They condemn Jesus to death (Mk 14:64-14:64)

“You have heard

His blasphemy!

What is your decision?’

All of them

Condemned him

As deserving death.”

 

ἠκούσατε τῆς βλασφημίας· τί ὑμῖν φαίνεται; οἱ δὲ πάντες κατέκριναν αὐτὸν ἔνοχον εἶναι θανάτου.

 

This is something similar in Matthew, chapter 26:65-66.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Mark said that the high priest said that they had heard his blasphemy (ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν).  Technically, it might not have been a blasphemy, since someone had to utter the divine name or profane sacred things, but it was close enough.  Thus, this high priest asked for a decision or verdict.  What did it appear to them (τί ὑμῖν φαίνεται;)?  All the members of the council that included the chief priests, the priests, the presbyters, the elders, and the Scribes condemned Jesus (οἱ δὲ πάντες κατέκριναν αὐτὸν), that he deserved to die (ἔνοχον εἶναι θανάτου).  Technically, they could not condemn Jesus to death, since only the Roman authorities could impose a death penalty.

 

Advertisements

Evil comes from the human heart (Mk 7:21-7:23)

“It is from within,

From the human heart,

That evil intentions come.

Fornication,

Theft,

Murder,

Adultery,

Avarice,

Wickedness,

Deceit,

Licentiousness,

Envy,

Slander,

Pride,

And folly,

All these evil things

Come from within.

They defile a person.”

 

ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, φόνοι,

μοιχεῖαι, πλεονεξίαι, πονηρίαι, δόλος, ἀσέλγεια, ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός, βλασφημία, ὑπερηφανία, ἀφροσύνη·

πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν ἐκπορεύεται καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Matthew, chapter 15:19-20.  Mark indicated that Jesus said that it is from within the heart of a person (ἔσωθεν γὰρ ἐκ τῆς καρδίας τῶν ἀνθρώπων) that evil or wicked thoughts come forth spreading out (οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ ἐκπορεύονται).  This included such evil things as fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), avarice (πλεονεξίαι), wickedness (πονηρίαι), deceit (δόλος), licentiousness or wanton sensuality (ἀσέλγεια,), envy or the evil eye (ὀφθαλμὸς πονηρός), slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημία), pride (ὑπερηφανία), and folly or foolishness (ἀφροσύνη).  This list in Mark was longer and different than the list in Matthew.  All these evil things came from within (πάντα ταῦτα τὰ πονηρὰ ἔσωθεν).  They come forth from the person (ἐκπορεύεται).  They are the things that defile a person (καὶ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean or defiled.

The scribes think that this is blasphemy (Mk 2:6-2:7)

“Some of the Scribes

Were sitting there.

They questioned

In their hearts.

‘Why does this man

Speak thus?

It is blasphemy!

Who can forgive sins

But God alone?’”

 

ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν

Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ; βλασφημεῖ· τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός

 

Luke, chapter 5:21, and Matthew, chapter 9:3, are similar to Mark, so that Mark might be the source of this saying about the Scribes and blasphemy.  Some of these Scribes were sitting there in this crowded room (ἦσαν δέ τινες τῶν γραμματέων ἐκεῖ καθήμενοι).  They were reasoning or questioning in their hearts, but not to others (καὶ διαλογιζόμενοι ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν).  These Scribes were the religious experts who determined the traditions to be followed as interpreters of the law in this generally uneducated society.  They were professional copiers of manuscript documents, although they had a wider role in Jewish culture.  They might have been the fore-runners of the rabbinic class that was developing at that time.  They wondered why Jesus was talking this way (Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ), since it appeared to be blasphemy (βλασφημεῖ).  Blasphemers used scurrilous or irreverent language about God.  How is Jesus able to forgive sins (τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας), since only God can forgive sins (εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ Θεός)?  This seems like a legitimate question.

Conclusion: Passion, Resurrection and Great Commission

 

This gospel concluded with the events of the last week of Jesus, a main preoccupation of all four gospels.  Jesus had entered Jerusalem in triumph.  He held a last supper and prayed to be spared.  He was betrayed by Judas.  Then he was tried by the Jewish leaders and before The roman governor Pontius Pilate.  Jesus was crucified as king of the Jews and mocked by all.  At his death, there was an earthquake, when the veil of the Temple was cut in two, and the saints rose from their tombs.  Mary Magdalene and the other women discovered the empty tomb.  Jesus told them to tell the disciples to meet him in Galilee.

There was a plot to kill Jesus.  Jesus spoke to his disciples and gave his fourth prediction about the death of the Son of Man.  Then the chief priests and the elders gathered to plot the arrest of Jesus.  However, before that, there was an anointing by the unnamed women in Bethany as she poured oil on Jesus.  Others wanted to know why she was wasting oil.  Jesus said that she had done a good thing by anointing him for burial.  Thus, she would be remembered.  Meanwhile, Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

Then they made the preparations for the Passover.  Where would the Passover be?  There was a house for the Passover meal, as the disciples prepared for the Passover evening meal.  Jesus announced the betrayal.  Who would betray Jesus?  This betrayer would be cursed, as Judas spoke out.  At the Last Supper Eucharist, Jesus said that this was his body and blood with eschatological implications.

They went to the Mount of Olives.  Jesus predicted that the apostles would scatter.  He was going to go to Galilee.  Peter said that he would never desert Jesus.  Then Jesus warned Peter about his desertion, but Peter was adamant that he would never deny Jesus.

They went to Gethsemane as Jesus took his three favorite apostles.  He prayed to his Father while these apostles slept.  There was a second prayer of Jesus, as he came a second time to the sleeping apostles.  He prayed a third time.  Then Jesus woke them up.

Judas arrived and kissed Jesus, as they then seized Jesus.  Someone cut off the ear of the high priest’s slave.  However, Jesus told them to put their swords away as the disciples fled.

Jesus went before Caiaphas the high priest, while Peter followed Jesus to the courtyard of the high priest.  They were looking for false testimony.  Finally, two witnesses came forward.  The high priest spoke and Jesus responded.  He called the words of Jesus blasphemy, as they mocked Jesus.  Peter’s denied Jesus three time and then he remembered Jesus’ words.

The elders and Pharisees planned to kill Jesus.  They would deliver Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor.  Meanwhile, Judas repented, but he hung himself.  He returned the pieces of silver to the Temple, but it was used to purchase a graveyard called the Field of Blood to fulfill a prophecy of Jeremiah.

Jesus went before Pilate as he asked him if he was the king of the Jews?  However, Jesus did not respond.  The governor was going to release one prisoner at the festival time.  However, the people wanted the prisoner Barabbas rather than Jesus.  Pilate got a warning from his wife.  Nevertheless, the crowd wanted to crucify Jesus.  Pilate claimed that he was innocent of his blood but the crowds said that his blood be on us.  Barabbas was then released.  Jesus went to the governor’s head quarters where the Roman soldiers mocked him.

They prepared Jesus for the crucifixion.  They got Simon of Cyrene to help with the cross as they went to Golgotha.  They divided his garments and wrote on the cross Jesus, King of the Jews.  There were two robbers who derided and and taunted Jesus, just like the Jewish religious leaders had mocked Jesus.

Darkness fell over the land as Jesus died.  The cry of Jesus was interpreted as a call to Elijah.  They gave him sour wine to drink.  Would Elijah save Jesus?  When Jesus died, the Temple curtain was torn in two.  Tombs opened and the dead rose and appeared in Jerusalem.  He truly was  the Son of God.

There were women from Galilee, especially the women called Mary.  Joseph of Arimathea got the body of Jesus and put it in his tomb as the women called Mary were vigilant.  Meanwhile, there was a gathering with Pilate, since the Jewish religious leaders wanted to have the tomb secure.  Thus, a custodial guard was set up at the tomb.

The two Marys visited the tomb, where there was another earthquake with an angel at the tomb.  The guards were afraid, but the angel speaks to the women to tell them to let the disciples know what happened.  The women left the tomb and Jesus appeared to them.  Meanwhile, the guards told the chief priests in Jerusalem what had happened.  These religious leaders paid the guards to tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus while they were sleeping.  Thus, this stolen body story spread.

After the resurrection, the remaining eleven disciples returned to an unnamed mountain in Galilee.  There the post-resurrection Jesus gave them authority in heaven and on earth with his great commission:  They were to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them with a Trinitarian formula.  They were to follow his commandments because Jesus would be with them until the end of time.

Blasphemy (Mt 26:65-26:65)

“Then the high priest

Tore his clothes.

He said.

‘He has blasphemed!

Why do we still

Need witnesses?

You have now heard

His blasphemy.’”

 

τότε ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ λέγων Ἐβλασφήμησεν· τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων; ἴδε νῦν ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν·

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:63.  In Luke, chapter 22:71, there is something similar, but there is nothing like this in John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that the high priest tore his clothes
(τότε ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ), a sign of mourning.  Caiaphas said that Jesus had blasphemed (λέγων Ἐβλασφήμησεν) by calling himself the Messiah Christ.  The high priest asked why did they still need any witnesses (τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων)?  The had all heard his blasphemy (ἴδε νῦν ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν).  Technically, it might not have been a blasphemy, since someone had to utter the divine name or profane sacred things, but it was close enough.

The mouth speaks from the heart (Mt 15:18-15:20)

“But what comes out

Of the mouth

Proceeds from the heart.

This is what defiles a man.

Out of the heart

Come

Evil thoughts,

Murder,

Adultery,

Fornication,

Theft,

False witness,

And slander.

These are what

Defile a man.

But to eat

With unwashed hands

Does not defile a man.”

 

τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται, κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί, φόνοι, μοιχεῖαι, πορνεῖαι, κλοπαί, ψευδομαρτυρίαι, βλασφημίαι.

ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον· τὸ δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον.

 

There is something similar to this in Mark, chapter 6:20-23.  Jesus indicated that the true defilement was what came out of a person’s mouth, not what went into it.  He clearly explained defilement.  What came out of the mouth (τὰ δὲ ἐκπορευόμενα ἐκ τοῦ στόματος) proceeded from the heart (ἐκ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχεται).  That is what defiled a man (κἀκεῖνα κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  Out of the heart came (ἐκ γὰρ τῆς καρδίας ἐξέρχονται) such things as evil or wicked thoughts, plots or deliberations (διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί), murders or killings (φόνοι), adulteries (μοιχεῖαι), sexual immoralities, fornication or pornography (πορνεῖαι), theft (κλοπαί), false witness or false testimony (ψευδομαρτυρίαι), and slander, abusive language, or blasphemy (βλασφημίαι).  These were the things that defiled a man or person (ταῦτά ἐστιν τὰ κοινοῦντα τὸν ἄνθρωπον).  You can clearly see what Jesus, his disciples, and the early Christian community considered as sins or defilements that made a person unclean.  But to eat with unwashed hands did not defile a man (δὲ ἀνίπτοις χερσὶν φαγεῖν οὐ κοινοῖ τὸν ἄνθρωπον) or make him unclean.  Notice that there is no mention of any unclean foods as in Mark.  Perhaps the Jewish Christians around Matthew still held to Jewish dietary laws.

The sin against the Holy Spirit (Mt 12:31-12:32)

“Therefore,

I tell you!

People will be forgiven

For every sin

And blasphemy.

But blasphemy

Against the Spirit

Will not be forgiven.

Whoever speaks a word

Against the Son of man

Will be forgiven.

But whoever speaks

Against the Holy Spirit

Will not be forgiven,

Either in this age

Or in the age to come.”

 

Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν, πᾶσα ἁμαρτία καὶ βλασφημία ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἡ δὲ τοῦ Πνεύματος βλασφημία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται.

καὶ ὃς ἐὰν εἴπῃ λόγον κατὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ· ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ κατὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου, οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ οὔτε ἐν τούτῳ τῷ αἰῶνι οὔτε ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι.

 

There are similar statements to this in Mark, chapter 3:28-30, and Luke, chapter 12:10.  It might be okay to disrespect the Son of Man, but it is quite another thing to speak against or blasphemy the Holy Spirit.  Blasphemy was profaning the name of God.  If you profaned the Holy Spirit you were hopeless.  Only God could forgive.  If you gave up on God and his Spirit, there was no hope of forgiveness.  The Son of Man was so human that you could be forgiven for speaking against the Son of Man, Jesus, but not the Holy Spirit.  Jesus told them with a solemn proclamation (Διὰ τοῦτο λέγω ὑμῖν).  God would forgive all human sins and blasphemies (πᾶσα ἁμαρτία καὶ βλασφημία ἀφεθήσεται τοῖς ἀνθρώποις).  However, he would not forgive the sin of blasphemy against the Spirit (ἡ δὲ τοῦ Πνεύματος βλασφημία οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται).  Humans could speak against the Son of Man (καὶ ὃς ἐὰν εἴπῃ λόγον κατὰ τοῦ Υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου) and be forgiven (ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ).  However, anyone who spoke against the Holy Spirit (ὃς δ’ ἂν εἴπῃ κατὰ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ Ἁγίου) would not be forgiven (οὐκ ἀφεθήσεται αὐτῷ), either now or in the future (οὔτε ἐν τούτῳ τῷ αἰῶνι οὔτε ἐν τῷ μέλλοντι).