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

Back to Romans, Part 87

[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)

Romans, Part 79

Now receive the one who is weak in the faith,[1] Paul wrote, still describing love for believers in Rome.  The Greek word translated weak is ἀσθενοῦντα (a form of ἀσθενέω).  The righteous will ask the Son of Man, When did we see you sick (ἀσθενοῦντα, a form of ἀσθενέω) or in prison and visit you?[2]  For the Son of Man had said to them (Matthew 25:34b-36 NET):

Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick (ἠσθένησα, another form of ἀσθενέω) and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.

Love will receive the ἀσθενοῦντα τῇ πίστει (the faith-sick or faith-weak[3]).  The word translated receive is προσλαμβάνεσθε (a form of προσλαμβάνω).  Receive (προσλαμβάνεσθε, a form of προσλαμβάνω) one another, then, just as Christ also received (προσελάβετο, another form of προσλαμβάνω) you, to God’s glory.[4]  After we had safely reached shore, Luke wrote about a shipwreck, we learned that the island was called Malta.  The local inhabitants showed us extraordinary kindness,[5] for they built a fire and welcomed (προσελάβοντο, another form of προσλαμβάνω) all because (διὰ) it had started to rain and was cold.[6]  All included Roman soldiers, sailors and their prisoners.  But the meaning of προσλαμβάνω doesn’t end there (Acts 18:24-26 NET):

Now a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus.  He was an eloquent speaker, well-versed in the scriptures.  He had been instructed in the way of the Lord, and with great enthusiasm he spoke and taught accurately the facts about Jesus, although he knew only the baptism of John.  He began to speak out fearlessly in the synagogue, but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside (προσελάβοντο, another form of προσλαμβάνω) and explained the way of God to him more accurately.

This calls for some humility and patience with every new encounter, at least until one determines who is the least faith-sick or faith-weak (Matthew 16:21-23 NET):

From that time on Jesus 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, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.  So Peter took him aside (προσλαβόμενος, another form of προσλαμβάνω) and began to rebuke him: “God forbid, Lord!  This must not happen to you!”  But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan!  You are a stumbling block to me, because you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but on man’s.”

Granted, Jesus was very direct before Peter had received the Holy Spirit.  I think the rest of us, if we discern that we are the least faith-sick or faith-weak in a particular encounter, will need even more humility and patience if our goal is to win a brother rather than an argument.  Peter might have benefited from Paul’s teaching on this receiving love.

Now receive the one who is weak in the faith, and do not have disputes over differing opinions.[7]  The word translated disputes is διακρίσεις (a form of διάκρισις).  The goal is that we all become the mature, whose perceptions are trained (γεγυμνασμένα, a form of γυμνάζω; that naked exercise with the Holy Spirit) by practice to discern (διάκρισιν, another form of διάκρισις) both good and evil.[8]  And the διακρίσεις πνευμάτων (discernment of spirits) is a manifestation of the Spirit.  But the way of love does not receive, welcome or take one aside to dispute over differing opinions.  Or as the NAS rendered it: Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions.[9]

The Greek word translated differing opinions is διαλογισμῶν (a form of διαλογισμός).  James wrote about κριταὶ διαλογισμῶν πονηρῶν (judges with evil motives).  It’s an interesting translation of διαλογισμῶν because my motives were the instant object of concern when I discussed my ideas with my elders.  Simeon prophesied over Jesus as a baby, as a result of him the thoughts (διαλογισμοί, another form of διαλογισμός) of many hearts will be revealed[10] (ἀποκαλυφθῶσιν, a form of ἀποκαλύπτω).  For out of the heart come evil ideas (διαλογισμοὶ, another form of διαλογισμός), Jesus said, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are the things that defile a person[11]  The words translated evil ideas in Mark’s Gospel are οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ, and here in Matthew’s διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί.

I grasped κακοὶ (a form of κακός) immediately.  My idea that group sex was the way of peace was truly οἱ διαλογισμοὶ οἱ κακοὶ.  But understanding πονηροί (a form of πονηρός) has taken me the better part of a lifetime.  My idea that I could become righteous by turning Paul’s definition of love into rules I obeyed in my own strength, no matter how well-intentioned, was also one of my evil ideas, διαλογισμοὶ πονηροί.  Matthew recorded what happened when some people broughta paralytic lying on a stretcher[12] to Jesus (Matthew 9:2b-5 NET).

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Have courage, son!  Your sins are forgiven.”  Then some of the experts in the law said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming!”  When Jesus saw their reaction (ἐνθυμήσεις, a form of ἐνθύμησις) he said, “Why do you respond with evil in your hearts?  Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?

The Greek word translated evil above is πονηρὰ (another form of πονηρός; hurtful, full of labours, annoyances, hardships) contrasted immediately with easier (εὐκοπώτερον, a form of εὐκοπώτερος; better for toil, more facile, with easy labour, easy).  By the way the word translated respond above is ἐνθυμεῖσθε (a form of ἐνθυμέομαι); to be inspirited, ponder, to bring to mind, revolve in mind, to think, to deliberate).  I note that Paul did not choose a form of ἐνθυμέομαι or ἐνθύμησις (deliberation, thinking, consideration, thoughts) in Romans 14:1.  But Luke, narrating the same story, called the law experts’ reaction διαλογισμοὺς (another form of διαλογισμός), translated hostile thoughts (Luke 5:21, 22 NET):

Then the experts in the law and the Pharisees began to think (διαλογίζεσθαι, a form of διαλογίζομαι) to themselves, “Who is this man who is uttering blasphemies?  Who can forgive sins but God alone?”  When Jesus perceived their hostile thoughts, he said to them, “Why are you raising objections (διαλογίζεσθε, another form of διαλογίζομαι) within yourselves?”

When Peter falsely assumed he was the least faith-sick and took Jesus aside and explained the way of God to him more accurately, Jesus smacked him fairly hard with his words.  When the experts in the law (and, in Luke’s Gospel narrative, the Pharisees) questioned—Who can forgive sins but God alone—Jesus answered with deeds more than words (Luke 5:23-25 NET):

“Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and walk’?  But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” – he said to the paralyzed man – “I tell you, stand up, take your stretcher and go home.”  Immediately he stood up before them, picked up the stretcher he had been lying on, and went home, glorifying God.

Another example follows (Luke 6:6-11 NET):

On another Sabbath, Jesus entered the synagogue and was teaching.  Now a man was there whose right hand was withered.  The experts in the law and the Pharisees watched Jesus closely to see if he would heal on the Sabbath, so that they could find a reason to accuse him.  But he knew their thoughts (διαλογισμοὺς, another form of διαλογισμός), and said to the man who had the withered hand, “Get up and stand here.”  So he rose and stood there.  Then Jesus said to them, “I ask you, is it lawful to do good (ἀγαθοποιῆσαι, a form of ἀγαθοποιέω) on the Sabbath or to do evil (κακοποιῆσαι, a form of κακοποιέω), to save a life or to destroy it?”  After looking around at them all, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”  The man did so, and his hand was restored.  But they were filled with mindless rage (ἀνοίας, a form of ἄνοια) and began debating (διελάλουν, a form of διαλαλέω) with one another what they would do to Jesus.

It is easy to criticize the experts in the law and the Pharisees.  But I am fairly certain if an apostle walked into my childhood church, preached a sermon that questioned the force or validity of any of our cherished religious beliefs and healed the sickest most beloved person in the congregation to make his point, we would have called it a lying wonder.  I’ve had my own issues with Jesus and the Sabbath.[13]

In the Gospel harmony below Jesus demonstrated this receiving, welcoming and taking aside love with his disciples without disputing their opinions; in fact He didn’t even confront them directly with their opinions:

Matthew 18:1-5 (NET)

Mark 9:33-37 (NET)

Luke 9:46-48 (NET)

Now an argument (διαλογισμὸς, another form of διαλογισμός) started among the disciples as to which of them might be the greatest.
Then they came to Capernaum.  After Jesus was inside the house he asked them, “What were you discussing (διελογίζεσθε, another form of διαλογίζομαι) on the way?”  But they were silent, for on the way they had argued (διελέχθησαν, a form of διαλέγομαι) with one another about who was the greatest.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
After he sat down, he called the twelve and said to them, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”
But when Jesus discerned their innermost thoughts (διαλογισμὸν, another form of διαλογισμός)…
He called a child, had him stand among them… He took a little child and had him stand among them. he took a child, had him stand by his side
…and said, “I tell you the truth, unless you turn around and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven!  Whoever then humbles himself like this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Taking him in his arms, he said to them… …and said to them…
And whoever welcomes (δέξηται, a form of δέχομαι) a child like this in my name welcomes (δέχεται, another form of δέχομαι) me. “Whoever welcomes (δέξηται, a form of δέχομαι) one of these little children in my name welcomes (δέχεται, another form of δέχομαι) me, and whoever welcomes me (δέχηται, another form of δέχομαι) does not welcome me (δέχεται, another form of δέχομαι) but the one who sent me.” “Whoever welcomes (δέξηται, a form of δέχομαι) this child in my name welcomes (δέχεται, another form of δέχομαι) me, and whoever welcomes (δέξηται, a form of δέχομαι) me welcomes (δέχεται, another form of δέχομαι) the one who sent me, for the one who is least among you all is the one who is great.”

Luke recorded yet another example how Jesus handled his disciples διαλογισμοὶ.  Cleopas and another disciple had heard the rumor—a vision of angels, who said he was alive[14]—but left Jerusalem for Emmaus anyway.  The resurrected Jesus walked with them, inquired about and listened to their discussion.  Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them the things written about himself in all the scriptures.[15]  But their religion and unbelief blinded them.  They didn’t recognize Him until he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.[16]  Then he vanished out of their sight.[17]  The story continued (Luke 24:33-43 NET):

So they got up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem.  They found the eleven and those with them gathered together and saying, “The Lord has really risen, and has appeared to Simon!”  Then they told what had happened on the road, and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.  While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  But they were startled and terrified, thinking they saw a ghost.  Then he said to them, “Why are you frightened, and why do doubts (διαλογισμοὶ, another form of διαλογισμός) arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet; it’s me!  Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones like you see I have.”  When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  And while they still could not believe it (because of their joy) and were amazed, he said to them, “Do you have anything here to eat?”  So they gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in front of them.

The only way I know to show his resurrection rather than tell it is to be led by his Spirit, to demonstrate his love, his joy, his peace, his patience, his kindness, his goodness, his faithfulness, his gentleness and his self-control.  And yet, the reasoning, differing opinions, debates and nagging doubts of my heart, which make me feel like one of the foolish people…slow of heart to believe,[18] is that I love too much.

Romans, Part 80

[1] Romans 14:1a (NET)

[2] Matthew 25:39 (NET)

[3] I think “in the faith” would probably take the form of ἐν τῇ ἀνατολῇ (in the East), ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ (in the wilderness), ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ (in the house), ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ (in the kingdom), ἐν τῇ πρύμνῃ (in the stern), ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ (in the synagogue), ἐν τῇ κρίσει (in the judgment) or ἐν τῇ πίστει (in the faith).

[4] Romans 15:7 (NET)

[5] τὴν τυχοῦσαν φιλανθρωπίαν

[6] Acts 28:1, 2 (NET)

[7] Romans 14:1 (NET)

[8] Hebrews 5:14b (NET)

[9] Romans 14:1 (NAS)

[10] Luke 2:35a (NET)

[11] Matthew 15:19, 20a (NET)  Also Mark 7:21-23

[12] Matthew 9:2a (NET)

[13] Romans, Part 11; Romans, Part 12; Romans, Part 26; Justice and Mercy; Romans, Part 54; My Reasons and My Reason, Part 6; Romans, Part 70

[14] Luke 24:23b (NET)

[15] Luke 24:27 (NET)

[16] Luke 24:30 (NET)

[17] Luke 24:31b (NET)

[18] Luke 24:25a (NET)