D. JESUS' LAST SUPPER (22:1-23)
LukeExeg.2211. CONSPIRACY OF THE CHIEF PRIESTS AND THE SCRIBES (22:l-2=Mark 14:1-2)22:1. Luke is not quite correct when he identifies the two feasts. The feast of Unleavened Bread began at sundown on Nisan 14--the beginning of the fifteenth day by Jewish reckoning--and Iasted for a period of seven days (Lev. 23:5-6). The Passover coincided only with its first day. The paschal lambs were slaughtered on the afternoon of Nisan 14, and the solemn meal itself was eaten during the evening that constituted the beginning of the fifteenth day.2. In the process of abbreviating Mark, Luke omits the interesting note that the chief priests and the scribes wished to accomplish Jesus' death before the beginning of the festival. According to Luke, it was Jesus' popularity with the people that gave him a measure of protection (cf. vs. 6).2. JUDAS' PLOT TO BETRAY JESUS (22:3-6=Mark 14:10-11)It is scarcely conceivable that the story of Jesus' betrayal by one of his disciples should have been invented by the early church. Modern suggestions that Judas is a personification of the Jewish people fail to carry conviction.Early in the nineteenth century Thomas de Quincey advanced the precocious theory that Judas was a high-minded individual who wished to compel Jesus to declare his messiahship and thus to hasten the inauguration of the kingdom of God, and similar idealizing portraits of Judas continue to appear. However interesting, such theories have no evidential support. Mark's version suggests that avarice was Judas' motive, and Matthew makes that motive explicit. Luke blames it all on Satan (cf. John 13:2, 27; 14:30; and Paul's belief that the hierarchy of demonic forces who are "the rulers of this age" were the ultimate agents responsible for the crucifixion of "the Lord of glory" [I Cor. 2:8]).
--Jerusalem in New Testament TimesThe process of apologizing for Judas began at an early date. Matthew declared that the traitor, overcome with remorse, soon returned the money he had accepted and then committed suicide (Matthew 27:3-5). Luke says nothing of this. According to our evangelist, Judas used his "blood money" to buy a field, and his death was the consequence of a punitive miracle: "Falling headlong he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out" (Acts 1:18). The Gospel of John was concerned about the christological problem involved: Was Jesus' judgment or foreknowledge at fault? The author guards against any such misapprehension by pointing out that Jesus was aware at the very outset (John 6:70-71) of the role that Judas would play.What did Judas betray? Mark and the other Synoptists imply that he merely identified Jesus for the agents whom the chief priests had sent to effect the arrest, and probably we need look no further for an answer. Some modern scholars suspect that the traitor gave the Sanhedrin inside information about Jesus' secret claim to be Messiah. Our sources do not lend this hypothesis any support. There is no suggestion that Judas gave witness against Jesus or appeared at the trial.3. Iscariot: See on 6:14-16.4-6. Captains: As in vs. 52 (cf. Acts 4:1; 5:24, 26), the officers of the temple police.3. PREPARATION FOR THE PASSOVER (22:7-13=Mark 14:12-16)As in the story of the entry into Jerusalem (19:29-32=Mark 11:1-4), both Mark and Luke imply that Jesus had a prophet's foreknowledge of the course events would take (cf. I Sam. 10:2-6).7. Both Mark and Luke ignore the Jewish custom of dividing "days" at sunset (see on vs. 1).8. Peter and John for Mark's "two of his disciples."9-13. When you have entered the city: It is assumed that, contrary to custom, Jesus had spent the day elsewhere than in Jerusalem. Many interpreters arbitrarily associate the large upper room of these verses with that mentioned in Acts 1:13 and locate it in the house of John Mark's mother which we are told in Acts 12:12 served as a meeting place after the Crucifixion for Jesus' erstwhile followers. They are then enabled to identify the man carrying a jar of water as John Mark and the householder as John Mark's father. Sober exegesis cautions against such a dubious chain of inferences. Furnished: Carpeted and supplied with couches on which guests could recline at a meal. They prepared the passover: The purchase, slaughter, and roasting of the paschal lamb and the provision of unleavened bread, bitter herbs, and wine.4. THE LAST SUPPER (22:14-23)The RSV follows the so-called Western text of Luke at this point and omits vss. 19b and 20. There is good reason, quite apart from principles of textual criticism (see Intro., p. 20), to believe that this "short" text of Luke is original. Vss. 19b and 20 in the KJV are in almost verbal agreement with I Cor. 11:24b-25 and presumably were interpolated by early copyists.Marcan contacts with the Western text of Luke are vss. 14 (rewritten), 18 (abbreviated), 19a, and 22. Some interpreters believe that Luke's account is only an editorial rearrangement and expansion of Mark's, but it is more probable that Luke had access in this instance to an independent tradition and that he has revised and supplemented it with excerpts from his primary source. If this latter hypothesis is correct, the Last Supper is attested in the N.T. by three independent accounts: I Cor. 11:17-34; Mark 14:17-26; Luke 22:14-23. John has no narrative of the Last Supper, but ch. 6 of his Gospel is an elaborate and symbolic interpretation of it.No doubt the Christian sacrament of the Lord's Supper was influenced in its observance and interpretation by beliefs and customs current among contemporary mystery cults, many of which had sacramental meals. But the hypothesis that the early church borrowed the rite is untenable. There is every reason to accept the Christian tradition that the Lord's Supper originated as a commemoration of Jesus' last supper with his disciples.The Pauline and the Mark-Matthew accounts of the Last Supper have much in common, and both are earlier than Luke's. Nevertheless the possibility remains that the latter rests on a more primitive tradition. It exhibits the following striking variations: (a) the cup comes before the bread; (b) the cup is not associated with the establishment of a new covenant; and (c) the main emphasis of the account is on the supper as a feast of anticipation (vss. 16, 18). The disciples recalled that, during Jesus' last meal with them, he had spoken solemnly of his impending death but had also confidently predicted a reunion around a banquet table in the kingdom of God. Similar traits may be noted in the regulations for the conduct of the Eucharist in the Didache (9:1-3), an early second-century book of Christian discipline.One further preliminary question is of crucial importance: Was the Last Supper Jesus' Passover meal? This is the representation both in Mark-Matthew and in Luke, but there are grounds for believing that the meal took place twenty-four hours before that feast was to be celebrated.The problem is created by a striking conflict between the Synoptic accounts of the date of the Crucifixion and that in the Gospel of John. All agree that Jesus died on a Friday. But Mark, followed by Matthew and Luke, says that this was the Passover while John declares that it was the day before (John 18:28; 19:14, 31, 42). In this instance John is almost certainly correct. Mark 14:1-2 looks like an excerpt from an early source that the compiler has not thoroughly revised. Here we are told that the chief priests and the scribes were anxious to bring about Jesus' death before the beginning of the festival, and there is no reason to believe that they changed their plans. Paul describes Christ as "our paschal lamb [who] has been sacrificed," and compares the Christian era to the Jewish feast of Unleavened Bread (I Cor. 5:7-8). The paschal lambs were slaughtered a few hours before the evening that marked the first part of the Passover day (see on vs. 1). Finally, since the Passover was a sacred day, it is almost inconceivable that Jesus could have been arrested, examined before the Sanhedrin, tried before Pilate, crucified, and buried during the course of it.If Jesus died on the Cross some hours before the beginning of Nisan 15, it is clear that the Last Supper was not Jesus' Passover meal. Therefore it should not be interpreted in the light of Passover symbolism. Nevertheless the church soon came to think of it as the Christian substitute for the Jewish feast, and the passion narrative was redrafted at some pre-Marcan level to make the two coincide.14. Editorial revision of Mark. The apostles is more impressive than Mark's "the twelve."15-16. If these verses were part of some special Lukan tradition it would appear also to have identified the supper with the Passover meal. Another interpretation is possible but remote: Jesus' fervent desire to eat this passover before his death will not be realized. This latter construction is more attractive when we omit again with several ancient MSS --an emendation of the text favored by Westcott and Hort and RSV. Until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God: The idea of a messianic feast in the new age was a familiar one in Jewish apocalyptic.17-18. The cup is also mentioned before the bread in I Cor. 10:16, 21. The practice at a Jewish meal was for the head of the house to bless the chalice of wine, drink from it, and then pass it to each member of the company in turn. Luke's wording of vss. 17b-18 implies that only the disciples drank of the wine. Vs. 18 is in close agreement with Mark 14:25, but may have been taken over nonetheless from Luke's special tradition.19a. An insert from Mark 14:22. Bread: "Loaf"--Moffatt. This is my body: The verb "to be" would not have been expressed in Aramaic, and therefore too much weight cannot be given to it in the Greek. Probably to be paraphrased: "This means my body"--Moffatt. Jesus interpreted his acted parable of the breaking of the loaf as a representation of the fate that awaited him. But it is probable that Mark and Luke and their readers understood the words in terms of the realistic sacramentalism that is already evident in Paul's references to the rite (I Cor. 10:14-22; 11:23-30). If they originally carried this meaning, the interpreter would be impelled to regard them as an early interpolation by Hellenistic Christians, for such sacramental ideas appear to have been alien to the Jewish framework of thought that Jesus shared.21-23. Jesus' oblique reference to one of his table companions as a traitor precedes the narrative of the supper in Mark's account (Mark 14:18-21). Vs. 22 is apparently an excerpt from Mark 14:21.E. THE FAREWELL DISCOURSE (22:24-38)Note the much more elaborate farewell discourse in John 13-17.1. TRUE GREATNESS (22:24-27)Note 9:46-48 (Mark 9:33-37). Similar in content to Mark 10:42-45, which Luke omitted at the point where we might have expected him to use it (following 18:34). Differences in phraseology and content support the hypothesis that these verses were derived from some special source. Mark's variant urges those who would be great to achieve their ambition by the way of service. Luke's tradition counsels those already in positions of leadership to demonstrate the graces of humble service (cf. John 13:2-16). In both versions Jesus enforces his advice by reference to his own example--but with diverse sayings.24. Editorial. In Mark's version Jesus' words were addressed to the ten disciples after his reply to the request of the sons of Zebedee for places of preferment in the new age.25-26. Benefactors:In Luke only. A favorite title of the Hellenistic monarchs who had ruled over Egypt and Syria. The youngest: The one to whom the least inviting duties would be assigned. In this instance the Greek comparative has the value of a superlative.27a. It may have been this verse in Luke's source that prompted him to locate the passage after the account of the Last Supper.27b. Mark's variant: "For the Son of man also came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45). Codex Bezae expands the saying as it appears in most MSS of Luke to read: "For I did not come among you as one who sits at a table, but as one who serves, and you have been happy to have me serve you."2. THE DISCIPLES AS THE FUTURE RULERS OF THE TWELVE TRIBES (22:28-30)No doubt Matthew 19:28 is a variant, but differences make it improbable that the two versions were drawn from the same source. Rev. 3:21 may be still another phrasing. The idea of the apostles as rulers in the new age with the risen Christ is probably one that originated after the Resurrection.28. Translate trials with the RSV.29-30. The RSV should be followed in construing kingdom with the verb governed by my Father, and in regarding the clause in vs. 30 as the object of I appoint for you. Jesus delegates privilege and responsibility in the kingdom that is to be his. Eat and drink ... in my kingdom has no counterpart in Matthew's version. Possibly an interpolation suggested to Luke by the after-supper setting he has given the saying. Matthew's version reads "twelve thrones." The thought of Judas' impending defection may have prompted Luke to omit the numeral. Judging: probably used in the O.T. sense of "ruling."3. PREDICTION OF THE DISCIPLES' DESERTION AND A COMMISSION TO SIMON (22:31-32)According to Mark, Jesus' disciples "all forsook him, and fled" after his arrest (Mark 14:50). According to Paul, the first of the appearances of the risen Christ--on which the faith of the early Christian community was based--was vouchsafed to Cephas (I Cor. 15:5a; cf. Luke 24:34). The passage under discussion may reflect familiarity with both these traditions. It asserts that Jesus had foreseen his disciples' loss of faith and had entrusted Simon with the responsibility of restoring it. These verses replace Mark's prediction of the scattering of the disciples and of the Galilean appearance of the risen Christ (Mark 14:27-28).31. And the Lord said (KJV): An introduction vouched for by Codex Sinaiticus and the bulk of the MSS but omitted by Codex Vaticanus and a few allies. The double vocative is characteristic of Luke. The role attributed to Satan is similar to that in the prologue to the book of Job. You in this verse is plural, i.e., the disciples.32. You represents the Greek singular. Even Simon's faith would be shaken, but Jesus had interceded with God to save it from utter collapse. And when you have turned again: Probably a reference to Simon's recovery of faith after the Resurrection. Moffatt interprets it as a Hebraism meaning "and you in turn." Strengthen your brethren: Cf. the similar commission in John 21:15-17.4. PREDICTION OF PETER'S DENIAL (22:33-34=Mark 14:29-31a)According to Mark, the prediction was uttered on the Mount of Olives. Luke shifts the scene to the upper room.33. An editorial revision of Mark 14:29 and 31a that makes Peter's declaration of loyalty more positive.34. The cock will not crow ... until, i.e., "before daybreak." This day: The Jewish "day" was reckoned from sunset to sunset. Contrast Luke's use of the word in vs. 7.5. SAYING ABOUT BUYING A SWORD (22:35-38)35. A reminder to the disciples that they had been cordially welcomed and entertained during the course of their first mission. Luke has overlooked the fact that he had included these particular instructions in his account of the mission of the seventy (10:4), not of the twelve (9:3). See on 10:1.36. The attitude of the Jewish people has changed. Jesus' disciples will now need money, provisions, and even means of defense. It is possible (despite Matthew 26:52-54) that Jesus contemplated the emergence of a situation in which his followers would have to resist aggression by the use of force. Most interpreters refuse to believe that Jesus was speaking literally. Some allegorize sword in the sense of Eph. 6:17. Others see in the saying only a vivid, pictorial description of the altered temper of the populace.37. The quotation is from Isa. 53:12 and is usually regarded as an allusion to the whole verse. The only unambiguous reference in the Gospels to the poems of the servant of the Lord. At a later date the church found an answer in those O.T. passages to the meaning of Jesus' death, and it is possible that Jesus himself had also reflected on them. But the verse has little connection with what precedes and follows and may not have been an original part of the present complex. What is written about me: Practically a repetition of 37a, but the reading has much better MS support than the alternative in the KJV.38. Two swords: Allegorized as "worldly and spiritual" authority by the bull Unam Sanctam of Boniface VIII (A.D. 1302). The disciples took Jesus literally and any hypothesis that they were mistaken is too subtle to be probable. It is enough was his comment that their resources were adequate for their immediate needs. But most interpreters regard the phrase as a Semitism meaning "Enough of this!" (Goodspeed). Jesus' metaphor had been misunderstood, and he therefore abruptly dismissed the subject.F. THE ARREST (22:39-65)1. JESUS' PRAYER ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVER (22:39-46; cf. Mark 14:32, 35-38a)One act of solitary prayer and one discovery of sleeping disciples, instead of three of each as in Mark. The story represents Jesus in doubt, even at the end of his ministry, of the course that God would have him pursue. If he were to remain in Jerusalem, it seemed certain that a violent death awaited him. He was ready to face it if that should prove his Father's will. But perhaps he should withdraw from the nation's capital and resume a less dangerous itinerant mission in Galilee. He sought by petitionary prayer to clarify his duty and resolve his doubts.Because the only possible auditors of Jesus' prayer were overcome by sleep, and he himself was prevented by his arrest from telling his followers of his experience, many interpreters have argued that the story must be a legend. But it is probable that the disciples formed at least some impression of the crisis he faced. Heb. 5:7 is another account of it. The incident is not one that the early church is likely to have invented. The Fourth Evangelist omitted the scene altogether. It did not fit into his conception of how a divine being would have acted. "The whole story bears the hallmark of human truth.... The sorrow and sufferings of the solitary Son of man, profound as they are, leave on every sympathetic heart, be it the heart of the believer or unbeliever, such an impression as may never be wiped out" (Joseph Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth, tr. Herbert Danby [New York: The Macmillan Co., 1925], p. 332).39-40. The place: Where Jesus and his disciples were accustomed to spend the night? This interpretation would explain how Judas knew where to find them, but would also require the assumption that Luke was utilizing some non-Marcan tradition (see on 21:37-38). Probably the evangelist simply chose the noun to avoid the Semitic name "Gethsemane" (see Intro., p. 4). The command to the disciples is given at the beginning as well as at the end of the incident and replaces Mark's "Sit here, while I pray" (Mark 14:32b).41. Luke omits the item in Mark's version that Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus somewhat farther than the rest of the eleven, and also Jesus' words: "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death ..." (Mark 14:33-34).42. Reminiscent of the opening words of the Lord's Prayer (Matthew's version): "Father ... thy will be done." The Aramaic "Abba" of Mark's version is omitted. This cup, the Passion.43-44. Missing from Codex Vaticanus and a number of other important MSS, and probably an embellishment of the Lukan text by some Christian scribe.45-46. For sorrow: In Luke only. Rise and pray, etc.: Cf. 11:4b, and see Exeg., ad loc.2. BETRAYAL AND ARREST (22:47-54a; cf. Mark 14:43, 45-49a)47-48. The Synoptists give the impression that Jesus' arrest was the work of a more or less unorganized mob. In all probability it was effected by a detachment of the temple police who acted on instructions from the Sanhedrin. In Mark's account Judas kissed Jesus to identify him for arrest. According to Luke, his intention was anticipated and frustrated by Jesus' question.49-51. A scene that Marcion omitted from his gospel. The scuffle precedes the arrest (contrast Mark and cf. John 18:10-11). The literary history of this incident throws light on the process by which new details could be introduced into a narrative and could transform a natural event in one channel of the tradition into a miracle. According to Mark, an unnamed follower of Jesus struck off an ear of an unnamed slave of the high priest. Matthew (26:52-54) expands the account with a rebuke to the disciple. Luke identifies the severed member as the right ear, declares that Jesus touched it and healed the slave, and intercalates another version of Jesus' rebuke. In the Gospel of John (18:10-11), the disciple becomes Simon Peter, the slave Malchus, the ear the right one, and the rebuke still another saying, but there is no suggestion that any miracle was performed. Suffer ye thus far: A number of interpretations are possible (a) "Let me do this much!" (Goodspeed; cf. Moffatt); (b) No more of this! (RSV); (c) "Let events take their course--even to my arrest" (Creed and Klostermann, ad loc.). The last possibility merits serious consideration by the interpreter.52-53a. Luke adds to Mark the item that chief priests and elders as well as the captains of the temple came out to apprehend Jesus. This provides the evangelist with an impressive setting for Jesus' words, but it is improbable that members of the highest court of Judaism would participate personally in such a nocturnal and clandestine adventure.53b. In Luke only. Probably both literal and symbolic: Evil men love darkness as a cover for their evil deeds (John 3:19); and the power of Jesus' enemies over him is satanic in origin.54a. Jesus' arrest follows his dignified protest (contrast Mark and cf. John 18:3-12). The high priest's house: Annas' (John 18:13), or Caiphas' (Matthew 26:57)? See on 3:1-2a.3. PETER'S DENIAL (22:54b-62; cf. Mark 14:54, 66b-72)The early church is not likely to have fabricated a derogatory story about its most honored apostle. While the details may be explained as literary elaboration, it is probable that the narrative has a historical nucleus in Peter's own honest admission. By attaching the introduction (Mark 14:54) directly to the body of the account (Mark 14:66b-72) Luke has moved the incident forward so that it precedes the hearing before the Sanhedrin.54b-55.They: No doubt Luke means "the officers" (Mark and Matthew). A fire for warmth in the cool of a spring night. The courtyard: Open to the sky, surrounded by the various rooms of the high priest's house, and approached from the street by a vestibule.56-60. Minor variations from Mark: a maid, some one else, and still another, for "one of the maids of the high priest," "the maid," and "the bystanders"; indirect comment for direct address in the first and last quotations (and vice versa in the second); after an interval of about an hour in vs. 59 for "after a little while."61a. A dramatic addition to the Marcan source.61b-62. Mark's "twice" is omitted (cf. Matthew and John) to make the account conform to an altered version of the prediction (vs. 34). Note the omission of "the second time" in vs. 60.4. MOCKERY AND MISTREATMENT OF JESUS (22:63-65=Mark 14:65)63-65. Follows the hearing before the Sanhedrin in Mark, where it is implied that members of the court joined in subjecting Jesus to indignities. Who is it that struck you? One of the most interesting of the occasional agreements of Luke and Matthew against Mark. Missing from the best MSS of Mark, but well attested in Matthew 26:68.G. THE CONDEMNATION (22:66-23:25)1. HEARING BEFORE THE SANHEDRIN (22:66-71)A free revision and abbreviation of Mark. All preliminary details of Jewish court procedure and the charge that Jesus had prophesied the destruction and rebuilding of the temple are omitted (Mark 14:55-61a), and one early morning interrogation of Jesus by the Sanhedrin replaces a nocturnal sitting of the court (Mark 14:55-64) and an adjourned session at daybreak (Mark 15:1).Various conclusions have been drawn by interpreters from the discrepancies between Mark's account and what is known of Jewish court procedure: (a) Jesus' appearance before the Sanhedrin was a formal trial but the gospel record is too inadequate to give us a true picture of it; (b) the trial was illegal from beginning to end but Mark's account reports it with fair accuracy; and (c) the hearing was a preliminary investigation for the purpose of preparing a charge against Jesus that could be submitted to Pilate. The last hypothesis presents the fewest difficulties. (See Vol. VII, p. 887; also quotation from Montefiore, below.) The possibility cannot be dismissed that the whole narrative is an anti-Semitic doublet of the trial before Pilate (see Intro., p. 6).66. The scene shifts from the courtyard of the high priest's house to the council chamber--the "Hall of Hewn Stones" along one of the inner courts of the temple according to rabbinical tradition; a courthouse at the southwest corner of the temple area according to Josephus (Jewish War V. 4. 2).67-70. Based on Mark 14:61b-62. But Luke divides Mark's question, "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?" To the first query Jesus refuses the answer. Any discussion of his messiahship with his interrogators would be fruitless and events would shortly speak louder than words. To the second Jesus replies with a modification of Mark's unequivocal "I am" that has been variously interpreted as an affirmative or as an evasive answer.71. The Sanhedrists understood the answer as an affirmative, but made no declaration (as in Mark and Matthew) that the death sentence was a worthy penalty for a messianic pretender.2. JESUS BROUGHT BEFORE PILATE (23:1-5=Mark 15:1b-3)
LukeExeg.231Luke's account of Jesus' condemnation by Pilate (vss. 1-25) includes the following variations from Mark 15:1-15: the accusations against Jesus by the Sanhedrin; the threefold protest by Pilate of the prisoner's innocency; Pilate's attempt to rid himself of responsibility for the trial by referring Jesus to the jurisdiction of Herod Antipas; and the mockery of Jesus by Herod and his retinue rather than by the Roman soldiery. These striking differences have been frequently cited as evidence that Luke was employing a special source at this point in preference to Mark. While this hypothesis cannot be casually dismissed, it falls short of demonstration. That Mark's version is still basic to Luke's is clear from the reproduction of Mark 15:2 in vs. 3, the use of the Barabbas episode, and the account of Pilate's ultimate capitulation to the demands of the Jews. And the non-Marcan matter, by heightening the tendency in the gospel tradition to place the blame for Jesus' crucifixion on the shoulders of the Jews, serves one of the leading interests of Luke-Acts (see Intro., p. 6) and suggests that Luke himself has been responsible for its composition.23:1. Before Pilate: According to one tradition, in the former palace of Herod the Great at the western outskirts of the city; according to another, in the Castle of Antonia, which overlooked the temple area at its northwest corner. The Roman procurator had his official residence at Caesarea but came to Jerusalem at the time of the great festivals to supervise the preservation of order.2. An expansion of Mark's "And the chief priests accused him of many things." The indictment charged Jesus with seditious activity, counsel, and utterance. Since Luke has already quoted Jesus' saying about the tribute money (20:25), he must have intended the reader to regard at least the second count as a deliberate falsehood. Christ a king: An explanation of "Messiah" for Pilate's benefit.3. See Mark 15:2. Pilate centers his interest on the last accusation. You have said so: Cf. on 22:70. Sometimes interpreted as a recognized Semitic formula for "Yes." More probably, as Luke understood it (see vs. 4), a noncommittal answer.4-5. In Luke only. And the multitudes: For the first time we are told that the trial was open to the public. Jesus' accusers refuse to accept Pilate's pronouncement that the prisoner appears to be innocent and they renew their charges. Judea: Used in this instance for the whole of Palestine (see on 1:5).3. JESUS' EXAMINATION BY HEROD ANTIPAS (23:6-16)It is not improbable that Herod Antipas was in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover festival, but Mark says nothing of any tradition that the tetrarch had been involved in the proceedings against Jesus. Furthermore if Mark (15:25) is correct when he says that the Crucifixion took place at "the third hour"--about 9 A.M.--there would scarcely have been time for this Lukan episode in addition to the meeting of the Sanhedrin and the trial before Pilate. In at least parts of the early church Ps. 2:2 was interpreted as a prediction that Herod Antipas and Pilate would act in concert against Jesus (Acts 4:27-28) and this Lukan story may have been suggested by such exegesis. As noted above, it served to heighten Jewish and to minimize Roman responsibility for Jesus' crucifixion. The extant passion fragment of the Gospel of Peter, from the first half of the second century, carries the motif a step further. Pilate is practically whitewashed and the major onus for the crime against Christ is laid upon Herod.6-7. Pilate seizes on the reference to Jesus' Galilean activities (vs. 5) as an excuse to transfer the prisoner to Herod's jurisdiction.8-9. For Herod's interest in Jesus see 9:7-9 and 13:31. Jesus' refusal to submit to cross-examination would remind Luke's readers of the behavior predicted of the Servant of the Lord in Isa. 53:7.10-12. Omitted by the Sinaitic Syriac and by some modern editors but Lukan in language and style. The mockery of Jesus by Herod and his soldiers replaces that by the Roman soldiery after the condemnation in Mark 15:16-20. We know nothing from any other source of the enmity between Herod and Pilate that we are told was composed by this interchange of courtesies.13-16. Pilate interprets Herod's contemptuous dismissal of Jesus as tantamount to acquittal and declares himself confirmed in his conviction of the prisoner's innocence.His proposal to chastise him and release him takes the place of Mark's statement (Mark 15:15) that Jesus was scourged before being crucified (in accordance with Roman criminal procedure). The RSV translation of vs. 15 has much better MS support than that in the KJV.4. JESUS SURRENDERED TO THE JEWS BY PILATE (23:17-25; cf. Mark 15:11-12a, 13-15)This is a free revision of Marcan matter. We are not prepared by Luke for the demand that Barabbas should be released. For a discussion of the historicity of the Barabbas incident and the claim in the First and Second Gospels that it was the procurator's custom to pardon one prisoner at the Passover festival see the commentaries on Matthew and Mark, Vol. VII, pp. 594, 895.17. KJV; RSV mg. Serves to ease the transition to the Barabbas episode, but is missing from an impressive group of Greek MSS (including Codex Vaticanus) and presumably an interpolation from Mark 15:6.18-23. They: the Sanhedrists and the people. As in Mark, Pilate is pictured as acting against his better judgment under the clamant compulsion of a mob. But Luke represents him as even more anxious to acquit Jesus (see Intro., p. 6). Vs. 19 (cf. vs. 25a) is derived from Mark 15:7. To identify the insurrection with that hinted at in 13:1 is pure conjecture.24-25. Luke's narrative almost suggests that it was Jews who took Jesus away to be crucified. But Roman soldiers would execute a Roman sentence and their presence at the Cross is noted in vs. 36.H. CALVARY (23:26-56)1. SIMON OF CYRENE COMPELLED TO CARRY THE CROSS (23:26=Mark 15:21)26. The structure of the second half of the verse has been influenced by the form of Jesus' sayings in 9:23 and 14:27. It was Roman custom that a condemned criminal should carry the crossbeam to which his arms were to be affixed, perhaps in the hope that this indignity might serve as a further deterrent to evildoers. The Synoptic story that a certain passer-by was compelled to do this for Jesus was used by Basilides in the early second century to substantiate the Docetic theory that Simon had been crucified instead of the divine Christ. The Fourth Evangelist may have been trying to undermine this heresy when he wrote: "Jesus ... went out, bearing his own cross" (John 19:17). Cyrene: A North African city on the Mediterranean coast with a large Jewish population (Acts 2:10; 6:9; 13:1). It is not clear whether Simon was a repatriated Jew of the Dispersion or a pilgrim on the way to Jerusalem for the Passover festival. Mark's version implies that his sons later became well-known members of the Christian community, but the words "the father of Alexander and Rufus" are omitted by Luke as of no interest or meaning to his circle of readers.2. THE ROAD TO CALVARY (23:27-32)27. Editorial. Reminiscent of--and possibly suggested by--Zech. 12:10-14. Probably Luke thought only of the women as stricken with grief and of the great multitude of the people as attracted to the scene by curiosity.28-31. Similar in tone to 19:41-44 and possibly taken by Luke from the same source.28. An introduction to the prophetic warning of disaster. The daughters of Jerusalem--to be distinguished from the Galilean women of vs. 49--have far greater reason for tears than the tragedy that has befallen Jesus. Luke's first readers would think of the siege of Jerusalem, and the whole passage may be colored by memories of that catastrophe.29. Motherhood will be a curse in those days instead of a blessing, either because mothers will be torn with anxiety for the fate of their children (19:44) or because children will interfere with any attempt of their mothers to flee the city (21:21-23a).30. A quotation from Hos. 10:8b. A prayer for death, not as in Rev. 6:16 for concealment.31. A proverbial saying with many rabbinical parallels. Probable meaning in this context: If the innocent Jesus must suffer so terribly, what will be the fate of the guilty city? Less probable alternative: If Jerusalem in the heyday of its prosperity perpetrates such a deed as Christ's crucifixion, what horrors will it inflict in the dreadful time that is coming?32. An editorial emendation of Mark, who mentions the "two robbers" only after telling of Jesus' crucifixion (Mark 15:27).3. THE CRUCIFIXION (23:33-38)Crucifixion was a cruel and spectacular method of execution, first employed by the Carthaginians and then taken over by the Romans as one means of imposing the death penalty. According to Christian tradition, Peter, an unenfranchised Jew, was crucified and Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded. The outstretched arms of the victim were nailed or tied to a crossbeam and then this plank was lashed or nailed to a vertical pole. Support was sometimes given to the naked body by allowing the legs to straddle a projection, and the feet were tied or nailed to the vertical pole. Death usually resulted from a slow process of exhaustion rather than from loss of blood.33. Luke omits the Aramaic "Golgotha" of Mark's version and translates The Skull. Calvary was a translation of the Greek Krani6on, borrowed from the Vulg. Presumably the place was a skull-shaped mound, although "Mount Calvary" is not a term that can be traced any earlier than the fourth century. No certain identification of the site is possible. Heb. 13:12 says it lay "outside the gate."34a. Forgive them: The Jews? Or the Roman soldiers responsible for executing the sentence? The omission of the prayer by Codex Vaticanus, the original text of Codex Bezae, and other important MSS makes it highly improbable that it stood from the beginning in Luke's Gospel. But the scribe who inserted it did so with a deep and true understanding of the Galilean teacher. It is one of the most typically "Christian" utterances credited to Jesus in the gospel tradition (cf. Acts 7:60).34b. Jesus' garments became the perquisites of his executioners. No doubt the detail was recorded by the evangelists (cf. Mark 15:24b) because it fulfilled the messianic interpretation of Ps. 22:18.35. A revision and abbreviation of the mockery recorded in Mark 15:31-32a, which on its part may have been suggested by Ps. 22:7-8. Luke distinguishes the attitude of the people from that of the rulers (Sanhedrists), perhaps under the influence of Ps. 22:17.36-37. The soldiersjoined in the derision. Ps. 69:21b may have influenced Luke's revision of Mark 15:23, 36. No doubt the evangelist thought of the offer of vinegar as an act of torture.38. See Mark 15:26. It was a Roman custom to hang a placard--titulus--about the neck of the condemned criminal or fasten it to the cross, setting forth the legal charge against him. This gospel note is an important historical datum in any discussion of Jesus' messianic consciousness. In letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew (KJV; RSV rag.): Missing from Codex Vaticanus and most of its allies, and probably an interpolation in codices Sinaiticus and Bezae (and later MSS) from John 19:20, where the words are intended to symbolize the universality of Jesus' kingship.4. THE PENITENT CRIMINAL (23:39-43)According to Mark 15:32b, both robbers who were crucified with Jesus joined the bystanders and Sanhedrists in mocking him. Luke distinguishes a repentant from an obdurate sinner.39. Are you not the Christ? The reading in codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus and in most other ancient MSS.40-42. But this man has done nothing wrong: Because vs. 42 shows that the speaker, accepted Jesus' messianic claim, B. S. Easton argues that this clause must mean "is dying for claims that are true." But such exegesis is unnecessarily subtle.43. The penitent criminal is promised more than he asked. His felicity will not be postponed until Jesus inaugurates his kingdom. It will begin this very day in heaven. Paradise: A word borrowed from the Persian. The idea that the souls of the righteous would go at death to their eternal reward gradually found a place in Jewish thought beside the earlier belief that disembodied spirits would dwell in Sheol pending the resurrection and final judgment, and sometimes coalesced with it (see on 16:19-31).5. MIRACLES THAT MARKED THE LAST HOURS ON THE CROSS (23:44-45; cf. Mark 15:33, 38)44-45a. Luke omits the Marcan notice that Jesus was crucified at 9 A.M. (Mark 15:25) but reproduces the statement that there was darkness over the whole land from midday to three in the afternoon, no doubt to symbolize the cosmic nature of the tragedy that was being enacted. While the sun's light failed (RSV): Probably even Mark's version was intended to imply an eclipse but Luke makes this explanation explicit. The fact that an eclipse was astronomically impossible at the time of the Passover full moon may have suggested the inferior reading translated by the KJV: And the sun was darkened.45b. Follows Christ's death in Mark's account. The curtain of the temple: The veil that separated the Holy of Holies from contiguous parts of the temple and that was lifted only once a year by the high priest when he entered the presence of God to make sacrificial propitiation for the sins of the people. This gospel miracle gives symbolic expression to the Christian faith that Christ's death made possible the direct access of men to God and is reminiscent of the argument in the Epistle to the Hebrews (cf. especially Heb. 10:19-22).6. JESUS' DEATH (23:46-49)A radical revision of Mark 15:37, 39-40.46. A loud voice: A possible hint that Jesus' death was due to the failure of some vital organ. Luke substitutes an apt quotation from Ps. 31:5 for the one from Ps. 22:1 that had stood in his Marcan source as Christ's last words, regarding an expression of trust and faith as more appropriate than a bitter cry of despair.47. "Certainly this man was innocent!" for Mark's "Truly this man was a son of God." A Roman centurion at the Cross had admitted its founder's innocence of any crime against the state (see Intro., pp. 5-6).48. An editorial generalization. The behavior of "the crowd," as Luke represents it in the passion story, is often contradictory.49. And all his acquaintances: Probably Luke thought of them as including Jesus' disciples, for he had omitted Mark's earlier comment that they had all forsaken him and fled (Mark 14:50). Pss. 38:11 and 88:8a may have influenced the composition of this verse. Mark's list of faithful women (15:40b) is omitted, perhaps because Luke had already mentioned a somewhat different group by name (8:2b-3; cf. also 24:10).7. JESUS' BURIAL (23:50-56; cf. Mark 15:42-43, 46-47)50-51. A member of the council: If Joseph was sympathetic to Jesus and his message despite his membership in the Sanhedrin, had he taken any part in the proceedings of that court against him? Luke appears to have sensed a difficulty in Mark's account at this point, for he declares that the councilor had not consented to their purpose and deed; cf. John 19:38, where we are told that Joseph had kept his devotion to Jesus a secret "for fear of the Jews." Arimathea: No certain identification is possible. Usually regarded as a corruption of "Ramathaim" (I Sam. 1:1), a Judean village near the Samaritan border. A city of the Jews: A geographical note inserted by Luke for the benefit of his Gentile readers (cf. 4:31; 8:26).52-53. The Romans had no scruples about leaving a dead body on a cross over night, but it was a breach of Jewish law to do so (Deut. 21:23). A rock-hewn tomb: The Greek could mean "a tomb built of stones," but no doubt Luke was simply paraphrasing Mark's "a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock." Where no one ... laid: In Luke only; cf. the similar notice in 19:30 (Mark 11:2) and see Exeg., ad loc. Mark's comment that a stone was rolled against the door of the tomb is omitted but the detail is presupposed in 24:2.54-56a. The day of Preparation, i.e., Friday (see Mark 15:42). "The sabbath was dawning" (RSV mg.): A Jewish idiom; in Palestine at the Passover season about 6 P.M. Who had come with him from Galilee: A somewhat irritating repetition of a subordinate clause in vs. 49. Because of the near approach of the Sabbath the customary embalming of the body had to be postponed. According to Mark 16:1, the women purchased the necessary spices after the sabbath was past.J. DISCOVERY OF THE EMPTY TOMB (24:1-12=Mark 16:1-6a)
Vss. 1-5 are a free revision and abbreviation of the narrative in Mark. Vss. 6b-11 are an editorial addition, but vs. 10a appears to be dependent on Mark 16:1.I Cor. 15:3-8 is the most important passage in the N.T. for an understanding of the early Christian faith in Christ's resurrection. Written not more than twenty-five years after the event, it recalls the tradition that the Apostle to the Gentiles had already imparted to his Corinthian converts (I Cor. 15:5), and claims that his teaching in the matter was apostolic doctrine (I Cor. 15:9-11). In it Paul declares that the Christian conviction that Christ had triumphed over the Cross was based on appearances of the risen Lord. It asserts that the first of these had been vouchsafed to Cephas, and implies that Paul thought of his own vision of the risen Christ as similar to those of his predecessors, and as the last in the series.There is a trace in Luke's Gospel of this early apologetic. In 24:34, when Cleopas and his companion return to Jerusalem from Emmaus to report their experience to the larger company, they are greeted with the words: "The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!"Paul gives no indication that he was familiar with the doctrine of the empty tomb. There is not the remotest reference to it in any of his letters, and his own conviction that the resurrection body is not the body of this flesh but a spiritual body waiting for the soul of man in heaven (I Cor. 15:35-55; II Cor. 5:1-4) makes it improbable that he would have found it congenial. Nevertheless it appealed to Mark as the all-important fact, and in his Gospel--whose original text probably ended with Mark 16:8--it displaced all other resurrection tradition.Both Matthew and Luke took over and revised Mark's story of the empty tomb, but both also supplemented it with a cycle of resurrection narratives. Matthew records appearances of the risen Christ to his disciples in Galilee, while the locale of Luke's stories (cf. John 20) is restricted to Jerusalem and its vicinity.24:1-3. Of the Lord Jesus (KJV; RSV mg.): Missing from Codex Bezae and the O.L. MSS.4. In Mark's version the women see "a young man ... in a white robe" as soon as they enter the tomb. Here two men ... in dazzling apparel appear only after the discovery and perplexity noted by the evangelist in vss. 3b and 4a. No doubt angelic appearances are implied (cf. Acts 1:10).5a. An expansion of Mark's "and they were amazed."5b. More graphic than its counterpart in Mark. Among the dead, i.e., in a tomb.6a. In KJV; RSV mg. Missing from Codex Bezae and the O.L. MSS, and no doubt introduced into the archetypes of others to harmonize Luke with Mark and Matthew.6b-7. Since Luke locates all the resurrection appearances of Christ in or about Jerusalem, these verses replace Mark 14:28: "But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee." The reference is to the prophecies recorded in 9:22 and 44, and Luke now implies that the women were numbered among the disciples to whom they were addressed.8-9. Instead of fleeing in terror from the tomb and saying nothing to anyone, as in Mark, the women remembered the prophecy after the angels had recalled it and returned to the company of disciples to report what they had seen and heard. And to all the rest prepares the reader for the reference to others besides the eleven in the stories that follow (vss. 13, 22-24, 33).10. Luke had suppressed the names of the women in 23:49 and 55 (contrast Mark 15:40, 47) but now mentions three of them. The list is as in Mark 16:1, with Joanna (Luke 8:3) substituted for "Salome." Mary the mother of James: "James the younger" according to Mark 15:40. Possibly "James the son of Alphaeus" of Luke 6:15 (Mark 3:18).11. The implication that none of the disciples took the trouble to investigate the women's story is contradicted by vs. 24, and it may have been this apparent discrepancy that suggested to some scribe the interpolation of vs. 12.12. In KJV; RSV mg. Missing from Codex Bezae and the O.L. MSS, and no doubt an interpolation based on John 20:3-10.