Monday, February 25, 2008

Matthew, chapter 27 - part 1

1 Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people came to the decision to put Jesus to death.
So the author wants to make it very clear as to who's responsible in his view: all the chief priests and elders of the people
3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. 4 "I have sinned," he said, "for I have betrayed innocent blood."
What did Judas expected them to do? Or did he think they would just imprison Jesus? And since he repented, why couldn't God forgive him? Assuming that God didn't remote-control Judas the whole time anyway in order to get his plan to get Jesus crucified going.
5 So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and
hanged himself.
What exactly would he have wanted to accomplish by killing himself? Be judged sooner?
6 The chief priests picked up the coins and said, "It is against the law to put this into the treasury, since it is blood money." 7 So they decided to use the money to buy the potter's field as a burial place for foreigners. 8 That is why it has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9 Then what was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: "They took the thirty silver coins, the price set on him by the people of Israel, 10 and they used them to buy the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."
So this whole story of buying a field was only added to 'fulfill' another prophecy. Very convincing. Especially since the author got some of the 'prophecy' mixed up (well, actually totally made the prophecy up again). The 30 pieces of silver and the potter stuff isn't found in Jeremiah but in Zecharia: 12 And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 13 And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the LORD. 14 Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel. No mention of a field there. Nor of a betrayal. On the other hand you do find a reference to buying a field in Jeremiah: 9 And I bought the field of Hanameel my uncle's son, that was in Anathoth, and weighed him the money, even seventeen shekels of silver. But that's a different field of course and the sum of money isn't right either. So the author has simply messed up and mixed two quotes that didn't have anything to do with each other and created a new story, eh, 'prophecy'.
11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
Bad idea to acknowledge to a Roman pro-consul that you consider yourself being the King of the Jews (even though the author makes it look like Pilate didn't care).
12 When he was accused by the chief priests and the elders, he gave no answer. 13 Then Pilate asked him, "Don't you hear the testimony they are bringing against you?" 14But Jesus made no reply, not even to a single charge—to the great amazement of the governor.
He didn't really like to speak or defend himself at all at the time it seems. This also contradicts other accounts of this process.
17 So when the crowd had gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to release to you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?"
The interesting thing here is that Bar-Abbas means literally 'son of a father' so the people had to choose between the son of a father and the alleged Son of The Father. What were the odds?
19 While Pilate was sitting on the judge's seat, his wife sent him this message: "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."
Uh, if that's true then why didn't God just tell Pilate this in a dream? Sounds more like a dramatic ploy by the author.
22 "What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called Christ?" Pilate asked. They all answered, "Crucify him!"
Did the author know that verses like this would be the basis of all future anti-semitism by Christians?
24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. "I am innocent of this man's blood," he said. "It is your responsibility!"
A very improbable scene since Pilate was a brutal and ruthless governor. Why should he act different with Jesus, yet another Jew who claimed to be the messiah?
25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children!"
So the Jews themselves were responsible for all the tragedies that their people had to endure in the following centuries, up to the Holocaust. I guess that's the price you have to pay when you want God's son to be killed ...