They deliver Jesus to Pilate (Mk 15:1-15:1)

“As soon as it was morning,

The chief priests

Held a consultation

With the elders,

The Scribes,

And the whole council.

They bound Jesus.

They led him away.

They handed him

Over to Pilate.”

 

Καὶ εὐθὺς πρωῒ συμβούλιον ἑτοιμάσαντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον, δήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπήνεγκαν καὶ παρέδωκαν Πειλάτῳ  

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:1-2, except that Mark did not mention the decision to bring Jesus to death.  In Luke, chapter 23:1, everybody brought Jesus to Pilate.  In John, chapter 18:28, there was a long discussion of Pilate with the Jewish leaders, after they brought Jesus to Pilate.  However, they had to stay outside the Roman court, so as not to defile themselves during the Passover festival.  Mark said that as soon as it was early in the morning (Καὶ εὐθὺς πρωῒ), after the all-nighter evening meeting at the house of the high priest of Jerusalem, the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) with the elders or presbyters (μετὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων) and the Scribes (καὶ γραμματέων) conferred together or came to a resolution (συμβούλιον ἑτοιμάσαντες).  All of this council, tribunal, or Sanhedrin (καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον) agreed.  They tied up or bound Jesus (δήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν).  They led him away (ἀπήγαγον).  They delivered him or handed him over to Pilate (καὶ παρέδωκαν Πειλάτῳ).  Whether this was an official meeting or not, they did come up with a conclusion that they would hand Jesus over to the Roman governor of Judea.  Thus, Pilate had jurisdiction over death penalties, since Judea was within the Roman Empire.  Mark did not mention that Pilate was the governor, but this text just assumes that.  Who was 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.  Interesting enough, a whole literature and artistic presentations of Pontius Pilate developed in the 20th century with movie and TV portrayals of him.  He was certainly a central figure in this presentation about the death of Jesus.

The use of parables (Mk 4:2-4:2)

“Jesus began

To teach them

Many things

In parables.

This is what

He said to them

In his teaching,”

 

καὶ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν παραβολαῖς πολλά, καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ

 

A similar statement can be found in Matthew, chapter 13:3, and Luke 8:4.  This is the beginning of the parable section in Mark.  Jesus taught them many things in parables (καὶ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν παραβολαῖς πολλά).  This is how Jesus delivered most of his teachings (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς ἐν τῇ διδαχῇ αὐτοῦ).  Parables were one of the many literary forms in the biblical literature.  These parables of Jesus can be found in all the synoptic gospels, since they represent about 1/3 of Jesus’ teachings.  These simple and memorable stories conveyed important messages, central to the teachings of Jesus.  Many of Jesus’s parables refer to simple everyday events.  The word “parable” can also refer to a riddle, as it was used in the Old Testament.  The use of parables was a natural teaching method that fit into the tradition of the time of Jesus.  Matthew has 23 parables of which 11 are unique.  There are 2 unique parables in Mark and 18 unique parables in LukeMatthew and Luke share 4 parables, while Matthew, Mark and Luke share 6 parables.  Many of these parables have been subjects of art and literature, especially during the Middle Ages.

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.

The parables (Mt 13:3-13:3)

“Jesus told them

Many things

In parable sayings.”

 

αὶ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἐν παραβολαῖς λέγων.

 

A similar statement can be found in Mark, chapter 4:2.  This is the beginning of the parable section in Matthew.  Jesus told them many things in parables (αὶ ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς πολλὰ ἐν παραβολαῖς λέγων).  Parables were one of the many literary forms in the biblical literature.  These parables of Jesus can be found in all the synoptic gospels since they represent about 1/3 of Jesus’ teachings.  These simple and memorable stories conveyed important messages, central to the teachings of Jesus.  Many of Jesus’s parables refer to simple everyday events.  The word “parable” can also refer to a riddle, as it was used in the Old Testament.  The use of parables was a natural teaching method that fit into the tradition of the time of Jesus.  Matthew has 23 parables of which 11 are unique.  There are 2 unique parables in Mark and 18 unique parables in LukeMatthew and Luke share 4 parables, while Matthew, Mark and Luke share 6 parables.  Many of these parables have been subjects of art and literature, especially during the Middle Ages.

The temptations of Jesus

Once John baptized Jesus, according to all three synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus fasted for 40 days and 40 nights in the Judaean desert. After this fast, the devil, the tempter, or Satan appeared to Jesus trying to test or tempt him. Jesus refused each of the 3 human temptations concerning the hedonism of hunger, the egotism of power, and the materialism of wealth. These temptations were to mislead and pervert the thinking, wishing, and feeling of Jesus. Although Mark‘s account was very brief, Matthew and Luke described the temptations in great detail that may have come from their common Q source. Is this a parable? What was the purpose of these accounts? There is no doubt that Matthew used language from the Old Testament Septuagint with a series of quotations from Deuteronomy. Fasting was a preparation for a great spiritual struggle. Once the temptations were over, Satan departed. Then angels of God began looking after Jesus. These temptations of Jesus have had many portrayals in art, literature, film, and music, since they have captured the imagination of many of the followers of Jesus Christ

Christian Whole Life

There are material dimensions to our life.  We are flesh, not just a spiritual soul.  We know about physical beauty and wealth.  If you are wealthy and the right race, does that prove that God loves you?  In reality, the physical world is morally neutral and can be an asset or a liability.  A disability can lead either to self-pity or courage.  Sex can either be an act of love or manipulation.  Wealth can be a power to help others or a path to greed.  We have to accept ourselves and who we are.  Thus, we have to let God shine through us.  We must bring our senses of touch, smell, and hearing into our faith.  We have to appreciate the beauty in the world around us.  Christians believe in an incarnation theology.  Jesus was truly in this world.  Do not fear the body, imagination or the aesthetic sense.  Your imagination uses myths and images to help you describe God, whether it be in music, art, or literature.

Literary forms of the Bible

There were different literary forms that came under the various cultural human influences.  Literary criticism means the various applications that people have used to investigate any kind of literature.  The study of the use of language and style to obtain meaning has helped to reestablish the unity, the beauty, the integrity, the quality, and the meaning and significance of biblical literature.  Many subcategories of literary criticism also exist.  An examination of the use of language and literary style shows how these human authors established their meanings.  The formal scientific study of human language involves the application of some aspects of modern linguistics.  Structuralism is an attempt to discover underlying deep patterns of universal meaning and significance.

Scriptural Study

There are many ways to study the Bible, since it is a great book of literature, one of the most studied books of all time.  There are Bible study groups all over the world, and throughout the USA.  There are many courses on the study of the Bible, from grade school to post graduate classes.  Thus, there are a number of technical ways to study the biblical texts.  The goal of all critical studies is to discover the meaning and significance of these sacred canonical texts.

 

 

The good learners (Dan 1:17-1:17)

“To these four young men,

God gave them

Knowledge.

He gave them

Skill

In every aspect

Of literature,

As well as wisdom.

Daniel also

Had insight

Into all visions

As well as all dreams.”

These four young men were good learners. God, not Yahweh, gave them the skills needed for every aspect of literature, as well as wisdom. In addition, Daniel also had an insight into all kinds of visions and dreams.

The Babylonian king requests young Israelite students (Dan 1:3-1:4)

“Then the king commanded

His palace master,

Ashpenaz,

To bring

Some of the Israelites

Of the royal family

Or Of the nobility.

These should be

Young men

Without physical defect,

As well as handsome.

These should be

Versed in every branch

Of wisdom,

Endowed

With knowledge,

As well as insight.

These young men

Should be competent

To serve

In the king’s palace.

They were to be taught

The literature,

As well as the language,

Of the Chaldeans.”

King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to have some well-bred Israelites students. He had his palace chief, Ashpenaz, find these young men if they met certain conditions. These young men would have to be in good physical shape, as well as good looking. They had to be from the Israelite royal family or the Israelite nobility. Thus, these young men would not be run of the mill students. On top of that, they had to show some wisdom, knowledge, and insight. They were not going to waste their time on people who did not want to learn. Thus, they would be competent to serve in the king’s palace like a page. They also had to learn the Chaldean or Babylonian culture with its literature and language. This seemed like a good use of smart young men.