Witnesses (Lk 24:48-24:48)

“You are witnesses

Of these things.”

ὑμεῖς μάρτυρες τούτων.

Only Luke uniquely indicated that Jesus said that they were to be witnesses of these things (ὑμεῖς μάρτυρες τούτων).  They were to testify and lay down their lives as a witness or martyr for the teachings of Jesus Christ.  This was a big demand with a lot of responsibility.  Are you willing to be a witness for Jesus?

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Destroy the Temple in three days (Mk 14:58-14:58)

“They said.

‘We heard him say.

‘I will destroy

This Temple

That is made

With human hands.

Then in three days,

I will build another,

Not made

With human hands.’”

 

ὅτι Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν αὐτοῦ λέγοντος ὅτι Ἐγὼ καταλύσω τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον τὸν χειροποίητον καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον ἀχειροποίητον οἰκοδομήσω.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 26:60-61, who said that at last 2 witnesses came forward to speak out.  There was nothing like this in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Mark indicated that someone said that they had heard this man saying (ὅτι Ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν αὐτοῦ λέγοντος) that he was going to destroy this Temple made by human hands (ὅτι Ἐγὼ καταλύσω τὸν ναὸν τοῦτον τὸν χειροποίητον).  Matthew had called it the Temple of God (τὸν ναὸν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  Then Jesus said that he would build another Temple in three days (καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν ἄλλον οἰκοδομήσω) without human hands (ἀχειροποίητον).  There was no indication of when these witnesses said that Jesus had uttered these words.

 

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.

They were looking for testimony (Mk 14:55-14:55)

“Now the chief priests

And the whole council

Were looking

For testimony

Against Jesus

To put him

To death.

However,

They found none.”

 

Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον ἐζήτουν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ μαρτυρίαν εἰς τὸ θανατῶσαι αὐτόν, καὶ οὐχ ηὕρισκον·

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 26:59-60.  However, this looking for testimony was not in Luke, chapter 22, and John, chapter 18.  Mark said that the chief priests (Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς) with the whole council (καὶ ὅλον τὸ συνέδριον) sought false testimony against Jesus (ἐζήτουν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  They did this, so that they might put him to death (εἰς τὸ θανατῶσαι αὐτόν).  However, they could not find any witnesses (καὶ οὐχ ηὕρισκον).

 

Blasphemy (Mt 26:65-26:65)

“Then the high priest

Tore his clothes.

He said.

‘He has blasphemed!

Why do we still

Need witnesses?

You have now heard

His blasphemy.’”

 

τότε ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ λέγων Ἐβλασφήμησεν· τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων; ἴδε νῦν ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν·

 

This is almost word for word in Mark, chapter 14:63.  In Luke, chapter 22:71, there is something similar, but there is nothing like this in John, chapter 18.  Matthew said that the high priest tore his clothes
(τότε ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ), a sign of mourning.  Caiaphas said that Jesus had blasphemed (λέγων Ἐβλασφήμησεν) by calling himself the Messiah Christ.  The high priest asked why did they still need any witnesses (τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων)?  The had all heard his blasphemy (ἴδε νῦν ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν).  Technically, it might not have been a blasphemy, since someone had to utter the divine name or profane sacred things, but it was close enough.

Let your brother become a gentile (Mt 18:16-18:17)

“But if you are not listened to,

Take one

Or two others

Along with you.

Thus,

Every word may be confirmed

By the evidence

Of two

Or three witnesses.

If he refuses to listen

To them,

Tell it to the church.

If he refuses

To listen even to the church,

Let him be to you

As a gentile

And a tax collector.”

 

ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀκούσῃ, παράλαβε μετὰ σοῦ ἔτι ἕνα ἢ δύο, ἵνα ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων ἢ τριῶν σταθῇ πᾶν ῥῆμα·

ἐὰν δὲ παρακούσῃ αὐτῶν, εἰπὸν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ· ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας παρακούσῃ, ἔστω σοι ὥσπερ ὁ ἐθνικὸς καὶ ὁ τελώνης.

 

This saying about the brother who would not listen to reprimands is unique to Matthew.  This exchange seems to imply a solid structure with specific rules and regulations, not a band of itinerant healing preachers.  If you were not successful with reprimanding your brother, because he would not listen to you (ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἀκούσῃ), you were to take one or two others with you (παράλαβε μετὰ σοῦ ἔτι ἕνα ἢ δύο).  This is almost like a Jewish religious court case based on Deuteronomy, chapter 19:15, where a single witness would not be enough to convict a person of any crime or wrong-doing.  They needed the evidence of two or three witnesses, since one person was not sufficient enough to convict anyone of any crime.  There had to be at least 2 or 3 witnesses to sustain a charge.  Thus, the testimony of 2 or 3 witnesses might strengthen or confirm every word (ἵνα ἐπὶ στόματος δύο μαρτύρων ἢ τριῶν σταθῇ πᾶν ῥῆμα).  If your brother still refused to listen to them (ἐὰν δὲ παρακούσῃ αὐτῶν), then you should bring him to the church or the congregation (εἰπὸν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ).  Along with chapter 16:18, where Peter was the rock of the new church, this indicates a church structure at the time that Matthew was writing this gospel.  If your brother still refused to listen to the church congregation (ἐὰν δὲ καὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας παρακούσῃ), he should become like a gentile or a tax collector (ἔστω σοι ὥσπερ ὁ ἐθνικὸς καὶ ὁ τελώνης), an outcast from the community.  This indicates that the disciples of Jesus still thought like Jewish people with no room for gentiles and foreign Roman tax collectors.

The attack of the Chaldeans (Jer 32:24-32:25)

“See!

The siege ramps

Have been cast up

Against the city

To take it.

The city is faced

With sword,

With famine,

With pestilence.

The city has been

Given into the hands

Of the Chaldeans

Who are fighting against it.

What you spoke

Has happened.

As you yourself can see.

Yet you!

O Lord God!

You have said to me.

‘Buy the field

For money!

Get witnesses!’

Even though the city has been

Given into the hands

Of the Chaldeans.’”

The prayer of Jeremiah continued as he came to the present day situation of the attack by the Chaldeans, a Semitic people from the southeastern section of Babylon on the Euphrates River. The siege ramps were already in place against Jerusalem. The Chaldeans had come to take this city by sword, famine, or pestilence. What Yahweh had predicted, has happened. The Chaldeans have already taken over this city, as anyone can see with their own eyes. Yahweh had told Jeremiah to buy a field with money and witnesses, even though the city was in the hands of the Chaldeans. This purchase was a sign of hope for the future.