Monday, May 14, 2012

John, Chapters 17 & 18: Governing the ungovernable

Chapter 17

Jesus makes a pretty prayer to god about death. He's done all he came for namely converted a bunch of people, and now he's ready to die. He asks him not to kill the disciples right away, but to make them holy and to make people listen to them and for there to be but one true church. Har!

Chapter 18

Jesus goes into the Garden of Gesthemene, and Judas runs off to find a bunch of soldiers, who approach with weapons and lanterns. Jesus is pretty chill, and asks who they're looking for. Jesus of Nazareth (v. 5). Jesus introduces himself and they immediately fall on the ground. Jesus rolls his eyes and tells them to just get on with it. 

Simon Peter isn't so resigned and draws a sword, which he uses to cut the ear off of a soldier named Malchus. Jesus tells him to stop mutilating people so they can get on with the crucifying in a dignified fashion. 

The soldiers handcuff him and take him to Annas, father-in-law of Caiaphas, who usually passes the death sentences in the gospels, but was clearly tired of it after three go-rounds. Oh, and Caiaphas went off-message at some other point in this gospel and told the Jews they'd need to sacrifice one of their own.

Two of the disciples follow them, Simon Peter and another one whose name John is quite reluctant to give us. Simon Peter waits outside while the other disciple talks to Annas, whom he apparently knows. While he's waiting, the door woman (progressive!) asks him if he's one of Jesus' followers. He says no. It's cold, so some of the servants and soldiers start a fire. Simon Peter joins them.

Inside, the priests question Jesus about his followers and his message. He insists that everything he's said has been public and open, and challenges them to ask his disciples what they've learned. One of the officers smacks him for insolence, which causes him to even more insolently challenge the guard to point out any lie he's told. They bind him up and take him to Caiaphas. 

Outside, someone near the fire recognises Simon Peter, who denies he's a friend of JC. One of Malchus' relatives, who was also in the garden, insists Simon Peter was there. Simon Peter says no and the cock crows. 

The Jews lead Jesus to the governor's house, but don't go outside because it's feasting time. Pilate is rather crabby at this time of morning and tells them to deal with it themselves. But they can't put him to death under Jewish law, which rather undermines that whole 'The Jews killed Jesus' thing. Apparently this fulfills some prophecy Jesus made about his death, but he's been talking about dying for so long now I don't remember how. Pilate goes off for a bit, then comes back and asks Jesus if he's really the King of the Jews. Jesus asks if Pilate himself thought that up, or if people have told him that. Pilate's like, look, dude, I don't give a shit about your intra-tribal squabbles, but these people are insisting that I deal with you. So what's the story? And Jesus is like, fine, yes, I'm a king, but not of this world. If I was a king here, trust me, my people would have fought for me. But I'm not from here. And Pilate's like, seriously, I get why these people are calling for your head. Just answer a simple question: are you a king? And Jesus again refuses to answer anything directly, saying that he's only here to spread the truth. Pilate asks what the truth is. We don't hear the answer, only that Pilate leaves the room again to tell the Jews, who are still refusing to enter his house because it's the Sabbath and seriously, at this point I don't know why he isn't just packing up and heading back to Rome to tell them these wackjobs are simply not worth governing, that he doesn't see what Jesus is guilty of. Moreover, since it's Passover, and they get one freebie, can he just please let this weirdo king go? But no, they want Barrabas to go free.  

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