The Final Times of Jesus on Earth Essay Sample

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Introduction

These events are of such importance to the gospel writers that they take up roughly half of each document. Some would see them as contradictory accounts, but in fact they are complementary.

The Trials, Matthew 26 v 57 – 27 v 26

There were two trials, because the Jewish Sanhedrin were unable to pass the death sentence which they felt was the true punishment for blasphemy. This was something only a Roman could order. At night Jesus was taken before the high priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Peter followed. This trial was illegal, because they had to meet in daylight, as John Wesley comments in his Bible Notes, the temple courts were not open in darkness. 26 v 59 They try to find false witnesses. In verse 62 Jesus is asked to answer the charges. 26 v 63 He is asked whether or not he is the Messiah. His answer is seen as indicative  of his guilt  of the charge of blasphemy.  They insult and strike him. 26 v 69 – 75 Peter’s triple denial

27v 2 Jesus is taken before Pilate. In verse 3 we are told Judas repented and tried to give the money back. In v 11 Pilate asks ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ In v 15 – 26 the crowd demand the release of Barabbus and the crucifixion of Jesus. Mark and Luke’s gospels add nothing to this account. John tells us, 18 v 15, that another disciple accompanied Peter and that he was taken in first place to Annas and then to Caiaphas.

John Romer in ‘Testament’ ( p. 175)  by placing the accounts of the Roman  trial in parallel columns emphasises their consistency.

Crucifixion. Matthew 27 v 27,

Jesus is handed over to soldiers who mock him, dressing his as a king. Simon of Cyrene is told to carry the cross. Jesus is offered a drink which he refuses. Wesley notes that this was a form of drugging, but Jesus wanted to experience  things in full. Then he was crucified. They play lots for his clothing. Superscription applied ‘Jesus, King of the Jews.’ In 27 v 44 the thieves also revile him. 27 v 46 He calls out to God before dying. Mark

s account is the same. Luke adds the thief asking for remembrance and Jesus giving him the promise

of paradise and in 23 v 46 Jesus commends his soul to God. John 19 gives a fuller account, adding the names of those present and Jesus’ words to Mary and John, v 26,27 crucifixion Romer says it bears the signs of truth and that no theologian would have predicted such an end for the King of Heaven.

Resurrection Matthew 28

B.W. Johnson in his People’s Commentary notes that the fact the women were going to anoint him means that the resurrection was not expected. Early on the Sunday morning. Matthew 28 tells us of Mary Magdelene and another Mary going to the tomb. He mentions earthquake and one angel. Mark’s account adds a third woman, Mark 15 v 40. The angel is now a young man. Luke, Chapter 24, mentions two angels and other women. John’s account, John 20, is the most different. It only mentions Mary Magdelene who saw the stone moved and ran to fetch Peter and John who find the empty grave clothes. John Wesley’s comment on the angels message is: ‘Go tell my brethren – I still own them as such, though they so lately disowned and forsook me.’

Appearances Matthew 28

Matthew 28 v 10 has Jesus appearing to the disciples, with a message John Wesley describes as ‘Jesus’ commission. In v 18 he appears again in Galilee.

Mark 16 tells us that he appeared first to Mary Magdelene, then to two walkers, later to the 11. Luke mentions first the two walking to Emmaus, then the disciples and others. There is no mention of appearances in Galilee. John 20 describes the appearance to Mary Magdelene and the appearance to the disciples, but also mentions an appearance to Thomas on the eighth day and tells us that there was much more to be told. Like Matthew he includes an appearance in Galilee. Of almost the final words of his gospel ‘We know that his testimony is true’ Johnson says that these may have been added by others to confirm the truth of John’s words.

Ascension Acts 1

In Acts 1 we have Jesus ascending after 40 days from the Jerusalem area, and in Luke 24, after giving instructions, we are told this is from Bethany, nearby. Matthew 28 includes the instructions, but no ascension. Mark however tacks on the ascension, Mark 16, to such instructions. In John 21 we have instructions given, in particular to Peter and again no mention of the ascension. The instructions given vary form those given earlier which confined the mission to the Jews, now it is extended to the whole world as Johnson mention in his commentary of this passage. Usually we see pictures of the ascension with Christ erect, but Matthew Henry notes that he was at rest, his task complete. Wesley notes that by the time Mark wrote the gospel the disciples had already taken the message out into the world.

Conclusion

Apart from very minor inconsistencies such as the number of angels the accounts do not fight with each other. Although the different writers include and omit certain things they are not contradictory.

References

Romer, J. Testament, (1988) The Bible and History, London, O’Mara Books Ltd

Electronic Sources

Henry, M., Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Bible  Study Aids, Christians Unite.com Retrieved 15th September 2008 from http://bible.christiansunite.com/mhcc.cgi?b=Mk&c=16

Johnson, B.W. ‘The People’s Commentary, Volume1 Bible  Study Aids, Christians Unite.com Retrieved 15th September 2008 from http://bible.christiansunite.com/pnt/pnt1.shtml

Wesley, J. John Wesley’s Notes on the Bible, Bible Study Aids, ChristiansUnite.com, Retrieved 15th September 2008 from  http://bible.christiansunite.com/wes.cgi?b=Mt&c=28

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