THE OLD COVENANT vs THE NEW COVENANT
AND THE MOSAIC PICTURE
(Pursuant to the Gospels) Part 2
III. Beyond Transfiguration
Mark 9:14-29; 11:23; Matt 17:14-21; 21:21; Luke 9:37-43; 17:6
Jesus expresses anger at his disciples for their lack of faith to effect a difficult cure on a boy possessed with seizures. This kind of possession, he said, can only be cleansed by prayer and fasting. Since Jesus fasted only irregularly, how was he able to so quickly evict the demon? And why get upset (which goes against his teachings) at his disciples who are just learning the intricacies of healings and cures? All things are possible to him that believes: ‘mountain, be thou removed …’ The father of the boy, feeling inadequate in his own faith, pleads with Jesus to ‘help my lack of trust’ – a kind of circular logic to the expected operations of what elicits divine healing – inspired by personal faith, which is now itself a divine gift (see PAC).
In a continuation of the concept of faith the size of the mustard seed and the circular logic of Lord, “increase our faith”, humility requires that having done so, we as worthless servants have merely done our duty.
Mark 9:30-32; Matt 17:22-23; Luke 9:43-45
The second prophecy of Christ’s passion.
Jesus paid the so-called temple tax in conformity to the demands of the times although it was not clear that this particular rule applied to him. Originally (Ex 30:11-16) this was a specialized census tax, not a tax on the use or upkeep of the temple, since there was no temple in the time of Moses. By asking Simon Peter who was responsible for paying the tax, the suggestion is also made that strangers (the Gentiles), while given late dispensation, may yet be responsible for paying a special levy not normally exacted against the natives (the Jewish builders) for having skipped over (by grace) so many generations of labor and subservience.
Matt 5:13; 10:40-42; 18:1-10; 19:13-15; Mark 9:33-37, 41-50; 10:13-16; Luke 9:46-48; 14:34-35; 17:1-2; 18:15-17; 22:24-27
The disciples dispute among themselves who is the greatest. “Except you be converted and become as little children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”. Old: Learned obedience to law and order. New: Having the faith of a child, the greatest in the kingdom, while casting off the wisdom of this world. Underlying message and vexation: You can touch an apple by reaching up, but you cannot touch a cloud no matter how great you reach. Understanding the nature of God is unimaginably complex and beyond human wisdom. Children take things naturally on faith, not reason. Unfortunately, children are also easily misled. You are the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13).
Heaven/hell dichotomy again. Finding the enemy to be yourself, you exorcise it. Quick vexation: All this talk about love your kinsmen, love the alien, love your enemies, then judging us, condemning us, punishing us, such that it would be better for you to have a mill stone tied around your neck and be drowned in the sea; better now in the flesh to gouge out your eye or cut off your hand or foot than face eternal torment (earlier in Matt 5:29-30). This enemy you must not love nor coax it along nor pare it down slowly. [When the sins of the world were placed on the cross, Jesus became an enemy of the Father; ergo, ‘why hast thou forsaken me?’]
Picture Mosaic: Every new command of Jesus portends a vexation, if only we understood its intuition well enough to practice it fully. The law, the Law, had already been given; anything that follows next must be an anathema to the truth as known. God is a Spirit, hence all who seek him must worship him in spirit and in truth. God is also a contradiction, hence all who seek him must become souls of vexation. The phrase ‘we walk by faith, not by sight’ makes sense in this respect. We walk by spiritually hearing the word and obeying it even though intellectual insight into spiritual things has failed us. Everything about Jesus and the ‘new way’ contravenes the framework of (Ancient) law without suspending it. Only by acceptance of what is, that is through faith, and by our attempts to do good, that is through love, can we hope to claim the spiritual realm of salvation.
Matt 16:19; 18:15-22; Luke 17:3-4; John 20:23
A step is taken beyond the (old) need for the testimony of two or three witnesses toward a referral to the church (what they declare bound or loosed – above). It is vexing to think that the church would treat the fallen or backslider like a pagan or a tax collector, in other words, as an outsider, who must then be loved and coaxed back into the fold! Or merely as another evildoer whom the church should accept in a ‘spirit’ of comradery at all (divisive) cost?
Closely associated: where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I. Is this an expression of intensity or the need for spiritual/prayerful confirmation?
Picture Mosaic: At least two or three witnesses are needed for conviction of sins and at least two or three witnesses needed for confirmation of grace.
How often shall I forgive? Seven? Seventy times seven. [Or seven times a day from Sabbath to Sabbath?]
Parable of the merciless official (see PPI). Again, heaven’s relationship with you depends on your relationship to others (Matt 6:12).
Feast of Booths (Tabernacles) in Jerusalem, where the Jews are already seeking to kill Jesus. Yet priests work (circumcise) on the Sabbath. Did not Moses give you the law, and none of you keep it? Why try you now to kill me?
Who believes in me … from within him rivers of living waters shall flow (4:10)
For the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (7:39).
Adulteress incident, wherein Jesus puts aside the old Mosaic requirements of stoning in favor of the new law in service to grace. (See PPI)
John 8:12-20; 12:44-50; 13:19-20; 14:7
I am the light of the world, that whosoever believes in me shall not abide in darkness. I judge no man (after the flesh). And yet if I judge, my judgement is true; for I am come not to judge the world, but to save the world.
Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. You claim to be of Abraham’s seed; but you seek to kill me, because my word has no place in you. Before Abraham was, I AM. Perhaps more clearly than any other section, these verses declare the Son’s sinlessness – because he was merely God’s voicebox, an orator in automation of the Father, always speaking and doing what the Lord willed (see also John 12:49-50; 14:10). As in Nazareth earlier and in subsequent episodes, the people attempt to kill Jesus, but he slipped through their midst.
Jesus rebukes some of his disciples for wanting to destroy a Samaritan town for its inhospitality. An example of ‘love your enemies’.
Luke 9:57-62; Matt 8:18-22
Foxes have dens, birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head. Let the dead bury the dead … no one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.
Mission of the 70 (or 72) apostles. A laborer is worth his wages (discussed before); many of the instructions given the 12 earlier are repeated here. Unrepentant cities called out and upbraided (Matt 11:21-24). Blessed are the disciples … for many prophets and kings longed to see what you see now and to hear what you hear, but did not (appointed vanity). I watched Satan fall from the sky like lightning.
Love thy neighbor, but who is my neighbor? The parable of the Good Samaritan is a story of compassion, but also a commentary against the priests and the Levites.
Jesus’ visit with sisters Mary and Martha, and likewise we presume their brother Lazarus, imparts a lesson about choosing the better way. Martha was busy preparing the food, doing the housework, and perhaps even setting up rest-beds for their guests, while Mary just sat at Jesus’ feet listening to his every word. Plainly this is an illustration of choosing heavenly things over earthly things. But, again, as a vexation, it was easy for Jesus to take Mary’s side since it flattered him, and since he never actually put his hands to the plow of manual labor, and now he was being waited on hand and foot literally.
Healing of the blind man at the pool of Siloam. Whose sin was this? (See PAC) God does not hear, or give any regard to the crying out of willful sinners (9:31). To the Pharisees Jesus said, if you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, we see; your sin remains.
I am the good shepherd … who gives his life for his sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and the porter knows to open the gate to allow them out or to let the fold in. I have other sheep (the Gentiles)… neither shall any man pluck them from my hand. I and my Father are one. Scripture cannot lose its force (old and new). Again, they attempt to stone him.
When the tower fell at Siloam, it fell on no greater sinners than you. All will perish who do not repent.
The parable of the barren fig tree bespeaks of Israel (which has born no fruit) after three years – the customary period a newly planted tree was to remain uncircumcised (untouched). Its fourth-year fruit would be dedicated to the Lord (perhaps referring to Jesus’ term of ministry at that point).
Infirm woman healed on a Sabbath. If it is permitted to loosen an ox in order to lead it to water on the Sabbath day [or if it falls into a pit, to rescue it (Luke 14:5; Matt 12:11)], why is it wrong to loosen the 18-year bondage of this woman?
Count the cost of being a disciple and carrying the cross (cited earlier), even to the point of hating (disregarding) his father, mother, and family.
Luke 15:1-32; Matt 18:10-14
Parables of the lost sheep, ten silver pieces, prodigal son (see PPI).
Unlike the other incidents of Jesus raising someone from the dead not long after dying, the story of Lazarus (Mary and Martha’s brother) being raised after a lengthy spell contains many new insights into God’s plans. Jesus had probably visited the home of these three siblings numerous times and he had come to love them very much, yet he dawdled to come to his recovery when he first heard of Lazarus’ sickness. Surely he was aware that he had been threatened with stoning if he returned to Bethany so close to Jerusalem, but his prophetic knowledge of the future assured him that his time had not yet come. Rather it is for the glory of God to be displayed, and also that his disciples may believe, that he hesitated. Thomas and the rest of the disciples were willing to risk their lives to go.
Now after Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days, Jesus finally arrived. Mary was still weeping at home. Martha had rushed out to meet Jesus, who told her, “Your brother shall rise again”. Martha portrayed her wisdom by stating that, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day” (new). But fate and the Master of the last day was here now (appointed vanity), “I am the resurrection and the life” (new); “he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live”. Martha’s profession of faith set the stage for the resurrection Christ.
When Mary had been informed, she came out hastily and forthwith fell to Jesus’ feet, as she had before during their earlier learning sessions, and said, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died”. Moved in spirit, Jesus wept. He then proceeded to the tomb and through the stench of the long dead, cried out so that others would hear (appointed vanity), “Father, I thank thee that you have heard me … Lazarus, come forth!” The once-dead Lazarus came out of the cave bound hand and foot with sin and linen; so Jesus said, “Loose him, and let him go”.
The Sanhedrin plot to kill Jesus.
Matt 23:1-39; Luke 11:45-54; 13:31-35; 16:14-15; 19:41-44; 20:45-47; Mark 12:38-40
Jesus strongly rebuffs the Pharisees and the teachers of the law for their hypocrisy, superficiality, and their circumventions of all that is truly holy. He calls them ‘serpents’ and a ‘brood of vipers’. Vexation: In this lengthy diatribe, where is the exhibited love? What about watch your tongue? And why swear at all, whether by the gift, or by altar, or by the temple? Their real transgressions are against the community, since they hold the seat of Moses, with their false teaching and their false witnessing, and put heavy burdens of the (old) law upon the faithful, rather than being humble (new). Hypocrisy in their tithing and neglecting justice. Hypocrisy of the lawyers for building tombs of decorated honor for the prophets after killing them. Like the self-righteous of today who declare, ‘If I had been in Germany in the 1940s, I would not have slaughtered all those Jews’. O Jerusalem, slayer of prophets, where is their judgement?
They have taken away the key to knowledge, self-barring their own entrance while hindering all others from entering. No prophet should die anywhere except in Jerusalem. Your temple will be abandoned, not one stone left upon another.
Ten lepers are healed (one a foreigner).
Matt 24:1-51; 25:1-13; 31-46; Luke 12:35-53; 17:20-37; 21:5-36; Mark 13:1-37
The tribulation of the end-times. “Unless those days be shortened, no flesh would be saved” (only a remnant earlier), “but for the elect’s sake, they will be shortened” (only the chosen). Parable of the ten virgins: five wise and five foolish. More weeping and gnashing of teeth (not love). Again, Jesus’ mission is not one of peace, but division. Remember Lot’s wife: whosoever shall seek his life shall lose it (earlier). Mark 13:10 adds the prospectus that these things shall not come to pass until the gospel is proclaimed to all the nations. Luke 17:21 states that the reign of God is already in your midst. To whom much is given, much is required. You shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.
The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light. When the Son of Man returns in all his glory with all his angels, he will sit on his glorious throne (which in this moment is glorious Vanity speaking), he will separate his sheep on the right from the goats on the left (judge not). The sheep (the predestined, let us recall) will be blessed with eternal life because of their service to the poor and the needy while the goats have their predestination fulfilled by sharing eternal fire with the devil. The old intendedthat the Israelites be directed by commandment to help the poor and the alien. New defines that as a Christian duty carrying a death sentence now and a punishment which is brutal and everlasting.
Parable of the wedding party arrangement: sit low (at far end) so host may bring you up (forward). Whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted (Luke 18:14; Matt 23:12).
Lessons on helping the poor and the unfortunate. For feasts do not invite friends who might repay you with a later invitation. The second message (16-24) resembles Matthew’s (22:1-14) parable of the banquet. Vexation: Is this not a rich man’s predicament? How shall the poor among us give unto other poor and gain a ticket to paradise?
Parable of the wily manager and the right use of money (see PPI). No servant can serve two masters.
Parable of Lazarus the beggar and the rich man (see PPI).
Mark 10:17-27; Matt 19:16-26; Luke 18:18-27
Old: As noted several times before, the Ancients believed that the rich were blessed by God (divine favor) while the poor were more or less cursed. New: Instead, the rich are hampered, perhaps even hamstrung, by their wealth which turns their eyes and longings away from heavenly things (re: God and mammon above). But even they can be saved, for with God all things are possible, even fitting a camel through the eye of a needle.
Picture Mosaic: No matter how much or how little we possess in life, who we are can bring encumbrance to our spiritual transformation, causing exclusion, against which nothing can be done to save us. Only God can overrule natural creation and the physical laws of cause and effect.
Matt 10:37; 19:27-30; Mark 10:28-31; Luke 14:25-26; 18:28-30; 22:28-30
Old: Working through family, friends, and community to achieve success. New: Disciples giving up home and family in order to be saved (contrary to the natural order). They who would be first (Jews – old), and they who should be last (Gentiles – New) is turned around. (Matt 19:30; 20:16; Mark 10:31; Luke 13:30) Also new, the Son of Man sitting on his glorious throne, with each of his 12 disciples having a throne. Vexation: What is the necessity of having 12 rulers sitting on 12 thrones (Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30) judging each individual tribe (past and present)? And is this to be an after-Judas selection?
The parable of the laborers in the vineyard is another reference to Jews (first – old) and the Gentiles (last – new). (See PPI)
Matt 20:17-19; Mark 10:32-34; Luke 18:31-34
Third mention of the Passion prophecy, with some aspersions toward Gentiles. The illogic of enemies surrounding us (Romans) but love your enemies/soon to be loved and saved over the Israelites/while Romans are left to destroy the Temple.
Matt 20:20-28; Mark 10:35-45
Discord among the disciples (Zebedee’s sons) brings the opportunity to once more reemphasize the point that the greatest among you must be the servant (new), although the Gentiles still practice the old way of lording their power over others. Anyone among you who aspires to greatness must serve the rest (Matt 20:26-27; Mark 9:35). Aside from the one incident of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, the Bible gives little evidence that he ever acted in the capacity of a (bonded) servant (howbeit always subservient to his Father). Often he had real servants in the households he visited waiting on him as well as a troop of accompanying women serving him while on missionary journeys. Jesus’ life, both literally and metaphysically, was given as a ransom for many. Nevertheless, his only real ‘service’, or servile-like indenture, was found in his long, hard travels preaching, healing, and exhibiting miracles. His disciples may have experienced less-privileged status. They were admonished by Jesus upon being sent out on missions not to carry traveling bags or a change of clothes and no money belts of gold or silver because, after all, ‘a workman is worth his keep’ (Matt 10:9-10). Vexation and possible solution: Jesus’ dining with the rich and being gifted with other fancies, plus his exalted entry into Jerusalem (upcoming), and the like, seem incongruent with his humble employment description. However, a parallel may be drawn to the annual sacrifice of the Aztecs, who lived like a God for one year before being ceremoniously sacrificed. Recall also that he was never exploiting his position and influence with the Father, rather imaging the vision of his Father.
Mark 10:46-52; Matt 20:29-34; Luke 18:35-43
One or several blind men healed.
Wealthy tax collector, Zacchaeus, was a short man who had to climb a tree in order to see Jesus as he passed. Jesus saw him there and told him to come down because he intended to abide in his house today. Vexation: Excepting the genuine concern and strong religious fervor on the part of any given homeowner who invited Jesus in, did Jesus, on his part, essentially ‘pay’ for his lodgings and meals through his religious talents and blessings, celebrity and assured conversions?
Luke 19:11-27; Matt 25:14-30
Parable of the hard ruler and his money (see PPI). To he who has, more will be given (already).
Priest and Pharisees make plans to capture Jesus at the Passover in Jerusalem.
John 12:1-8; Matt 26:6-13; Mark 14:3-9
Mary (Martha’s sister) or some other penitent woman anoints Jesus with expensive perfume. Judas objects. See PPI and Luke’s (7:36-50) more detailed telling of the penitent woman listed earlier.
Mark 14:1-2, 10-11; Matt 26:1-5, 14-16; Luke 22:1-6; John 12:9-11
Judas plans his betrayal. Chief priests plan to kill both Jesus and Lazarus (for his notoriety).
Mark 11:1-11; Matt 21:1-11; Luke 19:28-40; John 12:12-19
Although Jesus had frequently admonished his disciples not to ‘lord’ it over others, his arrival in Jerusalem for the final time was triumphantly heralded over streets strewn with cloaks, branches, and garlands, with a crowd shouting Hosanna [praise to or please save us Lord] (appointed vanity). His riding in on an ass was symbolic of a manner (not showboating) to present himself akin to the poor who used asses as beasts of burden. The description invokes a heavenly telling. Jesus’ entire life, his every movement, has been a message. If the crowds were silent, the very stones would cry out: an enactment in heaven pre-enacted on earth (recall, events on earth reflect events in heaven). For our part, we may only intimate truth by imitating Christ. Is not life the Passover procession we must all gather behind? No one can pass through the gates of Jerusalem (heaven) who has not first passed through Jesus, which is to say, submitted himself fully to the will of his Father, who would let himself be crucified in your stead. We must at least be there on Calvary hill to retrieve his cloak of grace that has fallen from his shoulders to the foot of the cross – becoming an Elisha of spiritual vestment.
Mark 11:12-14; 20-23; Matt 21:18-22; Luke 17:5-6
At first Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree could be taken as a sidebar, then maybe as a vain demonstration of his power – disputed subsequently by the explanation of ‘faith to move mountains’ (re: mustard seed analogy in Matt 17:20). Next it could be interpreted as an exhibition of anger or frustration, not unlike Elisha’s cursing of the youths who taunted him ‘go up, you baldhead’ (2 Kings 2:23-24). More particularly, the fig tree was thought to be a symbol of Israel (see Luke 13:6-9 parable), which had not borne the fruit the Lord expected of it and would be further cursed if the nation was not ready for Jesus’ return. A cursing thus done with moral intent provides a redeeming context. It would be contrary to his teaching to perform such a senseless act out of anger or temporal frustration.
Matt 21:12-17; Mark 11:15-19; Luke 19:45-48; (John 2:13-17)
Earlier episodes on the Sabbath suggested that Jesus was also Lord of the Temple, now being reconfirmed with crowds still shouting ‘Hosanna to the son of David’. Therefore he was exercising his authority by overturning the money changers and cleaning out the temple. Old: Regular offerings and sacrifices at the temple, but subject to the process of caging and selling, the money changers often took advantage of the people and disturbed the atmosphere and solemn purpose of the temple (Jer 7:11). New: My house is intended to be a house of prayer (Is 56:7) [original intent]. Cleaning out the temple also presages his actions pertaining to the end-times.
Luke 20:1-8; Matt 21:23-27; Mark 11:27-33
By whose authority did John and Jesus act?
Matt 21:28-32; (Luke 7:29-30)
In the parable of the order of the two sons (see PPI), one who heeded and one who did not heed their father’s order, Jesus explained its meaning as referring to tax collectors and sinners, i.e. those who had defied, misunderstood, or were just outside the hearing of the old order (the Law), but now were being given a second chance to obey through future service and submission.
Matt 21:33-46; Mark 12:1-12; Luke 20:9-19
There are many disconcerting facts associated with this parable of the tenants. When the landowner first realized that the tenants had killed his messenger-servant, why did he not seek vengeance or have them arrested, jailed, and/or stoned? Instead he sent more servants (prophets) to be treated the same way. Even more reckless, agonizingly foolish it seems, he then sent his own son to be killed by these known murderers! Such vexations are part of most parables. Concerning the situational setup, ‘the land is mine, says the Lord’; we (the old Jews) are but tenants. The killing of the landowner’s (God’s) son curses their future conversion (see Acts) in favor of a new order of tenants (the Gentiles). [The stone which the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.]
In the calling of the guests to the wedding banquet, the ungrateful ignored the king’s invitation and even killed some of his messenger-servants. Unlike the tenants parable, the king had the power to send an army to destroy them. ‘Them’ could be interpreted as the (old) Israelites prior to being conquered and taken into exile. Those who came back from exile had a chance to start again. Ragged and shamed though they were, they (the new remnant) were still expected to don the proper raiment (as distributed to them) and show the proper respect due a king. Those who didn’t were cast out. Vexation: To wit, here are some of this parable’s disturbing incongruities. Why did the original guests think that they could get away with ignoring, defying, even openly crushing a king’s invitation? The fact that he had to send out invitations twice may have symbolic historical significance, but it strains credulity. After killing the would-be first guests and destroying their cities (so much for ‘love your enemies’), the king then sends out his servants (again an act of lordship now seeking to ‘lord’ it over others, given that most people do not have servants and will never experience such care as citizen-subjects), he bids them to gather anyone that they find, the good and the bad. Strangely, however, it would not be their moral behavior or background that would get them rejected later on at the banquet, but their failure to wear the designated wedding clothes. For this social faux pas, they would be tied hand and foot and cast outside into the darkness (hell?) where there will be a weeping and gnashing of teeth (suggesting either the victims’ own irritated teeth-grinding or their consumption by demon creatures). We may impolitely assume that the original guests were gross sinners regardless, but whose station in life and heritage afforded them with the ability to dress lavishly according to the standards of their social level. No doubt the hasty street collection of guests contained sinners every bit as abject and unworthy as the original group, but now they were cloaked in the righteousness of Christ, which at least covered their dirt and filthy sins. A further vexation occurs in the last line: many are invited but few are chosen. The ‘few’ aspect is obvious and quite telling. It is the word ‘chosen’ which reflects back on a chosen Abraham, a chosen people, and a chosen son of man on whom my spirit rests. Every salvation, every grace, is a selection, not a choice.
Matt 22:15-22; Mark 12:13-17; Luke 20:20-26
Regarding the imperial tax on non-Roman subjects, render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s.
Luke 20:27-40; Matt 22:23-33; Mark 12:18-27
Historically corroborated in Acts 23:8, the Pharisees believed in angels and the resurrection, but the Sadducees did not. ‘Afterlife’ itself was considered dubious at best and the mystery of the afterlife’s exigency even more so. The explanation that Jesus gave of people neither marrying or being given in marriage, but living like angels in heaven, does little to bring structure to their purpose and being. His answer to the question of resurrection is also perplexing, given what we know of Christ’s resurrection. Many interpretations have been given to the lines “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob … he is not the God of the dead but of the living.” One interpretation is that the spirits of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, because of their faith, live on in the Lord (as in the parable of Abraham and Lazarus). Another is that the vine of Israel lives on continuously through its patriarchs and its people, but actual resurrection would not take place until after Jesus (John 3:13). A somewhat literal and more earthy interpretation is that his chosen servant Abraham lived (wherefore God of Abraham), then died, and now is not; his chosen servant Isaac lived (wherefore God of Isaac), but is not; his chosen servant Jacob lived (wherefore God of Jacob), but is not; in other words, the eternal God moves on from one living soul to another. God lives in succession of the present. Everything before is history, everything after is eternally framed.
Matt 22:34-46; Mark 12:28-37; Luke 20:41-44
Jesus’ response to the Pharisees’ question regarding the greatest commandment can be concisely stated as ‘Love’. His question back to them creates a quandary about the son of the Messiah – being the son of David who out of place yet calls him ‘Lord’. Vexation: ‘until I put your enemies under your feet’; what happened to love your enemies? Does not love (and charity) survive and serve to cover a multitude of sins? (Prov 10:12; 1 Cor 13:7; 1 Peter 4:8) And then, appropriately, must it forgive a multitude of sins? Of course, we, as just mortals trapped in a cruel world, have more to lose by ‘loving our enemies’ than heaven does.
Luke 21:1-4; Mark 12:41-44
Story of the widow’s mite and giving all that you have.
IV. Toward Calvary
Jesus’ soul is troubled because the hour is approaching for the Son of Man to be glorified. Unless the grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies to that form, it will not split open and rise to produce a great blessing. Soon the prince of this world will be cast out, and Jesus will be lifted up, drawing all men unto himself. A glorified voice from the sky affirmed his divine existence for the disciples’ sake. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may be children of the light.
Luke 21:37-38; Mark 11:19
Jesus would teach in the temple area by day, then slip away to the Mount of Olives by night.
Luke 22:7-13; Mark 14:12-16; Matt 26:17-19; John 13:1
Preparations for the last supper altogether affirm Jesus’ knowledge of future events. He knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world. But having loved his own … he loved them unto the end.
Luke 22:14-23, 31-34; John 13:2-38; Matt 26:20-35; Mark 14:17-31
Jesus washes the disciples’ feet (re: serving others above) and tells them to love one another and to serve others.
The predestination play of Judas and the foreknowledge of Jesus who nevertheless selected him is acted out during the Last Supper. In the historic presentation of the Eucharist and the blessing of the wine, we are reminded of the ascetic Nazarite life of John the Baptist versus this sacrifice of Jesus who will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until we drink it together in my Father’s kingdom. Vexation: Is this the same kingdom where men and women no longer marry but apparently still enjoy the taste of wine and on occasion get drunk together? Before leaving for the Mount of Olives, they sing a hymntogether. Either there or during the supper Jesus foretells that Peter will deny him three times and it is predestined that they will strike the shepherd and the flock will be scattered (Zech 13:7).
Jesus’ instructions to his disciples when they first ventured out on their own missions are now taken aback. Forthwith they must carry money and a traveling bag; they must buy a sword, since the time of the living, breathing Messiah is coming to an end.
In my Father’s house are many mansions. I go to prepare a place for you. I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me. Believe me that I am in the Father… else believe me for the very works’ sake. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it … if you love me, and keep my commandments. I will pray the Father, and he will send you another Comforter … even the Spirit of truth. If a man love me, he will keep my words … and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost … shall teach you all things. My peace I give you.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Abide in me, and I in you. If you abide in me … you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you. This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you (see also 13:34-35 above). You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you. If I had not come, they would have had no sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. But when the Comforter is come, even the Spirit of truth … he shall testify of me.
The time comes, that whosoever kills you will think he does God’s service. It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. He will guide you into all truth … and will show you things to come. A little while, and you shall not see me: and again, a little while, and you shall see me … your sorrow shall be turned into joy. Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
This is life eternal, that they might know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I am no more in the world, but these are in the world. Sanctify them through your truth, for you word is truth. And I have declared unto them your name … that the love wherewith you have loved me may be in them, and I in them, even as we are one.
Matt 26:36-56; Mark 14:32-52; Luke 22:39-53; John 18:1-11
In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus separates himself from the disciples to go off and pray because his soul is troubled and his heart nearly broken. As though sweating blood, the angels comfort him. He pleads with his Father to remove this bitter cup he must drink; nevertheless, his will be done. The Bible thus reveals that Jesus could be tempted to forego his mission. Does just thinking about disorderly conduct constitute a ‘sin’ in the same sense that lust or just thinking about how beautiful and desirous a woman is counts as adultery? Upon coming back to his disciples, Jesus discovers that they are asleep (twice). He then seems to at last understand, not just superficially contemplate the notion of human frailty: the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Was that not the point behind ‘lust’?
Finally the disciples do arise to defend Jesus from being taken by sinners (pre-judgement?) In the gospel of John’s version (18:10), Peter is the one who takes out a sword and cuts off the ear of a servant. Jesus boasts that, if necessary, he could call upon 12 legions of angels to save him. Bear in mind – ‘boasting’ as if done by us, should be assumed as Jesus just acting out his role, fulfilling his assignment as the model (literally) Son of God (John 6:38).
John 18:12-14; 19-24
Jesus before Annas.
Matt 26:57-68; Mark 14:53-65; Luke 22:63-71; John 18:24
During Jesus’ appearance before the Sanhedrin, he announced that you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of the Almighty and coming on the clouds of heaven (new).
Mark 14:54, 66-72; Matt 26:58, 69-75; Luke 22:54-62; John 18:15-18; 25-27
Peter’s prophesied denials.
Mark 15:1-5; Matt 27:1-2; 11-14; Luke 23:1-7; John 18:28-38
Jesus before Pilate.
Matt 27:3-10; (Acts 1:18-19)
Death (suicide) of Judas.
Jesus before Herod.
Luke 23:13-25; Matt 27:15-26; Mark 15:6-15; John 18:39-40
If the reporting of Jesus’ arraignment before the governor were a parable, we might note with skepticism its administrative or contextual credibility. Why would he even consent to hear the case of a Jewish nobody? Why would be give deference to any Jewish custom or legal dispute? Why would he bother to heed the warning of his wife and her dream? Why then did he proceed otherwise to heed the words of the chief priests and the elders? Why would a Roman governor honor a (Jewish) custom of releasing a prisoner for the festival, as selected by an ignorant mob? After all, Jesus was nothing to him and apparently presented no real threat to his authority, at least not so much as to restrain Pilate from having Jesus harassed, tortured, and crucified. What is the truth?
Matt 27:26-31; Mark 15:15-20; John 19:1-3
Jesus is mocked and scourged by the soldiers.
Reluctance on Pilate’s part.
Luke 23:26-31; Matt 27:32-34; Mark 15:21; John 19:16-17
The way of the cross. To the women who followed and mourned, Jesus said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves … For, behold, the days are coming, in which they will say, blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck – prophetically describing our modern liberated times.
Luke 23:32-43; Mark 15:22-32; Matt 27:35-44; John 19:18-24
In his crucifixion Jesus cried out on the cross, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’ The placement of sin upon Jesus brought about the first separation from the Father (whose nature dispels sin). In some versions, Jesus tells one of the two rebels crucified beside him, ‘This day you will be with me in Paradise’, projecting forward to either a resurrection (new) or some other divine embrace.
From the cross Jesus commends his mother to one of his beloved disciples for care.
John 19:28-37; Matt 27:45-56; Mark 15:33-41; Luke 23:44-49
Jesus dies, and a spear is used to pierce his side. As befitting the paschal lambs of old, whom he modeled, none of his legs were broken. Upon his death, the sun darkened and the curtain of the (old) temple was rent (torn), symbolizing a breaking away from Ancient Law. Tombs split open and the bodies of some saints were raised (new), though perhaps not fully resurrected until Christ’s (Matt 27:52-53).
V. Resurrection and Ascension
Luke 23:50-56; Mark 15:42-47; Matt 27:57-61; John 19:38-42
Jesus is buried in a tomb afforded by Joseph of Arimathea.
Guards are set for the watch.
Matt 28:1-10; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-8; John 20:1
The reporting of the resurrection (new) is variously described with angels and a risen Jesus, as witnessed by one or several women.
John 20:2-18; Luke 24:9-12; Mark 16:9-11 [longer ending]
The disciples are informed.
The report given by the guards.
Luke 24:13-35; Mark 16:12-13
Jesus appears to two men on the road.
Jesus appears to ten of the disciples (minus Thomas), and he breathes on them, saying, Receive the Holy Spirit. Whosoever sins you remit, they are remitted …
John 20:26-29; Luke 24:36-49; Mark 16:14
Jesus appears to the disciples including Thomas.
Matt 28:16-20; John 21:1-25; Mark 16:15-18
Subsequent appearances by Jesus. The apostles are given a new commission to spread the gospel unto all nations and to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (the Trinity – new). Mark adds that special power will be given followers to handle serpents and drink deadly poison.
Luke 24:50-53; Mark 16:19-20
Dr. Walter Boswell