Appendix Two

To the section entitled “What Happened to the Two Johns?”

(From Steiner’s The Gospel of Saint Mark, Lect. 9)

The first question must be: Are the apostles, the chosen disciples equal to the task of comprehension imposed on them? Did they recognize Christ as a cosmic spirit? Did they recognize that there in their midst was one who was not only what He signified to them as man, but who was enveloped in an aura through which cosmic forces and cosmic laws were transmitted to the earth? Did they understand this?

That Christ Jesus demanded such an understanding from them is clearly indicated in the Gospel. For when the two disciples, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him and asked that one of them might sit on His right hand and the other on His left, He said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Can you drink from the cup that I drink, or be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” (10:38.)

It is clearly indicated here that Christ Jesus required this of them, and at first they solemnly pledge themselves to it. What might then have happened? There were two possibilities. One would have been that the chosen disciples would really have passed in company with Christ through all that is known as the Mystery of Golgotha, and that the bond between Christ and the disciples would have been preserved until the Mystery of Golgotha. That was one of the two things that could have happened. But it is made very clear, especially in the Mark Gospel, that exactly the opposite occurred. When Christ Jesus was taken prisoner, everyone fled, and Peter who had promised solemnly that he would take offense at nothing, denied him three times before the cock crowed twice. That is the picture presented from the point of view of the apostles. But how is it shown that, from the point of view of the Christ, it was not at all like this?

Let us place ourselves with all humility—as we must—within the soul of Christ Jesus, who to the end tries to maintain the woven bond linking Him with the souls of the disciples. Let us place ourselves as far as we may within the soul of Christ Jesus during the events that followed. This soul might well put to itself the world-historical question, “Is it possible for me to cause the souls of at least the most select of the disciples to rise to the height of experiencing with me everything that is to happen until the Mystery of Golgotha?” The soul of Christ itself is faced with this question at the crucial moment when Peter, James and John are led out to the Mount of Olives, and Christ Jesus wants to find out from within Himself whether He will be able to keep those whom He had chosen. On the way He becomes anguished. Yes, my friends, does anyone believe, can anyone believe that Christ became anguished in face of death,1 of the Mystery of Golgotha, and that He sweated blood because of the approaching event of Golgotha? Anyone who could believe that would show he had little understanding for the Mystery of Golgotha; it may be in accord with theology, but it shows no insight. Why does the Christ become distressed? He does not tremble before the cross. That goes without saying. He is distressed above all in face of this question, “Will those whom I have with me here stand the test of this moment when it will be decided whether they want to accompany me in their souls, whether they want to experience everything with me until the cross?” It had to be decided if their consciousness could remain sufficiently awake so that they could experience everything with Him until the cross. This was the “cup” that was coming near to Him. So He leaves them alone to see if they can stay “awake,” that is in a state of consciousness in which they can experience with Him what He is to experience. Then He goes aside and prays, “Father, let this cup pass from me, but let it be done according to your will, not mine.” In other words, “Let it not be my experience to stand quite alone as the Son of Man, but may the others be permitted to go with me.”

He comes back, and they are asleep; they could not maintain their state of wakeful consciousness. Again He makes the attempt, and again they could not maintain it. So it becomes clear to Him that He is to stand alone, and that they will not participate in the path to the cross. The cup had not passed away from Him. He was destined to accomplish the deed in loneliness that was also of the soul. Certainly the world had the Mystery of Golgotha, but at the time it happened it had as yet no understanding of this event; and the most select and chosen disciples could not stay awake to that point. This therefore is the first kind of understanding; and it comes to expression with the most consummate artistry if we can only understand how to feel the actual occult background that lies concealed behind the words of the Gospels.

Note

Some might wonder why, in Jn 11,35 (the shortest verse in the Bible), Jesus could have wept when he knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead.  Or they may see it as evidence that Lazarus was dead in the conventional sense, though not so.  It is appropriate that this question has been deferred until now.  Only in the light of all that has been said to this point can one immediately recognize that these were tears of gratitude (“Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me,” Jn 11,41) that finally there would be one who could follow him all the way to the Cross in spiritual consciousness.  Jesus was within six days of the end of his earthly ministry and had not been able to lead any, as yet, to the highest level of spiritual perception (the seventh; see the following paragraph).  Lazarus, surrendering worldly attachments, was “able and willing” to undergo the danger of the ancient temple sleep in order to accept his lofty calling and mission.  Nor does the later agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, brought on by the failure of Peter, James and John to stay awake (go with him in spiritual consciousness) suggest that Jesus was already resigned to that failure.  It was one thing to initiate Lazarus according the ancient temple sleep, but it was quite another to be able to initiate Peter, James and John, during Jesus’ own earthly ministry, in the manner that would be required of all humanity in the future when the temple sleep would no longer be possible.2  In Vol. 2, “What Is Man?”, the sequel to The Burning Bush, the essay on “Blood” will show how the Blood of Christ, Sangre de Christo, can work that initiation.  It is universal, but not nearly so facile as often deemed in evangelistic thought (see Mt 7,14).

As indicated earlier, the designation of Lazarus/John as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” meant that he was the one most highly initiated by Christ.  The seven stages of the ancient initiation are listed and discussed in The Burning Bush at pp. 345-347 (“Mysteries”) and 368 (“Widow’s Son”), where it is shown that Nathanael, and probably Philip too, was initiated to the level of having been so “raised,” the fifth of seven levels, designated by the name of his people, thus an Israelite (Jn 1,47) or a Persian, for instance.  At least a comparable level of initiation is shown for the young man of Nain (Lk 7,11-17; see The Burning Bush, pp. 404-405 which also shows Lazarus/John to have been initiated to the highest level, the seventh).  These seven ancient stages were also given in May, 1908, by Steiner in lecture five of the cycle The Gospel of St. John, and he goes on in lecture eleven to give the seven stages outlined in John’s Gospel for the Christian era.  That Lazarus/John’s initiation was not yet completed to the seventh stage by his “raising” is suggested by the fact, revealed in the esoteric Secret Gospel of Mark quoted earlier, that Lazarus/John remained with Jesus the last six days and was taught the secrets of the Kingdom of God on the last day when he spent the night naked with Jesus.  John’s Gospel, itself highly esoteric, suggests the same by the empty tomb scene where the beloved disciple went in after Peter, and only then “saw and believed; for as yet [he] did not know ... that [Jesus] must rise from the dead.”  The beloved disciple reaches, at this point, a higher level of perception than he previously had attained.  And his Gospel suggests that this preceded the appearance of the Risen Christ to his sister, Mary Magdalene, and then to the disciples (including himself).

   
Appendix 1
Some Scriptures Pertinent to our Quest