King of the Jews (Lk 23:37-23:37)

“The soldiers said.

‘If you are

The King of the Jews,

Save yourself!’”

καὶ λέγοντες Εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων, σῶσον σεαυτόν.

Only Luke uniquely indicated that the soldiers said (καὶ λέγοντες) that if Jesus was the King of the Jews (Εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων), he should save himself (σῶσον σεαυτόν).  A common theme of all this derision was if Jesus was so great, how come he could not save himself.  Do you consider Jesus to be the king of the Jews?

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King of the Jews (Lk 23:3-23:3)

“Then Pilate

Asked Jesus.

‘Are you the king

Of the Jews?’

Jesus answered.

‘You say so.’”

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν λέγων Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ ἔφη Σὺ λέγεις.

Luke said that then Pilate asked Jesus (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος ἠρώτησεν αὐτὸν λέγων) whether he was the king of the Jews (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  Jesus answered him (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ ἔφη) that he had said so (Σὺ λέγεις).  In John, chapter 18:33-35 there was a longer discussion between Jesus and Pilate.  Mark, chapter 15:2, was almost the same as Luke.  He said that Pilate asked Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ Πειλᾶτος) a question.  He wanted to know if Jesus was the King of the Jews (Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  Jesus had a simple reply (ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ λέγει) that if Pilate had said so (Σὺ λέγεις), then it must be so (ἔφη).  Matthew, chapter 27:11, was also almost the same as Luke.  He 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 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, without saying so himself.  Are you reluctant to speak out?

The inscription on the cross (Mk 15:26-15:26)

“The inscription

Of the charge

Against him

Read.

‘The King of the Jews.’”

 

καὶ ἦν ἡ ἐπιγρὴ τῆς αἰτίας αὐτοῦ ἐπιγεγραμμένη Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:37, but the inscription had the name of Jesus on it also there.  In Luke, chapter 23:38, it was the same as here in MarkJohn, chapter 19:19-22, has a dialogue with Pilate and the Jewish leaders about the appropriateness of this inscription, whether it should have said that he claimed to be the King of the Jews, not that he was the King of the Jews.  Mark simply stated that this was the inscription charge or accusation written against Jesus (καὶ ἦν ἡ ἐπιγρὴ τῆς αἰτίας αὐτοῦ ἐπιγεγραμμένη).  The written charge was “The King of the Jews (Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ).” Clearly, this was the Roman charge against Jesus, insurrection, since he claimed to be the King of the Jews against the Roman rule.  There is some dispute whether this title was in Greek or Latin.  John, chapter 19:19-20, said that the inscription was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.  In the Catholic tradition the Latin title abbreviation was INRI for Iesvs Nazarenvs Rex Iudaeorvm that can be found on many crucifixes.

They mocked Jesus (Mk 15:19-15:19)

“They struck

His head

With a reed.

They spat

Upon him.

They knelt down

In homage to him.”

 

καὶ ἔτυπτον αὐτοῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν καλάμῳ καὶ ἐνέπτυον αὐτῷ, καὶ τιθέντες τὰ γόνατα προσεκύνουν αὐτῷ.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:30, but not in Luke.  In John, chapter 19:3, there is something similar.  Mark said that these Roman soldiers kept striking him on the head (καὶ ἔτυπτον αὐτοῦ τὴν κεφαλὴν) with a reed or stick (καλάμῳ).  Then they spat on Jesus (καὶ ἐνέπτυον αὐτῷ).  Finally, these Roman soldiers bent their knees (καὶ τιθέντες τὰ γόνατα) and knelt before him (προσεκύνουν αὐτῷ as they were mockingly paying homage to this pretended king of the Jews.

What should I do with Jesus? (Mk 15:12-15:12)

“Pilate spoke

To them again.

‘Then what do

You wish me

To do

With the man

You call

The King of the Jews?’”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς Τί οὖν ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν Βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

 

Something similar to this dialogue between Pilate and the crowd can be found in Matthew, chapter 27:22.  Mark said that Pilate again asked the crowd (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς) what did they want him to do with the man called the King of the Jews (Τί οὖν ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν Βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  Pilate seemed very concerned about this Jewish crowd and its wishes.  Where do you stand?

Jesus, King of the Jews (Mt 27:37-27:37)

“They put the charge

Against him

Over his head.

It read.

‘This is Jesus.

The King of the Jews.’”

 

καὶ ἐπέθηκαν ἐπάνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ τὴν αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένην ΟΥΤΟΣ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 15:26 and Luke, chapter 23:38.  John, chapter 19:19-22, has a dialogue with Pilate and the Jewish leaders about the appropriateness of this inscription.  Matthew simply stated that they put this charge or accusation against Jesus over his head (καὶ ἐπέθηκαν ἐπάνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ).  The written charge was (τὴν αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένην) “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews (ΟΥΤΟΣ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΙΗΣΟΥΣ Ο ΒΑΣΙΛΕΥΣ ΤΩΝ ΙΟΥΔΑΙΩΝ).”  The argument in John, was whether it should have said that he claimed to be the King of the Jews, not that he was the King of the Jews.  Clearly, this was the Roman charge against Jesus, insurrection, since he claimed to be the King of the Jews against the Roman rule.

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.