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 prophecy of Jeremiah (Mt 27:9-27:10)

“Then was fulfilled

What had been spoken

Through the prophet Jeremiah.

‘They took

The thirty pieces of silver,

The price of the one

On whom

A price had been set,

On whom

Some of the people of Israel

Had set a price.

They gave it

For the potter’s field,

As the Lord

Commanded me.”

 

τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος Καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια, τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ

καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως, καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι Κύριος.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who said that this happened to fulfill (τότε ἐπληρώθη) what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah (τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος).  Unfortunately, this is from the prophet Zechariah, chapter 11:12-13, not Jeremiah.  He had said that they took 30 pieces of silver (Καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια).  This was the specific set price (τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου) that the people or sons of Israel had established (ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ).  They gave it for a potter’s field (καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως) because the Lord had commanded it (καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι Κύριος).  In the original text from Zechariah, he was told to throw 30 shekels of silver into the Temple treasury.  Like all good prophets, Zechariah did what Yahweh asked him to do.  He threw the 30 silver shekels into the treasury in the house of Yahweh.  There was no mention of a potter’s field.  That might be allusion to Jeremiah who visited a potter’s house in chapter 18:1-6.  However, here that second verse is an addition by Matthew, not in the original Old Testament verse of Zechariah.

Judas repents (Mt 27:3-27:4)

“When Judas,

His betrayer,

Saw that Jesus

Was condemned,

He repented.

He brought back

The thirty pieces

Of silver

To the chief priests

And the elders.

Judas said.

‘I have sinned

By betraying

Innocent blood.’

They said.

‘What is that to us?

See to it yourself!’”

 

Τότε ἰδὼν Ἰούδας ὁ παραδοὺς αὐτὸν ὅτι κατεκρίθη, μεταμεληθεὶς ἔστρεψεν τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ πρεσβυτέροις

λέγων Ἥμαρτον παραδοὺς αἷμα ἀθῷον. οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς; σὺ ὄψῃ.

 

This is unique to Matthew, who went back to the story about Judas Iscariot.  When Judas, Jesus’ betrayer (Τότε ἰδὼν Ἰούδας ὁ παραδοὺς αὐτὸν), saw that Jesus had been condemned (ὅτι κατεκρίθη) by this semi-official gathering of the Jewish religious leaders, he regretted or repented (μεταμεληθεὶς).  He brought back or returned the 30 pieces of silver (ἔστρεψεν τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια) to these Jerusalem chief priests and elders (τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ πρεσβυτέροις).  Judas said to them that he had sinned (λέγων Ἥμαρτον) by betraying an innocent person or innocent blood (παραδοὺς αἷμα ἀθῷον).  However, these chief priests and elders said that it had nothing to do with them (οἱ δὲ εἶπαν Τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς).  It was up to him to do whatever he wanted to do (σὺ ὄψῃ).  This was a fair transaction.  They got Jesus and Judas got the money.  What else was there to do?

Thirty pieces of silver (Mt 26:15-26:16)

“Judas said.

‘What will you give me

If I betray

Jesus to you?’

The chief priests

Paid him

Thirty pieces of silver.

From that moment on,

He began to look

For an opportunity

To betray him.”

 

εἶπεν Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι, κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν; οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια.

καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ.

 

This is similar to Mark, chapter 14:11, and Luke, chapter 22:5-6, but there is no mention of the exact amount of money there.  Matthew said that Judas wanted to know what these chief priests were willing to give him (εἶπεν Τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι) if he betrayed or handed over Jesus to them (κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν).  Matthew said that these chief priests paid him 30 pieces of silver (οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια).  This Roman silver coin was worth about 4 denarii each, so that these silver pieces were worth about 120 denarii or about $180.00 US, not an unbelievable number, but still a substantial amount since one denarius was equivalent to a day’s wages.  From that moment on (καὶ ἀπὸ τότε), Judas began to look for an opportunity to betray Jesus (ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ).