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Christianity as Mystical Fact
GA 8

VIII. The Lazarus Miracle

[ 1 ] Amongst the miracles attributed to Jesus, very special importance must be attached to the raising of Lazarus at Bethany. Everything combines to assign a prominent position in the New Testament to that which is here related by the Evangelist. We must bear in mind that St. John alone relates it, the Evangelist who by the weighty words with which he opens his Gospel challenges a very definite interpretation of it.

St. John begins with these sentences: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a God... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, a glory as of the ohly begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

One who introduces his narrative with words of that sort points clearly to his intention to be interPreted in a very deep sense. The man who approaches it with merely intellectual explanations, or otherwise In a superficial way, is like one who thinks that Othello really murders Desdemona on the stage. What is it, then, that St. John means by his introductory words? He says plainly that he is speaking of something Eternal, of something that existed at the beginning of things. He relates facts, but they are not to be taken as facts observed by the eye and ear, and upon which logical reason exercises its skill. He hides the Word, dwelling in cosmic spirit, behind the facts. For him the facts are the medium in which a higher meaning is expressed. And we may therefore assume that in the fact of a man being raised from the dead, a fact which offers the greatest difficulties to the eye, ear, and logical rea: son, the very deepest meaning lies concealed.

[ 2 ] Another point must be taken into consideration. Renan in his Life of Jesus has pointed out that the raising of Lazarus undoubtedly had a decisive influence on the end of the life of Jesus. Such a thought appears impossible from the point of view Renan takes. For why should the spreading popular belief that Jesus had raised a man from the dead appear to his opponents so dangerous that they asked the question “Can Jesus and Judaism exist side by side?” It does not do to assert with Renan: “The other miracles of Jesus were passing events, repeated in good faith and exaggerated by popular report, and they were forgotten after they had happened. But this one was a real event, publicly known, and by means of which it was sought to silence the Pharisees. All the enemies of Jesus were exasperated by the sensation it caused. It is related that they sought to kill Lazarus.” It is incomprehensible why this should be so if Renan were right in his opinion that all that happened at Bethany was the staging of a mock scene intended to strengthen belief in Jesus. “Perhaps Lazarus, still pale from his illness, had himself wrapped in a shroud and laid in the family grave. These tombs were large rooms hewn out of the rock and entered by a square opening that was closed by an immense slab. Martha and Mary hastened to meet Jesus and brought him to the grave before he had entered Bethany. The painful emotion felt by Jesus at the grave of the friend whom he believed to be dead (John XI, 33, 88) might be taken by those present for the agitation and tremors that were wont to accompany miracles. According to popular belief, divine power in @ man was like an epileptic and convulsive element. Continuing the above hypothesis, Jesus wished to see once more the man he had loved and, the stone having been rolled away, Lazarus came forth in his shroud, his head bound with a napkin. This apparition naturally was looked upon by every one as a resurrection. Faith knows no other law than that which it holds to be true.” Does not such an explanation appear positively naive when Renan adds the following opinion: “Everything seems to suggest that the miracle of Bethany materially contributed to hasten the death of Jesus”? Yet there is undoubtedly an accurate perception underlying this last assertion of Renan. But with the means at his disposal he is not able to interpret or justify his opinion.

[ 3 ] Something of quite special importance must have been accomplished by Jesus at Bethany, if such words as the following are to be accounted for: “Then gathered the chief priests and the Pharisees a council, and said, ‘What do we? for this man doeth many miracles’” (John X1, 47) . Renan, too, conjectures something special: “It must be acknowledged,” he says, “that John's narrative is of an essentially different kind from the accounts of miracles of which the Synoptists are full and which are the outcome of popular imagination Let us add that John is the only Evangelist with accurate knowledge of the relations of Jesus with the family at Bethany, and that it would be incomprehensible that a creation of the popular mind could have occurred within the frame of such personal reminiscences. It is therefore probable that the miracle in question was not among the wholly legendary ones, for which no one is responsible. In other words, I think that something took place at Bethany which could pass as a resurrection.” Does not this really mean that Renan surmises the occurrence of something At Bethany which he cannot explain? He entrenches himself behind the words: “At this distance of time and with only one text, bearing obvious traces of subsequent additions, it is impossible to decide whether, in the present case, all is fiction, or whether a real event that happened at Bethany served as the basis of the report that was spread abroad.” Might it not be that we have to do here with something of which we could arrive at a true understanding merely by reading the text in the right way? In that case, we should perhaps no longer speak of “fiction”.

[ 4 ] It must be admitted that the whole narrative of this event in St. John’s Gospel is wrapped in a mysterious veil. To show this we need only mention one point. If the narrative is to be taken in the literal, physical sense, what meaning have these words of Jesus: “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.” This is the usual translation of the words, but the actual state of the case is better arrived at if they are translated, “for the revelation of God, that the Son of God might be manifested thereby.” This translation is also correct according to the Greek original. And what would these other words mean: “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”? (John XI, 4, 25.) It would be a triviality to think Jesus meant to say that Lazarus had only become ill in order that He—Jesus—might manifest His skill through him. And it would again be a triviality to think Jesus meant to assert that faith in Him brings to life again one who is dead in the ordinary sense. What would be remarkable about a person who has risen from the dead, if after his resurrection he were the same being he was before dying? Indeed, what would be the meaning of describing the life of such a person in the words: “I am the resurrection and the life”? Life and meaning at once permeate the words of Jesus if we understand them as the expression of a spiritual occurrence, and then, in a certain sense, even literally as they stand in the text. Jesus actually says that He is the resurrection that has happened to Lazarus, and that He is the life that Lazarus is living.

Let us take literally what Jesus is in St. John’s Gospel. He is “the Word that was made flesh”. He is the Eternal that existed in the beginning. If He is really the resurrection, then the Eternal, Primordial has risen again in Lazarus. We have, therefore, to do with a resurrection of the Eternal Word, and this Word is the Life to which Lazarus has been raised. It is a case of illness, not one, however, leading to death but to the glory, that is, the manifestation, of God. If the Eternal Word has been resurrected in Lazarus, the whole event really serves to manifest God in Lazarus. For by means of the event Lazarus has become a different man. Previously the Word, or Spirit, did not live in him; now it does. The Spirit has been born in him. It is true that every birth is accompanied by illness, that of the mother; but the illness leads to new life, not to death. In Lazarus, that part of him becomes ill from which the new man, permeated by the Word, is born.

[ 5 ] Where is the grave from which the Word is born? To answer this question we have only to remember Plato, who calls man’s body the tomb of the soul. And We have only to recall Plato’s speaking of a kind of resurrection when he alludes to the coming to life of the spiritual world in the body. What Plato calls the spiritual-soul, St. John denominates the Word. And for him, Christ is the Word. Plato might have said: One who becomes spiritual has caused something divine to rise out of the grave of his body. For St. John, that which took place through the life of Jesus Was that resurrection. It is not surprising, therefore, if he has Jesus say: “I am the resurrection.”

[ 6 ] There can be no doubt that the occurrence at Bethany was an awakening in the spiritual sense. Lazarus became something different from what he was before, He was raised to a life of which the Eternal Word could say: “I am that Life.” What, then, took place in Lazarus? The Spirit came to life within him. He became a partaker of the Life which is eternal. We have only to express his experience in the words of those who were initiated into the Mysteries, and the meaning at once becomes clear. What does Plutarch (cf. p. 24 et seq.) say about the object of the Mysteries? That they served to withdraw the soul from bodily life and to unite it with the gods. Schelling describes the feelings of an initiate thus:

“The initiate through his initiation became a link in the magic chain, he himself became a Kabir.1Kabirs, according to ancient mysticism, are beings with a consciousness far above the human consciousness of today. Schelling means that man through initiation ascends to a state of consciousness above his present one. He was admitted into an indissoluble union and, as ancient inscriptions express it, joined to the army of the higher gods.” 2Schelling, Philosophie der Offenbarung. And the revulsion that took place in the life of the one who received initiation cannot be more significantly described than in the words spoken by Aedesius to his disciple, the Emperor Constantine: “If one day thou shouldst take part in the Mysteries, thou wilt feel ashamed of having been born merely as a man.”

[ 7 ] If we fill our souls with such feelings as these, We shall gain the right attitude towards the event that took place at Bethany and have a very special experience through St. John’s narrative. A certainty will dawn upon us which cannot be obtained by any logical interpretation or by any attempt at rationalistic explanation. A Mystery in the true sense of the word is before us. The Eternal Word entered into Lazarus. In the language of the Mysteries, he became an initiate (vide p. 107 et seq.), and the event narrated to us must be the process of initiation.

[ 8 ] Let us look upon the whole occurrence as though it were an initiation. Lazarus is loved by Jesus (John XI, 36). No ordinary affection can be meant by this, for it would be contrary to the spirit of St. John’s Gospel, in which Jesus is the Word. Jesus loved Lazarus because he found him ripe for the awakening of the Word within him. Jesus had relations with the family at Bethany. This only means that Jesus had made everything ready in that family for the final act of the drama, the raising of Lazarus. The latter was a disciple of Jesus, such a one that Jesus could be quite sure that in him the awakening would be consummated, The final act in a drama of awakening consisted in a symbolical action, unveiling the spirit. The person involved in it had not only to understand the Words, “Die and become!” He had to fulfil them himself by a spiritually real action. His earthly part, of which in the spirit of the Mysteries his higher being must be ashamed, had to be put away. The earthly must die a symbolic real death. The putting of his body into a somnambulic sleep for three days can only be denoted as an outer event in comparison with the greatness of the transformation taking place in him. An incomparably more momentous spiritual event corresponded to it. But this very process was the experience which divides the life of the mystic into two parts. One who does not know from experience the higher significance of such acts cannot understand them. They can only be suggested by means of a comparison.

The substance of Shakespeare’s Hamlet may be compressed into a few words. Anyone who learns these words may say in a certain sense that he knows the contents of Hamlet; and logically he does. But one who has let all the wealth of the Shakespearian drama stream in upon him knows Hamlet in a different way: A life content has passed through his soul which cannot be replaced by any mere description. The Hamlet concept has become an artistic, personal experience within him.

On a higher plane of consciousness, a similar process takes place in man when he experiences the magically significant event which is bound up with initiation: What he attains spiritually, he lives through symbolically. The word “symbolically” is used here in the sense that an outer event is really enacted on the physical plane, but that as such it, nevertheless, remains a picture. It is not a case of an unreal, but of a real picture. The earthly body has really been dead for three days. New life comes forth from death. This life has outlived death. Man has gained confidence in the new life.

That is what happened to Lazarus. Jesus had prepared him for resurrection. His illness was at once symbolic and real, an illness which was an initiation, and which leads, after three days, to a really new life.3What has here been described refers to the ancient initiations that actually called for a sleep condition lasting three days. Genuine modern initiation does not demand this—in fact, it leads to a heightened consciousness; and ordinary consciousness is never obscured during the drama of initiation.

[ 9 ] Lazarus was ripe for undergoing this experience. He wrapped himself in the garment of the mystic and fell into a condition of lifelessness which was symbolic death. And when Jesus came, the three days had elapsed. “Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me’” (John XI, 41). The Father had heard Jesus, for Lazarus had reached the final act in the great drama of knowledge. He had learned how resurrection is attained. An initiation into the Mysteries had been consummated. It was an initiation such as the whole of Antiquity had envisioned. It had taken place through Jesus, as the initiator. It was thus that union with the Divine had always been conceived of.

[ 10 ] In Lazarus Jesus accomplished the great miracle of the transmutation of life in the sense of immemorial tradition. This constitutes a link connecting Christianity with the Mysteries. Lazarus had become an initiate through Christ Jesus Himself, and had thereby become able to enter the higher worlds. He was at once the first Christian initiate and the one initiated by Christ Jesus Himself. Through his initiation he had become capable of recognizing that the Word which had been awakened within him had become a person in Christ Jesus, and that consequently there stood before him in the personality of his awakener the same force which had been spiritually manifested within him. From this point of view these words of Jesus are significant: “And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.” (St. John, XI, 42). The point is to make evident that in Jesus lives the Son of the Father in such a way that when He awakens His own nature in man, man becomes an initiate. In this way Jesus made it plain that the meaning of life was hidden in the Mysteries and that they were the path to its understanding. He is the living Word; in Him was personified what had been immemorial tradition. And therefore the Evangelist is justified in expressing this in the sentence: “in Him the Word was made flesh.” He rightly sees in Jesus Himself an incarnated Mystery. On this account St. John’s Gospel is a Mystery. In order to read it rightly we must bear in mind that the facts are spiritual facts. If a priest of the old order had written it he would have described traditional rites. These for St. John took the form of a person and became the life of Jesus.

When an eminent modern scholar4Burkhardt, Die Zeit Konstantins. says of the Mysteries that “they will never be cleared up”, this merely means that he has not found the path to enlightenment. If we take the Gospel of St. John and see in it the working out, in symbolic-corporeal reality, of the drama of knowledge presented by the ancients, we are really gazing upon the Mystery itself.

[ 11 ] In the words, “Lazarus, come forth,” we can recogNize the call with which the Egyptian priestly initiators summoned those back to everyday life who submitted to the exalting processes of initiation in order to die to earthly things and to gain a conviction of the reality of the Eternal. And thereby Jesus had revealed the secret of the Mysteries. It is easy to understand that the Jews could not let such an act go unpunished, any more than the Greeks could have refrained from Punishing Æschylus, had he betrayed the secrets of the Mysteries.

The main point for Jesus was to demonstrate in the initiation of Lazarus, before all “the people which stood by,” an event which in the old days of priestly wisdom could only be enacted in the recesses of the Mystery-temples. The initiation of Lazarus was intended to prepare the way for an understanding of the Mystery of Golgotha. Previously, only those who saw—that is to say, who were initiated—were conversant with the nature of such an initiation; but from now on, insight into the secrets of the higher worlds was to be opened up as well to those who “had not seen, and yet had believed”.

Das Lazarus-wunder

[ 1 ] Unter den «Wundern», die Jesus zugeschrieben werden, muß zweifellos der Auferweckung des Lazarus in Bethanien eine ganz besondere Bedeutung zugesprochen werden. Alles vereinigt sich, um dem, was hier der Evangelist erzählt, eine hervorragende Stellung im Neuen Testamente anzuweisen. Man muß bedenken, daß die Erzählung nur im Evangelium des Johannes steht, also desjenigen Evangelisten, der durch die bedeutungsvollen Einleitungsworte seines Evangeliums eine ganz bestimmte Auffassung seiner Mitteilungen herausfordert. Johannes beginnt mit den Sätzen: «Im Urbeginne war das Wort, und das Wort war bei Gott; und ein Gott war das Wort ... Und das Wort ward Fleisch, und wohnete unter uns, und wir sahen seine Herrlichkeit, eine Herrlichkeit des eingeborenen Sohnes vom Vater, voller Hingabe und Wahrheit.» Wer an den Anfang seiner Ausführungen solche Worte setzt, der will gleichsam mit Fingern darauf deuten, daß er in einem besonders tiefen Sinne ausgelegt sein will. Wer hier mit bloßen Verstandeserklärungen kommen will, oder mit anderen Dingen, die an der Oberfläche bleiben, der gleicht dem, welcher meint, Othello hätte auf der Bühne die Desdemona «wirklich» ermordet. Was kann denn Johannes mit seinen Einleitungsworten nur sagen wollen? Daß er von etwas Ewigem spricht, von etwas, das im Urbeginne war, das sagt er doch deutlich. Er erzählt Tatsachen; aber sie sollen nicht als solche Tatsachen genommen werden, die Auge und Ohr betrachten, und an denen der logische Verstand seine Künste übt. Das «Wort», das in dem Weltengeiste ist, verbirgt er hinter den Tatsachen. Diese Tatsachen sind für ihn das Mittel, in dem sich ein höherer Sinn auslebt. Und man darf daher voraussetzen, daß sich in der Tatsache einer Totenerweckung, die Augen, Ohren und dem logischen Verstande die größten Schwierigkeiten macht, der allertiefste Sinn verbirgt.

[ 2 ] Dazu kommt noch ein weiteres. Renan hat in seinem «Leben Jesu» bereits darauf hingewiesen, daß unzweifelhaft die Auferweckung des Lazarus auf das Ende des Lebens Jesu von entscheidendem Einfluß gewesen sein muß. Ein solcher Gedanke erscheint von dem Standpunkte aus, den Renan einnimmt, unmöglich. Denn warum sollte gerade die Tatsache, daß sich im Volke der Glaube verbreitete, Jesus habe einen Mann vom Tode erweckt, seinen Gegnern so gefährlich scheinen, daß sie darob zu dem Urteile kamen: Können Jesus und das Judentum zusammen leben? Es geht nicht an mit Renan zu behaupten: «Die andern Wunder Jesu waren flüchtige Ereignisse, auf gutem Glauben weiter erzählt und im Munde des Volkes übertrieben, und man kam nicht mehr darauf zurück, nachdem sie geschehen waren. Doch dieses war ein wahrhaftiges Ereignis, das öffentlich bekannt wurde und mit welchem man die Pharisäer zum Schweigen bringen wollte. Alle Feinde Jesu waren über das verursachte Aufsehen erbittert. Man erzählt, sie versuchten Lazarus zu töten. » Es ist unerfindlich, warum das so sein sollte, wenn Renan recht hätte mit seiner Ansicht, daß es sich in Bethanien bloß um die Inszenierung einer Scheinhandlung gehandelt hätte, die dazu dienen sollte, den Glauben an Jesum zu stärken: «Vielleicht ließ sich Lazarus, noch blaß von seiner Krankheit, einem Toten gleich in Leichentücher hüllen und in sein Familiengrab legen. Diese Gräber waren große, in den Fels gehauene Kammern, in die man durch eine viereckige Öffnung hineinkam, die mit einem riesigen Felsblock verschlossen wurde. Martha und Maria eilten Jesu entgegen und führten ihn zum Grabe, noch bevor er Bethanien betreten hatte. Die schmerzliche Erregung, die Jesus am Grabe seines totgeglaubten Freundes empfand, mochte von den Anwesenden für das Zittern und Schauern gehalten werden (Joh. 11, 33 und 38), das die Wunder zu begleiten pflegte. Nach dem Volksglauben beruhte nämlich die göttliche Kraft im Menschen gleichsam auf einem epileptischen und konvulsivischen Prinzip. Jesus — immer unsere Annahme vorausgesetzt — wünschte den, welchen er geliebt hatte, noch einmal zu sehen, und als der Leichenstein fortgerollt wurde, trat Lazarus hervor in seinen Leichentüchern, das Haupt in ein Schweißtuch gehüllt. Diese Erscheinung mußte natürlich allgemein als Auferstehung gelten. Der Glaube kennt kein anderes Gesetz als das Interesse für das, was ihm Wahrheit ist.» Erscheint eine solche Auslegung nicht geradezu naiv, wenn man, wie Renan, an sie die Ansicht knüpft: «Alles scheint dafür zu sprechen, daß das Wunder von Bethanien wesentlich dazu beitrug, Jesu Tod zu beschleunigen»? Dennoch liegt zweifellos dieser letzteren Behauptung Renans eine richtige Empfindung zugrunde. Nur kann Renan diese seine Empfindung mit seinen Mitteln nicht deuten und rechtfertigen.

[ 3 ] Jesus mußte etwas ganz besonders Wichtiges in Bethanien vollbracht haben, damit gerade im Hinblick darauf die Worte gerechtfertigt erscheinen: «Da versammelten die Hohepriester und Ältesten einen Rat und sprachen: Was tun wir? Dieser Mensch tut viele Zeichen.» (Joh. 11,47.) Renan vermutet auch etwas Besonderes. «Es muß jedoch» anerkannt werden, daß diese Erzählung des Johannes wesentlich verschiedener Art ist, von den Wunderberichten, dem Ausfluß der Volksphantasie, von denen die Synoptiker voll sind. Fügen wir noch dazu, daß Johannes der einzige Evangelist ist, der genaue Kenntnis der Beziehungen Jesu zur Familie in Bethanien hatte, und daß es unbegreiflich wäre, wie eine Volksschöpfung in dem Rahmen von so persönlichen Erinnerungen hätte Platz finden können. Wahrscheinlich war also das Wunder keines der ganz legendären, für die niemand verantwortlich ist. Kurz, ich glaube, daß in Bethanien etwas geschehen sei, was als eine Auferstehung gelten konnte. » Heißt das im Grunde nicht: Renan vermutet, daß in Bethanien etwas geschehen ist, für das er keine Erklärung hat? Er verschanzt sich auch hinter die Worte: «Bei der Länge der Zeit, und einem einzigen Text gegenüber, der deutliche Spuren nachträglicher Zusätze aufweist, ist es unmöglich, zu entscheiden, ob in diesem Falle alles Erdichtung sei, oder ob denn wirklich ein Vorfall in Bethanien dem Gerücht als Grundlage dient.» -Wie, wenn man es hier mit etwas zu tun hätte, demgegenüber der Text nur richtig gelesen zu werden braucht, um zum wahren Verständnisse zu kommen? Vielleicht hört man dann auf, von «Erdichtung» zu reden.

[ 4 ] Zugegeben werden muß, daß die ganze Erzählung im Johannes-Evangelium in einen geheimnisvollen Schleier gehüllt ist. Man braucht, um das einzusehen, nur auf Eines hinzudeuten. Was für einen Sinn sollten, wenn die Erzählung im physischen Sinne wörtlich zu nehmen wäre, Jesu Worte haben: «Die Krankheit ist nicht zum Tode, sondern zur Ehre Gottes, daß der Sohn Gottes dadurch geehrt werde. » Dies ist die gebräuchliche Übersetzung der entsprechenden Evangelienworte; doch kommt man besser zum Sachverhalt, wenn man — was auch dem Griechischen entsprechend richtig ist — übersetzt: «zur Erscheinung (zur Offenbarung) Gottes, daß der Sohn Gottes dadurch offenbar werde». Und was sollten die anderen Worte bedeuten: Jesus spricht «Ich bin die Auferstehung und das Leben. Wer an mich glaubt, der wird leben, ob er gleich stürbe.« (Johannes 11, 4 und 25.) Es wäre eine Trivialität zu glauben, Jesus habe sagen wollen: Lazarus sei nur krank geworden, damit er seine Kunst an ihm zeigen könne. Und es wäre eine weitere Trivialität, zu meinen, Jesus habe behaupten wollen, der Glaube an ihn mache einen Toten im gewöhnlichen Wortsinne wieder lebendig. Was wäre denn besonders an einem Menschen, der vom Tode auferstanden ist, wenn er nach der Auferstehung derselbe wäre wie vor dem Sterben? Ja, was hätte es für einen Sinn, wenn das Leben eines solchen Menschen bezeichnet würde mit den Worten: «Ich bin die Auferstehung und das Leben»? Sofort kommt Leben und Sinn in Jesu Worte, wenn wir sie als den Ausdruck eines geistigen Ereignisses und dann in gewisser Weise sogar wörtlich so verstehen, wie sie im Texte sind. Jesus sagt doch: Er sei die Auferstehung, die an Lazarus geschehen ist; und er sei das Leben, das Lazarus lebt. Man nehme doch wörtlich, was Jesus im Johannes-Evangelium ist. Er ist das «Wort, das Fleisch geworden ist». Er ist das Ewige, das im Urbeginne war. Ist er wirklich die Auferstehung: dann ist das «Ewige, Anfängliche» in Lazarus auferstanden. Man hat es also mit einer Auferweckung des ewigen «Wortes» zu tun. Und dieses «Wort» ist das Leben, zu dem Lazarus auferweckt worden ist. Man hat es mit einer «Krankheit» zu tun. Aber mit einer Krankheit, die nicht zum Tode führt, sondern die zur «Ehre Gottes», das ist, zur Offenbarung Gottes dient. Ist in Lazarus das «ewige Wort» auferstanden, dann dient wirklich der ganze Vorgang dazu, den Gott in Lazarus erscheinen zu lassen. Denn Lazarus ist durch den ganzen Vorgang ein anderer geworden. Vorher lebte nicht das «Wort», der Geist, in ihm; jetzt lebt dieser Geist in ihm. Dieser Geist ist in ihm geboren worden. Gewiß ist doch mit jeder Geburt eine Krankheit, die Krankheit der Mutter, verknüpft. Aber diese Krankheit führt nicht zum Tode, sondern zu neuem Leben. Bei Lazarus wird dasjenige «krank», aus dem der «neue Mensch», der vom «Wort» durchdrungene Mensch geboren wird.

[ 5 ] Wo ist das Grab, aus dem das «Wort» geboren ist? Man braucht, um auf diese Frage Antwort zu erhalten, nur an Plato zu denken, der den Leib des Menschen ein Grab der Seele nennt. Und man braucht sich nur zu erinnern, daß auch Plato von einer Art Auferstehung spricht, wenn er auf das Lebendigwerden der geistigen Welt in dem Leibe deutet. Was Plato die geistige Seele nennt, das bezeichnet Johannes als das «Wort». Und Christus ist ihm das «Wort». Plato hätte sagen können: Wer geistig wird, der hat ein Göttliches aus dem Grabe seines Leibes auferstehen lassen. Und für Johannes ist das, was durch das «Leben Jesu» geschehen ist, diese Auferstehung. Kein Wunder, wenn er also Jesum sagen läßt: «Ich bin die Auferstehung».

[ 6 ] Kein Zweifel kann sein, daß der Vorgang in Bethanien eine Erweckung im geistigen Sinne ist. Lazarus ist ein anderer geworden als er vorher war. Er ist zu einem Leben erstanden, von dem das «ewige Wort» sagen konnte: «Ich bin dieses Leben. » Was also ist mit Lazarus vorgegangen? Es ist der Geist in ihm lebendig geworden. Er ist des Lebens teilhaftig geworden, das ewig ist. — Man braucht sein Erlebnis nur auszusprechen mit den Worten derer, die in die Mysterien eingeweiht wurden, und der Sinn enthüllt sich sofort. Was sagt doch Plutarch über den Zweck der Mysterien? Sie hätten dazu gedient, die Seele vom körperlichen Leben abzuziehen und mit den Göttern zu vereinigen. Man lese, wie Schelling die Empfindungen eines Eingeweihten beschreibt: «Der Eingeweihte wurde durch die empfangenen Weihen selbst ein Glied jener magischen Kette, er selber ein Kabire,1«Kabiren» sind im Sinne der alten Mystik Wesen mit einem Bewußtsein, welches hoch über dem gegenwärtigen menschlichen liegt. Durch die Einweihung — dies will Schelling sagen — steigt der Mensch selbst über sein gegenwärtiges Bewußtsein zu einem höheren hinauf. aufgenommen in den unzerreißbaren Zusammenhang und, wie die alte Inschrift sich ausdrückt, dem Heer der oberen Götter zugesellt» (Schelling, Philosophie der Offenbarung). Und man kann den Umschwung, der im Leben dessen vorging, der die Mysterienweihen empfing, nicht bedeutungsvoller bezeichnen als mit den Worten, die Ädesius seinem Schüler, dem Kaiser Konstantin sagt: «Wenn du einst an den Mysterien teilnimmst, wirst du dich schämen, überhaupt nur als Mensch geboren zu sein.»

[ 7 ] Man durchtränke seine ganze Seele mit solchen Empfindungen, und man wird das rechte Verhältnis zu dem Vorgang in Bethanien gewinnen. Man erlebt dann etwas ganz Besonderes bei der Erzählung des Johannes. Eine Gewißheit dämmert auf, die keine logische Auslegung, kein rationalistischer Erklärungsversuch geben kann. Ein Mysterium im wahren Sinn des Wortes steht vor uns. In Lazarus ist das «ewige Wort » eingezogen. Er ist, um im Sinn der Mysterien zu sprechen, ein Initiierter (Eingeweihter) geworden (siehe «Mysterien und Mysterienweisheit»). Und der Vorgang, der uns erzählt wird, muß ein Initiationsvorgang sein.

[ 8 ] Stellen wir den ganzen Vorgang einmal als Initiation vor uns hin. Lazarus wird von Jesus geliebt (Johannes 11, 36). Kein Liebhaben im gewöhnlichen Sinne kann damit gemeint sein. Das widerspräche dem Sinn des Johannes-Evangeliums, in dem Jesus das «Wort» ist. Jesus hat Lazarus lieb gehabt, weil er ihn für reif hielt, um das «Wort» in ihm zu erwecken. Es waren Beziehungen Jesu zur Familie in Bethanien vorhanden. Das heißt doch nur, Jesus hat in dieser Familie alles vorbereitet, was zum großen Schlußakt des Dramas hinführen sollte: zur Auferweckung des Lazarus. Dieser ist Schüler Jesu. Er ist ein solcher Schüler, daß Jesus mit Gewißheit annehmen kann: mit ihm werde sich einst die Erweckung vollziehen. Der Schlußakt eines Erweckungsdramas bestand in einer bildhaften, das Geistige offenbarenden Handlung. Der Mensch mußte nicht nur das «Stirb und Werde» begreifen: er mußte es in einer geistig-wirklichen Handlung selbst vollziehen. Das Irdische, dessen sich der höhere Mensch im Sinne der Mysterien zu schämen hat, mußte abgetan werden. Der irdische Mensch mußte des bildhaft-wirklichen Todes sterben. Daß dann sein Leib in einen somnambulen Schlaf durch drei Tage versetzt wurde, kann gegenüber der Größe der Lebenswandlung, die vorging, eben doch nur als ein äußerlicher Vorgang bezeichnet werden, dem ein ungleich bedeutsamerer geistiger entspricht. Aber diese Handlung war doch auch das Erlebnis, das das Leben des Mysten in zwei Teile teilte. Wer den höheren Inhalt solcher Handlungen nicht lebensvoll kennt, der vermag sie nicht zu verstehen. Man kann sie ihm nur durch einen Vergleich nahebringen. Man kann den ganzen Inhalt von Shakespeares Hamlet mit ein paar Worten zusammenfassen. Wer sich dieser Worte bemächtigt, kann in gewissem Sinne sagen: er kenne den Inhalt des Hamlet. Und logisch kennt er ihn auch. Anders aber erkennt ihn der, welcher den ganzen Reichtum der Shakespearischen Handlung auf sich wirken läßt. Durch seine Seele ist ein Lebensinhalt gezogen, der sich durch keine bloße Beschreibung ersetzen läßt. Die Hamlet-Idee ist ihm künstlerische, persönliche Erfahrung geworden. -Durch den magisch-bedeutungsvollen Vorgang, der mit der Initiation verknüpft ist, vollzieht sich im Menschen auf einer höheren Stufe ein ähnlicher Vorgang. Er erlebt bildhaft, was er geistig erringt. Das Wort «bildhaft» ist hier so gemeint, daß eine äußere Tatsache zwar sinnlich wirklich sich vollzieht, daß sie aber als solche doch Bild ist. Man hat es mit keinem unwirklichen Bild, sondern mit einem wirklichen zu tun. Der irdische Leib ist drei Tage lang wirklich tot gewesen. Aus dem Tode heraus entsteht das neue Leben. Dieses Leben hat den Tod überdauert. Der Mensch hat das Vertrauen zu dem neuen Leben gewonnen. — So ist es mit Lazarus gewesen. Jesus hat ihn für die Erweckung vorbereitet. Es handelt sich um eine bildhaft-wirkliche Krankheit. Um eine Krankheit, die eine Initiation ist, und die nach drei Tagen zum wirklich neuen Leben führt: 1Was hier beschrieben ist, bezieht sieh auf die alten Einweihungen, die wirklich einen dreitägigen schlafartigen Zustand nötig hatten. Keine wirkliche neuere Einweihung hat dies nötig. Diese führt im Gegenteil zu einem mehr bewußten Erleben; und das gewöhnliche Bewußtsein wird innerhalb der Einweihungsdramatik niemals herabgestimmt.

[ 9 ] Lazarus ist reif, diese Handlung an sich zu vollziehen. Er hüllt sich in das Gewand der Mysten. Er schließt sich in einem Zustande von Leblosigkeit, die zugleich bildhafter Tod ist, ein. Und da Jesus kam, da waren die drei Tage erfüllt. «Da hoben sie den Stein ab, da der Verstorbene lag. Jesus aber hob seine Augen empor und sprach: Vater, ich danke dir, daß du mich erhöret hast.» (Johannes 11, 41). Der Vater hatte Jesum erhöret, denn Lazarus war zum Schlußakte des großen Erkenntnisdramas gekommen. Er hatte erkannt, wie man zur Auferstehung gelangt. Eine Einweihung in die Mysterien war vollzogen. Was man sich im ganzen Altertum unter einer solchen Einweihung gedacht hatte, lag vor. Es war durch Jesus, als Initiator, geschehen. So hatte man sich immer die Vereinigung mit dem Göttlichen vorgestellt.

[ 10 ] An Lazarus hat Jesus im Sinne uralter Traditionen das große Wunder der Lebensverwandlung vollbracht. Damit ist das Christentum an die Mysterien angeknüpft. Lazarus war durch den Christus Jesus selbst ein Eingeweihter geworden. Er war dadurch fähig geworden, sich in die höheren Welten zu erheben. Er war aber zugleich der erste christliche und von dem Christus Jesus selbst Eingeweihte. Er war durch seine Einweihung fähig geworden, zu erkennen, daß das in ihm lebendig gewordene «Wort» in dem Christus Jesus Person geworden war, daß also in sinnlicher Persönlichkeitserscheinung in seinem Erwecker dasselbe vor ihm stand, was geistig in ihm offenbar geworden war. — Von diesem Gesichtspunkte aus sind bedeutungsvoll die Worte Jesu (Johannes 11, 42): «Aber ich weiß, daß du mich stets erhörest; doch um des umherstehenden Volkes willen sage ich es: auf daß sie zu dem Glauben geführt werden, daß du mich gesandt hast. » Das heißt, es handelt sich darum, daß offenbar werde: in Jesus lebt der «Sohn des Vaters» so, daß, wenn er das eigene Wesen in dem Menschen erweckt, dieser zum Mysten werde. Jesus drückt damit aus, daß in den Mysterien der Sinn des Lebens verborgen war, daß sie zu diesem Sinn hinführten. Er ist das lebendige Wort; in ihm ist Person geworden, was uralte Tradition war. Und der Evangelist darf das mit dem Satze aussprechen: in ihm ist das Wort Fleisch geworden. Er darf in Jesus selbst ein verkörpertes Mysterium sehen. Und ein Mysterium ist deshalb das Evangelium des Johannes. Man lese es so, daß die Tatsachen nur Geist sind; und man wird es richtig lesen. Hätte es ein alter Priester geschrieben: er hätte von einem traditionellen Ritus erzählt. Dieser Ritus wird für Johannes Person. Er wird zum «Leben Jesu». Wenn ein großer neuerer Forscher von den Mysterien sagt — Burckhardt, Die Zeit Konstantins —: die Mysterien seien Dinge, über «welche man nie ins klare kommen werde», so hat er eben den Weg zu dieser Klarheit nicht erkannt. Man nehme das Johannes-Evangelium vor sich und schaue in bildhaft-körperhafter Wirklichkeit das Erkenntnisdrama, das die Alten vorführten, und man hat den Blick auf das Mysterium gerichtet.

[ 11 ] Man kann in den Worten «Lazare, komm heraus» den Ruf wieder erkennen, mit dem die ägyptischen Priester-Initiatoren diejenigen wieder ins Leben des Alltags zurückriefen, welche, um dem Irdischen abzusterben und die Überzeugung von dem Dasein des Ewigen zu gewinnen, sich den weltentrückenden Prozessen der «Einweihung» unterzogen. Aber Jesus hatte damit das Mysteriengeheimnis geoffenbart. Es wird erklärlich, daß einen solchen Vorgang die Juden an Jesu ebensowenig ungesühnt lassen konnten, wie die Griechen es hätten an Aischylos ungesühnt lassen können, wenn er die Mysteriengeheimnisse verraten hätte. Es kam Jesus darauf an, in der Lazarus-Initiation vor alles «Volk, das umherstehend» war, einen Vorgang hinzustellen, der im Sinne alter Priesterweisheit nur in der Verborgenheit des Mysteriums sich vollziehen durfte. Diese Initiation sollte zum Verständnis des «Mysteriums von Golgatha» vorbereiten. Vorher konnten über das, was mit einem solchen Initiationsvorgang sich vollzog, nur die etwas wissen, die da «schauten», das heißt eingeweiht waren; jetzt aber sollten eine Überzeugung von den Geheimnissen der höheren Welten gewinnen können auch die, welche «glaubten, auch wenn sie nicht schauten».

The Lazarus miracle

[ 1 ] Among the "miracles" attributed to Jesus, the raising of Lazarus in Bethany must undoubtedly be accorded a very special significance. Everything comes together to give what the evangelist relates here a prominent place in the New Testament. It must be remembered that the narrative is only found in the Gospel of John, that is, the evangelist who, through the meaningful introductory words of his Gospel, challenges a very specific understanding of his messages. John begins with the sentences: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God; and the Word was God ... And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of devotion and truth." Whoever places such words at the beginning of his remarks is, as it were, pointing the finger at the fact that he wants to be interpreted in a particularly profound sense. Anyone who wants to come here with mere intellectual explanations, or with other things that remain on the surface, is like someone who thinks that Othello "really" murdered Desdemona on stage. What could John possibly want to say with his introductory words? That he is speaking of something eternal, of something that was in the beginning, he says that clearly. He tells facts; but they are not to be taken as such facts, which the eye and ear observe, and on which the logical mind exercises its arts. The "word" that is in the spirit of the world is concealed behind the facts. For him, these facts are the means by which a higher sense lives itself out. And one may therefore assume that the deepest meaning is concealed in the fact of an awakening of the dead, which causes the greatest difficulties for eyes, ears and the logical mind.

[ 2 ] And then there is another one. Renan has already pointed out in his "Life of Jesus" that the resurrection of Lazarus must undoubtedly have had a decisive influence on the end of Jesus' life. Such an idea seems impossible from Renan's point of view. For why should the very fact that the belief spread among the people that Jesus had raised a man from the dead seem so dangerous to his opponents that they came to the conclusion: Can Jesus and Judaism live together? It is unacceptable to claim with Renan: "The other miracles of Jesus were fleeting events, passed on in good faith and exaggerated in the mouth of the people, and they were no longer referred to after they had happened. But this was a real event that became public knowledge and was used to silence the Pharisees. All of Jesus' enemies were furious about the publicity caused. It is said that they tried to kill Lazarus. " It is not clear why this should be so, if Renan were right in his view that in Bethany it was merely the staging of a sham act intended to strengthen faith in Jesus: "Perhaps Lazarus, still pale from his illness, had himself wrapped in shrouds like a dead man and laid in his family tomb. These tombs were large chambers hewn out of the rock, into which one entered through a square opening that was closed with a huge boulder. Martha and Mary hurried to meet Jesus and led him to the tomb even before he had entered Bethany. The painful excitement that Jesus felt at the tomb of his friend, who was believed to be dead, may have been mistaken by those present for the trembling and shuddering (John 11:33 and 38) that used to accompany miracles. According to popular belief, the divine power in man was based, as it were, on an epileptic and convulsive principle. Jesus - always assuming our acceptance - wished to see the one whom he had loved once more, and when the funeral stone was rolled away, Lazarus emerged in his shrouds, his head wrapped in a sweatcloth. This appearance must of course have been generally accepted as the resurrection. Faith knows no other law than interest in what is truth to it." Does such an interpretation not seem downright naïve if, like Renan, it is linked to the view that "everything seems to indicate that the miracle of Bethany contributed significantly to hastening Jesus' death"? Nevertheless, Renan's latter assertion is undoubtedly based on a correct perception. But Renan cannot interpret and justify this sentiment by his own means.

[ 3 ] Jesus must have accomplished something particularly important in Bethany in order to justify the words: "Then the chief priests and elders gathered a council and said: What are we doing? This man does many signs." (John 11:47.) Renan also suspects something special. "It must be recognized, however, that this narrative of John is essentially different in kind from the reports of miracles, the outflow of popular imagination, of which the Synoptics are full. Let us add to this that John is the only evangelist who had precise knowledge of Jesus' relations with the family in Bethany, and that it would be incomprehensible how a popular creation could have found a place in the framework of such personal memories. So the miracle was probably not one of the legendary ones for which no one is responsible. In short, I believe that something happened in Bethany that could be considered a resurrection. " Doesn't this basically mean that Renan assumes that something happened in Bethany for which he has no explanation? He also entrenches himself behind the words: "Given the length of time, and faced with a single text that shows clear traces of later additions, it is impossible to decide whether in this case everything is fiction, or whether an incident in Bethany really serves as the basis for the rumor." -What if we were dealing with something that only needs to be read correctly in order to arrive at a true understanding of the text? Perhaps then we would stop talking about "fiction".

[ 4 ] It must be admitted that the entire narrative in the Gospel of John is shrouded in a mysterious veil. To understand this, we need only point to one thing. If the narrative were to be taken literally in the physical sense, what meaning would Jesus' words have: "The sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be honored thereby. " This is the usual translation of the corresponding Gospel words; but one gets to the point better if one translates - which is also correct according to the Greek - "for the manifestation (revelation) of God, that the Son of God may thereby be made manifest". And what should the other words mean? Jesus says "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even if he dies." (John 11, 4 and 25.) It would be trivial to believe that Jesus meant to say: Lazarus had only fallen ill so that he could show his art on him. And it would be a further triviality to think that Jesus wanted to claim that faith in him would bring a dead person back to life in the usual sense of the word. What would be special about a person who has risen from the dead if they were the same after the resurrection as they were before they died? Indeed, what sense would it make if the life of such a person was described with the words: "I am the resurrection and the life"? Life and meaning immediately come into Jesus' words if we understand them as the expression of a spiritual event and then in a certain way even literally as they are in the text. Jesus says: He is the resurrection that happened to Lazarus; and he is the life that Lazarus lives. Take literally what Jesus is in the Gospel of John. He is the "Word made flesh". He is the eternal that was in the beginning. If he really is the resurrection: then the "eternal, the beginning" has risen in Lazarus. We are therefore dealing with a resurrection of the eternal "Word". And this "Word" is the life to which Lazarus was raised. We are dealing with an "illness". But with an illness that does not lead to death, but which serves the "glory of God", that is, the revelation of God. If the "eternal word" is resurrected in Lazarus, then the whole process really serves to make God appear in Lazarus. For Lazarus has become someone else through the whole process. Before, the "word", the spirit, did not live in him; now this spirit lives in him. This spirit has been born in him. Certainly, every birth is associated with an illness, the illness of the mother. But this illness does not lead to death, but to new life. With Lazarus, that which becomes "sick" is that from which the "new man", the man imbued with the "word" is born.

[ 5 ] Where is the grave from which the "Word" is born? To get an answer to this question, one need only think of Plato, who calls the body of man a tomb of the soul. And we need only remember that Plato also speaks of a kind of resurrection when he refers to the spiritual world coming to life in the body. What Plato calls the spiritual soul, John calls the "Word". And Christ is the "Word" for him. Plato could have said: Whoever becomes spiritual has allowed a divine to rise from the grave of his body. And for John, this resurrection is what happened through the "life of Jesus". No wonder, then, that he has Jesus say: "I am the resurrection".

[ 6 ] There can be no doubt that the event in Bethany is a revival in the spiritual sense. Lazarus has become someone other than he was before. He has risen to a life of which the "eternal Word" could say: "I am this life. " So what happened to Lazarus? The spirit came to life in him. He became a partaker of life, which is eternal. - One need only speak of his experience in the words of those who have been initiated into the Mysteries, and the meaning is immediately revealed. What does Plutarch say about the purpose of the Mysteries? They served to withdraw the soul from bodily life and to unite it with the gods. Read how Schelling describes the sensations of an initiate: "Through the consecrations received, the initiate himself became a link in that magical chain, he himself became a Kabire,1"Kabires" in the sense of ancient mysticism are beings with a consciousness that lies high above the present human one. Through initiation - this is what Schelling wants to say - man himself rises above his present consciousness to a higher one. taken up into the unbreakable connection and, as the old inscription expresses it, "joined the army of the upper gods" (Schelling, Philosophy of Revelation). And one cannot describe the change that took place in the life of the one who received the Mystery Consecrations more meaningfully than with the words that Aedesius says to his pupil, the Emperor Constantine: "If you once participate in the Mysteries, you will be ashamed to have been born only as a human being."

[ 7 ] Imbue your whole soul with such feelings and you will gain the right relationship to the event in Bethany. You will then experience something very special in John's story. A certainty dawns that no logical interpretation, no rationalistic attempt at explanation can provide. A mystery in the true sense of the word stands before us. The "eternal word" has entered Lazarus. To speak in terms of the mysteries, he has become an initiate (initiate) (see "Mysteries and Mystery Wisdom"). And the process we are told must be an initiation process.

[ 8 ] Let us imagine the whole process as an initiation. Lazarus is loved by Jesus (John 11:36). This cannot mean love in the usual sense. That would contradict the meaning of the Gospel of John, in which Jesus is the "Word". Jesus loved Lazarus because he considered him mature enough to awaken the "word" in him. Jesus had a relationship with the family in Bethany. This only means that Jesus prepared everything in this family that would lead to the great final act of the drama: the resurrection of Lazarus. He is a disciple of Jesus. He is such a disciple that Jesus can assume with certainty that the revival will one day take place with him. The final act of a revival drama consisted of a figurative act revealing the spiritual. Man not only had to comprehend the "die and become": he had to accomplish it himself in a spiritual-real act. The earthly, of which the higher man has to be ashamed in the sense of the Mysteries, had to be dismissed. The earthly man had to die the figurative-real death. The fact that his body was then put into a somnambulistic sleep for three days can only be described as an external process in comparison with the greatness of the transformation of life that took place, which corresponds to an incomparably more significant spiritual one. But this act was also the experience that divided the mystic's life into two parts. He who does not know the higher content of such actions in a vivid way cannot understand them. They can only be understood by comparison. The whole content of Shakespeare's Hamlet can be summarized in a few words. Anyone who uses these words can say in a certain sense that they know the content of Hamlet. And logically he knows it too. But those who allow the whole richness of Shakespeare's plot to take effect on them recognize it differently. His soul is imbued with a life content that cannot be replaced by mere description. The Hamlet idea has become an artistic, personal experience for him. -Through the magical and meaningful process associated with initiation, a similar process takes place in man on a higher level. He experiences pictorially what he spiritually attains. The word "pictorial" is meant here in such a way that although an external fact really takes place sensually, it is still a picture as such. We are not dealing with an unreal image, but with a real one. The earthly body has really been dead for three days. New life arises out of death. This life has survived death. Man has gained confidence in the new life. - This is what happened to Lazarus. Jesus prepared him for the resurrection. It is a figurative-real illness. An illness that is an initiation and that leads to a truly new life after three days: 1What is described here refers to the old initiations, which really required a three-day sleep-like state. No real newer initiation requires this. On the contrary, this leads to a more conscious experience; and the ordinary consciousness is never down-tuned within the initiation drama.

[ 9 ] Lazarus is ripe to perform this act on himself. He wraps himself in the robe of the mystics. He locks himself in a state of lifelessness, which is at the same time figurative death. And when Jesus came, the three days were fulfilled. "Then they removed the stone where the deceased lay. But Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me'" (John 11:41). The Father had heard Jesus, for Lazarus had come to the final act of the great drama of knowledge. He had recognized how to reach the resurrection. An initiation into the mysteries had been accomplished. What had been thought of throughout antiquity as such an initiation had taken place. It had happened through Jesus as the initiator. This was how union with the divine had always been imagined.

[ 10 ] In the spirit of ancient traditions, Jesus performed the great miracle of the transformation of life on Lazarus. Christianity is thus linked to the mysteries. Lazarus had become an initiate through Christ Jesus himself. He had thus become capable of rising into the higher worlds. At the same time, however, he was the first Christian to be initiated by Christ Jesus himself. Through his initiation he had become capable of recognizing that the "Word" which had come to life in him had become a person in Christ Jesus, that therefore the same thing stood before him in sensual personality appearance in his awakener which had become spiritually manifest in him. - From this point of view, Jesus' words are significant (John 11:42): "But I know that thou hearest me always: yet for the sake of the people which stand by I say this, that they may be led to believe that thou hast sent me. " That is, it is a matter of revealing that in Jesus the "Son of the Father" lives in such a way that, when he awakens his own being in man, he becomes a Mystic. Jesus thus expresses that the meaning of life was hidden in the mysteries, that they led to this meaning. He is the living Word; in him what was ancient tradition has become a person. And the evangelist may express this with the sentence: in him the Word became flesh. He may see in Jesus himself an embodied mystery. And the Gospel of John is therefore a mystery. Read it in such a way that the facts are only spirit; and you will read it correctly. If an old priest had written it: he would have told of a traditional rite. This rite becomes a person for John. It becomes the "life of Jesus". When a great recent scholar says of the mysteries - Burckhardt, Die Zeit Konstantins - that the mysteries are things "about which one will never come to a clear understanding", he has not recognized the path to this clarity. Take the Gospel of John before you and look at the drama of knowledge presented by the ancients in pictorial and physical reality, and you have your eyes fixed on the mystery.

[ 11 ] One can recognize in the words "Lazare, come out" the call with which the Egyptian priest-initiators called back into the life of everyday life those who, in order to die to the earthly and gain the conviction of the existence of the eternal, underwent the world-transcending processes of "initiation". But Jesus had thus revealed the mystery secret. It becomes understandable that the Jews could no more leave such a process unpunished in Jesus than the Greeks could have left it unpunished in Aeschylus if he had betrayed the mystery secrets. In the initiation of Lazarus, it was important for Jesus to present a process to all the "people standing around" which, according to ancient priestly wisdom, could only take place in the secrecy of the mystery. This initiation was intended to prepare for the understanding of the "Mystery of Golgotha". Previously, only those who "saw", i.e. were initiated, could know something about what took place with such an initiation process; now, however, even those who "believed, even if they did not see" should be able to gain a conviction of the secrets of the higher worlds.