CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

Introductory note from Jason Pratt: see here for the previous entry; and see here for the first entry of the series. (It explains what I'm doing, and how, and contains the Johannine prologue.)

I originally posted this entry and all subsequent ones, from Lent to just after Easter of 2007. My original rationale for choosing to begin posting these entries to the Cadre Journal, has been moved to a comment below, for archiving purposes.

The Resolution of the King

Now some people are coming into Bethsaida (says the Follower, meaning Bethsaida-Julias on the northern side of Galilee lake--Jesus is going back for a while to where the His opponents among the Jewish religious authorities wouldn't be normally following.)

And they are bringing to Him a blind man, pleading that He should be touching him.

Now taking hold of the blind man's hand, He brings him out of the village; and, spitting into his eyes, placing hands on him, He asked him, "Are you seeing anything?"

But looking up, he said: "... I am seeing people--I see them walk, and they are like trees...!"

After this He places hands on his eyes again, and he is keen-sighted; and so he was restored, and he looked at all distinctly.

But He sent him into his home, saying: "Do not even enter the village."


Now (say the Scholar and the Follower and the Disciple), Jesus and His disciples went out into the villages near Caesarea Philippi (back north again, into the 'pagan' districts of Iturea and Trachonitis, where Philip son of Herod the Great reigned as tetrarch under the Romans).

And on the way, it happened He was praying alone with His disciples; and He questioned them: "Who do the crowds say is the Son of Man?"

And they told Him saying, "John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and yet others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets of old, risen again (from the grave)."

Yet He questioned them again: "But you... who do you say that I am?"

Now Simon Peter answered and said to Him: "You are the Anointed King, the Son of the living God."

And Jesus answered and said to him: "Be happy, Simon bar-Jona!--for flesh and blood does not reveal this to you, but My Father in the heavens!

"Now I am also saying to you, that you are 'Petros' (a rock), and on the rock of this I will be building My church, and the gates of the unseen (of 'Hades') shall not be down-strong against it!

"I will be giving the keys of the kingdom of heavens to you.

"Now: whatever you bind together on earth shall be what has been bound in the heavens; and whatever you should be freeing on earth shall be those that have been freed in the heavens."

But... then He strongly warns His disciples, commanding them, to tell no one of this--that He is the Anointed King.


From this time onward (probably forty days or so before the Passover week), King Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, saying the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the priests and the chiefs of priests and the scribes; and be killed; and be raised up again on the third day.

And He was stating the matter plainly.

Yet Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him!--saying, "By God's mercy to you, Master! This absolutely shall not be for you!"

But being turned around (by Peter), and seeing His disciples, He said to Peter:

"Go!--behind Me, Satan!!--You are a snare to Me: for you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man!"

And calling the crowds to Him, together with His disciples, He said to them:

"If anyone wants to come after Me, then let him deny himself, and pick up his cross every day--and follow Me!

"For whoever wishes to save his soul shall lose it--shall be destroying it!

"But whoever loses his soul, even destroys it, for My sake, and for the good news’ sake--he is the one who shall save it!

"For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world--yet to destroy or forfeit himself??

"For what may any person give, in exchange for his soul?

"For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this generation--an adulteress and a sinner!--the Son of Man will also be ashamed of _this_ one, whenever He may be arriving in the glory of His Father with the holy angels!

"For the Son of Man shall be arriving in the glory of His Father with His angels--and (as it is written of God, in Proverbs and the Psalms) 'will then be paying each according to his doing'."

And He said to them, "Now I tell you truly: some of those are standing here who absolutely shall not taste of death, until they see the Son of Man arriving in His kingdom--the kingdom of God having come, in power!"


Now it happened (tell the Scholar, the Disciple and the Follower), that six days later (about eight days, the Scholar says)...

Jesus is taking Peter and James and also John his brother, and is bringing them up a very high mountain alone to pray.

And as he prayed, He was transformed in front of them!

And to their eyes, His face shines as the sun!--and His clothes became white, glistening as the light!

As white as snow (adds the Follower); whiter than any laundry soap on earth could make them!

And look! they see two men are holding a counsel together with Him, who were Moses and Elijah; who, being seen in the glory (from Jesus), spoke of His exodus ('going forth'), which He was about to be completing in Jerusalem.

Now (the Scholar adds) Peter and the others with Him had been falling asleep; yet, being alerted, they perceived His glory and the two men standing together with Him.

Now as they are going away, Peter answers (this event), saying: "Rabbi! It is for the best for us to be here! If you wish, I--we--shall be making three dwelling tents (tabernacles, as where the Glory of God did live among the Israelites of old)--one for you! And one for Moses! And one for Elijah!"--but, he didn't quite know what he was saying about this, for they were terrified.

But as he is still speaking, look!--there comes a shining cloud to overshadow them; and they are afraid as they enter the cloud.

And listen!--from the cloud there comes a Voice, saying:

"This is My Son, the Beloved in Whom I delight! Hear Him!"

And hearing this, the disciples fall on their faces; and were tremendously afraid.

But Jesus approached; and touching them, He said, "Get up, and fear not!"

And suddenly, looking around, the Voice having come--they no longer saw that anyone else was with them, except for Jesus Himself.


But, as they are coming down from the mountain, He cautions them: "Now, you must tell no one of this vision, till whenever the Son of Man has risen from the dead."

Now they seized this word, discussing toward each other, what might be the rising from the dead.

And His disciples inquire of Him, saying, "Why then do the scribes and Pharisees say that Elijah must be coming first?"

Now He strongly answered them, declaring: "Elijah (literally 'God the Lord') is certainly coming, and is restoring all! Yet how is it written then of the Son of Man, that He must suffer much and may be scorned?

"Now I am also saying to you: Elijah came already, and no one recognized him; but they do to him whatever they wish, as it is written of him. Thus the Son of Man will also suffer by them soon."

So the disciples understand, He spoke concerning John the Baptist.

And they hush; and in those days, they tell no one of anything they saw.


Now it happened on the next day, at their coming down the mountain, they come to the disciples, and perceive a multitude (scattered here and there) around them--and scribes disputing with them!

And He is questioning the scribes: "What are you discussing with yourselves?"

Now a man came to Him from the crowd, falling on his knees before Him, saying, "Rabbi, look upon my son, my only-begotten child, whom I am bringing you!--for he is moonstruck, and is having evil times. Now look!--a spirit gets on him, and suddenly he shouts, and it is tearing and convulsing him, with frothing and with grating teeth, and it goes away from him with difficulty, bruising him. He is withering away! And I asked of your disciples to be sending it away--and they could not!"

And He, answering, says toward them: "O unbelieving and perverse generation! How long shall I be with you!? How long shall I put up with you!? Bring him toward Me."

And they bring him.

But seeing Him, the spirit violently convulses him, and falling straightway to the ground, he wallowed, frothing.

Now He asks his father, "How much time is it since this has come to him?"

And he said, "...from a little boy. And it often casts him in the fire, and in the water also, that it might destroy him! But if you have any power, help us and show mercy on us!"

But Jesus said to him, "Why the 'if'? You are able to believe. All is possible to the one who believes."

Immediately the father of the little boy, crying tears, said:

"I am believing! ... help my unbelief...!"

Now all the crowd were overawed at seeing Jesus; but Jesus, seeing that the throng is racing on together, crying out salutes to Him, rebukes the unclean spirit, saying to it: "Dumb and deaf-mute spirit, I command you to come out of him, and by no means may you be going in him any longer!"

And crying and convulsing much, it came out.

But he became as if dead!--so that most nearby are saying that he died!

Yet Jesus held his hand, and pulled him up, and the little boy arose.

And from that hour, he was cured.

And Jesus gives the father back his little boy.

And all were greatly marveling, at God's magnificence.

...but while everyone was marveling at all which Jesus did, He said to His disciples:

"You be laying up these sayings in your ears!--for the Son of Man will soon be given up into the hands of men."

But they were ignorant about this declaration, and so it was hidden from them that they might not know it.

And they feared to ask Him of this declaration.


But when He went into a house, His disciples did inquire of Him in private:

"Why could we not cast it out...?"

And He said to them, "Because of your scant faith, this species cannot come out but by prayer and fasting.

"For truly I am telling you: if you should have faith as a mustard seed, you shall be saying to this mountain, 'Move along!--over there!' and it shall be proceeding!

"And all things will be possible for you."

Matthew 16:13-28
Matthew 17:1-21
Mark 8:22-38
Mark 9:1-29
Luke 9:18-45

[Next time: The Salting in Capernaum]


[Note: the following entry archives relevant portions of my original introduction to this series of entries, which began in Lent season 2007 with this entry. Other relevant portions of the original introduction are represented in the new introduction to the whole King of Stories series. The recent-plot-summary-up-to-now has been permanently omitted, though, since the entries covering that plot are now themselves existent.]

John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg, of Jesus Seminar infamy, will be releasing a co-authored study of the final week of Jesus' life next week (appropriately); focusing entirely on GosMark, over against the other canonical texts, if their recent [2007] article-synopsis in Christian Century is any indication. It actually isn't all that bad as an article, despite some bizarre insistences (the crowd who arrives to demand Pilate acceed to a local religious custom and release a criminal condemned to die as a rebel against Rome, are supposed to be supporters of the establishment??!?) and despite some freakish pot/kettle moments (the article diatribes against certain Protestant tendencies to read a particular atonement theory into the details of the texts--but spends a substantial amount of time doing exactly the same thing to Gibson's Passion of the Christ movie on far less obvious ground!) Also the authors insist (with italics) in this article that the reason Jesus went to Jerusalem was to challenge the power of Rome and its Imperial violence--along with, y'know, those religious collaborators. Weirdly, though, even in their synopsis account of the final week, Jesus doesn't engage the Roman authorities at all. He still ends up handed over to Roman power as a corollary to execution; and the authors elide past the fact that even in GosMark Pilate makes obvious efforts to release Jesus against the Sanhedrin. So much for collaboration! (It doesn't take much imagination to observe the authors trying to read a critique of 'church collaboration with American imperialism and violence' into the story. It doesn't take much imagination to figure that this is a main reason why Christian Century agreed to run the article, either.)

Aside from things like that, though, it isn't all that bad as an article. Seriously!

Anyway, it occurred to me that since they're obviously going to play one text off against another (among other things), and since I happen to agree with them that larger contexts are important (and often ignored) in understanding what happened and why, I suggested to the Cadre moderators that perhaps we should make a wider context of data available.

This series represents chapters of a book I've been composing for several years--thus explaining why it has chapter titles--and is very much a work in progress, I assure you; so comments are quite welcome.

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