Saturday, March 10, 2012

Luke, Chapter 22: Trial and Error

It's Passover, and the priests are trying to find a way to kill Jesus without upsetting the public. Conveniently, Satan chooses that moment to possess John Malkovitch Judas Iscariot, who makes a deal with the priests to give them Jesus when there's no one around.

Now, if you want to nitpick all the contradictions that will appear in the next three chapters between Luke and Matthew, I suggest you start with one of my personal heroes Bart D. Ehrman. I'm not going to discuss them unless I can snark on them. Anyway, the first contradiction is that the ball gets rolling on the day before Passover, when the bread and sacrifices have to be made. But what about way back in Leviticus when we're told that you have to eat your thanksgiving sacrifices on the day? It's not explained.

Anyway, Jesus sends Peter and John off to find a place to have their seder. They ask how they'll know which is the right place. Jesus rolls his eyes and tells them to look for the guy with the pitcher of water, who will lead them to a large, airy room with enough space for all of them. He will not explain why they can only sit on one side of the table.

Of course as soon as they sit down, Jesus starts into his Debbie Downer routine about how he's going to die that night and urging them to drink his wine and eat his bread, calling them his blood and his body and no doubt causing quite a few of them to throw up in their mouths a little.

He also tells them that his betrayer is at the table, and they are curious about that, but really more interested in squabbling about which of them is the greatest. Which is what you would expect when you put a group of men together and give them wine and a big meal. We should only be thankful that they cut out the uh, manhood comparisons that no doubt also happened. Jesus quickly lays the smackdown on them, telling them the youngest will be the ruler of them all. He also promises each of them a tribe of Israel to judge. Even Judas? So confusing!

Next, he starts telling them secrets about themselves. Satan was especially keen to have Simon, and Jesus prays that he won't be tempted. Simon promises not to be. Then he informs Peter that he'll deny him three times before the cock crows. That's another contradiction with Matthew, BTW, for those who are playing along. Also, aren't Simon and Peter the same person? I don't know anymore.

Then he starts talking about their proselytising mission from earlier. Did they lack for anything, despite their lack of shoes or money? Nothing. But now he wants them to do something weird: if they don't have any cash, they're to sell their robes for swords, because this will somehow make a prophecy come true. The disciples, not keen to sell their cloaks in the Jerusalem spring, where it can still freeze at night, manage to muster up two swords. Jesus says that will suffice.

No doubt without doing the dishes after their free meal, our company heads back up the Mount of Olives. Jesus stops somewhere to pray, asking god to take away his suffering, but promising to do whatever god chooses. An angel comes along to comfort him, but it only makes the praying more fervent, until he's swaying back and forth so hard that huge droplets of sweat are flying off him. When he gets up, the disciples have fallen asleep. He rouses them, by which time a crowd led by Judas has appeared. Judas comes up and gives him a kiss. An ear gets cut off. Jesus reattaches it. He asks the priests why they've come at him with swords drawn now, in the dark, when they've been so nice to him at the temple. They don't answer, they just cuff him and take him to the priest's house.

Peter follows behind and huddles with a crowd around a fire. A few of them recognise him, but he denies Jesus three times. At the exact moment that he utters the third denial, the cock crows. Jesus looks at him and he runs outside to cry. Inside, they beat Jesus and blindfold him and hit him again and tell him to say who did it. They also ask him some questions about his claims, but he refuses to answer. So they decide to end the trial and take him off to Biggus Dickus Pilate.

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