Who Am I? Part 7

In another essay I presented his Jewish and Roman trials as a kind of ultimate tempting of the flesh of Adam and an ultimate proving of the Holy Spirit which descendedin bodily form like a dove[1] upon Jesus the Christ or Messiah.  I characterized those trials as a time “when sinners, Jerusalem, the whole world, perhaps even the created cosmos were in extreme danger of falling into the hands of an angry God.”  I want to continue with his crucifixion.

Nail me to a cross and I’m stuck there but Jesus said (John 10:17, 18 NET):

This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again.  No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will.[2]  I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again.  This commandment I received from my Father.

It says to me that at any moment throughout his ordeal of ultimate humiliation Jesus, yehôvâh in the flesh of Adam,[3] could have decided that enough was enough, sat down at the right hand of his Father in heaven and been none the worse for wear—personally.

As they led him away, Luke recorded in his Gospel narrative, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country.  They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.[4]  Matthew and Mark recorded the same incident.  I might have assumed that He was too holy to carry his own cross except that John recalled Jesus carrying his own cross (John 19:16, 17 NET).  Apparently the One who said, If anyone wants to become my follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me,[5] was too weak to carry his all the way to his crucifixion.

Two other (ἕτεροι, a form of ἕτερος) criminals (κακοῦργοι, a form of κακοῦργος) were also led away to be executed with him.[6]  Isaiah had prophesied, he was numbered with the transgressors,[7] though he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.[8]  But with the words ἕτεροι κακοῦργοι δύο Luke captured (See: ἕτεροι; Luke 11:15, 16) the social reality of Jesus as one of three criminals condemned to death by the duly authorized governor of Judea.  His punishment was neither cruel nor unusual under the prevailing standards of their socially constructed reality.

A great number of the people followed him (Luke 23:27-31 NET):

among them women who were mourning and wailing for him.  But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For this is certain: The days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore children, and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’  For if such things are done when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”) and offered Jesus wine mixed with gall to drink.  But after tasting it, he would not drink it.[9]  There they crucified him along with two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle.[10]  But Jesus said, “Father, forgive (ἄφες, a form of ἀφίημι) them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”[11]

Jesus, naked[12] on the cross, looked down as the soldiers who crucified Him took his clothes and made four shares, one for each soldier, and the tunic remained. (Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom as a single piece.)  So the soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but throw dice to see who will get it.”  This took place to fulfill the scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they threw dice.”  So the soldiers did these things.[13]  David (1 Samuel 16:1 – 1 Kings 2:11) had prophesied, they look and stare upon me.  They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.[14]

Then they sat down and kept guard over him there.[15]  It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.[16]  That would be the second morning since the night of his arrest with little or no sleep for Jesus.  The people also stood there watching, but the rulers ridiculed him, saying, “He saved others.  Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”[17]

Pilate also had a notice written and fastened to the cross, which read: “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.”[18]  Thus many of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem read this notice, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the notice was written in Aramaic (Ἑβραϊστί; literally, in Hebrew; NET note 67), Latin, and Greek.  Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The king of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am king of the Jews.’”  Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”[19]

Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha!  You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross!”  In the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law – were mocking him among themselves: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!  Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, that we may see and believe!”[20]  He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!”  The robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.[21]  One of the criminals who was hanging there railed at him, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”[22]

This is the point in the story where I wished Jesus would come down from the cross as more than twelve legions of angels came screaming out of the sky to the tune of Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries to kill everyone who mocked Him.  Actually it is the ideal of the Sicarii—walking up to an “enemy” (anyone who disagrees with my “truth”) plunging a long knife into him several times and melting away again into the crowd—that appeals to the sin in my flesh more than the straight-up warfare of the Zealots.  Cowardice prevented me from ever actualizing the murderous intentions of my heart.  And until the moment that sentence formed in my mind I hadn’t thanked God for that fear.  All this may help explain why years of imitating the Pharisees felt like a step toward godliness to me.

But the other [criminal] rebuked him [the former criminal], saying, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we rightly so, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.”  And Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise”[23] as a door of hope opened (Hosea 2:14-17 Tanakh).

Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.  And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.  And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD (yehôvâh, יהוה), that thou shalt call me Ishi (ʼı̂ysh, אישי); and shalt call me no more Baali (baʽălı̂y, בעלי).  For I will take away the names of Baalim (baʽal, הבעלים) out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.

As confessions go, And we rightly so, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did is nothing compared to Achan’s confession (Joshua 7:19-25 Tanakh)

And Joshua said unto Achan, My son, give, I pray thee, glory to the LORD God of Israel, and make confession unto him; and tell me now what thou hast done; hide it not from me.

And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it.

So Joshua sent messengers, and they ran unto the tent; and, behold, it was hid in his tent, and the silver under it.

And they took them out of the midst of the tent, and brought them unto Joshua, and unto all the children of Israel, and laid them out before the LORD.

And Joshua, and all Israel with him, took Achan the son of Zerah, and the silver, and the garment, and the wedge of gold, and his sons, and his daughters, and his oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had: and they brought them unto the valley of Achor.

And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day.  And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.

I wonder now whether Achan and his sons and his daughters, after suffering the punishment of criminals, face an implacable Judge or a merciful Savior, not because of the merits of Achan’s confession but because of the merits of that Savior: But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.[24]

Now standing beside Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, look, here is your son!”  He then said to his disciple, “Look, here is your mother!”  From that very time the disciple took her into his own home.[25]

Now from noon until three, darkness came over all the land.  At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?”[26] that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”[27]  After six hours on the cross Jesus lamented his loneliness even as He affirmed his confidence in the Scripture, written for his comfort (Psalm 22:6-18) for the very moment He prayed it (Psalm 22:1, 23, 24 Tanakh):

My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?Ye that fear the LORD, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel.  For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard.

When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”  Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink.  But the rest said, “Leave him alone!  Let’s see if Elijah will come to save him.”[28]  After this Jesus, realizing that by this time everything was completed, said (in order to fulfill the scripture [Psalm 22:15]), “I am thirsty!”  A jar full of sour wine was there, so they put a sponge soaked in sour wine on a branch of hyssop and lifted it to his mouth.  When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed!”[29]  David had already spoken for Jesus’ failing breath (Psalm 22:25-31 Tanakh):

My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him.  The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the LORD that seek him: your heart shall live for ever.  All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the LORD: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.   For the kingdom is the LORD’s: and he is the governor among the nations.  All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul.  A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

The temple curtain was torn in two.  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”  And after he said this he breathed his last.[30]  The earth shook and the rocks were split apart.  And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised.  (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.)[31]

Now when the centurion, who stood in front of him, saw how he died, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”[32]  And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.[33] 

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me? Jesus asked.  The words that I say to you, I do not speak on my own initiative, but the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds.[34]  And in the letter to the Hebrews we are encouraged: Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up.[35]  I tell you the solemn truth, Jesus promised, the person who believes in me will perform the miraculous deeds that I am doing, and will perform greater deeds than these, because I am going to the Father.[36]  For, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.[37]

The Gospel harmony I made to write this essay follows.

The Crucifixion

Matthew Mark Luke

John

So they took Jesus, and carrying his own cross…

 John 19:16b, 17a

As they were going out, they found a man from Cyrene named Simon, whom they forced to carry his cross.

Matthew 27:32

The soldiers forced a passerby to carry his cross, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country…

Mark 15:21a

As they led him away, they seized Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country.  They placed the cross on his back and made him carry it behind Jesus.

Luke 23:26

(he was the father of Alexander and Rufus).

Mark 15:21b

A great number of the people followed him, among them women who were mourning and wailing for him.  But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.  For this is certain: The days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore children, and the breasts that never nursed!’  Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’  For if such things are done when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

Luke 23:27-31

Two other criminals were also led away to be executed with him.

Luke 23:32

They came to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”)…

Matthew 27:33

They brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which is translated, “Place of the Skull”).

Mark 15:22

So when they came to the place that is called “The Skull” …

Luke 23:33a

…he went out to the place called “The Place of the Skull” (called in Aramaic Golgotha).

John 19:17b

…and offered Jesus wine mixed with gall to drink.  But after tasting it, he would not drink it.

Matthew 27:34

They offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.

Mark 15:23

When they had crucified him…

Matthew 27:35a

Then they crucified him…

Mark 15:24a

…they crucified him there…

Luke 23:33b

There they crucified him…

John 19:18a

…along with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left.

Luke 23:33c

…along with two others, one on each side, with Jesus in the middle.

John 19:18b

[But Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.”]

Luke 23:34a

…they divided his clothes by throwing dice.

Matthew 27:35b

…and divided his clothes, throwing dice for them, to decide what each would take.

Mark 15:24b

Then they threw dice to divide his clothes.

Luke 23:34b

Then they sat down and kept guard over him there.

Matthew 27:36

It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.

Mark 15:25

The people also stood there watching, but the rulers ridiculed him, saying, “He saved others.  Let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one!”  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!”

Luke 23:35-37

Above his head they put the charge against him, which read: “This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.”

Matthew 27:37

The inscription of the charge against him read, “The king of the Jews.”

Mark 15:26

There was also an inscription over him, “This is the king of the Jews.”

Luke 23:38

Pilate also had a notice written and fastened to the cross, which read: “Jesus the Nazarene, the king of the Jews.”

John 19:19

Thus many of the Jewish residents of Jerusalem read this notice, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the notice was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Then the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The king of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am king of the Jews.’”  Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

John 19:20-22

Now when the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and made four shares, one for each soldier, and the tunic remained. (Now the tunic was seamless, woven from top to bottom as a single piece.)  So the soldiers said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but throw dice to see who will get it.” This took place to fulfill the scripture that says, “They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they threw dice.”  So the soldiers did these things.

John 19:23, 24

Then two outlaws were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.  Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads  and saying, “You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself!  If you are God’s Son, come down from the cross!”  In the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law and elders – were mocking him: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!  He is the king of Israel!  If he comes down now from the cross, we will believe in him!

Matthew 27:38-42

And they crucified two outlaws with him, one on his right and one on his left.  Those who passed by defamed him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who can destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross!”  In the same way even the chief priests – together with the experts in the law – were mocking him among themselves: “He saved others, but he cannot save himself!  Let the Christ, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, that we may see and believe!”

Mark 15:27-32a

He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now because he said, ‘I am God’s Son’!”

Matthew 27:43

The robbers who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.

Matthew 27:44

Those who were crucified with him also spoke abusively to him.

Mark 15:32b

One of the criminals who was hanging there railed at him, saying, “Aren’t you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!”  But the other rebuked him, saying, “Don’t you fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?  And we rightly so, for we are getting what we deserve for what we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.”  Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come in your kingdom.”  And Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Luke 23:39-43

Now standing beside Jesus’ cross were his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  So when Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing there, he said to his mother, “Woman, look, here is your son!”  He then said to his disciple, “Look, here is your mother!”  From that very time the disciple took her into his own home.

John 19:25-27

Now from noon until three, darkness came over all the land.

Matthew 27:45

Now when it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.

Mark 15:33

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, because the sun’s light failed.

Luke 23:44, 45a

At about three o’clock Jesus shouted with a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “This man is calling for Elijah.”  Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge, filled it with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink.  But the rest said, “Leave him alone!  Let’s see if Elijah will come to save him.”

Matthew 27:46-49

Around three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of the bystanders heard it they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah!”  Then someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Leave him alone!  Let’s see if Elijah will come to take him down!”

Mark 15:34-36

After this Jesus, realizing that by this time everything was completed, said (in order to fulfill the scripture), “I am thirsty!”  A jar full of sour wine was there, so they put a sponge soaked in sour wine on a branch of hyssop and lifted it to his mouth.  When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed!”

John 19:28-30a

Then Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and gave up his spirit.  Just then the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Matthew 27:50, 51a

But Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed his last.  And the temple curtain was torn in two, from top to bottom.

Mark 15:37, 38

The temple curtain was torn in two.  Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!”  And after he said this he breathed his last.

Luke 23:45, 46

 

 

Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30b

The earth shook and the rocks were split apart.  And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised.  (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.)

Matthew 27:51b-53

Now when the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and what took place, they were extremely terrified and said, “Truly this one was God’s Son!”

Matthew 27:54

Now when the centurion, who stood in front of him, saw how he died, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!”

Mark 15:39

Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent!”

Luke 23:47

And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts.

Luke 23:48

Many women who had followed Jesus from Galilee and given him support were also there, watching from a distance.

Matthew 27:55

There were also women, watching from a distance.

Mark 15:40a

And all those who knew Jesus stood at a distance, and the women who had followed him from Galilee saw these things.

Luke 23:49

Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Matthew 27:56

Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome.  When he was in Galilee, they had followed him and given him support.  Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were there too.

Mark 15:40b, 41

 

[1] Luke 3:22a (NET)

[2] The words free will were added by the translators to the Greek word ἐμαυτοῦ translated my own.

[3] Romans, Part 55; My Reasons and My Reason, Part 5; Romans, Part 38; Fear – Genesis, Part 6; Who Am I? Part 2

[4] Luke 23:26 (NET)

[5] Matthew 16:24 (NET)

[6] Luke 23:32 (NET)

[7] Isaiah 53:12b (Tanakh)

[8] Isaiah 53:9b (Tanakh)

[9] Matthew 27:33, 34 (NET)  David Mathis offers the following explanation in his blog post “The Wine Jesus Drank” on desiringGod.

[10] John 19:18 (NET)

[11] Luke 23:34a (NET)

[12] Stephen Ray, “Was Jesus Crucified Naked?,” Defender’s of the Catholic Faith

[13] John 19:23, 24 (NET)

[14] Psalm 22:17b, 18 (Tanakh)

[15] Matthew 27:36 (NET)

[16] Mark 15:25 (NET)

[17] Luke 23:35-37 (NET)

[18] Though it differs slightly from the synoptic Gospels I’m going with John’s account because he, the disciple whom [Jesus] loved, was actually there (John 19:25-27) near enough to read it.

[19] John 19:19-22 (NET)

[20] Mark 15:29-32a (NET)

[21] Matthew 27:43, 44 (NET)

[22] Luke 23:39 (NET)

[23] Luke 23:40-43 (NET)

[24] 1 John 1:9 (NET)

[25] John 19:25-27 (NET)

[26] I had thought and written that this was Aramaic.  E. A. Knapp in his article “Did the Messiah Speak Aramaic or Hebrew? (part 2)” on Torah Class online disputes that.

[27] Matthew 27:45, 46 (NET)

[28] Matthew 27:47-49 (NET)

[29] John 19:28-30a (NET)

[30] Luke 23:45b, 46 (NET)

[31] Matthew 27:51b-53 (NET)

[32] Mark 15:39 (NET)

[33] Luke 23:48 (NET)

[34] John 14:10 (NET)

[35] Hebrews 12:3 (NET)

[36] John 14:12 (NET)

[37] Galatians 5:22, 23a (NET)

Romans, Part 80

JudgmentalPerhaps every old human (παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον, translated old man) should come with this warning label, but love says: Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions.[1]  Paul continued his discussion of love with a then current example (Romans 14:2, 3a NET):

One person believes in eating everything, but the weak (ἀσθενῶν, a form of ἀσθενέω) person eats only vegetables.  The one who eats everything must not despise (ἐξουθενείτω, a form of ἐξουθενέω) the one who does not…

Luke introduced Jesus’ parable contrasting religious and righteous prayer this way: Jesus also told this parable to some who were confident that they were righteous and looked down on everyone else.[2]  The Greek word translated looked down is ἐξουθενοῦντας (another form of ἐξουθενέω) like ἐξουθενείτω, translated despise in Romans 14:3.  Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, replied, “Rulers of the people and elders[3]….This Jesus is the stone that was rejected (ἐξουθενηθεὶς, another form of ἐξουθενέω) by you, the builders, that has become the cornerstone.”[4]  Paul wrote believers in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 NET):

Think about the circumstances of your call, brothers and sisters.  Not many were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were born to a privileged position.  But God chose what the world thinks foolish to shame the wise, and God chose what the world thinks weak (ἀσθενῆ, a form of ἀσθενής) to shame the strong.  God chose what is low and despised (ἐξουθενημένα, another form of ἐξουθενέω) in the world, what is regarded as nothing, to set aside what is regarded as something, so that no one can boast in his presence.  He is the reason you have a relationship with Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Love doesn’t despise the faith-weak the way the world despises all believers.  And love doesn’t judge those who do not adhere to the rules the faith-weak live by.  Paul continued (Romans 14:3b NET):

…and the one who abstains must not judge (κρινέτω, a form of κρίνω) the one who eats everything, for God has accepted (προσελάβετο, a form of προσλαμβάνω) him.

Therefore do not let anyone judge (κρινέτω, a form of κρίνω) you with respect to food or drink, Paul wrote believers in Colossae, or in the matter of a feast, new moon, or Sabbath days – these are only the shadow of the things to come, but the reality is Christ![5]  Yet of love Paul wrote (1 Corinthians 8):

With regard to food sacrificed to idols, we know that “we all have knowledge.”  Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.  If someone thinks he knows something, he does not yet know to the degree that he needs to know.  But if someone loves God, he is known by God.

With regard then to eating food sacrificed to idols, we know that “an idol in this world is nothing,” and that “there is no God but one.”  If after all there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we live, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we live.

But this knowledge is not shared by all.  And some, by being accustomed to idols in former times, eat this food as an idol sacrifice, and their conscience, because it is weak (ἀσθενὴς, another form of ἀσθενής), is defiled.  Now food will not bring us close to God.  We are no worse if we do not eat and no better if we do.  But be careful that this liberty of yours does not become a hindrance to the weak (ἀσθενέσιν, another form of ἀσθενής).  For if someone weak (ἀσθενοῦς, another form of ἀσθενής) sees you who possess knowledge dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience be “strengthened” to eat food offered to idols?  So by your knowledge the weak (ἀσθενῶν, a form of ἀσθενέω) brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed.  If you sin against your brothers or sisters in this way and wound their weak (ἀσθενοῦσαν, another form of ἀσθενέω) conscience, you sin against Christ.  For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.

Paul continued for believers in Rome (Romans 14:4a NET):

Who are you to pass judgment (κρίνων, another form of κρίνω) on another’s servant?  Before his own master he stands or falls.

Jesus said, there is One who seeks and judges[6] (ἔστιν ὁ ζητῶν καὶ κρίνων).  I quoted the NAS because the NET translation reads, There is one who demands it, and he also judges.  This leaves me with the impression that Jesus told the Ἰουδαῖοι (Judeans, NET; Jews, NAS) that his Father demanded glory for Jesus from them and would judge them for failing to deliver it.  The latter is simply false, the Father does not judge (κρίνει, another form of κρίνω) anyone, but has assigned all judgment (κρίσιν, a form of κρίσις) to the Son[7]  What the Father seeks (ζητῶν, a form of ζητέω) was specified earlier in John’s Gospel: But a time is coming – and now is here – when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks (ζητεῖ, another form of ζητέω) such people to be his worshipers.[8]

I think Jesus meant what He said: I am not trying to get (ζητῶ, another form of ζητέω) praise (δόξαν, a form of δόξα) for myself.[9]  The person who speaks on his own authority desires (ζητεῖ, a form of ζητέω) to receive honor (δόξαν, a form of δόξα) for himself; the one who desires (ζητῶν, a form of ζητέω) the honor (δόξαν, a form of δόξα) of the one who sent him is a man of integrity (ἀληθής), and there is no unrighteousness in him.[10]  Clearly, the translators of the NET thought of δόξαν as honor, also translated praise, something originating with people.  The Father has assigned all judgment to the Son, so that all people will honor (τιμῶσι, a form of τιμάω) the Son just as they honor (τιμῶσι, a form of τιμάω) the Father.[11]

In that light then since the Father seeks true worshipers who worshipin spirit and truth, then He might also seek honor from those worshippers for his Son.  The one who does not honor (τιμῶν, another form of τιμάω) the Son does not honor (τιμᾷ, another form of τιμάω) the Father who sent him.[12]  And granted, Jesus prefaced his remarks with, I honor (τιμῶ, another form of τιμάω) my Father – and yet you dishonor (ἀτιμάζετε, a form of ἀτιμάζω) me.[13]  But I’m still not convinced that made δόξαν a synonym for τιμάω.

I think Jesus meant glory from or of God, his Father.  “If I glorify (δοξάσω, a form of δοξάζω) myself, my glory (δόξα) is worthless.  The one who glorifies (δοξάζων, another form of δοξάζω) me is my Father, about whom you people say, ‘He is our God.’”[14]  I glorified (ἐδόξασα, another form of δοξάζω) you on earth, Jesus prayed to his Father, by completing the work you gave me to do.[15]  And I think Jesus was focused on that work, both to seek the Father’s true worshiper’s—For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise[16]—and to do it in a way that satisfied the Father’s judgment (of Him as opposed to others).  I think Jesus expressed a relationship to his Father very similar to the relationship Paul expressed to Jesus (1 Corinthians 4:3, 4 NET):

So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged (ἀνακριθῶ, a form of ἀνακρίνω) by you or by any human court.  In fact, I do not even judge (ἀνακρίνω) myself.  For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this.  The one who judges (ἀνακρίνων) me is the Lord.

And that relationship answers why He was so impressed with the faith of the centurion: “just say the word and my servant will be healed.  For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me.  I say to this one, ‘Go’ and he goes, and to another ‘Come’ and he comes, and to my slave ‘Do this’ and he does it.”[17]  The servant and the slave honored the centurion but Caesar glorified him.

I consider when Jesus sought his own glory and what He did with it: “Father, the time has come.  Glorify (δόξασον, another form of δοξάζω) your Son, so that your Son may glorify (δοξάσῃ, another form of δοξάζω) you[18]  Now, Father, glorify (δόξασον, another form of δοξάζω) Me together with Yourself, with the glory (δόξῃ, another form of δόξα) which I had with You before the world was.”[19]  Then He took that glory and nailed it naked, bruised and bleeding to a cross; Jesus said (John 10:17, 18; Matthew 26:53, 54 NET):

This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life, so that I may take it back again.  No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will.  I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again.  This commandment I received from my Father.

Or do you think that I cannot call on my Father, and that he would send me more than twelve legions of angels right now?  How then would the scriptures that say it must happen this way be fulfilled?

The prophet Isaiah described it this way (Isaiah 53 NET):

Who would have believed what we just heard?  When was the Lord’s (yehôvâh, יהוה) power revealed through him?

He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him.

He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.

But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים), and afflicted for something he had done.

He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed.

All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path, but the Lord (yehôvâh, ויהוה) caused the sin of all of us to attack him.

He was treated harshly and afflicted, but he did not even open his mouth.  Like a lamb led to the slaughtering block, like a sheep silent before her shearers, he did not even open his mouth.

He was led away after an unjust trial – but who even cared?  Indeed, he was cut off from the land of the living; because of the rebellion of his own people he was wounded.

They intended to bury him with criminals, but he ended up in a rich man’s tomb, because he had committed no violent deeds, nor had he spoken deceitfully.

Though the Lord (yehôvâh, ויהוה) desired to crush him and make him ill, once restitution is made, he will see descendants and enjoy long life, and the Lord’s (yehôvâh, יהוה) purpose will be accomplished through him.

Having suffered, he will reflect on his work, he will be satisfied when he understands what he has done.

“My servant will acquit many, for he carried their sins.  So I will assign him a portion with the multitudes, he will divide the spoils of victory with the powerful, because he willingly submitted to death and was numbered with the rebels, when he lifted up the sin of many and intervened on behalf of the rebels.”

Paul described it this way for believers in Rome, For God achieved what the law could not do because it was weakened (ἠσθένει, another form of ἀσθενέω) through the flesh.  By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and concerning sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, so that the righteous requirement of the law may be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.[20]  And he described it this way for believers in Corinth: God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.[21]

Who are you to pass judgment on another’s servant? Paul wrote.  Before his own master he stands or falls.  And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.[22]  Though it may seem at first that this latter applies only to the less faith-weak, I don’t think that is the case.  I as a believer stand not because I have my own righteousness derived from the law, but because I have the righteousness that comes by way of Christ’s faithfulness – a righteousness from God that is in fact based on Christ’s faithfulness.[23]  And this confidence in Christ’s faithfulness may be the ultimate meaning of thinking of one another.

Romans, Part 81

Back to Who Am I? Part 4

[1] Romans 14:1 (NET)

[2] Luke 18:9 (NET)

[3] Acts 4:8 (NET)

[4] Acts 4:11 (NET)

[5] Colossians 2:16, 17 (NET)

[6] John 8:50b (NAS)

[7] John 5:22 (NET)

[8] John 4:23 (NET)

[9] John 8:50a (NET)

[10] John 7:18 (NET)

[11] John 5:22b, 23a (NET)

[12] John 5:23b (NET)

[13] John 8:49b (NET)

[14] John 8:54 (NET)

[15] John 17:4 (NET)

[16] John 5:19b (NET)

[17] Matthew 8:8b, 9 (NET)

[18] John 17:1b (NET)

[19] John 17:5 (NAS)

[20] Romans 8:3, 4 (NET)

[21] 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NET)

[22] Romans 14:4 (NET)

[23] Philippians 3:9 (NET)

Romans, Part 36

What shall we say then? Paul continued, that the Gentiles who did not pursue (διώκοντα, a form of διώκω)[1] righteousness (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη)[2] obtained it (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη), that is, a righteousness (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη) that is by faith, but Israel even though pursuing (διώκων, another form of διώκω) a law of righteousness (δικαιοσύνης, another form of δικαιοσύνη) did not attain it.[3]  In other words, people who really worked at achieving righteousness by pursuing God’s law did not attain that righteousness, while people who did not pursue righteousness at all did attain it.

Isolated from any context, this sounds extraordinarily unfair.  But this decision was made so far beyond any judgment of mine regarding what is fair, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.[4]

When Rebekah had conceived children by one man, Paul had written earlier, our ancestor Isaac – even before they were born or had done anything good or bad (so that God’s purpose in election would stand, not by works [ἔργων, a form of ἔργον][5] but by his calling [καλοῦντος, a form of καλέω][6]) – it was said to her, “The older will serve the younger,” just as it is written:Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”[7]  Complaining about this is about as productive as complaining about who my parents were.  But just as God knows my parents and my upbringing, what advantages or debilities that afforded me, He knows who has received mercy and who He has hardened: God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens (σκληρύνει, a form of σκληρύνω)[8] whom he chooses to harden.[9]

Why not? Paul continued.  Why didn’t Israel attain the righteousness they pursued by law?  Because they pursued it not by faith but (as if it were possible) by works (ἔργων, a form of ἔργον).[10]  Paul wasn’t writing about faith alone, dead faith that produces no works: So also faith, if it does not have works (ἔργα, another form of ἔργον), is dead being by itself.[11]  Instead he wrote of deeds that have been done in God through faith in His credited righteousness: For everyone who does evil deeds (φαῦλα, a form of φαῦλος),[12] Jesus said, hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds (ἔργα, another form of ἔργον) will not be exposed.  But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds (ἔργα, another form of ἔργον) have been done in God.[13]

Israel did not attain righteousness because they pursued it by dead works, if you will, apart from faith in the righteousness that comes from God:  For ignoring the righteousness (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη) that comes from God, Paul wrote early in the next chapter, and seeking instead to establish their own righteousness, (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη) they did not submit to God’s righteousness (δικαιοσύνῃ, another form of δικαιοσύνη).[14]

One more point of clarification before moving on:  The Gentiles who did not pursue (διώκοντα, a form of διώκω) righteousness (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη) before Paul preached the Gospel to them, did pursue it afterward, but not a law of righteousness (except those he wrote to at Galatia and Colossae in order to correct that very error).  Paul’s instructions to the young Gospel preacher Timothy are helpful here: pursue (δίωκε, another form of διώκω) righteousness (δικαιοσύνη, a form of δικαιοσύνη) (e.g., the righteousness that comes from God), godliness, faithfulness (πίστιν, a form of πίστις),[15] love (ἀγάπην, a form of ἀγάπη),[16] endurance,[17] and gentleness (πραϋπαθίαν, a form of πρᾳότης);[18] and again, pursue (δίωκε, another form of διώκω) righteousness (δικαιοσύνην, a form of δικαιοσύνη), faithfulness (πίστιν, a form of πίστις), love (ἀγάπην, a form of ἀγάπη), and peace (εἰρήνην, a form of εἰρήνη),[19] in company with others who call on the Lord from a pure heart.[20]  I note again how much of this flows directly from the Holy Spirit: the fruit of the Spirit is love (ἀγάπη), joy, peace (εἰρήνη), patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness (πίστις), gentleness (πραΰτης, a form of πραΰτης), and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.[21]

They stumbled over the stumbling stone, Paul wrote of those who pursued a law of righteousness, just as it is written,Look, I am laying in Zion a stone that will cause people to stumble and a rock that will make them fall, yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame.[22]  I think it is worthwhile to unpack this a bit.  The first phrase is very reminiscent of Isaiah 28:16.

#

Paul (NET)

Blue Letter Bible (Septuagint)

NET Bible (Greek parallel text)

1

Look, I am laying in Zion a stone…

Romans 9:33

ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἐμβαλῶ[23] εἰς τὰ θεμέλια[24] Σιων λίθον

Isaiah 28:16

ἰδοὺ τίθημι[25] ἐν Σιὼν λίθον

Romans 9:33

Look, I am laying a stone in Zion, Isaiah wrote, an approved stone, set in place as a precious cornerstone for the foundation…I will make justice the measuring line, fairness the plumb line…[26]  The rabbis who translated the Septuagint chose ἐγὼ ἐμβαλῶ (I throw) a stone, which is quite evocative of Moses and the stone tablets of the law: When he approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, Moses became extremely angry.  He threw the tablets from his hands and broke them to pieces at the bottom of the mountain.[27]  Paul did not believe that the cornerstone for the foundation (θεμέλια) stone (λίθον, a form of λίθος) of Zion was the law.  He chose the word τίθημι (I will lay) instead.

For no one can lay (θεῖναι, a form of τίθημι) any foundation (θεμέλιον, another form of θεμέλιος) other than what is being laid, Paul wrote the Corinthians, which is Jesus Christ.[28]  And Jesus said, I am the good shepherd.  I know my own and my own know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down (τίθημι) my life for the sheep…This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down (τίθημι) my life, so that I may take it back again.  No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down (τίθημι) of my own free will. I have the authority to lay it down (θεῖναι, a form of τίθημι), and I have the authority to take it back again.[29]

Then Paul alluded to Isaiah 8:14—a stone that will cause people to stumble and a rock that will make them fall—but he didn’t quote from the Septuagint.  Indeed this is what the Lord told me, Isaiah wrote.  He took hold of me firmly and warned me not to act like these people (Isaiah 8:11-16 NET):

“Do not say, ‘Conspiracy,’ every time these people say the word.  Don’t be afraid of what scares them; don’t be terrified.  You must recognize the authority of the Lord who commands armies.  He is the one you must respect; he is the one you must fear.  He will become a sanctuary, but a stone that makes a person trip, and a rock that makes one stumble – to the two houses of Israel.  He will become a trap and a snare to the residents of Jerusalem.  Many will stumble over the stone and the rock, and will fall and be seriously injured, and will be ensnared and captured.”  Tie up the scroll as legal evidence, seal the official record of God’s instructions and give it to my followers.

So Paul equated the stone the Lord would lay and the stone He would become to Jacob (the two houses of Israel).  Did the translators of the Septuagint make this connection?  It’s hard to say.  They amended the text apparently to read, “and you shall not come against him as against a stumbling-stone, neither as against the falling of a rock.”[30]

Finally Paul concluded with, yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame, which is quite similar to the end of Isaiah 28:16 in the Septuagint.

#

Paul (NET)

Blue Letter Bible (Septuagint)

NET Bible (Greek parallel text)

2

…yet the one who believes in him will not be put to shame

Romans 9:33

καὶ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ᾽ αὐτῷ οὐ μὴ καταισχυνθῇ[31]

Isaiah 28:16

καὶ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται

Romans 9:33

The differences here are subtle.  The Septuagint “uses the stronger negation, οὐ μὴ, whereas the NT uses the more normal weaker negation of merely, ‘οὐ’.”[32]  The words καταισχυνθῇ and καταισχυνθήσεται are different forms of the same verb.  “Thus, the difference here is only in regards to the mood and tense of the verb, having the aorist form and subjunctive mood in the LXX [Septuagint] and the future form and indicative mood in the NT.  In the end since the subjunctive can be said to represent the verbal action (or state) as uncertain but probable (GGBB, 461), both Greek texts look forward to a future pleasant fulfillment for those who trust in him.  While the LXX’s subjunctive may be a bit weaker in force, do not forget the strong οὐ μὴ which precedes the subjunctive, thus putting away any doubt as to its completion.  Both Greek texts follow the MT equally as well, and the sense is not changed by this variation.”[33]

 

Addendum (6/20/2015): Jim Searcy has published that the Septuagint is a hoax written by Origen and Eusebius 200 hundred years after Christ.  “In fact, the Septuagint ‘quotes’ from the New Testament and not vice versa…”  His contention is that the “King James Version is the infallible Word of God.”  So, I’ll re-examine the quotations above with the KJV.

#

Paul (KJV)

KJV

NET Bible (Greek parallel text)

1

Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone…

Romans 9:33

Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone…

Isaiah 28:16

ἰδοὺ τίθημι ἐν Σιὼν λίθον προσκόμματος

Romans 9:33

I’ll leave it to others to reason why Origen or Eusebius changed τίθημι (I lay) to ἐμβαλῶ (I throw) in their false Septuagint rather than copying Paul here.

#

Paul (KJV)

KJV

NET Bible (Greek parallel text)

2

…and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Romans 9:33

…he that believeth shall not make haste.

Isaiah 28:16

καὶ ὁ πιστεύων ἐπ᾿ αὐτῷ οὐ καταισχυνθήσεται

Romans 9:33

The KJV here is similar to the NET: The one who maintains his faith will not panic.[34] If the original Hebrew read make haste or panic rather than be ashamed (καταισχυνθήσεται), I leave it to Mr Searcy or others to understand why Paul changed it and why Origen or Eusebius almost (καταισχυνθῇ) but not quite copied Paul.

Romans, Part 37

Paul’s OT Quotes – Romans 9:25-33

Back to Justice, Vengeance and Punishment

Back to Fear – Exodus, Part 3

Back to Romans, Part 43


[3] Romans 9:30, 31 (NET)

[4] Romans 9:16 (NET)

[7] Romans 9:10-12 (NET)

[9] Romans 9:18 (NET)

[10] Romans 9:32a (NET)

[11] James 2:17 (NET)

[13] John 3:20, 21 (NET)

[14] Romans 10:3 (NET)

[18] 1 Timothy 6:11b (NET)

[20] 2 Timothy 2:22 (NET)

[21] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[22] Romans 9:32b, 33 (NET)

[24] Suddenly a great earthquake occurred, so that the foundations (θεμέλια, a form of θεμέλιος) of the prison were shaken (Acts 16:26 NET).

[26] Isaiah 28:16a, 17a (NET)

[27] Exodus 32:19 (NET)

[28] 1 Corinthians 3:11 (NET)

[29] John 10:14, 15, 17, 18a (NET)

[34] Isaiah 28:16b (NET)

The Soul

In Romans, Part 31 I related Paul’s statement—if you live according to the flesh, you will die[1]—to Jesus’ saying to his disciples, The one who loves his life [i.e., in this world] destroys [or, loses] it.[2]  The word translated life here is ψυχὴν (a form of ψυχή).[3]  Two verses later Jesus is recorded as saying, Now my soul (ψυχή) is greatly distressed.[4]  This is the life of keeping body and soul together as opposed to the new life of the Spirit.  Though this connection was not as new to me as Jesus’ saying to Martha,[5] it too deserved some further study.

I am the good shepherd, Jesus said.  I know my own and my own know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay down my life (ψυχήν, a form of ψυχή) for the sheep.[6]  This was a fairly clear statement of Jesus’ death on our behalf, for us, in our place.  It becomes even clearer as a reference to an actual loss of soul-life as Jesus continued.  This is why the Father loves me – because I lay down my life (ψυχήν, a form of ψυχή), so that I may take it back again.  No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down of my own free will.  I have the authority to lay it down, and I have the authority to take it back again.  This commandment I received from my Father.[7]  This is how Peter understood it (John 13:36-38 NET):

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.”  Peter said to him, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life (ψυχήν, a form of ψυχή) for you!”  Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life (ψυχήν, a form of ψυχή) for me?  I tell you the solemn truth, the rooster will not crow until you have denied (ἀρνήσῃ, a form of ἀρνέομαι)[8] me three times!

Later that same night when Jesus was arrested Simon Peter, who had a sword, pulled it out and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear.[9]  Peter was moments away from making good on his pledge to lay down his life for Jesus, in the terms that he in his soul-life understood at that moment.  But Jesus intervened.  What Peter had missed was the other meaning of being a good shepherd.

I am the good shepherd, Jesus also said.  The good shepherd lays down his life (ψυχήν, a form of ψυχή) for the sheep.[10]  Then Jesus contrasted the laying down of life of the good shepherd to the hired hand.  The hired hand, who is not a shepherd and does not own sheep, sees the wolf coming and abandons (ἀφίησιν, a form of ἀφίημι)[11] the sheep and runs away (φεύγει, a form of φεύγω).[12]  Notice that the word translated abandons here is the same word as forgive, in the sense of sending away someone else’s sins.

“Flee for your lives,” the hired hand screams as he runs for his life.  So the wolf attacks (ἁρπάζει, a form of ἁρπάζω)[13] the sheep and scatters (σκορπίζει, a form of σκορπίζω)[14] them.  Because he is a hired hand and is not concerned about the sheep[15]  The good shepherd by contrast lays down his life, or puts his life on the line, to defend the sheep, the living as opposed to the dying sacrifice.  After his resurrection Jesus made this point quite poignantly for Peter (John 21:15-17 NET).

Then when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these do?”  He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”  Jesus told him, “Feed my lambs.”  Jesus said a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  He replied, “Yes, Lord, you know I love you.”  Jesus told him, “Shepherd my sheep.”  Jesus said a third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?”  Peter was distressed that Jesus asked him a third time, “Do you love me?” and said, “Lord, you know everything.  You know that I love you.”  Jesus replied, “Feed my sheep.

Jesus had a different kind of laying down his life in mind for Peter.  And still He promised him that he would also be crucified.  I tell you the solemn truth, when you were young, you tied your clothes around you and went wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and others will tie you up and bring you where you do not want to go.  (Now Jesus said this to indicate clearly by what kind of death Peter was going to glorify God.)[16]  In my imagination I can see the crucified and risen Lord, standing, looking Peter in the eyes, smiling and nodding as he whispers, Follow me.[17]

I think both understandings need to be grasped as I hear Jesus command:  My commandment is this – to love one another just as I have loved you.  No one has greater love than this – that one lays down his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.[18]  And so I think both must be brought to bear when considering, The one who loves his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) destroys (ἀπολλύει, a form of ἀπόλλυμι)[19] it, and the one who hates (μισῶν, a form of μισέω)[20] his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) in this world guards it for eternal life (ζωὴν, a form of ζωή).[21]  The one who loves his life is like one who does not lay down his life, one who does not believe we have been buried with [Christ] through baptism into death (thanatos, θάνατος),[22] or attempts to live as if it were not true.

Perhaps the Spirit will lead one to martyrdom, perhaps not.  After the resurrected Jesus prophesied that he would be crucified in his old age Peter asked about John.  Jesus replied, “If I want him to live until I come back, what concern is that of yours?  You follow me!”[23]  In Revelation John heard a loud voice in heaven speak of the brothers and sisters who overcame (ἐνίκησαν, a form of νικάω) [the one who accuses them day and night before our God][24] by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) so much that they were afraid to (ἄχρι)[25] die (θανάτου, another form of θάνατος),[26] whether through martyrdom or feeding and protecting others.

There is more to this soul life (ψυχή) they did not love so much than food as there is more to the body (σῶμα)[27] than clothing.  And so Jesus said, do not worry about your life (ψυχῇ, another form of ψυχή), what you will eat or drink, or about your body (σώματι, a form of σῶμα), what you will wear.[28]  For the unconverted (ἔθνη, a form of ἔθνος)[29] pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.[30]

If anyone wants to become my follower, Jesus said, he must deny (ἀρνησάσθω, another form of ἀρνέομαι) himself (ἑαυτὸν, a form of ἑαυτοῦ),[31] take up his cross daily, and follow me.  For whoever wants to save (σῶσαι, a form of σώζω)[32] his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) will lose (ἀπολέσει, a form of ἀπόλλυμι) it, but whoever loses (ἀπολέσῃ, another form of ἀπόλλυμι) his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) for my sake will save (σώσει, another form of σώζω) it.  For what does it benefit a person if he gains the whole world but loses (ἀπολέσας, another form of ἀπόλλυμι) or forfeits (ζημιωθείς, a form of ζημιόω)[33] himself (ἑαυτὸν, a form of ἑαυτοῦ)?  For whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.[34]

Jesus said, I tell you the solemn truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself alone.  But if it dies, it produces much grain (καρπὸν, a form of καρπός; literally fruit).[35]  The one who loves his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) destroys (ἀπολλύει, another form of ἀπόλλυμι) it, and the one who hates (μισῶν, a form of μισέω) his life (ψυχὴν, a form of ψυχή) in this world guards it for eternal life (ζωὴν, a form of ζωή).  If anyone wants to serve me, he must follow me, and where I am, my servant will be too.  If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.  Now my soul (ψυχή) is greatly distressed.  And what should I say? ‘Father, deliver (σῶσον, another form of σώζω) me from this hour’?  No, but for this very reason I have come to this hour.[36]  And so has each of us who know and love and want to follow Him.

Romans, Part 32

Back to Son of God – 1 John, Part 3

Back to Romans, Part 48

Back to Fear – Exodus, Part 9


[1] Romans 8:13a (NET)

[2] John 12:25a (NET)

[4] John 12:27 (NET)

[6] John 10:14, 15 (NET)

[7] John 10:17, 18 (NET)

[9] John 18:10 (NET)

[10] John 10:11 (NET)

[12] John 10:12a (NET)

[15] John 10:12b-13 (NET)

[16] John 21:18, 19a (NET)

[18] John 15:12-14 (NET)

[21] John 12:25 (NET)

[23] John 21:22 (NET)

[24] Revelation 12:10 (NET)

[26] Revelation 12:11 (NET)

[28] Matthew 6:25 (NET)

[30] Matthew 6:32, 33 (NET)

[34] Luke 9:23-26 (NET)

[36] John 12:24-27 (NET)