Monday, May 26, 2014

And king Herod heard of him (Luke 23)

The first question the SAB brings up on Luke 23 is Who put the robe on Jesus? This is a fascinating question because it highlights an even bigger question that the SAB fails to ask. Why is Luke's gospel the only one that mentions Jesus making a trip to see Herod? It's funny because the idea that Herod and his men put the robe on Jesus almost makes a sort of twisted sense--at least I can't see why the Romans would bother. Luke's gospel as a whole has a number of interesting little vignettes that are missing from the other three, and you end up wondering where Luke got his information. Perhaps as the only non-Jewish writer, he was able to get inside information from the Romans, but that's only speculation on my part.

Who carried Jesus' cross? This one is pretty simple: Jesus carried his own cross part of the way, and Simon of Cyrene carried it for the other part.

What did the soldiers give Jesus to drink? I think there were two points in time that the soldiers offered Jesus a drink. First, they offered him wine, which he refused, and the second time they offered him vinegar, which he took a little bit of.

What did the sign over Jesus say? Yes, it's very interesting that all four gospels get the sign different, but the essential message is the same.

Did both thieves revile Jesus? The general understanding of this supposed contradiction is that while both of the thieves reviled Jesus at first, one of them was moved for unknown reason to repent and defend Jesus. The SAB has a side-note on verse 43 that is worth addressing, even though I'm not a Jehovah's Witness. The thing is, there's a lot of speculation theologically as to what went on between the time Jesus died and the time he was resurrected. Some believe, and with fairly good reason, that when Jesus died, he didn't go to heaven, but rather went to a place known as Sheol where he preached the Gospel to all dead people who were waiting to go to the afterlife. This is more than I really want to go into here, but I do believe that it's written about in one of the later epistles. Actually, I guess the SAB talks a bit about it on the page for Did Jesus go to heaven after he died but before his ascension? Jesus seems to be saying to Mary Magdalene that he hasn't been to heaven, but he could simply mean that he hasn't made his final ascension yet. I'm almost babbling here, but the point in the end is I'm just not sure, so let's move on to a simpler question.

Can thieves go to heaven? I can answer this one! The contradiction page quotes 1 Cor. 6:9-10, which is a verse I have a love/hate relationship with. Yes, Paul mentions a whole list of sorts of people who can't go to heaven, but then in verse 11, he says, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." The important takeaway? Sin will keep us from heaven, but Jesus is in the business of forgiving sin. There will be no thieves in heaven, but there will be a whole lot of ex-thieves.

When did the Temple curtain rip? I don't think that any of these verses are trying to nail down an exact time; the idea is that the curtain ripped when Jesus died.

What were the last words of Jesus? I don't know.

What did the Centurion call Jesus when he died? The accepted understanding is that there were two centurions at Jesus' crucifixion, and they each had something to say when Jesus died.

From where were the women watching? I think that there was more than one group of women at Jesus' crucifixion, and while most watched from afar, a small group, along with the Apostle John, was much closer to the cross.

Who buried Jesus? The thing to understand here is that Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were members of the Sanhedrin who happened to be sympathetic to Jesus, so there is no contradiction here.

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