Matthew

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MATT 1-7

Matthew 1:17 asserts: So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

Well, let's count 'em up.

1. Abraham -> Isaac

2. Isaac -> Jacob

3. Jacob -> Judah

4. Judah -> Perez

5. Perez ->Ezrom

6. Ezrom -> Aram

7. Aram -> Amminadab

8. Amminadab -> Nohshon

9. Nohshon -> Salmon

10. Salmon -> Boaz

11. Boaz -> Obed

12. OBed -> Jesse

13. Jesse -> David

That's thirteen, but Matthew was counting from Abraham to David, inclusively. Fair enough. We'll append David to the list:

14. David ->Solomon

Now we have a list of fourteen kings of Judah and/or Israel:

15. Solomon -> Rehoboam

16. Rehoboam -> Abijam

17. Abijam -> Asa

18. Asa ->Jehoshaphat

19. Jehoshaphat -> Jehoram

20. Jehoram ->

Ahaziah (omitted)

Jehoash (omitted)

Amaziah (omitted)

Amaziah -> Uzziah

21. Uzziah -> Jotham

22. Jotham -> Ahaz

23. Ahaz -> Hezekiah

24. Hezekiah -> Manasseh

25. Manasseh -> Amon

26. Amon -> Josiah

27. Josiah ->

Jehoiakim (omitted)

Jehoiakim-> Jeconiah

28. Jeconiah -> Shealtiel

That works out great. We know we're on the right track with Matthew's numbering system, because we get fourteen kings. As to why Matthew deleted references to four of these kings, nobody knows. I suppose he wanted to get exactly fourteen generations in each period.

So now we are come to the homestretch:

29. Shealtiel -> Zarubbabel

30. Zarubbabel -> Abiud

31. Abiud -> Eliakim

32. Eliakim -> Azor

33. Azor -> Zadok

34. Zadok -> Achim

35. Achim -> Eliud

36. Eliud -> Eleazar

37. Eleazar -> Matthan

38. Matthan -> Jacob

39. Jacob -> Joseph

40. Joseph -> Jesus

41. Jesus

We only get thirteen generations. But Matthew says it's three sets of fourteen generations.

Now Matthew said from Abraham to David are fourteen generations, and from David to the captivity are fourteen generations, so when biblical inerrantists assemble this genealogy they list David at the bottom of the first list and again at the top of the second list, but if they do that they only get to Josiah in the second list, and the captivity was not during his reign. And to be consistent, they would need to put Josiah at the top of the third list just like David was at the top of the second list, but then you get fifteen generations in the third list.

And the whole exercise is moot anyway because Jesus isn't even really the son of Joseph! At least not genetically. He is asserted to be the product of a union between Mary and the Holy Spirit. But Joseph, following instructions in a dream, wed Mary, And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

The Catholic tradition developed the idea that sex was a necessary evil intended only to create more Catholics. They read that back into the text and teach that Mary remained a virgin her entire life. If that was true, then Matthew would have written it thus:

And knew her not, even after she had brought forth her only son...

When you say, "And watched television not till she had completed her homework" that only means your daughter's TV time was delayed by her homework. When you say a boy is your "firstborn son" that means you have more. In Jesus' case, he has four little brothers, named James, Joses, Simon, and Judas. "James the Just", in fact, became the leader of the Christian Church in Jerusalem. He was not one of the twelve Apostles, but in many ways, as bishop of the Mother Church, he was the real first Pope.

The gospel of Matthew is filled with Plot Coupons. What are Plot Coupons?

Suppose Xena's brother is killed by a demon. Xena wants revenge, but she learns the demon can only be killed by the Sword of Kumquat. The only person who knows the location of the sword is the Sage Rashomon. Xena and Gabrielle go looking for Rashomon, but he is imprisoned in a golden bubble which can only be broken by ringing the Bell of Adano. X&G go off to find the Bell, they finally get it and frees Rashomon, but he says Xena can't get the sword unless she has the Rainbow Key...

The sword, sage, bell, and key are Plot Coupons.

In Matthew, the Plot Coupons consist of checking off all the supposed Old Testament prophesies about Christ. Herod asks where Christ should be born, and the wise men say, "In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel."

Herod seeks the life of the Child, so Joseph takes Him and Mary to Egypt? Why? ...that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.

Herod slays all the toddlers in Bethlehem. Why? Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

Finally when Herod is gone, Joseph is free to take Jesus and Mary back to Israel. They settle in Nazareth. Why? ...that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

Collect the whole set of Infancy Narrative Plot Coupons before your next Christmas Shopping.

Jesus, now about thirty years old, comes to John to be baptized, but John recognizes the superiority of Christ and forbids this, saying it should be he who baptizes John, not the other way around. But Jesus makes him do it anyway. Then the Spirit of God came down like a dove and landed on him, and there was a voice from heaven that said, "THIS IS MY BELOVED SON, WITH WHOM I AM WELL PLEASED." Yet only a few chapters later John will ask Jesus if he's really the guy or should he look for another'un.

After that Jesus went into the desert and fasted for forty days, one day for every year that Israel was tempted in the desert of the Sinai. The devil suggested that he could turn some rocks into bread, but Jesus recalled that the Israelites were afflicted with hunger, and then fed with manna, in order to show them that not by bread alone does man live, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."

Then the devil appealed to the human desire for evidence of the supernatural, which is like looking back to see if God really does have your six. He takes Jesus to the pinnacle of the temple, dares him to jump, and quotes Psalm 91, where it says the angels will protect him from any injury. Jesus refuses to put his Father to the test.

Finally the devil takes Jesus to the top of a very high mountain, where he could see ALL the kingdoms of the world. Back in those days people thought the world was flat. Satan offers all these kingdoms to Jesus if he merely bows down and worships him. Jesus of course refuses, but many Christians seem to believe what is implied by Satan's offer, that he owns the nations of the world. And that, in turn, elevates Satan to a secondary deity vying for possession of the Earth.

After this period of temptation, Jesus starts gathering his band of disciples together, starting with the fishermen Peter, Andrew, James and John. As the first ones called, they become the "Big Four" who are particularly close to Jesus. Matthew then says that Jesus went all around Galilee, "teaching in THEIR synagogues", not "OUR synagogues". Reading between the lines, this means Matthew was writing perhaps ten years after the fall of Jerusalem to Rome in 70 C.E., when the Jews and Christians had a definitive split and the Gentile influence in the Churches was felt.

Matthew chapters 5, 6, and 7 consist of the Sermon on the Mount, which is a sort of gospel within the gospel, the heart of the teachings of Jesus. And they are remarkably Taoist in character. Matthew's Sermon on the Mount largely overlaps with Luke's Sermon on the Plain, and it is thought that both are derived from a single document. But where Luke has Jesus saying, "Blessed are the poor," Matthew has him saying, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.". Again, Luke has Jesus saying, "Blessed are the hungry" but Matthew has him saying, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness..."

It seems that instead of Luke taking away from the Lord's words, it was Matthew who added to them. Luke seems to say in chapter 14 of his gospel that having any possessions disqualifies one from being a follower of Christ. Matthew has a less radical view, he doesn't have Jesus say that the rich "already have their reward" and he says only that the "poor in spirit" will be rewarded, which does not rule out those who are rich in material goods.

Matthew does this trick again when he modifies Christ's absolute prohibition of divorce by allowing it for unlawful marriages (in the Catholic translation, supporting their doctrine of annulment) or for the case of adultery (in the Protestant translation, supporting the case for serial monogamy). But Mark chapter 10 has no such qualifiers.

Jesus goes on to reveal that he is not changing Judaism in any way, if anything, he's created a more strict interpretation by addressing the motives of the heart rather than purely outward obligations of the law.

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

After the fall of Jerusalem to Rome in 70 AD, the character of Christianity changed from a sect of Judaism into a more universal, second Abrahamic religion that owed little allegience to the Mosaic Law. Paul developed this soteriology in his epistles, culminating with the letter to the Galatians, where he said things like "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified."

Jesus, by contrast, attached great importance to every item in the Law, no matter how trivial: Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

The Sermon on the Mount continues with Jesus preaching against outward shows of piety which are more about looking good to others rather than doing good. He commands that his followers not use prayers which are simple repetition, because there's no passion in it. Protestants use this verse to attack the Catholic devotion of the Rosary, where the Hail Mary is said fifty times, along with numerous Our Fathers and Glory Bes. But in the Garden of Gethsemene, Jesus himself falls into the practice of repetitious prayer: And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.

Some of his teachings are very good practical advice, such as the one about not worrying. Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? This is perfectly in accord with philosophical Taoism. Worrying about one's mortality, for instance, won't make one's life longer and might even make it shorter through stress. Worrying is actually borrowing stress from the future and jamming it all into the present, in the same way a credit card borrows earning power from the future so you can apply it today. So Jesus says, Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Soteriology is the theory of salvation. Evangelical Protestant soteriology emphasizes St. Paul's deprecation of the Law of Moses and holds that works of Law have no saving power. To be saved it is sufficient only to "accept Christ" and believe that one is saved, to literally have faith in one's own faith. But going back to the source, Jesus himself, we find a soteriology that relies instead on actually obeying the Word of God.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

There is a tendency toward a doctrine of "cheap grace" or "easy believism" when people try to understand what Paul was getting at. This happened even at the very beginning, which is why St. James tried to clarify things in the second chapter of his epistle. Paul was speaking about works of Law, such as circumcision, which he said was not necessary for salvation, even though Jesus said that not the smallest jot nor tittle will pass from the Law until the end of history. James was saying, okay, but charitable works are not works of Law, and they are necessary for salvation. Faith without works is dead. Christians are saved not by faith in the ability of Christ to save them, but by the kind of faith that also produces works. Matthew records Jesus underscoring that point in chapter twenty-five. The faith vs. works debate is a perennial war between Christians.

    • Terri Powell** said...

Love it!!! But, don't expect an institution who has created an entire religion around a perpetual, sinless virgin to come around!

as for the lineage...The lineage in Matthew is for Joseph, and the lineage in Luke is for Mary. In Matthew, Jehoiakim was omitted to to prophecy in...grr, i can't remember if it was Isaiah or not..where it plainly stated that THAT particular king was so wicked, NO seed would inherit the Throne of God. Thus, it went to Joseph. Which, was also to prove, that Mary and Joseph did NOT have sex to produce the baby, or the prophecy would not come to pass. But, in Luke, the lineage is a tad different, to show her line was more "pure" and that particular kind was not in there.

Food for thought!! :o)

    • Teresita** said...

Thanks for posting, Terr-bear, I thought it might be something like that, but I forgot which kings were the ones who "did not walk in the way of the LORD" etc.

See you on the #scrip!

MATT 8-14

Now Jesus ministers to five groups who were hated above all others in Israel, the Lepers, the Romans, the Women, the Fishermen, and and the Demoniacs.

Matthew reports that Jesus healed a leper with a touch, but Jesus wasn't about getting famous, at least that's what he meant when he told the leper to do all the followup rituals according to the Mosaic Law privately with a priest, telling no other man. But he did this in the presence of the great crowd that heard his Sermon on the Mount and was following him.

After this, a Roman centurion, who very well might have been a gay man, was very worried about his sick "servant" at home. Jesus agreed to come heal him, but the Roman soldier was so humble and so filled with faith that he begged Jesus to do it by remote control. Jesus was amazed at the faith of this man, who wasn't even a Jew, and he said the time would come when many gentiles like him would sit with the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, but many children of Israel would be left on the outside looking in.

Next Jesus went to Peter's house, where his mother-in-law was sick, and he fixed her right up. One of the perks of being a disciple. Now Peter is said to be the first Pope, but he had a mother-in-law, which meant he was married. But Peter had a special dispensation because he was the first Pope and he was elevated to the Papacy after he was already married. Jesus was probably saying, "I'll look the other way on this marriage thing this one time, but I don't want my Popes making a habit of this."

Sometimes Jesus would take a boat so he could put his dogs up for a spell and get some shut eye. One time there was a storm, and it threatened to capsize the ship, and Jesus' disciples woke him up in terror. And Jesus was all, like, "What are you worried about? You're the luckiest sea travelers there ever were. We ain't going down, because God isn't through with me yet." Then he rebuked the winds, and the sea turned calm. No big thing for Jesus, because he was, after all, God the Son.

Now if you had been reading the Bible straight through from page one, the only "evil spirits" you ever saw came from God and referred to a mood rather than a separate entity, and "devils" referred to the false gods worshiped by the rivals to the Hebrews, like Baal and Molech. Now, suddenly, in the New Testament, devils can possess human bodies, they can recognize and fear Jesus, and beg to be sent into animals rather than cut loose to drift in the air. For the first time in the Bible, we see the concept of a spirit being a pure identity which can exist separate from a body, while preferring to remain in a body, even if it's just a pig. What was the intervening factor in the 400 "silent" years between Malachi and Matthew? Greek philosophy.


Once again Jesus took a boat across the Sea of Galilee, this time to his home town of Nazareth. There was a crippled man there, and Jesus told him his sins were forgiven. This made the religious authorities murmur that he committed blasphemy, only God could forgive sins. Jesus said, what's easier to do, to simply say a man's sins are forgiven, or to really forgive them and actually remit the "punishment" of that sin, which was the man's crippled state. Then Jesus healed the man, and he got up and walked away.

Then Matthew drops in a verse that seems to refer to himself:

And as Jesus passed forth from thence, he saw a man, named Matthew, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he saith unto him, Follow me. And he arose, and followed him.

Mark and Luke have a tax collector named Levi who also invites Jesus and his disciples to his house, prompting some to say Levi and Matthew are the same guy with different names, but Mark doesn't name this Levi as one of the Twelve.

Mark: 1. Simon Peter 2. James son of Zebedee 3. John 4. Andrew 5. Philip 6. Bartholomew 7. Matthew 8. Thomas 9. James son of Alphaeus 10. Thaddaeus 11. Simon the Zealot 12. Judas Iscariot

John doesn't mention Matthew at all. And at any rate, the author of the gospel of Matthew wasn't really this Matthew, who was probably only literate in Aramaic, but a late-1st Century Christian, literate in Greek, who was never an eyewitness of the events he wrote about.

When Jesus was eating in the house of Matthew (or Levi, or Matthew-Levi) the religions authorities criticized Jesus for dining with sinners, but Jesus said his ministry was basically like being a doctor for sick people. People who are well don't need a doctor.

John the Baptist had disciples too, who asked Jesus why they and the Pharisees ofted fasted, while the Twelve never fasted. Jesus said, ...the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast, giving a hint of his sacrifice to come.

A woman merely touched the hem of his robe and was healed of her hemmoraging. Jesus raised a little girl from the dead. He gave two blind men the ability to see. And everywhere he went, there was always more human suffering, more than was possible for him to cure alone, and he was moved to compassion, because Jesus was a humanist. The harvest was plentiful, but the laborers were few. He asked the Twelve to pray to the Lord of the harvest that the laborers would become plentiful as well. Today there are two billion Christians in the world, but it seems they are more interested in being seen at their exurban megachurches than doing the stoop labor Jesus had in mind.


Now Jesus gave the Twelve Disciples the power to heal the sick, raise the dead, and cast out demons, then he sent them out into the countryside, with instructions to confine their ministry to the Jews alone. They were to travel very light, and receive sustenance from those they ministered to.

He warned them beforehand that they would be given whippings in the synagogues, and be brought to trial before kings, but he told then not to worry about what they would say in their defense, because the Holy Spirit would move them to speak at that time.

But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

Even Jesus was mistaken about the timing of the Day of the Lord. The Son of man still has not come, 2000 years later, let alone when the disciples had completed the evangelization of Israel. The Catholic Church holds this prophesy to refer not to the parousia at the end of human history but to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, which puts Jesus in the role of wrathful God, ala the Old Testament, as when Nebuchadezzar was allowed to punish the Jews for falling away from Yahweh. Predicting the future is difficult, but it is even more difficult to reason that a prophesy is true "from a certain point of view" when it fails.

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Jesus here seems to preach a hell that destroys body and soul...people are burned up rather than burn forever. This is the Seventh Day Adventist position on hell, but the Catholic version of eternal conscious punishment in hell is far more prevalent, and it is supported by the parable of the rich man being tormented by flames, and by the scenes of afterlife torture in Revelation.

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Here Jesus asserts his role as the gatekeeper in heaven (and not St. Peter as the jokes always go). Only Jesus hands out "temple recommends", you have to know him to get in to see the Father. In Protestant theology, Jesus not only recommends you to the Spirit in the Sky, but he substitutes his own perfect record of obedience in place of your spotted record, and swipes that through the Divine Retributive Mechanism, which then gives you a pass. This is the Substitutionary Theory of Atonement, one of the five fundamentals of Fundamentalism. And some Fundamentalists add the belief in this theory of atonement to faith in Christ as a requirement for salvation. If you believe in the Satistfaction theory of atonement, for example, you are lost.

John the Baptist was in prison, but his disciples would visit him and tell him of the works of Jesus. John sent them to Jesus with a question, "Are you he that should come, or do we look for another?" So much for his declaration that Jesus was the Lamb of God who will take away the sins of the world. Now he's not so sure. Maybe prison has made him grumpy. Jesus told them to return to John with the report that Isaiah's prophesy was fulfilled by Jesus: "The blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them.

After John's disciples left, Jesus told the crowd that no human being had been as priveleged as John, to be the one to announce the Kingdom of God. But the least human being who was actually in the Kingdom of God is more priveleged than John. Jesus then says that John the Baptist is actually Elijah, who was taken to heaven by a chariot and never tasted death. He affirms this again in chapter seventeen. And that means Jesus taught reincarnation, because John the Baptist was born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, as depicted in Luke chapter one.

By this time, Jesus and his disciples had come under intense scrutiny by the self-appointed religious authorities known as the Pharisees. One Saturday, Jesus went through a corn field, and along the way, his disciples grabbed some ears of sweet corn and started to eat them, because they were hungry. And the Pharisees went, "Aha! Your disciples broke the law of Moses, which forbids the labor of reaping on the Sabbath day!" Jesus countered that even the priests perform the labor of changing the showbread in the temple on the Sabbath, because temple service is more important than the Sabbath law. And now Jesus and his disciples are declaring the Kingdom of God, which is far more important than the temple, so how much more justified are they to break the Sabbath to feed hungry men, especially when there is scriptural precedent: King David and the men with him ate the showbread when they were famished.

They tried to nail him for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus replied, "What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days."

Jesus went ahead and healed a man with a withered hand on the Sabbath. And that defiance sparked the beginning of the Pharisee plot to destroy Jesus.

They said that Jesus was casting out demons by the power of the lord of the demons. Jesus said, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand. And if Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand? But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you. Win-win for Jesus either way.

Now Jesus defines the Unpardonable Sin as attributing to Satan the work of the Spirit of God: And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

This has proven troubling to Protestants and Catholics alike, and the most common interpretation is that the Unpardonable Sin really means remaining unrepentant until death when it is too late. Yet the language of Jesus seems to leave the door open for forgiveness even after death, "in the world to come" and the context is in what the Pharisees just did, which was attribute Jesus' act of casting out demons to the power of Beelzebub.

The Pharisees then demanded a sign from Jesus, but Jesus said that people who seek after signs are looking for evidence of the supernatural to shore up their lagging faith. We see this same thing today with Christian bookstore shelf space taken over by books about the birth of the nation of Israel in 1948 as the fulfillment of some of Ezekiel's prophesies, which is about the only "sign" modern Christians have to hold on to these days. No, the only sign Jesus would give is the sign of Jonah, who was three days and three nights in the whale's belly..."So shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." Biblical literalists then work seventy-two hours backward from Sunday morning and come up with a Wednesday night crucifixion rather than Good Friday.


Now Jesus taught an important parable about wheat and tares. There was a farmer who grew wheat, but one day his servants went out into the field and saw a crop of tares growing up among the wheat. "An enemy has sown them," the farmer said. His servants suggested they pull them up, but the farmer said they might pull up the wheat along with it, because until the wheat has ripened it's hard to tell the difference. "Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn."

This is important because many Evangelicals believe in something called the Rapture, where Jesus is supposed to beam up the True Believers before the end time plagues come upon the Earth. But that timing is contradicted here, because Jesus is saying the weeds will be raptured out first, and burned up. So you don't want to be in the first batch.

The people of Jesus' hometown were not really amused by Jesus' parables. They said:

Is not this the carpenter's son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us?

That means Jesus was from a family with at least eight children. If there were fewer girls, it would have said, "And his sisters, are not both of them with us?"

Now John the Baptist was in prison because he told Herod he was breaking the law of Moses by laying with his sister-in-law Herodias. He would have executed him, but the crowd considered him a prophet and wouldn't hear of it. At his birthday party, Salome, the daughter of Herodias, danced for him, and his little brain stood up and took over. He promised her anything she asked for. And she had been instructed by Herodias to ask for the head of John the Baptist. Herod really didn't want to do that, but he kept his promise.

When Jesus hears of that murder, he goes into the desert, and the crowd follows him. Later, when everyone is hungry, what follows is the only miracle apart from the Resurrection which is reported in all four gospels, which is the Feeding of the Five Thousand, from only fives loaves and two fishes, a literal demonstration of Christ's claim that "I am the bread of life, he that cometh to me shall never hunger." This food miracle, in the same class as manna, was foreshadowed in 2 Kings 4:42-44 when Elisha fed 100 men with twenty loaves and had some left over.

Since the miracle of the loaves and fishes was reported in all four gospels, it must have been a key event to establish Christ's reputation.

After this they went out on the Sea of Galilee and Jesus proved that he can walk on water, and so could Peter (and by extension any one of us), as long as doubt was never allowed to creep in.

MATT 15-21


The Pharisees were Jewish legalists who had encrusted the Law of Moses with many additional requirements so as to create a fence around actually breaking the Law, and this "fence" had come to have the full weight of the Law itself. Even the act of eating was to be preceded by an elaborate ritual of handwashing, but they were shocked to see Jesus' disciples just tearing into their bread with no such preliminary ritual. This prompted Jesus to tear away at the "tradition of the elders" to get at the heart of the Law.

"Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man...for out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

But Jesus was careful not to eat foods which were clearly forbidden by the Law. That would have been too much. Abrogating the law on unclean foods was left up to Paul, much later, when he said, "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean."

Then follows a scene remarkably like the earlier one when a Roman Centurion asked Jesus to heal his servant, who was not present. A Canaanite woman (today, read "Palestinian") begged Jesus to heal her daughter, who was also not present. At first Jesus tried to ignore her, but she was persistent, so Jesus told her flat out that he was not sent to the gentiles but only the house of Israel. The way he put it, his healing power was a finite resource: It is not meet to take the children's bread, and to cast it to dogs."

As with the Roman, this woman's faith and humility moved Jesus to compassion:

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters' table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.

Now Jesus, having come to Caesarea Philippi, asked for a little feedback from his disciples on how his ministry was going. "Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?"

The answers ranged from John the Baptist, to Elijah, to Jeremiah, or one of the other prophets. Now Jesus asked them, "But whom say ye that I am?"

Peter, originally called Simon bar Jonah, said Jesus was the Messiah and the Son of the living God. Jesus was pleased, and said this affirmation was not from Peter but from God himself. Faith is a divinely imparted gift of assurance in divinely revealed things. Then Jesus changed Simon's name to Rock. He spoke in Aramaic, so Simon became Kepha. Later, when the book of Matthew was written in Greek, Kepha became Kephas, was translated to Petros, and later anglicized to Peter.

"Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

The Catholic Church attaches great importance to this verse because the unbroken office of Peter remains in Vatican City. The Pope is the successor to St. Peter. Protestants, of course, try to wiggle out of it by noting that the verse in Greek has Jesus saying, "You are petra, and on this petros I will build my Church" as if Jesus was talking about two completely different rocks, one a little pebble (Peter), and the other a big stone (himself, or possibly even the outcropping shown above). But the confusion only occurs with the gender forms present in Greek. What Jesus actually said was, "You are Kepha (Rock), and upon this Kepha I will build my Church".

It is important because Jesus said he's giving Peter the "keys of the kingdom of heaven" with authority to bind and loose things both on earth and in heaven. Protestants claim that Jesus was giving these keys to the apostles in general, and they have some support from Matthew 18:18 when he assigns binding and loosing authority to the other disciples too. But they don't get any keys.

Now right after Jesus made Peter Pope, he told him that his purpose on Earth was to be tortured and killed, and Peter was shocked, and said he hoped it would never happen. Jesus turned 180 degrees and called his new Pope "Satan" for having that hope.

Once again, Jesus predicted that the Day of the Lord would come very soon. "Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom."

Diane in the #scripture chat room on Undernet suggested to me that this verse was fulfilled when St. John saw the vision of Christ coming in power when he was exiled on Patmos. I have to admit this is an original take, that almost works. The reason it doesn't actually work is that Revelation was not actually written by St. John the Apostle, but a "John of Patmos" who did not write in the nearly perfect Greek of the author of the gospel of John, nor the almost child-like style of the Johannine epistles. The early church fathers were divided on the authorship and even Martin Luther tried to toss the book out. The Church of England, as instructed by Cranmer, ignores nearly the entire book in the thrice-annual readings of the New Testament.

Jesus took the Big Three (Peter, James and John) to one of the three summits of Mt Hermon (9,232 feet) and there he had himself a little chat with Moses and Elijah. There was a voice from a cloud that assured the disciples that Jesus was his Son, and they should listen to him. This caused Peter, James, and John to fall flat on their face in fear and submission. The Jesus said, "Be not afraid" and told them to rise again, and not speak of this vision until after he was raised from the dead. So three of the disciples had been given direct confirmation of Jesus' status as the Son of God. The rest of them would be open to doubt.

In Nehemiah 10:33 there was imposed on the Jews (by the Jews) a tax of one-third shekel per year for the upkeep of the second temple. By the First Century this had raised to a half-shekel. The tax collectors came to Peter and wanted their money. Jesus asked Peter, "What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?" Peter answered that it came from strangers. Jesus agreed, and said therefore the children were free of the obligation to pay tribute. He, as the literal Son of God, and his disciples who followed him as adopted sons of God, were children of God and exempt from the temple tax. Jesus was saying that the Jews who remained outside of the Church were "strangers" or "foreigners" to God. Nevertheless, the time had not come to make the breach between Jews and Christians. Jesus paid the tax, a full shekel for him and Peter. It came from the mouth of a fish.

Jesus said, "Whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea." He might have been speaking about the epidemic of pedophile priests in today's Catholic Church.

In Matthew 18 Jesus makes the first reference to the Church when he speaks about the procedure for settling disputes among the brethren. He set up the Church as the final authority, saying, "If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican."

Peter asked Jesus how many times was he required to forgive his brother, and Jesus said not seven times, but seventy times seven times. This was not to say that the 491st offense need not be forgiven. Jesus was saying forgive until you lose count, because this is precisely what the Father in Heaven does.

Matthew presents Jesus' teaching remarriage after divorce: Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.

As he does in the Beatitudes, Matthew softens this saying a little bit with the clause "except it be for fornication". One wonders if that is a late addition to the text, because Matthew has the disciples saying, in shock, "If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry."

Jesus essentially agrees with him, but says the unmarried state should always be on a voluntary basis, because not all men can accept it. If Jesus views the single state a greater perfection than the married state, then it follows that he himself practiced what he preached. Any dalliance with Mary Magdelena would be seen as hypocrisy.

Some of the disciples had a problem with baptizing little kids. They, like many modern Protestants influenced by Zwingli, felt that entering the Kingdom of God should be an adult choice. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.

At last, someone tried to pin Jesus down on what exactly his requirements were for salvation. First of all, he said, one must keep the Law of Moses, specifically the moral obligations which were always binding: "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."

And he listed them:

Thou shalt do no murder Thou shalt not commit adultery Thou shalt not steal Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Jesus dropped the requirement to observe the Sabbath day and keep it holy. That is because it is a ceremonial law, like a food law. It is always wrong to commit murder, but it is not wrong to perform labor on six days a week. The time-sensitive nature of the Sabbath law drops it from the status of an eternal moral law.

The questioner asserted that he had kept all these things from his youth. So Jesus added the second and third requirement for salvation: Divest oneself of property by giving it to the poor, and become a follower of him.

The man walked away, shaking his head, because he was very rich. And this is where Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God."

The Eye of the Needle was a very low and narrow gate into the city of Jerusalem. A camel could not pass through unless it divested itself of all the cargo it was carrying. And that was the point Jesus was making. One cannot enter into the Kingdom loaded up with material things which one loves more than God.


In the calm before the gathering storm, Jesus moves through Jericho and preaches a parable about laborers who work all day getting paid the same as laborers who were hired in the last hour and only worked an hour. He was trying to instill an attitude in his followers that they should not covet the honors that God bestows on other followers. But the mother of James and John didn't listen very carefully. She asked that Jesus put her sons at his right and left hand in the Kingdom. This upset the other ten greatly, but Jesus said, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many."

On the road between Jericho and Jerusalem, two blind men begged Jesus to be given their sight, and was told by the crowd to keep quiet, for they were obviously sinners, but they persisted, and Jesus healed them. Immediately they became followers.

It was Palm Sunday, and Jesus came into Jerusalem on the back of an ass and a colt, while the people laid down a road of garments and palm leaves and sang, "Hosanna". By Thursday the same people would be saying "Crucify him!" It all started when Jesus went into the temple and threw out everyone who was there to make a profit. He cried, "It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

And when the scribes and Pharisees came and asked by what authority Jesus taught and healed people, Jesus said he would answer if they would answer whether the baptism of John came from heaven or from men. They were afraid to answer either way, for it would either justify John in one case, or incite the crowd to riot in the other.

Then Jesus told a story about a guy who planted a vineyard, and hired some folks to tend it while he went abroad. When harvest time was come, he sent servants to receive the fruit of it, but they were beat and stoned and killed. These servants were the prophets. Last of all, he sent his son, thinking, "Surely they will respect my son" but they killed the son too, thinking they would come into his inheritance. Then Jesus asked, "When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?"

The scribes and Pharisees answered, "They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons."

Bingo, said Jesus. "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.

And this angered the religious authorities, because Jesus was calling them the wicked husbandmen and daring to imply the Gentiles would become the apple of God's eye rather than the Jews.


Aramaic Scholar said...

These verses make more sense in the Aramaic Peshitta, where Kepha is used. When this was translated into Greek, it became Kephas, demonstrating that Jesus and the disciples spoke Aramaic (not Greek). Bible students can gain so much more by studying the Aramaic Peshitta, which is as close as we can get to the original Aramaic words of the New Testament.

Teresita said...

Thank you for that correction, I will change the text to read "Kepha".

MATT 22-28

Jesus told another parable about the rejection of Jews and acceptance of Gentiles, this time in a story about a wedding feast where the invited ones (chosen people, aka the Jews) refused to come to the wedding of the king's son, even going so far as to slay the servants the king sent to announce the wedding (aka the prophets). So the king sent his armies (aka the Romans) to burn up their city and invited everyone on the highway to come instead (the Gentiles). But one of the guests was found without a wedding garment (a life of good works) and was sent away.

And the Pharisees tried to trip Jesus up again, asking him if it was lawful to pay taxes to an occupying power. Jesus asked who's inscription was on the money. "Caesar" they replied. So Jesus shrugged and said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." And that seemed to shut them up for awhile.

Next came the Sadducees, who took the position that there was no resurrection, and they asked Jesus a trick question about a woman who was passed from brother to brother one after another until all seven died. In the resurrection, whose wife would she be? Jesus said it was moot point, in the afterlife human beings would not be husbands and wives anyway, but like the angels of God.

Then Jesus told them that in Exodus, God identifies himself as "the God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob". God does not say, I was, but I 'am' the God of the departed patriarchs. The present tense shows that they are still in existence. Contrast with Queen Elizabeth II, is cannot be the Queen of Shakespeare and Newton and Bacon, but only of her living subjects. The dead are alive to God.

Then it was Jesus' turn to ask a question. He asked about the Messiah: "Whose son is he?"

They answered that he was the son of David.

Jesus cited the Psalm of David, 110:1 which says, "The LORD said to my lord, 'Sit at my right hand until I place your enemies under your feet.'" And his followup question is, if David calls the Messiah 'my lord' how can he be his son?

Jesus didn't deny the Davidic descent of the Messiah, but says that the Messiah would be something greater than merely a descendant of David, he would be the Son of God as well as the son of man. And that interrogation marked the last time anyone tried to use word games against Jesus.


After he had shut up the scribes and the Pharisees for good, Jesus offered his post-debate commentary on them. He judged them to be hypocrites who were more concerned with good appearances rather than good deeds.

"For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi."

Jesus instructs his followers to call no man on earth their father, because they have one Father alone in heaven. Protestants love to beat Catholics over the head with this one, because they call priests father, and the pope is the Holy Father. And they do have a point.

But Jesus is just getting started tearing the scribes and Pharisees a new one. For a year or more he had taken their abuse and answered back with soft words. Now it all comes pouring out. He criticizes them for holding the gold that sits in the temple with greater reverence than the temple itself. All these harsh words are paving stones in the road that leads inexorably to Christ's crucifixion in only a few more days.

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity."

Now Jesus goes into full prophet mode, and says it is time to put to a test their thought that if they had lived in the days of the prophets they would not have participated in their martyrdom.

"Behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar."

From Abel to Zachariah, A to Z, Jesus was to hold the religious authorities of Israel accountable for rejecting all who came in the name of the Lord, starting with their rejection of himself. The temple was destroyed in 70 CE and is not rebuilt to this day.


Now we are come to the Olivet Discourse in Matthew, a private talk on the Mount of Olives between Jesus and the twelve about the end of the world. He said that false Christs would come and deceive many. He said there would be wars, and news about wars, but that wasn't hard to predict, since mankind has always been at war. There would be famines and disease and earthquakes. Again, pretty run-of-the-mills stuff.

Next Jesus narrows the scope to what will happen to his Christians: They will be persecuted, and martyred, and betray one another. "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." This definitely contradicts the popular Protestant eschatology of being "raptured out" and missing all the rough stuff. But Jesus said the end would not come until the whole world was evangelized.

Then he spoke of the temple being desecrated, which it was in 70 AD when the Romans put a statue of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in it. That would be the signal for his followers to flee Judaea for the mountains. "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved"

Jesus was correct in predicting the destruction of the Jews by the Romans, but he was not correct in saying that it would be the worst tribulation in human history. The Holocaust of the 1940s was far worse. But this assumes that the "tribulation" refers to the Jews being put to the sword. In modern Protestant eschatology, the tribulation is set as a future event which will involve the whole world. They seem to ignore Jesus when he clearly says the rapture will be after the tribulation.

Then he says, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only."

This statement is problematic for believers in the Trinity, who hold that Jesus is fully God and that God is omniscient. It means that one part of God (the Father) has information about the future that another part of God (the Son) is not privy too. And there is also a verse which teaches Immanence: "Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh."

That means nothing remains hindering Jesus from returning now. But some Christians say a third temple must be built first.


Most of the gospel of Matthew has consisted of Jesus preaching, and most of that was in parables. Now in chapter twenty-five he does his last bit of preaching before the execution. The first parable, about five wise virgins and five foolish ones, is about being ready to meet the bridegroom (Christ) at any time, for there will come a day when the door is shut, and he will say that he does not know anyone knocking on the door afterwards. "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh."

The second parable was about servants entrusted with different amounts of money. Two of them double their lord's money, and they are praised by their lord and allowed to advance to greater responsibilities. A third one was given a small amount of money and merely buried it in the ground for safekeeping rather than investing it. His laziness and inactivity is punished by the fate alluded to by Jesus in many other parables, to be cast into the outer darkness "where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth".

The final parable is about the last judgment, when Christ will divide the entire human race into two groups with the sheep on his right and and the goats on his left. The sheep are destined for life everlasting, but the goats are destined for the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels (a doctrine that in turn comes out of the extrabiblical book of 1 Enoch 10:13). And the criteria for this judgment is how each person received "the least one of these, my brethren". It is not really known who Jesus really meant by these sufferers, the subject of the care or neglect that is to be judged. They could be any person who suffers, or they could be only Christians, or they could be only the Christian missionaries who brought the words of Jesus to all the nations.

What is apparent is that Jesus only speaks of the eternal penalty of hell in terms of parables, never as a direct revelation of conditions in the afterlife for the wicked. That is not to say there are underlying spiritual truths to be found in parables, but the characters in his parables are hardly pictures of how real people act, the stories often swerve into extreme hyperbole to make a point, sort of like the thing about taking a two-by-four out of one's own eye to see clearly enough to find the splinter in another person's eye. And is any man really going to turn away five virgins for being a little late? No one takes that stuff literally, but the eternal hell fire idea often is taken exactly as indicated.


Before chapter 26 Matthew was all yack and no shack. Now Matthew enters the Passion narrative, which is non-stop action, beginning with Judas conspiring with the Jewish priesthood to betray Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.

At the Passover, Christ transformed the passover feast into the Sacrament of the Eucharist (if you are Catholic) or the ordinance of the Last Supper (if you are Protestant). Catholics believe that when Jesus broke the bread and said, "Take, eat; this is my body," he was speaking literally. But how he was able to do this remains a "mystery". The Orthodox Church, the Anglican Communion, and the Lutherans also hold to the belief of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. But the majority of Protestant denominations are influenced by Ulrich Zwingli, who sucked all of the beauty and mystery out of the Church. For them, it's an optional ceremony which is used to mark the death of the Lord. The Eucharist is the Sacrament of Unity, and it is interesting to note the nearly one-for-one correlation between the belief in the Real Presence and the degree of unity found in an assembly. Churches which rejected it as "sacerdotal Papist mummery" have experienced a seemingly infinite degree of division and subdivision.

Jesus warned his disciples that the time was short, and soon he would be put to death, and his sheep would be scattered, as it was written. Peter vowed that he would stay with Jesus until the end, but Jesus predicted that Peter would instead deny he knew Christ three times before the night was over.

In the Garden of Gethsemene, with only an hour or so remaining before his arrest, Jesus was wracked with mental anguish, because he was fully aware of what he was about to endure. He prayed that his Father in heaven would release him from the duty, but only if it was His will. And Jesus suffered alone, because all his disciples had fallen asleep.

Finally it was time. Judas came with a mob, and indicated by the sign of his kiss which one was Jesus. One of the disciples took a sword and cut off the ear of a servant of the high priest. Jesus told him to stand fast. "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?

Then all his disciples ran away.

First Jesus was taken to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, where all of his enemies were gathered together. Peter came in through the servant's entrance to watch.

All they could get Jesus on was his statement that he was able to tear the temple down, and rebuild it in three days. The High Priest put Jesus under an oath and forced him to admit he was the Son of God. Jesus said, "Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."

That was enough for Caiaphas, he tore his clothes and said Jesus was a blasphemer worthy of death. Then they physically assaulted Jesus. Meanwhile a little girl recognized Peter as one of the Twelve. Peter the "Rock" then denied Jesus three separate times, just as Jesus said. Then a cock crowed, signaling dawn. Reality hit Peter, he saw what he had done, went far away and wept.


On Friday morning, Jesus was called before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Jesus invoked his right to remain silent, and Pilate was intrigued more than he was annoyed. He was especially interested in the venom Christ's mere presence provoked in the priests and Pharisees. Pilate's wife sent a message to him that she had had a very bad dream about this Jesus, and recommended that her husband have nothing to do with him. Pilate remembered the custom on Passover that he would release any one (1) such prisoner as the Jewish crowd named. Pilate brought forth Jesus and also Barabbas, a political agitator who had caused the Romans some grief lately. He told the crowd to choose between them, and they all shouted "Free Barabbas!"

This astonished Pilate, because he knew Jesus was an innocent man, and he actually began pleading for Jesus, but the crowd shouted "Crucify Jesus" and verged on becoming an unruly mob. Matthew takes great pains to show that it was the Jews and not the Romans who wanted Jesus dead. So Pilate washed his hands of Jesus and turned Barabbas loose. Barabbas becomes the first human being to be set free of the penalty of his sins by Christ's death.

The Romans had a technological genius which they applied to their roads and stadiums and aqueducts, and this same skill was applied to their methods of execution. The Roman crucifixion was actually state-sponsored terrorism. It was the worst thing they could imagine doing to a man. The victim typically lingered on the cross for three or four days. But the rule in Judaea was that no one could suffer through a High Holy Day. The Romans knew that, but they also had a more or less accurate way to adjust how long a prisoner would last on the cross, and it had to do with how bad they messed the prisoner up before he was nailed up. They did this with the flagellum, which was a very efficient and agonizing way to remove skin from a person. And because Jesus had been substituted for Barabbas, setting Barabbas free to harass the Romans again, the legionaires in charge of Jesus' torture were a little more heavy-handed than they were with the two theives who were crucified with him. They ended up bruising his kidneys and cracking some ribs. As a result, by 3 PM when it was time to end the crucifixion, the theives were still alive (barely) and their legs were broken to finish the execution, but Jesus was already dead.

A rich man named Joseph of Arimathaea, who was secretly a disciple of Jesus, obtained possession of the body of Jesus with Pilate's permission. He wrapped it in a shroud and laid it in the tomb he had recently constructed for himself. Time was of the essence. The Jewish Day of Preparation would begin at sundown, and no work could be performed for the following twenty-four hours.

The Jewish religious authorities came to Pilate and got permission to set a watch on the tomb of Jesus, lest his disciples come and steal the body and say he is risen. Pilate granted them leave to do so, but he wasn't about to waste any of his own soldiers on the task.


According to Matthew, on Sunday morning, forty hours after Christ's death, Jesus appeared alive and in the flesh to Mary Magdelene and Mary the mother of James and Salome, and once again to the eleven disciples on a mountain in Galilee, where "some doubted." This is important, because all of Christianity rises or falls on the veracity of the Resurrection, and that veracity rests solely on eyewitness accounts. And those accounts differ.

According to Mark, the empty tomb was discovered by the two Marys, where an angel told them, "Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you." The two women fled the tomb in fear and said nothing, and that's where the original text of Mark ended.

In the later addition to Mark, from 16:9 to 16:20, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdelene alone (so the book of Mark contradicts itself), later by two disciples at Emmaus, and to the eleven disciples while they were eating, to chastise them for not believing the ones who saw him after the resurrection. Mark has an account of the ascension, but does not say from where.

According to Luke, Jesus walked with the disciples to Emmaus, then appeared to Peter and to the assembled disciples in Jerusalem, with no mention of meeting them in Galilee. Luke has a detailed account of the ascension in Acts (which is really part two of a single document) but he is lifted up from the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem, not Galilee. Luke's account is a series of scenes where people are right there with Jesus and don't recognize him.

According to John, Jesus appeared to Mary Magdalene, to ten disciples that Sunday, to the full eleven a week later, and to seven disciples on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (not a mountain). It was at Jerusalem that Doubting Thomas doubted, but by the time they made it to Galilee, even Thomas was a believer.

There are other minor contradictions, such as how many angels appeared at the tomb, etc, and Catholic Encyclopedia attempts to reconcile all of these, but the biggest issue, which is where the eleven disciples first saw Jesus (Galilee according to Matthew, Jerusalem according to Luke and John) is tossed off with a hand wave.

Since Paul and Luke were companions, Paul's account in 1 Corinthians matches Luke's in some details. According to him, Jesus was seen first by Peter, then by the "twelve", then by more than five hundred followers, then by James, then by "all of the apostles" and finally by Paul himself. But this is a little fuzzy. There was no "twelve" because Judas was dead. And according to the Catholic Church, James was one of the twelve, "James, son of Alphaeus" in order to maintain the purity of Mary and keep Jesus from having a true brother named James. If that is true, then Paul is being redundant to say that Jesus first appeared to the "twelve" and then later to James.

CLIKKA said:

Congratulations, I like folks that actually read the bible and ask questions. If a God does exist I'm pretty sure he would enjoy believers that think a little to those that just believe.

If a person believes because their Mother was a believer are they really believers? Are they believers in their Mother or a believer in God?

I contend from these verses that Jesus had dirty fingernails because it was at a time before rubber gloves. Why else would Mary think he was a gardener.

Well done with the story.

clikka the terrible.

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