Are you the King of the Jews? (Mk 15:2-15:2)

“Pilate asked Jesus.

‘Are you

The King of the Jews?’

Jesus answered him.

‘You say so.’”

 

καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ Πειλᾶτος Σὺ εἶ ὁ Βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ λέγει Σὺ λέγεις. 

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:11.  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.  Mark said that Pilate asked Jesus (καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ Πειλᾶτος).  He wanted to know 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 ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτῷ λέγει) that if he Pilate had said so, then it must be so (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?

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Jesus came to John to be baptized (Mk 1:9-1:9)

“In those days,

Jesus came

From Nazareth

Of Galilee.

He was baptized

By John

In the Jordan River.”

 

Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάνου.

 

One concrete event, John the Baptist baptizing Jesus at the Jordan River, stands at the beginning of the public life of Jesus in all four of the canonical gospel accounts of Mark, chapter 1:9, Matthew, chapter 3:13, Luke, chapter 3:21, and John, chapter 1:32-34.  Even many of the historical Jesus skeptics consider the fact that John the Baptist baptized Jesus to be a real historical episode.  Mark said that in those days it came to pass (Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις) that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee (ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας).  Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River (καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάνου).  In this first appearance of Jesus, the first thing he did was submit to the baptism of John the Baptist.  Thus, he might have been a disciple of John.  Only Matthew and Mark indicate where he came from, although Matthew only mentioned Galilee and not Nazareth.  Jesus came with a purpose, to be baptized by John in the Jordan River.  John did not seek out Jesus.  Jesus came to him.  In Matthew, chapter 3:14-15, John was reluctant to baptize Jesus, but finally did.  There was no such discussion in any of the other gospel stories.

They mock Jesus (Mt 26:66-26:68)

“‘What is your verdict?’

They answered.

‘He deserves death.’

Then they spat

In his face.

They struck him.

Some slapped him.

They said.

‘Prophesy to us!

You Christ!

You Messiah!

Who is it

That struck you?’”

 

τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν Ἔνοχος θανάτου ἐστίν.

Τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκολάφισαν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ ἐράπισαν

λέγοντες Προφήτευσον ἡμῖν, Χριστέ, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε;

 

This is something similar in Mark, chapter 14:64-65.  There is nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that the high priest turned to the rest of the council there.  What is your verdict?  What do you think (τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ)?  The members of the council that included priests, presbyters, elders, and scribes answered (οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν) that Jesus was deserving of death (Ἔνοχος θανάτου ἐστίν.).  Technically, they could not condemn Jesus to death since only the Roman authorities could impose a death penalty.  However, they were not reluctant to abuse him with spitting, punching, slapping, and taunting.  Thus, they spat at him in his face (Τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ).  They struck him with a fist (καὶ ἐκολάφισαν αὐτόν), while others slapped him with an open hand (οἱ δὲ ἐράπισαν).  They said that he, the Christ Messiah (Χριστέ), should prophesize to them (λέγοντες Προφήτευσον ἡμῖν) who was it that struck him (τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε).  Thus, this secret Jewish leaders’ night trial came to an inglorious end.

 

John does not want to baptize Jesus (Mt 3:14-3:14)

“John

Would have prevented Jesus.

Saying.

‘I need to be baptized

By you.

Do you come to me?’”

 

ὁ δὲ διεκώλυεν αὐτὸν λέγων Ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι, καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με;

 

However, John the Baptist was reluctant to baptize Jesus.  Here in Matthew, John immediately recognized Jesus.  He then questioned his own worthiness to baptize Jesus.  He thought that it should be the other way around since he recognized the superiority of Jesus.  In fact, John tried to prevent Jesus from getting baptized by him (ὁ δὲ διεκώλυεν αὐτὸν).  John said that he needed to be baptized by Jesus (λέγων Ἐγὼ χρείαν ἔχω ὑπὸ σοῦ βαπτισθῆναι).  He wanted to know why Jesus was coming to him (καὶ σὺ ἔρχῃ πρός με).  This is a question that many Christian followers ask.  Why did Jesus have to be baptized since he had no sins?  Was John not correct?  Jesus should have baptized John, not the other way around.

The sailors pray to Yahweh (Jon 1:13-1:14)

“Nevertheless,

The sailors

Rowed hard

To bring the ship

Back to land,

But they could not.

The sea grew more

And more stormy

Against them.

Then they cried out

To Yahweh.

‘O Yahweh!

Please!

Do not let us perish

On account

Of this man’s life!

Do not make us guilty

Of innocent blood!

O Yahweh!

You have done

As it pleased you.’”

The sailors tried to row their ship to land, but they were not successful, since the sea storm grew worse.  Then, they cried out in a prayer to Yahweh.  They did not want to perish because of one man.  Neither did they want to become guilty by spilling innocent blood.  They finally ended their prayer to Yahweh with “your will be done.”  They seem to have accepted the God of Jonah, Yahweh, as their last resort.  Thus, the reluctant Jonah has converted his fellow shipmates to worship Yahweh, the God of Israel.

Dislike of the Promised Land (Ps 106:24-106:27)

“Then they despised the pleasant land.

They had no faith in his promise.

They grumbled in their tents.

They did not obey the voice of Yahweh.

Therefore he raised his hand.

He swore to them.

He would make them fall in the wilderness.

He would disperse their descendants among the nations.

He would scatter them over the lands.”

Based on Numbers, chapter 14, the Israelites were reluctant to enter the Promised Land. In fact, some wanted to return to Egypt. They had no faith in the promise of Yahweh. They grumbled. They said that they would not obey the voice of Yahweh. This made Yahweh angry. Once again, Moses intervened. This time Yahweh said that the grumblers would not see the Promised Land. Instead they would die in the wilderness before they got there. On top of that, their descendents would be scattered among many nations and various lands. This seems to be a justification for the later Exile.