Who Am I? Part 6

I wrote:

It’s axiomatic to me that Jesus didn’t utilize his own godliness, but trusted the Holy Spirit that descended like a dove from heaven, andremained on him.[11]  Otherwise, Jesus’ invitation and command, Follow me,[12] is little more than a cruel joke.

And:

As I’ve written before it is axiomatic to me that the way Jesus loved us was through that same love He received from the Holy Spirit that descended like a dove from heaven, andremained on him.[43]  He prayed as much to his Father if one has ears to hear: I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love (ἀγάπηyou have loved (ἠγάπησας, a form of ἀγαπάωme with may be in them, and I may be in them.[44]

And:

As I’ve written before,[20] it is axiomatic to me that Jesus’ holiness was from the Holy Spirit rather than his own divine nature.  Otherwise, his command and invitation, Follow me, would be meaningless to sinful human beings.

In the movie Casper there is a comic bit when Casper (voiced by Malachi Pearson), a friendly ghost, gets excited to show Kat (Christina Ricci), a living girl, a secret laboratory.  He takes her by the hand and leads her into a place she can’t follow—through a wall.  In the beginning that’s almost all I meant by my “axiom.”  Jesus wasn’t commanding us to follow Him somewhere we couldn’t go.  In fact, before He began to make appearances through walls behind locked doors He said plainly, Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.[1]

Over time though my “axiom” has come to mean so much more: When I am anything less than Christlike I no longer think: “Oh, He is God and I am not.”  Instead, I know that I am living according to the flesh (Romans 8:5-11), that I’ve fallen away from grace.  One would think I would know better by now but apparently I do not.  It alerts me that it is time to stop relying on myself and get back to trusting Jesus, relying on his Spirit.  But that weight deserves something weightier than an axiom.  Jesus said (John 14:10 NET):

Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in me?  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 (ἔργα, a form of ἔργον).

Translating ἔργα miraculous deeds isn’t wrong.  Now when John heard in prison about the ἔργα Christ had done[2] Jesus described those deeds this way: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have good news proclaimed to them.[3]  This is a list of miraculous deeds including the act of proclaiming good news (εὐαγγελίζονται, a form of εὐαγγελίζω) and the good news (εὐαγγέλιον) which was proclaimed.  None of it happens apart from the Holy Spirit.  For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does, and will show him greater deeds (ἔργα, a form of ἔργον) than these, so that you will be amazed.  For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes.[4]  Now as Jesus was passing by, he saw a man who had been blind from birth (John 9:1-7 NET).

His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who committed the sin that caused him to be born blind, this man or his parents?”  Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but he was born blind so that the acts (ἔργα, a form of ἔργον) of God may be revealed through what happens to him.  We must perform (ἐργάζεσθαι, a form of ἐργάζομαι) the deeds (ἔργα, a form of ἔργον) of the one who sent me as long as it is daytime.  Night is coming when no one can work (ἐργάζεσθαι, a form of ἐργάζομαι).  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  Having said this, he spat on the ground and made some mud with the saliva. He smeared the mud on the blind man’s eyes and said to him, “Go wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated “sent”).  So the blind man went away and washed, and came back seeing.

But the adjective miraculous shouldn’t blind us to the less showy ἔργα the Holy Spirit residing (μένων, a form of μένω) in believers performs (ποιεῖ, a form of ποιέω) all the time:

It was after eleven Sunday night.  I had to get up early to catch a flight Monday morning.  My neighbor was listening to some speed metal.  The bass vibrated my bed.  I had every right to be angry, didn’t I?  I, as a composer, had given up music because it kept me too connected to the sensuality of the world.  (Never mind that I wasn’t that good at performing or composing music.)  As I lay there beginning to simmer a self-righteous snit, that still small voice reminded me that Monday was Memorial Day, a holiday for my neighbor.  All I really needed to do that day was get up, get to the airport and fly to my destination.  After that I’d be off, too.  All the while the Holy Spirit’s love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control washed away my self-righteous anger like a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.  And to top it off, the very moment He won that skirmish with the dead and dying flesh in my body the song ended, my neighbor turned off his stereo and went to bed, just so I didn’t miss the point (Matthew 5:15, 16; John 3:20, 21 NET).

People do not light a lamp and put it under a basket but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house.  In the same way, let your light shine before people, so that they can see your good (καλὰ, a form of καλός) deeds (ἔργα, a form of ἔργον) and give honor to your Father in heaven.

For everyone who does evil deeds (φαῦλα, a form of φαῦλος) hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds (ἔργα, a 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, a form of ἔργον) have been done in God.

When I live according to the flesh I become a puffed-up weakling, Satan’s fool.  When Jesus was overcome by the flesh of Adam He was still God: He cursed the fig tree and it withered and died (Matthew 21:18-22; Mark 11:12-14, 20-25).  I find it difficult to understand Jonathan Edwards’ portrayal of God to his congregation in his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” in the light of Paul’s letter to believers in Rome (Romans 8:31b-39 NET):

If God is for us, who can be against us?  Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against God’s elect?  It is God who justifies.  Who is the one who will condemn?  Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.  Who will separate us from the love of Christ?  Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?  As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Still, I do see 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.  Jesus was no demigod: half-man, half-god, super-man, inferior god.  He is fully man and fully God.  As a human being I might wonder if it is worse to suffer abuse or watch as my son is abused.  But God the Father did not partake (μετέσχεν, a form of μετέχω) of the blood and flesh of humanity, the weak link in this chain.  The arresting officers tied Jesus up (John 18:12), tempting the flesh of Adam to resist.  If I succumbed to the flesh and cursed officers arresting me I would just make them angrier with my foul noise.  But Jesus is also God.  If He had succumbed to the flesh of Adam and cursed the arresting officers they would have withered and died.

Jesus was questioned first by Annas (a former high priest himself) the father-in-law of Caiaphas the high priest.  When Jesus answered, one of the high priest’s officers who stood nearby struck him on the face (John 18:22).  Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to Caiaphas the high priest.[5]  The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were trying to find false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death.[6]   The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”[7] 

“I am,” said Jesus, “and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”[8]  So they accused Him of blasphemy and condemned Him to death (Matthew 26:65, 66; Mark 14:64).  They spat on Him (Matthew 26:67), blindfolded him (Mark 14:65) and played a guessing game, saying, “Prophesy for us, you Christ!  Who hit you?”[9]  Now the men who were holding Jesus under guard began to mock him and beat him,[10] following their leaders, oblivious to the potential harm they risked to themselves or the entire created cosmos.

After Jesus instructed his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Christ[11] he began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests, and experts in the law.[12]  When it was early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people plotted against Jesus to execute him.[13]  They led Jesus away to their council and said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.”[14]  Caiaphas had given them the key to getting Jesus to accuse Himself: If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, since he cannot deny himself.[15]  Then the whole group of them rose up and brought Jesus before Pilate.[16]

They did not go into the governor’s residence so they would not be ceremonially defiled, but could eat the Passover meal.[17]  So Pilate came out to them but said, “Take him yourselves and pass judgment on him according to your own law!”  The Jewish leaders replied, “We cannot legally put anyone to death.”[18]  They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man subverting our nation (Matthew 23), forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar (Matthew 22:15-22) and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king.”[19]

Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.[20]  But with two lies and their own belief that the Christ would be a political/military revolutionary who would overthrow Pilate and his Roman overlords, the chief priests with the elders and the experts in the law and the whole Sanhedrin[21] transmuted their (false) charge of blasphemy into a Roman capital crime.

Privately, Jesus comforted Pilate: My kingdom is not from this world.  If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities.[22]  Publicly, when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he did not respond.[23]  Pilate had found no basis for an accusation against (Luke 23:4; John 18:38b) Jesus, but he did see a possible way out (John 18:39, 40 NET):

“But it is your custom that I release one prisoner for you at the Passover.  So do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?”  Then they shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!”  (Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.)

John wrote of Jesus, yehôvâh become human flesh: He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him.[24]  In fact, they persisted in saying, “He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea.  It started in Galilee and ended up here!”[25]  Galilee was Herod’s jurisdiction, so Pilate sent Jesus to Herod.  The chief priests and the experts in the law were there, vehemently accusing him.  Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him.  Then, dressing him in elegant clothes, Herod sent him back to Pilate.[26]  Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, and said to them (Luke 23:13-16 NET):

“You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people.  When I examined him before you, I did not find this man guilty of anything you accused him of doing.  Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us.  Look, he has done nothing deserving death.  I will therefore have him flogged and release him.”

I’ll finish this essay with a Gospel harmony to capture some of the drama.

Matthew Mark Luke

John

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged severely.  The soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they clothed him in a purple robe.  They came up to him again and again and said, “Hail, king of the Jews!”  And they struck him repeatedly in the face.

John 19:1-3

Again Pilate went out and said to the Jewish leaders, “Look, I am bringing him out to you, so that you may know that I find no reason for an accusation against him.”

John 19:4

Then the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to release a prisoner for them, as was his custom.

Mark 15:8

So after they had assembled, Pilate said to them…

Matthew 27:17a

So Pilate asked them…

Mark 15:9a

“Whom do you want me to release for you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called the Christ?”

Matthew 27:17b

“Do you want me to release the king of the Jews for you?”

Mark 15:9b

(For he knew that they had handed him over because of envy.)

Matthew 27:18

(For he knew that the chief priests had handed him over because of envy.)

Mark 15:10

As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent a message to him: “Have nothing to do with that innocent man; I have suffered greatly as a result of a dream about him today.”

Matthew 27:19

But the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas…

Matthew 27:20a

But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas instead.

Mark 15:11

…and to have Jesus killed.

Matthew 27:20b

So Jesus came outside, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe.  Pilate said to them, “Look, here is the man!”

When the chief priests and their officers saw him, they shouted out, “Crucify him!  Crucify him!”  Pilate said, “You take him and crucify him!  Certainly I find no reason for an accusation against him!”  The Jewish leaders replied, “We have a law, and according to our law he ought to die, because he claimed to be the Son of God!”

When Pilate heard what they said, he was more afraid than ever…

John 19:5-8

But they all shouted out together, “Take this man away!   Release Barabbas for us!”  (This was a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder.)

Luke 23:18, 19

…and he went back into the governor’s residence and said to Jesus, “Where do you come from?”  But Jesus gave him no answer.  So Pilate said, “Do you refuse to speak to me?  Don’t you know I have the authority to release you, and to crucify you?” Jesus replied, “You would have no authority over me at all, unless it was given to you from above.  Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of greater sin.”  From this point on, Pilate tried to release him.

John 19:9-12a

Pilate addressed them once again because he wanted to release Jesus.

Luke 23:20

The governor asked them,  “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?”  And they said, “Barabbas!”

Matthew 27:21

Pilate said to them, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?”  They all said, “Crucify him!”  He asked, “Why?  What wrong has he done?”

Matthew 27:22-23a

So Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you want me to do with the one you call king of the Jews?”

They shouted back, “Crucify him!”  Pilate asked them, “Why?  What has he done wrong?”

Mark 15:12-14a

But the Jewish leaders shouted out, “If you release this man, you are no friend of Caesar!  Everyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar!”  When Pilate heard these words he brought Jesus outside and sat down on the judgment seat in the place called “The Stone Pavement” (Gabbatha in Aramaic).  (Now it was the day of preparation for the Passover, about noon.)  Pilate said to the Jewish leaders, “Look, here is your king!”

John 19:12b-14

But they kept on shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!”  A third time he said to them, “Why?  What wrong has he done?  I have found him guilty of no crime deserving death.  I will therefore flog him and release him.”

Luke 23:21, 22

Then they shouted out, “Away with him!  Away with him!  Crucify him!”  Pilate asked, “Shall I crucify your king?”  The high priests replied, “We have no king except Caesar!”

John 19:15

But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

Matthew 27:23b

But they shouted more insistently, “Crucify him!”

Mark 15:14b

But they were insistent, demanding with loud shouts that he be crucified.

Luke 23:23a

And their shouts prevailed.

Luke 23:23b

When Pilate saw that he could do nothing, but that instead a riot was starting, he took some water, washed his hands before the crowd and said, “I am innocent of this man’s blood.  You take care of it yourselves!”  In reply all the people said, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!”

Matthew 27:24, 25

So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted.

Luke 23:24

Because he wanted to satisfy the crowd…

Mark 15:15a

Then he released Barabbas for them.

Matthew 27:26a

…Pilate released Barabbas for them.

Mark 15:15b

 

He released the man they asked for, who had been thrown in prison for insurrection and murder.

Luke 23:25a

But after he had Jesus flogged…

Matthew 27:26b

Then, after he had Jesus flogged…

Mark 15:15c

…he handed him over to be crucified.

Matthew 27:26c

…he handed him over to be crucified.

Mark 15:15d

But he handed Jesus over to their will.

Luke 23:25b

Then Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.

John 19:16a

Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the governor’s residence and gathered the whole cohort around him.  They stripped him and put a scarlet robe around him, and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on his head.

Matthew 27:27-29

So the soldiers led him into the palace (that is, the governor’s residence) and called together the whole cohort.  They put a purple cloak on him and after braiding a crown of thorns, they put it on him.

Mark 15:16, 17

They began to salute him: “Hail, king of the Jews!”   Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him.

Mark 15:18, 19a

They put a staff in his right hand…

Matthew 27:29b

..and kneeling down before him, they mocked him: “Hail, king of the Jews!”

Matthew 27:29c

Then they knelt down and paid homage to him.

Mark 15:19b

They spat on him and took the staff and struck him repeatedly on the head.

Matthew 27:30

When they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him away to crucify him.

Matthew 27:31

When they had finished mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes back on him.  Then they led him away to crucify him.

Mark 15:20

 

None of Jesus’ accusers, persecutors or tormentors withered and died.  As He told his disciples, the Father residing in me performs his miraculous deeds.[27]  I’ll continue this in another essay. The rest of the Gospel harmony I used to write this essay follows.

 

Matthew Mark Luke John
Then they arrested Jesus…

Luke 22:54a

Then the squad of soldiers with their commanding officer and the officers of the Jewish leaders arrested Jesus…

John 18:12a

…and tied him up.  They brought him first to Annas, for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.  (Now it was Caiaphas who had advised the Jewish leaders that it was to their advantage that one man die for the people.)

John 18:12b-14

While this [John 18:15-18] was happening, the high priest [Annas had been high priest before his son-in-law] questioned Jesus about his disciples and about his teaching.  Jesus replied, “I have spoken publicly to the world.  I always taught in the synagogues and in the temple courts, where all the Jewish people assemble together.  I have said nothing in secret.  Why do you ask me?  Ask those who heard what I said.  They know what I said.”  When Jesus had said this, one of the high priest’s officers who stood nearby struck him on the face and said, “Is that the way you answer the high priest?”  Jesus replied, “If I have said something wrong, confirm what is wrong.  But if I spoke correctly, why strike me?”

John 18:19-23

Now the ones who had arrested Jesus led him to Caiaphas, the high priest, in whose house the experts in the law and the elders had gathered.

Matthew 26:57

Then they led Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests and elders and experts in the law came together.

Mark 14:53

…led him away, and brought him into the high priest’s house.

Luke 22:54b

Then Annas sent him, still tied up, to Caiaphas the high priest.

John 18:24

But Peter was following him from a distance, all the way to the high priest’s courtyard.

Matthew 26:58a

And Peter had followed him from a distance, up to the high priest’s courtyard.

Mark 14:54a

But Peter was following at a distance.

Luke 22:54c

After going in, he sat with the guards to see the outcome.

Matthew 26:58b

He was sitting with the guards and warming himself by the fire.

Mark 14:54b

When they had made a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them.

Luke 22:55

Meanwhile Simon Peter was standing in the courtyard warming himself.

John 18:25a

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were trying to find false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death.  But they did not find anything, though many false witnesses came forward.  Finally two came forward and declared, “This man said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’”

Matthew 26:59-61

The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find anything.  Many gave false testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree.  Some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:  “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands and in three days build another not made with hands.’”

Mark 14:55-58

Yet even on this point their testimony did not agree.

Mark 14:59

So the high priest stood up and said to him, “Have you no answer?  What is this that they are testifying against you?””

But Jesus was silent.

Matthew 26:62, 63a

Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer?  What is this that they are testifying against you?”

But he was silent and did not answer.

Mark 14:60, 61a

The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.”  Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.

Matthew 26:63b-64a

Again the high priest questioned him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?”

Mark 14:61b

“I am,” said Jesus…

Mark 14:62a

But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”  Then the high priest tore his clothes and declared, “He has blasphemed!  Why do we still need witnesses?  Now you have heard the blasphemy!  What is your verdict?”  They answered, “He is guilty and deserves death.”  Then they spat in his face…

Matthew 26:63b-67a

…“and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”  Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?  You have heard the blasphemy!  What is your verdict?”  They all condemned him as deserving death.  Then some began to spit on him…

Mark 14:62b-65a

…and to blindfold him…

Mark 14:65b

…and struck him with their fists.  And some slapped him, saying, “Prophesy for us, you Christ!  Who hit you?”

Matthew 26:67b-68

…and to strike him with their fists, saying, “Prophesy!”

Mark 14:65c

The guards also took him and beat him.

Matthew 14:65d

Now the men who were holding Jesus under guard began to mock him and beat him.

Luke 22:63

They blindfolded him and asked him repeatedly, “Prophesy!  Who hit you?”  They also said many other things against him, reviling him.

Luke 22:64, 65

When it was early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people plotted against Jesus to execute him.

Matthew 27:1

Early in the morning, after forming a plan…

Mark 15:1a

When day came, the council of the elders of the people gathered together, both the chief priests and the experts in the law.

Luke 22:66a

Then they led Jesus away to their council and said, “If you are the Christ, tell us.”  But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I ask you, you will not answer.  But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”  So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?”  He answered them, “You say that I am.”  Then they said, “Why do we need further testimony?   We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!”

Luke 22:66b-71

They tied him up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.

Matthew 27:2

…the chief priests with the elders and the experts in the law and the whole Sanhedrin tied Jesus up, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.

Mark 15:1b

 

Then the whole group of them rose up and brought Jesus before Pilate.

Luke 23:1

Then they brought Jesus from Caiaphas to the Roman governor’s residence.  (Now it was very early morning.)

John 18:28a

 

They did not go into the governor’s residence so they would not be ceremonially defiled, but could eat the Passover meal.

John 18:28b

So Pilate came outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?”  They replied, “If this man were not a criminal, we would not have handed him over to you.”

Pilate told them, “Take him yourselves and pass judgment on him according to your own law!”  The Jewish leaders replied, “We cannot legally put anyone to death.”  (This happened to fulfill the word Jesus had spoken when he indicated what kind of death he was going to die.)

John 18:29-32

They began to accuse him, saying, “We found this man subverting our nation, forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar and claiming that he himself is Christ, a king.”

Luke 23:2

Then Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Matthew 27:11a

So Pilate asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Mark 15:2a

 

 

So Pilate asked Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

Luke 23:3a

So Pilate went back into the governor’s residence, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”

John 18:33

Jesus replied, “Are you saying this on your own initiative, or have others told you about me?”  Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?  Your own people and your chief priests handed you over to me.  What have you done?”

Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not from this world.  If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish authorities.  But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”  Then Pilate said, “So you are a king!”

John 18:34-37a

Jesus said, “You say so.”

Matthew 27:11b

He replied, “You say so.”

Mark 15:2b

He replied, “You say so.”

Luke 23:3b

Jesus replied, “You say that I am a king.

John 18:37b

For this reason I was born, and for this reason I came into the world – to testify to the truth.  Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”  Pilate asked, “What is truth?”

When he had said this he went back outside to the Jewish leaders…

John 18:37c, 38a

Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no basis for an accusation against this man.”

Luke 23:4

…and announced, “I find no basis for an accusation against him.

John 18:38b

But when he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he did not respond.  Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how many charges they are bringing against you?”  But he did not answer even one accusation, so that the governor was quite amazed.

Matthew 27:12-14

Then the chief priests began to accuse him repeatedly.  So Pilate asked him again, “Have you nothing to say?  See how many charges they are bringing against you!”  But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.

Mark 15:3-5

During the feast the governor was accustomed to release one prisoner to the crowd, whomever they wanted.  At that time they had in custody a notorious prisoner named Jesus Barabbas.

Matthew 27:15, 16

During the feast it was customary to release one prisoner to the people, whomever they requested.  A man named Barabbas was imprisoned with rebels who had committed murder during an insurrection.

Mark 15:6, 7

But it is your custom that I release one prisoner for you at the Passover.  So do you want me to release for you the king of the Jews?”  Then they shouted back, “Not this man, but Barabbas!”  (Now Barabbas was a revolutionary.)

John 18:39, 40

But they persisted in saying, “He incites the people by teaching throughout all Judea.  It started in Galilee and ended up here!”

Now when Pilate heard this, he asked whether the man was a Galilean.  When he learned that he was from Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him over to Herod, who also happened to be in Jerusalem at that time.  When Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had long desired to see him, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see him perform some miraculous sign.  So Herod questioned him at considerable length; Jesus gave him no answer.  The chief priests and the experts in the law were there, vehemently accusing him.  Even Herod with his soldiers treated him with contempt and mocked him.  Then, dressing him in elegant clothes, Herod sent him back to Pilate.  That very day Herod and Pilate became friends with each other, for prior to this they had been enemies.

Luke 23:5-12

Then Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people.  When I examined him before you, I did not find this man guilty of anything you accused him of doing.  Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us.  Look, he has done nothing deserving death.  I will therefore have him flogged and release him.”

Luke 23:13-16

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged severely.  The soldiers braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they clothed him in a purple robe.  They came up to him again and again and said, “Hail, king of the Jews!”  And they struck him repeatedly in the face.

John 19:1-3

[1] John 13:36b (NET)

[2] Matthew 11:2a (NET)

[3] Matthew 11:5 (NET)

[4] John 5:20, 21 (NET)

[5] John 18:24 (NET)

[6] Matthew 26:59 (NET)

[7] Matthew 26:63b (NET)

[8] Mark 14:62 (NET)

[9] Matthew 26:68 (NET)

[10] Luke 22:63 (NET)

[11] Matthew 16:20 (NET)

[12] Matthew 16:21 (NET)

[13] Matthew 27:1 (NET)

[14] Luke 22:66b, 67a (NET)

[15] 2 Timothy 2:13 (NET)

[16] Luke 23:1 (NET)

[17] John 18:28b (NET)

[18] John 18:31 (NET)

[19] Luke 23:2 (NET)

[20] 1 Timothy 1:15 (NET)

[21] Mark 15:1 (NET)

[22] John 18:36a (NET)

[23] Matthew 27:12 (NET)

[24] John 1:11 (NET)

[25] Luke 23:5 (NET)

[26] Luke 23:10, 11 (NET)

[27] John 14:10b (NET)

Son of God – John, Part 4

This is round three of my attempt to determine whether that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light[1] is the judgment/condemnation God did not send his Son into the world to do[2] and has been done already to the one who does not believe,[3] or the basis for judging,[4] and the rationale or justification for condemning one to burn in hell for all eternity.  First, that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light could be a judgment.  (“Oh, you lover of darkness” is admittedly a bit weak as condemnation.)  But loving darkness rather than light is merely a preference, and cannot be a basis for judging apart from the reality that preference indicates:  because their deeds were evil.[5]  In other words evil deeds supply the power that justifies making a preference for darkness a basis for judging, and then condemning someone to hell.

I never thought to question the translation of πονηρὰ (a form of πονηρός)[6] as evil until I read the definitions in the NET online Bible: “1) full of labours, annoyances, hardships 1a) pressed and harassed by labours 1b) bringing toils, annoyances, perils; of a time full of peril to Christian faith and steadfastness; causing pain and trouble 2) bad, of a bad nature or condition 2a) in a physical sense: diseased or blind 2b) in an ethical sense: evil wicked, bad.”  But was Jesus speaking ethically as a moral philosopher?  It seems to me that I would have related to Him a whole lot sooner if that were the case.  I loved Socrates.

But before I substitute any other definitions I should point out that the NET translation is not alone in translating πονηρὰ evil.  The NAS and KJV use the word evil, too.  That is getting very close to the beginning of translating the New Testament into the English language.  This is a long tradition.  Perhaps the translators of the NAS and KJV didn’t know all the meanings for πονηρὰ that the translators of the NET had at their disposal.  So I’ll begin with the more limited definition from Strong’s Concordance: “hurtful, that is, evil (properly in effect or influence, and thus differing from G2556, which refers rather to essential character…).”

Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were [hurtful].[7]  Obviously, hurtful lacks the justificatory power of evil (e.g., the power to justify judging and condemning someone to hell), but it does sound like Jesus.

Saul, Saul, Jesus said, why are you persecuting me?  You are hurting yourself by kicking against the goads.[8]  The implication here was that Jesus had already reached out to Saul in other more subtle ways.  But Saul’s faith in his religion was so strong that it took nothing less than a personal appearance in all his glory (which Saul perceived as a blinding light and a voice) to persuade Saul to hear.  Jesus did not say, “Saul, Saul, you evil sinner, why are you arresting my followers and condemning them to death?”  His concern was that Saul’s persistent and stubborn resistance to the insistent and stubborn call of God was hard on Saul.

So I said, Paul (Saul) continued, “Who are you, Lord?”  And the Lord replied, “I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.  But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason, to designate you in advance as a servant and witness to the things you have seen and to the things in which I will appear to you.  I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness (σκότους)[9] to light (φῶς)[10] and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”[11]

So rather than standing back in ethical detachment as a moral philosopher, using people’s preference for darkness as a basis for judging and then condemning them to hell, this sounds as if Jesus sent Saul (Paul) to open their eyes so that they turn from darkness (σκότους) to light (φῶς) and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in [Jesus].  In this light then, that the light (φῶς) has come into the world and people loved the darkness (σκότος) rather than the light (φῶς) sounds more like a judgment than a basis for judging.  And this judgment prompted at least two action items on the divine to-do list.  It is the reason God sent his Son into the world, that the world should be saved through him, and the reason Jesus, the Son, sent Saul to open [Gentile’s] eyes.

To be fair to the NET translators, they didn’t think Jesus was speaking in John 3:19.  Perhaps John was speaking ethically as a moral philosopher.  So I turned to another instance of πονηρὰ translated evil in John’s Gospel.  The world cannot hate you, Jesus told his half brothers, but it hates me, because I am testifying (μαρτυρῶ, a form of μαρτυρέω)[12] about it that its deeds are evil (πονηρά).[13]  Again evil is used in all three translations, KJV, NAS and NET.

KJV

NAS

NET

7:7 The world cannot hate you; but me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil. “The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it, that its deeds are evil.” “The world cannot hate you, but it hates me, because I am testifying about it that its deeds are evil.”

If Jesus had been traveling around Judea “testifying” that people’s deeds were evil, it would seem a little bit like what God did not send his Son into the world to do (that is, judge or condemn the world).  But Jesus had also said, If I testify (μαρτυρῶ) about myself, my testimony is not true,[14] and, the deeds that the Father has assigned me to complete – the deeds I am now doing – testify (μαρτυρεῖ, another form of μαρτυρέω) about me that the Father has sent me.[15]  It isn’t hard for me to imagine that Jesus’ righteousness testified to those around Him that their deeds didn’t measure up.  But here I picked up the scent.  It will be harder to throw me off the trail.

The word evil conjures an image of sin and sinners, violations of God’s holy law.  But that doesn’t square with the Gospel narratives at all.  It wasn’t an angry mob of prostitutes and tax collectors that led Jesus to Golgotha.  It was a mob of religious people, indignant because his deeds of righteousness testified that their religious deeds were hurtful (as opposed to evil).  Their religion kept them from coming to Him.  He was ready to forgive their sin, their evil, but their faith in their religion and their own “righteous” deeds were the hurtful deeds that caused them so much harm.

I feel more confident now to substitute what the NET translators considered the first definition of πονηρὰ (a form of πονηρός):  Now this is the [judgment]: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were [full of labours, annoyances, and hardships].[16]  This definitely sounds like Jesus.  Come to me, He said, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.[17]

If I continue in this vein, rejecting the ethical definition of φαῦλα (a form of φαῦλος),[18] I get, For everyone who does [ordinary or worthless] deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed [e.g., as ordinary or worthless].  But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.[19]

While in is a perfectly acceptable translation of ἐν,[20] the NET translators used with 145 times and by 135 times in other places in the New Testament.  But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done [by] God, would have further highlighted the contrast between righteousness and ordinary or worthless religious works done in one’s own strength.

It seems to me now that the translation of πονηρά as evil in these two instances was at best the work of moral philosophers recasting Jesus in their own image.  At worst it was the religious mind reasserting itself while attempting to remain in the shadows by focusing the light away from itself and on to the evilBut Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, tax collectors and prostitutes will go ahead of you into the kingdom of God!”[21]

Son of God – John, Part 5

Back to Antichrist – Part 3

Back to Son of God – 1 John, Part 1

Back to Fear – Exodus, Part 9

Back to Torture, Part 1

Back to Romans, Part 51

Back to My Reasons and My Reason, Part 6

Back to Romans, Part 79

Back to Who Am I? Part 5

Back to To Make Holy, Part 1

Back to Who Am I? Part 6

Back to My Deeds, Part 2


[1] John 3:19 (NET)

[2] John 3:17 (NET)

[3] John 3:18 (NET)

[4] John 3:19 (NET)

[5] John 3:19b (NET)

[7] John 3:19 (NET)

[8] Acts 26:14b (NET)

[11] Acts 26:15-18 (NET)

[13] John 7:7 (NET)

[14] John 5:31 (NET)

[15] John 5:36b (NET)

[16] John 3:19 (NET)

[17] Matthew 11:28-30 (NET)

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

[21] Matthew 21:31b (NET)

Son of God – John, Part 3

This is round two of my attempt to determine whether that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light[1] is the judgment/condemnation God did not send his Son into the world to do[2] and has been done already to the one who does not believe,[3] or the basis for judging,[4] and the rationale or justification for another unspecified judgment/condemnation.  Secondly, assuming that this unspecified judgment/condemnation is to burn in hell for all eternity, I am attempting to discover whether John 3:16-21 offers any scriptural support for the gospel I was socialized into: believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or burn in hell for all eternity.

Jesus certainly taught his disciples about hell (γέεννα).[5]  The note in the NET provides a brief historical sketch: “The word translated hell is ‘Gehenna’ (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (‘Valley of Hinnom’). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2, 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36).”

Jesus said, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.[6]  Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him![7]  Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!  You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves![8]  You snakes, you offspring of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to hell?[9]

He made the following comparisons:  It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.[10]  It is better for you to enter into life crippled than to have two hands and go into hell, to the unquenchable fire.[11]  It is better to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.[12]  It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell.[13]  It is better to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies and the fire is never quenched.[14]  And finally Jesus said, whoever says “Fool” will be sent to fiery hell.[15]

That is some strong language.  It lends credence to the NET translation, Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light[16]  After all, this section begins with the statement that God gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.[17]  The Greek word translated willperish is ἀπόληται (a form of ἀπόλλυμι).[18]  (The negation is μὴ.)  One of the metaphorical definitions of ἀπόληται according to the NET online Bible is: “1e) metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell.”  It is translated lose in Matthew 5:29, 30 (NET).

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away!  It is better to lose (ἀπόληται) one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.  If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away!  It is better to lose (ἀπόληται) one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell.

It was translated be lost in the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:10, 12-14 NET).

See that you do not disdain one of these little ones [who believe in me[19]].  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven…What do you think?  If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.  In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing (οὐκ[20] ἔστιν[21] θέλημα[22]) that one of these little ones be lost (ἀπόληται).

It was translated will perish when Jesus foretold his disciples’ future (Luke 21:10-19 NET):

Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.  But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons.  You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.  This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses.  Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense.  For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death.  You will be hated by everyone because of my name.  Yet not a hair of your head will perish (ἀπόληται).  By your endurance you will gain your lives.

When they were all satisfied, after Jesus fed 5,000 or more people with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted (ἀπόληται).”[23]  But ἀπόληται was translated to perish once again in John’s Gospel when Caiaphas prophesied (John 11:49-53 NET).

Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish (ἀπόληται).”  (Now he did not say this on his own, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish nation, and not for the Jewish nation only, but to gather together into one the children of God who are scattered.)  So from that day they planned together to kill him.

“He was led like a sheep to slaughter, and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  In humiliation justice (κρίσις)[24] was taken from him.  Who can describe his posterity?  For his life was taken away from the earth.”[25]  This was the passage from Isaiah that the Ethiopian eunuch read (aloud presumably) when Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to accompany his chariot on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza.  Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet saying this about – himself or someone else?”  So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him.[26]

This translation of κρίσις as justice leads me back to the translation of κρίσις as the basis for judging, for what is justice if not a basis for judging?  Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.[27]  Viewed this way people were not condemned to be given over to eternal misery in hell because they loved the darkness rather than the light, but because loving the darkness rather than the light demonstrated that their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds 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 have been done in God.[28]

One of the definitions of πονηρὰ (a form of πονηρός),[29] the word translated evil in verse 19, is “evil wicked, bad.”  And one of the definitions of φαῦλα (a form of φαῦλος),[30] the word translated evil deeds in verse 20, is “bad, base, wicked.”

Son of God – John, Part 4


[1] John 3:19 (NET)

[2] John 3:17 (NET)

[3] John 3:18 (NET)

[4] John 3:19 (NET)

[6] Matthew 10:28 (NET)

[7] Luke 12:5 (NET)

[8] Matthew 23:15 (NET)

[9] Matthew 23:33 (NET)

[10] Matthew 5:29, 30 (NET)

[11] Mark 9:43 (NET)

[12] Mark 9:45 (NET)

[13] Matthew 18:9 (NET)

[14] Mark 9:47, 48 (NET)

[15] Matthew 5:22 (NET)

[16] John 3:19 (NET)

[17] John 3:16 (NET)

[23] John 6:12 (NET)

[25] Acts 8:32, 33 (NET)

[26] Acts 8:34, 35 (NET)

[27] John 3:19 (NET)

[28] John 3:20, 21 (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)