The body of John was put in a tomb (Mk 6:29-6:29)

“When John’s disciples

Heard about it,

They came.

They took his body.

They laid it

In a tomb.”

 

καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἦλθαν καὶ ἦραν τὸ πτῶμα αὐτοῦ καὶ ἔθηκαν αὐτὸ ἐν μνημείῳ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 14:12.  Mark said that John’s disciples heard about this incident (καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ).  They came (ἦλθαν) and took his body (καὶ ἦραν τὸ πτῶμα αὐτοῦ).  They buried the body of John the Baptist in a tomb (καὶ ἔθαψαν αὐτὸ ἐν μνημείῳ), but there is no indication of where they buried John’s body.  Here, they did not go and tell Jesus about this, like in Matthew.

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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.

John the Baptist’s disciples bury him (Mt 14:12-14:12)

“John’s disciples came.

They took his body.

They buried it.

Then they went

And told Jesus.”

 

καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἦραν τὸ πτῶμα καὶ ἔθαψαν αὐτόν, καὶ ἐλθόντες ἀπήγγειλαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ.

 

This burial of John the Baptist can be found in Mark, chapter 6:29, and here.  John’s disciples came and took his body (καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἦραν τὸ πτῶμα).  They buried the body of John the Baptist (καὶ ἔθαψαν αὐτόν), but there is no indication of where they buried it.  Then they went and told Jesus about what had happened (καὶ ἐλθόντες ἀπήγγειλαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ).

The vanity of pleasure (Eccl 2:1-2:3)

“I said to myself.

‘Come now!

I will make a test of pleasure.

Enjoy yourself!’

But again,

This also was vanity.

I said of laughter.

‘It is mad.’

I said of pleasure.

‘What use is it?’

I searched with my mind

How to cheer my body with wine.

My mind was still guiding me with wisdom.

How am I am to lay hold of folly?

I wanted to see

What was good for mortals

To do under heaven

During the few days of their life.”

Qoheleth was once again talking to himself. He wanted to enjoy pleasure. However, he found that it too was useless and in vain. He laughed, but it was kind of a mad laughter. What was the use of all this pleasure? He tried to cheer his body with wine, even though he was able to maintain the wisdom in his mind. He wanted to enjoy folly and foolishness. What kind of things can mortals do during their short span of life under the heavens?

The stories about David (Ps 109:16-109:19)

“He did not remember to show kindness.

He pursued the poor and needy.

He pursued the brokenhearted to their death.

He loved to curse.

Let curses come on him!

He did not like blessing.

May it be far from him!

He clothed himself with cursing as his coat.

May it soak into his body like water!

May it soak into his bones like oil!

May it be like a garment that he wraps around himself!

May it be like a belt with that he wears everyday!”

This is one of the few descriptions of David that is not favorable. It was an attempt to portray David as some others saw him. Apparently David did not show kindness. He pursued the poor, the needy, and brokenhearted to their death. He loved to curse so that curses should come back on him. He did not like blessings as he clothed himself in cursing. Thus the wish was for him to soak his body like water and his bones like oil. He should wear these garments and belts every day. Somehow he was to wear something like a scarlet letter of disapproval so that all could see it.

King Antiochus IV dies (2 Macc 9:28-9:29)

“Thus the murderer and blasphemer, having endured more intense suffering, such as he had inflicted on others, came to the end of his life by a most pitiable fate, among the mountains in a strange land. Philip, one of his courtiers, took his body home. Then, fearing the son of Antiochus, he withdrew to Ptolemy Philometor in Egypt.”

King Antiochus IV, despite his kind words in the preceding letter, was perceived to be a murder and blasphemer. He endured justly the most intense suffering because he had inflicted suffering on others. He even died in a strange mountain land at the age of 51. Philip, according to 1 Maccabees, chapter 6, was to be in charge of his young son, now King Antiochus V. However, Lysias, who was in Antioch was helping the 9 year old king rule, according to the same source. Thus Philip went to the king of Egypt, King Ptolemy VI (180-145 BCE), who had been the young king that King Antiochus IV had defeated earlier in his reign.

Judith beheads General Holofernes (Jdt 13:6-13:10)

“Judith went up to the bedpost near General Holofernes’ head. She took down his sword that hung there. She came close to his bed. She took hold of the hair of his head. She said.

‘Give me strength today,

O Lord God of Israel!’

Then she struck his neck twice with all her might. She cut off his head. Next she rolled his body off the bed. She pulled down the canopy from the posts. Soon afterward she went out. She gave General Holofernes’ head to her maid, who placed it in her food bag.”

Well, there it is, the high point of this book. The beautiful Hebrew widow chops off the head of the great general of the great army. She even used his own sword and prayed to God before she did it. This dynamic action made her part of medieval European literature in homilies, biblical paraphrases, histories, and poetry. She was the brave warrior and yet an exemplar of pious chastity. Judith found her way into the works of Dante, and Chaucer. In popular stories, the enemy was always General Holofernes. Painters and sculptors like Donatello, Caravaggio, Botticelli, Goya, and Michelangelo, as well as stained glass windows used this account of Judith’s beheading of Holofernes as an artistic subject. Within the biblical context there are overtones of this in Judges, chapter 4, when Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite drove a tent peg into the temple of Sisera, after giving him something to drink.   Another similar but unsuccessful event was when King Saul tired to kill David with a spear while he was playing the lyre, in 1 Samuel, chapter 18.