JESUS THE MESSIAH

 Part II: THE MISSION TO THE COVENANT PEOPLE OF ISRAEL

Biblical Period 11

Lesson # 25

 

Father,

It is through our Savior's baptism in blood on the Cross that we are reborn through our baptism into Your Covenant family.  We die to sin and are raise to new life'a new life that recreates us as divine sons and daughters who have the right to call You "Father".  But with that inheritance of divine son/daughter-ship also come family obligations.  Give us, Lord, the strength of our Savior living in us so that we too can resist the temptations of Satan and turn away from sin to take up our Cross daily and follow Jesus' example of self-sacrificial love.  We humbly pray in the name of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, Amen.

+++

 

"For the Lord Yahweh says this: Look, I myself shall take care of my flock and look after it.  As a shepherd looks after his flock when he is with his scattered sheep, so shall I look after my sheep." Isaiah 34:11-12a

 

"It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I shall make you a light to the nations so that my salvation may reach the remotest parts of earth." Isaiah 49:5-6

 

The Baptism of Jesus and the Temptation of Christ

 

Please read Luke 3:1-18; John 1:19-34; Luke 4:1-13

Question: Please read the description of Yehohanan ben Zechariah [John son of Zechariah] in Matthew 3:4 and compare John's dress with the description of the prophet Elijah in 2 Kings 1:8.  What are the similarities and what is significant about these similarities?

Answer: Both men are wearing camel hair and a leather loincloth.  It is significant because the people are looking for Elijah to announce the coming of the Messiah as announced by the Prophet Malachi, the last prophet sent to Israel.  In his final prophetic utterance Malachi had said Elijah would in some way return to Israel before the time of the Messiah [see Malachi 3:23, or 4:5 depending on your translation].  When John began his ministry dressed in Elijah's distinctive style this signaled to the Jews that John was playing the part of the promised return of the prophet Elijah.  Jesus would later recognize this when He told the people in Matthew 11:13-14 that John "is Elijah who is to come."

 

So the dress of John was a significant signal but so was the location of his ministry.

Question: What was significant about the site where John was baptizing?  Hint: see 2 Kings 2:1-15; Joshua 2:1-3:17; and John 11:26. 

Answer:  John was baptizing across the Jordan River on the east side near the city of Jericho.  Some ancient Greek texts record the site of John's ministry as Bethabara, "place of the crossing".  This is the same site where the prophet Elijah was miraculously taken up to heaven, where the prophet Elisha succeeded him, and it was also the site where Joshua led the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land.  The significance of the site would have spoken volumes to the Jews of John's time!

 

Question: What comparisons can you make between the ministry of John the Baptist and Elijah in addition to their distinctive style of dress?

Answer: Both were great prophets of God, both men challenged wicked kings [Elijah challenged King Ahaz and John challenged Herod Antipas], both were persecuted by these kings, and most important, both men prepared the way for prophets with even greater ministries then their own.  Just as Elisha succeeded Elisha on the far side of the Jordan River so too would Jesus, when baptized by John, begin His public ministry and go on to do greater works. 

 

Jesus' baptism by John the priest/prophet is in essence the anointing of Jesus as Messiah and the beginning of a "new creation" as the Holy Spirit hovered over Jesus above the waters of the Jordan reminiscent of the "hovering" of God the Holy Spirit over the waters of Creation in Genesis 1:2 and the waters of the restored creation of the flood in Genesis 8:8-12.  At the moment of Jesus' baptism in the Jordan River God the Holy Spirit descended and hovered above Him in the form of a dove.  It is the first time in Scripture that a dove is symbolically linked to the Spirit of God.  Then a voice is heard from heaven saying "You are my Son; today have I fathered you." [Luke 3:22], identifying Jesus as the Messiah-king of Psalms 2:7, anointed and enthroned to establish God's Kingdom of Heaven on earth!

 

Question: Later John announces to the crowds of Jews who have come to him to repent their sins Jesus' anointing as the "Son of God", a title used for kings, priests, and prophets of Israel.  Please read the passage in John 1:29-33 and identify what statement John made concerning Jesus that would have been a terribly shocking announcement to the crowds of Jews that day?

John  11:26-29 "John answered them, I baptize with water; but standing among you'unknown to you'is the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandal.  This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.  The next day, he saw Jesus coming toward him and said, 'Look, there is the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world. It was of him that I said, 'Behind me comes one who has passed ahead of me because He existed before me.' I did not know him myself, and yet my purpose in coming to baptize with water was so that he might be revealed to Israel.  And John declared, 'I saw the Spirit come down on him like a dove from heaven and rest on him.  I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to baptize with water had said to me, "The man on whom you see the Sprit come down and rest is the one who is to baptize wit the Holy Spirit."  I have seen and I testify that he is the Chosen One of God. '"

Answer: John has identified Jesus as a sacrificial victim like the Tamyid lambs offered in sacrifice daily for the sins of the people.  This would have been an extremely disturbing statement and would have shocked the crowds of 1st century Jews.

 

Question: Was John's baptism for repentance unique?

Answer: No, ritual immersion was part of the Sinai Covenant. In the Old Covenant entrance into the Covenant between Israel and God was through three rites: circumcision' brit mila which symbolized the cutting off of the past life and submission to God; the ritual of water immersion' tevila, which symbolized purification and new life in the Covenant; and sacrifice –korban, in which sins were confessed, a blood sacrifice was offered and communion with God through a communion sacrifice, was established.  St. Paul in 1 Corinthians chapter 10 speaks of the Children of Israel passing through the Sea of Reeds [Red Sea] as a baptism.  But according to the Jewish Talmud [the oral tradition of the Jews which was recorded in the 1st century AD] the first instance of immersion occurred during the Sinai experience when the Israelites were instructed by Moses to prepare to meet Yahweh by sanctifying themselves and washing their garments [see Exodus 19:10].  The Rabbis of the Talmud equated "sanctification" with immersion in a ritual bath called in Hebrew a mikva.  Bathing in a mikva was necessary whenever ritual purification was required as, for example, for a woman after the birth of a child.  John's call for ritual immersion as an act of repentance would have seemed perfectly natural to the Jewish crowds who came to him.

 

Question: Was John's baptism the same as the baptism Christians receive when they are baptized?

Answer: No, John's baptism was only for repentance to prepare the Old Covenant people for the Gospel of the Messiah.  Repentance is always the first step in preparation for restoration of communion with God.  In John's baptism God the Holy Spirit begins the restoration of the Covenant people to the "divine likeness" which was the gift of grace enjoyed by our first parents in Eden.  In this way John's baptism prefigures Jesus' baptism on the Cross. It is that baptism that we receive through the water and the Spirit [see John chapter 3]'it is the miracle of regeneration we receive as we are reborn to new life in Christ.  The old life passes away, all sin including original sin is removed, and we are resurrected to a new life.  This resurrection of our baptism is called the 1st resurrection [see Revelation 20:5-6].  The second resurrection will come at the End of Days and the Second Advent of Christ. [see CCC# 405; 438; 536-37;720; 977-78; 1265]

 

Archaeological note: What is believed to be Jesus' baptismal site on the east side of the Jordan River, "Bethany beyond the Jordan" [John 1:26-28] has been discovered by archaeologists on the east bank of the Jordan River controlled by the state of Jordan.  The site, located about 7 miles north of the Dead Sea, was visited by Pope John Paul II when he made his pilgrimage the Holy Land in 2000 and has been designated by the Catholic bishops of the Middle East as one of 5 pilgrimage sites in Jordan.  "Bethany beyond the Jordan," however, should not be confused with the village of Bethany on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem which as the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.  The Byzantine Christians believed this site on the east bank of the Jordan River was the place where John the Baptist baptized Jesus and marked the location with a monastery which was built in 324AD and was destroyed in 638AD.  This site also has another name, Beth Abara, which means "house or place of the crossing."  The famous Madaba map, a 6th century mosaic discovered in a Christian Church in Madaba, Jordan identifies the holy sites associated with Jesus' ministry and names this location "Beth Abara" instead of "Bethany beyond the Jordan,"  and a 3-lined legend in red on the ancient map identifies the site as "the Baptism of St. John".  This place name, Beth Abara, "place of the crossing," may connect the site of Jesus' baptism with the crossing in which Joshua, after the Exodus journey, led the children of Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land [see Salvation History Lesson 11].  In the 3rd century the Church father Origen noted that he could not locate any site called Bethany on the east side of the Jordan River and suggested that "Beth Abara across the Jordan" is the location mentioned by St. John in the Gospel of John 1:28.  The Jewish Talmud identifies Beth Abara as the site Joshua used to ford the Jordan River in the invasion of Canaan, and Eusebius in the Onomasticon, his travel long of the Holy Land written in the early 4th century, also refers only to this name which he spells "Bethabara," as the site of Jesus' baptism.  Think of the theological significance of what happened in 28AD when Jesus/ Yeshua [Hebrew name for both Jesus and Joshua], after His baptism went from the east bank of the Jordan River across the river into the Promised Land, just as Joshua had when he led the children of Israel out of the wilderness into the Promised Land.  Now Joshua's action becomes a foreshadow of Jesus/Yehsua/Joshua, the Son of God who begins His ministry to bring humanity out of the wilderness of sin and spiritual death into the true "Promised Land" of heaven!

 

Please read Luke 4:1-13: The temptation in the Desert

After His baptism Jesus retreats into the desert to fast for 40 day. 

Question: Scripture records that Jesus fasted 40 days and 40 nights in the wilderness after His baptism by John and before Satan came to tempt Him.  What does this 40 day period recall in Israel's history?

Answer: It is probably meant to recall the 40 days and nights Moses spend on Mt. Sinai in Exodus 24:18 while Israel's faith was tested.  But the time reference may also be meant to recall the 40 years that Israel was tempted in the desert: "Remember how for forty years now the [Deuteronomy 8:2].  Jesus will respond to Satan's taunts by quoting from both Deuteronomy chapters 6 and 8.

 

At the end of this period of fasting and prayer, in His weakened human condition Satan comes to tempt Jesus the "Second Adam" just as he tempted the first Adam in the Garden of Eden; "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.."

1 Corinthians 15:22

The Temptation of Christ 

 

Contrast of the Two Adams: 

In Genesis 3:14 God cursed the serpent and then announced in 3:15 that this encounter had been the opening battle in what would become a world war between the offspring of the serpent and the offspring of the woman'a war  which would continue through salvation history.  But the announcement of this great struggle also hints at an ultimate victory and a future salvation, and for this reason the Fathers of the Church referred to this passage as the proto-evangelium, Greek for the "first good news"'the promise of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the first translation of the Hebrew books of Sacred Scripture which we call the Old Testament into Greek circa 250BC the Jewish scholars translated this passage using the masculine pronoun "he" rendering the phrase "he will bruise your head". This interpretation of the indefinite Hebrew pronoun as masculine then ascribes the promised victory not only to the "Woman's" descendants collectively but to the son of one woman in particular who will "crush or bruise the head of the serpent".  St. John's statement that God the Father sent the Son to destroy the works of Satan in 1 John 3:8 serves to further cement the concept that this passage can be understood as the first promise of Jesus as the Redeemer for a fallen humanity. 

 

And with the messianic interpretation of this passage, "the woman" becomes a title for the human virgin woman who will bear this serpent-crusher son without the "seed" of a man.  The woman who fulfills this prophecy is Mary the mother of Jesus, who in St. John's Gospel is addressed by Jesus as "Woman", identifying her as the promised "woman" of Genesis 3:15 [see John 2:4 and 18:26].  Mary, the new Eve, gave birth to the son who fulfilled this prophecy. The New Testament portrays Christ as the "Second Adam" whose obedience and sacrificial death on the cross atones for Adam's disobedience.  As the "Second Adam," Jesus triumphed over the same sort of temptation to which the first Adam and the first Eve succumbed. The Incarnation of the Christ was the manifestation of the promise and it was fulfilled with Jesus Christ's sacrificial death and glorious Resurrection.  The New Testament portrays Jesus as the "Second Adam" whose obedience and sacrificial death on the cross undo Adam's disobedience [St Paul wrote of Jesus as the Second Adam in Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45].  Jesus, the Second Adam, triumphed over the same temptations to which the first Adam fell into sin.

 

In 1 John 2:15-17 St John must have been thinking of the fall of the first Adam when he wrote of the temptations of this world: "Do not love the world or what is in the world.  If anyone does love the world, the love of the Father finds no place in him, because everything there is in the world--disordered bodily desires [lust of the flesh], disordered desires of the eyes [lust of the eyes], pride in possession [pride of life]--is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world, with all its disordered desires, is passing away.  But whoever does the will of God remains for ever."   These are the temptations Satan used against Adam and Eve as well as against Jesus, just as he still lures all of us with these same desires. The New Testament portrays Jesus as the "Second Adam" whose obedience and sacrificial death on the cross undo Adam's disobedience [see Romans 5:12-21 and 1 Corinthians 15:45].  Jesus, the Second Adam, triumphed over the same temptations to which the first Adam fell into sin.  St. John identified these temptations as the lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and the pride of life [also see CCC# 411 & 504].

TEMPTATION: The first and second Adams contrasted:

1 John 2:16

Genesis 3:6

Luke 4:1-13

"If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father finds no place in him..."

The First Adam: "Did God really say you were not to eat from any of the trees...?"

Second Adam = Jesus

of Nazareth: "Then the devil said to Him...

the lust of the flesh:

"disordered bodily desires"

"The woman saw the tree was good to eat.."

"tell this stone to turn into a loaf"

the lust of the eyes:

"disordered desires of the eyes"

"..and pleasing to the eye,

and..."

"the devil...showed Him all the kingdoms of the world"

the pride of life:

"pride in possession"

"that it was enticing for the wisdom that it could give."

"If you are the Son ...throw Yourself down from here"

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 1991 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

 

Question: What were Jesus' replies to Satan's taunts?  Are His answers or Satan's offers associated with any Old Testament Biblical passages?  To whom are these Old Testament verses attributed and to whom are they addressed?  Please list Satan's taunts and any Old Testament verses quoted by Satan, and also list the Old Testament verses Jesus quotes in reply. What will be the future fulfillment of Jesus' replies to Satan?  Hint: see Deuteronomy 6:13, 16; 8:3; Psalms 91:11-12.

Answer: All of Jesus' replies to Satan are from Moses' 1st homily to the new generation of the Covenant believers who had witnessed the miracles of God in the desert wandering and who were about to take possession of the Promised Land [see Deuteronomy chapters 6 – 8].  Jesus is the "new Moses" whose messianic mission is to a new generation of covenant believers who will witness the miracles of the Son of God.  Only the generation of the Exodus experience and this 1st century AD generation of Israel will have the advantage of witnessing such amazing works of God.  This new generation of Israel called by Christ in the "new exodus" will become the New Covenant Church and the first generation of Covenant people to enter the Promise Land of heaven after Christ's Ascension. 

 

Satan's 3 temptations and Christ's responses:

1. Satan in Luke 4:3: "'If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to turn into a loaf.'   But Jesus replied, Scripture says: 'Human beings live not on bread alone.'  Jesus is quoting  Deuteronomy 8:3: "He humbled you, he made you feel hunger, he fed you with manna which neither you nor your ancestors had ever known, to make you understand that human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of Yahweh.'"  In Deuteronomy 8:3 Moses reminds the people how God fed them manna in the wilderness but they can't live on manna alone...Jesus who is the WORD Himself will give them better than the perishable manna...He will give the true manna, Himself, the living bread from heaven.

 

2.  Satan in Luke 4:6:  "I will give you all this power and their splendor, for it has been handed over to me, for me to give it to anyone I choose, Do homage, then, to me, and it shall all be yours.'  But Jesus answered him, 'Scripture says: 'You must do homage to the Lord your God, him alone you must serve.'" Jesus is quoting from Deuteronomy  6:13.  In 6:12-13 Moses tells the Children of Israel: "..be careful you do not forget Yahweh who has brought you out of Egypt, out of the place of slave-labor.  Yahweh your God is the one you must fear, him alone you must serve, his is the name by which you must swear.' " Moses is reminding the people how God brought them out of slavery in Egypt and how they must faithfully serve Him.  Jesus will free the people from slavery to sin and He will establish a world-wide Kingdom for the people of the New Covenant in His name.

 

 

3.  Satan in Luke 4:9-10 "If you are Son of God,; he said to him, 'throw yourself down from here, for Scripture says: He has given his angels orders about you, to guard you and again: They will carry you in their arms in case you trip over a stone.'  But Jesus answered him, 'Scripture says: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.' " Satan quoted Psalms 91:10-12 to Jesus, but the next line to this verse that Satan failed to include is: "You will walk upon wild beast and adder, you will trample young lions and snakes."   Jesus' reply is from Deuteronomy 6:16, a continuation of the passage He quoted in temptation #2: "Scripture says: Do not put the Lord your God to the test." In verses 16-17 of Deuteronomy chapter 6, Moses reminds the people of the "rock" that miraculously gave them water in the wilderness when they tested God at Massah on the journey to Mt. Sinai [see Exodus 17:1-7].  Jesus is Himself the true Rock [1Corinthians 10:1-4] from whom will come the miracle of  the "living water" of eternal life'the blood and water that will flow from His side on the Cross, symbolizing baptism and Eucharist--and He through this miraculous flow He will conquer the serpent!

                                   

Question: How can you use St. Paul description of the humility of Jesus in Colossians 2:6-11 to contrast Jesus the "second Adam" with the first Adam?

ADAM AND CHRIST COMPARISON AND CONTRAST

ADAM

CHRIST

A man made in the divine image

He is the form and very essence of God: Colossians 2:6

Thought equality with God something  to be grasped at

Jesus humbled Himself and hid His divinity in His humanity: Colossians 2:6

He spurned the role of God's obedient servant

Jesus took upon Himself the form of a servant in complete obedience: Colossians 2:7

The man Adam fell from grace in his desire to be like God

Jesus hid His divinity and came in the likeness of man: Colossians 2:7

Adam aspired to be greater than he was

 

Jesus aspired to no reputation but lived a life of humility: Colossians 2:8

Adam in being a man exalted himself and became disobedient unto death

Jesus being found in appearance as a man humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death: Colossians 2:8

Adam suffered loss of God's grace and was condemned to dust and disgrace

Jesus was exalted by God, glorified and raised from the dead to sit at the right hand of the Father: Colossians 2:9-11

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2000 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

 

Question: In Romans 5:15-19 how does Paul contrast Adam and Christ as "alike" but "unalike"?  How many comparisons can you think of?  Here is my list:

ADAM AND CHRIST ALIKE

ADAM AND CHRIST UNALIKE

Both Adam and Christ had an affect upon the whole human race

Sin and death came from Adam while righteousness and life came from Christ

Both endured the temptation of Satan

Adam failed and Christ was victorious

Through both Adam and Christ humanity receives an "inheritance"

Through Adam's failure humanity inherits death, original sin and personal sin becomes a plague on mankind. Through Christ's victory humanity inherits adoption into God family and the promise of eternal life.

Both were human men

Jesus was both human and divine

Both the acts of Adam and Jesus invoke a divine verdict

Satan stood behind the act of Adam while the grace of God stood behind Christ; the verdict behind Adam's act is judgment while the verdict behind Jesus' is acquittal

Both Adam and Jesus exercised their free will.

Adam willingly fell from grace; Jesus willingly laid down His life in sacrifice for all mankind

Both were born into the world as sinless and immortal beings

Adam lost his immortality when he fell from grace; Jesus made God's gift of immortality once again available to man

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2006 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

 

Question: If there is a "Second Adam" is there also a "Second Eve"?

Answer: Yes, the Fathers of the Church spoke of Mary, the Virgin Mother of Christ as the Second Eve.  Just as the First Eve cooperated in the Fall of man so the Second Eve cooperated in the redemption and salvation of the entire human race.

 

THE FALL VS. SALVATION: The two Eves contrasted:

THE VIRGIN EVE

THE VIRGIN MARY

Daughter of the first Covenant

Daughter of the Sinai Covenant

Pledged obedience under the covenant

Pledged obedience under the covenant

Eve's disobedience resulted in the fall into sin of the entire human race. 

The result was death, physically and spiritually.

Mary's obedience to God resulted in the offer of the gift of salvation to the entire human race. 

The result through her son would be victory over physical and spiritual death and the gift of eternal life

 

Catechism of the Catholic Church quoting Sts. Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and St. Jerome in CCC# 494  ".....'Being obedient she became the cause of salvation for herself and for the whole human race.' Hence not a few of the early Fathers gladly assert 'The knot of Eve's disobedience was united by Mary's obedience: what the virgin Eve bound through her disbelief, Mary loosened by her faith.'  Comparing her with Eve, they call Mary 'the Mother of the living' and frequently claim" 'Death through Eve, life through Mary."

 

 

The Galilean Ministry

 

Dating Jesus' ministry: In Luke 3:1-2 St. Luke tells us that John the Baptist began his ministry:

·        in the 15th year of the Roman emperor Tiberius

·        when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea  

·        when Herod Antipas [son of Herod the Great and Malthace] was tetrarch of the Galilee

·        when Philip  [son of Herod the Great and Cleopatra of Jerusalem] was tetrarch Iturea and Trachonitis

·        when Lysanias was tetrarch of Abilene

·        and when Joseph Caiaphas, son-in-law of Annas, was High Priest

 

Caesar Augustus died on the 19th of August, 14AD and was succeeded by his step-son Tiberius.  The 15th year of Tiberius reign could therefore be dated from the 19th of August 28AD to the 18th of August 29AD.  However, if the Syrian method of calculating the year is being observed then the 15th year of Tiberius' reign would be from September-October 27 to September-October 28AD.  We also know from Roman records and inscriptions that:

·        Pilate was governor of Judea, Idumea and Samaria from 26-36AD

·        Herod Antipas was tetrarch of the Galilee and Perea from the death of Herod the Great to 39AD

·        Philip Herod ruled from the death of Herod the Great to circa 34/37AD

·        Lysanias was the Roman appointed ruler of Anti-Lebanon, known as Abilene'known from 2 inscriptions but dates uncertain

·        Annas was High Priest from 6-15AD, succeeded by his sons Eleazar and Simon and in 18AD by his son-in-law was Caiaphas who was High Priest until 36AD, but Annas was the real power.

 

According to Luke, if Jesus began His ministry in His 30th year in what was the 15th year of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius [Luke 3:1] it would make the first year of His ministry [according to our calendar] the year 28AD. Therefore, if according to John's Gospel Jesus kept 3 Passovers in 3 years of ministry, He died and was resurrected in the spring of 30AD.

 

RULERS OF ROMAN JUDEA FROM

37BC TO THE JEWISH REVOLT IN 66AD

 

Roman Emperor

 

Ruler in Judea

High Priest

*Boethus Family  +Ananus Family

Date of High Priest

Augustus

[Octavian]

27BC-14AD

H

E

R

O

D

I

A

N

 

M

O

N

A

R

C

H

Y

Herod the Great

37BC – 4/1BC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Archelaus, son of Herod

Ruled 4/1BC deposed by Romans after 2 years.  Herod's heirs Antipas, Agrippa I*, Herod of Chalcis, ruled the Galilee, & other territories

-Ananelus

-Aristobulus (Hasmon prince and brother-in-law of Herod

-Jesus, son of Phabi

-Simon son of Beothus*

-Matthias son of Theophilus*

-Joseph son of Elam

-Joazar son (?) of Boethus*

-Eleazar brother of Joazar*

 

 

 

(Romans appoint all future High Priests)

37BC

36BC

 

 

?

?

?

 

 

 

4BC?

4BC?

ROMAN

 

ANNEXATION        OF

         JUDEA

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tiberius

14-37AD

 

 

 

Caligula

37-41AD

 

R

O

M

A

N

 

P

R

E

F

E

C

T

S

-Coponius (Prefect)

6-9AD

-Ambibulus (Prefect)

9-11AD

-Rufus (Prefect)

12-14AD

-Gratus (Prefect)

15-26AD

-Pilate (Prefect)

26-36AD

-Marcellus (Prefect )

36-37AD

-Marullus (Prefect)

37-41AD

-Joazar (reappointed)*

- Annas son of Seth +

(in Greek = Ananus)

 

 

-Ishmael son of Phabi

-Eleazar & Simon sons of Annas+

-Caiaphas son-in-law of Annas+

 

-Johathan, son of Annas+

-Theophilus, son of Annas+

-Matthias son of Annas+

5/6AD

6-15AD

 

 

 

15-17AD

17-18AD

 

18-36AD

 

 

37AD

37-41AD

41-48AD

Claudius

41-54AD

 

-Herod Agrippa I

41-44AD

(Matthias continues as High Priest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nero

54-68AD

R.

 

P

R

E

F

E

C

T

S

-Cuspius Fadus (Prefect)

44-46AD

-Tiberius-Alexander (P)

46-48AD

-Ventidius Cumanus (P)

-Marcus Antonius Felix

(Prefect) 52-60AD

-Porcius Festus (Prefect) 61-62AD

-Albinus (Prefect) 62-64

-Gessius Florus (Prefect) 64-66AD

 

 

 

-Ananias son of Nebedaeus

 

-Ishmael son of Phabi

 

 

 

-Annas son of Annas+

 

 

 

 

 

48-59AD

 

59-61AD

 

 

 

62-70AD

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2000 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.

LIST OF THE HERODIAN RULERS

1. Herod the Great died (4BC ?) 1BC

5. Herod of Chalcis died 48AD

2. Archelaus deposed 6AD

6. Agrippa I died 44AD

3. Herod Antipas exiled 37AD

7. Agrippa II died 100AD

4. Philip Herod died 34/37AD

 

 

 

Jesus returns to the Galilee where He begins His 3 year public ministry. Please read Luke 4:14-9:50: Jesus' Galilean Ministry

Question: Why did Jesus choose the Galilee in the far north instead of the area around Jerusalem?  Read Matthew 4:4:14 and Isaiah 8:23-9:1 "Land of Zebulun! Land of Naphtali! Way of the sea beyond Jordan.  Galilee of the nations:  The people that lived in darkness have seen a great light; on those who lived in a country of shadow dark as death a light has dawned."     

Answer: It was prophesied by Isaiah in the 8th century BC that the Galilee would be the site of restoration for Israel.  The Galilee, occupied by the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali, was the first part of Israel to be taken into exile by the Assyrians in 732BC.  After the Edit of Return issued by the Persian King Cyrus in 538/7BC a faithful remnant of Israelites had returned to the area of the Galilee.  Even though they were surrounded by Greek culture pagan villages, these faithful Israelites were orthodox in their faith and kept the sacred feasts of the Sinai Covenant and made sacrifice in Jerusalem.  The Galilee was not only heavily populated, but the great ancient highway that the Romans called the Via Maris passed through this region.  Strategically and theologically this site was the perfect center for Jesus' ministry.  Even though Jesus had already meant some of his disciples when He was baptized by John in the south near the city of Jericho, He will officially call His Apostles to "follow" Him when He returns to the Galilee.  70 disciples will become His followers and 12 men will be selected as His Apostles.  Just as the 12 sons of Jacob became the physical fathers of the Old Covenant Church, these 12 men will become the spiritual fathers of the New Covenant people!

 

Archaeological note: Bethsaida [Greek = Bethsaida, Aramaic = bet-sayida, "house of fishing"], a town on the northeastern shore of the Sea of Galilee was the birthplace of at least 3 of the Apostles, Peter, Andrew and Philip [see John 1:44; 12:21].  It is also the town where Jesus restored sight to a blind man in Mark 8:22-26 and a town Jesus cursed for its unbelief in Matthew 11:21 and Luke 10:13.  The first century AD Jewish historian Flavus Josephus records that Philip the tetrarch [son of Herod the Great] renamed the city Julias in honor of the daughter of the Roman Emperor Augustus Caesar.  Romans destroyed Bethsaida during the First Jewish Revolt of 66AD, leaving its location a mystery until 1987 when Rami Arav rediscovered the ancient site which is today somewhat north of the Galilee, the shore line having changed since the first century AD.  Arav found a settlement dating back to the Iron Age [the Biblical period of the Judges] buried beneath a Hellenistic-Roman town in which he uncovered multiple Roman-era fishing implements.

 

Luke 4: 16-30

When preaching the Kingdom of God in the Galilee Jesus came to His hometown of Nazareth on the Sabbath and while visiting His local Synagogue Jesus was invited to read from the scroll of the Prophet Isaiah.  It was customary that the man of the assembly chosen to read from the sacred texts would offer a teaching after the reading.  The man who read the portion from the Prophets was also expected to lead the Shema, the Old Covenant profession of faith, as well as the benedictions [tephillah] standing in front of the "ark" which housed the Torah [ 5 books of Moses] scrolls.

 

Question: What passage does Jesus select?

Answer: He selects Isaiah 61:1-2: "The spirit of the Lord is on me, for he has anointed me to bring the good news to the afflicted.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives, sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim a year of favor from the Lord."

 

These are the first lines of a significant prophecy.  Please read the rest of the passage; please Isaiah 61:1-9

Question: Why does Jesus choose this particular passage?  Please note that the first two verses are meant to make the congregation recall the entire Isaiah prophecy.  What is His teaching concerning this passage?  Hint: when was a "year of favor" traditionally proclaimed?

 Answer: Jesus proclaims that this particular passage is fulfilled in Him.  He is the anointed of Yahweh who has come to free captives, to rebuild what has been torn down, and to restore justice.  In essence, Jesus is claiming that as God's anointed He has the power and authority to proclaim a holy Jubilee year; a holy year of "favor" or "grace" which proclaimed "release" or "liberty".

 

Please read Leviticus 25: 8-55 to answer the following questions. 

Question: What is the significance of a Jubilee year? What is the connection to the number 7?

Answer: The number 7 was a holy number: the Sabbath was the 7th day'the day God "rested" after Creation, every 7th year was a "Sabbath year" when it was commanded that the land "rest" from cultivation, and after every "7 weeks of years"[7x7= 49] was proclaimed by Yahweh to be the Jubilee year'the Jubilee year was to be celebrated every 50th year and was "sacred and proclaim the liberation of all the country's inhabitants."  

 

Question: The Isaiah passage speaks of the "good news" of a "release" or "liberation": "to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison..."  In addition to the land being put to "rest" as in a Sabbath year, what 3 "releases" or "liberations" are there in a Jubilee year and what does that have to do with the Isaiah passage?  What connection is there between the "releases" of the Jubilee year and Jesus' message that the Kingdom of God has come?

Answer: Like a Sabbath year the land was to lie fallow [25:11-12; 18-22] but in addition the Jubilee was to become in essence a reenactment of the Exodus experience in which Yahweh paid the debt of the death of the firstborn with the sacrifice of the lamb, freed Israel from bondage in Egypt, and gave the Children of Israel the Promised Land.  These 3 liberations were to be re-experienced in the Jubilee as Israelites offered the same mercy to all those living in the Promised Land:

Jubilee Liberation

Exodus Liberation

1.  all debts forgiven [Leviticus 25:13-17]

1.  God redeemed the "firstborn" of Israel [Exodus 12:1-34]]

2.  all slaves are to be freed [Leviticus 25:35-55

2.  God freed Israel from slavery in Egypt [Exodus 12:37-51

3.  the land would revert to the tribal member entrusted with it = "right of redemption" [Leviticus 25:23-34]

3.  God gave Israel the Promised Land [Joshua 3-4].

 

According to the oral tradition of the Old Covenant, this passage of Isaiah is read at the announcement of a Jubilee year.   In proclaiming that He is the anointed one prophesied in the Isaiah passage Jesus is announcing an eschatological Jubilee in which the Messiah will forgive the debt of sin including the debt imposed by the curses of the Covenant; He will free all who come to Him from bondage to sin; and the way to the Promised Land of heaven will be opened! After taking possession of the Promised Land, Israel had been very negligent in keeping the Jubilee year.  It was, after all, very unprofitable to free slaves, forgive debts, and return land.  For an example of Judah's disregard for the Jubilee laws see Jeremiah 34:8-16.

 

Question: What is another significant Messianic promise made in this Isaiah passage that Jesus doesn't read?  See Isaiah 61:8.  What other prophecy from Jeremiah can be linked to this promise?

Answer: Jeremiah 31:31-34 promises a "New Covenant" which Isaiah describes as an "everlasting covenant" –it is the 5th Kingdom promised by Daniel in Daniel 2:44-45 and the Kingdom of God that Jesus has come to proclaim is at hand!

 

In Luke 4:28-30 the members of Jesus' faith community become so enraged at what He has said that they immediately seek to kill Him. 

Question: What is it that has so enraged the crowd of worshipers?  Hint: see Luke 4:27 and 1 Kings 17:9 and 2 Kings 5:14.

Answer: At first they were offended that the son of the local carpenter was claiming this messianic prophecy of Isaiah for Himself, however, what really enraged them was His claim that God's graces in a divine Jubilee would not only be extended to the surviving tribes of the Children of Israel but that gentiles would also receive this release from bondage to sin and affliction!  Both the widow of Sidonia [Phoenicia] and the Syrian Naaman were gentiles.  Jesus has come to call Israel into a New Covenant with the intension of sending newly redeemed Israel out to gather in all the gentile nations of the earth into God's Covenant family but only a faithful remnant will respond to this divine mission to establish the New Israel, the Kingdom of Heaven on earth'the Universal Church.  Jesus the Messiah has come to intensify, internalize, internationalize and fulfill the Old Covenant!

 

Many mistakenly believe that Jesus came to call the Gentiles to salvation and never intended for Jews and Israelites to become Christians, but this interpretation is not supported Biblically by Jesus' statements nor is it supported by the understanding of the Apostles.  Jesus' mission was actually restricted to Israel:

ü      On their first missionary journey Jesus clearly instructed the Apostles in Matthew 10:5-7: "These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: 'Do not make your way to gentile territory, and do not enter any Samaritan town; go instead to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.  And as you go proclaim that the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand."

 

ü      As Jesus was preaching and healing on the border near the Gentile cities of Tyre He was approached by a Canaanite woman in Matthew 15:22-28:  "And suddenly out came a Canaanite woman from that district and started shouting. 'Lord, Son of David, take pity on me, my daughter is tormented by a devil.' But he said not a word in answer to her.  And his disciples went and pleaded with him saying, 'Give her what she wants, because she keeps shouting after us.'  He said in reply, 'I was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel.' But the woman had come up and was bowing low before him.  'Lord,' she said, 'help me.'  He replied, 'It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to little dogs.'  She retorted, 'Ah yes, Lord; but even little dogs eat the scraps that fall from their master' table.'  Then Jesus answered her, 'Woman, you have great faith.  Let your desire be granted.'  And from that moment her daughter was well again."

 

Question: When did Jesus give the Jewish and Israelite Apostles and disciples the mission to lead the Gentile nations into the New Covenant?

Answer: After His Resurrection and before His Ascension when He told the disciples:

·        After the Resurrection to the Apostles in the Upper Room: "And he said to them, 'Go out to the whole world; proclaim the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned.'" Mark 16:15

 

·        At the same occasion in Luke 24:46-47 "He then opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and he said to them, 'So it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem."

 

·        At His meeting with them in the Galilee: "Go, therefore, make disciples of all nations; baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teach them to observe all the commands I have you." Matthew 28:19

 

·        At the Ascension Jesus will give His disciples their "marching orders" and the order in which they are to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in Acts 1:8: "..but you will receive the power of the Holy Spirit which will come on you, and then you will be my witnesses not only in Jerusalem but throughout Judea, Samaria, and indeed to the earth's remotest end."

 

In John 4:22c Jesus told the Samaritan woman "Salvation is from the Jews!"

To give birth to the Messiah and to carry God's message of the gift of eternal life to the world, calling all the nations back into one family, was the reason Yahweh first chose Israel from among all the nations of the earth.  This was her destiny and her mission through which the promise to Abraham, made two thousand years earlier, would be fulfilled.

 

Question: In Matthew 4:17 Jesus begins His Galilean ministry by announcing-- "Repent for the kingdom of Heaven is close at hand.' " What is the kingdom of heaven on earth?  Answer: It is the 5th kingdom prophesied by the Prophet Daniel in Daniel chapter 2 that will "shatter and absorb all the previous kingdoms and itself last for ever"-- it is the Universal Church.  The word "catholic" means universal.

 

Please read John chapter 6:

 

SUMMARY OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. JOHN

Biblical Period

# 11 JESUS THE MESSIAH

 

Focus

The Prologue

The Presentation of

the Son of God

The Opposition to

the Son of God

Rejection and Victory of the Son of God

 

The Epilogue

Covenant

The Sinai Covenant – The New Covenant

Scripture

1:1-----------1:19------------------5:1-----------------13:1-----------------21:1----21:25

 

Division of the Text

The Pre-Incarnation Christ

In the Galilee, in Judea, in Samaria, and in the Galilee again

In Jerusalem,  in the Galilee, in Samaria

Presentation of the sacrifice

Preparation of the Church

 

Topic

 

The 7 public "signs" and 1 private "sign"

Last Supper,

Trial, Crucifixion, Resurrection

 

Instructions for Peter & Conclu-

sion

Location

Judea---Samaria---Galilee--- Bethany / Mt. of Olives--- Jerusalem

Sea of Galilee

Time

3/2 BC to 30 AD

 

TIME LINE AD:  ROMAN EMPIRE [Roman province of Judea]

 

3/2BC____28____30_______64 _66___         70_________90/96_______ ____313___

Birth      Jesus'   Crucifixion     Roman      Jewish      destruction of          death of                 Edict of Milan

of      ministry    Resurrection   persecution   revolt     Jerusalem       St. John, Bishop              Christianity

Jesus   begins     Ascension    of Christians & the Temple      of Ephesus                   protected

begins

 

John 6:1-15: Feeding the Multitude

In the second year of Jesus' ministry He is preaching in the Galilee when crowds of people traveling along the Via Maris on their way to Jerusalem for the Pilgrim feast of Unleavened Bread [the Passover begins the Nissan 14th with the Feast of Unleavened Bread beginning at sundown that night] stop and listen to Jesus preach the coming of the kingdom.  It grows late in the day and Jesus' Apostles are concerned that the large crowd of people will be unable to find enough food.  Jesus takes pity on the crowd and feeds 5,000 men, not counting the women and children, from 5 loaves of bread and two fishes. 

 

Question: Impressed and amazed at the scope of the feeding in the multitude miracle what do the people say of Jesus in John 6:14 and what do they mean by this statement?

Answer: "This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world." They have identified Jesus as the promised prophet of Deuteronomy 18-17-18.

 

Question: When they attempt to make Him their king He disappears.  Why?

Answer: The people are looking for a political messiah and that is not His mission.

 

John 6: 22-71: The Bread of Life Discourse

Please read 6:22-47 Jesus in the Synagogue at Capernaum: The Bread of Life Discourse part I:  The Invitation to Faith

 

The city of Tiberias is located about 2/3rds of the way down the western shore of the Sea of Galilee.  The Romans rename this large lake the Sea of Tiberias.  Capernaum is on the northwestern side of the Sea.

Question: Why do the people ask Jesus how He came to be at Capernaum?

Answer: They had been watching for Him ever since the multiplication of the loaves miracle when they wanted to make Him king.  They realize He had somehow, perhaps by another miracle, eluded them.

 

Question: Why does Jesus tell the crowd not to "work" for ordinary, earthly "food".  What does He mean?

Answer: He is using "food" as a metaphor for earthly, material wealth.  All earthly "works" will perish.  Even though earthly food is necessary to sustain earthly life it's use is limited because since it is perishable it is not able to safeguard us beyond its earthly limitations...it cannot safeguard against death [6:49].  Even the manna that came down from heaven in Exodus 16:20 was perishable.  Only Christ can give the food that satisfies eternally, sustains our spiritual hunger, and gives eternal life.  He offers what Isaiah prophesied in Isaiah 55:2-3.  "Why spend money on what cannot nourish and your wages on what fails to satisfy?  Listen carefully to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.  Pay attention, come to me; listen, and you will live."

 

Question: What is this supernatural food which Christ promised and Isaiah prophesied?

Answer: It is His very own body and blood = the Sacrament of Eucharist.  This teaching will become clearer as the narrative continues [6:50-58].

 

Question: Why does Jesus use the title for Himself: the Son of man?

Answer: It is to remind His listeners of the passage in Daniel 7:13 of the glorious figure who was to receive from God the eschatological kingdom and eternal rule. Jesus will use this title for Himself 10 times in John's Gospel.  Up to this passage Jesus has referred to Himself as the "Son of man" in John 1:51; 3:13; 3:14; 5:27; 6:27; 6:53; 6:62.  With the exception of Acts 7:56; Revelation 1:13; and Revelation 14:14 this expression appears only in the Gospels.  In all the Gospel accounts this is Jesus' favorite title for Himself, only He uses it and it is always used in a Messianic reference. 

 

Question: What is the "seal" that God has set on the Son? Hint: see Matthew 3:16 & John 1:32-34.

Answer: It is the seal Jesus received at His baptism; that is, God the Holy Spirit.  It is the third Person of the Most Holy Trinity who is the power of God operative in Jesus' signs [see Matthew 12:28; Acts 10:38; 1Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13; and 4:30].  Verse 27 also refers us back to John 5:27 where Jesus tells the people that God the Father has given the Son authority to execute judgment because He is the "Son of Man", the great mystical term from Daniel 7:13 identifying Himself as the divine conquering Messiah.

 

There may also be a connection to the seal placed on baked bread by the baker.  The Greek word used for "seal" also means "baker's mark".  It was the assurance that the bread was "sealed" by the baker who made the bread just as Christ, the true bread has been "sealed" or marked by the Father.

 

In verse 28 the Greek word for "do" or "doing" is used three times. The literal translation is "What must we be doing to be doing the doings of God?"  The people still do not understand that it does not only depend on them.

 

Question: What does Jesus tell them they must do?

Answer: They must believe in Him and stop trying to do it all themselves.  If they continue to do everything under their own power they will miss the "doings" of God = Jesus the Messiah.

 

The "new Moses" who is preparing the Children of Israel for the "new exodus" is telling the people what Moses told the children of Israel in Deuteronomy 8:3.  It is the same verse Jesus quoted to Satan during the Temptation [Matthew 4:1-11 and Luke 4:1-13] when Satan challenged Him to turn stones into bread.  Jesus said "Human beings live not on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God."  Moses was telling the people it was not the manna that would continue to feed them but the 5 books of the Torah [connection to the 5 barley loaves in 6:9], the words of God.

Question: Why do they ask for a "sign?"

Answer: Prophets work "signs" to signify their authority from God.

Question:  They are asking for "works" from Jesus but what is He asking of them?

Answer: Faith!  Their faith in Him will be the "sign" that He is God's representative.  Jesus is telling them that faith in itself is a "work" of God.  The "work" of God is to believe in Him. 

 

The people fail to understand what Jesus is telling them about "belief" [verse 29] so they ask again, implying that if they saw a really convincing sign, something even greater than anything they had yet witnesses [verses 2, 14, 26] they would believe Him, that is believe His words. 

 

"Our fathers age manna..." The crowds already see Jesus as the "new Moses".  His multiplication of the loaves and fishes links His to Moses' greatest miracle of the manna, the bread from heaven.  Therefore, they think that He is referring to manna and so they ask Him to provide it as a sign. Their challenge to Jesus is "What Moses gave us was bread from heaven'if you are the "new Moses" can you do the same?" In order to appreciate the significance of this request it is important to keep in mind that there was a general belief that the Messiah, when He came, would outdo Moses, the great national prophet-hero of Israel, in the signs that He would accomplish.  A Jewish commentary on Ecclesiastes [Midrash Koheleth, 73] states: "The former redeemer caused manna to descend for them; in like manner shall our latter redeemer cause manna to come down, as it is written, 'there shall be a handful of grain in the earth.' [quoting Psalms 72:16]."   What His questioners are looking for is a miracle greater than the miracle of the loaves and fishes from one who claims to be the Messiah!  The key to understanding this challenge is tied up with the whole situation of the national expectation of the "prophet greater than Moses" of Deuteronomy 18:15-19.

 

Question: How does Jesus identify Himself in verse 35 and what does that particular choice of words recall?

Answer: "I am" in Greek, Ego ami, recalls the name that God revealed to Moses.  But here and elsewhere in John's Gospel it forms the prelude to the explanation of a parable.  In this case the parable is in action and not in words.  The gift of the manna and the multiplication of the loaves are explained by Jesus as parables of His gift of Himself, the true bread from heaven.  Also see John 8:24 [Jesus speaking]"I have told you already: You will die in you sins.  Yes, if you do not believe that I AM He, you will die in your sins."

 

Question: What two-fold misapprehension on the part of His questioners does Jesus correct and how does Jesus emphasize the importance of the second statement?

Answer: First, with another solemn "amen, amen, He tells them it was not Moses who was the giver of the manna. Moses was only the instrument of God's action.  Secondly, Jesus tells the people that the manna, while it was in sense "bread from heaven", was not the "true" Bread of God.

 

"the true bread " While all bread is the gift of God, the Bread which can be described as peculiarly of God is that bread with not just give bodily nourishment but gives a greater gift.

Question: What is that greater gift?

Answer: "Life!" What distinguishes the "true Bread" from the manna is that the Bread of God brings life, in the present tense indicating that which is continually giving life, and it is offered to all men, not only to a particular nation or people.  It is the Bread of Life that is ever descending and "gives life to the world" [verse 33].

 

The expression in verse 33 "which comes down from heaven" sometimes repeated as "who comes down from heaven" is repeated 7 times in this discourse [verses 33, 38, 41, 42, 50, 51,58].

 

Question: What explicit announcement does Jesus make in verse 35?

Answer: "I AM the Bread of Life."

The crowd was quite prepared for the idea of uniquely heavenly bread, but they were not prepared for such a mystical statement as "I AM the Bread of Life" and the claim such a statement carried. "The Bread of Life" means primarily bread that gives life but with Jesus' next statement this becomes Bread that is life itself!

 

Question: What 2-fold promise that was similar to the promise made to the woman of Samaria [4:14] does Jesus give in verse 35?

Answer: No one who comes to Him will ever hunger; no one who believes in Him will ever thirst.

 

Jesus is going to take up Satan's challenge in Matthew 4:4.  The Living Word of God is going to transform "hearts of stone" by feeding them the Word, the true Bread which has come down from heaven! 

 

Father Brown in his commentary on the Gospel of St John suggests that John may be picturing Jesus as Wisdom personified in the Old Testament book of Proverbs.  Just as Wisdom, personified in Proverbs 9:1-5, invites all people of all nations to her table, so does Jesus invite all to come to Him and be filled.  "Wisdom has built herself a house, she has hewn her seven pillars, she has slaughtered her beasts, drawn her wine, she has laid her table.  She has dispatched her maidservants and proclaimed from the heights above the city, 'Who is simple? Let him come this way.'  To the fool she says, 'Come and eat my bread, drink the wine which I have drawn!"  Jesus the Messiah is the Living Bread that in abundance supremely satisfies all who come to Him [John 6:35; Proverbs 9:1-6; Sirach 24:19-22].

 

Question: In verse Jesus tells the crowd:  "But, as I have told you, you can see me and still you do not believe."  Jesus is telling them that seeing is not enough; what must one do to believe?

Answer: One must come to Christ.  "anyone who comes to me" To come to Jesus in faith is accepted as belief in Him without any formal declaration [see Mark 2:5; 5:34, etc].  Jesus is speaking of those who have been "begotten by the Holy Spirit" as sons and daughters of God and who are now collectively "one" in Christ.

 

"I will not reject" a more literal translation could be the very strong negation: "I shall surely not cast out". 

Question: Cast out from where?

Answer: Heaven'eternal life.

 

Question: What three-part claim is Jesus making in verses 37-40?

Answer:

1)      Everyone whom the Father gives to Him comes to Him (vs. 37)

2)       He will not reject anyone who comes (vs. 37) because He came from heaven to do His Father's will (vs38)

3)      The Father's will is that none should perish of those whom He has given to the Son; they are in the safe keeping of the Son and will be given the gift of eternal life and will be resurrected in the final judgment (vs. 39).

 

In verse 38 Jesus says: "not to do my own will but to do the will of him who sent me"  The human will of Jesus and the divine will of the Father are in perfect accord without tension or competition between them [John 4:34; 8:29; Mark 14:36; CCC# 475, 2824].

 

Question: What is Jesus referring to when He speaks of "the last day" in verse 39?  What will He raise up? Hint: see verses 40 & 44.  Three times in 5 verses He mentions the Last Day.

Answer: The Day of Yahweh's judgments in history.  Those who believe in Him, He will raise to eternal life.

 

It is what the prophet Amos describes in Amos 5:18-20 "Disaster for you who long for the Day of Yahweh! What will the Day of Yahweh mean for you?  It will mean darkness, not light, as when someone runs away from a lion, only to meet a bear; he goes into his house and puts his hand on the wall, only for a snake to bite him.  Will not the Day of Yahweh be darkness, not light, totally dark, without a ray of light?" This is a day of retribution against people hardened in sin.  It must be remembered that in judgment God brings salvation and wrath, darkness and light.  The Glory-Cloud of Exodus was light and salvation to the Children of Israel but darkness and death to Egypt.  It was vindication and protection to the faithful and destruction to God's enemies.  In that sense, the Glory-Cloud of Exodus was the Day of Yahweh in action.  Down through history the Day of Yahweh comes on unfaithful nations like Old Covenant Judah in 70 AD, to each of us when our faith journey is completed, and in a final and complete judgment at the end of time which is marked by the resurrection if the dead when some will be raised to eternal life and the others to eternal damnation.  "Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged as his deeds deserved. Then Death and Hades were hurled into the burning lake.  This burning lake is the second death; and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was hurled into the burning lake." Revelation 20:13-15.

 

In verses 41-42 the crowd complains--they are thinking only of Jesus' earthly origins.  They know His family.

Question: What is Jesus telling the crowd that so disturbs them with the statement "I am the bread that has come down from heaven."

Answer:  Jesus is expressing His divine origin.

 

The crowd has been given a revelation by the "new Moses" who was promised in Deuteronomy 18:17-18, and if they accept Him as "the prophet like Moses" they are required by God to listen to Him.  See Deuteronomy: 18:19 "I shall put my words into his mouth and he will tell them everything I command him.  Anyone who refuses to listen to my words, spoken by him in my name, will have to render an account to me." 

Question: What is the crowd's response and what does their response remind you of from the Exodus experience in the wilderness?

Answer: They are behaving just like their ancestors had in the desert by complaining and limiting what they believe God can do on their behalf: see Exodus 16:2, 17:2-3; Numbers 11:1; 14:27; and 1Corinthians 10:10.  

 

In verses 43-47  "Jesus said in reply to them, 'Stop complaining to each other.'  'No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me, and I will raise that person up on the last day. It is written in the prophets: They will all be taught by God; everyone who has listened to the Father, and learnt from him comes to me.  Not that anybody has seen the Father, except him who has his being from God: he has seen the Father.  In all truth I tell you [amen, amen], everyone who believes has eternal life."

 

Jesus is continuing the teaching of His divinity when He quotes Isaiah 54:13 where the prophet describes the promised "new Jerusalem": "All your children will be taught by Yahweh and great will be your children's prosperity.  [14] In saving justice you will be made firm free from oppression....  This passage continues in chapter 55:1 with "Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty" –the promise of the Sacrament of Baptism and verse 55:2 "Listen carefully to me, [repeated in John 6:45] and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.  Pay attention, come to me; listen and you will live." = the promise of the Sacrament of Eucharist [John 6:42, 48] and the promise of eternal life in John 6: 44 & 47.

 

Please read verses 48-58 The Bread of Life Discourse part II: The Invitation to the Eucharist

 

In verses 48-51 Jesus makes a terribly shocking statement: " 'I am the bread of life.  Your fathers ate manna in the desert and they are dead; but this is the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die.  I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will love forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.'"

 

This is Jesus second statement [see verse 35] Jesus makes identifying Himself as the Bread of Life. The giving of Christ's flesh in sacrifice for the life of the world connects the Incarnation, "the Word made flesh" [John 1:14] and the Eucharist.  The identification of John 5:51 as a true Eucharistic formula was recognized in the earliest years of the Church.  Both the Old Latin and the Syriac liturgies contain this verse: "This bread which I shall give is my body for the life of the world."  

 

Jesus is the true bread not only because He is God's Word but also because He is the spotless victim whose flesh and blood is offered in sacrifice for the life of the world.  Ever since man's fall from grace sacrifices were offered for sin.  The animal offered in sacrifice died in the place of men: "For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you for performing the rite of expiation on the altar of your lives, for blood is what expiates for a life." Leviticus 17:11

 

 

Hebrews 9:18-22: "That is why even the earlier covenant was inaugurated with blood, and why, after Moses had promulgated all the commandments of the Law to the people, he took the calves' blood, the goats' blood and some water, and with these he sprinkled the book itself and all the people, ......In fact according to the Law, practically every purification takes place by means of blood; and if there is no shedding of blood, there is no remission." [of sins].

 

 The idea of a mystical, sacred meal was not foreign to believers of the Old Covenant.  In the Temple in Jerusalem the blood of the sacrificed animal was poured out on the altar and then the animal was skinned and its meat was roasted on the altar.  But, with the exception of the whole burnt offering, every sacrifice was eaten by the Priests or at the occasion of Passover or the Toda, "Thanksgiving" offering, by the people.  The sacrifice had to be eaten:

"This is the ritual sacrifice for sin: The victim must be slaughtered before Yahweh on the spot where the burnt offerings are slaughtered.  It is especially holy.  The priest who offers this sacrifice will eat it.  It will be eaten inside the holy place, in the court of the Tent of Meeting." Leviticus 6:17-19. 

 

Moses then inquired carefully about the goat offered as a sacrifice for sin, and found that they had burnt it.  He was angry with Eleaszar and Ithamar, Aaron's surviving sons, and said, 'Why did you not eat this victim for sin in the holy place, since it is especially holy and was given to you to take away the community's guilt, buy performing the rite of expiation for them before Yahweh?  Since its blood was not taken inside the sanctuary, you should have eaten its meat there, as I ordered you.'"  Leviticus 10:16-18

 

In the Old Covenant the sprinkling of the blood in the altar was a figure of justification, and the burning of the flesh of the animal was a figure of sanctification.  Therefore, the eating of the sacrifice was a symbol of redeemed man in a mystical union with Yahweh [see Offerings, Sacrifices, and Worship in the Old Testament page163].  All of the Old Covenant sacrificial system prefigured Christ's sacrifice and the sanctification and redemption of man.  Pope Benedict XVI [Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger] in his book, Feast of Faith, sees the connection between the sacred meal offered by Christ of Himself in holy Eucharist and the Toda or "Thanksgiving Offering" of the Old Covenant sacrificial system in which a man or woman who had experienced some form of providential deliverance offered Yahweh a sacrifice in "thanksgiving" and ate it in a sacred meal within the Temple in the Holy Place along with his friends and family.  The word, "thanksgiving", Toda, in Hebrew is rendered in Greek as Eucharistia.  The Toda offering was not restricted to a bloody sacrifice of flesh but also the unbloody offering of unleavened bread and wine which was consumed with the sacred meal.  Pope Benedict wrote that in the New Covenant the Lord's Supper will become the Toda of Christ.  He also pointed out that it was part of Rabbinic tradition that when the Messiah came all sacrifices would end with the exception of the Toda: "The Toda of Jesus vindicates the rabbinic dictum: 'In the coming (Messianic) time, all sacrifices will cease except the Toda Sacrifice.  This will never cease in all eternity.  All (religious) song will cease too, but the songs of Toda will never cease in all eternity'."  [Feast of Faith page58].  For more information on the sacrificial system see the document The Levitical Sacrifices of the Old Covenant in the Charts and Handouts section.

 

Animal sacrifice for sin has ended with the Old Covenant; we have the sacrifice of the New Covenant, the blood of Christ.  But for that sacrifice to be effective and celebrated the Lamb of God must still be eaten, not just by the priests but by all of us because we have all been called by our High Priest, Jesus Christ, into a royal priesthood of believers, and we must still eat the sacrifice. 1Peter 2:9:  "But you are c chosen race, a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, a people to be a personal possession.... Also 1Peter 2:5; Revelation 1:6; 5:1-10, and CCC#1546

 

Shocked at Jesus' statements the crowd begins to argue: [verses 52-58] "Then the Jews started arguing among themselves, 'How can this man give us his flesh to eat?'  Jesus replied to them: 'In truth [Amen, amen] I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood. You have no life in you.  Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day.  For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person.  As the living Father sent me and I draw life from the Father, so whoever eats me will also draw life from me.   This is the bread which has come down from heaven; it is not like the bread our ancestors ate: they are dead, but anyone who eats this bread will love forever."

 

Jesus is speaking literally and sacramentally, and He is using extremely strong language: His flesh ["sarx" in Greek] that must be eaten, and His blood that we must drink.  He is not speaking in a Hebrew idiom as some scholars have suggested.  There were two Hebrew/Aramaic idioms.  One was much akin to our expression of "flesh and blood" meaning "life". We, for example, express family relationships as "they are my kin, my flesh and blood" or "flesh and blood" as a reference to the human condition. The second, "to eat the flesh" or "drink the blood of the enemy" referred to the horrors of war.  If Jesus was using either of these idioms He would have to uses the words "flesh and blood" or "eat the flesh" together in one phrase but instead He very distinctly separates these word and phrases the statement in such a way that leaves no doubt as to His meaning: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person."  To eat His flesh and drink His blood is to consume "life" that is supernatural and in doing so we are elevated to become sharers in His divine nature. 

 

These are the words, from verse 51 to this passage, that the disciples will recognize when they receive Eucharist from the hands of Jesus in the Upper Room a year later at the meal of the Feast of Unleavened Bread [the Passover sacrifice is during the day and that night is the sacramental meal which is the beginning of the first day of Unleavened Bread]: "The bread that I shall give is my flesh for the life of the world"[6: 51] ; " 'Take it and eat', he said, 'this is my body.'  .....'Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood..'" [Matthew 26:27-28].  An important difference you will have noticed is that while Jesus speaks of his "flesh / sarx" in John's Gospel, the word "body/soma" is used in the Synoptic Gospel accounts of the Last Supper.  Fr. Raymond Brown points out in his commentary that there is really no Hebrew or Aramaic word for "body," as we understand the term; and many scholars maintain that at the Last Supper what Jesus actually said was the Aramaic equivalent of "This is my flesh." Proof of Fr. Brown's  theory may be found in the letters of St. Ignatius who, as the third Bishop of Antioch was martyred in ca 107AD. He had succeeding St. Evodius [the immediate successor to St. Peter when he left for Rome] as bishop of the first New Covenant community to be called "Christian".  St. Ignatius uses the word "flesh" in numerous references to the Eucharist [Letter to the Romans 7.3; Letter to the Church at Philadelphia 4.1; Letter to the Church at Smyrna 7.1].  This terminology of Jesus' "flesh" is also found in the letter St. Justin the Martyr [m. circa 165AD] wrote to the pagan Roman Emperor Antoninus Pius explaining the Christian faith [see Apology I,66]. 

 

 

We must be very clear in understanding that what Jesus is teaching is not about cannibalism [a charge for which Christians would later executed during the Roman persecution].  To consume flesh and blood on the natural level of a lower level of life is what is forbidden under the Old Covenant Law [Genesis 9:4-5;Leviticus 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-12], so His statement on that level alone is shocking. But, Jesus is not speaking of cannibalism because the definition of cannibalism is the eating of a human who is dead. Jesus is not dead; in His glorified state He is more alive than we are.  To consume Christ does not pull us down to the level of animals but elevates us to life in Christ. 2 Peter 1:3-4 "By his divine power, he has lavished on us all the things we need for life and for true devotion, through the knowledge of his who has called us by his own glory and goodness.  Through these, the greatest and priceless promises have been lavished on us, that through them you should share the divine nature and escape the corruption rife in the world through disordered passion."  CCC# 1391: "Holy Communion augments our union with Christ.  The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus.  Indeed, the Lord said: 'He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.'  Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: 'As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.'" [#1391 quoting John 6:56 &57].

 

It is interesting to note the different verbs for "to eat" which are being used in the dialogue.  In the earlier part of the dialogue [verses 49-53] Jesus uses the normal Greek verbs for "eat or consume" = phago/ ephagos.  He continues using the normal word for "eat" until, becoming frustrated with their lack of understanding, He increases the intensity of His words [beginning in verse 54] and He abruptly changes the verb.  Now when He speaks about Himself in verses 54, 56, 57, and 58 He uses the verb whose Greek root trogo means to "chew or gnaw".  This word is used in Greek literature to describe the feeding of animals such as mules, pigs, and cattle.  It was not used in the 1st century to describe the eating habits of people.  In chapter 6 this verb is used four times in the second half of the Bread of Life discourse.  It is used 5 times in the Fourth Gospel [5th time is in John 13:18] and in every case it is used in connection with Christ.  It is clear that the use of this verb marks a change of emphasis from ordinary eating to the necessity of faith in the consumption of the Eucharist.  The graphic and almost crude connotation of this verb adds even greater force to the repetition of Jesus' words as He demands we express our faith by eating in a real and physical way His body and by consuming in a real and physical way His blood in the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.

 

CCC# 787 "From the beginning, Jesus associated his disciples with his own life, revealed the mystery of the Kingdom to them, and gave them a share in his mission, joy, and sufferings.  Jesus spoke of a still more intimate communion between him and those who would follow him: "Abide in me, and I in you...I am the vine, you are the branches."  And he proclaimed a mysterious and real communion between his own body and ours: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him."

 

CCC# 789 "When his visible presence was taken from them, Jesus did not leave his disciples orphans.  He promised to remain with them until the end of time; he sent them his Spirit.  As a result communion with Jesus has become, in a way, more intense: "By communicating his Spirit, Christ mystically constitutes as his body those brothers of his who are called together from every nation."

 

Question: Under any conditions Jesus' statement that in order to have eternal life one must eat His flesh and drink His blood is outrageous but for these covenant people there is an additional aspect that would have caused great distress.  What penalty would be imposed on a member of the covenant for such an act?  Hint: see -Genesis 9:4; Exodus 12:7,13; 24:5-7; Leviticus 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-16; Deuteronomy 12:16; and Hebrews 9:22.

Answer: There was a strict prohibition against eating flesh and drinking blood (also fat). Disobedience to this law will result in being outlawed [excommunicated] from your people: "If any member of the House of Israel or any resident alien consumes blood of any kind, I shall set my face against that individual who consumes blood and shall outlaw him from his people.  For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you for performing the rite of expiation on the altar for your lives, for blood is what expiate for a life.  That is way I told the Israelites:  None of you will consume blood, nor will any resident alien consume blood."-Leviticus 17:10-12

 

Please read verses 59-71: Conclusion

Question: What was it about what Jesus was teaching that was intolerable to an orthodox Old Covenant Jew or Israelite? Did the people believe He was speaking symbolically or literally?

Answer: The people believed He was speaking literally and demanding cannibalism, which was forbidden, but there was more to their outrage than that.  Under the Noachide Law [Laws set down for all mankind after the flood] and the Law of the Sinai Covenant, no flesh or blood of any kind was to be consumed or the offender was to be completely cut off from the community.  "If any member of the House of Israel or any resident alien consumes blood of any kind, I shall set my face against that individual who consumes blood and shall outlaw him from his people.  For the life of the creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you for performing the rite of expiation on the altar for your lives, for blood is what expiates for a life." Leviticus 17:10-11

 

To consume flesh and blood will cut them off from the Old Covenant community.  Even though in the holy Eucharist, believers are eating Christ's glorified body and drinking His glorified blood, He does intend that New Covenant believers be cut-off from the Old Covenant.  After His Resurrection and Ascension the Old Covenant will be fulfilled.

 

Question: What is Jesus suggesting when He asks "what if you should see the Son of man ascend to where he was before?"  Will they every see this site and would that be proof enough?

Answer: Yes, at the Ascension, the fulfillment of the Old Covenant when He takes His place before God the Father offering Himself to the Father as the perfect sacrifice for man [see Revelation 5:3-10].  Jesus is referring once again to the Daniel 7:13 vision and is asking them if that would be enough proof for them to accept for His authority.

 

In verse 63 Jesus tells the crowd: "'It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh has nothing to offer.  The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life.'"

It is this passage that is the stumbling block to those who resist accepting the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

Question: All life comes from one source.  Who is that source?

Answer: God.  "It is the spirit that gives life" God is spirit: "God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth" John 4:24.  Jesus does not reveal the mystery of God the Holy Spirit fully until He has been glorified through His death and resurrection.  As His ministry progressed He occasionally alluded to "the Spirit"; for example in His discussion with Nicodemus [John 3:5-8], with the woman of Samaria [4:10, 14, 23-24], here in this passage, and later in John chapter 7 at the Feast of Tabernacles [John 7:37-39]. But to His disciples He speaks openly of the Spirit in connection with prayer and with the witness of Him that they will carry to the world [Luke 11:13].  When He tells us that "the spirit gives life" He is speaking of God the Holy Spirit who interacts with man to give us the gift of our first human birth. "Human life is sacred because from its beginning it involves the creative action of God and it remains for ever in a special relationship with the Creator, who is its sole end.  God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end....[see CCC# 2258].

 

"the flesh has nothing to offer." This is the crucial line that is often misinterpreted. 

Question: Whose "flesh" is Jesus referring to?

Answer: It cannot be His flesh or He would be contradicting what He has already taught in verses 50-53. Verse 53: "In all truth [Amen, amen] I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you."  In verse 63 Jesus has just spoken of God the Holy Spirit giving man life.  Man is God's greatest creation and yet that creation has nothing to offer that can compare with what Jesus is offering. There is no salvation through that flesh.  The "flesh" Jesus is referring to is the "flesh" of man = mankind.  Man cannot work out his own salvation.  It is through Jesus' glorified flesh and His glorified blood made present by the power of the Holy Spirit that our souls will be nourished and will receive life.  "The Father in heaven urges us, as children of heaven, to ask for the bread of heaven. [Christ] himself is the bread who, sown in the Virgin, raised up in the flesh, kneaded in the Passion, baked in the over of the tomb, reserved in churches, brought to altars, furnishes the faithful each day with food from heaven." St. Peter Chrysologus, Homilie 67: PL 52, 392

 

Even if you do not accept that Jesus is not referring to His own flesh, it must be conceded that it is not just His human Jewish flesh that gives us life.  When we receive Christ in holy Eucharist we receive all of the glorified, resurrected Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity, which is effused without limit with God the Holy Spirit. This is the "flesh" that gives life.

 

"The words I have spoken to you are spirit and they are life."  Jesus' teaching about the promise of eternal life through the gift of His body and blood, "the bread which comes down from heaven, so that a person may eat it and not die" [in verse 50-53] reveals something divine which only God the Holy Spirit can supply.  It is from the Spirit that the source of life for all people of the world will come and it is only He who can provide the complete understanding of that gift. We cannot fully understand this miracle without the power of the Holy Spirit acting in our lives. Jesus will teach the disciples in John 14:26 that "the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, [He] will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said to you."  The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches "The Holy Spirit will lead us into all truth and will glorify Christ.  He will prove the world wrong about sin, righteousness, and judgment." See CCC# 729 also 728.

 

Dr. Hahn in his commentary on John's Gospel pointed out that this is one of three "scandals" or stumbling blocks which prevents belief in the crowd of Passover pilgrims.  The first was the expectation at the feeding of the multitude that Jesus was going to be a nationalistic military leader who would become their king and defeat the Romans.  The second was the refusal to accept His divine nature in verses 41-43.  And the demand that we must consume Jesus as a sacrifice, body and blood is the third.

 

Question: Verses 64-66 tells us that many of His disciples walked away.  Why?

Answer: This is undoubtedly the crucial point of the text.  It is obvious that the crowd, including some of Jesus' disciples [meaning from the larger group of disciples not the Apostles] believed Jesus was speaking literally and not symbolically.  The crucial point is that when they left Jesus did not stop them! 

 

Question: Jesus asks the 12 Apostles if they will go away as well.  What is Simon Peter's response?

Answer: Without complete understanding but with great faith Peter professes his belief that Jesus is the Holy One of God.

"the Holy One" is one of the expressions which designates God Himself in the Old Testament [Isaiah 40:25; Hosea 11:9; Habakkuk 1:12; etc] and in the New Testament the divine Messiah [Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; 4:34; Acts 2:27],  Peter is affirming his belief in the divinity of Jesus.

 

Questions for group discussion:

Question: If you had lived in time of Jesus' ministry and you had known Judas for the liar and traitor that he was, would you have left Jesus because of your disappointment in Judas?  Would you leave the Church because of your disappointment in a priest, or a Bishop, or a faith community?

Answer: Peter's affirmation of faith in John 6: 67-68 is a lesson for us all.  When we become frustrated with the Church because we do not understand why certain abuses continue or when priests disappoint us in their pastoral missions, it is good to remember what Peter voiced in this passage. Where would we go?  It would have been better, down through Church history if others had remembered those words of St. Peter.  The Church is the Body of Christ.  We are the Body because we consume the Body.  There can only be but One Body.  It is our duty to safeguard, reform when necessary, and protect that Body. 

 

Question: Verses 70-71 is the first mention of Judas' betrayal. Why do you think it is mentioned in connection with this passage?

Answer: Perhaps because like the others who left, Judas also did not believe in the divinity of Christ but he didn't have the integrity to leave.  Also the message may be to warn us that there will always be "wolves among the sheep."

 

Question: What do we know from Scripture about Judas?  Hint: see Matthew 10:4; 26:14-16, 25, 47-49; 27:3-10; Mark 3:19; 14:10-11, 43-45; Luke 6:16; 22:3-6, 47, 48; John 12:4-6; 13:2, 21-30; 18:2, 3, 5; Acts 1:16 [Psalms 41:9]; 1:25.

Answer: Peter testifies that it was foretold that Judas would betray Jesus in Psalms 41:9 "Even my trusted friend on whom I relied, who shared y table, takes advantage of me [lifts his heel against me]."  The more literal translation "lifts his heel" reminds us to the curse on the Serpent in Genesis 3:15 "It [she, he] will brush your head and you will strike its heel."  Matthew records that Judas betrayal was the fulfillment of a prophecy by Jeremiah "And they took the thirty silver pieces, the sum at which the precious One was priced by the children of Israel, and they gave them for the potter's field, just as the Lord directed me."[from Zechariah 11:12-13 & Jeremiah 32:6-15]   

 

Judas was the treasurer of the Apostles in charge of giving donations to the poor but he was a thief and stole from the common fund [John 12:40-6; 13:29].  There is no evidence that he ever had committed his heart to Christ and Scriptural evidence does not support the theory that he did not really betray Jesus but was just trying to bring Jesus' Kingdom about more quickly.  All of the Gospel writers identify him as a traitor and betrayer of the Savior [Matthew 10:4; 26:16, 25, 48-49; 27:3.  Mark 3:19; 14:10-11, 44-45; Luke 6:16; 22:6, 47-48; John 6:71; 12:4; 13:2, 21-30; 18:2, 5].

 

Question: If Jesus knew Judas was weak and false and would betray him why then did Jesus choose him to be one of the 12?

Answer: Perhaps he was chosen as a lesson to us that there will be wolves among the sheep and we shouldn't judge the whole flock by one bad shepherd.

 

Question: The Old Covenant was given to prepare and instruct us for the coming of Jesus the Messiah.  Why was the Old Covenant imperfect; what was the Law of Moses incapable of giving that humanity so desperately needed? The Old Covenant could instruct and prepare the Church for the coming of the Messiah but the old Law could not offer the gift of Salvation.  Jesus, the new Moses, surpasses the miracle of the manna, which could only temporarily satisfy the physical body and could only temporarily sustain life.  Jesus gives life with a gift of food that sustains the soul eternally, Himself.  He has come to fulfill and to replace imperfect Old Covenant sacraments by giving us the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist which separates us from sin which brings death, and instead brings us the gift of eternal life by giving us Himself, body, blood, soul, and divinity.  CCC# 1393 "Holy Communion separates us from sin.  The body of Christ we receive in Holy Communion is "given up for us", and the blood we drink "shed for the many for the forgiveness of sins."  For this reason the Eucharist cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleansing us from past sins and preserving us from future sins: 'For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death of the Lord.  If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness of sins.  If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the forgiveness of sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always forgive my sins. Because I always sin, I should always have a remedy.'" [the CCC is quoting St. Ambrose, The Sacraments 4,6,28; and 1 Corinthians 11:26].

 

Archbishop Fulton Sheen in his wonderful book The Life of all Living, explains why Jesus' Flesh and Blood are meant to be consumed: "Communion is not something contrary to the workings of nature, but rather, the crowning glory of its orderly processes. It is the law of all living things which have not perfect life within themselves.  If the chemical could speak, it would say to the plant, unless you eat me you shall not have life in you.  If the plant could speak, it would say to the animal, unless you eat me you shall not have life in you.  If the animal and plant and the air could speak, they would say to man, unless you eat me you shall not have life in you.  With the same logic, but only speaking above and not from below, because the soul is spiritual, Jesus Christ can and did actually say to the soul, 'Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, you shall not have life in you.'  Having called manna to a supernatural end, God gave the means to that end.  And among these means, the one we hear singled out, to show how it perfects nature, is the communion of Himself in the Eucharist.  The Law of Transformation works consistently throughout the whole order of nature and super-nature.  The lower transforms itself into the higher.  The plant transforms itself into the animal when taken into it as food.  But man is transformed by grace and love into Christ when he takes Christ into his soul as food, for it is the quality of love to transform itself into the object loved.  In the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Bread and the Wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.  The word transubstantiation has been properly applied to that act.  It means that the substance of the bread becomes the substance of the Body, and the substance of the wine becomes the substance of the Blood.  But the outward appearances, taste, color, weight, shape, in a word, all of the sensible appearances, still remain."

 

For more information on why the Mass is a true sacrifice please see the document Is the Eucharist a True Sacrifice? in the Charts and Handouts section and the document Was it God's Plan that the Christ Should Suffer and Die?

 

Resources and recommended reading:

1.      Anchor Bible Commentaries: – Gospel of Luke, Gospel of Matthew, Gospel of Mark

2    The History of Greece, Will Durant

3.   Our Oriental Heritage, Will Durant

4.   Caesar and Christ, Will Durant

5.   Making Sense out of Scripture, Mark Shea

6.   The Didache, James Kleist, translator. Ancient Christian Writers Series,  [Newman Press, New York, N.Y., 1948]

7.    The Navarre Bible Commentaries: John, Matthew, Luke, and Mark

8.    The Anchor Bible Commentary- The Gospel of John, Fr. Raymond Brown

9.    The Ignatius Study Bible – The Gospel of John

10.  Catechism of the Catholic Church

11. Life is Worth Living, Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen

12. The Gospel of John Study Guide, Dr. Scott Hahn

13. Offerings, Sacrifices, and Worship in the Old Testament, J.H. Kurtz

14. Feast of Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

15. The Annals, Tacitus

16. The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah

17. The Temple, its Ministry and Services

18. The Mishnah

19. The Anchor Bible Commentary- The Gospel According to  John, vol II

20. The International Critical Commentary – St John

21. The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible – The Gospel of John

22. The Dictionary of the Bible, Fr. John McKenzie, S.J.

23. The Feasts of the Lord, Kevin Howard and Marvin Rosenthal

24. Many Religions, One Covenant, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

25. Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament

26. The Works of Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews; The Jewish War

27. The Works of Philo of Alexandria

28. Hail Holy Queen, Dr. Scott Hahn

29. The Jewish New Testament Commentary

30. Jerusalem in the Time of Jesus, Jeremias

31. Salvation is From the Jews: The Role of Judaism in Salvation History From Abraham to the Second Coming, Roy H. Schoeman, Ignatius Press

32. The Jewish Book of Why, vol. II, Alfred J. Kolatch

Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2008 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.