The Jewish high priests (Lk 3:2-3:2)

“The high-priest

Was Annas

And Caiaphas.”

 

ἐπὶ ἀρχιερέως Ἄννα καὶ Καϊάφα,

 

Luke further set the historical background, as he indicated that there were two Jewish high priests (ἐπὶ ἀρχιερέως) Annas (Ἄννα) and Caiaphas (καὶ Καϊάφα).  The role of the Jewish high priest in Jerusalem was determined by the Roman authorities.  Annas had been the high priest from 6-15 CE, before he was deposed.  His sons took over, but eventually Caiaphas, his son in law, became the high priest from 18-36 CE, the correct timeframe for the activities of John and Jesus.  Annas had some prestige, connection, or power over Caiaphas as the former high priest and father in law.

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Jesus was silent (Mk 14:61-14:61)

“But Jesus

Was silent.

He did not answer.

Again,

The high priest

Asked him.

‘Are you

The Messiah Christ?

Are you

The Son of the Blessed One?’”

 

ὁ δὲ ἐσιώπα καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίνατο οὐδέν. πάλιν ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Εὐλογητοῦ;

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:63.  In Luke, chapter 22:66-70, there was something similar.  However, there was nothing like this in John, chapter 18:19, where there was a discussion of the high priest with Jesus, but more about his teachings.  Mark said that Jesus was originally silent (ὁ δὲ ἐσιώπα).  He did not answer the high priest (καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίνατο οὐδέν).  Then the high priest again asked Jesus directly (πάλιν ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς ἐπηρώτα αὐτὸν).  Was he the Messiah Christ (καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς)?  Was he the Son of the Blessed One (ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Εὐλογητοῦ)?  Matthew had said that the high priest Caiaphas was going to put him under oath according to the living God.  Jesus was to tell everyone there whether he was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God.  Luke indicated that they asked Jesus whether he was the Messiah Christ or the Son of God.  Thus, this was a clear question about the divine claims of Jesus, particularly his messianic Christ role and his relationship to God the Father.

They led Jesus to a Jewish assembly (Mk 14:53-14:53)

“They took Jesus

To the high priest.

All the chief priests,

The elders,

And the Scribes

Were assembled.”

 

Καὶ ἀπήγαγον τὸν Ἰησοῦν πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα, καὶ συνέρχονται πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:57, but there is no mention of the house of Caiaphas here as there was in Matthew.  In Luke, chapter 22:54, Jesus was simply brought to the high priest’s house, which would have been Caiaphas.  In John, chapter 18:13-14, they brought Jesus to the house of the father-in-law of Caiaphas, Annas, who had been the high priest of Jerusalem from 6-15 CE, before he was removed by the Romans at the age of 36, even though he lived to the age of 61.  Thus, he had a lot of influence on things.  John remarked that Caiaphas had said it was better for one person to die for the people.  Caiaphas was the high priest from 18-36 CE since he had married the daughter of Annas.  Mark simply said that they took Jesus to the high priest (Καὶ ἀπήγαγον τὸν Ἰησοῦν πρὸς τὸν ἀρχιερέα), without mentioning his name or saying it was his house.  Apparently, the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς), the elder presbyters (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι), and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) had all gathered or assembled there (καὶ συνέρχονται πάντες).  Was this an official meeting of the Jerusalem Sanhedrin?  Probably not, because these official meetings could not be held during the festival days or during the Passover.  On the other hand, some kind of informal meeting was possible.  However, there was no mention of any Pharisees or Sadducees being there either.

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.

They plan to kill Jesus (Mt 27:1-27:1)

“When morning came,

All the chief priests

And the elders

Of the people

Conferred together

Against Jesus,

To bring about

His death.”

 

Πρωΐας δὲ γενομένης συμβούλιον ἔλαβον πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὥστε θανατῶσαι αὐτόν·

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:1, except that Mark did not mention the conclusion about the decision to bring Jesus to death.  In Luke, chapter 23:1, everybody agreed about the death of Jesus.  When morning came (Πρωΐας δὲ γενομένης), after the all-nighter evening meeting at the house of Caiaphas, the high priest of Jerusalem, all the chief priests (πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) and the elders of the people (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ) conferred together or took counsel (συμβούλιον ἔλαβον) against Jesus (κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  They decided to bring about the death of Jesus (ὥστε θανατῶσαι αὐτόν).  Whether this was an official meeting or not, they did come up with a conclusion that Jesus should die.

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.

Jesus responds (Mt 26:63-26:64)

“But Jesus was silent.

Then the high priest

Said to him.

‘I put you under oath

Before the living God!

Tell us!

If you are the Christ,

The Messiah,

The Son of God?’

Jesus said to him.

‘You have said so.

But I tell you!

From now on

You will see

The Son of Man

Seated at the right hand

Of Power.

He will be coming

On the clouds of heaven.’”

 

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐσιώπα. καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ Ἐξορκίζω σε κατὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος ἵνα ἡμῖν εἴπῃς εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ.

λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς Σὺ εἶπας· πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἀπ’ ἄρτι ὄψεσθε τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καθήμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:61-62.  In Luke, chapter 22:67-69, there is something similar, but there is nothing like this in John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that Jesus was originally silent (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐσιώπα).  Then the high priest Caiaphas said to Jesus (καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ) that he was going to put him under oath according to the living God (Ἐξορκίζω σε κατὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος).  Caiaphas told Jesus to tell everyone there (ἵνα ἡμῖν εἴπῃς) whether he was the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God (εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ).  This was a strongly worded theological statement.  Then Jesus replied to Caiaphas, the high priest (λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς), that he had said so (Σὺ εἶπας).  Then Jesus gave him a warning with a solemn pronouncement (πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν).  He told him that from now on (ἀπ’ ἄρτι), he would see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power, Yahweh, or God, the Father (ὄψεσθε τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καθήμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τῆς δυνάμεως), coming on the clouds of heaven (καὶ ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ).  Jesus gave a strong theological response that the end times were near when the Son of Man would appear on a cloud.