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Showing posts from June 13, 2021

Jesus Comes To Pontius Pilate (John 18:28-37)

 The guards then took Jesus to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Jesus met Pilate at his residence. The guards did not go in, because they did not want to be unclean for the Passover. Pilate wanted to know what Jesus had done. At first, they deflected the question, and they suggested that they wouldn't have bothered him with something trivial. But that was not the question that Pilate asked. He told the people to handle it themselves, but they both knew that the people had no authority to execute someone themselves. Jesus had predicted that he would be handed over and killed. St. John sees in the words that Pilate spoke the fulfillment of that prophecy. Pilate wanted to know with what they were charging Jesus. To this point, no one is answering directly. It must have been that Pilate heard people say that Jesus claimed to be a king. He came back in and asked Jesus, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus wants to know where he heard that, but Pilate isn't talking. He

Yeah, I Will Eat "Lab Meat"

 There have been numerous news reports and opinion pieces recently about synthetically created meat that may be available soon. I do not mean plant-based imitation meat, although if they can fool me, more power to them. Anyway, it's being said that we may be able to create animal flesh without killing an animal very soon. The whole thing may be completely contrary to localism, or to a healthy community as I imagine it, but this seems like a great idea, if it is safe. There is nothing in me culturally anymore that has to prove my manliness, or devotion to the truth. Raising animals to feed ourselves is expensive, and fraught with moral ambiguities that we tend to gloss over, for the sake of convenience, or because we don't want to be identified as "those liberal hippies." Sustainability tends to be a buzzword nowadays, but in light of climate change, and the lack of access to basic things of life for many people around the world--food and clean water, for example--thos

Peter Denies Jesus the Second and Third Time (John 18:25-27)

 St. Peter just wants to be left alone. He's probably already embarrassed that he denied Jesus once. The crowd gathered around obviously thinks he looks familiar. Peter denies being a disciple of Jesus again. But the kinsman of Malchus knows he saw Peter in the garden, when Jesus was handed over. The man surely knows that Peter is lying, but Peter denies Jesus again, just as Our Lord said he would. (See Matthew 26:34, Matthew 26:75, Mark 14:72, and Luke 22:61) This is one of the times where St. John doesn't want us to think of his Gospel as something entirely different than the other three, written by St. Matthew, St. Mark, and St. Luke. St. Peter's denial is clearly something very important for the leaders of the early Church. We will see that Jesus considers it important as well, and will use it to demonstrate his love to Peter, and to us.

Jesus Appears Before Annas (John 18:19-24)

 The way St. John figures it--and this agrees with the leadership who oppose Jesus--Annas is the authentic high priest. Later, he may have sent him to Caiaphas in order not to anger the Romans, who put Caiaphas in place. Jesus is not willing to answer questions from the high priest, as though the high priest could not have obtained this information another way. The way Jesus answers demonstrates that he is not overly impressed with the high priest, or afraid of his authority. One of the guards noticed this lack of deference to the high priest, and struck Jesus with his hand. When Jesus spoke again, he confronted the farce that is this "trial."Annas then sent him to Caiaphas.

Peter Denies Jesus The First Time (John 18:15-18)

 Peter followed behind, wanting to know what would happen, but not wanting to get too close. The mystery in this section is whether the "another disciple" is St. John himself, or someone else. Another question is whether it is a benefit to the two disciples of Jesus to be known to the high priest. At least to be known as one of the people allows them to confer with him, and at least not have him run away from them as "Gentile sinners." On the other hand, the high priest is one of the architects of the conspiracy against Jesus. St. Peter was obviously afraid that if he named himself as one of the disciples of Jesus, that he would be punished and possibly killed. In the end, he'll get his chance to die, for confessing the name of Jesus. On this occasion, Peter is a coward, afraid of being honest to a servant girl. He warmed himself by the fire that the servants had made, and tried to forget about what was happening.

Jesus Is Taken To The High Priest(s) (John 18:12-14)

 A footnote in the RSV Bible explains that the Romans had removed Annas the high priest almost 20 years earlier. Because that priesthood was supposed to be for life, many of the people continued to recognize Annas as the high priest. Even so, it was Caiaphas who prophesied that a man would die for the people. He could not have known how true his words would be, even if the way it came true was completely unjust. In any case, this is the reason why Jesus appears before two people who were high priests of the people at some point.

Jesus Is Betrayed And Arrested (John 18:1-11)

 St. John says that after they ate the Passover in the Upper Room, they went to the Kidron Valley. It was a familiar place, likely where they would get away to pray. Judas Iscariot knew the place, too. Judas Iscariot brought soldiers and representatives from the chief priests and Pharisees. Apparently, they were expecting a more violent confrontation. Jesus stepped forward, asking the soldiers who they were looking for. Why did they draw back, after Jesus identified himself? Did Jesus knock them over with some sort of power, or did his name somehow carry a special significance? Did some of the soldiers believe in him, or hear stories of his miracles? Based on what we have right here in the text, we don't know. I would like to think that a certain voice of conscience offered the soldiers an opportunity not to participate in this evil betrayal. Eventually, though, they got off the ground and did what they were ordered to do. Jesus bargains for the release of the rest of the apostles,