The chief priests and Scribes wanted Jesus (Lk 20:19-20:19)

“The chief priests

And the Scribes

Wanted

To lay hands

On Jesus

At that very hour.

But they feared

The people.”

 

Καὶ ἐζήτησαν οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἐπιβαλεῖν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν λαόν

 

Luke said that the Scribes (οἱ γραμματεῖς) and the chief priests (καὶ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) wanted to lay hands on Jesus (Καὶ ἐζήτησαν…ἐπιβαλεῖν ἐπ’ αὐτὸν τὰς χεῖρας) at that very hour (ἐν αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ,).  However, they feared the people (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν λαόν).  There is something similar in Matthew chapter 21:46, and Mark, chapter 12:12.  However, there are different groups named in each gospel. Mark said that the unnamed “they” were trying or seeking to get a hold of or arrest Jesus (Καὶ ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι).  However, they were afraid of the crowd (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν ὄχλον).  Thus, they left him (καὶ ἀφέντες αὐτὸν) and went away (ἀπῆλθον).  Matthew said that the chief priests and the Pharisees wanted to arrest or seize Jesus (καὶ ζητοῦντες αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι).  However, they feared the crowds (ἐφοβήθησαν τοὺς ὄχλους) who regarded him as if he were a prophet (ἐπεὶ εἰς προφήτην αὐτὸν εἶχον).  In fact, the idea of Jesus as a prophet still exists until today, but Matthew was the only one who called him a prophet.  Luke had named the chief priests and the Scribes, but not the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the elders or presbyters.  Mark simply used the vague “they”.  Matthew, on the other hand, had the chief priests and the Pharisees seeking Jesus, but not the Scribes, the Sadducees, the elders or presbyters.  This was an assertion that the various Jewish religious leaders were out to get Jesus.  Are you out to get anyone?

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This parable was against the Jewish leaders (Mk 12:12-12:12)

“When they realized

That he had told

This parable

Against them,

They wanted

To arrest Jesus.

But they feared

The crowd.

Thus,

They left him.

They went away.”

 

Καὶ ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι, καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν ὄχλον· ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν εἶπεν. καὶ ἀφέντες αὐτὸν ἀπῆλθον.

 

This was an admission by Jewish religious leaders, the chief priests and the Pharisees, as named in Matthew chapter 21:45-46, and Luke, chapter 20:19, but not here, about the deteriorating situation.  Mark said that the unnamed “they” were trying or seeking to get a hold of or arrest Jesus (Καὶ ἐζήτουν αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι).  However, they were afraid of the crowd (καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν τὸν ὄχλον).  They realized or knew that Jesus had told this parable against them (ἔγνωσαν γὰρ ὅτι πρὸς αὐτοὺς τὴν παραβολὴν εἶπεν), the wicked evil tenants of the vineyard.  The landowner was God the Father.  The slaves were the Israelite prophets, while Jesus was the son of the Father.  Thus, they left him (καὶ ἀφέντες αὐτὸν) and went away (ἀπῆλθον).  This will not turn out well.

Try to arrest Jesus (Mt 21:46-21:46)

“They wanted

To arrest him.

But they feared

The crowds

Because they regarded him

As a prophet.”

 

καὶ ζητοῦντες αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι ἐφοβήθησαν τοὺς ὄχλους, ἐπεὶ εἰς προφήτην αὐτὸν εἶχον.

 

This idea of arresting Jesus can be found in Mark, chapter 12:12, and Luke, chapter 20:19, but with slightly different wordings.  The chief priests and the Pharisees wanted to arrest or seize Jesus (καὶ ζητοῦντες αὐτὸν κρατῆσαι).  However, they feared the crowds (ἐφοβήθησαν τοὺς ὄχλους) who regarded him as if he were a prophet (ἐπεὶ εἰς προφήτην αὐτὸν εἶχον).  In fact, the idea of Jesus as a prophet still exists until today, but Matthew is the only one who calls him a prophet.

Herod was afraid of John the Baptist (Mt 14:4-14:5)

“John had been telling him.

‘It is not lawful

For you to have her.’

Though Herod

Wanted to put him

To death,

He feared the crowd,

Because they regarded John

As a prophet.”

 

ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὁ Ἰωάνης αὐτῷ Οὐκ ἔξεστίν σοι ἔχειν αὐτήν.

καὶ θέλων αὐτὸν ἀποκτεῖναι ἐφοβήθη τὸν ὄχλον, ὅτι ὡς προφήτην αὐτὸν εἶχον.

 

This mention of Herod being afraid of John the Baptist can be found only in Mark, chapter 6:18-20, and here.  John had called out Herod for his marriage with Herodias, his brother’s recently divorced wife.  John had told Herod (ἔλεγεν γὰρ ὁ Ἰωάνης αὐτῷ) that It was not lawful for him to have her as his wife (Οὐκ ἔξεστίν σοι ἔχειν αὐτήν).  Even though Herod wanted to put John to death (καὶ θέλων αὐτὸν ἀποκτεῖναι), he was afraid of the large crowds of people (ἐφοβήθη τὸν ὄχλον), because they regarded John as a prophet (ὅτι ὡς προφήτην αὐτὸν εἶχον).

Development of Protestant Fundamentalism

A particular form of American Evangelicalism developed in the 1920s to combat the secular culture after World War I, during the Roaring Twenties with its jazz age Gatsby morality.  From 1890-1920 over 20,000,000 people, mostly Roman Catholic Europeans, immigrated into the major American cities.  These new immigrants brought an end to the Victorian morals with their gambling and their bootlegging alcohol drinking during the Prohibition era.  The League of Nations and the growth of international communism were other factors.  Most fundamentalists were against the scriptural criticism of Protestant liberalism and the various other modernism trends.  They feared losing their world, because others were aggressively posing a threat to their traditions.  This was an apocalyptic view of history, where the past was great, the present cloudy and the future assured.

Everyone was to obey Haggai (Hag 1:12-1:12)

“Then Zerubbabel,

The son of Shealtiel,

With Joshua,

The son of Jehozadak,

The high priest,

With all the remnant

Of the people,

Obeyed the voice

Of Yahweh

Their God.

They obeyed

The words

Of the prophet Haggai.

Yahweh,

Their God,

Had sent him.

The people feared

Yahweh.’”

The rulers and the remaining people of Jerusalem gathered to hear the voice of Yahweh, via the prophet Haggai.  This included the governor of Judah, Zerubbabel, and the high priest Joshua, as mentioned earlier.  They would obey Haggai as the voice of Yahweh, since they feared Yahweh.  Yahweh had sent them Haggai as a prophet to speak in his name.

The call for mercy (Dan 3:18-3:19)

“Now with all our heart,

We follow you!

We fear you!

We seek your presence!

Do not put us to shame!

Deal with us

In your patience!

Deal with us

In your abundant mercy!”

Azariah pointed out that they were going to follow God with all their heart. They feared him and were seeking his presence. However, they did not want to be put to shame. They wanted God’s patience and mercy to come to them.