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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Jerusalem officials come to Jesus (Lk 20:1-20:1)

“One day,

Jesus was teaching

The people

In the Temple.

He was preaching

The good news.

The chief priests

And the Scribes

Came

With the elders.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν διδάσκοντος αὐτοῦ τὸν λαὸν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ καὶ εὐαγγελιζομένου ἐπέστησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς σὺν τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις,

 

Luke, along with the other synoptics has this confrontation between Jesus and the chief priests and the Scribes about the authority of Jesus.  Luke said that one day it happened (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν μιᾷ τῶν ἡμερῶν), that Jesus was teaching the people (διδάσκοντος αὐτοῦ τὸν λαὸν) in the Temple (ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ).  He was preaching the good news or evangelizing (καὶ εὐαγγελιζομένου).  However, the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς), the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς), with the elders or presbyters (σὺν τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις) came to him (ἐπέστησαν).  This questioning of the authority of Jesus can be found in Matthew, chapter 21:23, and Mark, chapter 11:27, almost word for word.  Mark said that when Jesus and his disciples again came to Jerusalem (Καὶ ἔρχονται πάλιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα), Jesus was walking in the Temple (καὶ ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ περιπατοῦντος αὐτοῦ), not teaching as in Luke and Matthew.  The chief priests or the high priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) and the Scribes (καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς) with the presbyters or the elders (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι) approached Jesus (ἔρχονται πρὸς αὐτὸν).  Matthew said that when Jesus entered the Temple (Καὶ ἐλθόντος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν), the chief priests (οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς) or the high priest with the presbyters or elders of the people (καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ) approached him as he was teaching (προσῆλθον αὐτῷ διδάσκοντι).  Matthew, however, did not mention the Scribes, but the other 2 gospel stories did.  Have you ever approached someone as they were teaching?

Prediction about the death and resurrection (Lk 9:22-9:22)

“Jesus said.

‘The Son of Man

Must undergo

Great suffering.

He will be rejected

By the elders,

By the chief priests,

And by the Scribes.

He will be killed.

On the third day,

He will be raised up.’”

 

εἰπὼν ὅτι Δεῖ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πολλὰ παθεῖν καὶ ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καὶ ἀρχιερέων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ ἐγερθῆνα

 

Luke indicated that Jesus said to his disciples (εἰπὼν) that the Son of Man had to undergo great suffering (ὅτι Δεῖ τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου πολλὰ παθεῖν).  He would be rejected (καὶ ἀποδοκιμασθῆναι) by the elders or presbyters (ἀπὸ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων), the chief priests (καὶ ἀρχιερέων), and by the Scribes (καὶ γραμματέων).  He would be killed (καὶ ἀποκτανθῆναι), but on the third day (καὶ τῇ τρίτῃ ἡμέρᾳ), he would be raised up (ἐγερθῆνα).  Jesus began to talk about his future suffering that can be found in all 3 synoptic gospels, Matthew, chapter 16:21-23, Mark, chapter 8:31-33, and here.  All this took place right after Peter’s strong profession of faith.  Notice that the synoptics gospel writers did not blame the Pharisees or the Sadducees for the suffering and death of Jesus.  There also was no mention of the Roman authorities.  Mark said that Jesus began to teach them that it was necessary that the Son of Man undergo many great sufferings.  Jesus used the term “Son of Man” in Luke and Mark to refer to himself not “Jesus Christ,” as in Matthew.  He was going to be rejected by the elders or presbyters, the chief priests, and the Scribes.  Eventually, he would be killed.  There was no mention of Jesus going to Jerusalem here.  After 3 days, he would rise again.  Matthew disliked Jerusalem with everything and everybody attached to it.  For the first time he used the full name of Jesus Christ (Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς).  From that time on, after Jesus had put Peter in charge, Jesus Christ began to show or let his disciples know that he had to go to Jerusalem.  There he would undergo great suffering from the Israelite Jerusalem elders or presbyters, the chief priests, and the Scribes.  Eventually, he would be killed, but he would be raised up on the 3rd day.  Clearly, this was a prediction about the future suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  Whom do you blame for the death of Jesus Christ?

He sent the Jewish elders (Lk 7:3-7:3)

“When he heard

About Jesus,

The centurion sent

Some Jewish elders

To him.

They asked Jesus

To come

And heal

His slave.”

 

ἀκούσας δὲ περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτὸν πρεσβυτέρους τῶν Ἰουδαίων, ἐρωτῶν αὐτὸν ὅπως ἐλθὼν διασώσῃ τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ.

Luke uniquely said that when this centurion heard about Jesus (ἀκούσας δὲ περὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ), he sent some Jewish elders or presbyters to him (ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτὸν πρεσβυτέρους τῶν Ἰουδαίων).  They asked or begged Jesus (ἐρωτῶν αὐτὸν) to come and heal or save his slave (ὅπως ἐλθὼν διασώσῃ τὸν δοῦλον αὐτοῦ).  In Matthew, chapter 8:6, this Roman centurion came to Jesus himself and called him “Lord,” an honorific title, instead of sending any Jewish elders as here.  Have you ever sent someone to ask a favor for you?

Insist on Barabbas (Mk 15:11-15:11)

“But the chief priests

Stirred up the crowd

To have him

Release Barabbas

For them instead.”

 

οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς ἀνέσεισαν τὸν ὄχλον ἵνα μᾶλλον τὸν Βαραββᾶν ἀπολύσῃ αὐτοῖς.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 27:20, but nothing like this in Luke.  Mark said that the chief priests alone (οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς), not the elders or presbyters as in Matthew, stirred up or excited the crowd (ἀνέσεισαν τὸν ὄχλον) to have Pilate release Barabbas for them instead of Jesus (μᾶλλον τὸν Βαραββᾶν ἀπολύσῃ αὐτοῖς).  The chief priests were the main villains here in Mark.  Do you always choose Jesus?

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.

False testimony (Mk 14:56-14:57)

“Many gave

False testimony

Against Jesus.

Their testimony

Did not agree.

Some stood up.

They gave

False testimony

Against Jesus.”

 

πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐψευδομαρτύρουν κατ’ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἴσαι αἱ μαρτυρίαι οὐκ ἦσαν.

καί τινες ἀναστάντες ἐψευδομαρτύρουν κατ’ αὐτοῦ λέγοντες

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 14:60.  However, this emphasis on witnesses and testimony was not in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Mark said that many people gave false testimony against Jesus (πολλοὶ γὰρ ἐψευδομαρτύρουν κατ’ αὐτοῦ).  Their testimonies did not agree (καὶ ἴσαι αἱ μαρτυρίαι οὐκ ἦσαν).  Some people stood up (καί τινες ἀναστάντες) and gave these false testimonies against Jesus (ἐψευδομαρτύρουν κατ’ αὐτοῦ λέγοντες).  There is almost a redundancy in these remarks.  According to Jewish law in Deuteronomy, chapters 17:6 and 19:15, it took 2 witnesses to convict anyone.  This gathering sounds more like a trial than an informal meeting.  Not only were they seeking pseudo or false witnesses, the whole council meeting may have been illegal, since they were not allowed to meet during the festivals, including Passover.  This council included the elders or presbyters and the Scribes of Jerusalem, along with the priests and the high priests.  However, the dreaded Pharisees and Sadducees were not part of this council meeting.