Monday, August 11, 2008

MET Moving

I've moved over to Wordpress for blogging: I've tried to keep the same 'look,' though the Wordpress page is a little more neat. I do not intend to copy anything from this blog to the new one, so this one will stay up. The new blog will simply be a continuation of this blog. I just prefer the Wordpress format over Blogger's. And since I don't have many visitors here (so it seems), I didn't see the move as that detrimental. Let me know what you think, if you happen to stop by here and there. Thanks for reading.


Friday, August 08, 2008

The Prodigal Parable

I have been looking into the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15.11-32. I am now fairly certain that the younger son represents the (Sadducean) priesthood, and the older son represents the Pharisees for the following reasons:

1. Though not so depicted in the Gospels, the Pharisees were "a lay movement in competition with the priesthood" ("Pharisees," ABD, 5.289).

2. The Pharisees were known for their strict observance of the Law. The older son viewed himself as a faithful Law-observer (15.29).

3. The older son was "in the field." E. P. Sanders (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 181) says, "Let us recall that priests and Levites were forbidden to work the land.... They were not tied to farms, as many Pharisees were...." So a priest or Levite (and presumably Sadducee) was not permitted to be "in the field." The Pharisees were known for having such occupations.

4. The younger son is said to have been "dead" but is now "alive" (15.24, 32). This is a picture of Jesus' resurrection. The irony here, like in RM&L, is that the Sadducees denied the resurrection; but when Jesus is raised again, he becomes the new eschatological high priest and reconsecrates the priesthood to God (cf. Lk24.50-53). Therefore, the younger son in the parable undergoes a change of heart. This is the change in the priesthood from a Saducean perspective to Jesus' perspective. The "father" describes the return of the priesthood in terms of resurrection. And he is addressing the older son, representing the Pharisees, showing them that this new priest is different from the established priesthood of their day.

5. The younger son is clothed with new clothing upon his return. This is reminiscent of the re-clothing of Joshua the high priest in Zech3.1-5. Interestingly, the high priest of Zech3 is named "Joshua," the equivalent of "Jesus." If it can be shown that Jesus is meant as the one bringing the priesthood back from the Sadducean demise of the pig-pen, then it isn't so ironic that Luke's Jesus is alluding to a story about JOSHUA the high priest as found in Zech3.

6. This might be another instance in which Luke lets his background story inadvertantly shine through. Note that in the parable the older son complains that the father "never gave me a kid, that I might make merry with my FRIENDS" (15.29). In Zech3.8, the angel of the Lord says to Joshua, "Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your FRIENDS who sit before you, for they are men of good omen...."

7. The older son complains that the younger son had "devoured [the father's] living with the harlots" (15.30). This was a common complaint concerning the priests (e.g., TLevi 14.5-6). The Pharisees (the older son) was at odds with the Sadducees (the younger son) and would have made such complaints about them, demonstrating their illegitimacy.

Copyrighted 2008

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Malachi and Luke

I have argued here that Luke is writing to Theophilus the high priest of 37-41CE. Because Luke seems to have priestly interests, I gave the book of Malachi a once-over last night, for it was written against the priests. There seems to be good evidence that Luke uses Malachi at times (aside from the citation of Mal4.6 in Lk1.17).

Luke 18 particularly is shot through with allusions of Malachi 3.5, which reads thus:

"Then I will draw near to you for judgment; I will be a swift witness

against the sorcerers,

against the adulterers,

against those who swear falsely,

against those who oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the orphan,

against those who thrust aside the sojourner,

and those do not fear me,

says the Lord of hosts."

In Luke 18.1-8, we find a defense of WIDOWS and the condemnation of those who NEITHER FEARED GOD nor regarded man. In 18.9-14, we find an implicit denouncement of the Pharisaic haughtiness regarding ADULTERY and EXTORTION. In 18.18-30, we find Jesus reciting the Laws regarding ADULTERY, STEALING, and BEARING FALSE WITNESS.

One cannot help but wonder why Jesus only names the five Laws he names in 18.20. Malachi 1.6 reads, "A son honors his father...." I wonder if this is perhaps why Jesus is including the Law to honor father and mother. (Of course, there is no mention of murder in Malachi, yet Jesus includes the prohibition to kill.) The other Laws mentioned by Jesus find root in Malachi 3.5. I believe Luke's Jesus has Malachi in mind here.

Additionally, the issue of the SOJOURNER is taken up in Luke 10.29-37, the story of the good Samaritan. Defenses of WIDOWS appear in Luke 20.46-47; 21.1-4. SORCERY might be addresed by Jesus in Luke 11.14-26. And the issue of ADULTERY also emerges in Luke 16.18.

Further allusions may be included:

Mal1.6 // Lk6.46
Mal3.1 // Lk7.27 (citation)
Mal4.2 // Lk1.78 (so Marshall, Luke, 94)

Finally, I read somewhere that the Jewish Targum identifies Ezra as the author of Malachi. I must find the reference. Jewish tradition apparently recognized Malachi's relation to Ezra and Nehemiah.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Progression in Luke's Writing

Today I noticed the similarities between Luke 14.11 and 18.14. The Greek is nearly exact: hoti pas ho hupswn eauton tapeinwthedetai kai ho tapeinwn eauton hupswthesetai (14.11; cf. 18.14, where kai is replaced with de): "Because everyone exalting himself will be humbled, and the one humbling himself will be exalted."

I immediately considered the possibility that the two pericopes of Luke 14.7-11 and 18.1-14 are describing the same thing, or that Luke's Jesus is making the same point regarding the same people. But I was drawn away from that venture by another proposal. (I intend to investigate such a possibility very soon.)

These statements are of a certain kind, of a certain form. I continued searching the rest of Luke's Gospel and noticed a kind of trend regarding such forms. In Luke 8.18, we find the statement, "For to him who had will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away." So far as I can tell, this is the first statement of this kind, using this rhetoric, in Luke's Gospel. From there, I moved forward through the Gospel looking for similar rhetorical structures. I found these (including 8.18, 14.11 and 18.14):

8.18: For to him who had will more be given, and from him who has not, even what he thinks he has will be taken away.

9.5: Wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.

10.6: If a son of peace is there, your peace shall rest upon him; but if not, it shall return to you.

10.16: He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.

11.23: He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.

12.48: Everyone to whom much is given, of him will much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.

13.30: Some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.

14.11: Because everyone exalting himself will be humbled, and the one humbling himself will be exalted.

16.18: Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.

18.14: Because everyone exalting himself will be humbled, but the one humbling himself will be exalted.

20.18: Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken into pieces; upon whomever it falls, it will crish him.

(If I have forgotten any similar cases, please make them known.)

It seems to me that Luke is moving from a more primitive rhetorical form to a more developed one. Each of these cases is 'tighter' in verbal form than the previous case (with the lone exception of the 8.18, which looks much closer to the last four verbally that any one case between them.) I intend to study these passages in order alongside the other Synoptics, and even alongside John. But, should there be something to this, two things emerge:

1. Richard Anderson has suggested that Luke uses a "step progression method" in telling his story ( Perhaps he is right, and this development of rhetorical form might help establish that.

2. If Luke is developing these sayings as he goes along, making the form stronger and tighter, perhaps this is a reflection of a free mind and a free hand. If so (which I'm not sure can be proven), perhaps this is evidence that Luke wrote without depending on a written source. If it can be shown that Luke's redition of these statements, when taken together, is less developed compared to the other Synoptics, perhaps this is a step toward strengthening Lucan priority.

The Sceva Episode (Part 2)

There is some mystery behind the Sceva episode in Acts 19. I believe the narrative of 1 Samuel 2 about Eli and his sons, Hophni and Phinehas lie behind the pericope.

Recall that Hophni and Phinehas were corrupt (1Sam2.12-17, 27-36). The LXX says that Hophni and Phinehas were "worthless men." The Hebrew text reads "sons of Belial". On Belial, the Anchor Bible Dictionary (ABD) suggests that there may be a play on words between Belial and Baal, "which would suggest the evilness of the two sons" (ABD, "Hophni", 3.285). These two brothers had "turned away from YHWH" [Heb.] / "no regard for the Lord" [LXX] (1Sam2.12).

I was immediately reminded of Jesus' teaching about Beelzebul in Luke 11.15ff. I. H. Marshall (NIGTC, Luke): "The name [Beelzebul] does not occur in Jewish literature, but appears to represent the same figure as Belial in the intertestamental literature. 'Beel' is clearly equivalent to 'Baal', i.e. 'lord'. The second part of the word has been traced to ...'house, high place, temple' (iKi8.13; Is63.15), giving 'lord of the house' (cf. Mt10.25 so Gaston, with reference to Jesus' claim to be 'lord of the temple')."

So, Fitzmyer (AB, Luke): "[T]he use of Beelzebul [in Lk11.15] and Satan in v. 18 suggests that the former has already become merely an alternate name for Satan, as had 'Belial' (1QS1.18,24; 2.5,19,etc.; cf. 2Cor6.15)."

So, I noted some similarities between Luke 11.15ff. and Acts 19.14-16 (and in light of 1Sam2):

1. Both are about casting out evil spirits.

2. Jesus says in Lk 11.19, "If I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out?" Acts 19.14-16 speaks of sons of Sceva casting out evil spirits.

3. Jesus tells of the 'strong man', "When one stronger that he assails [another] and overcomes him...". Acts 19.16: "And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and mastered both of them, and overpowered them." (The Greek does not match between these two text on these terms. However, as I noted above, Belial in 1Sam2 is in the Heb, not LXX, which tells me Luke is remembering or is mindful of the subnarrative in Hebrew.)

4. The evil spirit of Jesus' story says, "I will return to the house from which I came" (Lk11.24). Acts 19.16: " that they fled that house...". (The Greek matches here, as it does with 1Sam2 LXX as well.)

5. The evil spirit of Jesus' story "brings seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there" (Lk11.26). Acts 19.14-16 speaks of seven sons of Sceva.

6. In Luke 11.15ff., the movement is from "spirits" (pl.) to "spirit" (sg., v24) back to "spirits" (pl., v26). In Acts 19.14-16, the movement is from "spirits" (pl., v13) to "spirit" (sg., v15). (This has otherwise been puzzling for commentators of Acts. See my previous post:

7. In Luke 11, the movement is from one spirit to seven. In Acts 19, the movement is from seven sons to two ("both", amphoteron). Since there are so many similarities between these two Lucan passages and that of 1 Samuel 2, and considering the reference to "your sons" in Luke 11.19, it therefore is not so puzzling that Luke refers to two ("both") seemingly accidentally. He has the two corrupt sons of a high priest in mind, even though as a subnarrative and not overtly.

Back to 2 Samuel 2, Hophni and Phinehas were greedy (2.13-17,29). They desired the extra portions of the offerings. This is exactly what Jesus condemns in the parables of the unjust steward, the rich fool (who build up his barns, Lk12), the rich mand and Lazarus, etc.

ABD concludes: "Samuel emerges as the true priest of Israel." This is precisely what I have been arguing with reference to Luke's use of Samuel (; Recall my assertion that in the story of the 12-yr-old Jesus, Luke is showing that Jesus is the "faithful priest" foretold of God in 1 Samuel 2.

Lastly, note the level of irony Luke is using in Acts 19. The sons of Sceva do not cast out the evil spirit, but the evil spirit cast out them! Note the text: "they fled out of that house naked and wounded." Recall Luke 11.24 the evil spirit says to himself, "I will return to my house from which I came." So there is another link between Luke 11 and Acts 19: irony. Luke is playing with his own previous work, recalling to Theophilus the story of Jesus' casting out demons. In this ironic way, Luke is able to rib Theophilus in a narrative in which Theophilus was completely absent. In other words, whereas in the earlier chapters of Acts (chs. 4-13+) Luke was able to show the corruption of the priesthood as it related to Theophilus directly (he may even have been one of the high priests mentioned or alluded to at various points in the earlier chapters!), in Acts 19 there is no such narrative link to Theophilus. So, creatively, Luke has come up with Sceva and his seven sons to conjur up once again the subnarrative of 1 Samuel 2 (the most popular of all corrupted priesthood accounts in Jewish history), just as he had before.

I believe, therefore, that Luke has been using 1 Samuel 2 as a subnarrative for great portions, if not all, of his story of Jesus and the Jesus movement.

The Sceva Episode (Part 1)

Like so many others, I have been puzzled about the rhetoric of Acts 19.13-16, the story of the seven sons of Sceva casting out evil spirits. I believe that Luke may have 1 Samuel 2 inmind as a subnarrative for this story. (See also my posts:;

Recall that in Acts 19, there are seven (hepta) sons, yet Luke says that the evil spirit takes down "both" (amphoteron). Here are some comments from Lucan scholars on the reconciling "seven" with "both":

Barrett (ICC, 911): 'amphoteron would normally mean both, which is inconsistent with hepta in v. 14. ...There are a few somewhat later papyrus examples of the use of amphoteroi in the sense of all and it is probably best to suppose that Luke here gives us the earliest known occurrence.'

Fitzmyer (AB, 650): '[Of v. 16] overpowerd them all. Lit., "overpowering both of them." The pron. amphoteron, "both of them", is strange, implying that the sons were two. This reading of the Alexandrian text is in conflict with hepta, "seven (sons)" of c. 14. Some MSS read simply auton, "them", thus eliminating the problem. For a farfetched attempt to explain amphoteron as referring to the two names just mentioned, Jesus and Paul, see Lattey..." Regarding v. 14, "seven", Fitzmyer says, 'For a farfetched suggestion that the text read 'two sons', thus making the word amphoteron in v. 16 unintelligiable, instead of "seven sons", see Torrey.... Torrey maintains that the cipher for 2 was confused with one for 7.'

L. T. Johnson (SP, 340, 341): 'The Western Text tries to correct the apparent disconnectedness of this verse: "amond them also were the [seven] sons...". The textual evidence for "seven" is uncertain, possibly because of the inconsistency that Luke introduces with the use of amphoteros ("both") in v. 16. ...There is an obvious tension between the "seven sons" in v. 14 and the "both" who are overwhelmed here, unless we take amphoteroi in the broad Hellenistic sense of "all".'

Conzelmann (Herm, 164): 'either [Luke's] source spoke of two exorcists, in which case amphoteron has the sense of "both", or Luke uses the word with its loose Hellenistic sense, "all" (RSV).'

Metzger, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament: 'Some have felt a difficulty that hepta in ver. 14 changes ver. 16 to "two" (amphoteroi, though occasionally in substandard Greek amphoteroi has the meaning of "all"). [Metzger then mentions several different suggestions from the likes of Moulton, Clark, Torrey, Overbeck, and Naber.] ...The difficulty of reconciling hepta with amphoteroi, however, is not so great as to render the text that includes both an impossible text. On the other hand, however, the difficulty is so troublesome that it is hard to explain how hepta came into the text, and was perpetuated, if it were not original, whereas, in view of amphoteroi, it is easy to see how it might have been omitted.'

Also, there is that funny reference to "that house" (oikou ekeinou) at the close of the story. Here are some commentators on "that house":

Barrett (ICC, 911): 'This [oikou ekeinou] should refer back to a previously mentioned house; there is none. ...Rooff concludes from the unexplained reference to a house that Luke is abbreviating tradition. But the whole of vv. 14-16 creates a somewhat unsatisfactory impression, which probably accounts for the rewriting in D. One is inclined to suppose that a fragmentary and unsatisfactory tradition narrative has been incorporated here; its unsatisfactory state might be held to speak well for Luke's faithfulness to tradition. But he could have tidied it up without unfaithfulness, and it is hard to know why he did not' [italics mine].

L. T. Johnson (SP, 341): 'There is also the unexpected appearance of "that house" which had not previously been mentioned. In general, this is not the most carefully crafted of Luke's vignettes.'

I also noted before that Luke moves from "spirits" (pl.) to "spirit" (sg.) seemingly arbitrarily. Conzelmann on this (Herm., 163): 'humas, "you," is plural in agreement with the plural pneumata, "spirits"; this is redactional - the original version knew only of one demon.'

On the overall awkwardness of the passage, Conzelmann (164): 'The incorporation of the individual story into the context has resulted in some confusion. At this point more descriptive material should have been given (and originally was included) in which the encounter with the demon and the speaking of the formula of exorcism were described. But Luke has already anticipated that and immediately moves beyond it; he goes abruptly into the midst of the action. No setting is introduced until vs 16. The demon is not driven out, but begins to debate; with that it has already won the contest.'

I agree with Conzelmann on one thig: 'The high priest Sceva is a purely legendary figure' (164). I believe Luke is mocking Theophilus and his family, thus not meaning to refer to any historical figure named "Sceva".

My Conclusion

My suggestion that Luke has written this portion sloppily because he has an undernarrative in mind makes good sense of the data, and of the many questions involving the text, as demonstrated by first-rate scholars above. Luke has used the subnarrative of 1 Samuel 2 before in implicating the priesthood (cf. In Acts, he has unusually harkened back to Samuel's testimony to Jesus and the new age (Ac3.24; cf. 13.20). (Samuel is only mentioned elsewhere in the NT at Heb11.32). In 1 Samuel 2, we read of the corruption and fate of Eli's two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, and how their house will be desolate, in the wake of a new house built by the faithful priest promised of God. Luke has this story, the epitome of examples regarding the corruption of the priesthood, in mind while writing Luke-Acts. By the time he comes to the later chapters in Acts, when Theophilus and his family had no longer run the Temple or been involved in the events Luke describes, and Luke did not have grounds for criticizing him any longer, Luke employed this Sceva character, who supposedly had seven sons (Theophilus, his father Annas, his four brothers, and his brother-in-law Caiaphas) who could not do what Paul & co. were able to do in Jesus' name and for God's kingdom. Therefore, Luke can slip in a comment of "both of them", referring to the sons of Sceva, though he had previously mentioned "seven" sons. He has Hophni and Phinehas in mind. This is further confirmed by the puzzling reference to "that house" at the close of the pericope where there is no antecedent "house" present.

There is also the possibility of writer fatigue in Luke's mind and hand. He has Hophni and Phinehas in mind, but in his fatigue allows them to get into his fingers as he writes, so as to be "confusing", according to scholars.

This suggestion is consistent with Luke's use of 1 Samuel 2 in GLuke to show that Jesus is the faithful priest foretold by God to Eli. Thus, Luke is using the story to criticize the priesthood of his day, of which Theophilus and his family were members.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Eleazar ben Annas = Alexander of Acts 4.6?

I recently read that Alexander is the Graecized form of the Hebrew name Eleazar. We know that Annas the high priest of 6-15AD had five sons who served as high priest, one of whom was named Eleazar. Since we have no record of a high priest bearing the name Alexander in Josephus, et al., and since we are told that one Alexander was of "the high priestly family" in Acts 4.6, might that Alexander mean to be a reference to Eleazar ben Annas, who served as high priest from 16-17AD?

Additionally, the John of Acts 4.6 might very well be Jonathan ben Annas, who served as high priest twice. This would explain further why Luke can call this group members of "the high priestly family". If Luke's recipient Theophilus is the son of Annas (as is posited here on this blog) who served as high priest from 37-41AD, he would have easily recognized his brothers' names, even if shortened or Graecized. Perhaps there is an intention on Luke's part to publicly obscure, yet reveal to Theophlius, the identities of these "high priests". I cannot find any reason for the phenomenon known as "protective anonimity" in this case. However, the irony is far more than coincidence.

Also, note that Luke does not say that these men are of "priestly descent". He says they are of the "HIGH priestly family". This is a much more specific reference. For there is no basis of descent which entitles one to the high priesthood.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Felix, Jonathan and Theophilus

Dan Barag and David Flusser, in their article concerning an ossuary bearing the names "Yehohanah" and "Theophilus", write, "After playing an important role in public life during the time of Cumanus (50-52 C.E.), he [Jonathan, Theophilus' brother] was murdered at the instigation of the prefect Felix” (D. Barag and D. Flusser, "The Ossuary of Yehohanah Granddaughter of the High Priest Theophilus", Israel Exploration Journal, 36 [1986], 43n.19; they reference Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, rev. ed. [Vermes and Millar], 230).

Is this perhaps why Luke casts Felix in such a wicked light in Acts? Felix is said to have expected a bribe from Paul (Ac24.26). If indeed Felix was responsible for the murder of Theophilus' brother Jonathan, then his holding of Paul (cf. Ac24.27) might very well be (spiteful?) motivation for Theophilus to intervene on Paul's behalf. Perhaps Luke, knowing of Felix responsibility in Jonathan's death, hoped to instigate intervention on the part of Theophilus.

(I have read that Jonathan was actually killed by the Sicarii, though the event was instigated by Felix. The citation eludes me at present.)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Brief Analysis of Luke 13-22

Analysis of Luke 13-22 (the bold and italicized portions showing continuity of argument throughout the text), with a conclusion following:

Luke 13.22-30: “You will say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But [the householder] will say, ‘I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, you workers of iniquity.’ There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from the east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.

[Luke 13.31-35: Jesus’ denouncement of Jerusalem as a response to the Pharisees who apparently seek to save his life from Herod.]

Luke 14.7-11: Jesus told a parable: “When you are invited by anyone to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Luke 14.12-14: He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your kinsmen or your neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. You will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”

Luke 14.15-24: When one of those who sat at table with him heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is he who shall eat bread in the kingdom of God!” But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet, and invited many; and at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for all is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses…. So the servant came a reported this to his master. Then the householder in anger said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’”

[Luke 14.25-35: Jesus’ teachings on denying one’s self, taking up cross; and a saying on salt.]

Luke 15.1-2: Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him. And the Pharisees and the scribes murmured, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

[Luke 15.3-20.44: Various sayings and pericopes denouncing the Pharisees, scribes, chief priests, and Sadducees.]

Luke 20.45-47: And in the hearing all of the people he said to his disciples, “Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes, and love salutations in the market places and the best seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at feasts, who devour widows’ houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.” (Cf. especially 11.42-44!)

[Luke 21.1-38: Olivet Discourse.]

Luke 22.14-30: Various indicators that Jesus’ disciples accomplish what the Pharisees, et al, had been denounced for:

[Jesus] sat at table, and his apostles with him (22.14).

“I have earnestly desired [all this time] to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God” (22.15-16).

“I tell you that from now on I shall not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (22.18).

A dispute arose among them, which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “...[L]et the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For which is greater, one who sits at table, or one who serves? Is it not the one who sits at table? But I am among you as one who serves. You are those who have continued with me in my trials; and I assign to you, as my Father assigned to me, a kingdom, that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (22.24-30).


Jesus repeatedly denounces the Pharisees, scribes, chief priests, and Sadducees as regards 1) presumed placement at table fellowship during meals and banquets [first/last; greatest/least], 2) the expectation of those who are truly invited to sit at table [Pharisees, et al, who are physically present and rest on that (cf. 13.22ff.), OR the poor, maimed, blind, lame from the east, west, north, south], 3) the coming of the kingdom of God in unique and unexpected fashion. The disciples sit in direct and obvious contrast to the Pharisees, et al. They physically sit at table with Jesus as Jesus FINALLY gets to enjoy table fellowship with them alone (cf. 22.15). Jesus shows them that placement at the table truly doesn’t matter, but service of one another matters. And Jesus promises to them, as opposed to the Pharisees, et al, that they will indeed eat and drink at Jesus’ table in the kingdom of God.