Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Passion Week - Wednesday

Note that there is nothing in the Biblical account of the Passion Week that Jesus (or others) can specifically be seen to have happened on Wednesday.  Perhaps this was just a day Christ spent with the disciples or even on his own.  But Scripture is silent.  One thing I left out of Tuesday’s portion is Mark 14:1-2 which seems to have occurred on Tuesday.

Mark 14:1-2 - In two days' time the festival of the Passover and of unleavened bread was due. Consequently, the chief priests and the scribes were trying to think of some trick by which they could get Jesus into their power and have him executed. "But it must not be during the festival," they said, "or there will be a riot."

With that behind us, how do we gently wade through the many events that happened on Tuesday?  Quotes in this section not noted are from Blomberg’s “Jesus and the Gospels” pages 318-328.  In Mark 11:27-33, the temple authorities thought they could trap Jesus, but Jesus trapped them.  They wanted to know the source of his authority, and he asked them to explain the source of John the Baptizer’s authority.  Well, to say that John’s authority was from man would be blasphemy to the masses and to say it was from God would make the authorities have to seriously question their entire worldview. Mark 12:1-12 is the parable of the tenants.  It seems to be “a clear jab at the leaders’ own authority.” (318).

Mark 12:13-37 shows that Christ was “the true fulfillment of the Passover.”  This is seen by the four sets of questions that correspond with Passover questions “(a) a question regarding a point of law…(b) a question with a note of scoffing…(c) a question by a person of ‘plain piety’…(d) a question by the father of the family at his own initiative.” (318) Also interesting to note is that in verse 36, Psalm 110 is quoted.  This is the Old Testament passage most quoted in the New Testament.

Matthew 23 was the second part of Tuesday’s events.  Just as Matthew begins Christ’s teachings with the Sermon on the Mount and 9 blessings, this last set of Christ’s teachings contains 7 “woes.”  This is said to be the worst curse a man could have placed upon himself.  Christ condemned the Jewish leaders 7 times.  Robertson, in his NT Word Pictures makes the point that “the Textus Receptus has eight woes, adding verse 14 which the Revised Version places in the margin (called verse 13 by Westcott and Hort and rejected on the authority of Aleph B D as a manifest gloss from Mark 12:40 and Luke 20:47). The MSS. that insert it put it either before 13 or after 13.”

Jay Green, in the “Translation Notes for the Gospels,” expounds upon the word “hypocrite.”  The word could be translated players, actors, pretenders shut up - from a word meaning key - they had grabbed the key, shut the door, and locked out everyone so that their interpretation could not be challenged - now modern versionists are seeking to do the same with our generation.”

Matthew 23:38 ties in with Christ’s prophecy of Mark 13.  It is a prophecy 40 years early of the destruction of the temple.  Mark 13 is also the chapter corresponding to Matthew 24.  The Temple was an awesome structure.  It’s reported by Josephus that some of the stones were 25x8x12 cubits – this is roughly 41x13x20 feet.  It was, indeed, “wonderful stonework.”

Mark 13:9-23 lists persecutions of the disciples.  Verse 9 could be extremely prophetic of a particular Apostle who was not even with Christ when he was going through these persecutions.  I am referring to Paul.  Verse 9 states:  You yourselves must keep your wits about you, for men will hand you over to their councils, and will beat you in their synagogues. You will have to stand in front of rulers and kings for my sake to bear your witness to them.”  Going through Acts, note chapter 23:1 – “Paul looked steadily at the Sanhedrin [council] and spoke to them.”  Paul was also beaten, but he even fulfilled Christ’s prophecy if you look at Acts 26:11 – “Many and many a time in all the synagogues I had them punished and I used to try and force them to deny their Lord.”  Also, in Acts 24:24-25, Paul was before Felix and in Acts 26:2-3 Paul was before Agrippa.  These two were “rulers and kings.”  What was Paul doing other than “bearing his witness to them”?

In Mark 13:21-37 Jesus is warning of false Christs as well as urging the disciples to “keep their eyes open” or “keep on the alert.”

Finally, Mark 14:1-2 seems to demonstrate that the plans of men sometimes fail and that, especially in regards to the crucifixion, that God’s timing will always overshadow the plans of man.  See Acts 2:23 and 4:28.  The authorities didn’t plan on doing anything during the Passover week, but their plans were not God’s plans.

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