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.

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They all fell asleep (Mt 25:5-25:5)

“As the bridegroom

Was delayed,

All of them

Became drowsy.

They slept.”

 

χρονίζοντος δὲ τοῦ νυμφίου ἐνύσταξαν πᾶσαι καὶ ἐκάθευδον

 

This parable story is unique to Matthew.  Jesus said that the bridegroom was delayed (χρονίζοντος δὲ τοῦ νυμφίου) in coming to pick up the bride.  Thus, both the foolish and the wise bridesmaids became drowsy (ἐνύσταξαν πᾶσαι) and fell asleep (καὶ ἐκάθευδον).  All of these bridesmaids were tired of waiting for the bridegroom to come, so that they all fell asleep.

The Assyrian conquerors (Ezek 23:8-23:10)

“She did not give up
Her prostitution activities.
She had practiced them
Since her days
In Egypt.
In her youth,
Men had lain
With her.
They had fondled
Her virgin bosom.
They had poured out
Their lust
Upon her.
Therefore I delivered her
Into the hands
Of her lovers,
Into the hands
Of the Assyrians.
She had lusted
After them.
These Assyrians
Uncovered her nakedness.
They seized her sons.
They seized her daughters.
They killed her
With the sword.
Judgment was executed
Upon her.
She became a byword
Among women.”
Yahweh, via Ezekiel, told the story of Samaria, Oholah. She had practiced prostitution since her youth, when she had played the whore with Egypt. She slept and had sex with the Egyptians. She let them fondle her virgin breasts, so that they poured out their lust on her. Thus Yahweh decided to deliver Oholah into the hand of her Assyrian lovers, since she had lusted after them. Thus Assyria uncovered her nakedness. Then they seized her sons and daughters. Finally, they killed her with the sword, as judgment was executed upon her. She became a byword among women. This is obviously an allusion to the end of the northern kingdom of Israel at Samaria in 724, when the Assyrian King Shalmaneser V conquered and took over northern Israel. Thus the kingdom of Israel at Samaria came to an end.

Judith goes out to pray (Jdt 12:5-12:9)

“Then the servants of General Holofernes brought her into the tent. She slept until midnight. Toward the morning watch she got up. She sent this message to General Holofernes.

‘Let my lord now give orders to allow your servant

To go out and pray.’

So General Holofernes commanded his guards not to hinder her. She remained in the camp three days. She went out each night to the valley of Bethulia. She bathed at the spring in the camp. After bathing, she prayed the Lord God of Israel to direct her way for the triumph of his people. Then she returned purified. She stayed in the tent until she ate her food toward evening.”

Judith seems to have a tent near the general or in part of the general’s tent. She slept until midnight. However, at the morning watch she sent a message to the general. She wanted her and her servant to go out to pray. Then General Holofernes ordered his guards to let her go. She stayed in the army camp 3 days. Each night she would go out to the valley of Bethulia and bathe in the guarded springs. Then she would pray to the God of Israel for direction. Once purified or cleansed, she would return to the tent and eat her food at night. This seems like a simple routine so that she would not be suspected of anything.

The blinding of Tobit (Tob 2:9-2:10)

“That same night I washed myself. I went into my courtyard. I slept by the wall of the courtyard. My face was uncovered because of the heat. I did not know that there were sparrows on the wall. Their fresh droppings fell into my eyes. The droppings produced white films. I went to physicians to be healed. However, the more they treated me with ointments the more my vision was obscured by the white films, until I became completely blind. All my kindred were sorry for me. Ahikar took care of me for two years before he went to Elymais.”

Washing was important for ritual purity after touching dead bodies. After Tobit washed himself, he lay out in the courtyard because it was hot. He slept by the wall of the courtyard. Somehow he left his eyes open so that sparrow droppings fell into his eyes, the way that sparrow droppings fall on modern parked cars. He had some kind of white film on his eyes that led to blindness. Although he went to physicians, they only made the situation worse. This is the first biblical mention of an attempt at a cure that does not have a religious base. Everyone felt sorry for him. However, it was nephew, the well connected Ahikar who took care of him. There is no mention of his wife or son helping him. After 2 years, Ahikar had an assignment to go to Elymais, a rich city in Persia, south of Media and north of Susiana.