April 22, 2007

Mark 10.32-34

They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, Jesus leading the way; and the disciples were filled with awe, while those who followed behind were afraid. He took the Twelve aside and began to tell them what was going to happen to him. "We are now going to Jerusalem," he said, "and the son of man will be given up to the chief priests and the doctors of the law; they will condemn him to death and hand him over to the foreign power. He will be mocked and spat upon, flogged and killed; and three days afterwards, he will rise again."


At 6:04 p.m., Blogger forrest said...

First, we have a prophet here and he knows how this is going to go. He tells people, but the following passage indicates that they really don't believe him; they are expecting to go into Jerusalem, see God kick the Romans out, and soon be sitting on thrones.

The other thing about this. "The Jews" aren't going to kill him. The Temple authorities: "chief priests and doctors of the law" are the ones who are going to hand him over to the foreign power.

They are not going to have him stoned, which would be the normal sanction for a religious crime. Serving as a class of client rulers for the Romans, oppressing and exploiting their own people in pagan style, they are going to finger Jesus as an aspiring pretender to the throne of Israel, and the Romans will kill him for this political crime. He will not deny it, because (as I see it) he has in fact been annointed king.

"Three days afterwards, he will rise again." "Three days" here means something like "several," in case you've ever tried to count this out on your fingers. The sticking point, of course, is "he will rise again."

Among Jews of this time, their martyred saints are expected to be resurrected in the last days. "Three days" is rather soon, but consistent with Jesus' doctrine that the Kingdom was already present with him. Paul, much later, when he comes to believe that Jesus has been resurrected, concludes that this process has begun, and that all the righteous dead, Jesus the first of them, will be showing up any day now. As far as we can tell, this did not happen.

What about the resurrection itself? Something convinced Jesus' closest followers that it had in fact happened. A shared delusion?--an intangible spiritual influence they couldn't deny?--or Jesus, still visiting them in embodied form? No doubt we'll take this up later, but for now... is this really impossible? Do we believe more in matter and meat, or in the power of God?


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