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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The peaceful reign of Yahweh (Mic 4:3-4:3)

“He shall judge

Between many people.

He shall arbitrate

Between strong nations far away.

They shall beat their swords

Into plowshares.

They shall turn their spears

Into pruning hooks.

Nation shall not lift up

Its sword

Against another nation.

Neither shall they learn

War anymore.”

This was a vision of a time of perpetual peace that is often cited by pacifists, exactly the same as an oracle in Isaiah, chapter 2, word for word.  Yahweh would arbitrate and judge all nations.  Then there is the famous saying that they would beat their swords into plows.  They would turn their spears into pruning hooks.  No one would lift a sword against anyone else.  People would forget how to wage war since no one would learn how to do it.  This is the utopian theocratic peace that has Jerusalem rule the world through Yahweh.  It has never happened and probably will not.

Yahweh’s counter attack against Gog (Ezek 38:21-38:23)

“Says Yahweh God!

‘I will summon

The sword

Against Gog.

In all my mountains,

The swords of all

Will be

Against their comrades.

I will enter my judgment

On him

With pestilence,

With bloodshed.

I will pour down

Torrential rains,

Hailstones,

Fire,

Sulfur,

Upon him,

With his troops,

With the many people

That are with him.

Thus,

I will show

My greatness,

My holiness.

I will make myself known

In the eyes

Of many nations.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel said that he was going to summon swords against Gog in the mountains, as fellow soldiers would be against each other with their swords. Yahweh was going to render his judgment, so that there would be pestilence and bloodshed. He was going to hit them with all kinds of natural disasters. Yahweh was going to pour down on Gog, his troops, and anyone with him, torrential rains, hailstones, fire, and sulfur or the famous brimstones. Thus, he would show his greatness and holiness. When all the various nations and countries would see this, then they would know that Yahweh was their God.

The response of Yahweh (Ezek 33:25-33:26)

“Therefore,

Say to them!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You eat flesh

With the blood!

You lift up

Your eyes

To your idols!

You shed blood!

Shall you then

Possess the land?

You depend

On your swords.

You commit

Abominations.

Each of you

Defiles

His neighbor’s wife.

Shall you then

Possess the land?’”

Yahweh, their God, as usual, did not take kindly to anyone questioning him. He told Ezekiel to tell the Israelites that they had not behaved well. They had been eating flesh or meat with the blood still in it. They had lifted up their eyes to their own idols. They had shed blood by killing others. How would they then deserve to possess the promised land of Abraham? They had depended on their swords and committed many abominations. Many of them had defiled their neighbor’s wife. How then could they expect to possess the land of Abraham?

Many people in the pit (Ezek 32:27-32:28)

“They do not lie

With the fallen warriors

Of long ago,

Who went down

To Sheol

With their weapons

Of war.

Their swords

Were laid

Under their heads.

Their shields

Are upon their bones.

The terror

Of the warriors

Was in the land

Of the living.

So,

You shall be broken.

You shall lie

Among the uncircumcised.

You shall lie

With those

Who were killed

By the sword.”

Although the fallen warriors of long ago also went down to Sheol, they, however, brought their weapons of war with them. Their swords were laid under their heads. Their shields were placed on their bones. Despite this honor in the shadowy underworld afterlife of Sheol, these good warriors had also brought terror in the land of the living. As for the Egyptians and their allies, they would be broken. They would lie in the bad section with the uncircumcised and those who were killed by the sword.

The death of the prince of Tyre (Ezek 28:6-28:8)

“Therefore,

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘You compare

Your mind

With the mind

Of a god.

Therefore,

I will bring strangers

Against you.

I will bring

The most terrible

Of the nations.

They shall draw

Their swords

Against the beauty

Of your wisdom.

They will defile

Your splendor.

They shall thrust you

Down to the pit.

You shall die

A violent death

In the heart

Of the seas.’”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, was upset because the prince of Tyre had compared his mind to that of a god. Thus Yahweh was going to bring strangers, the most terrible of all the nations, against him. They would draw their swords against his beautiful wisdom. They would defile his splendor. They would throw him into the pit with a violent death, right in the middle of the high seas. He would sink and drown.

The final punishment (Ezek 21:29-21:32)

“They offer false visions

For you.

They divine lies

For you.

They place you

Over the necks

Of the vile wicked ones.

Their day has come.

The time of final punishment

Has come.

Return it to its sheath!

In the place

Where you were created,

In the land of your origin,

I will judge you.

I will pour out

My indignation

Upon you,

With the fire

Of my wrath.

I will blow

Upon you.

I will deliver you

Into brutish hands,

Those skilful to destroy.

You shall be fuel

For the fire.

Your blood

Shall enter the earth.

You shall be remembered

No more.

I,

Yahweh,

Have spoken.”

These unfaithful ones offer false visions and lies. The vile wicked ones will be over their necks. The day of final punishment has come. They have returned their swords to their sheaths. Yahweh was going to judge them in the place where they were created, the land of their origins. Yahweh was going to pour out his indignation upon them with the fire of his wrath. He was going to blow upon them. He was going to deliver them into skilful brutish hands that would destroy them, so that they would become fuel for the fire. Their blood would fall on the earth. No one would remember them. Yahweh has spoken clearly.