THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST
Flesh and spirit in conflict, mutiny against the Self, desire for union with God. Nailed to the cross, Jesus gives in to a vision that lasts less than a second; how his life might have been, had he not drunk His Father’s bitter cup.
In that one second of a minute, the last temptation of Christ, springs up from deep within Jesus’s humanness, a last temptation to have been a normal human being, just Jesus, not Christ. A human without the salvation of humanity weighing on his shoulders. Will he conquer it? Will his sore and aching shoulders accept the divine burden of the salvation of all humankind? And what will happen to the world if he gives in?
The controversial novel which inspired the 1988 film by Martin Scorsese “The Last Temptation of Christ”, nominated for an Academy Award and two Golden Globes, was one of the primary causes for Nikos Kazantzakis’s relentless persecution from Church and State. In 1954, it was included in the notorious Index Librorum Prohibitorum, the List of Forbidden Books of the Vatican, where it remained until its abolition in 1966.
“Judas was now standing face to face with Jesus, his body steaming.
- Traitor! he growled; deserter! Your place was on that Cross; where the God of Israel put you to fight; but cold sweat poured out upon you, and the moment death was wrought before you, away you went! You ran and thrust yourself into the skirts of Martha and Mary, you coward!
- Judas Iscariot, Peter jumped up, Judas Iscariot, is that how you speak the rabbi? Have you no respect?
- What rabbi? screamed Judas, and stretched out his fist; have you not eyes to see him, or a mind to judge? He, our Rabbi? What had he promised us? Where is the Army of Angels that would come down to save Israel? Where is thy Cross, from which we would be catapulted to Heaven?”