Friday, April 7, 2023

"On Good Friday" - Crown of Thorns

Lucas Cranach the Elder (German Northern Renaissance Painter, 1472-1553) Christ Crowned with Thorns c 1510

Unknown Flemish painter, Jesus

Petrus Christus (Netherlandish painter, active c 1444–1476 Bruges)  Head of Christ c 1445

1460-75. Philadelphia Museum of Art Christ Crowned with Thorns. Artist unknown, Austrian

In the Christian religion, Good Friday commemorates the crucifixion of Jesus. As early as the 1C, the Christian church set aside every Friday as a special day of prayer and fasting. It was not until the 4C, however, that Christians began observing the Friday before Easter as the day associated with the crucifixion of Christ. Good Friday is the most solemn day in the Christian calendar.  First called Holy or Great Friday by the Greek Church, the name "Good Friday" was adopted by the Roman Church around the 6C or 7C.

There are two possible origins for the name "Good Friday". The first may have come from the Gallican Church in Gaul (modern-day France and Germany). The name "Gute Freitag" is Germanic in origin and literally means "good" or "holy" Friday. The 2nd possibility is a variation on the name "God's Friday," where the word "good" was used to replace the word "God," which was often viewed as too holy to be spoken aloud.

Good Friday rituals and traditions are somber. To many Christians, Good Friday is a day of sorrow mingled with hope, a time to grieve for mankind's failings and for the suffering of Jesus and to meditate upon the ultimate redemption of loving and of forgiving ourselves and others.

"On Good Friday" - Duccio 1255-1319

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Jesus Accused by the Pharisees

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) The Flagellation

Good Friday marks the day on which Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross for the sins of the the people of the world. Some believe that its name was originally God's Friday, which, over the years, became its present name. Good Friday is a day of mourning and sorrow over the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ. It's also a day of gratitude for the supreme sacrifice that he made.

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Crown of Thorns

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) The Carrying of the Cross

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (1255-1319)  (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Deposition

Thursday, April 6, 2023

"Maundy Thursday" - Betrayal of Christ in "The Garden of Gethsemane"

1445 Bartolomeo di Tommaso (Italian, Umbrian, active by 1425, died 1453) The Betrayal of Christ

The Bible story of Judas betraying Jesus is found in all 4 gospels. During the the Last Supper Jesus predicts that "one of you will betray me." Judas leaves the supper & goes to the Roman authorities who are looking to arrest Jesus. He accepts a bribe of 30 silver & agrees to take them to Jesus.  

Judas told the soldiers "Whoever it is I kiss, he is the one; take him into custody, & lead him away under guard.” Leading the group into the garden, Judas sees Jesus with his disciples & approaches him. “Greetings, Rabbi!” Judas says, & he kisses Jesus very lightly. “Fellow, for what purpose are you present?” Jesus responds. (Matthew 26:49, 50) Answering his own question, Jesus says: “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

As the soldiers move toward Jesus, the apostles recognize what is happening. “Lord, should we strike with the sword?” they ask. (Luke 22:49) Before Jesus can respond, Peter uses one of the 2 swords that the apostles have & attacks Malchus, a servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.

Jesus caresses the ear of Malchus, healing the wound. He then addresses Peter: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take up the sword will perish by the sword.” Jesus does not fight bring captured, as he explains: “How would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must take place this way?” (Matthew 26:52) This leads to the trial & Crucifixion of Christ.

John 18:1-13
1 When he had finished praying, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron Valley. On the other side there was a garden, and he and his disciples went into it.
2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.
3 So Judas came to the garden, guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”
5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.)
6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.
7 Again he asked them, “Who is it you want?”“Jesus of Nazareth,” they said.
8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If you are looking for me, then let these men go.”
9 This happened so that the words he had spoken would be fulfilled: “I have not lost one of those you gave me.”
10 Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, cutting off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.)
11 Jesus commanded Peter, “Put your sword away! Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?”
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him
13 and brought him first to Annas, who was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, the high priest that year.

Luke 22:1-6
1 Now the Festival of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching,
2 and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.
3 Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.
4 And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.
5 They were delighted and agreed to give him money.
6 He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present.
Luke 22:47-71
47 While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him,
48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When Jesus’ followers saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, should we strike with our swords?”
50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered, “No more of this!” And he touched the man’s ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, who had come for him, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?
53 Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.”
54 Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” “Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
61 The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”
62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.
63 The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him.
64 They blindfolded him and demanded, “Prophesy! Who hit you?”
65 And they said many other insulting things to him.
66 At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and the teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them.
67 “If you are the Messiah,” they said, “tell us.” Jesus answered, “If I tell you, you will not believe me,
68 and if I asked you, you would not answer.
69 But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
70 They all asked, “Are you then the Son of God?” He replied, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “Why do we need any more testimony? We have heard it from his own lips.”

Matthew 26:47-75
47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.
48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”
49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?
54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?”
55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me.
56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.
57 Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.
58 But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.
59 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.
60 But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward
61 and declared, “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’ ”
62 Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”
63 But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, “I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.”
64 “You have said so,” Jesus replied. “But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
65 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy.
66 What do you think?” “He is worthy of death,” they answered.
67 Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him
68 and said, “Prophesy to us, Messiah. Who hit you?”
69 Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. “You also were with Jesus of Galilee,” she said.
70 But he denied it before them all. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said.
71 Then he went out to the gateway, where another servant girl saw him and said to the people there, “This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth.”
72 He denied it again, with an oath: “I don’t know the man!”
73 After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, “Surely you are one of them; your accent gives you away.”
74 Then he began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know the man!” Immediately a rooster crowed.
75 Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: “Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Mark 14:43-72
43 Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.”
45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him.
46 The men seized Jesus and arrested him.
47 Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.
48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus, “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?
49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”
50 Then everyone deserted him and fled.
51 A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him,
52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind.
53 They took Jesus to the high priest, and all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together.
54 Peter followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.
56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him:
58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’ ”
59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?”
61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
62 “I am,” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.”
63 The high priest tore his clothes. “Why do we need any more witnesses?” he asked.
64 “You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?” They all condemned him as worthy of death.
65 Then some began to spit at him; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” And the guards took him and beat him.
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by.
67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
68 But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
69 When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”
70 Again he denied it. After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”
71 He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twiceyou will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

"Maundy Thursday" - Jesus in "The Garden of Gethsemane" - Illuminated Manuscripts

1500-25 Agony in the garden Simon Bening (1483-1561)  or follower From a Book of Hours (use of Rome) of Southern Netherlands (Den Haag, MMW, 10 E 3). Passion according to St. John with only a hint of tiny blossoms.

According to all the Gospels, immediately after the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, Jesus took a walk to pray. Each Gospel offers a slightly different account regarding narrative details. The gospels of Matthew & Mark identify this place of prayer as Gethsemane. 

Jesus was accompanied by 3 Apostles: Peter, John & James, whom he asked to stay awake & pray. He moved "a stone's throw away" from them, where He felt overwhelming sadness & anguish, & said "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.Then, a little while later, He said, "If this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!" (Matthew 26:42). 

He said this prayer 3 times, checking on the 3 apostles between each prayer & finding them asleep. He commented: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." An angel came from heaven to strengthen him. During his agony in the garden, he prayed, "his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground." ( Luke 22:44).

From Illuminated Manuscripts -
1270 Manuscript Leaf with the Agony in the Garden from a Royal Psalter

Illuminated Manuscript, Book of Hours in Dutch, Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Walters Manuscript W.918, fol. 104v

Prayer Book, including Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, Walters Manuscript W.164, fol. 15v

Garden of Gethsemane Hennessy Book of Hours - miniaturist Simon Benning - Flanders, 1530-1540

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Rosenwald-Book Of Hours

The garden at Gethsemane, a place whose name literally means oil press, is located on a slope of the Mount of Olives just across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem. A garden of ancient olive trees stands there to this day. Gethsemane is most famous as the place where Jesus prayed & his disciples slept the night before Jesus' crucifixion. According to the New Testament it was a place that Jesus & his disciples customarily visited, which allowed Judas to find him on the night of his arrest. 

Gethsemane appears in Matthew (26:36) & Mark (14:32). The Gospel of John says Jesus frequently went to Gethsemane with His disciples to pray (John 18:2). In the Bible at John 18:1l “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a garden, into the which He entered, and His disciples.” From other scriptures, such as, Matthew 26:36 we know that this garden was called “Gethsemane.”

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

Manuscript European Bible (Ottheinrich) 15C p 85 The Last Supper

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

1325 Ugolino da Siena (Italian, Sienese, active 1315–30s) The Last Supper

Francesco Bassano the Younger (1563-1570) Last Supper

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

 The Last Supper, about 1525–30, Simon Bening.  J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig IX 19, fol. 83v

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

The Last Supper about 1400–10, J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. 33, fol. 286v

Near the end of the Last Supper, Christ said to His disciples, "A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

During the Last Supper, Jesus washed his disciples' feet. In England, this act was adopted politically as a way of reminding rulers, that they are here to serve their subjects, until 1689. Up until then the King or Queen would wash the feet of the poor on Maundy Thursday in Westminster Abbey.  Throughout the 17C & earlier, the King or Queen would wash the feet of the selected poor people as a gesture of humility in remembrance of Jesus' washing the feet of the disciples. The ceremony originated in the Roman Catholic Church inspired by the events that occurred during the night Jesus observed the Passover with his disciples. The symbolic washing of feet, which was begun around the 4C, involved a bishop or cardinal washing the feet of the priests & acolytes. While in Rome, the Pope would wash the feet of selected Cardinals. This was seen as fulfilling the mandate, that the greatest among the brethren will be the servant of all.

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

The Last Supper, about 1475, Unknown.  J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig XIII 5, v2, fol. 172

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Washing of the Feet

Maundy Thursday refers to Jesus as a servant and calld for his followers to do the same. It also draws a connection between the Passover sacrifice, a Jewish tradition, & the imminent sacrifice of Jesus. The night before Jesus was crucified, he had a Passover supper with his disciples. (Passover is a Jewish holy day that celebrates God's deliverance of the Israelites from their slavery in Egypt.) After supper, Jesus knew that this would be his final opportunity to instruct his disciples before the crucifixion, so he talked at length about his purposes, what his followers should do in response, and the promise of the Holy Spirit to come. He then washed his disciples' feet in a demonstration of humility and servant-hood. Finally, he gave bread and wine to his disciples and asked them to partake of it in remembrance of him. The act of partaking bread and wine is called Communion (or the Last Supper) today. 

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

The last meal Jesus shared with His disciples was the Passover meal. Jesus was the host: he washed the feet of His followers, & served them at the table. He broke bread with His betrayer, Judas; With His denier, Peter; with the "friends," who would sleep when He needed comfort & run, as he was facing death. Yet Jesus still ate with them, Prayed with them, sang a hymn with them. Jesus gave them a new command:  "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. "
1308-11 Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian artist, 1255-1319) The Last Supper

"Maundy Thursday" - The Last Supper

The Last Supper, about 1030–40, Unknown. J. Paul Getty Museum, Ms. Ludwig VII 1, fol. 38

The word Maundy comes from the Latin word mandatum, which means "command." The command that this holy day refers to is the one that Jesus gave to his disciples during the Last Supper: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, just like I have loved you; that you also love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. — John 13:34–35

Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Ash Wednesday

In the early Christian church of Rome, the length of the Lenten celebration varied, but eventually it began 6 weeks (42 days) before Easter. This provided only 36 days of fasting (excluding Sundays). In the 7C, 4 days were added before the 1st Sunday in Lent in order to establish 40 fasting days, in imitation of Jesus Christ’s fast in the desert.

It was the practice in Rome for "penitents" & "sinners" to begin their period of public penance for the "guilt" of their offences on the 1st day of Lent in preparation for their restoration to the sacrament of the Eucharist. They were sprinkled with ashes, dressed in sackcloth, & obliged to remain apart, until they were reconciled with the Christian community on Maundy Thursday, the Thursday evening of The Lord's Supper, before Easter. 

When these practices fell into disuse (8C–10C), the beginning of the penitential season of Lent was symbolized by placing ashes on the heads of the entire congregation. (Probably because we are all, each & every one, "penitents" & "sinners" by thought, word, & deed, each & every day.)

Sunday, April 2, 2023

"Passover & Palm Sunday" - Jesus Enters Jerusalem

'Livre d'images de madame Marie,' Hainaut or Brabant ca. 1280-1290 ( Nouvelle acquisition française 16251, fol. 29r) Palm Sunday

Christians observe Palm Sunday on the Sunday before Easter, celebrating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The reason they call it Palm Sunday stems from the fact that when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem, a large crowd of people in the city spread out palm branches on the ground before him as a sign of his kingship. Throughout Jesus' 3-year ministry, he downplayed his role as Messiah and sometimes even told people whom he healed not to say anything about the miracle to others. Palm Sunday is the one exception in which his followers loudly proclaimed his glory to all.
Entry into Jerusalem in Armenian Manuscript

"Passover & Palm Sunday" - Jesus Enters Jerusalem 14C

1308 Duccio di Buoninsegna (Italian artist, 1255-1319) Entry into Jerusalem

The Passover story from the Old & New Testaments in the Christian Bible relates that God had sent Moses to free the Israelites from slavery in Egypt & bring them into the Promised Land.  But Pharaoh refused to let them go, saying “Who is the Lord, that I should obey him & let Israel go? I do not know the Lord & I will not let Israel go” (Exodus 5:2). Pharaoh considered himself to be a god, & therefore equal to any other god.

And so, it is written in The Bible, God had brought a series of plagues against Egypt.  He turned their water to blood.  He caused an infestation of frogs, then one of gnats, & after that, one of flies.  He made their livestock drop dead.  He caused an outbreak of painful boils, a great hailstorm that destroyed their crops, a plague of locusts that ate what was left, & another of darkness. Through these 9 plagues, Pharaoh had remained just as obstinate as God had predicted, & refused to let the Israelites go.

The Lord had said to a worried Moses, “I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh & on Egypt. After that, he will let you go from here, & when he does, he will drive you out completely.” (Exodus 11:1-2). The 10th plague, the death of all the firstborn, would break Pharoah’s will & free the Israelites from their bondage, but first they had to be protected from it. On the 10th day of the 1st month God had them select a male lamb for each household & inspect it for 3 days to be sure it had no blemish or defect. Then it was slaughtered, & its blood was applied to the door posts of their homes. Sunset brought the 14th of the month, & after cooking the lamb, each family gathered behind closed doors in their own house, & ate it quickly with some bitter herbs & unleavened bread, not venturing outside.  It is reported that at midnight the destroying angel came through Egypt & took the life of the first born of every family, except for those who had covered their door posts with lamb’s blood (Exodus 12:1-13, 21-23, 28-30).

Two years after the exodus from Egypt the Lord had Moses take a census of the all the people, listing by name every male 20 years old or older who could serve in the army. The number of those who met the requirements totaled 603,550 (Numbers 1:1-46).  Most scholars agree that the total Israelite population would have been about 1.5 million at the time.

On the first Christian Palm Sunday, the 10th day of the 1st month, another Passover Lamb was selected by allowing people to hail Him as Israel’s King for the first & only time in His life. When the Pharisees told him to rebuke His disciples for doing so, He said if they kept silent the very stones would cry out (Luke 19:39-40). 

This was the day ordained for His official appearance as their Messiah. For the next 3 days, He was subjected to the most intense questioning of His entire ministry lest there be any defects found in His words or deeds. Then on the 14th day, He was crucified.

"Passover & Palm Sunday" - Jesus Enters Jerusalem

The Entry Into Jerusalem, Halychyna, early 17C, The National Kyiv-Pechersk Historical and Cultural Preserve.  This version of Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem follows the Byzantine tradition of portraying Jesus seated sideways on a donkey with his Apostles behind Him and the Jerusalem crowd awaiting his arrival. Golden circles around the head indicates holiness. The bowed head of the donkey is also typically Byzantine. The clothing of the Jerusalem public mirrors that of 17C Ukrainian burghers & the tiered gables of Jerusalem are rendered in the style of Western Ukraine.

The entry of Jesus & His disciples into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday marks the beginning of Holy Week, which in Christianity is the week just before Easter. In the West, it is also the last week of Lent, & includes Palm Sunday, Holy Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Holy Friday, & Holy Saturday. It does not include Easter Sunday, which begins the season of Easter, although traditions observing the Easter may vary in different liturgical customs.

John The Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God.” (John 1:29,34). John the Baptist had been preaching about the coming Messiah, identifying himself as the forerunner Isaiah had promised over 700 years earlier. In Isaiah 40:3, John said, “I am the voice of one calling in the desert,‘Make straight the way for the Lord ‘ “ (John 1:23). Introducing Jesus to Israel as the Lamb of God would prompt a comparison between Jesus and the Passover lamb in their minds.

"Passover & Palm Sunday" - The Holy Week

Jesus enters Jerusalem & the crowds welcome him, by Pietro Lorenzetti, 1320

On Palm Sunday, Christians celebrate the Lord's triumphant entrance into Jerusalem for Passover, where he was welcomed by crowds worshiping him & laying down palm leaves before him. The Galileans, the pilgrim crowd, acclaimed Jesus, & the local Judeans did not. By Palm Sunday, many of the Jews were filled with rage for Jesus. In Bethany, he raised Lazarus from the dead, a miracle which won Him renown among certain Pharisees.  

Jesus took refuge at Ephrem - returning 6 days before Passover to Bethany, & triumphantly entered Jerusalem. That evening, He left Jerusalem & returned Monday. He spent time with Gentiles in the Temple, & on Wednesday He left for the Mount of Olives. Here He told the apostles of the events of the next several days, including His impending death. He returned to Jerusalem on Thursday, to share the Last Supper with His apostles. He was subsequently arrested & tried. He was crucified at Calvary on Friday, outside the gates of Jerusalem. He was buried the same day, & arose three days later, on Easter Sunday.

Passover was only 4 days away, when Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem that year.  He entered the city on the 10th day of the month.  Exodus 12:3, 5-6, says, Speak ye unto all the congregation of Israel, saying, In the tenth day of this month they shall take to them every man a lamb, according to the house of their fathers, a lamb for an house.. . ..Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats: And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.

"Passover & Palm Sunday" - Passover History from the Hebrew Bible, Christianity, & the Ancient Near East

Passover Preparations in the Sister Haggadah. British Library (Public Domain)

Unleavened bread, matzo or matzah, is a type of bread that is made without yeast or any other leavening agent. It is typically made from flour & water & is often eaten during the Jewish holiday of Passover, where it symbolizes the haste with which the Israelites left Egypt & the lack of time to let their bread rise. The Bible does not specify which grains were used for this bread, but it is likely that the bread mentioned in the Bible was made from wheat, barley, or spelt, which were common grains in the ancient Near East.

Bitter herbs are a variety of herbs that are eaten during the Passover Seder to symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. The bitter herbs are typically dipped in salt water before eating to represent the tears shed during the Israelites' slavery in Egypt.

The Bible does not specify which grains were used for this unleavened bread, but it is likely that the bread mentioned in the Bible was made from wheat, barley, or spelt, which were common grains in the ancient Near East.

Bitter herbs are oftren a combination of herbs that are eaten during the Passover Seder to symbolize the bitterness of slavery in Egypt. The bitter herbs are often dipped in salt water before eating to represent the tears shed during the Israelites' slavery in Egypt.

The Mishnah specifies 5 types of bitter herbs eaten on the night of Passover: ḥazzeret (lettuce), ʿuleshīn (endive/chicory), temakha, ḥarḥavina (possibly melilot, or Eryngium creticum), & maror (likely Sonchus oleraceus, sowthistle). 

Hazzeret

Hazzeret isthought to be a domestic lettuce. The word is cognate to other Near-Eastern terms for lettuce: the Talmud identifies hazzeret as hassa, similar to the Akkadian hassu & the Arabic hash.

The Talmud remarks that Romaine lettuce is not initially bitter, but becomes so later on, which is symbolic of the experience of the Jews in Egypt. The "later" bitterness of lettuce refers to fact that lettuce plants become bitter after they "bolt" (flower), a process which occurs naturally when days lengthen or temperatures rise.

Wild or prickly lettuce (Lactuca serriola) is listed in Tosefta Pisha as suitable for maror.  However, its absence from the approved list in the Mishnah & Talmud indicate that it is not suitable.

`Ulshin

The second species listed in the Mishnah is `ulshin, which is a plural to refer to both wild & cultivated types of plants in the genus Cichorium. The term is cognate to other near-eastern terms for endives.

Tamcha

The Talmud Yershalmi identified Hebrew tamcha with Greek γιγγίδιον gingídion, which has been positively identified via the illustration in the Vienna Dioscurides as the wild carrot Daucus gingidium.

Horseradish likely began to be used later, because leafy vegetables like lettuce did not grow in the northern climates Ashkenazi Jews had migrated to, & because some sources allow the use of any bitter substance. 

Many Jews use horseradish condiment (a mixture of cooked horseradish, beetroot & sugar), though the Shulchan Aruch requires that maror be used as is, that is raw, & not cooked or mixed with salt, vinegar, sugar, lemon, or beets.

Harhavina

The identity of harhavina is somewhat disputed. It may be melilot or Eryngium creticum.

Maror

The identity of this species was preserved among the Jews of Yemen as the plant Sonchus oleraceus, a relative of dandelion native to Israel. The word "maror" is an autohyponym, referring both to this species specifically, & to any species suitable for use at the Seder.

Passover in the Hebrew Bible by William Brown 

Passover is a Jewish festival celebrated since at least the 5C BCE, typically associated with the tradition of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt.  The festival was originally celebrated on the 14th of Nissan. Directly after Passover is the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which most traditions describe as originating when the Israelites left Egypt, & they did not have sufficient time to add yeast to the bread to allow it to rise. 

Though the Hebrew Bible describes the origins of Passover, these texts were likely composed after the 6C BCE & include evidence for editorial additions, expansions of older texts. Three characteristics emerge concerning the nature of Passover as represented in the Hebrew Bible:

Passover is associated with Yahweh, though not necessarily Yahweh's leading the Israelites out of Egypt or passing over the doorposts of their households. In analyzing & proposing a history for the textual growth of Exodus 12:1-28, Professors Simeon Chavel & Mira Balberg suggest that the oldest layer of text in Exodus 12 does not feature "Israel's liberation through Yahweh's smiting of Egypt & does not explicitly advance it" (Chavel 2018, 299), essentially characterizing it as an ambiguous piece of folklore about a festival.

Subsequent editors provided further ritual parameters & explanation of Yahweh's actions: all Israelite families must participate in consuming a one-year-old male lamb; the lamb should be flame-broiled, entirely consumed by the morning after Passover, & eaten quickly; & Yahweh will skip over or shield the Israelite households who put the lamb's blood on the doorpost from a destructive force killing their firstborn. Exodus 12:27, a response to the question concerning the purpose of celebrating Passover in future generations, best demonstrates the association between Passover & the killing of every firstborn in Egypt: “It is a Passover sacrifice for Yahweh, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when smiting Egypt; but he rescued our homes.” Passover was intended to be a performance & remembrance of Yahweh's act of protecting the firstborns of Israel while in Egypt, itself a sign of Yahweh's devotion to the Israelites.

Though Passover is often perceived as a unified, traditional ritual, Biblical passages describe  divergent rituals & reflect changes over time in the historical context.

The rituals concerning the actions on Passover develop throughout the Hebrew Bible such as this example, in Exodus 12:9.  Moses commands the Israelites to roast with fire the Passover lamb sacrifice, explicitly indicating they should not boil it with water. Yet, Deuteronomy 6:7 includes the command “you shall boil” the Passover sacrifice. Then, the author of Chronicles creatively combined the required ritual actions: “So, they boiled the Passover-lamb with fire according to the ordinance” (35:13).  Subsequent generations adjusted Passover ritual traditions.

Third, texts in the Hebrew Bible adjust the date of Passover for distinct reasons. Numbers 9:1-14, for example, offers provisions for Israelites who may have missed their opportunity to participate in Passover due to ritual uncleanliness (9:7, 10). Alternatively, Yahweh communicates through Moses that a 2nd Passover celebration is possible. Instead of celebrating on the 14th day of the 1st month, they should celebrate on the 14th day of the 2nd month. There remains an assumption, though, that all Israelites should celebrate Passover: "But the man who is pure, not on a journey, & neglects to perform the Passover, that person should be cut off from his people because he did not bring the offering of Yahweh at its appointed time." (Numbers 9:13).

The book of 2 Chronicles 30 describes Hezekiah's attempt to cause all of Judah & Israel to perform Passover. The text describes that they celebrated it on the 14th of the second month due to the lack of priests available & people present (2 Chronicles 30:2-3). Numbers 9 understands Passover to be an obligation incumbent on the Israelites; when 2 Chronicles 30 was composed, Passover was not perceived to be an obligation upon Israel & Judah.

Exodus 12 presents Passover as a celebration restricted to the households of Egypt (Exodus 12:1-13). Deuteronomy 16 indicates that Passover should be celebrated not at the home: “and you shall sacrifice a Passover-offering to Yahweh, either a sheep or a cattle, at the place which Yahweh will select as a dwelling for his name” (Deuteronomy 16:2), specifically clarifying in Deuteronomy 16:5 that the sacrifice should not be offered locally. When Exodus 12 was composed, Passover was practiced in local towns & households; by contrast, when Deuteronomy 16 was composed, Passover was more regulated, imagined to be practiced in a central temple or sanctuary.

Biblical passages describe divergent rituals, reflect the growth of the Passover tradition, & illuminate changes in the historical context.

Practicing Passover across the Centuries

Early Judaism (c. 5C BCE - 1st C CE)  In a group of texts called the Elephantine Papyri, written by members of the 5C BCE Jewish colony of Elephantine, Egypt, Passover is mentioned multiple times. indicating that Jews at Elephantine practiced some form of Passover. Unlike the biblical texts, the Elephantine Papyri can be more precisely dated affirming that Passover was a social practice among some Jews in the 5C BCE.

Composed in the 2C BCE, the Book of Jubilees is a rewritten version of Genesis & Exodus. One goal of Jubilees is to clarify the Jewish calendar for celebrating festivals. The book of Genesis narrates a story about how Yahweh tested Abraham by commanding him to kill his only son, providing a ram at the last minute. Jubilees 19:18, though, additionally describes how Abraham celebrated a festival for Yahweh after Yahweh provided a ram in lieu of having to sacrifice Isaac, his firstborn. The festival is the Festival of Unleavened Bread, which is typically associated with Passover, occurring 7 days following Passover. Jubilees establishes that the Festival of Unleavened Bread, thar Passover, was established prior to the Israelite exodus out of Egypt.

Passover in Early Christianity (c. 1C CE to 3C CE)

Passover plays a central role in the growth of Christianity as a distinct religious tradition from Judaism. By the 1C CE, Josephus & the Gospels indicate that Passover drew large crowds of Jews to Jerusalem, the central cult site for the celebration of Passover. Jesus he was a practicing Jew who lived in the 1C CE.

Jesus & The Last Supper

John 19:31 portrays Jesus as a Passover lamb, whose sacrifice would ultimately cause God to redeem humanity. Paul explicitly describes Jesus as a Passover lamb as he extends the imagery of unleavened bread metaphorically into the realm of morality (1 Corinthians 5:6-8). Similar depictions of Jesus appear in 1 Peter 1:19 & Revelation 5:6. The association of Jesus' death with the Passover sacrifice “points to an understanding of the sacrifices of the Passover lamb as the remembrance of God's past act of redemption that foreshadowed the sacrifice of the Lamb of God as God's ultimate act of redemption” (Mangum 2016). Early Christians, who perceived themselves as practicing Jews, reframed the traditional narrative of Passover to highlight Jesus as a redemptive figure for all of humanity.

Rabbinic Judaism (c 1C CE to 7C CE)

Rabbinic Judaism developed, in response to the destruction of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE. Without the temple, Jews could no longer offer sacrifices. It is from this context which Rabbinic Judaism emerged, providing ways to worship God & perform the various ritual festivals even though the Jewish temple was no longer standing. Rabbinic Judaism sought to establish “that the Passover celebration can & should continue even without the paschal lamb,” that is the Passover lamb (Bokser 1984, 48). Although ancient Israelite & Judean religion, along with Early Judaism, perceived the temple to be central to their worship, the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 CE forced the Rabbis to reconsider how they would perform their ancient rituals. 

The Tosefta, a Rabbinic Jewish text of codified traditions & laws (3C CE), discusses the role of unleavened bread & bitter herbs, two foods mentioned in Exodus 12:8: “They shall eat the flesh that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire, with unleavened bread & with bitter herbs” (Exodus 12:8; 1985 JPS Translation). Because this passage indicates that 3 things are eaten together, namely the Passover lamb, bitter herbs, & unleavened bread, the Rabbis equated bitter herbs & unleavened bread with the Passover sacrifice. 

Passover in the Ancient Near East

Passover as a festival is reflective of its broader ancient Near Eastern context in the use of blood at the entrance of the house combined with regard to the firstborn. One of the fundamental aspects of Passover is putting the blood of the Passover lamb upon the gateposts of the household, that is the front entrance: They shall take from the blood of the Passover lamb & put it upon the two doorposts & upon the upper-cross piece of the door upon the house within which they will eat it among them. (Exodus 12:7)

Applying the blood onto the door of the household warded off negative influences. In the context of Exodus 12, the “negative influence” is reference yo the destructive force which kills every firstborn.

Likewise, the Arslan Tash amulet from the 7C BCE discovered in Syria, includes a reference to “doorposts:”  “And let him not come down to the door-posts.” Here, the “doorposts” are the boundary into the home, the location where the amulet was possibly placed for preventing negative influences on the household. 

Additionally, a ritual called zukru, from a text discovered in Emar, Syria, shows remarkable similarities to Passover. First, both festivals began on the 14th day of the 1st month, lasting 7 days. Second, the ritual for Passover & zukru both involve the smearing of blood on posts – the posts in Passover are to the house, the posts in zukru are at the city gates. Third, zukru is primarily a festival of “(the offering of) the (firstborn) male animals” to Dagan, a Syrian deity (Cohen 2015, 336). Likewise, Exodus 34:19 associates Passover with the offering of firstborn animals. The speaker, Yahweh, says: “All first-born of a womb are mine, as well as your male livestock, the first born of cattle & sheep.” These passages demonstrate that Passover rituals are similar to broader ancient Near Eastern traditions.

"Passover & Palm Sunday" - Judaism Religious Rituals depicted in 1707


Hanukkah, Festival of Lights 
These woodcuts illustrate Judaism holiday & ritual observances in the 1707 Minhagim (Customs), published by Solomon Proops, Amsterdam, with descriptions & instructions in Yiddish, offer a glimpse of Judaism life at the end of the 17C & the beginning of the 18C in central Europe.

The woodcuts in the book cover Sabbath & holiday observance, & home & synagogue rituals. Among them area mother blessing the Sabbath lights of a Sabbath oil lamp;a father chanting the Havdalah (service of "separation" at the conclusion of the Sabbath), while he holds a cup of wine by the light of a candle held by a child whose sibling holds a spice box; 4 men blessing the new moon;a rabbi preaching on the Great Sabbath (preceding Passover); grinding flour for & baking matzoh; searching for chametz (leaven); & scouring pots & pans. Also shown are a man having his hair cut on Lag B'Omer--the 33rd day of the 50 between Passover & Shavuot, when restrictions obtaining during that period of mourning are relaxed; Moses on Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments; worshipers seated on the floor on Tisha B'Av, mourning the destruction of the Temple; the sounding of the shofar on Rosh Hashanah, the New Year; a man building his tabernacle for the Feast of Tabernacles; the gathering of palms, willows, & myrtle to join the citron in its celebration; children receiving sweets to celebrate the Joy of the Law, Simhat Torah; the kindling of a Hanukkah lamp; & Purim jesters sounding their musical instruments.

The life cycle is also marked: bride & groom under the huppah (canopy); an infant boy entering the Covenant of Abraham; & finally, a body borne in a coffin to its eternal resting place. These are some of the 1707 woodcuts:

Blessing the Sabbath Candles

The Havdalah Service

Sounding the Shofar on Rosh Hashana

The Lulav: Palm Branch, Myrtle, and Willow

The Merry Festival of Purim

Removing the Leaven from the Home

Under the Huppah, the Wedding Service

Brit Milah, the Circumcision

Carrying the Deceased to the Cemetery

Friday, March 31, 2023

"Lent's Temptations" - Christ & Satan


 Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The Temptation of Christ
Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13
Bible (Revised Standard Version)

Matthew 4

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Mark 1:12–13

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Luke 4:1–13

4And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; 10for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’
11and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

"Lent's Temptations" - Christ & Satan in a powerful Landscape 16C-17C

Temptation of Christ by 

The Temptation of Christ
Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13
Bible (Revised Standard Version)

Matthew 4

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Mark 1:12–13

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Luke 4:1–13

4And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; 10for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’
11and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Lent - Temptations in the Wilderness - Christ & Satan


 

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The Temptation of Christ
Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13
Bible (Revised Standard Version)

Matthew 4

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Mark 1:12–13

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Luke 4:1–13

4And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; 10for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’
11and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

"Lent's Temptations" - Christ & Satan


Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

The Temptation of Christ
Matthew 4:1–11; Mark 1:12–13; Luke 4:1–13
Bible (Revised Standard Version)

Matthew 4

4 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 2And he fasted forty days and forty nights, and afterward he was hungry. 3And the tempter came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.” 4But he answered, “It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’ ”
5Then the devil took him to the holy city, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you,’
and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
7Jesus said to him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 8Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and the glory of them; 9and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.” 10Then Jesus said to him, “Begone, Satan! for it is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
11Then the devil left him, and behold, angels came and ministered to him.

Mark 1:12–13

12 The Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13And he was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to him.

Luke 4:1–13

4And Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan, and was led by the Spirit 2for forty days in the wilderness, tempted by the devil. And he ate nothing in those days; and when they were ended, he was hungry. 3The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4And Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone.’ ” 5And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, 6and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. 7If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.” 8And Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘You shall worship the Lord your God,
and him only shall you serve.’ ”
And he took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here; 10for it is written,
‘He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,’
11and
‘On their hands they will bear you up,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.’ ”
12And Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ” 13And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.

Monday, March 27, 2023

"Lent's Temptations" - An exhausted Christ & a domineering Devil



Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

"Lent's Temptations" - Devil offers Christ complete Rule over the Earth 15C

The devil carries Jesus up to a mountain to tempt Him with an earthly kingdom (Luke 4-5–8 Matthew 4-8–10) Missal, France c.1470-75 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, MS 425, fol. 48r.  Satan is quite stylish with those feet, tail, & buttons.

Modern Version of The Temptation of Christ

Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, "If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread." Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God." Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. "If you are the Son of God," he said, "throw yourself down. For it is written: " 'He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.'" Jesus answered him, "It is also written: 'Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'"  Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.

During His 40 days of fasting & praying in the Wilderness, Satan tempted Jesus: to make bread out of stones to relieve his own hunger; to jump from a pinnacle & rely on angels to break his fall (both Luke & Matthew have Satan quote Psalm 91:11–12 to indicate that God had promised this assistance); & to worship Satan in return for all the kingdoms of the world.