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Jesus' life and words

Life, Love and Law

Life, Love and Law: Chapter 3


Jesus' sacrifice

We hear that Jesus offered Himself to His Father for our sins. I find this very strange. The reason is that, from a Roman Catholic Christian standpoint, you have Jesus, the Expression of the Father, offering Himself to God His Father! What you end up with is God offering Himself to Himself!

I would rather say: Jesus accepted to be offered by the High Priest as a sacrifice to the Jewish God of Justice, the God who instituted the Law that states: «And thine eye shall not pity; but life shall go for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.»1

Let it be said that there are many texts in the Septuagint itself where God tells His people to stop offering Him sacrifices as He neither needs nor wants them, where He states clearly that He is not at all interested in the end products of this religious abattoir called the Temple of Jerusalem as He does not eat the flesh of animals nor does He drink the blood offered to Him,2 that His people does not have to serve Him as He needs nothing.

As humans continue to insist on sacrificing to their God of justice and vengeance by killing animals or other humans, God decides to provide Himself as the victim of the so-called «needed» sacrifice. The One to Whom the sacrifice is offered by His humans becomes its Victim! God gave Himself as a sacrifice to us. The rôles are reversed! It is we who need His service, we who need to be fed by His blood and His flesh.

1. Jesus' execution as a sacrifice offered by the High Priest

All the Gospel writers insist that although the sentence of death by crucifixion was passed by the Roman governor Pontius Pilate and carried out by Roman soldiers, it was the High Priest who forced his hand and whipped the Jerusalem mob to demand His execution by crucifixion.

The notice affixed on the cross «THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.»3 indicates that Pilate had Jesus crucified for insurrection. Jesus' crucifixion was a clear warning from him to those who might want to fight Roman rule. But Pilate did not instigate the whole affair. He had Jesus crucified because He had been handed to him by the High Priest who sent the party who arrested Him.

Two Gospel writers mention that some Jewish religious leaders met to discuss Jesus' case under the presidency of Caiaphas, the High Priest.4, 5 Their predicament is succinctly put thus: «What do we? for this man doeth many miracles. If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place6 and nation.»7 The writer of John's Gospel reports that Caiaphas, as High Priest, retorted: «Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not.»8 This pronouncement by the High Priest decided the Council that Jesus had to die to prevent the disaster that the Romans would inflict if Jesus' actions were to bring about the political and social unrest expected of a people under occupation. They foresaw that the Romans would crush the rebellion and destroy the Temple and so, the Jewish people.

The author of John's Gospel then comments on the pronouncement made by the High Priest:

And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.9

For the writer of John's Gospel, the High Priest's statement that Jesus is to die for the Jewish nation is seen as a prophecy. But he also adds that this prophecy is incomplete as Jesus is to die not only for the Jewish nation but also for all God's children as well.

The religious group headed by the chief priests bring Jesus to Pontius Pilate and whip the Jerusalem mob10, 11, 12, 13 to demand His execution by crucifixion in everyone of the four Gospels. In all the Gospels Pilate has some qualms about condemning Jesus. To these, the Priests reply in John's Gospel: «but the Jews cried out, saying, If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar's friend: whosoever maketh himself a king speaketh against Caesar.»14 Pilate, after talking to Jesus in private, comes back to meet the mob and the Jewish leaders:

and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priest answered, We have no king but Caesar.15

Here we have the Chief Priest sealing Jesus' fate in the name of the people: He is to be crucified.

It might appear strange that Pilate would have been reluctant to have a Jew executed; after all, such executions manifested Roman power, an important ingredient in controling unruly natives. But the Gospels all insist that Jesus is killed by the reluctant Romans at the instigation of the Jewish religious authorities16 as they all understand Jesus' crucifixion to be a sacrifice offered during the Passover period by the High Priest to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

2. Jesus executed for blasphemy

How is that? Though the Chief Priests had argued among themselves that Jesus had to be liquidated for political reasons, they still had to be able to justify it to themselves; they did not want to be guilty of the death of an innocent man. They had to find Him guilty of some charge that carried the death penalty according to the Law. These people were pillars of their society; they were good, law-abiding, religious, moral, exemplary individuals. They really wanted the best for their people as well as to be the best of their people.

Only the writer of John does not report this interrogation. In the words of the author of Matthew's Gospel:

And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, saying, He hath spoken blasphemy; what further need have we of witnesses? behold, now ye have heard his blasphemy. What think ye? They answered and said, He is guilty of death.17

The author of Mark has the High Priest asking the fatal question18 and rending his clothes while the author of Luke has the question asked by the whole assembly.19 All have the Council condemning Jesus for blasphemy, including the author of John20 for claiming to be the Son of God. The Council members firmly believed that they were being good and obedient servants of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in seeing this blasphemer executed according to the Law given to them by Moses.

In the Matthew Gospel we have Pilate wanting to free Jesus while the mob wants Him crucified. Pilate washes his hand of the whole thing, stating that:«I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.»21 Then comes this damning verse: «Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.»22

This last verse has had terrible consequences over the centuries; some have suggested that it laid the ground work for the Shoah.23 I will come back to it but let me say that it fits marvellously in what I have been saying: the mob demanded Jesus' crucifixion in the four Gospels. They did so because their religious leaders told them that this was the pious and right thing to do, that this was what the Law prescribed. They followed their leaders. The formula used in Matthew indicates that this was a collective decision of the whole Jewish people, from the High Priest to the children.24

Jesus' crucifixion is ordained by the High Priest (though carried out by the Romans) on behalf of the whole Jewish people to obey the Law of Moses given to them under Covenant by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

It is totally unfair to suggest that their action was unwarranted or unjustifiable; on the contrary, they did what they had to do as good religious Jews. Jesus put the Jewish religious authorities in a bind by His claims to soon sit at God's right hand and come on the clouds of Heaven: He was not just claiming to be the new anointed, the new and real King of the Jews; His claim was to be equal to God, equal as He would be sitting at His right hand.

They had a choice to make: they either accepted His claims, forsook their traditions and risked the wrath of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or kept to the Law and traditions that their fathers had handed on to them. It was obvious to them, as it should be to us, that either Jesus was right or Moses was.

Jesus was an upstart fellow coming from nowhere with no good family or social background, making outrageous claims while they came from good families and followed old and proven traditions. How could anything good come out of Nazareth?

Jesus is thus executed by the Romans around the Feast of Passover but after the High Priest found Him guilty of blasphemy against the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is sacrificed by the High Priest in the name of the Jewish people. But I submit that He is also sacrificed by God to the Jewish people and those who associate with them.

3. The problem surrounding the eating of Jesus

All four Gospels agree on the following points: Jesus had His last meal with his disciples on a Thursday evening, just before His arrest. His condemnation follows on Friday morning after interrogations by the High Priest and Pilate. It is immediately carried out: He is crucified and dies on that Friday afternoon.

Unfortunately, the four Gospels do not agree on when Passover was! Furthermore, the Synoptics mention only one Passover that Jesus shared with His disciples and say that it was Jesus' last meal with His disciples on that Thursday evening. The author of John on the other hand mentions three Passovers, the last one being the one Jesus just missed by dying on that Friday, the day of its preparation.

The Synoptics all agree that Jesus' last meal with His disciples was on the evening following the first day of the Feast of Unleaven bread and that this meal was the Passover meal that had been prepared that same afternoon.

The Law states that the ones who prepare the meal are to take their lamb to the Temple to be slaughtered by the priests during the late afternoon, around three o'clock. The lamb is killed in such a way that it looses all its blood; the priests give some of its blood to those who bring back the slain lamb so that they can put some of it on the lintel and doorpost of the room where they will eat the lamb the same evening (not its blood, as this was against the Law) roasted with bitter herbs and matzah (unleaven bread).

The Synoptics' account implies that the first day of Passover was a Thursday and that the Passover meal was eaten after sundown. As all Gospel writers agree that days start just after sundown and finish at sundown as is still the custom for the Jews, it implies that they ate the Passover meal at the beginning of the second day.

The author of John has Jesus eating His last meal before the Passover25 and has the killing of the Passover lambs on Friday afternoon, coinciding with Jesus' death. He states that the following Sabbath (Saturday) was the first day of Passover. The Passover meal would then have been eaten that Friday evening after sundown, and so at the beginning of the Sabbath. This is much more in line with the prescriptions given in the Torah which put the Passover meal on the first day of Passover.

I believe, rightly or wrongly, that the reason why the Gospel of John is so different from the Synoptics is that its author did not want to repeat what had been said in the previous Gospels but wanted to correct what he considered errors or omissions. One of those was that the three years of Jesus' ministry seemed to be just one.

If what I have assumed is correct, the fact that the author of John's Gospel does not mention the institution of the eating of Jesus means that he considered the other Gospels' account of it as truthful. Three Gospel texts as well as one by Paul mention the «breaking of the bread» by Jesus after the blessing and the «sharing of the cup of wine». In Matthew, we find:

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.26

while in Mark we find:

And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.27

while in Luke we find:

And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer: For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.28

and finally, we find in Paul's first letter to the Corinthians:

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.29

These four authors all agree on the essentials; that Jesus took bread, gave thanks, broke it and gave it to those who were attending the meal saying: «Take, eat, this is my body.». They also all agree that He did that on His last Passover meal with His disciples, on His last meal just before He was handed over to be crucified.

He also took a cup of wine, said the blessing and passed it to His disciples to drink stating that its content was His blood that would seal a new convenant when it would be shed. They also all agree that this happened on the same occasion(s). And Paul is very clear that the bread and the wine are really «the body and blood of the Lord». The author of Matthew adds that Jesus' blood is shed for the remission of sins. Luke and Paul, that Jesus said to do it in memory of Him.

As already noted, the author of John's Gospel does not mention Jesus instituting this eating of Himself. On the other hand, he mentions Jesus going to Jerusalem for the Passover on three successive years. His first trip is found in his Chapter 2 from verse 13; it is then that Jesus had His altercation with the merchants at the Temple (and not just before His death as the Synoptics seem to imply); already then did He say cryptically that He would rise after three days.

It is close to but before the last Passover He celebrated with His disciples, the year before He was killed, that Jesus multiplied the loafs of bread30 which He followed a day or two later by a discourse where He compares Himself to manna, the bread «from heaven» given by God to the Israelites in the desert. He states that He is the real bread from Heaven, the bread that comes from the Father, the bread that gives real life and real nourishment.

He says that it is essential to life eternal to eat His flesh and drink His blood. He adds that He will raise on the last day those who drink His blood and eat His flesh:

[32] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst... [48] I am that bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.31

This text is very different from the others quoted. There is no association of bread to His flesh and of wine to His blood. Although it is imperative that we eat His flesh32 and drink His blood, He does not state how this is to be done! This text comes soon after the multiplication of the loaves required to feed the hungry crowd and before His eating of the Passover.

If the author of John's Gospel basically writes only about what is wanting in the Synoptics, we can make a certain sense of why he does not refer to the institution of the eating of Jesus as such; after all, all three other Gospels had touched on this point in what he considered a satisfactory manner as all indicated that bread would become Jesus' flesh and wine would become Jesus' blood and all indicated that this happened when He ate His last Passover meal and on the meal before Jesus was handed over. And he agreed with these facts but knew that these two events were separated by a year!

The Synoptic writers did not stress that the bread and wine are really Jesus' body and blood (contrary to Paul, who, I claim, wrote later). So the writer of John stresses this. He insists that Jesus is to be eaten as He is real food (and real drink). Furthermore, the assimilation of this food and drink by the body of those who partake of them gives them real strenght, life, energy. And this life will continue for ever.

Paul gives us an account of something that was going on in Corinth around 59 A. D. One can assume that it was standard practice. But Paul did not invent such a ceremonial. Could it have been invented by Peter or John? Hardly likely.

There is a world between what is reported in the texts already quoted and the creation of a ceremonial that would have become a weekly if not a daily affair. There is nothing in Matthew's or Mark's accounts to suggest that this eating of Jesus should be repeated. In Luke's case, while Jesus adds «Do this in memory of me.», He does not say when. On each Passover? At each meal? Daily? Each time the disciples meet as a group for a meal?

John and the Synoptics all link Jesus' talk of Him being bread of Heaven, His flesh as food and His blood as drink with the time of His last Passover on earth. The Passover ceremonial comprises the eating of unleaven bread (matzah) and the drinking of cups of wine as well as the lamb's blood being bludgeoned on the doorposts.

Jews never drank blood: it was against the Law as clearly stated in Leviticus:

For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. Therefore I said unto the children of Israel, No soul of you shall eat blood, neither shall any stranger that sojourneth among you eat blood. And whatsoever man there be of the children of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, which hunteth and catcheth any beast or fowl that may be eaten; he shall even pour out the blood thereof, and cover it with dust. For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whosoever eateth it shall be cut off.33

This is why they eat kosher: the animal to be eaten must have lost all its blood. The words «life» and «soul» in this text are the translation of the same Greek word «psyche» (ψυχη). Its original meaning is «breath», «breath of life» and thus «life». To most, «soul» is what makes a person alive rather than dead. Without blood, flesh is dead as it is breathless, lifeless, without «soul».

Atonement for sins is done by the killing of an animal: its death is offered by the sinner to God. The proof of its death is the blood offered on the altar. It seems that only by killing is atonement for sins possible and that this precious liquid essential to the animal's life is not something that a human can partake of as it is reserved to the master of all life, God Himself.

Jesus' idea of giving His blood to drink to humans is a direct attack on the divine prerogative expressed in Leviticus. Anyone who drinks His blood is automaticly excluded from Israel.

Wheat bread is the fundamental food of the Middle East and wine, one of its most common drink. Humans cannot do without these in that part of the world. This is as material as it gets.

The whole idea of eating Jesus' flesh and drinking His blood (while still being alive!) in the form of bread and wine is strange to say the least. How could sane people come up with such an idea within the context of their Jewish religious background? Such a move requires a complete and radical change of the religious landscape of the time, something that seems to me well above the heads of these ordinary people without a rich education and a lot of leisure that were Jesus' disciples.

Jesus did not go around preaching from town to town on His own. He must have stayed with some supporters on and off. They must have had communal meals. After the multiplication of the bread, Jesus could make the point that He could give over and over from at least what seemed like a limited source of food; that He could physically feed the multitude from precious little.

Eating together is an act of friendship, of camaraderie, of love for each other. The one who invites the others shares some of what she has with her friends. Jesus decided to share Himself with His friends. He decided to physically give Himself by satisfying the most fundamental needs of Humans, that of eating and drinking something real, something filling. He could do that for the same reason He could provide enough bread to the multitude.

By His last Passover with His disciples, a year before His death, He introduced this giving of Himself to His friends at their communal meals. He would say the blessing on the loaf of bread; break it and pass it around; and add something like «take and eat: this is my body». He would take a cup filled with wine; say the blessing on it and add «This is the cup of my blood» and pass it around. His words would probably vary from meal to meal and according to circumstance.

By the end of His life, as Jesus made it clearer and clearer that He was going to die for others, He added to what He said to make that point. He added the «do this in memory of me» as He wanted His disciples to continue this giving of Himself even after His death.

This interpretation has at least the advantage of making sense of what is found in the Gospels and in Paul's letter as well as in the Acts of the Apostles.

In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus Himself is talking on the road to some of His disciples who do not recognize Him. He stops at an inn with them «And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them.»34 at which point they recognized Him.35 Why, if not because they were used to Him doing so?36

The author of Acts (who says he is also the author of Luke's Gospel) states that some time later the tradition of the «breaking of bread» continued with the community37 in Jerusalem. It is also found in Troas around 60 A.D. I want to stress what I consider the obvious: the Apostles were not the kind to invent something as bold as this ceremonial: they had to have it from Jesus Himself. By the end of His life surely, the «Do this in rememberance of me.» would easily have made sense to His Apostles as He had told them over and over that He was going to His death.

4. A new testament?

«Do this is memory of me» is straightforward enough: in this, Jesus tells His disciples that they can give Him to others as well as to themselves, that He can and will continue to feed them. But the saying about a new testament is more difficult to understand. The Greek word «diathèkès» (διαθηκης) translated by «testament» means «disposition», «arrangement», as in the case of a will, or a pact, a convention, an agreement, a covenant. This leaves quite some room for interpretation. Still this «pact», or «convention» is clearly sealed with His blood: «For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins».38

The covenant brought forth by Moses was also sealed in blood:39 that of oxen, which was sprinkled on the people with the words: «Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words»40

In the same way the new covenant is sealed in Jesus' blood, which the Jewish people assembled with the High Priest in Jerusalem said should fall on them and so be sprinkled on them: «Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.»41 These are the words that we, as Christians, have to make our own if we want to live under this new covenant sealed in Jesus' blood. Just as the author of John's Gospel noted that the High Priest prophesied unwittingly about Jesus,42 we have here the people of the first covenant unwittingly accepting the new one for us, a point of the upmost importance.

Of course, we can ask: what is this «new covenant»? We have part of the answer in «for the remission of sins». This new covenant is a statement about Who God really Is and how we can become like Him so as to be with and in Him. It is a statement about the fact that God being Love cannot but forgive each and everyone their failings as well as provide them with Himself as nourishment to help them get the strength to become more what they are meant to be.

6. The Father's sacrifice of His Son

So we have Jesus dying on the cross; first, as a sacrifice by the High Priest to the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob; sacrificed (for blasphemy) on the eve of Passover, but sacrificed with the passover lambs so that God would pass over their sinfulness and keep them alive while killing the first-born of their enemies to bring them into the Promised Land; sacrificed so that a new covenant might arise in His blood, a covenant that shows God's infinite love for each and every one of His humans.

There is also a human sacrifice in the Septuagint: the sacrifice of Isaac, the first and only son of Abraham and Sarah, the child that God gave them in her old age:

[1] And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am. And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of... [6] And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he took the fire in his hand, and a knife; and they went both of them together. And Isaac spake unto Abraham his father, and said, My father: and he said, Here am I, my son. And he said, Behold the fire and the wood: but where is the lamb for a burnt offering? And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar upon the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son. And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.43

In this story found in Genesis God demands that one of His humans kills his only son. The son who will be sacrificed by his father carries himself the wood of the sacrifice on his back. But in extremis, as Abraham is going to kill the boy he loves so much, God intervenes to stop this travesty because He Is not like that. The Torah makes it absolutely clear here, as the Septuagint in many other places, that God does not want humans to kill their children to appease Him: He is not like humans who sacrifice their children by sending them to war, by abusing them, by selling them. No: God is Love; it is He Who offers us His own Son, His only Son, Who carries the wood of the sacrifice on His back; and the sacrifice goes through because this is the way the human world is:

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.44

Humans are the ones who demand blood; so they get it: God's own! They want death for those who cross them; so they get it: God's death! Religion as we know it is brought upside down by Jesus' life: He, God-made-man, pays the price; He is the victim for all the sins that have been perpetrated against us. God talks forgiveness while we talk vengeance.

Jesus turns cultic rituals around. While in the Temple it is God to whom the blood of goats is offered and it is His humans that offer it, with Jesus it is His blood that God offers to His humans. In Leviticus, only God can receive blood; with Jesus, humans receive and drink God's blood. God's prerogative becomes His humans' as they partake of the blood of the Lamb Who was sacrificed for them.

To sum up, we see that Jesus' God by His Very Self loves everyone the same and wants all to be like Him. God acts with the same compassion towards all His humans. He is the One who serves all. He does not act violently; He is the Suffering Servant. He, the Lamb of God, feeds us with His blood and His flesh. He is the victim of our vengeance for all the sins that have been done to us as He sacrifices Himself to us. God does not condemn: through His Son's example, He wants humans to be like Him and so one with Him.

1 Deuteronomy 19:21

2 «If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High: And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.» (Psalm 50:12-15) (The Psalm numbering is that of the King James Version.)

3 Matthew 27:37; also Mark 15:26; Luke 23:38; John 19:19

4 Matthew 27:1-5

5 John 11:47-52

6 that is, Jerusalem and the Temple (the Greek term «topos» (τοπος) refers to a location)

7 John 11:47-48

8 John 11:50

9 John 11:51-52

10 «But the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus.» (Matthew 27:20)

11 «But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him.» (Mark 14:11-13)

12 «And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified. And the voices of them and of the chief priests prevailed.» (Luke 23:23)

13«When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him.» (John 19:6)

14 John 19:12

15 John 19:14-15

16 Every gospel writer states that Pilate offered to let Jesus go as a Passover good will gesture from the «benevolent» Roman power but that the crowd demanded the release of Barabbas instead.

17 Matthew 26:63-66

18 Mark 14:61-64

19 Luke 22:66-71

20 in the following report to Pilate of why they want Him crucified: «The Jews (i.e. the chief priests ... and officers) answered him, We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.». (John 19:7)

21 Matthew 27:24

22 Matthew 27:25

23 This verse has been surreptitiously expurgated from the Gospel text read at church in some Roman Catholic dioceses for Passion (Palm) Sunday.

24 the Greek word «tekna» (τεκνα) translated as «children» is not the word used to specify unborn children (seed). This verse does not refer to unborn Jews. It cannot be «used against» Jews who were born since as this is simply not what this text says. Furthermore, if Jesus, the Voice of God Himself, gives them His forgiveness, how can anyone who claims to be His follower impute any guilt to those who saw that He be executed?

25 John 13:1-2

26 Matthew 26:26-29

27Mark 14:22-25

28 Luke 22:15-20

29 I Corinthians 11:23-27

30 John 6:4-14

31 John 6:32-35; 48-58

32 The Greek word «sarks» (σαρξ) for «flesh» means human or animal flesh as opposed to blood, intestines, bones : it is the part of the animal that is eaten.

33 Leviticus 17:10-14

34 Luke 24:30

35 «And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.» (Luke 24:35)

36 According to some Gospels, the Apostles would have been the only ones at table with Him for His last meal; so these disciples could not have been present. If Jesus had done this only on that occasion, these disciples would probably not have known about it. Surely Jesus' arrest, condemnation and crucifixion (and rumors of resurrection) would have been the only topics of discussion with the Apostles.

37 «And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.» (Acts 2:42)

38 Matthew 26:28

39 «And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do. And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD, and rose up early in the morning, and builded an altar under the hill, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the children of Israel, which offered burnt offerings, and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen unto the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood, and put it in basons; and half of the blood he sprinkled on the altar. And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words.» (Exodus 24:3-8)

40 Exodus 24:8

41 Matthew 27:25

42 John 11:51-52

43 Genesis 22:1-2; 6-13

44 John 3:16-17

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Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, June 6th, 2004

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