentalism, is to go to sleep. Fundamentalism is another word for Idolatry. And that is an abdication of personal responsibility. To seek human approval over and against the reality of uncertainty is to look the wrong way. Listen, yes! Learn, if possible! Know that one can be mistaken, yes! Accept that I may be walking the wrong path, or walking the path the wrong way!"
"..........There is an inner, spiritual path that climbs a mountain. That path is slick, uncertain, only as wide as the width of my foot. On one side of the path the mountain rises sheer to the heights; on the other the mountain falls to the very depths. Always, the path climbs upwards towards its peak, and at the peak there will be a meeting. No matter how often that meeting takes place, I am forever climbing and arriving, simultaneously. Is this the right path? Of that I am not quite certain, but I have been shown no other. In this one path must I trust........."