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Showing posts with label #Stations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #Stations. Show all posts

21 March 2016

Jesus confuses Pontius Pilatus.

Governments exist to establish justice, but government didn’t do that in Jesus’s day.

Mark 15.1-5 • Matthew 27.1-2, 11-14 • Luke 23.1-4 • John 18.28-38

When Herod 1 died, Augustus Caesar took advantage of his heirs’ power struggle and took over Judea. The Caesars left local governance in the hands of the locals: The Judean senate ran all the local matters and enforced laws. (Namely the Law.) The one thing the Judeans weren’t permitted was the death penalty: The Romans reserved that power for themselves. Understandable; if the senate executed someone whom Rome wanted alive (say, if they executed Roman soldiers for idolatry), it could spark war.

So when the senate decided Jesus deserved death, they couldn’t execute him themselves. (I know; Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts suggests they could. Ac 8.57-60 That stoning was actually illegal, by Roman standards; somebody paid for it eventually, but Acts doesn’t tell that story.) Only the Romans could execute anyone, so the Judeans had to go convince the Romans to do it. Namely, convince them Rome, the emperor, or the Roman senate would want him dead—’cause Rome wasn’t just gonna execute anybody the Judean senate recommended. Especially over stuff the Romans didn’t consider capital crimes, like adultery or blasphemy.

What’d the Judeans have on Jesus? Well, he declared himself Messiah. And Messiah means king—which the Romans would consider treason, because only they got to make kings. Properly, the king of Judea was Tiberius Caesar Divi Augusti, princeps/“first citizen” of Rome. Rome had a vested interest in putting down any antikings.

So that was the charge the senate brought to Caesar’s local representative, Judea’s igemón/“ruler,” Pontius Pilatus. For centuries scholars assumed Pilatus was merely a procurator/“treasury agent,” an administrator whose only job was to make sure Rome got Judea’s taxes. Archeologists have since discovered he was a præfectus/“prefect,” a military governor who should’ve been more decisive than Pilate comes across in the gospels. (Incidentally, his name isn’t pronounced like “pilot”—it’s the same as the founder of Pilates-style yoga.)

In all the gospels, Pilatus questioned Jesus… and came away unconvinced this man was any threat to Rome whatsoever. In Luke and John, he didn’t even believe Jesus was guilty of anything. But the Judean senate wanted him dead, and got plenty of the locals to say so too. In the end, Pilatus pragmatically gave ’em what they wanted.

Let’s begin with Jesus’s mini-trial before Pilatus. First the Judeans hauled him over to Antonia, the fortress next to the temple where Pilate and the Roman soldiers could watch the Judeans’ worship (just in case any riots broke out there), and presented them to their prefect.

18 March 2016

Simon Peter pretends he doesn’t know Jesus.

Yep, even Jesus’s best student tried to cover his butt and abandon his Lord.

Mark 14.66-72 • Matthew 26.69-75 • Luke 22.54-62 • John 18.15-18, 25-27

Earlier that night, during dinner, Jesus told his students they weren’t gonna follow him much longer; they’d scatter. At this point Jesus’s best student, Simon Peter, got up and foolhardily claimed this prediction didn’t apply to him. He wouldn’t scatter. He’d never lose heart. He’d stick with Jesus, fight his arrest, and die for him if he had to. Mk 14.26-31

And y’know, Peter wasn’t kidding. I’ve heard way too many sermons which mock Peter for this, who claim he was all talk. Thing is, he really wasn’t. When Jesus was arrested, Peter was packing a mákhaira/“machete” (KJV “sword”) and used it. Slashed the ear right off one of the slaves in the mob. You don’t start swinging a long knife at a mob unless you’re willing to risk life and limb. Peter really was ready to fight to the death for Jesus.

I already wrote about that bit, y’know. First Jesus healed the slave, then rebuked Peter: Having a weapon was only gonna get Peter killed. Jesus could stop his arrest at any time, but that wouldn’t fulfill the scriptures. Peter thought he was doing God’s will, but he was in fact stumbling—just like Jesus predicted. He was tripping over Jesus. Peter expected Jesus to do one thing; Jesus did just the opposite, and voluntarily went with the mob to die.

That sort of turn of events would knock the zeal right out of anyone. You know how Peter later kept saying he didn’t know Jesus? At the time, he really didn’t. Thought he did; totally got him wrong. We all do, sometimes. But Peter was having that crisis of faith Christians invariably go through, made a thousand times worse by knowing his master wasn’t gonna make it through his passion alive—and Peter may not have been 100 percent certain about any of the resurrection stuff Jesus had previously talked about. Mt 17.22-23, 20.17-19 Not anymore.

Even so, Peter didn’t scatter. He followed Jesus to the head priest’s house, where Jesus had his unofficial trial-before-the-trial before the head of the senate. Didn’t go in; only the eyewitness who informed the gospel of John did. (Maybe John himself; we don’t know.) Peter simply waited in the courtyard… and when the slaves began to recognize him, he panicked.

17 March 2016

Jesus’s arrest: His abuse begins.

He went peacefully. His followers and accusers, as usual, had other ideas.

Mark 14.45-52 • Matthew 26.50-56 • Luke 22.49-54 • John 18.4-12

The second station, in John Paul’s list of stations of the cross, is where Judas betrayed Jesus and Jesus was arrested. Same station for both. But different forms of suffering: Judas was about when your friends or confidants turn on you, and the rest was about the pain and dread people feel when their enemies have ’em right where they want ’em.

Let’s go to the gospels.

Mark 14.45-52 KWL
45 Immediately going to Jesus, he told him, “Rabbi!” and kissed him hello.
46 So they grabbed and arrested him.
47 One of the bystanders, pulling out a machete,
struck the head priest’s slave, and cut off his ear.
48 In reply, Jesus told them, “You come out with machetes and sticks
to snatch me away, like I’m an insurgent.
49 Daytime, I was with you in the temple, teaching. You didn’t arrest me then.
But this—it’ll fulfill the scriptures.”
50 Abandoning Jesus, everyone fled.
51 There was some teenager following him who was naked, wearing a toga.
They arrested him, 52 but he abandoned his toga and fled naked.
Matthew 26.50-56 KWL
50 Jesus told Judas, “Who’d you come for, lad?”
Then those who’d come, grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
51 Look, one of Jesus’s followers stretched out his hand, drew his machete,
struck the head priest’s slave, and cut off his ear.
52 Then Jesus told him, “Put your machete back where it goes:
Everybody who takes up arms will be destroyed by them.
53 You think I can’t call my Father, who’ll immediately give me more than 12 legions of angels?
54 But then how will the scriptures be fulfilled? So this has to happen.”
55 At that time, Jesus told the crowd, “You come out with machetes and sticks
to snatch me away, like I’m an insurgent.
Daytime, I was sitting in the temple, teaching. You didn’t arrest me then.
56 This is all happening so the prophets’ writings can be fulfilled.”
Then all the students abandoned him and ran.
Luke 22.49-54 KWL
49 Seeing what those round them intended to do,
the students said, “Master, should we strike with a machete?”
50 One hit a certain one of them—the head priest’s slave—and cut off his right ear.
51 In response Jesus said, “That’s enough!” and touching the ear, Jesus healed him.
52 Jesus told those who came for him—head priests, temple guards, and elders—
“You come out with machetes and sticks like I’m an insurgent.
53 Daytime, I was with you in the temple. You didn’t grab me then.
But this is your hour—the power of darkness.”
54 They arrested him, led him away, and brought him to the head priest’s house.
Simon Peter was following at a distance.
John 18.4-12 KWL
4 Jesus, who’d known everything that was coming to him,
came forward and told them, “Whom are you seeking?”
5 They replied, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
He told them, “I’m him.”
Judas, who was turning him in, stood with them.
6 When Jesus told them, “I’m him,” they went backward and fell to the ground.
7 So he asked them again, “Whom are you seeking?”
They said, “Jesus the Nazarene.”
8 Jesus replied, “I tell you, I’m him.
So if you’re seeking me, let these others go away.”
9 Thus fulfilling his word which said,
“Those you gave me: I lost none of them.” Jn 17.12
10 Simon Peter, having a machete, drew it and struck the head priest’s slave;
he sliced off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus.
11 So Jesus told Peter, “Sheath your machete.
This is the cup the Father gave me. Shouldn’t I drink it?”
12 So the 200 men, the general, and the Judean servants arrested Jesus and tied him up.

16 March 2016

Judas Iscariot sells Jesus out to the authorities.

The traitor’s motivations—and whether he really repented in the end.

Mark 14.41-46 • Matthew 26.45-50 • Luke 22.47-48 • John 18.1-3

In John Paul’s list of stations of the cross, the second station combined Judas Iscariot’s betrayal and Jesus of Nazareth’s arrest. ’Cause they happened simultaneously. (Well, perhaps broken up a bit by Simon Peter slashing one of the head priest’s slaves.) But I want to look at the two events separately, ’cause getting betrayed and getting arrested are two different kinds of suffering.

So first, right after Jesus Jesus prayed in Gethsemane, this happened.

Mark 14.41-46 KWL
41 When he came back a third time, he told them, Oh, sleep the rest of the time; stop it.
Stay back, for look: The Son of Man is arrested by sinful hands.
42 Get up, so we can go. Look, the one who sold me out has come.”
43 And just as Jesus was speaking, Judas Iscariot approached the Twelve.
With Judas was a crowd carrying machetes and sticks,
with the head priests, scribes, and elders.
44 The one who sold out Jesus had given them a signal,
saying, “He’s whomever I greet as a friend. Grab him and take him away. No mistakes.”
45 Immediately going to Jesus, he told him, “Rabbi!” and kissed him hello.
46 So they grabbed and arrested him.
Matthew 26.45-50 KWL
45 Then, coming back to the students, he told them, Oh, sleep the rest of the time; stop it.
Look, the hour comes near for the Son of Man to be given up to sinful hands!
46 Get up, so we can go. Look, the one who sold me out has come.”
47 And as Jesus was speaking, look, Judas Iscariot approached the Twelve.
With him was a great crowd carrying machetes and sticks,
sent by the head priests, elders, and people.
48 The one who sold out Jesus gave them a sign,
saying, “He’s whomever I greet as a friend. Grab him.”
49 Immediately going to Jesus, he said, “Hello, rabbi!” and kissed him hello.
50 Jesus told Judas, “Who’d you come for, lad?”
Then those who’d come, grabbed Jesus and arrested him.
Luke 22.47-48 KWL
47 As Jesus was speaking, look, a crowd
and the one called Judas Iscariot—one of the Twelve!—leading them.
He went to Jesus to kiss him hello,
48 and Jesus told him, “Judas, you sell out the Son of Man with a kiss?”
John 18.1-3 KWL
1 When he said this, Jesus with his students went over the Kidron ravine,
where there was a garden. He and his students entered it.
2 Judas Iscariot, who was selling him out, had known of the place,
because Jesus often gathered there with his students.
3 So Judas, bringing 200 men, plus servants of the head priests and Pharisees,
came there with torches, lamps… and arms.

15 March 2016

Jesus prays at Gethsemane.

Jesus’s passion begins with the place he prayed for this cup to pass.

Mark 14.32-41 • Matthew 26.36-45 • Luke 22.39-46 • John 18.1

The first of St. Francis’s stations of the cross was when Jesus was given his cross. (Duh.) But Jesus’s suffering began earlier that day, so St. John Paul’s list also began earlier—with Gethsemane, the olive garden on Mt. Olivet, where Jesus prayed he might not go through the crucifixion.

In fact he was so agitated at the idea, he sweat blood. Something The Passion of the Christ left out—but to be fair it is a textual variant, possibly added to Luke in the second century.

Let’s get to how the gospels depicted it.

Mark 14.32-41 KWL
32 They were going to a place named Gat Semaním/“oil press,”
and Jesus told his students, “Sit here while I pray.”
33 Jesus was taking Simon Peter, James, and John with him, and began to panic and freak out.
34 Jesus told them, “My soul is deathly sad. Stay here. Stay awake.”
35 He went a little ahead, fell to the ground, and was praying this:
“If it’s possible, have this hour pass by!”
36 He said, Abbá! Father, you can do anything: Take this cup from me.
But not what I want. What you want.”
37 He came back and found them asleep, and told Peter, “Simon? You’re sleeping?
You can’t stay awake one hour? 38 Stay awake. Pray, lest you come to temptation.
Though you’ve a willing spirit, your flesh is weak.”
39 He went away again, praying the same words.
40 Coming back again, he found them asleep. Their eyes were heavy.
They didn’t know how to answer him.
41 When he came back a third time, he told them, Oh, sleep the rest of the time; stop it.
Stay back, for look: The Son of Man is arrested by sinful hands.”