Responses to “A Week in Jerusalem”

Mark 11:1-11 and Parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 140)

What may have brought Jesus to Jerusalem? List all the possibilities you can think of. (celebrate the Passover with other pilgrims, confront the authorities, bringing the God-within to the place where God moves in history, completion of his task, come to the place of access to God)

Which of his teachings is he living out? (loving God with ‘all’, resisting-not evil, selling ‘all’)

What does he expect to find? (temptation, resistant authorities, expectations placed upon him)

What are the difference in the three gospels in Mk.11:9-10 and parallels.  (David not mentioned in Lk; ‘crowds’ in Mt but ‘disciples’ in Lk; Lk specifies Mt. of Olives and ‘mighty works’; Lk omits ‘hosanna’; Mt. & Lk bless the king, Mk. the kingdom)

What is the common phrase in all three? (Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord)

This phrase comes from Ps 118:25-26. What does it mean in this context? (this was sung in reference to all the faithful pilgrims who came to the temple)

Obviously the focus of the people is on Jesus, but what is the nature of the focus? What were the people saying? (either focus on Jesus as God’s representative, a.k.a. Messiah or merely rejoicing as pilgrims.  You choose.)

What does Mt. 21:10-11 add? (Jesus is identified as a prophet from Nazareth)

How does this square with the previous paragraph? (a demotion from ‘Son of David’, the bringer of the kingdom, to mere prophet from Galilee)

Why might this have come about? (original Doc. M source had ‘prophet’, but was upgraded when Doc. Mk became available)

What do you think was the expectation of the people? (something new, the kingdom)

What do the pharisees say to Jesus Lk.19:39? (Rebuke your disciples)

What does this suggest? (they were worried by the claim made by them, suggesting Jesus is Messiah (blasphemy) or a king (treason))

What is Jesus’ response to them in Lk.19:40? (“…if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”)

Which says what?  (what they say cannot be denied, for the earth itself attests to it)

How is this different from previous responses of Jesus on the subject of who he is?(the opposite, for Jesus previously had tried to silence such claims)

What are the possibilities for this changes? (Jesus has come to the conclusion this is who he is or it is not historical, but is a storyteller’s technique used to heighten the drama and/or push his theological agenda.)

Mark 11:15-19 and Parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 141)

How would you describe what Jesus is doing? (throwing a tantrum; symbolic cleansing)

What is motivating his action? (anger; intention to bring confrontation; bring religious leaders into disrepute)

What is he doing? (incitement, ‘resisting evil’)

If he is acting in anger, what is its primary source? (love of God, hatred of injustice, frustration at corruption of the religion)

What gives Jesus authority to do this?  (the Law, son of man)

Matthew 23:1-39 and Parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 149)

What, in general, is Jesus saying in this section?  (criticising the scribes and pharisees)

To whom is he speaking? (all the people)

How does each paragraph start?  (with a criticism of the Pharisees’ behaviour, In Mt. and Lk, “Woe to you Pharisees”)

What is your picture of Jesus here? (standing on his ability to discern and speak the truth)

What is a hypocrite? (one who says one thing, but does the opposite)

Look over the various criticisms; which one jumps out at you? (your personal choice)

With which, if any, do you disagree? (your personal choice)

Mark 14:12-16 (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 156)

In Mk. v.13, what is unusual about this picture? (in Jesus’ day, a man would be unlikely to be carrying a water jar, an Aquarian symbol). It might be interesting to wonder how it came to be here.

Mark 14:22-25 (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 160)

Bread and wine are important symbols in other cultures, too.  Why? (common staples of life and symbols representing nourishment, sorrow/joy, transformation, food for a journey; also, as processed foods, they represent cooperation between God and humanity; both use fermentation)

What do we know about the Passover meal? (memory of key saving event by God in the history of the Jewish people; celebration of deliverance from bondage; preparation for a journey) Note: Passover is the participation in the formation of a nation through God’s acts in history via myth.

Where is the first reference to eating or bread in Lk? (v.16)

List all the references to eating or bread in Lk. (vv.16 & 19)

Where is the first reference to drinking, wine or cup in Lk? (v.17)

List all the references to drinking, wine or cup in Lk. (17, 18 & 20)

Note the duplication; there are two accounts. All follow Doc. Mk., but Lk. has his own account as well in vv. 16-17 (Doc.L).

Note the similarity of Lk, v.19-20 with 1 Cor.11:23-25, particularly the “do this in remembrance of me”.  What does this suggest about Lk’s source? (1 Corinthians is an earlier document that reflects established liturgical practice)

Compare Lk’s first account (vv.17-18) with Mt/Mk. What is major difference? (focus of Lk is the simple Passover meal, whereas Mt/Mk define the elements as symbols)

Which is original? Why? (Lk, obviously, for it all about Passover, whereas Doc. Mk. records the meal’s evolution into a symbolic, liturgical meal after Jesus’ death)

In Lk’s first account, what would be really shocking to a Jew?  (Jesus didn’t partake)

If he didn’t partake, why not? (renouncing religion; part of selling ‘all’; he’s beyond old religion; stepping out of the collective relationship with God to an individual one; putting himself outside the ‘deliverance’ of those symbols)

What do the “until”s mean? Rephrase the statements, using alternate words you previously listed for God and kingdom. (“I won’t be doing this until the unfolding pattern of the universe is revealed in its totality in all people.”)

What happens to the bread and wine in the Doc. Mk version? (they become representative of Jesus’ body and blood; history becomes ritual…myth, for myth is the telling of ritual and ritual is the enactment of myth.)

Why was the body/blood myth attached to Jesus? (It was easily related to his death, and was understood by Jews at the time who understood the practice of blood sacrifice in the temple) 

Another mythic movement is the notion of ingesting God. What does it mean to ingest God? (gain the attributes of God; become like God; God and human are no longer opposites)

How might these symbols be expanded for us, knowing Jesus did not participate in the meal?  (The body and blood of Jesus may be too restrictive as symbols, i.e. they are too concrete. Bread and wine as symbols themselves are broader and offer more scope in terms of ability to evoke the depths of the psyche)

Mark 14:32-42  (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 164)

Where has Jesus gone in this section? (Gethsemane)

What do you see from Gethsemane? (the temple)

Who has Jesus taken with him? (Peter, James & John)

How do you envision how they were placed?  (your personal response)

What options are open now that are not open at the end of this section? (make a bargain with one of the political forces; run away; go back to countryside to continue ministry, continue the confrontation)

What must Jesus consider? (own will, Father’s will, the fate of the disciples, the people of Israel, the prospect of suffering and death)

What is not an option for Jesus? (not following the will of God)

How is Jesus feeling in Mk.14:32-34? (in the -100s)

What does he ask of the disciples? (Watch with me) Why? (he has to face the possibility he has been wrong, so he needs counsel, affirmation & support; he needs time to make a choice and needs protection from being disturbed or surprised)

What does Jesus pray in Mk, v. 35 in your own words? (save me from the too-great cost: death and defeat of his mission)

In the prayer in Mk, v. 36:

What is the nature of the form of address? (Abba = daddy, i.e. that of a child)

It reflects a traditional Jewish image of God -“all things are possible”- rather than the inner God. But it still conveys the opposites of the hugeness of the Holy Other vs. the intimacy of son to father. 

Write the prayer in the words of child.  (Daddy, it hurts, please make it stop)

We looked at various Old Testament images of God early in the study. Which one do you see here? (Creator of all, one who is open to negotiation)

What does Jesus ask?  Write the prayer in words you would use in the circumstances. (Father, take away the possibility of defeat; take away the conflict inside)

What does Jesus say about will? (part of discernment is knowing one’s own will as well as God’s will, and asking God’s will to be one’s own, so that the two can become one.)

Is Jesus unclear about God’s will? i.e. does he know it, but not want to do it? Remember the parable about the two sons asked to work in the vineyard.

What is Jesus including that might cloud the last bit of clarity he needs about his own will? (allowing the possibility of rejection to come forth)

Meanwhile, what are the disciples doing? (sleeping)

What is going on in them, recognising sleep is often a form of escape? (fear, grief, disappointment, anxiety)

What image of Jesus do they have that keeps them from staying awake? (they let him ‘carry the load’ while they escape, just as the church has done)

What struggles with value put you to sleep? (when I know what I should do, but don’t want to do it; when I’m faced with a part of myself I’d rather keep repressed)

What are the forms that sleepiness takes in our society? (apathy, sectarianism, drugs, alcohol, allowing ourselves to be led, jingoism, sloganism)

For you what assumption or image do your bring that might put you to sleep?  (your personal response)

What happens at the end of this section? (Jesus has chosen to face the moment, to not resist evil, to recognise that the ‘all’ one sells includes life itself)

Mark 14:43-46 (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 165)

Why does the betrayal come from the inner circle? (a close friend loves more, resulting in a wrong, but well-intentioned action; close friend has deeper knowledge; in the mythological sense, the close friend represents inner betrayal; disappointment is proportional to expectation)

Mark 14:53-65 (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 167)

What is the question put to Jesus? (What do you have to say about the witness against you?)

What does the High Priest want to know?  (If Jesus is the Messiah)

What will the Messiah bring? (God’s power)

The Messiah image is the longing for what? (freedom, peace, security)

What are the options for Jesus’ answer? (yes, no, maybe, nothing)

What is his answer in Mk?  (“I am”) In Mt.? (“You have said so”)

What does he go on to talk about?  (Son of Man)

What qualities does the Son of Man have here?  (right hand of God, divine power and authority)

What do clouds allude to? (sourced in heaven, i.e. from God)

In Mk. 13:26-27 and Parallels: And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. 

What is the Son of Man to do?  (The same as Jesus said in Mk.14:62).

In Mt. 13:40-43 — Just as the weeds are gathered and burned with fire, so will it be at the close of the age. 41 The Son of man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, 42 and throw them into the furnace of fire; there men will weep and gnash their teeth. 43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.

What are the attributes of the Son of Man? (judge and executioner)

What are the other qualities of the Son of Man we have studied? (authority, homeless, forgives sins, different from Holy Spirit, one who must suffer)

Compare these with the apocalyptic images; which is more likely from Jesus?  (Jesus’ message was full of mercy and forgiveness and was not judgmental, so this apocalyptic notion of the son of man, does not correlate with Jesus’ teachings)

What is the major difference between Mt. & Mk? (Jesus’ answer to the Chief Priest’s question) What are all the possible reasons? (Mt. Changed Mk’s account or Mk.was later changed) How does Lk.22:67-68 help? (It agrees with Mt.)

Mark 15:2 and Parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 171)

What is the question? (Are you king of the Jews?)  What is the answer? (“You say so.”)

How does Pilate hear his answer? (He hears his response as refusing to answer.)

During the two trials, (Bible Hub Parallels, pg. 167 & 171), how many times is the question asked? (Seven – Mt.26:63-64; Mk.14:61-62; Lk.22:67-68; Lk. 22: 70; Mt. 27:11; Mk. 15:2 and Lk 23:2)

How many times has he said ‘yes’?  (One)

What do you think he said? (your personal response) Note:  Not only is Jesus’ only affirmative answer in Mk, compared to six others that aren’t,  the difference between Mk and Mt is the opposite one would expect, given their respective agendas.  Mt. has routinely made changes or additions to Mk. in order to promote the idea of Jesus as Messiah; whereas a recognisable characteristic of Mk. is the so-called ‘Marcan Secret’, i.e. Jesus’ repeated to warning not to speak of him as Messiah.  In this case, one would have to find a very compelling reason for accepting Mark’s version as historical. It is more likely the case that Mark’s version is evidence of later editing.

What is he not saying? (I am innocent)

Why doesn’t Jesus answer the question? (He doesn’t know; is ‘resisting-not’ evil; there is no answer; he doesn’t want to be vulnerable; any answer would have been a sign, which he said previously said would not be given)

What are the possible answers Jesus might harbour unspoken? (Yes; I don’t know; No; Yes but not the kind of messiah you are thinking about)

Which do you think is his answer? (your personal choice)

With his answers, how has he left the image of the messiah/Christ in the minds of others? (leaves them to find their own answers/relationship to it, remains a mythic image rather than an historical one)

Matthew26:69-75 and Parallels?  (Bible Hub Parallels, pg.168)

What is Peter doing in Mt.26:69-75? (sitting outside the courtyard) 

What is the difference in Peter’s three responses? (each more anxious/annoyed)

What is going on in Peter? (fear, grief over death of hope, anger at Jesus for failure to fulfil expectations)

Why did Peter weep in Mt.26:75? (guilt)

Mime: Who is Peter in you?  

Mark 15:20-23 and Parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg.175)

Who is there? (crowd, women, Simon of Cyrene, soldiers, chief priests, two criminals, God, scribes)

Who is conspicuous due to absence? (disciples)

Where are they? (in hiding, running for their lives) Why? (fear that their association with Jesus might get them crucified as well)

What does it mean to you that the women were there? (simple lovers, nurturers, present at birth)

How would you describe the situation from Jesus’ perspective? (afraid, alone, grieving, in pain)

What is he losing? (sense of meaning, his mission, hope for the kingdom)

What is God losing? (the creative power exercised through Jesus, evolution of the human begun at Jesus’ baptism, part of self)

What is the situation for the messianic longing? (major setback)

What might the symbol of the cross meant for Jesus? (intersection-good/evil, God/human, God/history, vertical/horizontal; judgment; death of God; tree of life)

Which of Jesus’ teachings is most responsible for his death? (empowerment of people/weakening of institutions)

Mark 15: 24-41 and Parallels (Bible Hub Parallels, pg.176 & 1)

Where do words of Jesus appear in this section? (Mk.15:34, Lk.23:34,43&46)

Does Lk. v. 43 sound like Jesus?  (the language is, uncharacteristically of Jesus, from Zoroastrianism)

In Lk. v.34, how does the use of ‘forgiveness’ differ from other places in the gospels? (he asks for it, rather than declare it to be so)

How is, “they know not” related to this difference?  (If they ‘know not’, then they don’t know enough to ask for forgiveness themselves)

In Lk v.46, what did Jesus mean? (I commend to you my ‘all’)  Is it historical? (Doubtful: the notion of a spirit that can be understood as distinct from the body is Greek, and would not have made sense to a Jew.  It is not very likely Jesus would have used the word.)

When did he commend his spirit to God?  (Gethsemane; baptism; wilderness)

In Mk.15:34, what is going on in Jesus? (death of hope, experiencing the abyss, going somewhere God cannot go)

A literal translation of the Aramaic can be, “Why have you made me so complex, so confused?” What does this add? (loss of direction, loss of meaning, uncertainty about the path he trod, uncertainty about his ministry)

In Mk. 15:33, for whom was the darkness? (mythologically, for the whole earth; for God-projected on creation; for Jesus – the onslaught of evil)

Who killed Jesus? (himself?  God?  The powers & principalities? Collective humanity? Selfish ego?)

What does Mk. 15:38 and parallels remind you of that we’ve seen before? (Jesus’ baptism when the heavens were torn asunder)

What does it symbolise? (tearing down of that which separates human from divine)

For a Jew this curtain was as much for protection as a barrier.  The priest could pass through it but once a year and, even then, he could not be certain he would return.

Where is the messianic longing now in relationship to Jesus?  (dead)

In Lk. J, what were the centurion’s words? (“Truly this man was the Son of God”)

What is he saying? (The notion of human progeny of the gods was accepted as a possibility by the Romans, so the statement does not suggest uniqueness, but it certainly expresses the view that Jesus was a very special, very exceptional man)

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