The people against Jesus (Lk 20:20-20:20)

“Thus,

They watched Jesus.

They sent spies,

Who pretended

To be righteous themselves.

They tried

To trap him.

Thus,

They might hand him over

To the jurisdiction

And authority

Of the governor.”

 

Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι, ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου, ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν τῇ ἀρχῇ καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος 

 

Luke said that the chief priests and the Scribes were watching Jesus very closely (Καὶ παρατηρήσαντες).  They sent spies (ἀπέστειλαν ἐνκαθέτους).  Luke used the word ἐνκαθέτους, that means hired to lie in wait, lying in wait, or a spy, as the only time this word appeared in all the Greek biblical literature.  They pretended to be honest righteous men themselves (ὑποκρινομένους ἑαυτοὺς δικαίους εἶναι).  Luke has another unique usage of the word ὑποκρινομένους that means to reply, to answer on a stage, to pretend, or act the part.  They were trying to trap or catch Jesus with his own words (ἵνα ἐπιλάβωνται αὐτοῦ λόγου).  Thus, they might be able to hand him over (ὥστε παραδοῦναι αὐτὸν) to the rule or jurisdiction (τῇ ἀρχῇ) and authority of the Roman client governor (καὶ τῇ ἐξουσίᾳ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος).  There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 22:15-16, and in Mark, chapter 12:13.  Mark said that the Pharisees sent some of their own people to Jesus (Καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν πρὸς αὐτόν τινας τῶν Φαρισαίων).  The Pharisees were always testing or tempting Jesus and his disciples, but they were not mentioned in Luke.  They also sent along some Herodians (καὶ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), who were the followers or political supporters of King Herod Antipas, the Roman client tetrarch king of Galilee, the one who had John the Baptist beheaded.  Both these groups were out to trap Jesus or catch him by using his own words against him (ἵνα αὐτὸν ἀγρεύσωσιν λόγῳ).  Matthew said that the Pharisees went away (Τότε πορευθέντες οἱ Φαρισαῖοι) for a while, but they plotted or gathered together (συμβούλιον ἔλαβον) to entrap or entangle Jesus in what he had said (ὅπως αὐτὸν παγιδεύσωσιν ἐν λόγῳ).  These Pharisees sent their own disciples to Jesus (καὶ ἀποστέλλουσιν αὐτῷ τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτῶν), along with some Herodians (μετὰ τῶν Ἡρῳδιανῶν), just like Mark had mentioned.  They were out to trick or trap Jesus.  Have you ever tried to trap anyone?

Tell everyone that someone stole the body of Jesus (Mt 28:12-28:14)

“After the chief priests

Had assembled

With the elders,

They devised

A plan

To give large sums

Of silver money

To the soldiers.

They said.

‘Tell the people!

‘His disciples came

By night.

They stole him away

While we were asleep.’

If the governor

Hears this story,

We will take care of him.

We will keep you

Out of trouble.’”

 

καὶ συναχθέντες μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων συμβούλιόν τε λαβόντες ἀργύρια ἱκανὰ ἔδωκαν τοῖς στρατιώταις

λέγοντες Εἴπατε ὅτι Οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ νυκτὸς ἐλθόντες ἔκλεψαν αὐτὸν ἡμῶν κοιμωμένων.

καὶ ἐὰν ἀκουσθῇ τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος, ἡμεῖς πείσομεν καὶ ὑμᾶς ἀμερίμνους ποιήσομεν.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who continued with this story about the guards and the Jerusalem chief priestsAfter these chief priests had assembled with the elders or presbyters in consultation (καὶ συναχθέντες μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων), they decided or devised a plan to give large sums of silver money to these soldiers (συμβούλιόν τε λαβόντες ἀργύρια ἱκανὰ ἔδωκαν τοῖς στρατιώταις).  These custodian guards (κουστωδίας) have now become soldiers (στρατιώταις).  The chief priests said (λέγοντες) to tell the people that Jesus’ disciples came at night (Εἴπατε ὅτι Οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ νυκτὸς ἐλθόντες).  They stole the body of Jesus away (ἔκλεψαν αὐτὸν), while they were asleep (ἡμῶν κοιμωμένων).  If the governor heard this story (καὶ ἐὰν ἀκουσθῇ τοῦτο ἐπὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνος), they would take care of him or urge or persuade him (ἡμεῖς πείσομεν καὶ ὑμᾶς) to keep these soldiers out of trouble (ἀμερίμνους ποιήσομεν).  The problem, of course, is whether Roman soldiers would trust these Jewish leaders in Jerusalem.  The better option was that these were Jewish guards who could be persuaded by the Jewish leaders with a little financial incentive.

Jesus goes to the governor’s head quarters (Mt 27:27-27:27)

“Then the soldiers

Of the governor

Took Jesus

Into the praetorium,

The governor’s headquarters.

They gathered

The whole cohort

Around him.”

 

Τότε οἱ στρατιῶται τοῦ ἡγεμόνος παραλαβόντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον συνήγαγον ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ὅλην τὴν σπεῖραν.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:16, while Luke does not have this episode.  Matthew said that the Roman soldiers of the governor (Τότε οἱ στρατιῶται τοῦ ἡγεμόνος) took Jesus (παραλαβόντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν) into the praetorium (εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον) or courtyard.  This governor’s headquarters or home of Pilate was the ancient palace of Herod the Great, who tried to have Jesus killed in the prologue of this gospel.  There they gathered a whole cohort or battalion of about 500-600 Roman soldiers around Jesus (συνήγαγον ἐπ’ αὐτὸν ὅλην τὴν σπεῖραν).  The Jews were no longer in this scene around Jesus here.

The crowd wants to crucify Jesus (Mt 27:21-27:23)

“The governor again

Said to them.

‘Which of the two men

Do you want me

To release

To you?’

They said.

‘Barabbas.’

Pilate said to them.

Then what shall I do

With Jesus

Who is called Christ,

The Messiah?’

All of them said.

‘Let him be crucified.’

He asked.

‘Why?

What evil has he done?’

But they shouted

All the more.

‘Let him be crucified.’”

 

ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἡγεμὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Τίνα θέλετε ἀπὸ τῶν δύο ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τὸν Βαραββᾶν.

λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πειλᾶτος Τί οὖν ποιήσω Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν; λέγουσιν πάντες Σταυρωθήτω

ὁ δὲ ἔφη Τί γὰρ κακὸν ἐποίησεν; οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραζον λέγοντες Σταυρωθήτω.

 

Something similar to this dialogue between Pilate and the crowd can be found in Mark, chapter 15:12-14.  In Luke, chapter 23:18-23, there is a longer dialogue, while in John, chapter 18:40, there is only a short statement about Barabbas.  Matthew said that the governor again asked the crowd (ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἡγεμὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς) which of the two men did they want him to release (Τίνα θέλετε ἀπὸ τῶν δύο ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν).  The crowd responded ‘Barabbas’ (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τὸν Βαραββᾶν).  Pilate then asked them (λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πειλᾶτος) what should he do with Jesus (Τί οὖν ποιήσω Ἰησοῦν), the one called the Christ (τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν), the Messiah.  All of them responded that he should be crucified (λέγουσιν πάντες Σταυρωθήτω).  Then Pilate asked them what evil or bad thing had he done (ὁ δὲ ἔφη Τί γὰρ κακὸν ἐποίησεν)?  But they shouted all the more loudly (οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραζον) that he was to be crucified (λέγοντες Σταυρωθήτω).  The crowd that had loved Jesus for all his miracles and preaching now wanted him dead as they turned on him.

Jesus does not respond (Mt 27:12-27:14)

“But when Jesus

Was accused

By the chief priests

And the elders,

He did not answer.

Then Pilate said to him.

‘Do you not hear

How many accusations

They have made

Against you?’

But he gave him

No answer,

Not even

To a single charge.

Thus,

The governor

Was greatly amazed.”

 

καὶ ἐν τῷ κατηγορεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο.

τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πειλᾶτος Οὐκ ἀκούεις πόσα σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν;

καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ πρὸς οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα, ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:3-5.  In Luke, chapter 23:9-10, this dialogue took place before Governor Herod Antipas in Galilee, instead of here before Governor Pontius Pilate in Judea.  When Jesus was accused (καὶ ἐν τῷ κατηγορεῖσθαι αὐτὸν) by the chief priests and the elders (ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων), he did not answer them (οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο).  Then Pilate said to Jesus (τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πειλᾶτος).  He wondered if Jesus had not heard how many accusations they had made against him (Οὐκ ἀκούεις πόσα σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν).  However, Jesus, did not give any answer (καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ), not even to a single charge (οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα,).  Thus, Governor Pilate was greatly amazed (ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν).

Is Jesus the king of the Jews? (Mt 27:11-27:11)

“Now Jesus

Stood

Before the governor.

The governor

Asked him.

‘Are you

The King of the Jews?’

Jesus said.

‘You have said so.’”

 

Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐστάθη ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ ἡγεμόνος· καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ ἡγεμὼν λέγων Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη Σὺ λέγεις.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:2.  Luke, chapter 23:3, is similar but there is a longer introduction before Pilate spoke.  In John, chapter 18:33-35 there was a longer discussion between Jesus and Pilate.  Matthew said that Jesus stood before the governor (Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐστάθη ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ ἡγεμόνος), without mentioning his name.  This governor then questioned Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν).  He wanted to know (ὁ ἡγεμὼν λέγων) if Jesus was the “King of the Jews (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  If Jesus responded that he was, then he could be considered a threat to the ruling Roman authority.  Instead, Jesus had a simple reply (ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς) that if he Pilate had said so, then it must be so (ἔφη Σὺ λέγεις).  Jesus would only confirm what Pilate had said, without saying it explicitly himself.  Thus, Jesus was identified as the King of the Jews, or leading a political rebellion against the Roman authorities.

 

They deliver Jesus to Pilate (Mt 27:2-27:2)

“They bound Jesus.

They led him away.

They delivered him

To Pilate,

The governor.”

 

καὶ δήσαντες αὐτὸν ἀπήγαγον καὶ παρέδωκαν Πειλάτῳ τῷ ἡγεμόνι.

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 15:1, except there was no mention that Pilate was the governor, but just assumes that.  In Luke, chapter 23:1, there is just the simple statement that they brought Jesus to Pilate.  In John, chapter 18:28-32, there was a long discussion of Pilate with the Jewish leaders.  Who is this Pontius Pilate?  He was the rather cruel Roman ruler, prefect, or governor of Judea from 26-36 CE, the exact time frame of Jesus.  These chief priests and elders of the people tied up Jesus (καὶ δήσαντες αὐτὸν).  They led him away and delivered him to Pilate (ἀπήγαγον καὶ παρέδωκαν Πειλάτῳ), the Roman governor (τῷ ἡγεμόνι) of Judea who had jurisdiction over death penalties in the Judean territory, since Judea was within the Roman Empire.  Interesting enough, a whole literature and artistic presentation of Pontius Pilate developed in 20th century with movie and TV portrayals of him.  He was certainly a central figure in this Passion of Jesus presentation.