Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Matthew, Chapter 26

Jesus predicts his own death. As he has been doing since the beginning of the book. This time he has a specific date in mind: 2 days after Passover.

Meanwhile, some powerful church and political leaders gather together and argue about when exactly they should kill him. They decide that the feast day is too controversial.

Rapid scene change: Jesus is now healing a leper. A woman comes up and dumps some oil all over his head while he's eating. The disciples think this is a waste, because she should have sold it and given the profits to the poor. Nope. Never seen this verse come up in a Republican campaign speech. Jesus says it's fine For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. (v. 11) He also says it's for his burial.

Judas sneaks off and makes a deal with the priests: Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. Then he bides his time until he can betray him.

Now it's Passover and the disciples ask Jesus where he wants to eat. Jesus tells them to seek out some guy and tell him it's time. So they do, and while they're eating, Jesus tells them one of them will betray him. See, it was suggestion. They ask which one it will be. He says the one who shared his bowl. Judas asks if it's him, for some bizarre reason.

Next, Jesus does that wine and bread thing where we're supposedly eating his body and drinking his blood. Then he says he's not going to drink any more wine until he's in heaven.

They sing a hymn and go for a walk up the Mount of Olives, which, let me tell you, is not a leisurely stroll, and Jesus tells them more stories about his death: they'll all abandon him. Peter promises not to, but Jesus assures him that he'll deny him three times. They all promise not to betray him.

Their stroll takes them past the Garden of Gethsemane, which still exists and contains 2000 year old olive trees that neither confirm nor deny any of this. Jesus wanders away to pray. When he comes back, the disciples are all asleep. He rebukes them, then goes back to pray some more. Same deal. And again. The third time, Judas shows up with the city guard. Judas kisses him on the cheek and it's on. One of the disciples draws his sword and cuts off a guard's ear, but Jesus tells him to put it away for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. (v. 52) As he's being led away, Jesus tells the people off, but admit that this is all fulfilling a prophecy.

Jesus is taken to the high priests. Peter manages to sneak in to watch. They try to find someone who will denounce him so they can kill him, but no one volunteers. Jesus himself continues to talk in riddles. The priest has a tantrum and tears his clothes and finally gets his death sentence for blasphemy. They start beating and spitting on him.

As Peter is watching, a woman recognises him. He denies it, but another person recognises him when he goes outside. Then a cock crows and he remembers how Jesus had told him he would deny him three time before the cock crowed.

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