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.)

Due to plot complexities and subtleties, I will need to give more overt plotnotes (not just parenthetical helps like this) as things progress. This plot tracking won't really kick in until the end begins in Gethsemane, but I thought I'd mention it now since I'll have to include more notes than usual in this entry today.

The title of today's entry comes from a portion of the seder service where the burn-striped unleavened bread is hidden for a time. A turn of phrase used by the Evangelist, and the fact that the seder meal is being prepared for in this chapter, suggested the title to me.


The Hiding of the Bread (the day before the end...)

Then (say the Scholar, Disciple and Follower) was coming the first day of Unleavened Bread, on which the Passover (lamb) must be sacrificed.

Now He (Jesus) sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat it."


[Plotnote: In specially problematic or important circumstances, the seder may be held one night early rather than risk not keeping it at all--the typical reason being that a battle must be fought on the morrow. Jesus is asking Peter and John to make sure there is someone preparing a quiet place, and bread, and lamb and other things for them on Thursday night, which in that year was the first of two days in which the Passover could be celebrated. By holding the service one night early, Jesus might as well be telling them that there will be a fight tomorrow--which in fact He has been telling them, since the Transfiguration. It just isn’t the kind of battle they insist on expecting. The Lamb, however, knows that He will be unable to celebrate the Passover ceder tomorrow night with His followers...]


And they said to Him, "Where do You want us to make it ready?"

And He said to them, "Look close!--when you have entered the city (i.e. Jerusalem), a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him into the house he enters. Now you shall say to the head of the house, 'The Rabbi says to you, "My time is at hand. I am to keep the Passover at your house. Where is My 'caravansarai' in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"' And this one will show you a large, furnished, upper-room.

"Make it ready there."

And they went, and found it just as He had told them.

And they prepared the Passover.


[Plotnote: observe the very unusual word for such a request: 'kataluma', or caravanserai, would not normally be used, even for an 'inn', in such a situation. i.e., this is a code, so that the head of the house, whoever he or she may be, will know that it really is Jesus Who is asking. It is a very appropriate codeword, though, since Jesus and His ‘caravan’ will not be staying here long...]


.......

Now (the Evangelist takes his turn of the tale for a moment), there were some Greeks from the ones going up in the Feast(week) to worship.

So these came to Philip--from Bethsaida of Galilee (the Evangelist reminds his audience, meaning Bethsaida-Julius, the town that would have more ‘Greeks’ in it)--and they asked of him, saying, "Sir, we want to become acquainted with Jesus."

Philip is coming and telling Andrew; and again, Andrew and Philip are coming and telling Jesus.

Yet Jesus (apparently in the streets of the city but not in the Temple, according to the details of the previous day) is answering them, saying:

"The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: if a kernel of grain, falling into the earth, should not be dying, it is remaining alone... yet if it should be dying, it is bringing much fruit.

"The one who is fond of his soul destroys it, but the one who rejects his soul in this world shall guard it for God's own life.

"If any should serve Me, then let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will also be. And if any should serve Me, the Father shall honor him.

"But My soul is so grieved...


"Yet, what should I be saying?! 'Beloved Father, save Me from this hour'!?

"It was for this reason that I came into this hour... ... Beloved Father! May Your name be glorified!"


Then--a voice came, out of the heaven:


"I DO GLORIFY, AND SHALL BE CERTAINLY GLORIFYING AGAIN!!"


So the group standing (nearby) hears this, and said: "A thunderclap comes!" Others said, "An angel has spoken to Him!"

Jesus answered and said, "This Voice has not come for My sake, but for you!

"Now is the judging of this world! Now shall the Chief of this world be ejected!

"Yet, if I should be raised up out of the earth, I shall be drawing everything toward Myself!!"

Now He said this (explains the Evangelist), signifying what death He would soon be dying.

But the group (of Greeks from Bethsaida-Julias?) answered Him, "We hear from the Law (actually the Prophets) that the King Anointed remains into the eon; yet why are you saying the Son of Man must be lifted up??" "Who is this 'Son of Man'??"

Jesus then said to them:

"The Light is still among you for a little time. Be walking while you have the light, lest the darkness may overtake you. Now, whoever is walking in the darkness cannot see where he is going.

"As you have the light, be trusting the Light, that you may become the heir-children of Light."

Now Jesus cries out, and said:

"Whoever is trusting in Me, is not trusting Me, but the One Who sends Me!

"And whoever sees Me, is seeing the One Who sends Me!!

"I have come into the world, as Light--that everyone trusting in Me should not be remaining in darkness!

"Yet... if anyone ever should hear My declarations and will not keep them... I am not judging him. For I did not come that I may be judging the world--but so that I may be saving the world!!

"He who rejects Me and does not receive My declarations, does have something judging him: the word that I speak. That will be judging him in the last day, because I do not speak on My own authority. But the Father Who sends Me--He has given the command to Me what I may be saying and what I may speak.

"And I am aware what His command is:


"'Life eonian!!' (Life from the Everlasting, i.e. God's own life.)


"So what I speak, thus I do speak;

"just as the Father has told Me."


These things Jesus says; and (then) going away, He was hidden from them.


.......

Yet (says the Evangelist)--after He had done so many signs in front of them...

they did not trust Him.

Thus the word of Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled,


Lord, who believes our news?
And the arm of the Lord--to whom was it revealed?!



So, they could not believe.


See that Isaiah said again:

He has blinded their eyes
and hardens their hearts

lest their eyes may see
and their hearts understand
and may be turning around (repenting)
--_yet I shall be healing them!_



Isaiah said these things, because he perceived His glory, and speaks concerning Him.


And yet (the Evangelist emphasizes)--many of the chiefs did also trust in Him!

But likewise, because of the Pharisees, they also did not stand up, lest they might be put from the synagogue--for they are loving the glory from people...

rather than even the glory of God.


.......

Now before the Passover (all the storytellers join in harmony...)

When at the evening hour (but before the sun had set), He came with the twelve (to the place prepared by Peter and John).

Jesus knows that His hour has come, that He should depart from the world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world--He does love them (the Evangelist promises) into the uttermost completion!

Yet during the supper, the devil has already put into the heart of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Him.


Now as they were reclining (at the table for the regular supper, before the seder ritual), there arose a dispute among them (one more time!): which one of them was considered to be the greatest?

[Plotnote: bickering over the seating arrangements probably. Pay attention later to what these were...]

Jesus, knowing that the Father has given all things into His hands, and that He has come forth from God and is going back to God, rose from the supper, and laid aside His (outer) garments; and taking a towel, He wrapped it around Himself.

Then He poured water into the basin, and began to wash the feet of the disciples, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was wrapped.

(...beyond how a slave would be expected to serve even commoners...)

And so He came to Simon Peter, who is saying to Him: "Master!! Do you wash my feet?!"

Jesus answered and said to him, "You do not yet understand what I am doing... but you will understand later."

Peter said to Him, "May it never be, that you should wash my feet!!"

Jesus answered him: "If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me!"


Simon Peter said to Him, "...sir--not my feet only then, but also my hands and my head."


Jesus said to him, "Whoever has been washed, needs only to wash his feet, but is (otherwise) completely clean. And you are clean.

"But... not all of you are."

For He knew the one who was betraying Him; this (explains the Evangelist) is why He said, "Not all of you are clean."


And so when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and reclined (at the table) again, He said to them:

"Do you understand what I have done to you?

"You call Me 'Rabbi', and 'Lord'--and you say well! For so I am.

"So: if I, the Lord and the Teacher wash your feet... you ought to wash each other's feet!

"For I have given to you an example, that you should also do as I have done to you.

"The kings of the pagans lord it over them; and the pressing authorities over them are called the 'Benefactors'!

"But, not so with you! But let him who is the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as the servant.

"For, who is greater?--the one who reclines (to eat), or the one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines? But I am among you all as the One Who serves!

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: a slave is not greater than his Master; neither is one who is sent greater than the One who sends him!

"Now, you are those who have stood by Me in My trials; and just as My Father has granted Me a kingdom, I grant you, that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and you all will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

"If you understand these things, you will be happy if you do them.

"I do not speak of all of you, but I know the ones whom I have chosen (i.e. to judge the tribes of Israel, when the kingdom comes); yet that the Scripture (in the Psalm) may be fulfilled:

"'He who eats my bread has lifted up his heel against me.'

"I am telling you beforehand what is happening after this, so that when it does occur, you may trust: I AM.

"I promise, I promise, I tell you the truth: whoever receives whomever I send, is receiving Me; and he who is receiving Me, receives the One Who sends Me."


When Jesus had said this, He began growling in His soul, and swore, and strongly declared:


"I promise... I promise... I tell you the truth:


"one of you is betraying Me!!


"Now look!--the hand of the one betraying Me is with Me on the table. For indeed, the Son of Man is going, as it has been determined... but wail for that man, by whom He is betrayed...! It would have been good if that man had not been born!"


The disciples started looking at one another, at a loss about whom He was declaring. And they began discussing among themselves which one of them it might be, who was going to do this deed.

One of His disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at the table on His right.

[Plotnote: literally ‘reclining on His chest’; on the side His chest is facing. This is the place of most honor, symbolic of the heart and face of the table-host being open to this person.]

So Simon Peter is motioning to him, and saying to him, "Speak (to Him)--who is He talking about...?!"

And being deeply aggravated, one (disciple) after another began to say to Him, "Surely, Master, it is not I!"

Therefore, leaning back on Jesus' chest (both of them are reclining at table, so this is how the disciple on Jesus' right would whisper in His ear, and hear in return), he said to Him, "Master--who is it?"

So Jesus answered: "The one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him."

When He had dipped the morsel therefore... He is taking and giving to Judas the son of Simon Iscariot!

[Plotenote: The final piece of bread, in the final bit of sop from the plate, is traditionally given by the host to a guest in special honor, typically seated immediately to the left. Jesus has greatly honored Judas by giving him this seating. It is likely that the squabbling about who was greatest among them, was occasioned by Jesus’ choice over who should be sitting on His right and His left. Keep in mind His comment about a child again, paralleling His remonstrance to them back in His final days in Capernaum; and that He had told the sons of Zebedee that the kind of ‘seats’ being prepared for them were not the kind that they and their mother were expecting!]


Now Judas, who was betraying Him, answered and said (out loud like the others), "Surely, Rabbi, it is not I!"

He said to him:

"As you say."

[Note: the traditional reply of affirmation in deeply grave or sad circumstances; courtesy forbids a more direct response.]


And after the morsel, Satan entered into him then.

And Jesus said (apparently to the Evangelist, quietly), "He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me."

Jesus therefore said to Judas:


"What you are doing--be doing it more quickly..."


Now, none of the ones reclining (says the Evangelist, exempting himself and Judas and Jesus, obviously...) knew for what purpose He said this to him. For some were supposing that Jesus was saying to him, "Buy the things we have need of for the Feast." (i.e. tomorrow night, when the Passover seder would normally be held; these disciples are assuming this strange meal wasn't intended by their rabbi to be the actual ritual after all.)

Or else, that he should give something to the poor (as traditionally done at Passover seders; these disciples are supposing they might be celebrating one night early after all, as Jesus had indicated.)

Because Judas had the money box.

And so, after receiving the morsel, he immediately departed.

And it was night...

Matthew 26:17-25
Mark 14:12-21
Luke 22:7-14
Luke 22:21-30
John 12:20-50
John 13:1-30

[Next time: The Body and the Blood]

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.)

This entry is the second part of what would be one of the longest chapters in a book.


The Greater Condemnations (Part 2 of 2) -- 2 days until the end

Now as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives (probably later that night while they were camping in the groves), the disciples Peter and James and John and Andrew privately came to Him, saying, "Tell us... when will these things be? And what will be the sign of your arrival [on the throne], and of the finishing of all things of the age?"

And Jesus began to say to them in answer:

"Be sure that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Anointed King', and 'The time is at hand!'--and will mislead many.

"And you will be hearing of wars, and rumors of wars--be sure that you are not frightened: for these things must occur, but yet are not the end; nor does the end follow after immediately.

"For nation will rise against nation," He continued by saying to them, "and kingdom will rise against kingdom; and there will be earthquakes in various places; also, there will be famines, and terrors and great attesting signs in the heavens.

"But all these things are only the starting of labor pains.

"Yet look to yourselves!--for then, and even before all these things, they will deliver you up to the court, into prisons and suffering... and in the synagogues you will be flogged, yet you will be brought before kings and governors to stand for My sake, as a testimony to them.

"But they will kill you.

"Yet when they arrest you and give you up, this will lead you to an opportunity for testimony. Do not be anxious beforehand about what to say; but say whatever is given to you in that hour--for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

"So make up your minds not even to prepare to defend yourselves beforehand; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which none of your adversaries will be strong enough to resist or refute.

"Now at that time, many will not be able to get over all of this, and will deliver up one another and hate one another; and many false prophets will arise and mislead many.

"And because rebellion is increased, the love of many will grow cold: brother will give up his brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against their parents and put them to death.

"And all the nations will hate you because of My name.

"But--the one holding steady beneath the blows until the end, he shall be saved; and not a hair of your head will perish: by your endurance, you will gain your souls.

"A pupil is not above his teacher, nor a slave above his master. It is enough for the disciple if he becomes as his teacher, and the slaves as his master.

"If they have called the head of the house Beezeboul ('Plunder-possessor' or a chief of bandits; a title for Satan)--how much more the members of his house!

"So, do not fear them, for there is nothing covered that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear in an ear, proclaim on the housetops!

"And do not fear those who kill the body, but haven't the strength to kill the soul; but rather, fear the One Who is strong to destroy both soul and body in the flaming waste ('Gehenna').

"Now whenever they persecute you in this city, flee to the other; for this gospel of the kingdom must be preached in all the civilized lands for a witness to all the nations--and then the end shall come. Yet I tell you truly, you shall not finish (even) the cities of Israel, till the Son of Man arrives.

"Now when you see Jerusalem hemmed in by armies, then know that her desolation is at hand.

"So: when you see the 'abomination of desolation' which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing where it should not be, in the holy place,"--let the reader understand (adds the Disciple and the Follower)--"then let the ones in Judea flee to the mountains; and let the ones in the midst of the city depart, and do not allow the ones in the country to enter her (the city)--because these are the days of vengeance, in order that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

"Wail for the ones with child, and for the ones nursing babies in those days! And pray your flight may not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath; for then there will be vast suffering on the earth, and wrath to this people, such as has not occurred since the world began until now, nor ever shall! And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations.

"Wherever the corpse is, there the eagles gather... and Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the pagans until the times of the pagans may be fulfilled.

"Now unless those days had been cut short, no flesh would have been saved; but for the sake of the ones He has chosen, He shall cut short those days."


Yet He said to the disciples:

"The days shall come when you will long to see one of the days of the Son of Man, yet you will not see it.

"So if anyone says to you, 'Look!--the Anointed King is here!' or 'Look!--He is there!', do not believe and run after. For false Messiahs and false prophets will arise and will show great attesting signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the chosen ones!

"Observe and take heed!--I have told you in advance.

"If therefore they say to you, 'See, He is in the wilderness!' do not go forth; 'See, He is in the inner rooms!', do not believe.

"For just as the lightning is coming from the east and flashes even to the west under heaven, so shall be the arrival of the Son of Man in His day! But--first He must suffer many things, and be rejected by this generation...


"Now, immediately after the suffering of those days: 'The sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling' from the heaven (quoting various prophets, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos and Joel...);

"there will be signs attesting in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth dismay among the nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves; men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the civilized lands; for the powers from the heaven will be shaken.

"And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear to them in the sky, and all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and then they will see the 'Son of Man arriving on clouds of the sky' (quoting Daniel's vision of one like a son of man arriving in the presence of God to inherit the regency) with power and great glory!

"And He will send forth His messengers with 'a mighty trumpet' and 'they will gather together' His chosen ones (as in Isaiah and Zechariah the prophets) from the four winds, from one side of the sky to the other--from the farthest end of the earth, to the farthest end of heaven!


"Now!--learn the parable from the fig tree!

"When it, or any other tree, puts forth its leaves and its branch becomes tender already, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is near; in this way, when you are seeing all these things occurring, you should also know the kingdom of God is near, at the doors! Now when these things begin to take place, stand up straight, and lift up your heads--because your redemption is drawing near!

"Truly I tell you: this generation (or race) shall not be passing away until all these things take place.

"Heaven and earth will pass away; but My words shall not be passing away.

"Yet... of that day and hour, no one knows, not the angels of heaven--nor even the Son!--but, the Father alone.

"For just as the arrival of the Son of Man, were the days of Noah; for as in those days which were before the flood, they were eating and drinking, they were marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and they did not know until the flood arrived and took them all away...

"...so shall be the arrival of the Son of Man!

"It was the same as did happen in the days of Lot (brother of Abraham the patriarch): they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building--

"but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom, fire and sulphur rained from heaven, destroying them all.

"It will be just the same, on the day the Son of Man is unveiled.

"On that day, let the one on the housetop not (even) go down to bring out the things that are in his house; and let the one in the field not (even) turn back to get his cloak!

"Remember Lot's wife!--whoever seeks to keep his soul shall lose it, and whoever loses shall save it.

"I tell you, on that night there shall be two men in the field (keeping watch over their flocks, perhaps...)--one is taken, and one is left.

"There will be two men in one bed--one is taken, and one is left.

"There will be women grinding at the handmill--one is taken, and one is left."

And answering Him they said, "Where, Master!?"

And He said to them: "Where the body (is taken), there also will the eagles be gathered.

"So!--be on the alert! For you do not know which day the Lord is coming!

"Yet know this: that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on alert and would not have let his house be dug into!

"For this reason--you be ready, too! For the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you are not reckoning; like a man, away on a journey. Upon leaving his house, he is giving authority to his slaves, to each one his task; also commanding the doorguard to stay on alert.

"Therefore, be on alert! Let your belts be cinched up tight, and keep your lamps alight, and be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may instantly open (the door) to him when he comes and knocks.

"For you do not know when the Lord of the house is arriving, whether at sundown, at midnight, at cockcrow or at the sunrise--

"lest he arrives at once!... and finds you asleep.

"Happy be those slaves whom the master shall find on alert when he comes! Truly I tell you: he will gird himself and have them recline (at the feasting table), and will come up and wait on them himself!"


Now Peter said, "Master, are you addressing this parable to us, or to everyone else as well?"

And the Lord said:

"What I say to you, I say to all: Be on alert!--that your hearts may not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life... and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap!

"For it will be coming, upon all those who dwell on the face of the earth.

"But keep on alert at all times, praying, in order that you may have strength to escape all these things that will soon take place, and to stand before the Son of Man!"


And He was telling them a parable, to show that at all times they ought to pray, and not to faint, saying:

"There was a judge in a certain city, who neither feared God nor respected man.

"Now there was a widow in that city, and she continued coming to him, saying: 'Give me legal protection from my adversary!'

"And for a while he refused; but after a while he said to himself,

"'I may not fear God nor respect any man, yet because this widow is bothering me, I will do her justice--lest by continually coming she gives me strikes beneath my eyes!'" (i.e. marks under the eyes from lack of sleep, as if he had been struck)
And the Lord said: "Hear the word of the unfair judge!

"Now--shall God not bring justice about for His chosen ones, who cry to Him day and night? And yet, He is long-suffering over them.

"I tell you that He is speedily bringing justice for them!

"But--when the Son of Man arrives... will He find the faith upon the earth?


"Who then is the wise and trustworthy slave, whom his master puts in charge of his service to his household, to give them their food at the proper time?

"Happy be that slave whom his Lord finds doing so when he comes! Truly I tell you: he will put him in charge of all his possessions!

"But... if that evil slave says in his heart... 'My master is lingering for a long time...', and begins to beat his fellow slaves, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk with drunkards...

"...the Lord of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect, and at an hour which he does not know...

"...and will severely scourge him (ripping him into pieces), and appoint him a place with the hypocrites--the unfaithful.

"The wailing shall be there, and the gnashing of the teeth.

"And the slave who knew his master's will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, shall receive many lashes.

"But, the one who did not know, and committed deeds worthy of flogging, will only receive a few.

"Yet from everyone who has been given much, much shall be required; and to whom they have entrusted much, of him will they ask all the more.


"The kingdom of the heavens, then, may be compared to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.

"Yet five of them were foolish, but five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; yet the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.

"Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and started to sleep.

"But, at midnight there was a shout: 'Look! The bridegroom! Come out to greet!'

"Then all those virgins rose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out!'

"But the wise ones said in answer, 'Not! There won't be enough for us and you; go to the dealers and buy for yourselves instead!'

"Yet while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came. And those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.

"Now later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open up for us!'

"But He answered and said...

"'Truly I tell you, I do not know you.'

"So. Be on alert... for you do not know the day nor the hour.


"For (that day is) even like a man, traveling, who calls his own slaves, and entrusts to them his possessions. And to one he gives five talantoi (the heaviest weight of silver), to another two, and to another one, each according to his own ability; and he goes on his journey.

"The one who had received the five talantoi, immediately went and traded with them, and gained five more talantoi. In the same manner, the one who had the two gained two more.

"But he who received the one went away, and dug in the ground, and hid his master's money.

"Now after a long time the master of those slaves arrived and settled accounts with them.

"And the one who had received the five talantoi came up, bringing five more talantoi, saying, 'Master, you entrusted to me five talantoi--look! I have gained five more talantoi!'

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful with a few things. I will put you in command of many things--enter into the joy of your Lord!'

"The one who had the two talantoi also came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted to me two talantoi--look! I have gained five more talantoi!'

"His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave! You were faithful with a few things. I will put you in command of many things--enter into the joy of your Lord!'

"Now the one who had received the one talanton came up and said, 'Master... I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you do not sow and gathering where you do not scatter. And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talanton in the ground. Look... you have what is yours!'

"But his master answered and said to him:

"'You wicked, lazy slave!!

"'You knew I reap where I do not sow and gather where I do not scatter?! Then you ought to have put my money with the bankers, and on my arrival I would have received my own with interest!

"'So! Take the talanton away from him, and give it to the one who has ten talantoi!

"'For to everyone who is having shall more be given, and he shall have abundance; but from the one who is not having, even what he does have shall be taken away. Now cast away the worthless slave into the outer darkness.

"'There shall be wailing there, and the gnashing of the teeth.'

"Yet--

"When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne; and all the nations will be gathered in front of Him; and He will separate them one from another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the baby goats on the left.

"Then the King will say to those on His right:

"'Come here, you who are blessed of My Father! Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the cosmos!

"'For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me!'

"Then the fair ones will answer Him, saying: 'Lord... when did we see You hungry, and feed You; or thirsty and give You drink? And when did we see You sick or in prison and come to You?'

"And the King will answer and say to them:

"'He who receives a prophet in a prophet's name receives a prophet's reward; yet he who (even) receives a fair man in the name of a fair man, shall receive a fair man's reward!

"'And whoever in the name of a disciple gives to one of these lowly ones even a cup of cold water to drink, truly I tell you: he shall not lose his reward!

"'Truly I tell you: to the extent that you did it for one of the least of these, brothers of Mine--

"'you did it to Me.'


"Then He will also speak to the ones on His left:

"'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the Fire of God (the 'pura eonian'), which has been made for the devil and for his messengers!

"'For I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

"Then they themselves will also answer: 'Lord! When did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick or in prison, and did not give care to You?!!'

"Then He will answer them, saying:

"'Truly I tell you: to the extent that you did not do this to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

"And these (the baby goats, the least of His flock) will go away into God's own brisk cleaning; but the fair ones, into God’s own life. (‘zoe eonian’)


"I have come to cast the Fire on the earth--O how I wish it was already kindled!!

"But--I must be baptized with a baptism... and I am so distressed until it is finished...

"Did you think that I came to grant peace on earth?

"I tell you, not!--but rather... division.

"I did not come to bring peace... but a sword...

"For from now on, five in one house will be divided, three against two, and two against three. They will be divided; 'father against son, and son against father; mother against daughter, and daughter against mother; mother-in-law against daughter-in-law, and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law...'" (quoting the prophet Micah)


.......

Now it happened that when Jesus had finished all these declarations, He said to His disciples,

"You know that after two days the Passover comes; and the Son of Man is delivered up for crucifixion."


.......

At that time, the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together within the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to arrest and slay Jesus by stealth--for they were afraid of the people.

Then Satan entered into one of the Twelve, named Judas Iscariot, who went to the chief priests and officers, saying...

"What are you willing to give me?--and I will deliver him up to you."

And they were glad when they heard this, and weighed out to him thirty silver shekels and promised to give him this money.

But they were saying, "Not during the Feast!--lest a riot occur among the people!"

And he consented.

And from then on, he began to look for an opportune time to betray Him without a disturbance.


Matthew 10:17-28
Matthew 10:34-42
Matthew 24:3-51
Matthew 25:1-36
Matthew 26:1-5
Matthew 26:14-16
Mark 13:3-37
Mark 14:1-2
Mark 14:10-11
Luke 12:35-53
Luke 17:22-37
Luke 18:1-8
Luke 21:7-36
Luke 22:1-6

[Next time: The Hiding of the Bread]

From yesterday's Albuquerque Tribune:

"The Creationists aren’t going away. They’re just getting sneakier".

Thus Dave Thomas ended his commentary in The Tribune ("Intelligent design supporters find new, creative ways to get their message out", Insight & Opinion, March 13) which warned of yet another assault on evolutionary theory by the creationist, this time in the form of academic freedom legislation.

The principle objectives of this legislation are to "give teachers the right and freedom, when a theory of biological origins is taught, to objectively inform students of scientific information relevant to the strengths and weaknesses of that theory and protect teachers from reassignment, termination, discipline or other discrimination for doing so," and give students the "right and freedom to reach their own conclusions about biological origins".

Thomas warns that while the bill is about academic freedom, its intent is to teach creationism in the science classroom.

Having assisted in the drafting of this legislation, I can say that it says what it means and means what it says -- nothing different, nothing more and nothing less.

There is a lawyer’s adage that says "If the facts are on your side, argue the facts. If the law is on your side, argue the law. If neither are on your side, change the subject and go after the motives of your opponent." Bingo! Right out of the Darwinist playbook.

This business of going after your opponent's motives can be tricky. While your objective may be to expose your opponent's hidden agenda, there is a real risk that instead, you will expose your own worst fears.

Thomas reads a lot into the language of these measures and what he "reads in" is a reflection of his own paranoia. His worst nightmare is not that biblical creationism will be taught in public schools -- that is not going to happen -- but that the evidentiary weakness of Darwin's theory will be exposed.

But the truth is that Darwinists have much more to be concerned about than academic freedom legislation and the distribution of science documentaries to science teachers. The greatest threat to the Darwinian dogma today is science itself.

There is a revolution underway in the biological sciences. A whole new field of biology called systems biology has emerged during the past 10 or 15 years. This revolution is just as profound for the biological sciences today as the transition in physics was from classical physics to quantum physics and relativity in the early part of the 20th century.

In this exciting new field, research is guided not by Darwinian principles but by design principles, because design principles are needed to explain design-like features.

The teaching of evolution today in public schools is frozen in the past where it is based largely on a mid-20th century understanding of biology. Research in the biological sciences has moved far beyond that understanding because of the hopeless inability of Darwinian principles to explain the complexity observed in living things.

Public education has a quandary. How do we teach evolution so that it reflects our current understanding of biology rather than a mid-twentieth century understanding?

Modern science arose in Christian Europe -- there and nowhere else -- and it was rational Christian theology that gave it its birth. The commonly accepted wisdom that the war between science and religion started with Galileo is mythology. There never has been such a war and the actual conflict between Galileo and the Roman Catholic Church is far more interesting than the simple one-dimensional mythological portrayal of a humble scientist pitted against a powerful and dogmatic church.

The so-called war between science and religion exists today as a mythology created in the nineteenth century as a political maneuver to aid the cause of materialism. That mythology has been preserved through the twentieth century and is broadly regarded as true.

The success of this strategy can be attributed largely to Thomas Huxley, Darwin's bulldog, who saw relatively little scientific value in Darwin’s theory but saw great value in its ability to provide the foundation for a new secular religion to replace Christianity, which he judged was no longer adequate to meet the needs of late 19th century England.

And he saw public schools as the means for spreading this new faith.

It is academic freedom the Darwinists fear because it will expose the weakness of the evolutionary theory. And if that weakness is exposed, then suddenly, public education becomes not the vehicle for propagation of their materialistic religious faith as envisioned by Huxley but the instrument of its demise.

By Joe Renick, an engineer with a research firm in Albuquerque, is executive director of the Intelligent Design Network’s New Mexico Division.

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.)

Normally I would put all this material into one book-chapter; but seeing as how it would then be even more lengthy than my other entries before now, I have made provisions to divide it into two uneven halves for posting.


The Greater Condemnations (2 days until the end...)

(The Follower and the Scholar relate what happened Wednesday in the Temple...)

Now Jesus sat down across from the treasury (in the Temple), and looking up He started to watch how the crowds were putting money into the treasury.

Now many rich people were putting large sums in as gifts.

Yet a poor widow came, and put in two lepta, amounting to a quadran. (1 quadran == 1/64 of a 'daywage' denarius.)

And calling His disciples to Him, He is saying to them:

"Truly I tell you--this poor widow put in more than all the others putting in the treasury.

"For they all put their gifts in from their abundance.

"But she, out of her poverty, has put in all the living that she had."


.......

Now (the Disciple joins the other storytellers once again) while the Pharisees were coming together, as Jesus taught in the Temple, Jesus asked of them a question, saying:

"What do you think about the Anointed King (to come)? Whose Son is He?"

They said to Him, "Of David (the king of old, from whom He will be descended)!"

He said to them:

"Why do the scribes say, then, that the Anointed King is David's son? For why then does David himself, in the Holy Spirit, call Him 'Lord', saying in the scroll of Psalms:

The Lord said to my Lord,
'Sit at My right hand
until I put Your enemies
under Your feet as a footstool!'


"David himself therefore calls Him 'Lord'!

"If David, then, is calling Him 'Lord' (using a word that is only used in the OT scriptures to refer to God by name)--

"how is He his son?!"

But no one was able to answer Him a word, for they did not have the strength to question Him any longer on any subject.

Yet the multitudes were gladly hearing Him.


Then while the people all were listening, Jesus spoke to them and to His disciples, saying:

"The Pharisees and the scribes have seated themselves upon the chair of Moses. Therefore all they tell you, do and keep.

"But--do not do likewise to their deeds! For what they say, they do not do!

"Now, they are binding heavy loads, and lay them on the shoulders of the people; and they themselves refuse to push them with a finger!

"But they do all their deeds in order to be noticed by the people; for they widen their phylacteries (small boxes holding tiny scrolls of Scripture, worn with the original intention of reminding them to dwell upon the Law and never let it be far from their minds and hands), and lengthen out their tassels (in order that all may see how Jewish they are)!

"And they love the banquet place of honor, and the best seats in the synagogues, and greetings of respect while in the market square, and being named as 'Rabbi' by the people!

"But do not be called 'Rabbi'--for One is your Teacher, and you all are brothers.

"And do not call someone on earth your father--for One is your Father, He Who is in the heavens!

"Nor yet may you be called 'commanders' (or 'ones who carry the Law')--for One is your Commander: the Anointed King!!

"Yet... the Greatest among you shall be your servant.

"And whoever lifts up himself shall be brought down; yet whoever does lay himself down... shall be lifted up.


"But... Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--because you shut the kingdom of the heavens off in front of people; for you do not enter in yourselves, nor do you let those entering go in!!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--because you eat up widows' houses, even while you make long prayers in order to be seen; therefore you shall be receiving the greater condemnation!!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--because you travel around on sea and land to make one convert; and when he does become one, then you make him twice as much a son of flaming garbage as yourselves!!

"Wailing to you, you blind guides!--who say, 'Whoever is swearing by the Temple, that is nothing; but whoever swears by the Temple's gold, he is obligated'!

"You blind men and fools!--which is greater, the gold or the Temple that sanctifies the gold!?

"And (you say), 'Whoever is swearing by the altar (of the Temple), that is nothing; but whoever swears by gifts upon the altar, he is obligated'!

"You blind men!--which is greater, the offering or the altar sanctifying the offering!?

"So!--whoever swears, swears both by the altar and by everything on it! And whoever swears by the Temple, swears by both the Temple... and by Him Who dwells within it!!

"And he who swears by heaven, swears both by the throne of God and also by the One Who sits upon the throne!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--for you are tithing the mint and the dill and the cumin seeds (the very littlest things), but leave aside the weightier things of the Law: fairness, and mercy, and faith! But these were required of you to do, while not leaving those! You blind guides, who strain out a gnat, and swallow a camel!!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--for you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full because of robbery and self-indulgence! You blind Pharisee! First be cleaning the inside of the cup and the dish, so that the outside also may be being clean!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites!--like whitewashed tombs you are, which on the outside look so fair, but inside they are full of dead men's bones and all uncleanness! You also on the outside seem so fair, appearing so to people; but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and rebellion!

"Wailing to you, you scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites... for you build the prophets' tombs, and decorate memorials of the fair ones, and say, 'If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been their partners in the blood of the prophets!'

"So, against yourselves, you give testimony that you are descendants of the murderers of prophets, and fill up the measure of your fathers.... you serpents, you sons of vipers!... how shall you escape the judgment of fiery waste!!?

"So... look here! I am sending to you prophets, and sages, and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city;

"so that upon you may fall all the blood of justice shed on Earth

"from the blood of righteous Abel, to the blood of Zechariah (son of Berechiah, adds the Disciple), whom you murdered between the Temple and the altar.

"I tell you truly... all these things shall come upon this generation...

"O Jerusalem! ...Jerusalem!! You who kills the prophets and stones the ones who are sent to her! How often I have wanted to gather your children together, as a hen pulls her chicks beneath her wings (sparing them from a deadly fire by sacrificing her own life)...

"...but you were unwilling...

"BEHOLD!! Your house is being left to you--desolate!

"For I tell you: from now on you shall not see Me

"until you say (with the Psalmist)

"'Blessed is He Who comes in the Name of the Lord!'"

And Jesus went out from the Temple.


.......

Now as He was going away, His disciples came up talking about the Temple buildings, adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts.

And one of His disciples said to Him, "Rabbi? Look!--what wonderful stones, how great are these buildings!"

But Jesus said to him, and to them in answer:

"You see all these vast buildings, do you?

"I tell you truly, about the things you are looking at:

"not one stone will be left upon another

"which will not be torn away..."


Matthew 22:41-46
Matthew 23:1-39
Matthew 24:1-2
Mark 12:35-44
Mark 13:1-2
Luke 11:42-44
Luke 11:47-51
Luke 20:41-47
Luke 21:1-6

[Next time: The Greater Condemnations Part 2]

This post represents the second in a series of responses to an article entitled Biblical authority reveals little-known facts about Jesus which is available through the online edition of the Wilmington Star. The first can be found here. The article features nine little-known facts about Jesus as revealed by John Dominic Crossan, one of the founding members and best known stars of the Jesus Seminar. As will be seen, several of the "facts" when taken at face-value are, in fact, true about Jesus or Christianity. However, many of Dr. Crossan’s quotes following the facts show that Dr. Crossan doesn’t quite have a firm grasp on why they are true.

Fact 4. John the Baptist was more important to Jesus than just as his baptizer. This is obviously true, but not for the reason that Crossan states. First, John the Baptist (or "John the Baptizer" as he is called by people who want to avoid suggesting that John the Baptist had a denominational affiliation with the Baptist Church) was Jesus’ first cousin -- born to Elizabeth and Zechariah. Thus, John the Baptist ("JtB") was part of Jesus’ extended family, and being only a few months older than Jesus, almost certainly had an important place in Jesus’ life as a result.

Second, JtB was Jesus’ Elijah and precursor voice in fulfillment of the prophesy in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6. While JtB wasn’t Elijah in the sense that there was an identity of persons, he ministered in "the spirit and power of Elijah." (Luke 1:17) Thus, JtB was important to the fulfillment of an OT prophesy about the coming "great and dreadful day of the Lord" and would have been important to Jesus for that reason.

Third, JtB fulfilled an essential element of God’s plan. According to Matthew 3:13-15, when JtB first balked at baptizing Jesus by saying he wasn’t worthy, Jesus called on JtB to perform the baptism to "fulfill all righteousness." As stated in the commentary of Matthew Henry to this verse, when Jesus said he wanted JtB to baptize him to fulfill all righteousness, he meant

. . . to own every divine institution, and to show his readiness to comply with all God’s righteous precepts. Thus it becomes him to justify God, and approve his wisdom, in sending John to prepare his way by the baptism of repentance. Thus it becomes us to countenance and encourage every thing that is good, by pattern as well as precept. Christ often mentioned John and his baptism with honour, which that he might do the better, he was himself baptized. Thus Jesus began first to do, and then to teach; and his ministers must take the same method. Thus Christ filled up the righteousness of the ceremonial law, which consisted in divers washings; thus he recommended the gospel-ordinance of baptism to his church, put honour upon it, and showed what virtue he designed to put into it. It became Christ to submit to John’s washing with water, because it was a divine appointment . . .

Fourth, but not least, Jesus was God. (John 1:1-18) Jesus loves every single person so much that He was willing to submit as the second person of the Trinity to be crucified on the cross for the redemption of sins. To that extent, JtB meant much more to Jesus in his role of deity than merely being the one who baptized Him. Rather, JtB was a beloved creation of God.

Crossan, in his usual way, messes up this very obvious truths set forth above by asserting that the reason that JtB was important to Jesus was due to the fact that JtB’s execution protected and alerted Jesus to the fact that JtB’s message of "God coming to destroy injustice and war" was wrong and that God would "do nothing to stop" JtB’s execution. A few thoughts about Crossan's understanding of this event.

First, JtB did preach that God was coming to destroy the wicked and that judgment was near, but Jesus, being God incarnate, would have understood JtB's message in context of His plan of salvation. Certainly, He would have known that the time of the Second Coming and the great and terrible day of the Lord's wrath would be coming as some time in the far future (at least 2,000 years in the future) even if he didn't know the exact time and day for the Second Coming.

Second, JtB couldn't be wrong about the events of his prophesy because otherwise he would have been a false prophet and not from God. Thus, to the extent that Crossan suggests that JtB's message was wrong, it is evident that such a viewpoint is in contradiction to the view held by historic Christianity that the pronouncements of prophets of God were either true or they were not from God. Moreover, if JtB's prophesies were wrong, then what are we to make of Jesus' pronouncement of Matthew 10:9 that JtB was a prophet, but not only a prophet but the one prophesied about in Malachi 3:1?

Third, Crossan has the relationship between JtB and Jesus crossed. JtB looked to Jesus as the one who was to come and who was greater than him. (Matthew 4:13-14). when in prison, JtB called on Jesus for assurances that JtB had correctly identified Jesus as the Christ. (Matthew 10:2-3) Thus, the Bible reveals a relationship between the two where JtB saw himself as the lesser of the two, not Jesus seeing JtB as the prophet who he followed until JtB's execution at the hands of Herod.

Keep in mind, if I were of the same mindset as Crossan that Jesus was not truly God, I might be inclined to accept fanciful theories about Jesus in order to try to explain/discount what I read in the Bible while still giving some grain of truth at the heart of the stories. But I don't see where Crossan's approach is appropriate and certainly shouldn't be seen as leading to some better knowledge about Jesus than accepting the historic teaching of the church (as supported by evidence) that the Bible is an effort by the earliest apostles to faithfully record what they saw and heard.

Fact 6. The New Testament is not talking about the destruction of the world. The answer here is that I agree that, for the most part. the focus of the New Testament is not on the destruction of the world. However, that is a far cry from saying it says nothing about the destruction of the world, which is what Crossan is suggesting as the true intent of this statement.

In my view, the New Testament speaks very little about the destruction of the world. Most of the New Testament is concerned with Jesus' life, his teachings, the meaning of Jesus' life and teachings, the activities of the Apostles, the letters from the Apostles and other Epistle authors giving warnings about following false teachings and instructions as to how to act as Christians. There are only a few places in the New Testament that can be construed to reference the destruction of the world, and those references, because they are part of future prophesy, are either vague about the details and the extent to which the world will suffer both prior to and at the time of the Second Coming, or they are subject to differing interpretations that would argue that the Earth will not be completely destroyed -- only damaged in some significant way.

What is very clear is that the present earth will, in some manner, pass away and be replaced with a new heaven and a new earth. (Revelation 21:1) To me, there is little doubt that this means that the earth as we know it will be re-created in some way so that there will be no more tears, no more wars, no more hatred.

Crossan, for his part, apparently believes that the earth will not be re-created, but reformed in some significant way so that these things will be accomplished without the destruction of the earth. Personally, I think that you have to gloss over a great deal of the Revelation of St. John as well as the Olivet Discourse to possibly come to such a conclusion. Jesus Himself prophesied that in those days, "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken." (Matthew 24:29) Taking into account the fullness of the account found in the Olivet Discourse and the Revelation (such as the trumpets of Revelation 8 where a third of the earth, sea, a third of the vegetation, a third of the animals, a third of the rivers, a third of the moon, and a third of the stars were all destroyed or severely damaged), it is hard to see how anyone can take the Biblical message seriously without noting that either the world as we know it is going to be destroyed or so seriously crippled that only a new Earth will be needed to support the re-born mankind.

More so-called "facts" next time.

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.)

Btw, keep an eye out for the lawyer in the last exchange--for I suspect we have seen him twice before already, in related circumstances! Notice that the previous time the wedding feast parable is told (not quite as ramped up), it happens during a dinner party with Pharisees where a lawyer stands up to give Jesus a similar test, receiving the Good Samaritan parable in reply: a story set near Jericho. Then later, several days before this incident, as Jesus is passing through Jericho, a young chief is asking a similar question again more desperately. Third time's a charm, though... {s!}


With All His Understanding... (3 days until the end...)

Now (tell the Disciple, the Scholar and the Follower), it happened on one of the days when He had come into the Temple, and was walking through it, the chief priests and the elders of the people and the scribes came to Him as He was teaching the people and preaching the good news; saying to Him as they stood by, "Tell us by what authority you are doing these things, or who is giving you this authority!"

But Jesus said in answer: "I will ask a word of you as well!--and if you answer Me, then I will declare to you by what authority I am doing these things.

"John's baptism was from... what? Was it from heaven, or was it from men? Answer Me!"

Now they began to reason among themselves, saying, "If we say 'from heaven', he will declare to us, 'Then why did you not believe him?!'

"But may we say, 'from men'...? All the people will stone us!--for they are convinced that John was a prophet indeed..."

And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know from where."

Jesus also strongly declared to them, "Neither am I telling you by what authority I do these things!

"But what do you think about this?

"A man had two children, and coming to the first he said, 'Child, go work today in my vineyard.'

"And he answered and said, 'I will, sir!'... but he did not go.

"And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered saying, 'I will not!'

"Afterward though, he regretted and went.

"Which of the two does the will of his father?"

They said, "The latter."

Jesus said to them: "I tell you truly: the prostitutes and the traitors ('tribute collectors', collaborating with the Romans for profit) are entering into the kingdom of God ahead of you!

"For John came to you in the road of fair-togetherness, and you did not believe him; but the traitors and the prostitutes did believe him! Yet you, seeing this, did not even regret after this to believe him!!

"Hear another parable!

"There is a man, a landowner, who 'plants a vineyard and puts a wall around it and digs a vat beneath its winepress and builds a tower' (quoting Isaiah about Jerusalem and Israel)--and rents it out to tenant farmers, and then goes on a journey far away.

"Now when the season of fruits approaches, he sends his slaves to the tenant farmers to receive his produce from them.

"But the tenant farmers, taking his slaves--

"lash the first he sent, sending him away with nothing

"and stone the second he sent, wounding him in the head and treating him in dishonor

"and murder the third he sent!

"Again!--he sends another group of slaves, larger than the first.

"But they do the same to them, indeed, beating some and killing others.

"Now the landowner says, 'What will I do?!'

"Yet one more he had--his beloved son.

"He also sends his son to them, the last, saying, 'They will respect my son, the beloved, as equal to me!'

"But when those tenant farmers saw the son, they reasoned among themselves... 'This is the heir! Come, we should kill him, and have his inheritance for ourselves!'

[Footnote: In the legal standards of the time, the tenant farmers could inherit the land if they retained operational possession of it for three years.]

"And they take him... and throw him out of the vineyard...

"and slay him.

"So.

"Whenever the Lord of the vineyard comes--what will He do to those tenant farmers?"

They are saying to Him, "He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, destroying them!--and will rent out the vineyard to other tenant farmers, who will pay him the proceeds in their seasons!"

Jesus is saying to them: "He will indeed be coming; and will be destroying the tenant farmers; and will be giving the vineyard to others.

"Have you not even read this Scripture yet? What is this then that is written: (quoting a Psalm)

The stone the builders rejected
became the chief of the corner;
this came from the Lord,
and it is miraculous in our sight!


"So I say to you: the kingdom of God will be taken away (from you), and be given to a nation producing its fruits.

"And he who falls on this stone, will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust."

Now when the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking of them. And when they heard it, they said, "May it never be!!"

But Jesus answered and spoke to them in parables again (giving them another chance to repent without denouncing them openly in front of the people), and said:

"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man, a king, who makes a wedding feast for his son.

"Now he sends out his slaves to call those invited into the wedding feast... but they would not come.

"Again he sends out other slaves, saying, 'Tell those invited, "Look!--I have prepared my dinner! My oxen and my fattened livestock are sacrificed! All is ready! Come for the wedding feast!"'

"But they, not caring, went their way, one to his field, another to work at his merchandise; yet the others seized his slaves, and abused them, and killed them.

"Now the king is enraged, and sending his armies, destroys those murderers, setting their city on fire!

"Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding indeed is ready--but those invited were unworthy.

"'Go then!--to the highway exits, and call to the wedding whomever you may be finding there!'

"And those slaves, going out into the streets, gather together all whom they find, both good and evil; and filled is the wedding with people reclining to eat!

"Now the king, coming in to look at the people reclining, saw a man there who hasn't put on any wedding cloth; and he is saying to him, 'Friend--how did you come to be in here having no wedding cloth?'

"And he was quiet.

[Footnote: those holding wedding feasts commonly offered a special celebration sash to those attending, especially if they had no proper celebration clothes--which none of these people would. The man knows the wealthy king offered the sash freely at the door; he simply refused to accept or wear the sash, basically insisting on eating at the king's gracious feast on his own terms.]

"Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him, hands and feet, and cast him into the outer darkness!--there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'"

For many are called (adds the Disciple) but few are chosen. [See first comment below for a footnote here.]

Now the scribes and the chief priests were seeking that very hour to arrest Him, for they understood He spoke against them; but they feared the crowds--because these held Him to be a prophet.

And so they left Him and went away (for a while...)


.......

Then (return the Scholar and the Follower to the tale) the Pharisees went and counseled together how they might be trapping Him in a statement, in order to take hold of a word against Him, so as to deliver Him up to the rule and authority of the governor.

Now they watched Him, and along with the Herodians they sent their disciples to Him as spies, pretending to be fair themselves.

And they questioned Him, saying: "Rabbi--we know you are truthful, not bending to what anybody else thinks; for you teach the way of God correctly, in truth, and do not watch the face of people.

"So tell us, what do you think? Is it allowed to pay poll-tax to Caesar, or not? Shall we pay, or shall we not pay?"

[Note: the point being, that Jesus will either look to the crowd like a supporter of the oppressive pagan overlords--which is why the Sanhedrin was unpopular at this time--or else they expect Him to play to the crowd, giving them grounds to hand Him over to Pilate as a rebel against the Empire.]

But Jesus detected their treacherous trickery, saying to them, "You hypocrites! Why do you test Me?

"Bring Me a poll-tax denarius. Show it to Me."

And they brought Him a daywage.

Now He is saying to them: "Whose inscription and image is this?"

They are saying to Him, "Caesar's."

So He is saying to them: "Then pay up to Caesar (the things that are) Caesar's; but to God (the things that are) God's!"

And hearing this, they greatly marvel, unable to seize His word by strength in front of the people; and they become silent, and leaving Him they come away.


.......

On that day there came to Him some of the Sadducees--who say (adds the Scholar, Disciple and Follower) there is no resurrection.

[Note: nor angels, nor did they admit any books but the Five Books of Moses as Scripture, all of which is also relevant to the disputation here.]

And they question Him, saying, "Rabbi, Moses writes for us (in Deuteronomy), saying that 'If a man's brother dies'--having a wife--'leaving no child, his brother should take the wife and raise up seed to his brother.'

"Now there were seven brothers with us (they continued); and the first took a wife, and died without child, leaving his wife for his brother.

"And the second took her, and died without child.

"And in the same way the third also took her; and in the same way, down to the seventh, the seven all left no children and died.

"Last of all, the woman also finally died.

"In the resurrection, therefore, which one's wife will she be? For the seven all had her as wife!"

But answering, Jesus said to them:

"Is this not the reason that you are deceived: that you do not know the Scriptures, nor yet the power of God?!

"The children of this age are marrying and are giving out in marriage; but those deemed worthy of that time and the resurrection from the dead, who rise from the dead: they neither marry in the resurrection, nor do they give in marriage. For neither can they die anymore, for they are equal to angels of God in heaven, and are the children of God, being children of the resurrection.

"But concerning the dead, that they are raised again, even Moses shows! Have you not read in the scroll of Moses, at the (passage concerning the burning) thorn bush where God declared to him--to you--saying: 'I AM the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob'??

"Now, He is not the God of the dead (or of corpses), but of the living; for all are alive to Him. So you are greatly deceived."

And when the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching.

But when the Pharisees heard that He muzzles (or strangles!) the Sadducees, they gathered themselves together.

Yet some of the scribes answered and said, "Rabbi, you say well."

And one of them--a lawyer (of the Pharisees)--approaching and hearing them as they discuss, and seeing He answered them well, asked Him a test:

"Rabbi... what is the foremost commandment of all the Law?"

Jesus declared to him with force: "The foremost commandment of all, is:

"HEAR O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD THE LORD IS ONE!! (the Jewish Shema from Deuteronomy)

"AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR WILL, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR POWER, AND WITH ALL YOUR UNDERSTANDING!!

"This is the great and the foremost commandment.

"Yet the second is similar to it:

"YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF!

"There is no commandment greater than these--upon which are hanging all the Law and the Prophets."

...and the scribe said to Him,

"On truth, Rabbi!!--you have given the best sayings, that He is One; and there is no other more than He!

"And to love Him with all your will, and with all your soul, and with all your comprehension, and with all your strength--and to love one's neighbor as yourself--is excessively more than all the offerings of ascent, and the sacrifices!"

And Jesus, seeing that he answered in understanding, said to him:

"You are not far from the kingdom of God."


.......

And from that day, no one dared to question Him again on anything.


Matthew 21:23-46
Matthew 22:1-40
Matthew 22:46b
Mark 11:27-33
Mark 12:1-34
Luke 20:1-40

[Next time: The Greater Condemnations (Part 1)]

Who knows more about the history of Jesus Christ than John Dominic Crossan?

So begins an article entitled Biblical authority reveals little-known facts about Jesus which is available through the online edition of the Wilmington Star. Personally, I think that the quick answer to her question would be that anyone who understands that the miracles described in the Bible are the result of God's miraculous intervention into our human world and not the result of the early Christians making up stories about Jesus knows more about Jesus than John Dominic Crossan. Crossan, who is one of the founding members and best known stars of the Jesus Seminar (a group who I personally find to be bent upon the destruction of Biblical Christianity while pretending to be Christian), is one of my least favorite expositors of the Bible because of his faulty assumptions (many of which are spelled out in articles that are linked to the CADRE Jesus Seminar page).

Despite the fact that the interview was with Crossan, I wanted to find out what the nine things were that Crossan supposedly knew about Jesus that I didn't know. Surprisingly, I found a couple of them interesting and facially correct even if Crossan's explanations for why they were facts didn't match my own. Here are the nine "facts" found in the article. In the original article, there are comments from Crossan on each of them, and if you are interested in reading Crossan's comments I encourage you to read the Wilmington Star article. I will only speak of his comments to the extent necessary to illuminate my disagreement with Crossan's viewpoint.

Fact 1: When Jesus was a boy, Mary would have told him about a great massacre in his homeland. Hmmmmm. Let's see, if Jesus was a boy, his mother would have told him about an important massacre that arose because Herod the Great wanted to see Jesus dead. Makes sense to me, but I have no idea why he would call this a fact. It seems to me that this is more of a speculation -- a reasonable speculation, but a speculation nonetheless. Moreover, it isn't clear why Crossan would think that Mary would have told him and not Joseph. Be that as it may, I think that this is a reasonable conclusion based on the circumstances, but hardly something to call a little known fact.

Fact 2: The accounts of Jesus' infancy in Matthew and Luke are different because the writers had different intentions. I agree wholeheartedly. But this isn't little known to anyone who has taken the time to learn anything about ancient biographies. Those biographies always had a purpose to them and, without necessarily compromising the facts, told the story in a way to achieve their purpose. Matthew's audience and Luke's audience were different and so they stressed different aspects of the story of Jesus while sticking, in main, to the teachings that the Apostles were handing down.

Having said that, I find the details behind Crossan's second fact to be sheer fantasy. For example, the article quotes Crossan as saying "Matthew, for example, wanted Jesus to be like a Moses figure, so he made up a parable that Jesus was in danger of being killed by Herod. And in Luke, the angels came down and announced that there was born a lord and savior of the world who would bring peace." These are conclusions that Crossan reaches based upon his faulty presuppositions such as his presupposition that the miracles of the Bible could not be true and so he needs to explain them. On what basis does he say that Jesus really wasn't in danger of being killed by Herod? The only evidence that he could possibly point to is the relative silence in the non-Biblical record for such action by Herod. But, of course, in addition to the old adage that "lack of evidence is not evidence of lack" and the caution against making arguments from silence, there is some ancient suggestion that Herod may have tried to kill Jesus through the Slaughter of the Innocents. My friends and blogging partners, J.L. Hinman and Layman, have pointed out the following information that supports the idea of Herod approving the Slaughter of the Innocents as described in Matthew:

A. Bethlehem was a small town with a population, including surrounding areas, of about 1,000. "[T]he number of infants under two in a population of 1,000, given the birth and infant mortality rates of the time, has been reckoned at less than twenty." Donald A. Hagner, Matthew 1-13, World Biblical Commentary, page 37. Obviously the murder of less than 20 children is a heinous crime, "[i]n an era of many, highly placed political murders, the execution of perhaps twenty children in a small town would warrant little attention." Craig S. Keener, A Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew, page 111.

B. Herod was cruel --

"Josephus records that Herod, “never stopped avenging and punishing everyday those who had chosen to be of the party of his enemies.” Antiquities 15.2. Herod executed 45 of the wealthiest aristocrats and confiscated their property. He was suspected, with good reason, of having the young High Priest (and son-in-law) Aristobulus drowned. In connection with that event, Herod ordered his wife to be murdered (an order he gave again under similar circumstances). Thereafter, he had his mother-in-law executed, as well as his brother-in-law and his sons."

Why doesn’t Josephus record this? Josephus didn’t record everything Herod did. For example, that Herod engaged in "the repression of the wilderness Essenes" which is otherwise unknown to us from Josephus. Keener, op. cit., pages 110-11.

C. Macrobius. -- Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius was a pagan author of the late fourth century who did refer to Herod's slaughter of the innocents without being directly dependent on the Gospel of Matthew. The reference to the slaughter of the innocents is found in Saturnalia. Macrobius did not write about Christianity and shows no other awareness of the Gospel of Matthew. Yet in Satunalia, he writes the following:

When [Augustus] heard that Herod king of the Jews had ordered all the boys in Syria under the age of two years to be put to death and that the king's son was among those killed, he said, "I'd rather be Herod's pig than Herod’s son."

We simply do not know what Macrobius’ source of information was for this reference. It is clear that he is not dependent on the Gospel of Matthew. As Paul Barnett notes,

It appears that he has fused two separate episodes into one—the killing of the baby boys and Herod’s murder of a son of his own, who was then an adult and removed in circumstances different from those of the children. It does not seem that Macrobius merely quotes Matthew’s story, since he was a convinced pagan and the reference to Syria is at odds with Matthew’s version. It is more likely that the killing of the boys was recorded in a pagan source, now lost to us, but preserved in Macrobius.
Paul Barnett, Is the New Testament Reliable?, page 103.

Thus, it appears that there are sufficient reasons to conclude that Herod did try to kill the baby boys just as the Gospel of Matthew records. At least, there is sufficient reason to conclude that Crossan's desire to simply dismiss it as a fable is more likely a fiction than the account of the Slaughter of the Innocents found in Matthew.

Fact 3: There is no such thing as the lost or hidden years in Jesus' life. I would agree with this in principle to the extent that it discounts all of those stories that talk about Jesus going to India or Japan or any other number of places between his appearance in the Temple at the age of 12 in Luke 2 and Jesus' baptism. But given Crossan's propensity to use silence to infer facts, I would prefer to clarify this point.

First, there is no question that Jesus has years of his life that are not described in detail in any written source. Thus, to the extent that there are books that suggest that Jesus traveled outside of Israel (at least, farther than Egypt), such accounts are simply not supportable by sufficient evidence to give them credibility.

Second, we can learn something about the years between Jesus' appearance in the Temple and his baptism by studying what life was like in ancient Israel at that time. Jesus was undoubtedly raised Jewish with all of the ceremonies and cultural trappings that accompanied those times. Thus, to the extent we study and learn about turn-of-the-millennium Israel, the more we learn about the "lost" years of Jesus.

Third, I believe it was Robert Bowman of the Center for Biblical Apologetics who pointed out to me that the Bible does say in a general way what Jesus did during those intervening years. It is found in only two verses in Luke 2:51-52. "Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men." So, from this we can conclude that (speaking broadly) Jesus lived in Nazareth with his parents where he obeyed the commandment to "honor thy mother and father" and became respected in that community.

To the extent that anyone claims to have further evidence about what happened to Jesus between the appearance in the Temple and his baptism, such claims should be viewed skeptically since (as far as I am aware) there is no known source that is accepted as truthful by either scholars or theologians that give any details of that time period.

Next time, we will look at the next few "little known facts" about the life of Jesus as seen from Dr. Crossan's unusual perspective.

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.)

Since these next two 'chapters' are relatively short, I am presenting them both together, so that later I can divide the longest remaining 'chapter' into two entries.



The King's Triumphant Entry (5 days until the end...)

Now on the next day...

Jesus was passing through one city and village to another (around Jerusalem?), teaching and proceeding, going in toward Jerusalem. [See first comment below for a footnote here.]

And someone said to Him, "Master, are there only a few who are being saved?"

And He said to them:

"Struggle to enter through the short and narrow door; for I tell you, many will seek to enter and will not be strong enough, once the head of the house gets up and shuts the door.

"But you will be standing outside, beginning to knock on the door, saying, 'Lord, Lord!--open up to us!'

"But He will answer, declaring to you, 'I do not know you! Where are you from?'

"Then if you start by saying, 'We ate and drank in Your presence, and You taught in our streets--!'

"He will also declare, 'I tell you, I do not know you! Where are you from? Go away from Me, all you workers of injustice!'

"There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you are seeing Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God--but you yourselves being cast out.

"And they will be coming from east and west and north and south, and will recline (to feast) in the kingdom of God!

"But look!--they are the last who will be first, and first who will be last."

Just at that time ('in that same hour'), some Pharisees came up, saying to Him, "Go away and leave here! For Herod (Antipas, in Jerusalem for Passover week) wants to kill you!" (probably a bluff; Herod is quite interested in Jesus and even would like an audience with Him...)

But He said to them, "Go and tell that jackal: 'Behold!--today and tomorrow I cast out demons, and perform cures... but the third day, I am completed!'

"More than this, I must be journeying on today and tomorrow, and the day that is coming; for it is not credible that a prophet should perish outside Jerusalem."


.......

(All the Storytellers combine in harmony, to tell what happens next...)

Now it happened, that when He approached Jerusalem (again, later the same day), and had arrived at Bethphage near the hill called Olivet (or Olive Grove Hill), He sent two disciples, saying, "Go into the village opposite you (probably meaning from Bethphage into nearby Bethany, also mentioned here in some accounts), in which as you enter you will instantly see a tied donkey, and with her a colt on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie, and bring them. And, if anyone asks you, 'What is this you are doing?!', you say this, 'The Lord has need,' and he will send them straight away back here."

And those who were being sent went away, and found it just as He had told them, tied at the door outside in the street; and as they were loosing the colt, its masters who were standing nearby said to them, "Why are you untying the colt?" And they said, "The Lord has need of it," just as Jesus had told them, and they gave their permission.

Now they brought the donkey and the colt to Jesus, and they threw their garments (outer tunics) on the colt, and mounted Jesus on it.

And this took place (adds the Disciple and the Evangelist) that what was spoken through the prophet (Zechariah) might be fulfilled, saying:

Say to the daughter of Zion,
'Fear not, daughter of Zion!
Behold!--your King is coming to you,
gentle and mounted on a donkey colt,
the foal of a beast of burden!'


Not that His disciples understood these things at first (the Evangelist explains), but when Jesus was glorified, then they recalled that these things (from Zechariah and Isaiah) had been written of Him, and that they themselves had done these things to Him.

[Note: The ancient symbolism being employed here, is that a king riding into a city which has been warring against him comes in war on a horse, i.e. intending to sack the city and treat it as spoils; but if on a colt, then he comes in peace in regard to that city, offering mercy and alliance. Herod and Pilate, by contrast, had probably entered Jerusalem already with great panoply and, in Pilate's case, also with military force.]

Now the great multitude of common people who had come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, cut soft branches from the trees and foliage in the fields and went out to meet Him.

As well, the people who were with Him when He called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead (several months earlier), were bearing Him witness. For this cause also, then, the multitude went and met Him: because they heard that He had done this attesting miracle.

Now as He was approaching, near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of the disciples began praising God as they rejoiced with a ringing voice for all the works of power they had seen!

And as He was going, they were spreading their garments in the road; and most in the multitude were spreading their garments in the road (as well), or else laying down the branches in the road.

And the multitudes going before Him, and those who followed after, were crying out, saying:

"Hosanna! Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is he who comes in the Name of the Lord'! (singing one of the Psalms) Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Peace in heaven!--and glory in the highest!!"

But some of the Pharisees from the multitude said to Him, "Rabbi! Rebuke your disciples!"

Yet He answered and said: "I tell you, if these become silent, 'the stones will cry out'!" (quoting the prophet Habakkuk, regarding the praise of earth to God--routinely interpreted by the rabbis to mean the pagan nations of the earth.)

The Pharisees therefore said to one another, "You see you are doing no good... Look!--the world has gone after Him!"

Yet...

when He approached and saw the city (through the gates), He wept over it...

saying...

"If you had known in this day, even you, the things which make for peace--! But now they have been hidden from your eyes.

"For the days shall come upon you, when your foes will throw a siege-bank up around you, and surround you, and be hemming you in on every side... and will level you, and your children within you...

"...and they will not leave in you one stone upon a stone... because you did not recognize the time of your visitation...

"O Jerusalem... Jerusalem...!"


.......

Now when He had entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying, "Who is this?!" And the crowds were saying, "This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee!"

And He went into the Temple; but after looking all around, He departed for Bethany with the Twelve, because it was already late.


Matthew 21:1-11
Mark 11:1-11
Luke 13:22-33
Luke 19:29-44
John 12:12-19


The Scourging of the Rebellious Figs (4 days until the end...)

Now in the morning (says the Follower), on their way from Bethany (back into Jerusalem), He hungers.

And seeing at a distance along the road one fig tree with leaves, He went in case He might be finding any in it.

Yet coming up to it, He found nothing but the leaves, for it was not the season of figs.

In answer to this, He said to it, "By no means may anyone be eating fruit of you into the eon."

And His disciples heard.


.......

Now they are coming into Jerusalem.

And Jesus, entering the temple, begins throwing out those selling and buying in the Temple (just as on His previous Passover visit two years ago); and He overturns the tables of the moneychangers and the seats of the dove-sellers. And He refused to let anyone carry (even) a pitcher through the Temple! (Thus shutting down sacrifices altogether for the day.)

[Plotnote: keep in mind that the Sadducean party, led by Annas and his family, including son-in-law Caiaphas, had convinced the Sanhedrin to use the Court of the Gentiles, which was supposed to be reserved for non-Jews to worship YHWH, as a conveniently local place for moneychanging and the selling of sacrificial animals. They had also moved the Sanhedrin's regular meeting courts to a nearby chamber. Jesus has already made it clear two years earlier, that this was not acceptable to God, which many of the leaders especially among the oppositional Pharisee party took to be a prophetic sign. But here they are, back again, preventing Gentiles from worshiping God in peace.

Moreover, during the previous scourging of the Temple, related by the Evangelist, Jesus had declared the lesser charge that they had turned the Temple into a merchant-house. Since they're back at it again, though, after being warned--which could only have happened by the permission of the chief priests--Jesus now calls them rebels: 'lestes', like the brigands defying Rome. (Whether the moneychangers and vendors had been allowed back into the Court of the Gentiles before now is irrelevant; even had they been put back in the intervening years, Jesus has simply chosen this Passover holiday to make the charge of rebellion against the lawful authority of God.)

Ironically, the Temple will in fact literally become a 'den of rebels', against the Roman Emperor--invested, and infested, by the coming of the Zealots--forty years later during the siege of Jerusalem.]

Now He taught and said to them, "Is it not written (in Isaiah the prophet) 'My house shall also be called a house of prayer for all the nations'!? But you make it 'a den of rebels'!!" (as the Lord God said to Jeremiah the prophet--before sending armies to destroy Jerusalem and carry the people of Israel into exile...)

And the chief priests and the scribes hear; and they sought how they should be ruining Him; for they feared Him because the entire crowd was astonished at His teaching. But they couldn't find anything to do, for the crowd was hanging on Him.

And the blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple (adds the Disciple), and He cures them.

But the chief priests and the scribes, seeing the marvels He does, and the boys shouting in the Temple "Hosanna to the Son of David!", resent it--and say to Him, "Do you hear what these are saying!?" [Footnote: doubtless noticing, among other things, the boys' use of a military title.]

Yet Jesus is saying to them, "Yes!--did you never read (in the Psalms) that 'From the mouth of youths and babies You are tuning praise!'?" (i.e. praise for God Himself)

Now during these days He would spend His time teaching in the Temple, but when it came to be evening, they went outside the city to Bethany, lodging (or 'camping') there on Olive Grove Hill (possibly at the olive press up in the groves rather than in Bethany itself; the pressworks would be deserted at this time of year, out of season, and might be safer than staying in a house at Bethany.)


.......

Now as they were going along in the morning (3 days until the end), they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. And being reminded, Peter said to Him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered!"

And Jesus said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you."

Now seeing this, this disciples marveled, saying, "How did the fig tree wither at once?!" (If the tree had been slain the morning before, it might take this long for the effects to show enough for the disciples to notice.)

And Jesus answered saying to them, "Trust in God. Truly I tell you, if you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this black mulberry (an inferior fig), 'Uproot and plant in the sea', and it would obey you."

Now the apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!!"

Yet the Lord said, "Truly I tell you, whoever says not only to this fig tree, but to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea', and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it shall be to him!

"Therefore I tell you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe you have received them, and they shall be to you.

"But--whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father in the heavens may also forgive you your transgressions.

"Now--which of you, having a slave plowing or herding, will say to him when he has come in from the field, 'Come by at once and recline (for supper)'?

"But will he not say to him, 'Prepare a thing for me to eat, and gird yourself and serve me till I am eating and drinking; and after these things you may eat and drink'?

"Does he thank the slave because he did the things which were commanded?! I presume not!

"So, you too, when you do all the things which are commanded to you, say, 'We are slaves of no profit; we only do what we ought to do.'"


Matthew 21:12-22
Mark 11:12-26
Luke 17:5-10
Luke 19:45-48

[Next time: With All His Understanding (3 days until the end...)]

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