Friday, April 22, 2011

A Look at John's Passion Narrative (John 18-19)

Since in today’s Good Friday liturgy the lectionary turns our attention to the Johannine Passion narrative, I thought I’d revisit a previous post and lay out some thoughts on John 18-19. Upfront I should say that this is by no means an exhaustive commentary. Nonetheless, as a kind of spiritual exercise I thought it would be a good idea to take a closer exegetical look at the text we read today.

The Passion of David & the Passion of Jesus
John 18 begins by telling us “When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered” (18:1). Here there may be an allusion to what we might call the “passion” of David. Most people associate David with conquest and royal triumph. What is often forgotten is that the second half of David’s life involved a great deal of suffering.[1] As Jesus was betrayed by Judas, David was likewise betrayed by someone close to him―Ahithophel. Ahithophel is called “David’s counselor” in 2 Samuel 15:12. We read about David’s flight in 2 Samuel 15:
And all the country wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness. But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered; and all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went… And it was told David, "Ahith'ophel is among the conspirators with Ab'salom." (2 Sam 15:23, 31).
Here we see many parallels with the passion narratives found in John as well as the other Gospels: both cross the Kidron (2 Sam 15:23; John 18:1); both go to the Mount of Olives (2 Sam 15:23; Matt 26:30); both are followed on their way out of Jerusalem by people who weep for them (2 Sam 15:23; Luke 23:27). Later in John’s narrative Jesus will quote from a psalm attributed to David, in which the king described his suffering: “they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots” (Ps 22:18). This is the same psalm evoked in the statement of Jesus from the cross quoted by Matthew and Mark: “My God, my God why hast thou forsaken me” (Ps 22:1; Matt 27:46; Mark 15:44). Jesus is a king like David, not in his triumphant military conquests, but through his suffering.

The Arrest of Jesus
John 18:2-12: "Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “Of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” 

Scholars debate the identity of the soldiers who arrested Jesus were. Some think that they were simply members of the Jewish guard, others believe the group included Roman soldiers. The word used to describe them, σπεῖρα (cohort), was usually used to describe a squadron of 600 Roman soldiers. Some scholars, however, think it unlikely that Roman soldiers would have been involved with such an arrest. Yet, the book of Acts relates that Paul was guarded by 270 men after an uprising almost occurred during his “trial” (Acts 23:23). Moreover, given the apparent understanding of Jesus’ royal claims (cf. 18:23, the question posed at his trial, “Are you the King of the Jews?”), I do not think it would be unlikely that Roman soldiers would be employed. This is especially true during a climate in which there were concerns about possible insurrectionist uprisings, such as the one in which Barabbas participated (cf. Mark 15:7).

Throughout this scene, John shows Jesus to be in control of the situation. This will be a major theme throughout his passion narrative. John tells us that Jesus already knows all that will happen (cf. 18:4). He does not try to escape from the clutches of the guards. Nor does he hide. Instead, once the arresting party comes, he makes the first move. Before they are even able to say anything, Jesus asks whom they are seeking. When they say “Jesus of Nazareth,” he replies, “I am.”

Exegetes debate whether or not Jesus is here alluding to God’s name, I AM, e.g., “Yahweh”. The Greek phrase ἐγώ εἰμι (ego eimi) would seem to evoke the name of God found in the Greek version Exodus 3:14. While the term may simply mean “I am he,” the response of those in the garden implies that Jesus is saying something more than, “That’s me”: “…they drew back and fell to the ground” (John 18:6). In fact, Jesus had already used the term once before in a context in which he clearly identifies himself with the God of the Exodus:
John 8:56-59: [56] Your father Abraham rejoiced that he was to see my day; he saw it and was glad." [57] The Jews then said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" [58] Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." [59] So they took up stones to throw at him; but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple.
Here the response to Jesus’ statement (e.g., an attempt to stone him), confirms the recognition of Jesus’ intent to evoke the divine name. Once again, then, here in the garden Jesus is described as having authority over the situation―he is to be identified with the God who appeared with Moses at the burning bush.

Here we recall what Jesus states in John 10:17-18: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again; this charge I have received from my Father.” Jesus is in control. In fact, no one other than Jesus is arrested, confirming what he had said earlier (cf. 18:7). No one is taking his life from him―he is laying it down himself. He is the sacrificial victim, but, as we shall see, he is also the priest.

The Cup of Jesus
John 18:10-12: Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. 11 Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?” 12 So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him.

Here John fills in details missing from Luke’s account. Luke tells us that one of Jesus’ disciples struck the ear of the high priest’s servant, however, he does not tell us the identity of the disciple or servant involved. John reveals that the disciple was Peter and the servant was Malchus.

Jesus’ reference to the “cup” evokes the prayer the Synoptics relate Jesus had prayed as he prepared to be arrested: “remove this cup from me” (e.g., Mark 10:36). In fact, in Matthew’s account, Jesus prays this prayer three times (Matt 26:39, 42, 44). Of course, Jesus also links drinking the cup to his passion in Mark 10:38-39, in his response to the request of James and John to sit at his right and left in the coming kingdom:
“You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?” 39 And they said to him, “We are able.” And Jesus said to them, “The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized…”
In the Old Testament the image of the cup is used to symbolize suffering (Ps 75:8) and judgment (Isa 51:17, 22; Jer 25:15-29; 49:12; Lam 4:21; Ezek 23:31-34; Hab 2:16). Yet, given the Passover context[2] and the account of Jesus’ words over the “cup” in the Synoptics at the Last Supper, another connection may be found.

Many scholars, most recently, Brant Pitre, have made the case that the backdrop of the “cup” is the Passover seder, which, according to ancient Jewish sources, involved the drinking of four cups (cf. m. Pesahim 10:1). Many have identified the third cup with the cup which Jesus pronounced the words of institution (“This is my blood…”) over.[3] This is supported by a number of observations. First, the third cup was apparently drunk after the main meal.[4] The earliest account of the Last Supper, which is found in 1 Corinthians 11:23ff, tells us that Jesus took the cup “after supper” and pronounced the Eucharistic words over it. Secondly, the third cup was associated with a blessing and was even referred to as the “cup of blessing”.[5] Thirdly, prior to the meal, a blessing would be pronounced. The “blessing” said over the bread by Jesus at the Last Supper may likely allude to this.[6] Finally, after the supper and the drinking of the third cup, the Hallel psalms were sung. This is probably what is alluded to in Mark 14:26: “ And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives” (cf. Matt 26:30).[7]

What is not mentioned anywhere is the drinking of the fourth cup. Matthew and Mark both make it clear that they sang the hymn, but both also leave the distinct impression that the meal ended at exactly that point.[8] In fact, Jesus seems insistent after the third cup that he will not drink again of the fruit of the vine. While some have suggested that Jesus simply forgot to properly conclude the Passover seder, it would seem obvious from his repeated prayer in the garden concerning the “cup” that he has not forgotten it.

It is only once he is about to die on the cross that Jesus utters the words, “I thirst” (John 19:28). After drinking from the sour wine[9] on the hyssop branch, Jesus exclaims, “It is finished” (John 19:30).[10] G. Feeley-Harnik writes, “When [Jesus] finally cries out in agony, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’… they offer him vinegar…. He drinks the fourth cup and dies the accursed death….”[11]

Jesus’ drinking of the third cup of the Eucharist therefore is intimately connected to his death on the cross. He completes on the cross what he began in the Upper Room. There Jesus made the promise that he would not drink of the fruit of the vine until he drank it in the restored kingdom. Through his death the kingdom comes and he drinks of the final cup as he enters it. Hahn puts its this way:
“Ironically, the hour of his crucifixion and death constituted no defeat; it was rather ‘the day and the hour’ of Jesus’ entrance into the glory of his kingdom, whe he’d drink of the vine anew, just as he had said. But it isn’t his will to drink alone; for Jesus calls us as his disciples, to partake not only of the ‘third cup,’ that is, the ‘cup of blessing’ which we share in the Eucharist (1 Cor 10:16), but also of the ‘fourth cup’ by dying for him (Mk 10:38-39). Only then is the paschal mystery truly fulfilled in us.”[12]
This is why Jesus links the drinking of his cup with martyrdom in his response to James and John’s request. Receiving the Eucharist means entering into the mystery of the cross. This is why Jesus tells James and John—who ask to sit at Jesus’ right and left hand in the Kingdom—“are you able to drink the cup which I must drink”. By receiving the cup of the Eucharist, we unite ourselves to Christ. We say, in effect, “Lord I want to die with you. I want to drink from your cup.”

Jesus’ Trial and Peter’s Denial
John goes on to describe how they led away Jesus to the high priest. However, interjected into the trial narrative is the account of Peter's betrayal of Jesus. The following section is structured in this way:
18:12-14: Jesus is led away to be questioned.
18:15-18: Peter’s first denial.
18:19-24: Jesus is questioned by Annas.
18:25-27: Peter’s second and third denials.

A number of things could be pointed out here. The link between the motif of "witness" (or lack thereof) by the disciples to Jesus is underscored by John’s account of the trial before Annas. After reading about Peter’s first denial, the very first thing Jesus is asked about is “his disciples and his teaching” (John 18:19). Jesus refuses to answer questions about his teaching, telling his interrogators to ask “those who have heard me” (John 18:21). (This, of course, fits well within the larger theme of John’s Gospel of “witnessing” to Christ.)

Out in the garden, however, Peter--his disciple and a potential "witness"--is doing a poor job relating Jesus' teaching. In fact, there are a number of parallels between Peter and Judas in the story. Judas had come with the "officers" (ὑπηρέτης) of the Jewish leaders (John 18:3), and (at least one of) the high priest’s "slave(s)" (δοῦλος)--we read how one of them was attacked by Peter (18:20). Judas is described as having “stood” (εἱστήκει) “with them” (μετʼ αὐτῶν) (cf. John 18:5). Now in the high priest’s courtyard we read about a charcoal fire, around which are "officers" (ὑπηρέτης) and "slaves" (δοῦλος)(John 18:18). In fact, we are likely to conclude that many of these were those who came with to arrest Jesus, since one of them says to Peter, "Did I not see you in the garden with him?” (John 18:26). Yet, Peter is now no longer with him (μετʼ αὐτοῦ). Like Judas, Peter is described as having "stood” (εἱστήκει) “with them” (μετʼ αὐτῶν) (cf. John 18:18). Peter has essentially sided with Jesus' opponents. In effect, Jesus is condemned in part because he has no witnesses. There is a strong pastoral message in this.

Another lesson we should learn from this concerns reconciliation. While Judas despaired of forgiveness, Peter accepted it. The point is that God is always willing to forgive us. We are never so far away from God that his arm is too short to reach us and bring us back to him.

By the way, there is only one other place in the New Testament where we read about a “charcoal fire” (ἀνθρακιά). In John 21, the risen Jesus appears to the apostles on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Peter rushes to greet him. When comes ashore to Jesus what does he find? A charcoal fire (John 21:9). And what does Jesus do? He asks him—3x (the same number of times Peter denied Jesus)—“Do you love me?” In this Peter is finally rehabilitated and reconciled to Christ (cf. John 21:15-19).

Jesus before Pilate and the Choice of Barabbas
Jesus is next led before Pilate. Not surprisingly Pilate's questioning of Jesus revolves around the issue of Jesus’ kingship and kingdom. Jesus explains that his kingdom will not be established through violence; he will not be saved through fighting.
“My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingdom is not from the world” (John 18:36). 
This, of course, is consistent with what we saw in the garden where Jesus told Peter to sheath his sword. There Jesus explained that he must drink the cup (John 18:11). Here he speaks of his kingdom. The kingdom is not ushered in through violence, but, as we have seen, through the drinking of the fourth cup on the cross.

Pilate, of course, gives the crowd the choice between Jesus and Barabbas, whom John simply identifies as a “robber” (λῃστής; or a “revolutionary,”18:40). Matthew tells us that he was a “notorious” criminal (Matt 27:16). We learn more about Barabbas from the Passion narrative of Mark: “And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas” (Mark 15:7).

Although it is not clear who Barabbas murdered, due to the fact that he was being held by the Romans for an insurrection it may very well be that he had killed a Roman soldier. Interestingly, Josephus describes John of Grichala, a leader of a band of militant bandits, with the same word the Gospels use to describe Barabbas (War 2.585).

Barrabas is like the zealots, if not one of the zealots. These zealots wanted to lead a revolution. Many of the zealots expected to see the realization of the kingdom of God and the fulfillment of the prophetic hope for restoration through violence. The contrast between Jesus and Barabbas could not be starker. Barabbas' name, I think, is also significant: it is literally, bar ["son of"], abbas ["father"; think of Jesus’ use of “Abba”], the “son of the Father.”

Barabbas is a kind of counterfeit son of the Father. Jesus is the true “King of the Jews”. Yet that title is only finally clear for all to see once it is raised above his head on the cross. Through his death, Jesus conquers the enemies of God’s people—which are not ultimately political powers but the powers of the devil.

In the ensuing back-and-forth with the crowd, the Jewish leaders reveal their true allegiance: "Pilate said to the Jews, 'Behold your King!'  They cried out, 'Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king but Caesar' (John 19:14-15).

Jesus’ Seamless Garment
Jesus wears a seamless linen garment—which was what the Jewish high priest wears according to Leviticus 16:4. Moreover, in Leviticus 21:10 we read that the high priest’s garment could not be torn. Of course, we know from the other Gospels that the high priest tore his own robe once Jesus described his ultimate victory as the Son of Man.
“…the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” 62 And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” 63 And the high priest tore his garments, and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64 You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death” (Mark 14:61-64 ).
While the high priest tore his robe, Jesus’ garment is not torn. In this, Jesus’ identity as the true high priest is revealed. Again, no one takes Jesus life from him. He offers it up. He is the true sacrifice for sin―the Lamb of God (see Brant’s post below). At the same time, he is also the true high priest, offering himself as the sacrifice.

The quotation, “They parted my garments among them…” is from a Psalm which is also quoted by Jesus on the cross in Matthew and Mark: “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me” (Matt 27:46; Mark 14:34). By the way, this was a Psalm attributed to David--it is presented as describing David’s suffering. Jesus is the true high priest and the true son of David, who establishes the kingdom of God. So much more could be said about that but we’ve got to move on.

Jesus Gives the Beloved Disciple His Mother
The very last thing Jesus does before drinking from the hyssop branch and dying, is he gives his mother to be the mother of the “beloved disciple”.
John 19:26-27: "When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, 'Woman, behold, your son!' 27 Then he said to the disciple, 'Behold, your mother!' And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home."
Of course, in a historical sense, the historical figure called the "beloved disciple" was most likely the author (I believe, John the Apostle; see this post and this post). Yet, throughout the Gospel the "beloved disciple" / author merges his identity with the “we” of the community of faith. This is clear at the outset of his Gospel: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father” (John 1:12). Likewise, in John 21 we read, “This is the disciple who is bearing witness to these things, and who has written these things; and we know that his testimony is true.”[13]

The use of the term “woman” evokes Genesis imagery. Of course, John uses new creation at the very start of his Gospel. John 1-2 makes several allusions to Genesis 1-2: both begin, “In the beginning” (John 1:1; Gen 1:1); both speak of “life,” “light” and “darkness” (John 1:1-4; Gen. 1:3-5, 20-22); as Genesis describes God’s Spirit moving over the waters, John recounts how the Spirit hovered over Jesus in the waters of the Jordan (John 1:33; Gen 1:2). In Genesis 2, Adam calls his wife “Eve” because she is “the mother of all living” (Gen 3:20). In the Gospel of John, Jesus explains that he has come “that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Mary is a new Eve―the mother of all those who have life in Christ. Something similar to this is found in the Revelation 12, where the mother of the Messiah is said to have other offspring―“those who keep the commandments of God and bear testimony to Jesus” (Rev 12:17).

The Blood & Water from the Side of Christ
John goes on to describe how after Jesus is pierced with a lance, blood and water flow out (John 19:26-35). Two things, should be pointed out here. First, John may be alluding here to Jesus’ role as the new temple. Of course, John 2 explicitly states that Jesus understood his body in terms of the true temple (cf. John 2:19-21). In fact, from the outset, the fourth Gospel reveals Jesus’ role as the true tabernacle and temple of the Lord. In John 1, Jesus is described as the Word who “dwelt among us” (1:14). In Greek, the verb used for "dwelt" can literally be translated as “he tabernacled.” As God “tabernacled” with Israel, so in Jesus God is “tabernacling” among his people again. In fact, the word was used not only in association with God dwelling in the tabernacle, but also in connection with the Lord’s “dwelling” in the temple (cf. 1 Kings 6:13).

The same imagery is found in John 7. There the backdrop of the chapter is the feast of Tabernacles, which celebrated the dedication of the temple. In John 7:37-39 we read,

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, ‘If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.’ Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive…”
Jesus seems to be drawing on new temple imagery—as Ezekiel saw waters flowing from the new temple, so the Spirit will flow from him, the true temple. The imagery here seems to be linked with what we find in John 19 where we read about Jesus giving forth his Spirit in death and water (and blood) flowing out of his heart from his pierced side.

Interestingly, in relating the piercing of Jesus, John cites Zechariah 12:10. It should be pointed out that the Zechariah goes on to describe the eschatological Jerusalem, out of which, as in Ezekiel’s vision of the new temple, water will flow: “On that day living waters shall flow out from Jerusalem, half of them to the eastern sea and half of them to the western sea; it shall continue in summer as in winter” (Zech 14:9). One might also see here allusions to Rabbinic traditions about the rock in the wilderness (cf. 1 Cor 10:4), which stated that both blood and water flowed from it.[14]

Secondly, in the Gospel of John both the elements of water and blood have been associated with sacramental imagery. In John 3, Jesus tells Nicodemus that in order to enter into the kingdom, one must be born with “water and Spirit” (John 3:5). That this is to be linked with Baptism is confirmed by the fact that immediately after his conversation with Nicodemus, Jesus goes out to baptize with his disciples (John 3:22-23)―the only such reference in any of the Gospels. In John 6, Jesus explains that one must eat his flesh and drink his blood. I have discussed the reasons for seeing Eucharistic connections here.

I will close these reflections by citing from John Chrysostom’s Catechesis which is used in the Good Friday Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours...
______
If we wish to understand the power of Christ’s blood, we should go back to the ancient account of its prefiguration in Egypt. “Sacrifice a lamb without blemish”, commanded Moses, “and sprinkle its blood on your doors”. If we were to ask him what he meant, and how the blood of an irrational beast could possibly save men endowed with reason, his answer would be that the saving power lies not in the blood itself, but in the fact that it is a sign of the Lord’s blood. In those days, when the destroying angel saw the blood on the doors he did not dare to enter, so how much less will the devil approach now when he sees, not that figurative blood on the doors, but the true blood on the lips of believers, the doors of the temple of Christ.

If you desire further proof of the power of this blood, remember where it came from, how it ran down from the cross, flowing from the Master’s side. The gospel records that when Christ was dead, but still hung on the cross, a soldier came and pierced his side with a lance and immediately there poured out water and blood. Now the water was a symbol of baptism and the blood, of the holy eucharist. The soldier pierced the Lord’s side, he breached the wall of the sacred temple, and I have found the treasure and made it my own. So also with the lamb: the Jews sacrificed the victim and I have been saved by it.“There flowed from his side water and blood”.

Beloved, do not pass over this mystery without thought; it has yet another hidden meaning, which I will explain to you. I said that water and blood symbolized baptism and the holy eucharist. From these two sacraments the Church is born: from baptism, “the cleansing water that gives rebirth and renewal through the Holy Spirit”, and from the holy eucharist. Since the symbols of baptism and the Eucharist flowed from his side, it was from his side that Christ fashioned the Church, as he had fashioned Eve from the side of Adam Moses gives a hint of this when he tells the story of the first man and makes him exclaim: “Bone from my bones and flesh from my flesh!” As God then took a rib from Adam’s side to fashion a woman, so Christ has given us blood and water from his side to fashion the Church. God took the rib when Adam was in a deep sleep, and in the same way Christ gave us the blood and the water after his own death.Do you understand, then, how Christ has united his bride to himself and what food he gives us all to eat? By one and the same food we are both brought into being and nourished. As a woman nourishes her child with her own blood and milk, so does Christ unceasingly nourish with his own blood those to whom he himself has given life.
[1] It would seem that the later conspiracies against David were understood as a punishment for the affair with Bathsheba. See 2 Samuel 12:10-12; 16:20-23.
[2] Here we cannot discuss all of the details relating to the dating of the Last Supper. Suffice it to say, the Passover forms the context of the Last Supper and the Passion narrative.
[3] For a full treatment see Brant Pitre, Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist (New York: Doubleday, 2011), chapter 6.
[4] See Scot McKnight, Jesus and His Death (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2005), 256.
[5] H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrash (Munchen: 1928), IV/2, 628. John Nolland, The Gospel of Matthew (NIGTC; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 1077: “On the basis of the indication in Lk 22:20; 1 Cor. 11:25 that the cup intended came after the meal, the cup is normally identified as the third cup, but occasionally the fourth cup is preferred.” Nolland goes on to explain that the reason one might identify the Eucharistic cup as the fourth cup is due to the fact that no cup comes after the Eucharistic one. We will address this problem below.
[6] See Norman Theiss, “The Passover Feast of the New Covenant,” in Interpretation 48 (1994): 17-35; Craig Evans, Mark 8:27-16:20 (WBC 34b; Columbia: Thomas Nelson, 2001), 389.
[7] Also see Jonathan D. Brumberg-Kraus, "Not by bread alone...": The Ritualization of Food and Table Talk in the Passover Seder and in the Last Supper,” in Semeia 86 (1999), 165 n. 1.
[8] D. Daube, The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism (Peabody: Hendricksen, 1995), 331: “The implication is that they go out directly after the ‘hymn’ without drinking the fourth cup.”
[9] That the vinegar was sour wine, see Josef Blinzler, Trial of Jesus: The Jewish and Roman Proceedings against Jesus Christ Described and Assessed from the Oldest Accounts (I. McHugh & F. McHugh, trans.; Westminster: Newman, 1959), 255; Raymond Brown, The Gospel According to John (AB 29A; New York: Doubleday, 1970)), 2: 909.
[10] See Raymond Brown, The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave (New York: Doubleday, 1994), 2:1007: “In 18:11 Jesus said that he wanted to drink the cup the Father had given him; when Jesus drinks the offered wine, he has finished this commitment made at the beginning of the P[assion] N[arrative].”
[11] The Lord’s Table: Eucharist and Passover in Early Christianity (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1981), 145; cited in Scott Hahn, A Father Who Keeps His Promises (Ann Arbor: Servant, 1998), 291-292 n. 4.
[12] Hahn, A Father, 233.
[13] For an argument for the authenticity of John 21 see this post.
[14] Exod. Rab. 122a (citing Ps 78:20); Palestinian Targum on Num 20:11. Cited by Craig Keener, John (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2003), 1153-4.

3 comments:

John Bergsma said...

Nice, thanks, Michael. I can't help calling attention to Peter twice saying "I AM not!" (ouk eimi) when betraying Jesus in ch. 18--darkly humorous irony, contrasting with Jesus' persistent "ego eimi" throughout the Gospel.

Michael Barber said...

John: I never noticed that parallel with Peter before! That's very interesting!

Sister Mary Agnes said...

Wow, I have often thought about the similarities and differences between Peter and Judas, but I never noticed the parallels in the text before about Peter standing with Jesus' enemies as Judas had done. I also never thought about how Peter could have stepped forward to be a potential witness.