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Matthew 26: 14 - 27: 66

I propose a biblical analysis with the following steps: a study of each Greek word of the evangelical text, followed by an analysis of the structure of the narrative and its context, to which is added a comparison of parallel or similar passages. At the end of this analysis and as a conclusion, I propose to summarize what the evangelist meant, and I end up with some suggestions on how this Gospel could shed light on our current situation.


  1. Translation of the greek text
  2. Analysis of each verse
    Ch. 26 Ch. 27
  3. Structure analysis
  4. Context analysis
  5. Analysis of parallels
  6. Intention of the author when writng this passage
  7. Current situations or events in which we could read this text

 


  1. Translation of the Greek text (28th edition of Kurt Aland)

    Greek textTransliterated Greek textLiteral translationTranslation in current language
    26, 14 Τότε πορευθεὶς εἷς τῶν δώδεκα, ὁ λεγόμενος Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριώτης, πρὸς τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς 15 εἶπεν• τί θέλετέ μοι δοῦναι, κἀγὼ ὑμῖν παραδώσω αὐτόν; οἱ δὲ ἔστησαν αὐτῷ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια 16 καὶ ἀπὸ τότε ἐζήτει εὐκαιρίαν ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδῷ26, 14 Tote poreutheis heis tōn dōdeka, ho legomenos Ioudas Iskariōtēs, pros tous archiereis 15 eipen• ti thelete moi dounai, kagō hymin paradōsō auton? hoi de estēsan autō triakonta argyria. 16 kai apo tote ezētei eukairian hina auton paradō.26:14 Then having gone one of the twelve, being called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests 15 he said, "What are you willing me to give and I to you will betray him. 16 And from that time, he was seeking an opportunity that him he might betray 26, 14 Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judas Iscariot, went to the high priests 15 to say to them, "How much will you give me, if I give it to you? They collected the equivalent of five hundred dollars in today's currency. 16 From then on, he looked for the right moment to hand them over.
    17 Τῇ δὲ πρώτῃ τῶν ἀζύμων προσῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ τῷ Ἰησοῦ λέγοντες• ποῦ θέλεις ἑτοιμάσωμέν σοι φαγεῖν τὸ πάσχα; 18 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν• ὑπάγετε εἰς τὴν πόλιν πρὸς τὸν δεῖνα καὶ εἴπατε αὐτῷ• ὁ διδάσκαλος λέγει• ὁ καιρός μου ἐγγύς ἐστιν, πρὸς σὲ ποιῶ τὸ πάσχα μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν μου 19 καὶ ἐποίησαν οἱ μαθηταὶ ὡς συνέταξεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ ἡτοίμασαν τὸ πάσχα 17 Tē de prōtē tōn azymōn prosēlthon hoi mathētai tō Iēsou legontes• pou theleis hetoimasōmen soi phagein to pascha? 18 ho de eipen• hypagete eis tēn polin pros ton deina kai eipate autō• ho didaskalos legei• ho kairos mou engys estin, pros se poiō to pascha meta tōn mathētōn mou. 19 kai epoiēsan hoi mathētai hōs synetaxen autois ho Iēsous kai hētoimasan to pascha. 17 Then, on the first [day] of the unleavened [bread], came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Where wish you [that] we should prepare for you to eat the Passover? 18 And he said, Go into the city unto a certain man and tell him the Master says, The time of Me near is; with you I will keep the Passover, with the disciples of me. 19 And did the disciples as directed them Jesus, and prepared the Passover. 17 On the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples went to Jesus and asked him, "Where do you want us to prepare you to eat for Passover?" 18 The latter replied, "Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, 'The master says to you: my time is near, it is at your house that I want to celebrate the Passover with my disciples'." 19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them and prepared the Passover.
    20 Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἀνέκειτο μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα. 21 καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν εἶπεν• ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με. 22 καὶ λυπούμενοι σφόδρα ἤρξαντο λέγειν αὐτῷ εἷς ἕκαστος• μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι, κύριε; 23 ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν• ὁ ἐμβάψας μετʼ ἐμοῦ τὴν χεῖρα ἐν τῷ τρυβλίῳ οὗτός με παραδώσει. 24 ὁ μὲν υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ὑπάγει καθὼς γέγραπται περὶ αὐτοῦ, οὐαὶ δὲ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ ἐκείνῳ διʼ οὗ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται• καλὸν ἦν αὐτῷ εἰ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος. 25 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Ἰούδας ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν εἶπεν• μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι, ῥαββί; λέγει αὐτῷ• σὺ εἶπας. 20 Opsias de genomenēs anekeito meta tōn dōdeka. 21 kai esthiontōn autōn eipen• amēn legō hymin hoti heis ex hymōn paradōsei me. 22 kai lypoumenoi sphodra ērxanto legein autō heis hekastos• mēti egō eimi, kyrie? 23 ho de apokritheis eipen• ho embapsas met’ emou tēn cheira en tō trybliō houtos me paradōsei. 24 ho men huios tou anthrōpou hypagei kathōs gegraptai peri autou, ouai de tō anthrōpō ekeinō di’ hou ho huios tou anthrōpou paradidotai• kalon ēn autō ei ouk egennēthē ho anthrōpos ekeinos. 25 apokritheis de Ioudas ho paradidous auton eipen• mēti egō eimi, rhabbi? legei autō• sy eipas. 20 Then, evening having arrived, he was reclining with the twelve disciples. 21 And [as] they were eating, to them he said, Truly I say to you that one of you will betray me. 22 And being grieved exceedingly, they began to say to him, one each, Not I is it, Lord? 23 Then answering he said, The [one] having dipped with me the hand in the dish, he me will betray. 24 Indeed the Son of Man goes as it has been written about him; woe however the man to that by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. Better would it be for him if not had been born the man that. 25 Then answering Judas, who was betraying him, said, Not I is it, Rabbi? he says to him, You have said. 20 In the evening, when he was lying down with the Twelve 21 and eating, he said: "Truly, I assure you, one of you will betray me. 22 Heavily grieved, the disciples each began to ask him, "Could it be me, master?" 23 In response, Jesus said, "The one who betrays me is the one who put his hand with me in the dish. 24 Certainly, according to the Scriptures, the new Adam is called to die, but I pity this man who betrayed the new Adam: it would have been better for this man not to be born". 25 In turn Judas asked, "Is it me, Rabbi?" Jesus replied, "You said so".
    26 Ἐσθιόντων δὲ αὐτῶν λαβὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἄρτον καὶ εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ δοὺς τοῖς μαθηταῖς εἶπεν• λάβετε φάγετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου. 27 καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον καὶ εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς λέγων• πίετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες, 28 τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυννόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν. 29 λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν, οὐ μὴ πίω ἀπʼ ἄρτι ἐκ τούτου τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ὅταν αὐτὸ πίνω μεθʼ ὑμῶν καινὸν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου. 30 Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ ὄρος τῶν ἐλαιῶν. 26 Esthiontōn de autōn labōn ho Iēsous arton kai eulogēsas eklasen kai dous tois mathētais eipen• labete phagete, touto estin to sōma mou. 27 kai labōn potērion kai eucharistēsas edōken autois legōn• piete ex autou pantes, 28 touto gar estin to haima mou tēs diathēkēs to peri pollōn ekchynnomenon eis aphesin hamartiōn. 29 legō de hymin, ou mē piō apʼ arti ek toutou tou genēmatos tēs ampelou heōs tēs hēmeras ekeinēs hotan auto pinō methʼ hymōn kainon en tē basileia tou patros mou. 30 Kai hymnēsantes exēlthon eis to oros tōn elaiōn. 26 Then [as] they were eating of them, having taken Jesus bread, and having blessed, broke [it], and having given to the disciples, he said, Take, eat; this is the body of me. 27 And having taken a cup and having given thanks, he gave [it] to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you. 28 This for is the blood of me, of the covenant, for many being poured out for forgiveness of sins. 29 Then I say to you, no not will I drink, from now, of this the fruit of the vine, until the day that, when it I drink with you anew in the kingdom of the Father of me. 30 And having sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 26 While they were eating, after taking bread and saying the blessing, Jesus broke it and shared it with the disciples, saying, "Take, eat, this is my body." 27 After taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink in all, 28 this is my blood of covenant, shed so that a large part of humanity will return from its waywardness". 29 He added, "From now on, I will no longer drink the product of the vine with you, until the day when I drink something new in my father's world." 30 After singing hymns, they left for the Garden of Olives.
    31 Τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς • πάντες ὑμεῖς σκανδαλισθήσεσθε ἐν ἐμοὶ ἐν τῇ νυκτὶ ταύτῃ, γέγραπται γάρ• πατάξω τὸν ποιμένα, καὶ διασκορπισθήσονται τὰ πρόβατα τῆς ποίμνης. 32 μετὰ δὲ τὸ ἐγερθῆναί με προάξω ὑμᾶς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν. 33 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπεν αὐτῷ• εἰ πάντες σκανδαλισθήσονται ἐν σοί, ἐγὼ οὐδέποτε σκανδαλισθήσομαι. 34 ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• ἀμὴν λέγω σοι ὅτι ἐν ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι τρὶς ἀπαρνήσῃ με. 35 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πέτρος• κἂν δέῃ με σὺν σοὶ ἀποθανεῖν, οὐ μή σε ἀπαρνήσομαι. ὁμοίως καὶ πάντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπαν. 31 Tote legei autois ho Iēsous• pantes hymeis skandalisthēsesthe en emoi en tē nykti tautē, gegraptai gar• pataxō ton poimena, kai diaskorpisthēsontai ta probata tēs poimnēs. 32 meta de to egerthēnai me proaxō hymas eis tēn Galilaian. 33 apokritheis de ho Petros eipen autō• ei pantes skandalisthēsontai en soi, egō oudepote skandalisthēsomai. 34 ephē autō ho Iēsous• amēn legō soi hoti en tautē tē nykti prin alektora phōnēsai tris aparnēsē me. 35 legei autō ho Petros• kan deē me syn soi apothanein, ou mē se aparnēsomai. homoiōs kai pantes hoi mathētai eipan. 31 Then says to them Jesus, All you will fall away because of me during the night this. It has been written for: I will strike the shepherd, and will be scattered the sheep of the flock. 32 Then, after however being raised, I will go before you into Galilee. 33 Then answering, Peter said to him, If all will fall away because of You, I never will fall away. 34 Said to him Jesus, Truly I say to you that during this night, before [the] rooster crowing, three times you will deny me. 35 Says to him Peter, Even if it were necessary for me with You to die, no not You will I deny. Likewise also, all the disciples said. 31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you are going to stumble tonight because of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will disperse. 32 And after returning from the dead, I will go before you into Galilee". 33 But Peter retorted, "Even if everyone stumbles because of you, I will never stumble". 34 Jesus continues, "Truly, I assure you, that very night, before the rooster crows, you will have denied knowing me three times". 35 Peter objected, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny knowing you". The disciples all said the same thing.
    36 Τότε ἔρχεται μετʼ αὐτῶν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς χωρίον λεγόμενον Γεθσημανὶ καὶ λέγει τοῖς μαθηταῖς• καθίσατε αὐτοῦ ἕως [οὗ] ἀπελθὼν ἐκεῖ προσεύξωμαι. 37 καὶ παραλαβὼν τὸν Πέτρον καὶ τοὺς δύο υἱοὺς Ζεβεδαίου ἤρξατο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ ἀδημονεῖν. 38 τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς• περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου• μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε μετʼ ἐμοῦ. 39 καὶ προελθὼν μικρὸν ἔπεσεν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ προσευχόμενος καὶ λέγων• πάτερ μου, εἰ δυνατόν ἐστιν, παρελθάτω ἀπʼ ἐμοῦ τὸ ποτήριον τοῦτο• πλὴν οὐχ ὡς ἐγὼ θέλω ἀλλʼ ὡς σύ. 40 καὶ ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ• οὕτως οὐκ ἰσχύσατε μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι μετʼ ἐμοῦ; 41 γρηγορεῖτε καὶ προσεύχεσθε, ἵνα μὴ εἰσέλθητε εἰς πειρασμόν• τὸ μὲν πνεῦμα πρόθυμον ἡ δὲ σὰρξ ἀσθενής. 42 πάλιν ἐκ δευτέρου ἀπελθὼν προσηύξατο λέγων• πάτερ μου, εἰ οὐ δύναται τοῦτο παρελθεῖν ἐὰν μὴ αὐτὸ πίω, γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου. 43 καὶ ἐλθὼν πάλιν εὗρεν αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, ἦσαν γὰρ αὐτῶν οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ βεβαρημένοι. 44 καὶ ἀφεὶς αὐτοὺς πάλιν ἀπελθὼν προσηύξατο ἐκ τρίτου τὸν αὐτὸν λόγον εἰπὼν πάλιν. 45 τότε ἔρχεται πρὸς τοὺς μαθητὰς καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• καθεύδετε [τὸ] λοιπὸν καὶ ἀναπαύεσθε• ἰδοὺ ἤγγικεν ἡ ὥρα καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς χεῖρας ἁμαρτωλῶν. 46 ἐγείρεσθε ἄγωμεν• ἰδοὺ ἤγγικεν ὁ παραδιδούς με. 36 Tote erchetai metʼ autōn ho Iēsous eis chōrion legomenon Gethsēmani kai legei tois mathētais• kathisate autou heōs [hou] apelthōn ekei proseuxōmai. 37 kai paralabōn ton Petron kai tous dyo huious Zebedaiou ērxato lypeisthai kai adēmonein. 38 tote legei autois• perilypos estin hē psychē mou heōs thanatou• meinate hōde kai grēgoreite metʼ emou. 39 kai proelthōn mikron epesen epi prosōpon autou proseuchomenos kai legōn• pater mou, ei dynaton estin, parelthatō apʼ emou to potērion touto• plēn ouch hōs egō thelō allʼ hōs sy. 40 kai erchetai pros tous mathētas kai heuriskei autous katheudontas, kai legei tō Petrō• houtōs ouk ischysate mian hōran grēgorēsai metʼ emou? 41 grēgoreite kai proseuchesthe, hina mē eiselthēte eis peirasmon• to men pneuma prothymon hē de sarx asthenēs. 42 palin ek deuterou apelthōn prosēuxato legōn• pater mou, ei ou dynatai touto parelthein ean mē auto piō, genēthētō to thelēma sou. 43 kai elthōn palin heuren autous katheudontas, ēsan gar autōn hoi ophthalmoi bebarēmenoi. 44 kai apheis autous palin apelthōn prosēuxato ek tritou ton auton logon eipōn palin. 45 tote erchetai pros tous mathētas kai legei autois• katheudete [to] loipon kai anapauesthe• idou ēngiken hē hōra kai ho huios tou anthrōpou paradidotai eis cheiras hamartōlōn. 46 egeiresthe agōmen• idou ēngiken ho paradidous me. 36 Then comes with them Jesus to a place called Gethsemane, and he says to the disciples, Sit here, until that having gone away over there, I shall pray. 37 And having taken with [him] Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then he says to them, Very sorrowful is the soul of me, even to death; remain here and stay awake with me. 39 And having gone forward a little, he fell upon face of him, praying, and saying, Father of me, if possible it is, let pass from me the cup this. Nevertheless not as I will, but as You. 40 And he comes to the disciples and finds them sleeping. And he says to Peter, Thus not were you able one hour to stay awake with me? 41 Stay away and pray, that not you enter into temptation. The indeed spirit [is] willing, but the flesh weak. 42 Again for a second time having gone away, he prayed, saying, Father of me, if not is possible this to pass if not it I drink, be done the will of You. 43 And having come again, he finds them sleeping, were for of them the eyes were burdened down. 44 And having left them again, having gone away, he prayed for [the] third time, the same thing having said again. 45 Then he comes to the disciples and says to them, Sleep later on and take your rest. Behold, has drawn near the hour, and the Son of Man is betrayed into [the] hands of sinners. 46 Rise up, let us go! Behold, has drawn near he who is betraying me! 36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit down while I go away to pray". 37 Having taken Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him, Jesus began to be sad and to be tormented. 38 Then he said to them, "My being is sad to die. Stay here and stay awake with me". 39 He stepped forward and fell face down on the ground, praying, "Father, if possible, may I avoid this cup. However, may happen not what I want, but what you want". 40 Jesus returned to his disciples and found them asleep. He said, "So, weren't you able to stay awake for one hour with me? 41 Stay awake and pray that you will not be put to the test. Because although the spirit is well disposed, the flesh is however weak". 42 For a second time, Jesus went away again to pray and ask, "Father, if it is not possible to avoid drinking all this, then may what you want come true". 43 On returning, he finds them again asleep, eyes burdened down. 44 Again Jesus left them and went away to pray and ask the same thing for the third time. 45 Finally, he came back to the disciples and said to them, "You can now sleep and rest. The hour is near at hand when the new Adam is put into the hands of wicked people. 46 Go, wake up. Here comes the one who hands me over to the authorities".
    47 Καὶ ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος ἰδοὺ Ἰούδας εἷς τῶν δώδεκα ἦλθεν καὶ μετʼ αὐτοῦ ὄχλος πολὺς μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων ἀπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων τοῦ λαοῦ. 48 ὁ δὲ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς σημεῖον λέγων• ὃν ἂν φιλήσω αὐτός ἐστιν, κρατήσατε αὐτόν. 49 καὶ εὐθέως προσελθὼν τῷ Ἰησοῦ εἶπεν• χαῖρε, ῥαββί, καὶ κατεφίλησεν αὐτόν. 50 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ• ἑταῖρε, ἐφʼ ὃ πάρει. τότε προσελθόντες ἐπέβαλον τὰς χεῖρας ἐπὶ τὸν Ἰησοῦν καὶ ἐκράτησαν αὐτόν. 51 Καὶ ἰδοὺ εἷς τῶν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα ἀπέσπασεν τὴν μάχαιραν αὐτοῦ καὶ πατάξας τὸν δοῦλον τοῦ ἀρχιερέως ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτίον. 52 τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• ἀπόστρεψον τὴν μάχαιράν σου εἰς τὸν τόπον αὐτῆς• πάντες γὰρ οἱ λαβόντες μάχαιραν ἐν μαχαίρῃ ἀπολοῦνται. 53 ἢ δοκεῖς ὅτι οὐ δύναμαι παρακαλέσαι τὸν πατέρα μου, καὶ παραστήσει μοι ἄρτι πλείω δώδεκα λεγιῶνας ἀγγέλων; 54 πῶς οὖν πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ ὅτι οὕτως δεῖ γενέσθαι; 55 Ἐν ἐκείνῃ τῇ ὥρᾳ εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοῖς ὄχλοις• ὡς ἐπὶ λῃστὴν ἐξήλθατε μετὰ μαχαιρῶν καὶ ξύλων συλλαβεῖν με; καθʼ ἡμέραν ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ ἐκαθεζόμην διδάσκων καὶ οὐκ ἐκρατήσατέ με. 56 τοῦτο δὲ ὅλον γέγονεν ἵνα πληρωθῶσιν αἱ γραφαὶ τῶν προφητῶν. Τότε οἱ μαθηταὶ πάντες ἀφέντες αὐτὸν ἔφυγον. 47 Kai eti autou lalountos idou Ioudas heis tōn dōdeka ēlthen kai metʼ autou ochlos polys meta machairōn kai xylōn apo tōn archiereōn kai presbyterōn tou laou. 48 ho de paradidous auton edōken autois sēmeion legōn• hon an philēsō autos estin, kratēsate auton. 49 kai eutheōs proselthōn tō Iēsou eipen• chaire, rhabbi, kai katephilēsen auton. 50 ho de Iēsous eipen autō• hetaire, ephʼ ho parei. tote proselthontes epebalon tas cheiras epi ton Iēsoun kai ekratēsan auton. 51 Kai idou heis tōn meta Iēsou ekteinas tēn cheira apespasen tēn machairan autou kai pataxas ton doulon tou archiereōs apheilen autou to ōtion. 52 tote legei autō ho Iēsous• apostrepson tēn machairan sou eis ton topon autēs• pantes gar hoi labontes machairan en machairē apolountai. 53 ē dokeis hoti ou dynamai parakalesai ton patera mou, kai parastēsei moi arti pleiō dōdeka legiōnas angelōn? 54 pōs oun plērōthōsin hai graphai hoti houtōs dei genesthai? 55 En ekeinē tē hōra eipen ho Iēsous tois ochlois• hōs epi lēstēn exēlthate meta machairōn kai xylōn syllabein me? kathʼ hēmeran en tō hierō ekathezomēn didaskōn kai ouk ekratēsate me. 56 touto de holon gegonen hina plērōthōsin hai graphai tōn prophētōn. Tote hoi mathētai pantes aphentes auton ephygon. 47 And yet of him as he is speaking, behold, Judas, one of the Twelve, came, and with him a crowd great, with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people. 48 Then The [one] betraying him gave them a sign, saying, Whomever I shall kiss, he it is; seize him. 49 And immediately having come up to Jesus, he said, Hail, Rabbi, and kissed him. 50 And Jesus said to him, Friend, for what are you come? Then having come to [him], they laid hands on Jesus and seized him. 51 And behold, one of those with Jesus, having stretched out the hand, drew the sword of him, and having struck the servant of the high priest, cut off of him the ear. 52 Then says to him Jesus, Return the sword of you into the place of it; all for those having taken [the] sword, by [the] sword will perish. 53 Or think you that not I am able to call upon the Father of me, and he will furnish to me presently more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then should be fulfilled the Scriptures, that so it must be? 55 In that hour, said Jesus to the crowds, As against a robber did you come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day in the temple I was sitting teaching, and not you did seize me. 56 Then, this all is come to pass, that might be fulfilled the Scriptures of the prophets. Then the disciples all, having forsaken him, fled. 47 He was still talking when Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived from the high priests and the elders of the people with a large crowd carrying swords and sticks. 48 The one who was going to hand him over to them had agreed on a sign: "The one I will kiss is him, grab him." 49 He immediately approached Jesus to say to him, "Hello, Rabbi!" Then he kissed him. 50 Jesus answered him, "My friend, go on with what you have to do". So they came near to take Jesus. 51 At that time, drawing his sword, one of Jesus' companions struck the servant of the high priest and removed his ear. 52 But Jesus said to him, "Put the sword back into its sheath. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Don't you know that I could call on my father to send me more than twelve legions of angels right now? 54 But then how will the Scriptures, which explain the reason for these things, become fully intelligible?" 55 Then Jesus addressed the crowd, "Why did you come out with swords and sticks to catch me, as if I were a thief? Yet I sat in the temple every day teaching, and you did not take hold of me. 56 All of these events provide a full understanding of the scriptures of the prophets". At that time, all the disciples left him and fled.
    57 Οἱ δὲ κρατήσαντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἀπήγαγον πρὸς Καϊάφαν τὸν ἀρχιερέα, ὅπου οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι συνήχθησαν 58 ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἠκολούθει αὐτῷ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἕως τῆς αὐλῆς τοῦ ἀρχιερέως καὶ εἰσελθὼν ἔσω ἐκάθητο μετὰ τῶν ὑπηρετῶν ἰδεῖν τὸ τέλος.57 Hoi de kratēsantes ton Iēsoun apēgagon pros Kaiaphan ton archierea, hopou hoi grammateis kai hoi presbyteroi synēchthēsan. 58 ho de Petros ēkolouthei autō apo makrothen heōs tēs aulēs tou archiereōs kai eiselthōn esō ekathēto meta tōn hypēretōn idein to telos. 57 Then, those having seized Jesus led [him] away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled. 58 Then, Peter was following him from afar, even to the court of the high priest. And having entered within, he was sitting with the guards to see the outcome. 57 After taking him, they brought him to the high priest Caiaphas, where scribes and elders were gathered. 58 Peter followed him from a distance to the interior courtyard of the high priest. Once inside, he was seated with the servants to see the outcome.
    59 Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ τὸ συνέδριον ὅλον ἐζήτουν ψευδομαρτυρίαν κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὅπως αὐτὸν θανατώσωσιν, 60 καὶ οὐχ εὗρον πολλῶν προσελθόντων ψευδομαρτύρων. ὕστερον δὲ προσελθόντες δύο 61 εἶπαν• οὗτος ἔφη• δύναμαι καταλῦσαι τὸν ναὸν τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ διὰ τριῶν ἡμερῶν οἰκοδομῆσαι. 62 καὶ ἀναστὰς ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ• οὐδὲν ἀποκρίνῃ τί οὗτοί σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν; 63 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐσιώπα. καὶ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἶπεν αὐτῷ• ἐξορκίζω σε κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος ἵνα ἡμῖν εἴπῃς εἰ σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. 64 λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• σὺ εἶπας. πλὴν λέγω ὑμῖν• 59 Hoi de archiereis kai to synedrion holon ezētoun pseudomartyrian kata tou Iēsou hopōs auton thanatōsōsin, 60 kai ouch heuron pollōn proselthontōn pseudomartyrōn. hysteron de proselthontes dyo 61 eipan• houtos ephē• dynamai katalysai ton naon tou theou kai dia triōn hēmerōn oikodomēsai. 62 kai anastas ho archiereus eipen autō• ouden apokrinē ti houtoi sou katamartyrousin? 63 ho de Iēsous esiōpa. kai ho archiereus eipen autō• exorkizō se kata tou theou tou zōntos hina hēmin eipēs ei sy ei ho christos ho huios tou theou. 64 legei autō ho Iēsous• sy eipas. plēn legō hymin• 59 Then, the chief priests and the Council whole were seeking false testimony against Jesus, so that him they might put to death; 60 and not any they found, of many having come forward as false witnesses. At last then, having come forward two, 61 they said, This [man] has been saying, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and in three days to rebuild it. 62 And having stood up, the high priest said to him, Nothing answer you? What these you do witness against? 63 Then, Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, I adjure you by God the living, that us You tell if You are the Christ, the Son of God. 64 Says to him Jesus, You have said. But I say to you,59 The high priests and the whole Sanhedrin sought a false witness against Jesus in order to be able to put him to death, 60 but they did not find any, even if several appeared to testify falsely against him. At the end, there were two 61 who said, "This man proclaimed: I am capable of destroying the temple, and in three days rebuilding it". 62 The high priest stood up and said, "You answer nothing to those who testify against you?" 63 Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the messiah, the son of God". 64 Jesus answers him: "You said it. However, I declare it:
    ἀπʼ ἄρτι ὄψεσθε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καθήμενον ἐκ δεξιῶν τῆς δυνάμεως καὶ ἐρχόμενον ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ.apʼ arti opsesthe ton huion tou anthrōpou kathēmenon ek dexiōn tēs dynameōs kai erchomenon epi tōn nephelōn tou ouranou. from now on you will see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power and coming on the clouds of heaven.Now you will see the new Adam sitting at the right hand of God, coming in the clouds of heaven.
    65 τότε ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς διέρρηξεν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ λέγων• ἐβλασφήμησεν• τί ἔτι χρείαν ἔχομεν μαρτύρων; ἴδε νῦν ἠκούσατε τὴν βλασφημίαν• 66 τί ὑμῖν δοκεῖ; οἱ δὲ ἀποκριθέντες εἶπαν• ἔνοχος θανάτου ἐστίν. 65 tote ho archiereus dierrēxen ta himatia autou legōn• eblasphēmēsen• ti eti chreian echomen martyrōn? ide nyn ēkousate tēn blasphēmian• 66 ti hymin dokei? hoi de apokrithentes eipan• enochos thanatou estin. 65 Then the high priest tears the garments of him, saying, he has blasphemed; why any more need have we of witnesses? Behold now, you have heard the blasphemy. 66 What you do think? And answering they said, Deserving of death he is. 65 At that time, the high priest tore his clothing and said, "He insulted God. Why are we still looking for witnesses? You see! Now you have heard the insult. 66 What do you think?" Then they replied, "He deserves death."
    67 Τότε ἐνέπτυσαν εἰς τὸ πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκολάφισαν αὐτόν, οἱ δὲ ἐράπισαν 68 λέγοντες• προφήτευσον ἡμῖν, χριστέ, τίς ἐστιν ὁ παίσας σε;67 Tote eneptysan eis to prosōpon autou kai ekolaphisan auton, hoi de erapisan 68 legontes• prophēteuson hēmin, christe, tis estin ho paisas se? 67 Then they spat in the face of him, and struck him. Others then slapped [him], 68 saying, Prophesy to us, Christ, who is the [one] having struck You?67 Then they spat on his face and punched him, and others slapped him, 68 saying, "Be a prophet for us, messiah, who struck you?"
    69 Ὁ δὲ Πέτρος ἐκάθητο ἔξω ἐν τῇ αὐλῇ• καὶ προσῆλθεν αὐτῷ μία παιδίσκη λέγουσα• καὶ σὺ ἦσθα μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Γαλιλαίου. 70 ὁ δὲ ἠρνήσατο ἔμπροσθεν πάντων λέγων• οὐκ οἶδα τί λέγεις. 71 ἐξελθόντα δὲ εἰς τὸν πυλῶνα εἶδεν αὐτὸν ἄλλη καὶ λέγει τοῖς ἐκεῖ• οὗτος ἦν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ Ναζωραίου. 72 καὶ πάλιν ἠρνήσατο μετὰ ὅρκου ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον. 73 μετὰ μικρὸν δὲ προσελθόντες οἱ ἑστῶτες εἶπον τῷ Πέτρῳ• ἀληθῶς καὶ σὺ ἐξ αὐτῶν εἶ, καὶ γὰρ ἡ λαλιά σου δῆλόν σε ποιεῖ. 74 τότε ἤρξατο καταθεματίζειν καὶ ὀμνύειν ὅτι οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον. καὶ εὐθέως ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησεν. 69 Ho de Petros ekathēto exō en tē aulē• kai prosēlthen autō mia paidiskē legousa• kai sy ēstha meta Iēsou tou Galilaiou. 70 ho de ērnēsato emprosthen pantōn legōn• ouk oida ti legeis. 71 exelthonta de eis ton pylōna eiden auton allē kai legei tois ekei• houtos ēn meta Iēsou tou Nazōraiou. 72 kai palin ērnēsato meta horkou hoti ouk oida ton anthrōpon. 73 meta mikron de proselthontes hoi hestōtes eipon tō Petrō• alēthōs kai sy ex autōn ei, kai gar hē lalia sou dēlon se poiei. 74 tote ērxato katathematizein kai omnyein hoti ouk oida ton anthrōpon. kai eutheōs alektōr ephōnēsen. 69 Then, Peter was sitting outside in the court, and came to him one servant girl, saying, Also You were with Jesus the Galilean. 70 Then, he denied before all, saying, Not I know what you say. 71 Having gone out then to the porch, saw him another [servant girl], and says to those there, This [man] was with Jesus of Nazareth. 72 And again he denied with an oath , Not I know the man. 73 Then, after a little while, also having come to [him] those standing by, they said to Peter, Surely also you of them are, even for the speech of you away you gives. 74 Then he began to curse and to swear , Not I know the man! And immediately a rooster crowed. 69 Peter was sitting outside in the palace courtyard. A servant came up to him and said, "You were with Jesus the Galilean". 70 In front of all Peter denied, "I don't know what you mean". 71 As he went out the big door, another servant saw him and addressed those who were there, "This one was with Jesus the Nazorean." 72 Again Peter denied with an oath, "I don't know this man." 73 After a while, the people standing there said to Peter, "Yes, you too are one of them. Besides, your accent betrays you". 74 At that moment Peter began to fulminate and swear that he did not know the man. And immediately the rooster crowed.
    75 καὶ ἐμνήσθη ὁ Πέτρος τοῦ ῥήματος Ἰησοῦ εἰρηκότος ὅτι πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι τρὶς ἀπαρνήσῃ με• καὶ ἐξελθὼν ἔξω ἔκλαυσεν πικρῶς.75 kai emnēsthē ho Petros tou rhēmatos Iēsou eirēkotos hoti prin alektora phōnēsai tris aparnēsē me• kai exelthōn exō eklausen pikrōs. 75 And remembered Peter the word of Jesus, he having said , Before [the] rooster crowing, three times you will deny me. And having gone out, he wept bitterly. 75 It was then that Peter remembered the word of Jesus: before a rooster crows, three times you will have denied knowing me. After going outside, he cried bitterly.
    27, 1 Πρωΐας δὲ γενομένης συμβούλιον ἔλαβον πάντες οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ὥστε θανατῶσαι αὐτόν• 2 καὶ δήσαντες αὐτὸν ἀπήγαγον καὶ παρέδωκαν Πιλάτῳ τῷ ἡγεμόνι.27, 1 Prōias de genomenēs symboulion elabon pantes hoi archiereis kai hoi presbyteroi tou laou kata tou Iēsou hōste thanatōsai auton• 2 kai dēsantes auton apēgagon kai paredōkan Pilatō tō hēgemoni. 27, 1 Then, morning having arrived, counsel took all the chief priests and the elders of the people against Jesus, so that they might put to death him. 2 And having bound him, they led away [him] and delivered him to Pilate, the governor. 27, 1 At dawn all the high priests and the elders of the people counselled against Jesus on how to put him to death. 2 After binding him, they took him away and delivered him to Governor Pilate.
    3 Τότε ἰδὼν Ἰούδας ὁ παραδιδοὺς αὐτὸν ὅτι κατεκρίθη, μεταμεληθεὶς ἔστρεψεν τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ πρεσβυτέροις 4 λέγων• ἥμαρτον παραδοὺς αἷμα ἀθῷον. οἱ δὲ εἶπαν• τί πρὸς ἡμᾶς; σὺ ὄψῃ. 5 καὶ ῥίψας τὰ ἀργύρια εἰς τὸν ναὸν ἀνεχώρησεν, καὶ ἀπελθὼν ἀπήγξατο. 6 Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς λαβόντες τὰ ἀργύρια εἶπαν• οὐκ ἔξεστιν βαλεῖν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν κορβανᾶν, ἐπεὶ τιμὴ αἵματός ἐστιν. 7 συμβούλιον δὲ λαβόντες ἠγόρασαν ἐξ αὐτῶν τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως εἰς ταφὴν τοῖς ξένοις. 8 διὸ ἐκλήθη ὁ ἀγρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἀγρὸς αἵματος ἕως τῆς σήμερον. 9 τότε ἐπληρώθη τὸ ῥηθὲν διὰ Ἰερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου λέγοντος• 3 Tote idōn Ioudas ho paradidous auton hoti katekrithē, metamelētheis estrepsen ta triakonta argyria tois archiereusin kai presbyterois 4 legōn• hēmarton paradous haima athōon. hoi de eipan• ti pros hēmas? sy opsē. 5 kai rhipsas ta argyria eis ton naon anechōrēsen, kai apelthōn apēnxato. 6 Hoi de archiereis labontes ta argyria eipan• ouk exestin balein auta eis ton korbanan, epei timē haimatos estin. 7 symboulion de labontes ēgorasan ex autōn ton agron tou kerameōs eis taphēn tois xenois. 8 dio eklēthē ho agros ekeinos agros haimatos heōs tēs sēmeron. 9 tote eplērōthē to rhēthen dia Ieremiou tou prophētou legontos• 3 Then having seen Judas, the [one] having delivered up him, that he was condemned, having regretted [it], he returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, I sinned, having betrayed blood innocent. Then they said, What [is that] to us? you will see. 5 And having cast down the pieces of silver into the temple, he withdrew, and having gone away, hanged himself. 6 Then, the chief priests, having taken the pieces of silver, said, Not it is lawful to put them into the treasury, since [the] price of blood it is. 7 Then, counsel having taken, they bought with them the field of the potter, for a burial place for the strangers. 8 Therefore was called the field that, Field of Blood, to this day. 9a Then was fulfilled that having been spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,3 Meanwhile, Judas, after seeing that the man he had handed over to the authorities, had been condemned, repented and went to return the five hundred dollars to the high priests and elders 4 with these words, "I have wandered by handing over an innocent being". They replied, "What do you want us to do? It is your problem". 5 After throwing the money into the temple, he went to hang himself. 6 Collecting the money, the high priests said to themselves, "It is not permissible to deposit this in the treasury of the temple, because it is the wages of the blood." 7 After taking advice, they bought the potter's field with the money for the burial of foreigners. 8 This is why this field has been called "Field of Blood" to this day. 9 Then was understood the word of Jeremiah the prophet, who said,
    καὶ ἔλαβον τὰ τριάκοντα ἀργύρια, τὴν τιμὴν τοῦ τετιμημένου ὃν ἐτιμήσαντο ἀπὸ υἱῶν Ἰσραήλ, 10 καὶ ἔδωκαν αὐτὰ εἰς τὸν ἀγρὸν τοῦ κεραμέως, καθὰ συνέταξέν μοι κύριος.kai elabon ta triakonta argyria, tēn timēn tou tetimēmenou hon etimēsanto apo huiōn Israēl, 10 kai edōkan auta eis ton agron tou kerameōs, katha synetaxen moi kyrios. 9b And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the [One] having been priced, whom they set a price on by [the] sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the field of the potter, as directed me [the] Lord.They took the thirty pieces of silver, the wages estimated by the sons of Israel. 10 They used it for the potter's field, as the Lord had commanded.
    11 Ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐστάθη ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ ἡγεμόνος• καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν ὁ ἡγεμὼν λέγων• σὺ εἶ ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων; ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἔφη• σὺ λέγεις. 12 καὶ ἐν τῷ κατηγορεῖσθαι αὐτὸν ὑπὸ τῶν ἀρχιερέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίνατο. 13 τότε λέγει αὐτῷ ὁ Πιλᾶτος• οὐκ ἀκούεις πόσα σου καταμαρτυροῦσιν; 14 καὶ οὐκ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτῷ πρὸς οὐδὲ ἓν ῥῆμα, ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν ἡγεμόνα λίαν. 11 HO de Iēsous estathē emprosthen tou hēgemonos• kai epērōtēsen auton ho hēgemōn legōn• sy ei ho basileus tōn Ioudaiōn? ho de Iēsous ephē• sy legeis. 12 kai en tō katēgoreisthai auton hypo tōn archiereōn kai presbyterōn ouden apekrinato. 13 tote legei autō ho Pilatos• ouk akoueis posa sou katamartyrousin? 14 kai ouk apekrithē autō pros oude hen rhēma, hōste thaumazein ton hēgemona lian. 11 And Jesus stood before the governor; and questioned him the governor, saying, you are the King of the Jews? And Jesus said, you say. 12 And in being accused his by the chief priests and elders, nothing he answered. 13 Then says to him Pilate, Not do you hear how many things you they witness against? 14 And not he did answer him, to not even one word, so as to amaze the governor exceedingly.11 Jesus stood before the governor. The latter asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "You say so". 12 Faced with the accusations of the high priests and the elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear all those who testify against you?" 14 But Jesus did not answer, so the governor was greatly surprised.
    15 Κατὰ δὲ ἑορτὴν εἰώθει ὁ ἡγεμὼν ἀπολύειν ἕνα τῷ ὄχλῳ δέσμιον ὃν ἤθελον. 16 εἶχον δὲ τότε δέσμιον ἐπίσημον λεγόμενον [Ἰησοῦν] Βαραββᾶν. 17 συνηγμένων οὖν αὐτῶν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ Πιλᾶτος• τίνα θέλετε ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν, [Ἰησοῦν τὸν] Βαραββᾶν ἢ Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον χριστόν; 18 ᾔδει γὰρ ὅτι διὰ φθόνον παρέδωκαν αὐτόν. 15 Kata de heortēn eiōthei ho hēgemōn apolyein hena tō ochlō desmion hon ēthelon. 16 eichon de tote desmion episēmon legomenon [Iēsoun] Barabban. 17 synēgmenōn oun autōn eipen autois ho Pilatos• tina thelete apolysō hymin, [Iēsoun ton] Barabban ē Iēsoun ton legomenon christon? 18 ēdei gar hoti dia phthonon paredōkan auton. 15 Then at [the] feast, was accustomed the governor to release one to the multitude prisoner, whom they were wishing. 16 Then, they were holding now at that time a prisoner notable, called Jesus Barabbas. 17 Being gathered together therefore of them, said to them Pilate, Whom will you [that] I shall release to you? Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ? 18 For he knew that through envy they delivered up him. 15 At the Passover holiday, the governor used to release a prisoner the crowd chose. 16 Now there was a famous prisoner called [Jesus] Barabbas. 17 When the people were gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to set you free, [Jesus] Barabbas or Jesus called messiah?" 18 For he knew that he had been handed over out of jealousy.
    19 Καθημένου δὲ αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τοῦ βήματος ἀπέστειλεν πρὸς αὐτὸν ἡ γυνὴ αὐτοῦ λέγουσα• μηδὲν σοὶ καὶ τῷ δικαίῳ ἐκείνῳ• πολλὰ γὰρ ἔπαθον σήμερον κατʼ ὄναρ διʼ αὐτόν. 20 Οἱ δὲ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι ἔπεισαν τοὺς ὄχλους ἵνα αἰτήσωνται τὸν Βαραββᾶν, τὸν δὲ Ἰησοῦν ἀπολέσωσιν. 21 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ ἡγεμὼν εἶπεν αὐτοῖς• τίνα θέλετε ἀπὸ τῶν δύο ἀπολύσω ὑμῖν; οἱ δὲ εἶπαν• τὸν Βαραββᾶν. 22 λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Πιλᾶτος• τί οὖν ποιήσω Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον χριστόν; λέγουσιν πάντες• σταυρωθήτω. 23 ὁ δὲ ἔφη• τί γὰρ κακὸν ἐποίησεν; οἱ δὲ περισσῶς ἔκραζον λέγοντες• σταυρωθήτω. 24 Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ Πιλᾶτος ὅτι οὐδὲν ὠφελεῖ ἀλλὰ μᾶλλον θόρυβος γίνεται, λαβὼν ὕδωρ ἀπενίψατο τὰς χεῖρας ἀπέναντι τοῦ ὄχλου λέγων• ἀθῷός εἰμι ἀπὸ τοῦ αἵματος τούτου• ὑμεῖς ὄψεσθε. 25 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς πᾶς ὁ λαὸς εἶπεν• τὸ αἷμα αὐτοῦ ἐφʼ ἡμᾶς καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ τέκνα ἡμῶν. 26 τότε ἀπέλυσεν αὐτοῖς τὸν Βαραββᾶν, τὸν δὲ Ἰησοῦν φραγελλώσας παρέδωκεν ἵνα σταυρωθῇ. 19 Kathēmenou de autou epi tou bēmatos apesteilen pros auton hē gynē autou legousa• mēden soi kai tō dikaiō ekeinō• polla gar epathon sēmeron katʼ onar diʼ auton. 20 Hoi de archiereis kai hoi presbyteroi epeisan tous ochlous hina aitēsōntai ton Barabban, ton de Iēsoun apolesōsin. 21 apokritheis de ho hēgemōn eipen autois• tina thelete apo tōn dyo apolysō hymin? hoi de eipan• ton Barabban. 22 legei autois ho Pilatos• ti oun poiēsō Iēsoun ton legomenon christon? legousin pantes• staurōthētō. 23 ho de ephē• ti gar kakon epoiēsen? hoi de perissōs ekrazon legontes• staurōthētō. 24 Idōn de ho Pilatos hoti ouden ōphelei alla mallon thorybos ginetai, labōn hydōr apenipsato tas cheiras apenanti tou ochlou legōn• athōos eimi apo tou haimatos 1toutou• hymeis opsesthe. 25 kai apokritheis pas ho laos eipen• to haima autou ephʼ hēmas kai epi ta tekna hēmōn. 26 tote apelysen autois ton Barabban, ton de Iēsoun phragellōsas paredōken hina staurōthē. 19 As was sitting now he on the judgment seat, sent to him the wife of him, saying, [Let there be] nothing between you and the righteous [man] that; many things for I suffered today in a dream because of him. 20 Then, the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds that they should ask for Barabbas, and Jesus should destroy. 21 Then, answering, the governor said to them, Which do you desire of the two, I release to you? And they said, Barabbas. 22 Says to them Pilate, What then should I do with Jesus, who is called Christ? They say all, Let [him] be crucified. 23 Then, he said, What for evil did he commit? And all the more they kept crying out, saying, Let [him] be crucified. 24 Then, having seen Pilate that nothing it availed, but rather a riot is arising, having taken water, he washed the hands before the crowd, saying, Guiltless I am of the blood of this. For yourselves you will see. 25 And answering, all the people said, The blood of him [be] on us, and on the children of us. 26 Then he released to them Barabbas; and Jesus having flogged, he delivered up [him], that he might be crucified.19 While he was in court, his wife sent him a message that said, "Have nothing to do with this righteous man. Because today I was very upset by a dream about it". 20 But the high priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to demand Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor asked them, "Which of the two do you want me to set you free?" People said, "Barabbas." 22 Pilate said to them, "What shall I do then with Jesus, called the Messiah?" All replied, "Let him be crucified." 23 Pilate continued, "But what did he do wrong?" They shouted more violently, "Let him be crucified." 24 Realizing that there was no point in continuing, but that things were getting worse, Pilate took some water and washed his hands in front of the crowd with these words: "I am innocent of this blood. It's up to you". 25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children." 26 Then he released Barabbas to them, and after having Jesus flogged, he delivered them up to be crucified.
    27 Τότε οἱ στρατιῶται τοῦ ἡγεμόνος παραλαβόντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν εἰς τὸ πραιτώριον συνήγαγον ἐπʼ αὐτὸν ὅλην τὴν σπεῖραν. 28 καὶ ἐκδύσαντες αὐτὸν χλαμύδα κοκκίνην περιέθηκαν αὐτῷ, 29 καὶ πλέξαντες στέφανον ἐξ ἀκανθῶν ἐπέθηκαν ἐπὶ τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ καὶ κάλαμον ἐν τῇ δεξιᾷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ γονυπετήσαντες ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ λέγοντες• χαῖρε, βασιλεῦ τῶν Ἰουδαίων, 30 καὶ ἐμπτύσαντες εἰς αὐτὸν ἔλαβον τὸν κάλαμον καὶ ἔτυπτον εἰς τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ. 31 καὶ ὅτε ἐνέπαιξαν αὐτῷ, ἐξέδυσαν αὐτὸν τὴν χλαμύδα καὶ ἐνέδυσαν αὐτὸν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀπήγαγον αὐτὸν εἰς τὸ σταυρῶσαι. 32 Ἐξερχόμενοι δὲ εὗρον ἄνθρωπον Κυρηναῖον ὀνόματι Σίμωνα, τοῦτον ἠγγάρευσαν ἵνα ἄρῃ τὸν σταυρὸν αὐτοῦ. 27 Tote hoi stratiōtai tou hēgemonos paralabontes ton Iēsoun eis to praitōrion synēgagon epʼ auton holēn tēn speiran. 28 kai ekdysantes auton chlamyda kokkinēn periethēkan autō, 29 kai plexantes stephanon ex akanthōn epethēkan epi tēs kephalēs autou kai kalamon en tē dexia autou, kai gonypetēsantes emprosthen autou enepaixan autō legontes• chaire, basileu tōn Ioudaiōn, 30 kai emptysantes eis auton elabon ton kalamon kai etypton eis tēn kephalēn autou. 31 kai hote enepaixan autō, exedysan auton tēn chlamyda kai enedysan auton ta himatia autou kai apēgagon auton eis to staurōsai. 32 Exerchomenoi de heuron anthrōpon Kyrēnaion onomati Simōna, touton ēngareusan hina arē ton stauron autou. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor, having taken with [them] Jesus to the Praetorium, gathered before him all the cohort. 28 And having stripped him, a robe scarlet they put around him. 29 And having twisted together a crown of thorns, they put [it] on the head of him, and a reed in the right hand of him; and having bowed the knees before him, they mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! 30 And having spit upon him, they took the reed and kept striking [him] on the head of him. 31 And when they had mocked him, they took off him the robe, and they put on him the garments of him and led away him to crucify [him]. 32 Then, going forth, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon. Him they compelled that he might carry the cross of him.27 The governor's soldiers then took Jesus to the courtroom and assembled the entire cohort. 28 After stripping him naked, they put a scarlet coat on him, 29 then, after weaving a crown from thorns, they put it on his head and a reed in his right hand. Kneeling before him, they laughed, "Hello, king of the Jews". 30 They spit on him and struck him on the head with the reed. 31 After having laughed at him, they took off his purple cloak and gave him his own cloak, and took him away to crucify him. 32 When they came out, they found a man from Cyrene by the name of Simon. They requisitioned him to carry his cross.
    33 Καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τόπον λεγόμενον Γολγοθᾶ, ὅ ἐστιν Κρανίου Τόπος λεγόμενος, 34 ἔδωκαν αὐτῷ πιεῖν οἶνον μετὰ χολῆς μεμιγμένον• καὶ γευσάμενος οὐκ ἠθέλησεν πιεῖν. 35 Σταυρώσαντες δὲ αὐτὸν διεμερίσαντο τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτοῦ βάλλοντες κλῆρον, 36 καὶ καθήμενοι ἐτήρουν αὐτὸν ἐκεῖ. 37 Καὶ ἐπέθηκαν ἐπάνω τῆς κεφαλῆς αὐτοῦ τὴν αἰτίαν αὐτοῦ γεγραμμένην• οὗτός ἐστιν Ἰησοῦς ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἰουδαίων. 33 Kai elthontes eis topon legomenon Golgotha, ho estin Kraniou Topos legomenos, 34 edōkan autō piein oinon meta cholēs memigmenon• kai geusamenos ouk ēthelēsen piein. 35 Staurōsantes de auton diemerisanto ta himatia autou ballontes klēron, 36 kai kathēmenoi etēroun auton ekei. 37 Kai epethēkan epanō tēs kephalēs autou tēn aitian autou gegrammenēn• houtos estin Iēsous ho basileus tōn Ioudaiōn. 33 And having come to a place called Golgotha, which is of a Skull Place called, 34 they gave him to drink wine with gall mingled; and having tasted, not he was willing to drink [it]. 35 Then, having crucified him, they divided the garments of him, casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they were guarding him there. 37 And they put up over the head of him the accusation of him written: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha, that is to say the place of the skull, 34 they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall. After tasting it, he didn't want it. 35 After crucifying him, they divided his clothes by drawing lots. 36 And seated they kept watch. 37 His indictment was laid over his head and reads as follows: This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.
    38 Τότε σταυροῦνται σὺν αὐτῷ δύο λῃσταί, εἷς ἐκ δεξιῶν καὶ εἷς ἐξ εὐωνύμων. 39 Οἱ δὲ παραπορευόμενοι ἐβλασφήμουν αὐτὸν κινοῦντες τὰς κεφαλὰς αὐτῶν 40 καὶ λέγοντες• ὁ καταλύων τὸν ναὸν καὶ ἐν τρισὶν ἡμέραις οἰκοδομῶν, σῶσον σεαυτόν, εἰ υἱὸς εἶ τοῦ θεοῦ, [καὶ] κατάβηθι ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ. 41 ὁμοίως καὶ οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἐμπαίζοντες μετὰ τῶν γραμματέων καὶ πρεσβυτέρων ἔλεγον• 42 ἄλλους ἔσωσεν, ἑαυτὸν οὐ δύναται σῶσαι• βασιλεὺς Ἰσραήλ ἐστιν, καταβάτω νῦν ἀπὸ τοῦ σταυροῦ καὶ πιστεύσομεν ἐπʼ αὐτόν. 43 πέποιθεν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν, ῥυσάσθω νῦν εἰ θέλει αὐτόν• εἶπεν γὰρ ὅτι θεοῦ εἰμι υἱός. 44 Τὸ δʼ αὐτὸ καὶ οἱ λῃσταὶ οἱ συσταυρωθέντες σὺν αὐτῷ ὠνείδιζον αὐτόν. 38 Tote staurountai syn autō dyo lēstai, heis ek dexiōn kai heis ex euōnymōn. 39 Hoi de paraporeuomenoi eblasphēmoun auton kinountes tas kephalas autōn 40 kai legontes• ho katalyōn ton naon kai en trisin hēmerais oikodomōn, sōson seauton, ei huios ei tou theou, [kai] katabēthi apo tou staurou. 41 homoiōs kai hoi archiereis empaizontes meta tōn grammateōn kai presbyterōn elegon• 42 allous esōsen, heauton ou dynatai sōsai• basileus Israēl estin, katabatō nyn apo tou staurou kai pisteusomen epʼ auton. 43 pepoithen epi ton theon, rhysasthō nyn ei thelei auton• eipen gar hoti theou eimi huios. 44 To dʼ auto kai hoi lēstai hoi systaurōthentes syn autō ōneidizon auton. 38 At the same time are crucified with him two robbers, one at [the] right hand, and one at [the] left. 39 Then, those now passing by kept railing at him, wagging the heads of them 40 and saying, The [One] destroying the temple and in three days building [it], save yourself! If [the] Son you are of God, also descend from the cross! 41 Likewise also the chief priests, mocking, with the scribes and elders, were saying, 42 Others he saved, himself not is he able to save. King of Israel he is. Let him descend now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusted on God. Let him deliver now if he wants him. he said for , Of God I am [the] Son. 44 And likewise even the robbers, those having been crucified with him, were upbraiding him.38 They then crucify with him two bandits, one on the right, the other on the left. 39 The passers-by cursed him, waving their heads 40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, set yourself free, if you are a son of God, and come down from the cross." 41 In the same way, the high priests with the scribes and the elders mocked with these words, 42 "He has freed others, he is not even able to free himself. He is king of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and then we will believe in him. 43 He trusted God, let Him set him free now if He cares for him. For did he not say: I am a son of God?" 44 The bandits who had been crucified with him cursed him just as much.
    45 Ἀπὸ δὲ ἕκτης ὥρας σκότος ἐγένετο ἐπὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν ἕως ὥρας ἐνάτης. 46 περὶ δὲ τὴν ἐνάτην ὥραν ἀνεβόησεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς φωνῇ μεγάλῃ λέγων• 45 Apo de hektēs hōras skotos egeneto epi pasan tēn gēn heōs hōras enatēs. 46 peri de tēn enatēn hōran aneboēsen ho Iēsous phōnē megalē legōn• 45 Then, from [the] sixth hour, darkness was over all the land, until [the] hour ninth. 46 Then, about the ninth hour, cried out Jesus in a voice loud, saying,45 From midday the darkness spread over the whole earth until three o'clock. 46 At around three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice:
    ηλι ηλι λεμα σαβαχθανι;ēli ēli lema sabachthani? Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?
    τοῦτʼ ἔστιν• toutʼ estin• that is: that is to say:
    θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἱνατί με ἐγκατέλιπες;thee mou thee mou, hinati me enkatelipes? God of Me, God of Me, so that why Me have you forsaken?"My God, my God, why did you abandon me? "
    47 τινὲς δὲ τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἀκούσαντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Ἠλίαν φωνεῖ οὗτος. 48 καὶ εὐθέως δραμὼν εἷς ἐξ αὐτῶν καὶ λαβὼν σπόγγον πλήσας τε ὄξους καὶ περιθεὶς καλάμῳ ἐπότιζεν αὐτόν. 49 οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ἔλεγον• ἄφες ἴδωμεν εἰ ἔρχεται Ἠλίας σώσων αὐτόν. 50 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς πάλιν κράξας φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ἀφῆκεν τὸ πνεῦμα. 47 tines de tōn ekei hestēkotōn akousantes elegon hoti Ēlian phōnei houtos. 48 kai eutheōs dramōn heis ex autōn kai labōn spongon plēsas te oxous kai peritheis kalamō epotizen auton. 49 hoi de loipoi elegon• aphes idōmen ei erchetai Ēlias sōsōn auton. 50 ho de Iēsous palin kraxas phōnē megalē aphēken to pneuma. 47 Then, some of those who there were standing, having heard, began saying , Elijah calls this [man]. 48 And immediately, having run one of them and having taken a sponge, having filled [it] and with vinegar and having put [it] on a reed, gave to drink him. 49 Then, the rest were saying, Let be. Let us see whether comes Elijah to save him. 50 And Jesus again, having cried in a voice loud, yielded up [his] spirit. 47 People who stood there heard him and said, "He is calling Elijah that one." 48 One of them quickly ran up and, after putting a sponge filled with vinegar around a reed, gave him a drink. 49 The others said, "Leave it, let's see if Elijah comes to set him free." 50 Again Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up the spirit.
    51 Καὶ ἰδοὺ τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ ἐσχίσθη ἀπʼ ἄνωθεν ἕως κάτω εἰς δύο καὶ ἡ γῆ ἐσείσθη καὶ αἱ πέτραι ἐσχίσθησαν, 52 καὶ τὰ μνημεῖα ἀνεῴχθησαν καὶ πολλὰ σώματα τῶν κεκοιμημένων ἁγίων ἠγέρθησαν, 53 καὶ ἐξελθόντες ἐκ τῶν μνημείων μετὰ τὴν ἔγερσιν αὐτοῦ εἰσῆλθον εἰς τὴν ἁγίαν πόλιν καὶ ἐνεφανίσθησαν πολλοῖς. 51 Kai idou to katapetasma tou naou eschisthē apʼ anōthen heōs katō eis dyo kai hē gē eseisthē kai hai petrai eschisthēsan, 52 kai ta mnēmeia aneōchthēsan kai polla sōmata tōn kekoimēmenōn hagiōn ēgerthēsan, 53 kai exelthontes ek tōn mnēmeiōn meta tēn egersin autou eisēlthon eis tēn hagian polin kai enephanisthēsan pollois. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, into two; and the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split, 52 and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the having fallen asleep saints arose, 53 and having gone forth out of the tombs after the resurrection of him, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in half from top to bottom, the earth began to tremble and the stones to split, 52 the tombs opened and several bodies of the saints, who had fallen asleep, awoke, 53 emerged from the tombs after waking up and entered the holy city to be seen by many people.
    54 Ὁ δὲ ἑκατόνταρχος καὶ οἱ μετʼ αὐτοῦ τηροῦντες τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἰδόντες τὸν σεισμὸν καὶ τὰ γενόμενα ἐφοβήθησαν σφόδρα, λέγοντες• ἀληθῶς θεοῦ υἱὸς ἦν οὗτος.54 HO de hekatontarchos kai hoi metʼ autou tērountes ton Iēsoun idontes ton seismon kai ta genomena ephobēthēsan sphodra, legontes• alēthōs theou huios ēn houtos.54 Now when the centurion and those with him guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and the events, they were greatly afraid, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God. "54 The centurion, and those who kept Jesus with him, were greatly afraid when they saw the earthquake and all these things, and said to themselves, "Truly this one was the Son of God. "
    55 ῏Ησαν δὲ ἐκεῖ γυναῖκες πολλαὶ ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, αἵτινες ἠκολούθησαν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ἀπὸ τῆς Γαλιλαίας διακονοῦσαι αὐτῷ• 56 ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ τοῦ Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωσὴφ μήτηρ καὶ ἡ μήτηρ τῶν υἱῶν Ζεβεδαίου. 55 Ēsan de ekei gynaikes pollai apo makrothen theōrousai, haitines ēkolouthēsan tō Iēsou apo tēs Galilaias diakonousai autō• 56 en hais ēn Maria hē Magdalēnē kai Maria hē tou Iakōbou kai Iōsēph mētēr kai hē mētēr tōn huiōn Zebedaiou. 55 Then, they were there women many from afar off, looking on, who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the of James and Joseph mother, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 55 There were several women watching from a distance, some of whom had followed Jesus from Galilee to support him, 56 among whom were Mary of Magdala and Mary, mother of James and Joseph, as well as the mother of the sons of Zebedee.
    57 Ὀψίας δὲ γενομένης ἦλθεν ἄνθρωπος πλούσιος ἀπὸ Ἁριμαθαίας, τοὔνομα Ἰωσήφ, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἐμαθητεύθη τῷ Ἰησοῦ• 58 οὗτος προσελθὼν τῷ Πιλάτῳ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. τότε ὁ Πιλᾶτος ἐκέλευσεν ἀποδοθῆναι. 59 καὶ λαβὼν τὸ σῶμα ὁ Ἰωσὴφ ἐνετύλιξεν αὐτὸ [ἐν] σινδόνι καθαρᾷ 60 καὶ ἔθηκεν αὐτὸ ἐν τῷ καινῷ αὐτοῦ μνημείῳ ὃ ἐλατόμησεν ἐν τῇ πέτρᾳ καὶ προσκυλίσας λίθον μέγαν τῇ θύρᾳ τοῦ μνημείου ἀπῆλθεν. 61 ῏Ην δὲ ἐκεῖ Μαριὰμ ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ ἡ ἄλλη Μαρία καθήμεναι ἀπέναντι τοῦ τάφου. 62 Τῇ δὲ ἐπαύριον, ἥτις ἐστὶν μετὰ τὴν παρασκευήν, συνήχθησαν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι πρὸς Πιλᾶτον 63 λέγοντες• κύριε, ἐμνήσθημεν ὅτι ἐκεῖνος ὁ πλάνος εἶπεν ἔτι ζῶν• μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἐγείρομαι. 64 κέλευσον οὖν ἀσφαλισθῆναι τὸν τάφον ἕως τῆς τρίτης ἡμέρας, μήποτε ἐλθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ κλέψωσιν αὐτὸν καὶ εἴπωσιν τῷ λαῷ• ἠγέρθη ἀπὸ τῶν νεκρῶν, καὶ ἔσται ἡ ἐσχάτη πλάνη χείρων τῆς πρώτης. 65 ἔφη αὐτοῖς ὁ Πιλᾶτος• ἔχετε κουστωδίαν• ὑπάγετε ἀσφαλίσασθε ὡς οἴδατε. 66 οἱ δὲ πορευθέντες ἠσφαλίσαντο τὸν τάφον σφραγίσαντες τὸν λίθον μετὰ τῆς κουστωδίας. 57 Opsias de genomenēs ēlthen anthrōpos plousios apo Harimathaias, tounoma Iōsēph, hos kai autos emathēteuthē tō Iēsou• 58 houtos proselthōn tō Pilatō ētēsato to sōma tou Iēsou. tote ho Pilatos ekeleusen apodothēnai. 59 kai labōn to sōma ho Iōsēph enetylixen auto [en] sindoni kathara 60 kai ethēken auto en tō kainō autou mnēmeiō ho elatomēsen en tē petra kai proskylisas lithon megan tē thyra tou mnēmeiou apēlthen. 61 Ēn de ekei Mariam hē Magdalēnē kai hē allē Maria kathēmenai apenanti tou taphou. 62 Tē de epaurion, hētis estin meta tēn paraskeuēn, synēchthēsan hoi archiereis kai hoi Pharisaioi pros Pilaton 63 legontes• kyrie, emnēsthēmen hoti ekeinos ho planos eipen eti zōn• meta treis hēmeras egeiromai. 64 keleuson oun asphalisthēnai ton taphon heōs tēs tritēs hēmeras, mēpote elthontes hoi mathētai autou klepsōsin auton kai eipōsin tō laō• ēgerthē apo tōn nekrōn, kai estai hē eschatē planē cheirōn tēs prōtēs. 65 ephē autois ho Pilatos• echete koustōdian• hypagete asphalisasthe hōs oidate. 66 hoi de poreuthentes ēsphalisanto ton taphon sphragisantes ton lithon meta tēs koustōdias. 57 Then, evening having arrived, came a man rich from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was disciple to Jesus. 58 He having gone to Pilate, asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up. 59 And having taken the body, Joseph wrapped it in a linen cloth clean 60 and placed it in the new of him tomb, which he had cut in the rock; and having rolled a stone great to the door of the tomb, he went away. 61 Then, was there Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. 62 Then, the next day, which is after the Preparation, were gathered together the chief priests and the Pharisees before Pilate, 63 saying, Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said while living, after three days I arise. 64 Command therefore to be secured the tomb until the third day, lest ever having come, the disciples of him steal away him and say to the people, he is risen from the dead. And will be the last deception worse than the first. 65 Said to them Pilate, you have a guard. Go make [it as] secure as you know [how]. 66 Then, having gone, they made secure the tomb, having sealed the stone, with the guard.57 When evening came, a rich man from Arimathea, called Joseph, who had also become a disciple of Jesus, presented himself 58 to Pilate to claim the body of Jesus. Pilate then ordered to give it back 59 and, after taking the body, Joseph rolled it up in a fine, unblemished cloth 60 and placed it in the new tomb, which had been carved in stone for him, then after having rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he left. 61 Mary Magdalene and another Mary were there, seated before the sepulcher. 62 The next day, the day after Preparation, the high priests and the Pharisees gathered at Pilate's house 63 to say to him, "Lord, remember what this impostor said while he was still alive, 'I will return to life after three days'. 64 So order that the sepulcher be watched for three days to prevent his disciples from stealing him and then saying to the crowd, 'He is risen from the dead', and the latter imposture would be worse than the former". 65 Pilate replied, "Take a guard. Go, watch the tomb as you see fit". 66 After returning to the tomb, they sealed the stone and posted a guard there.

  1. Analysis of each verse

    v. 14 Then one of the Twelve, the one called Judas Iscariot, went to the high priests

    Literally: Then having gone one of the twelve, being called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests

one of the twelve, being called Judas Iscariot
What is surprising here is that the editor assumes that his reader does not know Judas Iscariot, and must therefore introduce him: he is one of the Twelve. Matthew had already briefly mentioned him in 10:4 (Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, the one who delivered him up) when he gave the list of the Twelve Apostles. But it is here that he formally introduces him to an audience that does not seem so familiar with this character. His way of introducing him accentuates the tragic side of the situation: he is one of the Twelve, one of the intimate ones that Jesus has specially chosen; this reveals the horror of his gesture.

v. 15 to say to them, "How much will you give me, if I give it to you? They collected the equivalent of five hundred dollars in today's currency.

Literally: he said, "What are you willing to give me and I to you will betray him

What are you willing to give me
The vile side of Judas' gesture is further accentuated by telling us about the motive for his gesture: money. It is easy to think that, historically, the reasons that led Judas to make his gesture are multiple, including the loss of confidence in the value of his master's project, and thus leaving room for the growth of certain shortcomings in him. But what Matthew wants us to remember: Judas sold his master for profit. He modifies the text of Mark (which simply says in 14:10-11: Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests and handed him over to them. When they heard the news, they rejoiced and promised to give him money) to state explicitly that it was Judas who asked for money. This position is not without value, for it is found elsewhere in the New Testament in John's harsh judgment in the scene of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with an expensive perfume: But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, the one who was going to betray him, said, "Why was not this perfume sold for 300 denarii, which they had given to the poor?" But he said this not out of concern for the poor, but because he was a thief and, holding the purse, stole what was put into it (John 12:4-6).

And they appointed to him thirty pieces of silver.
The Greek text speaks of thirty pieces of silver. We have estimated this amount to be about $500. It is difficult to know what these thirty pieces of silver are equivalent to today. We have two references in the Old Testament.
  • Exodus 21: 32: If the ox is a slave or a maid, the owner of the ox will pay the price - 30 shekels - to their master, and the ox will be stoned to death.
  • Zechariah 11: 12: (Zechariah no longer wants to be a shepherd.) Then I said to them: "If it seems good to you, give me my wages, otherwise do nothing." They weighed my wages: 30 shekels of silver.

We can imagine that this is a very small sum, i.e. the sum of a slave who was worthless or the salary of a shepherd who was derisory. The TOB (Ecumenical Translation of the Bible) speaks of the equivalent of 120 gold francs, which would be about five hundred dollars.

v. 16 From then on, he looked for the right moment to hand them over.

Literally: And from that time, he was seeking an opportunity that him he might betray

he was seeking an opportunity to betray him
One may ask why it is so difficult to stop him, since Jesus was preaching in the temple precincts, that people were going to hear him, according to the texts of the New Testament. Two clues may help our understanding. On the one hand, we have a number of texts showing that Jesus, knowing that he was trapped, avoided public places; in the New Testament the term "withdrawing" is used:
  • Mt 12: 14-15 "When the Pharisees went out, they took counsel against him with a view to losing him. When Jesus knew this, he withdrew from there
  • Mt 14: 12-13 "John's disciples came to take the body (John had just been killed by Herod) and buried it; then they went to inform Jesus. When Jesus heard about it, he withdrew in a boat to a desert place
  • Jn 11: 53-54 "From that day on they decided to kill him. So Jesus ceased to go about in public among the Jews and withdrew to the region near the desert, to a city called Ephraim, where he was staying with his disciples
  • Jn 18: 2 "Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew of this place, because many times Jesus and his disciples had gathered there".

On the other hand, it seems that the religious authorities feared the reaction of the crowd and therefore did not want to arrest Jesus in broad daylight

  • Mt 21: 46 "But while they were trying to arrest him, they (chief priests and Pharisees) were afraid of the crowds, because they thought he was a prophet"
  • Mt 26: 4 "They (chief priests and elders) worked together to arrest Jesus by trickery and to kill him".

v. 17 On the first day of unleavened bread, the disciples went to Jesus and asked him, "Where do you want us to prepare you to eat for Passover?"

Literally: Then, on the first [day] of the unleavened [bread], came the disciples to Jesus, saying, Where wish you [that] we should prepare for you to eat the Passover?

on the first [day] of the unleavened [bread]
Originally, the feast of unleavened bread or "feast of matzah" is different from that of Passover. It is an agricultural feast where, in spring, the first sheaves were offered. Likewise, Easter was originally a nomadic feast where a lamb was offered to the deity at the beginning of the spring transhumance. As both feasts took place at the same time, they were eventually merged and subsequently received a religious meaning, linked to the liberation of Egypt. Thus the absence of leaven was explained by the haste to leave Egypt. The feast of unleavened bread lasted a week.
  • Exodus 12:18-19: In the first month, on the evening of the fourteenth day, you shall eat unleavened bread until the evening of the twenty-first day. For seven days there shall be no leaven in your houses.
  • Exodus 12:33-34: The Egyptians pressed the people to hasten out of the country for, they said, "We're all going to die." The people took their dough away before it was leavened, their hoes tightly clutched in their coats, on their shoulders.
  • Exodus 23:15: You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread. Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, as I commanded you, in the appointed time in the month of Abib, for in that month you came out of Egypt. You shall not come before me empty-handed.

we should prepare for you to eat the Passover
Mark, Luke and Matthew, in short the synoptics, present this last meal of Jesus with his disciples as a paschal meal. John, on the other hand, presents this last supper not as a paschal meal, but as a farewell meal; for him the Passover took place twenty-four hours later, and exceptionally the Passover and the Sabbath fell on the same day that year (Jn 18: 28). It would seem that John is right, and it was the first Christians who wanted to associate Jesus' meal with the Passover meal: was he not our new Passover, the lamb sacrificed for our sins? (1 Corinthians 5: 7). The synoptics will reflect this catechesis. See on the subject Meier.

Let's admit the probability that it was simply a farewell meal. The question remains: why did Jesus insist on such a meal? Without a doubt, this meal had the highest significance for him. Sharing a meal is a gesture of great intimacy, especially when one's hand was immersed in the same dishes. Jesus probably wanted this moment of initiation before going through those difficult hours that he could guess, like any intelligent human being; in short, it was a moment of comfort. The meal was a place of sharing, and to Jesus it was probably the occasion to bid farewell with a message which his disciples would forever remember.

v. 18 The latter replied, "Go into the city to such a one, and say to him, 'The master says to you: my time is near, it is at your house that I want to celebrate the Passover with my disciples'."

Literally: And he said, Go into the city unto a certain man and tell him the Master says, The time of Me near is; with you I will keep the Passover, with the disciples of me.

Go into the city unto a certain man and tell him
According to the synoptics, Jesus restricted his ministry in Galilee, and it was only at the end of his mission that he went to Jerusalem to die. According to Mark's account, which is repeated in Luke and Matthew, his stay in Jerusalem lasted barely a week. If we were to accept this statement as it stands, we would have a problem here: How can Jesus send his disciples to ask someone for a service that requires a long familiarity, to use his house for a group of thirteen people? Moreover, this man seems to be a disciple, since Jesus asks him for this service as a teacher; how could he become a disciple in one week? It is probable, therefore, that Jesus made several visits to Jerusalem, as John confirms, and therefore had time to establish the relationship that this request for service presupposes today.

ho kairos mou (the time of me)
This passage has a number of matthean characteristics. First of all, the story is much more concise than the one offered by Mark, which is very frequent: Matthew likes well-crafted stories, without useless anecdotes. Then, we note the expression: "my time (ho kairos mou) is near" that Matthew added to his source just as he did earlier in 8: 29: "Have you come here to torment us before our time (pro kairou)?" This time is defined as his passage from death to life.
v. 19 The disciples did as Jesus commanded them and prepared the Passover.

Literally: And did the disciples as directed them Jesus, and prepared the Passover.

synetaxen (he has directed / commanded)
Here is another characteristic of Matthew: he likes to underline the dignity and transcendence of Jesus. This passage is no exception, for the disciples do what Jesus had commanded them (synetaxen): Jesus is the one who has authority, who commands or orders; he is the only one to use synetaxen (to order, prescribe, command) three times in reference to what Jesus asks.

v. 20 In the evening, when he was lying down with the Twelve

Literally: Then, evening having arrived, he was reclining with the twelve disciples.

he was reclining with the twelve
We have an echo of the way people ate in those days, stretched out or lying on carpets. In addition, there is an allusion here to a common dish in the centre in which everyone dipped their hand. There is something anachronistic about depicting the disciples sitting on chairs, as in some paintings. But art does not aim to represent reality literally, but to make us enter through the symbolic into the psychic world and the world of interiority.

v. 21 and eating, he said: "Truly, I assure you, one of you will betray me.

Literally: And [as] they were eating, to them he said, Truly I say to you that one of you will betray me.

v. 22 Heavily grieved, the disciples each began to ask him, "Could it be me, master?"

Literally: And being grieved exceedingly, they began to say to him, one each, Not I is it, Lord?

v. 23 In response, Jesus said, "The one who betrays me is the one who put his hand with me in the dish.

Literally: Then answering he said, The [one] having dipped with me the hand in the dish, he me will betray.

Truly I say to you that one of you will betray me
Through this scene in which Jesus announces Judas' betrayal, it is clear that the Gospels want to convey the message that Jesus was not overtaken by events, including the betrayal of one of his intimates. As is his custom, Matthew avoids all ambiguity and wants to be very clear; he adds "You said it" to identify the guilty party. But I think it's important to set the record straight. For some believers, Jesus was able to announce Judas' betrayal because, as a son of God, he knew everything, including what was going to happen and what everyone was going to do. Such a perception is not only wrong, it is dangerous. It is false because it is not based on the historical clues that we can gather; let us not forget that the Gospel accounts were written 40 to 50 years after the fact, when everything that had happened was known and when they were trying to give catechesis to the newly baptized. It is dangerous because it denies the very faith in the Incarnation in which it is affirmed that Jesus took the human condition in all points except sin (see the beautiful hymn in the Epistle to the Philippians (2: 6-11). If Jesus truly took the human condition with all its constraints, he could not know the future as every human being does not know the future. But he was intelligent as we can be intelligent, and he certainly perceived the evolution of this disciple whom he had originally chosen, when he met his criteria, but who now seemed to distance himself from this strange master. In this context, we can accept the message of the evangelists that Jesus was not surprised by Judas' betrayal. But that detail where Judas asks "Is it me, Rabbi?" and Jesus answers "you said so" is most probably a creation of Matthew; moreover, he is the only evangelist to mention "you said so".

It is questionable whether, historically speaking, Jesus could have sensed that he would be betrayed and alluded to the disciples. The answer is probably yes, because Mark and John, two independent sources, speak of this. But it could have happened not on the eve of the betrayal, which left little time to organize his arrest, but earlier, perhaps at the Bethany meal that Mark places two days before Easter (Mk 14: 1), and John six days before (Jn 12: 1). Cf. P. Benoit et M.-E. Boismard, Synopse des quatre évangiles II, Paris : Cerf, 1972, p. 380.

v. 24 Certainly, according to the Scriptures, the new Adam is called to die, but I pity this man who betrayed the new Adam: it would have been better for this man not to be born".

Literally: Indeed the Son of Man goes as it has been written about him; woe however the man to that by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. Better would it be for him if not had been born the man that.

v. 25 In turn Judas asked, "Is it me, Rabbi?" Jesus replied, "You said so".

Literally: Then answering Judas, who was betraying him, said, Not I is it, Rabbi? he says to him, You have said.

as it has been written about him
The Gospel seems to make a surprising statement: Jesus' death would not only have been foreseen, but would correspond to an already established scenario. Here we must be careful of the formulas used by the evangelist, which, at first glance, are confusing. Once again, let us remember that the Gospel accounts were written 40 to 50 years after the fact. After the death of Jesus and at the time of the nascent faith in his resurrection from the dead, the first Christians set out to go through the Jewish Scriptures to find meaning in it all. Thus they found passages from the prophets or psalms that helped them to understand all these events. The authors of the Scriptures would have been surprised to see the use that was made of their text, but for the early Christians the Scriptures brought the light they were looking for.

Son of Man
I translate the expression "son of man" as "new Adam". See the explanation I give on my translation page.
woe the man ... Better would it be for him if not had been born
This verse could raise the question of the predestination that tormented people like John Calvin who said that God wants the damnation of some people and the salvation of others from all eternity. First of all, this verse states only this: poor Judas, how he will suffer because of his deed! This affirmation is on the same level as our daily reactions to a child who makes a bad choice and has to suffer the consequences. The evangelist does not speak of predestination at all. However, if we want to approach the question of predestination by reading the Judas episode, it is necessary to know that everything has to do with our vision of God, in particular his omnipotence with regard to human freedom. For whom nothing escapes God's control, then everything becomes predetermined, including human choices. Personally, I believe in human freedom, I believe that it is willed and respected by God, I believe in his infinite and unrestricted love for all human beings without exception, and to say that God can want beings to be unhappy is a total aberration. If Jesus is the most faithful reflection of God, who accepted to be scorned, tied up and died, then we must believe that God accepts to humiliate Himself in order to give full scope to human freedom. If the death of Jesus was transformed into the power of resurrection, then we must believe that the power of God is not that of controlling everything, but of knowing how to transform death and sin into a source of life.

v. 26 While they were eating, after taking bread and saying the blessing, Jesus broke it and shared it with the disciples, saying, "Take, eat, this is my body."

Literally: Then [as] they were eating of them, having taken Jesus bread, and having blessed, broke [it], and having given to the disciples, he said, Take, eat; this is the body of me.

v. 27 After taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, saying, "Drink in all,

Literally: And having taken a cup and having given thanks, he gave [it] to them, saying, Drink of it, all of you.

v. 28 this is my blood of covenant, shed so that a large part of humanity will return from its waywardness".

Literally: This for is the blood of me, of the covenant, for many being poured out for forgiveness of sins.

v. 29 He added, "From now on, I will no longer drink the product of the vine with you, until the day when I drink something new in my father's world."

Literally: Then I say to you, no not will I drink, from now, of this the fruit of the vine, until the day that, when it I drink with you anew in the kingdom of the Father of me.

v. 30 After singing hymns, they left for the Garden of Olives.

Literally: And having sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

having taken bread, and having blessed, broke [it]... having taken a cup and having given thanks
Historically, it is likely that Jesus had a farewell meal with his disciples. It is possible that it was Thursday evening, April 6, 30 AD (see Meier). But the way the synoptics tell this scene is less concerned with specifying what happened than with making it a Passover meal that was to take place the next day, Friday evening, April 7. And the Jewish Passover ritual included the following steps (see Glossary):
  • The president pronounces the blessing over the cup of wine which he then passes around...
  • A basin of water is passed from hand to hand to allow everyone to purify themselves before eating the lamb.
  • A second glass of wine is circulated while the president explains at most the meaning of the rites.
  • After the song of the beginning of Hallel (Ps 113-114), the president takes the loaves, breaks them and distributes them to the guests.
  • One eats lamb roasted with bitter herbs and pieces of unleavened bread dipped in haroset (fig and grape compote cooked in wine).
  • Then the cup of blessing is drunk, and the end of Hallel is intoned (Ps 115-118).
  • A final glass of wine closes the meal

The way in which this last meal of Jesus is recounted is also marked by the way in which the first Christians celebrated the Eucharist. Let us compare what Paul says when he reminds the Corinthians of the Eucharistic tradition with the various accounts of Jesus' last supper.

In what follows, we propose the most literal possible translation of the Greek text of the Eucharistic traditions found in the synoptic Gospels and in Paul. We have underlined the words of Mark which are also found in the other evangelists or in Paul; when a word is partially underlined, it means that it is the same word, but with a different tense or form. We have put in green the words that Luke and Paul share. We have noted in blue a word shared by Matthew and Luke. Finally, in italics are words specific to an evangelist or Paul.

Mark 14Matthew 26Luke 221 Corinthians
17 And having received a cup, having given thanks, he said : Take this, and divide among you;
18 for, I say to you, no more I will drink from now from the fruit of the vine, until that the kingdom of God shall come.
22a And them eating, having taken bread26a Then, them eating, Jesus having taken bread19a and having taken bread23b the Lord Jesus in the night in which he was betrayed, took bread
22b having spoken a blessing, he broke and gave to them and he said, Take, this is my body.26b and having spoken a blessing, he broke and having given to the disciples, he said, Take, this is my body.19b having given thanks, he broke and gave to them, saying, This is my body given in favour of you. Do in remembrance of me.24 And having given thanks, he broke and said, This is my body in favour of you. Do in remembrance of me.
23 And having taking a cup, having given thanks, he gave to them, and they drank of it all.27 And having taking a cup and having given thanks, he gave to them, saying : drink of it all.20a And the cup likewise after the having supped,25a And likewise the cup after the having supped,
24 And he said to them, this is my blood of the covenant, which is being poured out in favour of many.28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.20b saying, This cup [is] the new covenant in my blood, which is being poured out in favour of you.saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood, as often as if you might drink, in remembrance of me.
25 Truly, I say to you that no more never I will drink of the fruit of the vine, until this day when I drink anew in the kingdom of God.29 Then, I say to you, no more I will drink from this moment of this fruit of the vine, until this day when I drink a new in the kingdom of my Father.

Let us make a number of observations.

  • We'll have noticed the absence of John in this comparison. The latter of course has a narrative of Jesus' last supper (Jn 13 - 17) which begins with the washing of his disciples' feet, mentions Judas' betrayal and Peter's denial, but contains no reference to the broken bread and the shared cup and its symbolism linked to Jesus' offered life. The only reference to an action of bread sharing on the part of Jesus is found in his account of a crowd of five thousand people whom he fed after he had given thanks (see John 6). Perhaps the Johannine community had a somewhat different tradition when it came together.

  • In green, we have highlighted the similarities between Paul's writing to the Corinthians and Luke's Gospel. This is not surprising, since both are addressed to a Greek community (see my hypothesis about the Gospel of Luke being written in Corinth in Where was Luke's Gospel written?).

    1. First of all, we note that we no longer speak of blessing on bread, typical of Jewish circles, but of thanksgiving on bread, a typically Greek vocabulary.

    2. Then there is an explicit call to repeat this gesture to remember what Jesus did (Do in remembrance of me). Here we follow the model of the Jewish Passover meal where the ritual is invited to be repeated from generation to generation (Exodus 12: 14 "On that day you will remember it and celebrate it as a feast for Yahweh, in your generations you will celebrate it, it is a perpetual decree").

    3. Moreover, the gesture with the cup takes place after the meal, in the manner of the Jewish Passover meal where a last cup closes the meal.

    4. Finally, the cup is associated with the blood of the covenant, a reference to Exodus 24: 8 ("Moses took the blood and shed it on the people and said, "This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you under all these clauses"), whereas Moses has just presented the tables of the Law to the people. But this time it is a radically new covenant where the Law is replaced by the very person of Jesus.

    5. It will have been noticed that Luke is the only one to introduce Jesus' last supper with a first cup of wine. In this he follows the ritual of the Jewish Easter feast which began with the first cup of wine shared.

    6. If we look at the similarities of this Greek tradition (note that the epistle to the Corinthians would have been written around the year 54), we end up with this text:
      He took bread,
      gave thanks,
      broke it
      and said
      "This is my body, which is for you;
      do this in memory of me."
      Likewise, after the meal,
      he took the cup, saying:
      "This cup is the new covenant in my blood;
      do this in memory of me."

  • Matthew's account does not follow this Greek tradition, but reuses the one Mark gives him. A comparison of the two versions reveals the following:

    1. Matthew follows Mark's text quite faithfully. Their similarities give us this:
      While they were eating,
      he took bread,
      bless it,
      broke it
      and gave it to them and said:
      "Take, this is my body."
      And then, taking a cup,
      he gave thanks and gave it to them,
      He says:
      "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant,
      that will be spread out for a multitude.
      I tell you, I will no longer drink of the produce of the vine
      until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God

    2. A comparison between the Greek tradition and Mark's allows us to notice that the Greek tradition contains actions of Jesus in relation to the disciples: the (bread) gave them, take, the (cup) gave them. Thus, the Greek tradition is much more ritualized than Mark's, which contains a dynamic relationship with the disciples. On the other hand, there is a beginning of a theological interpretation of this death with the idea of blood being shed for a multitude, i.e. for the benefit of many people.

    3. By taking up Mark's text, Matthew emphasizes both the dynamic relationship with the disciples (and thus with his audience), and the theological significance of Jesus' death. On the one hand, he adds "eat" to Mark's "take (the bread)", as well as "drink it all" to "give (the cup) to them", and also "with you" to "drink the new wine"; thus he truly engages his audience. On the other hand, he adds "for the remission of sins" to Mark's "blood shed for many", clearly specifying the salvific value of Jesus' death. Thus, between the period of Mark (about 70 AD) and Matthew (about 80 or 85 AD), reflection on the meaning of Jesus' death continued theologically.

What can we conclude from all this? Historically, it seems undeniable that Jesus wanted to have a last supper with his disciples while the vice was tightening on him. This meal had a special character because it included bread and wine. It was an opportunity for Jesus to bid farewell to his disciples, to leave them his last words. Thus, after having blessed the bread according to Jewish tradition and shared it, he associated it with his own body, given to nourish others even unto death; through his body the whole of his life was given. He shared the cup of wine in the same way, associating it with his blood about to be shed, a sign not only of the gift of his life, but also of a new union beyond death. After these words, he added that it was his last meal with them, but ended on a note of hope by proclaiming his faith in the coming of the Reign of God where they would all be together. Later, Christians will remember this farewell meal not only to keep alive the memory of their master, but also to deepen its meaning. This is how it will be reinterpreted in the light of the Jewish Passover, as we see in Luke and in Greek tradition, for just as the coming out of Egypt was a liberating moment, so the death and resurrection of Jesus opened a liberating spring. Thus also, as we see in Matthew, it will be reinterpreted in the light of the sacrifices for the sins of the temple by speaking of the blood of Jesus shed for a multitude in remission of sins; as the Jewish Christians to whom Matthew was speaking knew these sacrifices offered for the forgiveness of sins, they could then by this analogy understand the meaning of this tragic death of Jesus.

v. 31 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you are going to stumble tonight because of me, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will disperse.

Literally: Then says to them Jesus, All you will fall away because of me during the night this. It has been written for: I will strike the shepherd, and will be scattered the sheep of the flock.

skandalisthēsesthe (you will fall away)
It is important to understand the meaning of the Greek word skandalisthēsesthe, which gave us our word: scandalize, and which we translated as: stumble. It is not a bad example that shocks or a revolting event, but a stumbling-stone that causes people to stumble, as the Old Testament shows:
  • Sirach 27: 23 In your presence his mouth is all sweetness, and he admires your words; but later he will twist his speech and with your own words he will give you a stumbling-stone (LXX : skandalon)
  • Isaiah 8: 14 he shall be to thee for a sanctuary; and ye shall not come against him as against a stumbling-stone, neither as against the falling of a rock: but the houses of Jacob are in a snare, and the dwellers in Jerusalem in a pit.

Stumbling means losing one's convictions, losing faith, wandering away from one's original and fundamental choices, becoming a stranger to oneself. In Peter's case, he will deny his discipleship, even though he had been bound to Jesus for more than two years. To understand this use, we refer to this passage from the prophet Zechariah where God puts his people to the test: "Sword, rise up against my shepherd and against the man who is close to me, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd, scatter the sheep, and I will turn my hand against the little ones" (13: 7). So the group of the Twelve was finished; after the betrayal of Judas, it was now the desertion of all the disciples.

I will strike the shepherd, and will be scattered the sheep
In order to understand the fact that the disciples will abandon their master, the Marcan source of Matthew makes an explicit reference to Zechariah 13: 7, a passage where Yahweh announces the judgment for his people and his desire to cleanse them of their impurity, especially from idols: (Hebrew version) Sword, rise up against my shepherd and against the man who is near me, says the Lord of hosts. Strike the shepherd, let the sheep be scattered, and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

It can be noted that in order to clarify their situation, the first Christians modified Scripture a little: first of all, the shepherd of Zechariah's text is a bad shepherd who undergoes God's judgment, which makes a comparison with Jesus strange. Secondly, the verb tense is changed from imperative to future tense, in order to make it a prophecy for the future. Anyway, this text helped them to explain the very sad event of a Jesus condemned to death and the community of disciples collapsing.

v. 32 And after returning from the dead, I will go before you into Galilee".

Literally: Then, after however being raised, I will go before you into Galilee.

 
Matthew is content here to quote Mark verbatim. There is little to say except that this passage from Mark is certainly editorial, for it fits in with his theology of an encounter with the risen Jesus in Galilee (Mark 16: 7).

v. 33 But Peter retorted, "Even if everyone stumbles because of you, I will never stumble".

Literally: Then answering, Peter said to him, If all will fall away because of You, I never will fall away.

v. 34 Jesus continues, "Truly, I assure you, that very night, before the rooster crows, you will have denied knowing me three times".

Literally: Said to him Jesus, Truly I say to you that during this night, before [the] rooster crowing, three times you will deny me.

v. 35 Peter objected, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny knowing you". The disciples all said the same thing.

Literally: Says to him Peter, Even if it were necessary for me with You to die, no not You will I deny. Likewise also, all the disciples said.

 
Before turning to the question of Peter's denial, it should be noted that the story of the announcement of the disciples' abandonment and that of Peter's denial were probably two independent stories that were brought together because they dealt with a common theme, that of the attitude of the disciples at the time of Jesus' arrest. The bridge between the two accounts would have been made with the protest of Peter, who claimed to be different from the others. Cf. P. Benoit and M.-E. Boismard, Synopse des quatre évangiles (Synopsis of the four Gospels) II, Paris: Cerf, 1972, p. 390.

On the historical level, it is probable that Jesus anticipated Peter's defection. Both Mark and John, two independent authors, pass on to us an ancient tradition. Here are in parallel the four Gospels on the subject. We have underlined, not the exact words, but the common ideas.

Mark 14, 27-31Matthew 26: 31-35Luke 22 : 31-34John 13 : 37-38
36 Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?"
27 And Jesus said to them, "All of you are going to be deserters; for it is said in the Scriptures, I will send destruction on the shepherd, and the sheep will be put to flight....31 Then Jesus said to them, " All of you are going to be deserters for my sake this very night. For it is written, "I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered....31 "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat; 32 but I prayed for you, that your faith may not fail. You therefore, when you come again, establish your brothers."Jesus said to him, "Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow me later."
29 Peter said to him, "Even if all are to be deserters, at least I am not!"33 Peter answered and said to him, "If all fall away for your sake, I will never fall away.33 He said to him, Lord, I am ready to go with you and to prison and to death.37 Peter said to him, "Why am I not able to go with you now? I will lay down my life for you."
30 Jesus said to him, "Most assuredly I tell you, today, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.34 Jesus answered him, "Most assuredly I tell you, tonight, before the cock crows, you will deny me three times."34 But he said, "I tell you, Peter, the cock will not crow today unless you deny three times that you know me."38 Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow unless you deny me three times.
31 But he said to him again and again, "If I am to die with you, no, I will not go without you. And they all said the same thing. 35 Peter said to him, "If I die with you, no, I will not deny you." And all the disciples said the same.

As we can see, the traditions of Mark and John have three things in common:

  1. In the face of the difficult situation that is coming, Jesus announces that Peter will not be able to follow him;
  2. Peter replies that he is different from the others and that he is ready to die for Jesus;
  3. Jesus predicts that the night will not end until Peter denies knowing him.

v. 36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit down while I go away to pray".

Literally: Then comes with them Jesus to a place called Gethsemane, and he says to the disciples, Sit here, until that having gone away over there, I shall pray.

Gethsemane
The name Gethsemane is composed of two Hebrew roots: gat (press) and ch‛mani (olive), and therefore means: oil press. This place was located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, east of the Kedron, the dried-up stream.

while I go away to pray
The image Matthew leaves us of a Jesus facing trial is that of someone who feels the need to pray. And in order to pray, he isolates himself somewhat from his disciples. Prayer appears as a unique way of abstracting oneself from the immediate to open up to another perspective.

v. 37 Having taken Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him, Jesus began to be sad and to be tormented.

Literally: And having taken with [him] Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful (lypeisthai) and deeply distressed (adēmonein).

v. 38 Then he said to them, "My being is sad to die. Stay here and stay awake with me".

Literally: Then he says to them, Very sorrowful (perilypos) is the soul of me, even to death; remain here and stay awake with me.

lypeisthai (sorrowful), adēmonein (distressed), perilypos (very sorrowful)
The Gospel uses different words to describe the state of Jesus' soul: he is sad (lypeisthai), he is tormented / disturbed / anxious / troubled / worried / fearful depending on how you translate adēmonein. And he puts words in Jesus' mouth that refer to Psalm 42: 6: What is it that you have, my being, that you have weakened and groaned over me? (This is the Hebrew version). The Greek version of the Septuagint says: Why are you sad (perilypos), my being, why do you trouble me? The important thing to remember is that Jesus is presented as someone who behaves like every human being before the prospect of suffering and dying: he is sad, he is disturbed, he is anxious. We are far from inner peace. Matthew tries to attenuate the feelings he finds in Mark who speaks of fear or dread (ekthambeisthai), and therefore prefers to use the word sadness (lypeisthai); it is his habit to want to keep the dignified and transcendent face of Jesus, because he looks at him with the eyes of faith.

Stay awake with me
Jesus needs the support of his closest disciples, he wants their presence. They are Peter and James and John, the two sons of Zebedee. He asks them to stay awake with him. Does he not behave in a perfectly human way? The aspect is accentuated in Matthew. While Mark talks about staying awake, Matthew's Jesus asks them to stay awake "with me".

v. 39 He stepped forward and fell face down on the ground, praying, "Father, if possible, may I avoid this cup. However, may happen not what I want, but what you want".

Literally: And having gone forward a little, he fell upon face of him, praying, and saying, Father of me, if possible it is, let pass from me this cup. Nevertheless not as I will, but as You.

epi prosōpon autou proseuchomenos (he fell upon his face)
In this scene in which Jesus prays to his Father, Matthew somewhat attenuates the dramatic character found in Mark. Jesus no longer falls to the ground as if crushed by fear, but "falls face down" in a gesture of submission. It is the same typical gesture that we find in Abraham when God speaks to him about establishing a covenant: And Abram fell face down to the ground (LXX: epesen Abram epi prosōpon autou). God spoke to him thus (Genesis 17: 3). Moreover, Matthew eliminates the expression "Abba" (father) used by Mark to keep only "My father", a more formal and less emotionally charged expression.

let pass from me this cup. Nevertheless not as I will, but as You
Jesus' attitude reflects two essential components on how to live the trial well. First of all, it is normal to want to avoid it and it is healthy to wish that it does not happen: "if it is possible, avoid this cup". Running after the ordeal would be a mental illness. But if it does happen and it cannot be avoided, it is vital to accept it, accept it and live it to the fullest. What would have happened if Jesus had continued to refuse it until his last breath? The trial would have embittered him, would have made him feel that all this is unfair, in short, would have killed him morally before killing him physically. On the contrary, the trial made him grow to the point of becoming a source of life for all of us. Let us note that the most difficult part of the ordeal is failing to understand. The expression "not what I want, but what you want" is the recognition of a mystery that is beyond us, and a gesture of faith that proclaims that the source of this mystery is, in spite of everything, a being of love, and that realizes, through our openness, a world in his image.

v. 40 Jesus returned to his disciples and found them asleep. He said, "So, weren't you able to stay awake for one hour with me?

Literally: And he comes to the disciples and finds them sleeping. And he says to Peter, Thus not were you able one hour to stay awake with me?

v. 41 Stay awake and pray that you will not be put to the test. Because although the spirit is well disposed, the flesh is however weak".

Literally: Stay awake and pray, that not you enter into temptation. The indeed spirit [is] willing, but the flesh weak.

pneuma (spirit), sarx (flesh)
In the Gospels, the two words have several meanings. The spirit here refers to the human being in his capacity to understand, to relate and to choose the good. The flesh designates the human being in his fragility and in his tensions with opposing forces. The sentence therefore underlines the human dichotomy with the words spirit and flesh, and thus summarizes the great challenge of human life. To meet this challenge, there is first of all the need for prayer, which Matthew takes up again from Mark's account. This is what Jesus does. It is what the disciples do not do. We can see the difference. But in Matthew, there is even more: there is community. For when one stays awake and pray in trial, it is with others. To Mark's account, he adds again "with me": "So you were not able to stay awake with me for one hour? (v. 40)

v. 42 For a second time, Jesus went away again to pray and ask, "Father, if it is not possible to avoid drinking all this, then may what you want come true".

Literally: Again for a second time having gone away, he prayed, saying, Father of me, if not is possible this to pass if not it I drink, be done the will of You.

v. 43 On returning, he finds them again asleep, eyes burdened down.

Literally: And having come again, he finds them sleeping, were for of them the eyes burdened down.

v. 44 Again Jesus left them and went away to pray and ask the same thing for the third time.

Literally: And having left them again, having gone away, he prayed for [the] third time, the same thing having said again.

v. 45 Finally, he came back to the disciples and said to them, "You can now sleep and rest. The hour is near at hand when the new Adam is put into the hands of wicked people.

Literally: Then he comes to the disciples and says to them, Sleep later on and take your rest. Behold, has drawn near the hour, and the Son of Man is betrayed into [the] hands of sinners.

v. 46 Go, wake up. Here comes the one who hands me over to the authorities".

Literally: Rise up, let us go! Behold, has drawn near he who is betraying me!

 
As noted in many stories, gestures or words are repeated three times, in order to create dramatic intensity and to emphasize a number of points. In our case, one insists on the one hand on Jesus' decision to assume the fate that awaits him despite his extreme difficulty in order to surrender himself totally to what he believes to be the will of God, and on the other hand on the incapacity of the disciples to face the same situation. Matthew is content to take up Mark's account, but the structure is better: the three round trips are well identified. He repeats Jesus' prayer to underline its intensity and the firm decision to do his Father's will. He eliminates unnecessary details, such as the mention of Mark that the disciples don't know what to say when Jesus reproaches them for not staying awake. Finally, he modifies some words (their eyes were heavy: katabarynō) to replace them with his favourite words (their eyes were burdened down: bareomai, see also Mt 13: 15; 20: 12; 23:4.23).

There is something ironic between the words of Jesus who tells his disciples that they can now sleep and rest (v. 45), and the one he says immediately afterwards where he asks them to wake up (v. 46). In fact, in the first case, it is the recognition that the time of preparation for battle is over, and therefore the disciples will not fight and can rest; they are sleeping morally speaking. In the second case, it is the physical awakening as the assailants approach.

v. 47 He was still talking when Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived from the high priests and the elders of the people with a large crowd carrying swords and sticks.

Literally: And yet of him as he is speaking, behold, Judas, one of the Twelve, came, and with him a crowd great, with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people.

v. 48 The one who was going to hand him over to them had agreed on a sign: "The one I will kiss is him, grab him."

Literally: Then The [one] betraying him gave them a sign, saying, Whomever I shall kiss, he it is; seize him.

v. 49 He immediately approached Jesus to say to him, "Hello, Rabbi!" Then he kissed him.

Literally: And immediately having come up to Jesus, he said, Hail, Rabbi, and kissed him.

v. 50 Jesus answered him, "My friend, go on with what you have to do". So they came near to take Jesus.

Literally: And Jesus said to him, Friend, for what are you come? Then having come to [him], they laid hands on Jesus and seized him.

v. 51 At that time, drawing his sword, one of Jesus' companions struck the servant of the high priest and removed his ear.

Literally: And behold, one of those with Jesus, having stretched out the hand, drew the sword of him, and having struck the servant of the high priest, cut off of him the ear.

v. 52 But Jesus said to him, "Put the sword back into its sheath. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.

Literally: Then says to him Jesus, Return the sword of you into the place of it; all for those having taken [the] sword, by [the] sword will perish.

v. 53 Don't you know that I could call on my father to send me more than twelve legions of angels right now?

Literally: Or think you that not I am able to call upon the Father of me, and he will furnish to me presently more than twelve legions of angels?

v. 54 But then how will the Scriptures, which explain the reason for these things, become fully intelligible?"

Literally: How then should be fulfilled the Scriptures, that so it must be?

 
The scene depicts the arrest of Jesus in the middle of the night by the religious authorities with the help of a collaborator, Judas, one of the intimate group. The arrest is not without violence as one of the disciples draws his sword and wounds one of the assailants. This is the basic structure that the tradition gives us. And this tradition has every chance of going back to the historical Jesus, because it is found in both Mark and John, two independent traditions. In both traditions, a plan is needed to take Jesus by surprise at night to arrest him, and this arrest is carried out by the high priests, the religious authority of the time, with the help of one of Jesus' intimates who betrayed him. In both traditions, someone reacted by striking a servant of the high priest with his sword to cut off his ear. These few historical clues allow us to deduce some things that are confirmed by other historical sources of the time:
  1. The religious authorities also exercised political authority, and therefore had custody and an administrative court;

  2. The fact that Jesus' arrest took place at night, with the collaboration of a member of Jesus' inner circle, shows the difficulty of the action; it is possible that an action during the day would have been difficult because of a sympathetic crowd, or because of the greater ability of the disciples and Jesus to see the blow coming and escape arrest;

  3. The fact that at least someone was carrying a weapon suggests that a number of people were walking around with a weapon, probably a sword. In fact, a terrorist group, called the Sicarii (their name comes from sica: short, curved sword, or dagger, hidden under the cloak), which sought to expel the Romans, and thus carried out political assassinations, was active at the time, until the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70.

Matthew makes changes to the tradition he receives from Mark. The most important concerns the violent gesture that comes now from a disciple who strikes a servant of the high priest with his sword. While Mark merely recounts the act, Matthew calls upon Jesus to reproach the disciple for it. All that follows is his creation: But Jesus said to him, "Put the sword back into its sheath. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Don't you know that I could call on my father to send me more than twelve legions of angels right now? But then how will the Scriptures, which explain the reason for these things, become fully intelligible?"

Here again we see Matthew's tendency to tone down the rawness of Mark's account. The violent act of one of the disciples may have seemed shocking to the early Christians. Thus Matthew's Jesus not only reproaches the disciple for having acted in this way, but also affirms that his non-resistance to his arrest is a totally voluntary gesture, with the awareness that this is God's will. Matthew emphasizes once again what was at the centre of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane. But Jesus' attitude towards the violent act of one of his disciples may have a historical basis, since it is also found in John, an independent tradition (Jesus says to Peter: "Throw the sword into the sheath"), and in Luke (Jesus says: "Leave it alone; that is enough"). And as Matthew does so often, he turns to the Scriptures to find the light to understand the events. Once again, let us remember that the expression "all this happened so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled" does not mean that events follow the Scriptures and God's predetermined scenario, but that the first Christians eventually found meaning in the events surrounding Jesus by re-reading the Scriptures. That is why I prefer to translate "so that the Scriptures become fully intelligible" rather than "so that the Scriptures are fulfilled".

Other changes Matthew makes to Mark's account are less important. The crowd that comes to arrest him is "large", reflecting Matthew's tendency to accentuate Jewish opposition to Jesus, an echo of the situation in his community. The meeting of Judas and Jesus is more refined, reflecting his tendency to improve Mark's somewhat rough style: he adds the usual greeting "Hail (chaire), Rabbi!". Finally, his Christological vision of a Jesus who dominates the situation, and fulfills the will of his Father without flinching, appears when he adds to Mark's account after Judas's kiss: Jesus answers him: "My friend, get on with what you have to do."

v. 55 Then Jesus addressed the crowd, "Why did you come out with swords and sticks to catch me, as if I were a thief? Yet I sat in the temple every day teaching, and you did not take hold of me.

Literally: In that hour, said Jesus to the crowds, As against a robber did you come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day in the temple I was sitting teaching, and not you did seize me.

v. 56 All of these events provide a full understanding of the scriptures of the prophets". At that time, all the disciples left him and fled.

Literally: Then, this all is come to pass, that might be fulfilled the Scriptures of the prophets. Then the disciples all, having forsaken him, fled.

 
Matthew is content to take up Mark almost verbatim, with minor stylistic changes. This passage seems to echo the uneasiness and questions asked by the early Christians. Jesus, their master, the image of God, was treated like a thief, like a robber by the religious authorities. This was not easy to accept. As for us, the arrest of Jesus in the middle of the night, when he had taught so much in public, raised questions. We are far from an edifying, rosy story. It can reconcile us with the ambiguity of today's situations. The scene ends with the disciples abandoning and fleeing. This fact must also have seemed shocking to the early Christians when disciples like Peter or John were important figures at the time. In fact, John's Gospel presents us with a slightly different scene: the disciples do not flee, because it is Jesus who explicitly asks to let them go: Jesus answered, "I told you that it is me. If therefore it is me you seek, let them go" (John 18: 8).

v. 57 After taking him, they brought him to the high priest Caiaphas, where scribes and elders were gathered.

Literally: Then, those having seized Jesus led [him] away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.

v. 58 Peter followed him from a distance to the interior courtyard of the high priest. Once inside, he was seated with the servants to see the outcome.

Literally: Then, Peter was following him from afar, even to the court of the high priest. And having entered within, he was sitting with the guards to see the outcome.

 
Mark's account, which Matthew follows, is schematic and stingy in detail. We know that Caiaphas, whose name was Joseph, was high priest from 18 to 36 (the trial of Jesus took place around 30 AD). He was probably a Sadducee. His father-in-law, the Sadducee Anne, also known as Ananus I, was also high priest from 6 to 15 AD, and he was the great political manipulator who placed those around him in positions of authority. He is a member of the Sanhedrin. Jesus was probably taken first to Annas for his preliminary investigation, as John mentions (see 18: 13), before being brought before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. But Mark seems to jump over all these details. Likewise, Peter, this fisherman from Galilee, finds himself in the inner courtyard of the high priest, without it being known how he was able to pull off this sleight of hand. On this subject, the Gospel of John gives us very precise details: it was the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and who was known to the high priest, who managed to get Peter into the courtyard by talking to the door keeper. In short, Matthew follows this schematic account, giving details, such as the reason why Peter went to the high priest's courtyard: to see the outcome of Jesus' arrest; he chickened out like all the others, but the fate of Jesus is close to his heart.

v. 59 The high priests and the whole Sanhedrin sought a false witness against Jesus in order to be able to put him to death,

Literally: Then, the chief priests and the Council whole were seeking false testimony against Jesus, so that him they might put to death;

v. 60 but they did not find any, even if several appeared to testify falsely against him. At the end, there were two

Literally: and not any they found, of many having come forward as false witnesses. At last then, having come forward two,

v. 61 who said, "This man proclaimed: I am capable of destroying the temple, and in three days rebuilding it".

Literally: they said, This [man] has been saying, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and in three days to rebuild it.

v. 62 The high priest stood up and said, "You answer nothing to those who testify against you?"

Literally: And having stood up, the high priest said to him, Nothing answer you? What these you do witness against?

v. 63 Jesus was silent. Then the high priest said to him, "I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the messiah, the son of God".

Literally: Then, Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, I adjure you by God the living, that us You tell if You are the Christ, the Son of God.

v. 64 Jesus answers him: "You said it. However, I declare it:

Literally: Says to him Jesus, You have said. But I say to you,

 
At v. 59 the mock trial begins. Because his death is already decided, it is a question of finding the right incriminating testimony. Again Matthew follows Mark with his account of the witnesses whose testimony does not agree, whom Matthew calls false testimony. The climax of these testimonies seems to be reached when one evokes a word of Jesus about the destruction of the temple and its reconstruction in three days. To speak of the destruction of the symbol of God's presence on earth is a direct attack on religion, and therefore a serious gesture in a religious world (We could recall this passage from Ezra 6: 12 where Cyrus, king of Persia, who set in motion the reconstruction of the second temple, is believed to have said: "May the God who makes his name reside there overthrow any king or people who would undertake to go beyond it by destroying this Temple of God in Jerusalem!"). It is interesting to note that Matthew modifies the rather crude text of Mark who says: "We have heard him say, I will destroy this Sanctuary made with hands and in three days I will build another one that will not be made with hands" (Mark 14: 58). First, under Matthew's pen, the "I will destroy" becomes "I am able to destroy". Let us not forget that Matthew belongs to the Jewish world, probably written for a Jewish-Christian community, and it is therefore unthinkable that Jesus intended to destroy this great Jewish symbol. And by using the expression "to be able", he underlines the quality of Jesus, in conformity with his Christology. Secondly, as a Jew, he is unable to accept Mark's dichotomy between the temple "made with hands" and the other "not made with hands", which would destroy the whole value of the temple in Jerusalem, somewhat insulting to a Jew. So Matthew does not copy this part of Mark's text. Note that in order to respect the Jewish rule of testifying in one trial, Matthew mentions that this incriminating testimony comes from two witnesses (see Deuteronomy 19: 15).

Knowing the seriousness of the accusation against the temple, one can understand the gesture of the high priest who rises and says: "You answer nothing to those who testify against you?" It is probable that in the writing of the Passion narrative one had in mind that mysterious figure of Isaiah who appears in the four poems of the Suffering Servant, including this passage in which the suffering being does not open his mouth: Abused, he humbled himself, he did not open his mouth, like the lamb that is led to the slaughterhouse, like a dumb sheep before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. (Isaiah 53:7). This is how Jesus keeps silent.

And what follows seems to aim at bringing the Jewish trial to a climax. Whereas with Mark we witness the simple enunciation of a question about the identity of Jesus, with Matthew the question takes on a solemn character by taking God as witness in a typically Jewish way (see Job 27:2: "By the living God..."): "I adjure you by the living God, tell us whether you are the Messiah, the Son of God". Let us recall at once that the expression "son of God" is not to be understood in the absolute sense as in current theology. By definition, the Messiah was sent by God, and by the same token was a son of God, in the sense that he represented God and proclaimed the word of God. The question may be asked here: why does the high priest ask such a question after the testimony concerning the destruction and construction of the temple? What is the connection between the question of the temple and the question of the Messiah? The answer is not very clear. It is important to know that the title of messiah, i.e. anointed, was first associated with the king who was anointed to assume duties as God's delegate, and thereby became his adopted son. Thus Saul, David and Solomon, the same one who built the first temple in Jerusalem, were messiahs of God. Later, the title was given in a broader sense to people whom God sent to fulfill a mission. This is the case of the Persian king Cyrus who will have the temple of Jerusalem rebuilt (see Isaiah 45: 1). It is therefore possible that there is an association between authority over the temple, over its reconstruction, and the Messiah. But it is even more likely that Mark built this scene to make the question of Jesus' messiahhood the climax of this trial. Matthew emphasizes this point by rephrasing the high priest's question along the lines of Peter's earlier confession: "Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God'" (Matthew 16:16). And his answer is a little more subtle than Mark's, who simply says, "I (am)", for his Jesus rather says: "You have said it", a slightly vaguer answer. What follows (From now on you will see the new Adam, sitting at the right hand of God, and coming on the clouds of heaven) refers to two passages from the Old Testament that have been combined :

  • Daniel 7: 13 : As I watched in the night visions, I saw one like a a new Adam coming with the clouds of heaven. And he came to the Ancient One and was presented before him.
  • Psalm 110: 1 : The Lord says to my lord, "Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool. "

This mysterious figure, the son of man, which I prefer to translate as the new Adam, for it is the re-creation of man as willed by God, was expected at the end of time, after a period of suffering, when God will re-establish the new order of things, where those who have been humiliated and rejected will receive the power to judge mankind, at the right hand of God and in his name. This type of messiah was different from the political messiah that was part of the imagination of the Jewish people.

v. 65 At that time, the high priest tore his clothing and said, "He insulted God. Why are we still looking for witnesses? You see! Now you have heard the insult.

Literally: Then the high priest tears the garments of him, saying, he has blasphemed; why any more need have we of witnesses? Behold now, you have heard the blasphemy.

v. 66 What do you think?" Then they replied, "He deserves death."

Literally: What you do think? And answering they said, Deserving of death he is.

 
Jesus' reply is considered an insult or blasphemy (blasphēmia). This may come as a surprise. But the fact of coming on the clouds, therefore of the world of God, and especially of sitting at his right hand, and therefore sharing his power, is considered as the claim of a divine rank, hence the flagrant insult to God. We have parallels in the Old Testament, especially the story of Jeremiah. For the prophet announces the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in the image of the destruction of the sanctuary of Shiloh: "I will do to this Temple which bears my name, in which you trust, this place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh" (Jeremiah 7: 14). A little further on in the book of Jeremiah, a disciple recalls this word and the following: "This word came to Jeremiah from the Lord,... 'I will treat this Temple as Shiloh and I will make this city a curse on all the nations of the earth'. Then the priests and the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord. And it came to pass, when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the Lord had commanded him to say to all the people, that the priests, the prophets, and all the people took hold of him, saying, 'You are about to die'" (Jeremiah 26: 1-8).

Matthew will slightly modify the account he receives from Mark. First of all, he removes all legal value from this trial in the Sanhedrin: he replaces "they condemned him (katakrinō)" with "they answered," so that the "He is punishable by death" becomes merely an opinion. He is probably right, because the religious authority did not have the power to condemn to death, and therefore could not hold a real trial. Matthew emphasizes the religious aspect of the judgment by repeating the word blasphemy twice. Finally, he corrects Mark on the priest's garment, the tunic or shirt (chitōn: simple sleeveless garment), replacing it with the imation (cloak) that was worn over the tunic. By using the plural (which has been translated as clothing), Matthew gives us the impression that the high priest tore everything he was wearing, which gives a very dramatic character to the gesture.

v. 67 Then they spat on his face and punched him, and others slapped him,

Literally: Then they spat in the face of him, and struck him. Others then slapped [him],

v. 68 saying, "Be a prophet for us, messiah, who struck you?"

Literally: saying, Prophesy to us, Christ, who is the [one] having struck You?

they spat on his face and punched him
This story was composed with the figure of the Suffering Servant in mind:
  • Isaiah 50: 6 : I gave my back to those who struck me, and my cheeks to those who pulled out the beard; I did not hide my face from insult and spitting

This is how the first Christians were able to reconcile themselves with the fate of Jesus. Even though the versions of Mark and Matthew seem similar, there are still differences that are worth noting. Matthew makes the scene more odious because it is the work of the Sanhedrin, that religious institution, while Mark will involve the guards. Above all, he continues to accentuate his religious character with the questioning of Jesus as the Messiah, which Mark does not have. It is this title of messiah that is clearly ridiculed here.

v. 69 Peter was sitting outside in the palace courtyard. A servant came up to him and said, "You were with Jesus the Galilean".

Literally: Then, Peter was sitting outside in the court, and came to him one servant girl, saying, Also You were with Jesus the Galilean.

v. 70 In front of all Peter denied, "I don't know what you mean".

Literally: Then, he denied before all, saying, Not I know what you say.

v. 71 As he went out the big door, another servant saw him and addressed those who were there, "This one was with Jesus the Nazorean."

Literally: Having gone out then to the porch, saw him another [servant girl], and says to those there, This [man] was with Jesus of Nazareth.

v. 72 Again Peter denied with an oath, "I don't know this man."

Literally: And again he denied with an oath , Not I know the man.

v. 73 After a while, the people standing there said to Peter, "Yes, you too are one of them. Besides, your accent betrays you".

Literally: Then, after a little while, also having come to [him] those standing by, they said to Peter, Surely also you of them are, even for the speech of you away you gives.

v. 74 At that moment Peter began to fulminate and swear that he did not know the man. And immediately the rooster crowed.

Literally: Then he began to curse and to swear , Not I know the man! And immediately a rooster crowed.

v. 75 It was then that Peter remembered the word of Jesus: before a rooster crows, three times you will have denied knowing me. After going outside, he cried bitterly.

Literally: And remembered Peter the word of Jesus, he having said , Before [the] rooster crowing, three times you will deny me. And having gone out, he wept bitterly.

 
The story of Peter's denial is very well known. It most likely refers to a historical event, as it is found in two independent sources, that of Mark and that of John. In what follows, we offer the most literal translation possible of the Greek text on the traditions of Peter's denial. We have underlined the words of Mark, which are also found in the other evangelists; when a word is partially underlined, it means that it is the same word, but with a different tense or form. We have put in blue the words that are shared only by Luke and Matthew. We have noted in red the words of John which are also found in a synoptic Gospel.

Mark 14Matthew 26Luke 22John 18
66a And Peter being below in the courtyard.69a Then, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.55 Then, having kindled a fire in [the] midst of the courtyard and having sat together, Peter was sitting in midst of them. 16 Then, Peter stood at the door outside. Went out therefore the other disciple known to the high priest and spoke to the doorkeeper and brought in Peter.
66b comes one of the servant girls of the high priest69b and came to him one servant girl 56a Then, having seen him by the light [of the fire] and having looked intently on him, a certain servant girl 17a The servant girl, the doorkeeper,
67 and having seen Peter warming himself, having looked at him, she says, You also you were with the Nazarene, Jesus. 69c saying, You also you were with Jesus the Galilean. 56b said: This one was also in the company of him. 17b says therefore to Peter, You also, are you not of disciples of this man?
68a Then, he denied saying, neither I know nor even understand what you say. 70 Then, he denied before all saying, I do not know what you say. 57 Then, he denied saying, Woman, I do not know him. 17c Him says, I am not.
18 Then, the servants and the officers were standing, having made a fire of coals, for it was cold, and they were warming themselves. Then, Peter standing also with them and warming himself.
68b And he went forth out into the hall [and a rooster crowed] 71a Then, having gone forth into the porch 58a And after a little 25a Then, Simon Peter standing and warming himself.
69 and the servant girl having seen him began again to say to those standing by : This [one] of them is. 71b Another [servant girl] saw him and said to those there, This [one] was with Jesus of Nazareth.58b someone else having seen him was declaring, You also you are of them. Peter was declaring,25b They said to him, You also, are you not of his disciples?
70a then, again he was denying 72 And again he denied with an oath: I do not know the man. 58c Man, I am not.25c Him he denied and said, I am not.
70b And again after a little, those standing by were saying to Peter : Truly, you are of them and indeed you are Galilean. 73 Then, after a little, those standing by, having come to [him], said to Peter, Truly, you also you are of them and indeed your speech gives you away. 59 And having elapsed about one hour, someone else strongly affirmed saying, Of a truth, this one was also with him and indeed he is a Galilean. 26 One of the servants of the high priest, being a kinsman of whom Peter has cut off the ear, says: Did not I see you in the garden with him?
71 Then, him he began to curse and to swear: I do not know this man whom you speak of. 74a Subsequently he began to curse and to swear: I do not know the man whom you speak of. 60a Then, Peter said: Man, I do not know what you speak of. 27a So again Peter denied.
72a And immediately, for the second [time], a rooster crowed. 74b And immediately a rooster crowed.60b And straightaway, him still talking, a rooster crowed. 27b And immediately a rooster crowed.
61a And, having turned, the Lord looked at Peter,
72b And Peter recollect the word that has said to him Jesus, Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times. 75a And Peter remembered about the word of Jesus having said, Before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times. 61b and Peter recalled about the word of the Lord that he has said to him, Before a rooster crows today, you will deny me three time.
72c And, having broken down, he was weeping. 75b And, having gone out, he wept bitterly.62 And, having gone out, he wept bitterly.

In the two main traditions (Mark and John),
  1. Peter is unmasked three times as one of Jesus' disciples. For Mark, the servant of the high priest questions him twice, before people from the high priest's court question him in turn. For John, it is much more precise: first it involves the maid who was in charge of the entrance door to the inner courtyard, then the servants and guards of the high priest, and finally a relative of the one whom Peter had wounded in Gethsemane.

  2. Both traditions affirm that when Peter was questioned three times, he denied knowing Jesus or being one of his disciples.

  3. Both traditions mention the crowing of the rooster, a reference to Jesus' anticipation of denial. The Mark tradition continues with Peter's repentance, which is totally absent from the John tradition. Given the likelihood of the historical value of Peter's denial, it may be thought that this fact could only have been known through the testimony of Peter himself. And tradition has preserved it, despite the fact that Peter became the guide of the nascent Christian community, as a reflection of human frailty and the subsequent power of the life offered by the Risen One.

As usual, Matthew improves on Mark's account. First of all, three different interlocutors call upon him, rather than two, which corresponds better to the logic of a three-step narrative. In addition, the questioning takes three different forms: first, reference is made to Jesus of Galilee, then to Jesus of Nazareth, then to the particular emphasis of the people of Galilee. Finally, it schematizes Mark's account by eliminating the details he considers useless, such as the fact that Peter is warming up, and especially the fact that the cock crows twice. One could add that he makes sure that his account is unambiguous, and therefore takes up Mark's sentence that said: "indeed you are Galilean" and writes instead: "indeed your speech gives you away" so that the reader knows that it is his accent.

On the other hand, he emphasizes the seriousness and intensity of Peter's denial. In the first denial, it is "in front of everyone" that he denies knowing Jesus. In the second denial, it is "with an oath" that he denies knowing Jesus. Why does he deny knowing Jesus? Matthew seems to like to dramatize things, and therefore clearly wants to make the seriousness of Peter's gesture felt.

Chapitre 27

v. 1 At dawn all the high priests and the elders of the people counselled against Jesus on how to put him to death.

Literally: Then, morning having arrived, counsel took all the chief priests and the elders of the people against Jesus, so that they might put to death him.

v. 2 After binding him, they took him away and delivered him to Governor Pilate.

Literally: And having bound him, they led away [him] and delivered him to Pilate, the governor.

  The mock trial that took place with Anne has no legal value, since it was not an official meeting of the Sanhedrin. And according to John, the normal procedure was that the high priest in office, here Caiaphas, referred the accused person to the Roman governor who alone could authorize the use of the death penalty. Matthew is aware of this, which is why he adds that in the early morning a new decision is taken, the one on how to make Jesus die, what happened that night being of no value. This was to take place in the palace of Caiaphas. And Matthew insists that this decision is taken by "all" the high priests, a way of emphasizing the responsibility of the Jewish people.

v. 3 Meanwhile, Judas, after seeing that the man he had handed over to the authorities, had been condemned, repented and went to return the five hundred dollars to the high priests and elders

Literally: Then having seen Judas, the [one] having delivered up him, that he was condemned, having regretted [it], he returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,

v. 4 with these words, "I have wandered by handing over an innocent being". They replied, "What do you want us to do? It is your problem".

Literally: saying, I sinned, having betrayed blood innocent. Then they said, What [is that] to us? you will see.

v. 5 After throwing the money into the temple, he went to hang himself.

Literally: And having cast down the pieces of silver into the temple, he withdrew, and having gone away, hanged himself.

v. 6 Collecting the money, the high priests said to themselves, "It is not permissible to deposit this in the treasury of the temple, because it is the wages of the blood."

Literally: Then, the chief priests, having taken the pieces of silver, said, Not it is lawful to put them into the treasury, since [the] price of blood it is.

v. 7 After taking advice, they bought the potter's field with the money for the burial of foreigners.

Literally: Then, counsel having taken, they bought with them the field of the potter, for a burial place for the strangers.

v. 8 This is why this field has been called "Field of Blood" to this day.

Literally: Therefore was called the field that, Field of Blood, to this day.

v. 9 Then was understood the word of Jeremiah the prophet, who said, They took the thirty pieces of silver, the wages estimated by the sons of Israel.

Literally: Then was fulfilled that having been spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the [One] having been priced, whom they set a price on by [the] sons of Israel

v. 10 They used it for the potter's field, as the Lord had commanded.

Literally: and they gave them for the field of the potter, as directed me [the] Lord.

 
This passage is unique to Matthew. The question then arises: did he create this scene from scratch or did he use a source that only he knows? We can only hypothesize, and the answer may be that there was an oral tradition or legend that he took up and reformulated in his own way. On what do we base such an assertion? First of all, this tradition or legend is also echoed in Acts of the Apostles 1: 16-19: 16 "Brethren, the Scripture had to be fulfilled in which the Holy Spirit, through the mouth of David, had spoken beforehand of Judas, who became the guide of those who arrested Jesus. 17 He had rank among us and had been given a share in our ministry. 18 And behold, when he had gotten an estate with the wages of his crime, this man fell headlong and burst through the middle, and all his insides were spilled. 19 The thing was so well known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem that this estate was called in their language Hakeldama, that is, "The Estate of the Blood."

But as we can see, the Acts of the Apostles presents a legend that is a little different from what we find in Matthew. First of all there is no mention of suicide, but of an accident that seems to have taken place long after the events surrounding Jesus' death. Secondly, it seems that it was Judas himself who seems to have carried out the transaction for the purchase of the estate, and not the high priests. Finally, the name Hakeldama, "field" or "domain" of blood, is said to have come not from the fact that it was acquired at the price of Jesus' blood, but from the blood of his spilling womb. The biblical scholars have attempted to reconcile the two accounts without success. The only things they have in common are: 1) Judas got money for his betrayal of Jesus; 2) the money was used to buy a piece of land; 3) Judas died tragically; 4) the piece of land is called Hakeldama.

When we analyze the vocabulary of Matthew's account, we find unique expressions that only appear here, and therefore are not part of his usual vocabulary, such as "went and hanged himself" (apēnxato), temple treasure (korbanan), potter (kerameōs), burial (taphēn). These are evidences of a source that Matthew did not invent. On the other hand, we can find many expressions that are either typical of Matthew, or that he uses much more than the other evangelists in a significant way, such as "repented" (metamelētheis), "an innocent being" (athōon), "he withdrew" (anechōrēsen), "the wages" (timē), "blood" (haimatos), "after having held council" (symboulion), "the strangers" (xenois). And there is this expression that is unique to him: "Then the word of Jeremiah the prophet was understood" (tote eplērōthē to rhēthen dia Ieremiou tou prophētou legontos), which is also found as it is in his childhood account: "tote eplērōthē to rhēthen dia Ieremiou tou prophētou legontos" (Mt 2: 17). All this shows Matthew's editorial work.

What does it all mean? The story, as Matthew presents it to us, has little historical value. It probably reuses a source that tells of the purchase of land with the money from Judas' betrayal and his tragic death. But the detail of his account serves a theological purpose, that of the responsibility of the Jewish people (On what we know about Judas historically, see Meier).

The key to this theological statement is provided by this quotation from Scripture in vv. 9-10:

And they took (elabon) the thirty pieces of silver (triakonta argyria), the wages estimated by the children of Israel. 10 They used (edōkan, litt: gave) this for the field (agron) of the potter (kerameōs), as the Lord (Kyrios) had commanded (synetaxen).

In fact, it is a collage of different passages (underlined are the identical Greek terms in Matthew's account).

  • Zechariah 11: 12-13 (LXX) And I will say to them, "If it seems good to you, give me a salary; if not, refuse it to me. And they weighed (estēsan) for my wages thirty shekels of silver (triakonta argyria). 13 And the Lord said to me, Put them in the pot, and I will see whether the money has been tested in the same way as I was tested for their love. And I took (elabon) the thirty shekels of silver, and put them in the earthen vessel in the Temple of the Lord.

  • Jeremiah 18: 2-3 (LXX) "Arise and go into the house of a potter (kerameōs), and there you will hear my words." And I went down to the potter's house, and behold, he was at work on his wheel.

  • Jeremiah 32: 6-15 (LXX): "6 And the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying, 7 Behold, Hanameel the son of Shallum, your father's brother, is coming to him, saying, "Buy my field (agron) of Anatoth for yourself, because it is right for you to possess it when you buy it. 8 And Hanameel, the son of Shallum, my father's brother, came to me in the prison yard, and said to me, "Buy for yourself my field in the land of Benjamin in Anatoth, because it is right for you to get it, being the oldest. And I knew that this was the word of the Lord. 9 And I bought the field of Hanameel, the son of my father's brother, and weighed (estēsa) for him seven shekels and ten pieces of silver (argyriou). 10 And I made a writing, and put it in writing, and took witnesses, and put the money in the scales. And I kept the writing of the purchase sealed. 12 And I gave (edōka) it to Baruch, the son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, before the eyes of Anamezel, the son of my father's brother, and before the eyes of the men who were there, whose names were written in the purchase agreement, and before the eyes of the Jews in the prison yard. 13 And I gave my orders (synetaxa) to Baruch before their eyes, saying, 14 This is what the Lord (Kyrios) Almighty says: Take this deed of purchase, which you have seen, and put it in a pot of earth, so that it may be kept for a long time. 15 For this is what the Lord says: Houses will be built here again, and fields and vine-gardens will be worked in this land.

As can be seen, these Old Testament references are loosely brought together by the themes of the thirty pieces of silver, the potter and the purchase of a field. In Zechariah's text, God asks the prophet to feed sheep that will later go to the slaughterhouse, and he will be paid thirty pieces of silver for his work; we can see the connection with Jesus, the lamb that is led to the slaughterhouse, and the salary of thirty pieces of silver for this work.

In the first text of Jeremiah, the potter's work which is broken and must be begun again becomes the image of the people of Israel who are unfaithful to their God, and the prophet comes to announce the woes which await him.

In Jeremiah's second text, the king of Babylon is at the gates of Jerusalem to exile the population, but God nevertheless asks Jeremiah to make a transaction by buying a piece of land in Anatoth, near Jerusalem; there is something incongruous in the context, but it is what God wants.

In short, Matthew, together with the first Christian communities, sought to understand the last moments of Jesus' life by re-reading the Old Testament, this word of God. By the time his Gospel was written, the Romans had already destroyed Jerusalem; the woes had already befallen the Jewish people. Then he rereads several texts that speak of the misfortunes that await the Jewish people. He finds this passage from Zechariah which speaks of the sheep being led to the slaughterhouse and for which the shepherd is paid thirty pieces of silver; he also finds this passage from Jeremiah announcing the exile of the people and where the prophet acquires a field when life should rather stop; he finally finds this passage where a potter must throw a vase that has come out of his potter's wheel, because it is broken, image of the people, in order to begin again, image of what God wants to do. All these passages enlighten him on the events surrounding Judas and help him to make sense of them; they are in line with what the prophets of the past, especially Jeremiah, lived through.

Several other passages from Jeremiah helped him to shed light on these tragic events, such as 26: 15: "But know that if you destroy me, you will bring innocent blood (haima athōon) upon you, upon this city, and upon those who dwell in it". It is in this light that he wrote this scene of Judas returning to the high priests: "I wandered in handing over an innocent (athōon) being (haima, litt: blood)". One may also wonder if 2 Samuel 17: 23 (LXX: When Ahitophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he put a packsaddle on his donkey, returned to his house in the city, gave instructions to his family, hanged himself (apēnxato), and died; he was buried in his father's tomb) inspired Matthew in Judas' suicide, since the same rare word "hanging himself" (apēnxato) is found there: in both cases, they are two traitors, one to Jesus, the other to King David. It is a bit like history repeating itself.

v. 11 Jesus stood before the governor. The latter asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus replied, "You say so".

Literally: And Jesus stood before the governor; and questioned him the governor, saying, you are the King of the Jews? And Jesus said, you say.

Jesus stood before the governor
After the interruption of Jesus' trial to insert the story of Judas' tragic end, Matthew returns to Mark's account. He must therefore add the phrase "Jesus stood before the governor" to its source to remind us where we were at.

Are you the king of the Jews?
The accusation of being the king of the Jews seems to be the historical motive for Jesus' death. It is found in the two independent sources, Mark and John. It is the motive that will be found in Pilate's mouth and on the sign of the cross. Matthew thus takes up Mark's text where Pilate asks Jesus the question of his kingship and Jesus answers in an enigmatic way: "You say so (sy legeis)". How is this answer to be interpreted? First of all, it is useless to try to put oneself in the shoes of Jesus. It is a story, therefore a literary work. Matthew takes up Mark's literary work. Why didn't Mark put a simple answer in Jesus' mouth: yes (nai), or no (ou)? Surprisingly, Mark is the only evangelist who does not know the expressions "yes" or "no", whereas someone like Matthew uses "yes" seven times and "no" twice. And the expression "Thou sayest it" comes from Mark, which Matthew and Luke take up again, and is not found anywhere else in an affirmative sense, except in John (18: 37) who must add : "I am king". Therefore, as he does not seem to know the word "yes", it is possible that Mark's intention was to put the equivalent of "yes" in Jesus' mouth with his expression: "You say so", not that historically things have happened like that, but for Mark, in his faith, it really is.

v. 12 Faced with the accusations of the high priests and the elders, he answered nothing.

Literally: And in being accused his by the chief priests and elders, nothing he answered.

v. 13 Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear all those who testify against you?"

Literally: Then says to him Pilate, Not do you hear how many things you they witness against?

v. 14 But Jesus did not answer, so the governor was greatly surprised.

Literally: And not he did answer him, to not even one word, so as to amaze the governor exceedingly.

Then Pilate said to him, "Do you not hear
When we compare the hearing before Annas and the one before Pilate, we are surprised to see that the two appearances follow the same sequence. Let's look at the text of Mark used by Matthew:

  Hearing before Annas Hearing before Pilate  
Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" He answered him, "You say so." 15: 2
14: 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. Then the chief priests accused him of many things. 15: 3
14: 60 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, "Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?" Pilate asked him again, "Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you." 15: 4
14: 61 But he was silent and did not answer. But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed. 15: 5

It is therefore possible that the details of the trial before Pilate were a "montage" created from the mock trial before Annas, as there must have been very little information about what happened at the Roman governor's house.

Matthew thus takes Mark's text as it stands, except for a few minor changes, two of which are worth noting. The first is to repeat twice (vv. 12 and 14) that Jesus "answered nothing", rather than only once; he probably wants to associate Jesus more strongly with the suffering servant of Isaiah (Abused, he humbled himself, he did not open his mouth, like the lamb being led to the slaughterhouse, like a dumb sheep before the shearers, he did not open his mouth, 53: 7). The second is to add the elders to the list of Jesus' accusers; this is his way of insisting on the guilt of all the Jewish people in the death of Jesus.

v. 15 At the Passover holiday, the governor used to release a prisoner the crowd chose.

Literally: Then at [the] feast, was accustomed the governor to release one to the multitude prisoner, whom they were wishing.

v. 16 Now there was a famous prisoner called [Jesus] Barabbas.

Literally: Then, they were holding now at that time a prisoner notable, called Jesus Barabbas.

v. 17 When the people were gathered, Pilate asked them, "Which one do you want me to set you free, [Jesus] Barabbas or Jesus called messiah?"

Literally: Being gathered together therefore of them, said to them Pilate, Whom will you [that] I shall release to you? Jesus Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?

v. 18 For he knew that he had been handed over out of jealousy.

Literally: For he knew that through envy they delivered up him.

 
Matthew makes two kinds of changes at his Marcan source. First, there are changes of a literary nature. For example, he softens Mark's harsh style by stating that the governor "used to" (eiōthei) release a prisoner, as the reader might have asked questions such as: Was this part of the law? The reader will therefore know that this is a custom that has no legal force. There is also his tendency to schematize Mark's details which contribute nothing to the catechetical discussion. Thus the details about Barabbas (arrested with the rioters who had committed murder in the sedition, Mark 15: 7) are replaced by: famous prisoner.

Matthew also makes theological changes. He transforms this scene so that it becomes the moment of a fundamental choice of the Jewish people, for or against Jesus. To achieve this, he changes the logic of Mark who presents Pilate simply proposing to release Jesus. Under his pen, Pilate proposes to the crowd to choose between Jesus Barabbas and Jesus the Messiah. Matthew is the only one to give Barabbas the name Jesus, but this detail may have historical value, since many Jews had Jesus as their first name (some manuscripts omit "Jesus" in the name Barabbas, but this is probably due to pressure from Origen, 3rd century, who refused to allow a bandit to bear the name Jesus). The crowd must therefore choose between two Jesus. And to show the meaning of this choice, the title "King of the Jews" in Mark's writings becomes "messiah (christon) under his pen: if one rejects this Jesus, it is the Messiah that one rejects. To further accentuate this choice, the crowd at Mark's becomes at Matthew's "While the people were gathered", like a deliberative assembly, in fact composed of everyone (the people). It is a terrible trial that Matthew is making to his people. But it is in the image of Deuteronomy where God asks to choose between life and death. For Matthew, his people chose death. (Note that in the Middle Ages the Gospel of Matthew seems to be the best known, since Domingo de Guzman, founder of the Dominicans, walked around with only the Gospel of Matthew under his arm. This may have contributed to some anti-Jewish outbursts).

v. 19 While he was in court, his wife sent him a message that said, "Have nothing to do with this righteous man. Because today I was very upset by a dream about it".

Literally: As was sitting now he on the judgment seat, sent to him the wife of him, saying, [Let there be] nothing between you and the righteous [man] that; many things for I suffered today in a dream because of him.

his wife... very upset by a dream (onar) about it
Our pericope begins with a strange scene that Matthew has inserted to its source: the account of Pilate's wife who had a dream about Jesus that upset her to the point of recommending to her husband not to condemn him. P. Benoit and M.-E. Boismard (Synopse des quatre évangiles II (Synopsis of the four Gospels), Paris : Cerf, 1972, p. 416) write :
This is probably a late tradition, as is often the case in the details that Mt is the only one to report. This trait of the wife of a judge who asks her husband to spare a prisoner belongs to folklore, for it is found elsewhere, such as among the rabbis of Babylon. This anecdote may have been introduced into the story of Mt. by some foreign influence.

But we must recognize that we find here a typical gesture from Matthew's Gospel: giving a role to dreams (Greek: onar) in the way God communicates with the world. It is, moreover, the only one in the whole New Testament. Let us remember his childhood story: The angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream to tell him not to be afraid to take her home despite the fact that she is already pregnant (1: 20); the Magi are warned in a dream not to return to Herod (2: 12); the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream to invite him to flee to Egypt (2: 13); the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph in a dream in Egypt to tell him that he can return to the land (2: 19); but as he fears Archelaus, son of Herod, the angel of the Lord invites him in a dream to go to Galilee (2: 22). Thus, for Matthew, our dreams can have value before God in our search for meaning and in the decisions we have to make. In the context of the trial of Jesus, this is a way of contrasting pagans, in this case Romans, with the Jewish people: the Romans know that Jesus is not to be condemned, which accentuates the guilt of the Jewish people.

v. 20 But the high priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to demand Barabbas and destroy Jesus.

Literally: Then, the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds that they should ask for Barabbas, and Jesus should destroy.

v. 21 The governor asked them, "Which of the two do you want me to set you free?" People said, "Barabbas."

Literally: Then, answering, the governor said to them, Which do you desire of the two, I release to you? And they said, Barabbas.

v. 22 Pilate said to them, "What shall I do then with Jesus, called the Messiah?" All replied, "Let him be crucified."

Literally: Says to them Pilate, What then should I do with Jesus, who is called Christ? They say all, Let [him] be crucified.

v. 23 Pilate continued, "But what did he do wrong?" They shouted more violently, "Let him be crucified."

Literally: Then, he said, What for evil did he commit? And all the more they kept crying out, saying, Let [him] be crucified.

All replied, "Let him be crucified."
When Matthew returns to its source, he continues to modify it to serve his theological purpose, that of showing the responsibility of the Jewish people for the death of Jesus. First of all, he still insists on adding the elders to the list of accusers. Secondly, as he makes of this hearing before Pilate a decision on the rejection of Jesus as Messiah, he introduces a number of changes:
  1. What the Jews ask is not only to free Barabbas as in Mark, but also to destroy Jesus (v. 20);
  2. He adds again Pilate's question about the choice between releasing Barabbas or Jesus, supporting the fact that this is a conscious and deliberate choice (v. 21);
  3. The title of Jesus in Pilate's question is not "King of the Jews" as in Mark, but "Messiah", emphasizing the Jewish stake in this God-promised Messiah.

v. 24 Realizing that there was no point in continuing, but that things were getting worse, Pilate took some water and washed his hands in front of the crowd with these words: "I am innocent of this blood. It's up to you".

Literally: Then, having seen Pilate that nothing it availed, but rather a riot is arising, having taken water, he washed the hands before the crowd, saying, Guiltless I am of the blood of this. For yourselves you will see.

v. 25 All the people answered, "Let his blood be on us and on our children."

Literally: And answering, all the people said, The blood of him [be] on us, and on the children of us.

Pilate took some water and washed his hands
At the end of this sequence, Matthew adds a story that only he can relate, a story that shows a Pilate who would like to free Jesus, but has to give in to the pressure of the crowd, and to show his disagreement, makes this symbolic gesture of washing his hands. This gesture is known in the Old Testament, for God makes it a prescription for the village elders in the case of the unexpected discovery of a man murdered in the country, to testify that they have not shed innocent blood and thus receive God's forgiveness (see Deuteronomy 21: 1-9). For Matthew, the Roman governor, and through him the whole pagan world, has no responsibility for the death of Jesus. All responsibility lies with the Jewish people. To insist on this point, he puts in the mouth of the crowd this sentence inspired by the prophet Jeremiah 26: 15 "But know that if you destroy me, you will bring innocent blood (haima athōon) upon you, upon this city, and upon those who live in it".

v. 26 Then he released Barabbas to them, and after having Jesus flogged, he delivered them up to be crucified.

Literally: Then he released to them Barabbas; and Jesus having flogged, he delivered up [him], that he might be crucified.

after having Jesus flogged
A word about flogging. The Roman whip was made of pieces of bone and lead; one was flogged before crucifixion to weaken the tortured person and shorten his suffering. The word used by Matthew is phragelloō (scourging, whipping) which he takes from Mark. This whip seems not only Roman, but known in the Jewish world, perhaps borrowed from the Roman world. It is the same word that John uses in describing the scene where Jesus chases the vendors out of the temple: Making himself a whip (phragellion) of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, along with the sheep and the oxen; he poured out the changers' money and overthrew their tables (Jn 2: 15). There is a synonymous word matigoō used by the evangelists to describe the fate that awaits Jewish Christians from the hands of their Jewish brethren: "They will scourge you (matigoō) in their synagogues" (Mt 10: 17; see also Mt 20: 19; Mt 23: 34; Mk 10: 34; Lk 18: 33; Jn 19: 1).

v. 27 The governor's soldiers then took Jesus to the courtroom and assembled the entire cohort.

Literally: Then the soldiers of the governor, having taken with [them] Jesus to the Praetorium, gathered before him all the cohort.

v. 28 After stripping him naked, they put a scarlet coat on him,

Literally: And having stripped him, a robe scarlet they put around him.

v. 29 then, after weaving a crown from thorns, they put it on his head and a reed in his right hand. Kneeling before him, they laughed, "Hello, king of the Jews".

Literally: And having twisted together a crown of thorns, they put [it] on the head of him, and a reed in the right hand of him; and having bowed the knees before him, they mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

v. 30 They spit on him and struck him on the head with the reed.

Literally: And having spit upon him, they took the reed and kept striking [him] on the head of him.

v. 31 After having laughed at him, they took off his purple cloak and gave him his own cloak, and took him away to crucify him.

Literally: And when they had mocked him, they took off him the robe, and they put on him the garments of him and led away him to crucify [him].

when they had mocked him
As is his habit, Matthew tries to improve the Mark text he has before him, especially the sequence of mocking gestures concerning Jesus' claim to be king of the Jews. Mark seems to confusedly enumerate the sequence of the soldiers' actions: they dress him in a purple garment, put a crown of thorns on him, salute him as king, strike him with a reed, spit on him, bow down before him. Matthew puts a rigorous and precise order on it:
  1. First of all, we have to undress him,
  2. Then they put on a scarlet chlamyd (a military garment), which is understandable among soldiers, and makes more sense than Mark's royal purple garment,
  3. A crown is braided with brambles (Mark puts the crown on before mentioning that it is braided),
  4. It is put on the head of Jesus (Mark assumes it without mentioning it),
  5. A reed scepter is put in Jesus' right hand (detail not mentioned by Mark), a reference to the scepter the king held in his right hand, which completes the caricature of Jesus, king of the Jews,
  6. The first gesture of the soldiers is genuflecting before the king, which is the normal sequence when one appears before a king (before the salute which is first at Mark's; and the latter puts the genuflection at the very end, which does not make much sense),
  7. Comes the salute with the title: "Hail, King of the Jews. ",
  8. Which is usually followed by a kiss, which here turns into spitting (Mark follows the greeting with a reed blow on the head, then spitting),
  9. Finally, the scene ends with the sceptre, symbol of authority, which is used to hit him on the head.

Scenes of mockery in front of royal suitors or death row inmates are well known. Let us give two examples reported by P. Benoit and M.-E. Boismard (Synopse des quatre évangiles II (Synopsis of the four Gospels), Paris: Cerf, 1972, p. 420):

  1. Philo of Alexandria. (in Flacc. 6) thus saith Philo of Alexandria, how the people, mocking King Agrippa, when he was passing through Alexandria, took a simple man named Karabas, and thrust him into the gymnasium, and set him on a platform, and there "having pierced a papyrus leaf, they put it on his head as a diadem; they wrap him in a mat as a chlamydia; as a sceptre, someone gives him a piece of papyrus stem from the fields that he sees thrown on the road". Then they come to greet him by calling him marin (= Lord in aramaic) and ask him for justice.

  2. According to Dion Chrysostom (De Reg. 4 66), at the Feast of the Sacred, the Persians entertained themselves as follows: "Having taken one of the prisoners condemned to death, they make him sit on the king's throne, they give him a royal robe, they let him command, drink, feast, use the king's concubines on those days; no one prevents him from doing what he wants. Then they stripped him naked and scourged him, and hanged him".

v. 32 When they came out, they found a man from Cyrene by the name of Simon. They requisitioned him to carry his cross.

Literally: Then, going forth, they found a man of Cyrene, named Simon. Him they compelled that he might carry the cross of him.

they requisitioned him to carry his cross
The scene where Jesus needs help carrying his cross has a certain likelihood. First of all, it was normal for the condemned man to carry his cross himself, more exactly the cross wood, since the vertical wood remained in place. In addition, Jesus was scourged, a practice that was intended to weaken the tortured one. The person who was requisitioned was named Simon, originally from Cyrene, a region where many Jews were living at the time (See Acts 11: 20 where there is mention of Jews converted to Christianity in Cyrene). Mark has more details about Simon (he knows two of his sons, Alexander and Rufus, the last of whom is perhaps the same one mentioned by Paul in his letter to the Romans, 16: 13) that Matthew neglects, as is his habit. We can guess that this scene struck the imagination, for this detail has been preserved in the memories. John makes no mention of it, but this is understandable in the context of his theology of a glorious Jesus even in his passion: a weakened Jesus had no place.

v. 33 When they came to a place called Golgotha, that is to say the place of the skull,

Literally: And having come to a place called Golgotha, which is of a Skull Place called,

the place of the skull
Golgotha, the place of the skull, is probably a historical element, since it is found in the two independent sources, Mark and John. It is possible that it refers to a physical configuration of the rock of this quarry where the execution of criminals took place just outside the walls of the city of Jerusalem at that time, but near a gate, because John 19: 20 states that it was close to the city and the traffic seems heavy. Even today, if you go under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, you can see this skull like configuration.

v. 34 they gave him wine to drink mixed with gall. After tasting it, he didn't want it.

Literally: they gave him to drink wine with gall mingled; and having tasted, not he was willing to drink [it].

they gave him to drink wine with gall (cholēs) mingled
In the Babylonian Talmud, treatise Sanhédrin 43a, we read:
What Rabbi Hiyya ben Ashni says in the name of Rabbi Hisda: When one leads someone to his execution, he is given a cup of wine containing a grain of incense to numb his senses, for it is written: Give a strong drink to one who is about to die, and wine to one who is bitter-hearted. It is also taught: the noble ladies of Jerusalem are accustomed to bring it and give it. If they did not give it, who would provide it to them? Therefore, in these circumstances, it is logical that it should be provided out of public funds.

Although the Talmud dates from the 5th century of the modern era, it probably reflects a very old custom that appears in our account. It was a compassionate measure. A little drunkenness helped him through his suffering. Matthew modifies his Marcan source which spoke of myrrh added to wine: he speaks rather of gall (cholēs). Here he is referring to Psalm 69: 22 (LXX) "And they gave me gall (cholēn) for food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink". This psalm is the prayer of a man persecuted because of his love for God and zeal for his house, who complains of having become a stranger to his family and the laughing stock of all, but in the end expresses his faith in God's liberating capacity. For Matthew, this persecuted person is now incarnated by Jesus.

v. 35 After crucifying him, they divided his clothes by drawing lots.

Literally: Then, having crucified him, they divided the garments of him, casting lots.

v. 36 And seated they kept watch.

Literally: And sitting down, they were guarding him there.

v. 37 His indictment was laid over his head and reads as follows: This is Jesus, the king of the Jews.

Literally: And they put up over the head of him the accusation of him written: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.

they divided his garments
It was customary for the executioners to share the clothes of the condemned, so the soldiers probably shared the clothes of the three people on the cross. In the scene of the sharing of Jesus' garments, Matthew repeats Mark's quotation from Psalm 22: 16-18 (LXX: 21: 17-19):
(LXX) 17 For many dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked doers has beset me round: they pierced my hands and my feet. 18 They counted all my bones; and they observed and looked upon me. 19 They parted my garments among themselves, and cast lots upon my raiment (diemerisanto ta himatia mou heautois kai epi ton himatismon mou ebalon klēron).

The fate of Jesus takes on its meaning in the light of the psalmist, a righteous man persecuted because of his faith in God.

Let us consider the other changes Matthew makes to his Marcan source. When he takes up Mark's mention that Jesus did not want the drink he was given, he takes the trouble to add that Jesus first tasted it, before refusing it. Why did he refuse it? First of all, the refusal to drink in Mark's original account probably meant that Jesus died in full consciousness, without getting drunk, therefore totally accepting his situation. By modifying this source, Matthew changes the meaning: Jesus' refusal to drink seems more related to the bad taste of the drink. Did he want to make an association with Psalm 69 (v. 22: "And they gave me gall for food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink")? Perhaps.

Another addition concerns the fact that guards are posted, seated, in front of the cross. In Matthew the guards play the role of important witnesses: they are present at the cross before his death, they will be present when he dies and the earth trembles, they will be present at the sepulchre which they will have the mission to protect, and finally they will be present at the moment when the Angel of the Lord rolls the stone from the sepulchre. They become like neutral witnesses, assuring that the events surrounding Jesus are not a Christian invention. The last change relates to the motive for condemning Jesus, which is explained by Matthew's tendency to be more precise than Mark: he adds that the motive is put "above his head" and that the content is "This is Jesus", not just "The King of the Jews"; John agrees with Matthew on this point and is even more precise: "Jesus the Nazarene".

v. 38 They then crucify with him two bandits, one on the right, the other on the left.

Literally: At the same time are crucified with him two robbers, one at [the] right hand, and one at [the] left.

v. 39 The passers-by cursed him, waving their heads

Literally: Then, those now passing by kept railing at him, wagging the heads of them

v. 40 and saying, "You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, set yourself free, if you are a son of God, and come down from the cross."

Literally: and saying, The [One] destroying the temple and in three days building [it], save yourself! If [the] Son you are of God, also descend from the cross!

v. 41 In the same way, the high priests with the scribes and the elders mocked with these words,

Literally: Likewise also the chief priests, mocking, with the scribes and elders, were saying,

v. 42 "He has freed others, he is not even able to free himself. He is king of Israel, let him come down from the cross, and then we will believe in him.

Literally: Others he saved, himself not is he able to save. King of Israel he is. Let him descend now from the cross, and we will believe in him.

v. 43 He trusted God, let Him set him free now if He cares for him. For did he not say: I am a son of God?"

Literally: He trusted on God. Let him deliver now if he wants him. he said for , Of God I am [the] Son.

v. 44 The bandits who had been crucified with him cursed him just as much.

Literally: And likewise even the robbers, those having been crucified with him, were upbraiding him.

 
Two bandits are crucified with Jesus. As John also confirms this fact, it can be seen as a historical event. It is even possible that these bandits are connected with the sedition in which Barabbas participated, but they were less fortunate than Barabbas.

The heart of this pericope takes up elements from Psalm 22: 8-9 (LXX: 21: 7-8):

(LXX) 7 All that saw me mocked me: they spoke with their lips, they shook the head (ekinēsan kephalēn) saying, 9 he hoped in the Lord: let him deliver him (rhysasthō auton), let him save him (sōsatō auton), because he takes pleasure in him. (thelei auton).

Jesus relives the mockery of the persecuted righteous man. This is how the first Christians interpret the terrible events concerning Jesus and make sense of them.

Insults were uttered by three groups: (1) the passers-by who took over the Sanhedrin's charges; (2) the chief priests who repeat the charges before Pilate; and (3) the bandits whose charges are unspecified. This is a way for Mark's original account to summarize all the accusations one last time and to make it a climax: everyone insults him, everyone confirms the fate he deserves, including those who experience the same fate as he does. And the number three is typical of any good account (see Peter's three denials, Jesus' three comings and goings to his disciples in Gethsemane).

Once again, Matthew changes the tradition he receives from Mark. The most important modification is to add twice the expression "Son of God" to the content of the insults, first in the mouth of the passers-by, then in the mouth of the chief priests: "Set yourself free, if you are the son of God" in v. 40 and "For did he not say, 'I am the son of God'?" Why is he making these changes? It is his way, the well-structured evangelist, of preparing the scene of Jesus' death when the guards will cry out when Jesus has expired: "Truly this one was the Son of God!".

Matthew's other major modification is to explicitly quote Psalm 22 which was implicit in the original account. It leaves no room for ambiguity. He also refers to Wisdom 2: 27 which describes the Righteous One who receives mockery from people, like this one: LXX "He assures us that he has the knowledge of God, and he calls himself the Son of God". In this way, Matthew ensures that his audience knows exactly which passage of Scripture explains what is going on and gives it meaning.

Finally, a small major addition: just as he did throughout his passion narrative, he insists that the elders were present throughout the passion narrative, including in this scene of insults. These elders are the representatives of the Jewish people.

v. 45 From midday the darkness spread over the whole earth until three o'clock.

Literally: Then, from [the] sixth hour, darkness was over all the land, until [the] hour ninth.

darkness was over all the land
For three hours (from noon to three o'clock) it is dark. The source of the story refers to Exodus 10: 22 (LXX):
And Moses stretched out his hand to heaven, and there was darkness (egeneto skotos), very black, even a storm over all the land of Egypt three days.

Of course, in the case of Jesus, we are talking about three hours, not three days. But the allusion is quite clear to the three days of darkness that Jesus is about to experience before his resurrection: it will be his exodus, his passage from death to life.

v. 46 At around three o'clock Jesus cried with a loud voice: Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? that is: God of Me, God of Me, so that why Me have you forsaken?

Literally: Then, about the ninth hour, cried out Jesus in a voice loud, saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? that is: God of Me, God of Me, so that why Me have you forsaken?

v. 47 People who stood there heard him and said, "He is calling Elijah that one."

Literally: Then, some of those who there were standing, having heard, began saying , Elijah calls this [man].

v. 48 One of them quickly ran up and, after putting a sponge filled with vinegar around a reed, gave him a drink.

Literally: And immediately, having run one of them and having taken a sponge, having filled [it] and with vinegar and having put [it] on a reed, gave to drink him.

v. 49 The others said, "Leave it, let's see if Elijah comes to set him free."

Literally: Then, the rest were saying, Let be. Let us see whether comes Elijah to save him.

v. 50 Again Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up the spirit.

Literally: And Jesus again, having cried in a voice loud, yielded up [his] spirit.

 
The cry of Jesus on the cross repeats the one at the beginning of Psalm 22: 2. Mark's source has an Aramaic version, the language spoken by Jesus (Elôi, Elôi, lama sabachtani), while Matthew has a more Hebrew formula.

Massoretic Hebrew text Transliteration Translation
אֵלִי אֵלִי ʾēlî ʾēlî My God, my God,
לָמָה lāmâ why
עֲזַבְת ʿăzabtānî have you forsaken me?

Then he presents us his Greek version of this psalm by modifying a little his Marcan source.

Mark Matthew Septuagint (LXX) Translation of LXX
Ho theos mou ho theos mou, eis ti enkatelipes me? thee mou thee mou, hinati me enkatelipes? O Theos, ho Theos mou, prosches moi; hina ti enkatelipes me? O God, my God, attend to me: why hast thou forsaken me?

First of all, Matthew is original in opting for the vocative to express the word God (thee): the vocative in Greek is used to express a challenge, and therefore would translate literally: you, my God! On the contrary, Mark and the Septuagint text use the nominative to decline the word God (ho theos), i.e. a simple subject of sentence as when one says: God has acted. Thus, Matthew better translates the character and intensity of this prayer, because it becomes a true cry. But later on, his translation follows quite faithfully the text of the Septuagint. It will have been noticed in passing that the Septuagint, this Greek translation of the Hebrew Scripture completed in the middle of the second century BC, is far from being literal: the translator took the liberty of adding "attend to me" to the Hebrew text he had before his eyes.

The mockery before Jesus' cry seems to be added to an original account, for one would expect Jesus to expire after this cry. Matthew's source repeats the mocking of Jesus' cry, since "Elôi" could also evoke the abbreviated form of the proper name Eliyahou, Elijah. The author refers us to the prophet Malachi who speaks of the return of Elijah before the arrival of the day of the Lord:

(LXX) And, behold, I will send to you Elias the Thesbite, before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes; (3: 22)

In Matthew's Gospel, Elijah is associated with John the Baptist through Jesus (Mt 11: 14; 17: 12), or with Jesus through the people (Mt 16: 14). And it would seem that the scribes were waiting for Elijah's return before the Lord's day (Mt 17: 10). The author therefore wishes to extend the scene of the mockery to Jesus' last breath: for the people watching the scene, to associate Jesus with the final coming of the Lord's day is totally ridiculous.

The scene of the sponge filled with vinegar is bizarre and badly done. It is hard to see how it can follow Jesus' call to God. Our historical knowledge allows us to affirm that it was customary for soldiers to quench their thirst with a mixture of water and vinegar. It is possible that historically, out of compassion, a soldier may have wanted to share his drink with a dehydrated Jesus. But the Christian account takes a completely different direction, referring to Psalm 69: 22 (LXX: 68) to shed light on this scene:

(LXX) And they gave me gall for food, and in my thirst they made me drink (epotisan) vinegar (oxos)

That's how a gesture of compassion became a sadistic gesture. Once again, people's hostility towards Jesus is accentuated. Matthew makes the story a little better, because the Marcan source was almost incomprehensible: the one who had given him vinegar continued, saying, "Leave it alone! Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down". This last sentence is meaningless: the "leave" is for whom and what exactly is it for? And how does this phrase relate to the act of giving Jesus vinegar? Matthew reworks this sentence. First of all, it is pronounced by someone other than the one who offered vinegar to Jesus. Then it is addressed to the latter to say to him: stop comforting this man condemned to death, and instead, let us see if Elijah will really take care of him. Now we understand the scene a little better.

The scene ends with Jesus returning the spirit (aphēken to pneuma), i.e. putting back the breath of life received, the typical Hebrew way of saying that Jesus dies.

v. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in half from top to bottom, the earth began to tremble and the stones to split,

Literally: And behold, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom, into two; and the earth was shaken, and the rocks were split,

the veil of the temple was torn in half
The veil of the temple being torn refers to the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple in Jerusalem. The theological meaning is clear: this place which symbolizes the presence of God is no longer reserved for a clique, but is open to all pagan nations, and therefore to all humanity. In Jesus, God is now accessible everywhere and by everyone.
v. 52 the tombs opened and several bodies of the saints, who had fallen asleep, awoke,

Literally: and the tombs were opened, and many bodies of the having fallen asleep saints arose,

v. 53 emerged from the tombs after waking up and entered the holy city to be seen by many people.

Literally: and having gone forth out of the tombs after the resurrection of him, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many.

v. 54 The centurion, and those who kept Jesus with him, were greatly afraid when they saw the earthquake and all these things, and said to themselves, "Truly this one was the Son of God. "

Literally: Now when the centurion and those with him guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and the events, they were greatly afraid, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God."

 
To his Marcan source, Matthew adds a surprising scene, that of the earth shaking, stones splitting, tombs opening, the dead rising and returning to Jerusalem. In order to understand Matthew's intention, we must reread the Old Testament, especially those passages related to the Lord's Day and the end of time:

Amos 8: 8-9 (LXX) 8 And shall not the land (hē gē) be troubled for these things, and shall not every one who dwells in it mourn? whereas destruction shall come up as a river, and shall descend as the river of Egypt. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that the sun shall go down at noon, and the light shall be darkened on the earth by day
Isaiah 26: 19 (LXX) The dead shall rise, and they that are in the tombs shall be raised (egerthēsontai hoi en tois mnēmeiois), and they that are in the earth shall rejoice: for the dew from thee is healing to them: but the land of the ungodly shall perish.
Ezekiel 37: 12 (LXX) Therefore prophesy and say, Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will open your tombs (ta mnēmata), and will bring you up out of your tombs, and will bring you into the land of Israel.
Daniel 12: 2 (LXX) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake (exegerthēsontai), some to everlasting life, and some to reproach and everlasting shame.

Thus, this scene represents the destruction of an ancient world with the earth being shaken and the stones, the foundation of the earth, being broken. This world is replaced by a new world and the resurrection of the dead, as God promised for the end times. What God promised is being fulfilled in Jesus.

At the cross, the scene ends with the testimony of the centurion. It implicitly refers to Wisdom 2: 18 (LXX): For if the Righteous One is the Son of God (huios Theou), God will protect him and draw him out of the hands of his adversaries. For the loud cry of Jesus on the cross seems to announce something new, and this newness is the extirpation of the adversary that is death. But Matthew will change what he receives from Mark. First of all, it is no longer only the centurion who testifies, but also all the guards posted before the cross. Secondly, all these people react not only to the death of Jesus, but to the apocalyptic events that are happening around them, so that they are frightened. Finally, the centurion's sentence is changed to remove the word "man" and replace it with "this one". Here we can understand Matthew's intention: he wants to erase all traces of a simply human figure and replace it with someone who already sits with God. And it is not only one person, but several who can testify to this.

v. 55 There were several women watching from a distance, some of whom had followed Jesus from Galilee to support him,

Literally: Then, they were there women many from afar off, looking on, who followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him,

v. 56 among whom were Mary of Magdala and Mary, mother of James and Joseph, as well as the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Literally: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the of James and Joseph mother, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

 
The presence of women, some of whom had followed Jesus from Galilee, underlines the absence of men, especially his disciples. Three evangelists report this scene, including Mark and John, from independent sources, which supports the thesis of its historical value. But the identification of these women does not completely agree, with the exception of Mary Magdalene. Matthew takes up Mark's version of another Mary, but modifies it slightly, since she is the mother of James and Joseph (Joses), then of Salome, who seems to correspond to the mother of Zebedee's sons. But John introduces the sister of Mary, otherwise unknown, and of a Mary, wife of Clopas (a variant of Cleopas, one of the disciples of Emmaus?). Is the latter also this Mary, mother of James and Joseph? It is impossible to confirm this. In any case, the presence of women near Jesus at the time of his death is difficult to dispute and only accentuates the contrast with the absence of men.

Mark 15: 40 Matthiew 27: 55-56 John 19: 25
There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were
Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

v. 57 When evening came, a rich man from Arimathea, called Joseph, who had also become a disciple of Jesus, presented himself

Literally: Then, evening having arrived, came a man rich from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was disciple to Jesus.

v. 58 to Pilate to claim the body of Jesus. Pilate then ordered to give it back

Literally: He having gone to Pilate, asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded it to be given up.

v. 59 and, after taking the body, Joseph rolled it up in a fine, unblemished cloth

Literally: And having taken the body, Joseph wrapped it in a linen cloth clean

v. 60 and placed it in the new tomb, which had been carved in stone for him, then after having rolled a large stone at the door of the tomb, he left.

Literally: and placed it in the new of him tomb, which he had cut in the rock; and having rolled a stone great to the door of the tomb, he went away.

v. 61 Mary Magdalene and another Mary were there, seated before the sepulcher.

Literally: Then, was there Mary Magdalene, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

 
Historically, it is difficult to reconstruct the sequence of events. According to the Acts of the Apostles, it was the Jews who placed the body of Jesus in a tomb. (Without finding any cause of death in him, they condemned him and asked Pilate to destroy him. And when they had fulfilled all that was written about him, they took him down from the gallows and laid him in the tomb, Acts 13: 28-29). For Mark, copied by Matthew, it was Joseph of Arimathea who first claimed the body of Jesus and had him placed in a tomb hewn out of the rock, without embalming. For John, it is also Joseph of Arimathea who claims the body of Jesus from Pilate, but adds that Nicodemus intervenes to take care of the embalming. It is possible that the story originally contained only a simple eagerness on the part of the Jews to find a tomb for him, since the Sabbath, which also corresponded to the Jewish Passover, was approaching. But subsequently the story grew in importance with dignitaries who were perhaps present, such as Joseph of Arimathea, and with an embalming worthy of the quality of Jesus.

According to Matthew, Joseph of Arimathea was rich. Where did he get this information? According to his habit, Matthew connects everything in the light of the Old Testament, and in our scene it is by re-reading Isaiah 59: 9 that things make sense: He was given a tomb with the ungodly and his tomb is with the rich man, though he committed no violence and there was no deceit in his mouth. For Matthew, it is thus in his own tomb that Joseph of Arimathea deposits Jesus, another reason to consider that he was rich. The important thing is to perceive that all this corresponds to a divine plan. Moreover, the shroud or piece of cloth was spotless (kathara=pure), because Matthew tends to accentuate the dignity of Jesus, and therefore the piece of cloth had to be spotless.

v. 62 The next day, the day after Preparation, the high priests and the Pharisees gathered at Pilate's house

Literally: Then, the next day, which is after the Preparation, were gathered together the chief priests and the Pharisees before Pilate,

v. 63 to say to him, "Lord, remember what this impostor said while he was still alive, 'I will return to life after three days'.

Literally: disant : saying, Sir, we have remembered how that deceiver said while living, after three days I arise.

v. 64 So order that the sepulcher be watched for three days to prevent his disciples from stealing him and then saying to the crowd, 'He is risen from the dead', and the latter imposture would be worse than the former".

Literally: Command therefore to be secured the tomb until the third day, lest ever having come, the disciples of him steal away him and say to the people, he is risen from the dead. And will be the last deception worse than the first.

v. 65 Pilate replied, "Take a guard. Go, watch the tomb as you see fit".

Literally: Said to them Pilate, you have a guard. Go make [it as] secure as you know [how].

v. 66 After returning to the tomb, they sealed the stone and posted a guard there.

Literally: Then, having gone, they made secure the tomb, having sealed the stone, with the guard.

 
This story is unique to Matthew and is not found in any other Gospel. Moreover, it has many problems. First of all, the Pharisees had disappeared from the scene with the trial of Jesus and suddenly reappeared. This is surprising. But the greatest difficulty comes from the credibility they and the chief priests gave to Jesus' proclamation of resurrection after three days. Let us admit for a moment that Jesus was clear on the subject, they seem to believe it more than the disciples themselves who disappeared from the scene. Finally, the other great difficulty comes from the moment: we are in the middle of the Sabbath, and it is forbidden to cross certain distances. How could highly religious people like the chief priests and Pharisees have broken the Sabbath law and gone to the governor Pilate? And we have not even mentioned their immense naivety: if the disciples had wanted to steal the body of Jesus, would they not have done this at night, immediately after his death? Conclusion: We are probably looking at a pure creation of the evangelist Matthew. Why is that? It seems that at the time of writing his Gospel, there is a legend in Jewish circles to counterbalance the Christian claim of the empty tomb, namely that it was the disciples who came by night to steal the body of their master, as Matthew himself writes: "this story has been told among the Jews to this day" (Mt 28: 15). What Matthew affirms, therefore, is this: the theft of Jesus' body is impossible, because guards had been posted in front of the tomb.

This creation of Matthew is confirmed in literature. First of all this scene prepares two other scenes unique to Matthew, first of all Mt 28: 4 where the guards see the angel of the Lord rolling the stone and sitting on it, and Mt 28: 11-15 where the guards are bribed not to tell what they saw at the tomb and instead spread the story of a theft of the body. These three passages unique to Matthew form a coherent block. The language has some of Matthew's peculiarities, such as the particle apo in "risen from (apo) the dead" rather than risen from (ek) the dead" in the parallel texts. Finally, this scene echoes another that took place earlier in Matthew 12: 38-42, namely the request for a sign addressed to Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees. Matthew distinguishes himself from the parallels by explicitly quoting Jonah and the mention of the three days and three nights, and by adding that the Son of Man will be in the bosom of the earth three days and three nights. To be in the bosom of the earth three days is a clear allusion to his burial. Moreover, he uses the expression three days when his Marcan source always speaks of "after three days" (Mk 8: 31; 9: 31; 10: 34). It is therefore not surprising to find here the proposal to "watch over the tomb for three days" and especially those Pharisees who witnessed the proclamation of Jesus. Let us not forget, Matthew likes clarity and tight compositions.

  1. Structure analysis

    Given the length of the story, we will confine ourselves to a general view of the structure of Matthew's passion narrative. Moreover, since Matthew uses Mark's story, comparing the two structures will help us to better highlight Matthew's approach (Matthew's own stories in bold type).

    Matthew Mark
    -The betrayal of Judas (26: 14-16)-The betrayal of Judas (14: 10-11)
    -Preparation for the Passover (26: 17-19)-Preparation for the Passover (14: 12-16)
    -Foreshadowing Judas's betrayal (26: 20-25)-Foreshadowing Judas's betrayal (14: 17-21)
    -Last meal of Jesus (26: 26-29)-Last meal of Jesus (14. 22-25)
    -To Gethsemane (26: 30)-To Gethsemane (14: 26)
    -Foreshadowing Peter's denial (26: 31-35)-Foreshadowing Peter's denial (14: 27-31)
    -The agony of Jesus at Gethsemane (26: 36-46)-The agony of Jesus at Gethsemane (14: 32-42)
    -Arrest of Jesus (26: 47-56)-Arrest of Jesus (14: 43-52)
    -Jesus and Peter with the high priest (26: 57-58)-Jesus and Peter with the high priest (14: 53-54)
    -Jesus before the Sanhedrin (26: 59-66)-Jesus before the Sanhedrin (14: 55-64)
    -Abuses against Jesus the prophet (26: 67-68)-Abuses against Jesus the prophet (14: 65)
    -Peter's denial (26: 69-75)-Peter's denial (14: 66-72)
    -Jesus sent to Pilate (27: 1-2)-Jesus sent to Pilate (15: 1)
    -Death of Judas (27: 3-10)
    -Hearing before Pilate (27: 11-14)-Hearing before Pilate (15: 2-5)
    -Death sentence (27: 15-26)-Death sentence (15: 6-15)
    -Abuses against Jesus the king (27: 27-31)-Abuses against Jesus the king (15: 16-20)
    -The way of the cross (27: 32)-The way of the cross (15: 21)
    -Crucifixion (27: 33-43)-Crucifixion (15: 22-32a)
    -The two bandits (27: 44)-The two bandits (15: 32b)
    -Death of Jesus (27: 45-56)-Death of Jesus (15: 33-41)
    -The burial (27: 57-61)-The burial (15: 42-47)
    -The guard at the tomb (27: 62-66)

    • As we can see, Matthew takes up the whole Mark sequence as it is. His modifications consist in adding two stories of his own (which we have put in bold type), that of the death of Judas and that of the request for a guard at the tomb. It can be hypothesized that these two accounts were created by Matthew, or more probably, they existed as an oral or written tradition in an environment where Judeo-Christians predominated. In any case, their theological and apologetic role is clear. In the case of Judas, we have before us the sad representative of that Jewish community who refused and betrayed God's messiah; it is understandable that this Jewish-Christian community was more wounded that this betrayal came from one of their own than if it had come from those pagan Romans. For Matthew, the message is clear: the Jewish people knowingly and clearly rejected Jesus the Messiah, sent by God, and Judas is the typical representative. In the case of the account of the guarding of the tomb, Matthew probably created it for an apologetic purpose: to counteract the legend circulating in Jewish circles that Jesus' tomb was empty because those disciples came at night to steal his body. His message is clear: this legend is false because the tomb was guarded, and therefore no one was able to steal his body. In short, Matthew's two additions can be explained by the Jewish context in which the Gospel was written.

    • The sequence of stories borrowed from Mark begins with Judas' betrayal. This is the basis for everything else: Judas' action will lead to Jesus' arrest, trial and execution. This totally logical sequence is only interrupted by Peter's denial, which only contrasts Jesus' faithfulness to his Father's will with human weakness.

    • If we had to group the different accounts of this sequence, we could obtain this (in bold type the accounts added by Matthew) :

      Introduction (the setting) : Judas' betrayal

      1. Jesus farewell meal in Jerusalem
        1. Foreshadow of betrayal of one of the Twelve
        2. Sharing of the bread and cup, and telling that this is the last meal
      2. Gethsemane
        1. Foreshadowing disciples' desertion and Peter's denial
        2. Jesus prayer and wake
        3. Jesus' arrest
      3. Jesus' trials in Jerusalem
        1. First trial: religious - charge: claim to be a prophet with divine prerogatives and death sentence
          1. Testimony and questioning
          2. Ruling
          3. Scene of abuses against a prophet
        2. Interlude:
          1. Peter's betrayal
          2. Death of Judas
        3. Second trial: civil - charge: claim to be king of Israel and death sentence
          1. Testimony and questioning
          2. Attempt to negotiate and ruling
          3. Scene of abuses against a king
      4. Execution of Jesus - Golgotha
        1. Support to get to the place of execution
        2. Insults against the savior
        3. Death of Jesus, testimony of the centurion and presence of the women
        4. Joseph of Arimathea takes care of reclaiming the body and seeing to the burial.
        5. Transition to the empty tomb

    • We have a number of comments:
      • One can identify four moments in this set of events, linked to four different geographical locations: the private place of the meal in Jerusalem, the retreat place of Gethsemane, the public places of the trials in Jerusalem, the place of the execution in Golgotha.

      • The climax of this set of events is the double trial of Jesus as prophet and king of Israel: in the eyes of men, Jesus' claims are totally ridiculous, but in the eyes of the believer, it is the truth.

      • A leading theme throughout this sequence is the mockery from the audience that occurs during the two trials and at the cross, right up to Jesus' last breath. This theme aims to associate Jesus with the figure of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah, and thus allows Christians to find meaning in this horrific scene.

      • Matthieu skillfully adds his two stories without detracting from the dynamics of the sequence: Judas' death is added during the interlude of Peter's denial, and the scene of the Jews asking for a guard contributes to the transition to the discovery of the empty tomb.

  2. Context analysis

    As we have done for the analysis of structure, let us consider now together the sequence of the preceding narratives in both Matthew and Mark.

    MatthieuMarc
    -Eschatological discourse : temple destruction (24, 1-3)-Eschatological discourse : temple destruction (13, 1-4)
    -Eschatological discourse : disturbances and scourges (24, 4-8)-Eschatological discourse : disturbances and scourges (13, 5-8)
    -Eschatological discourse : persecutions (24, 9-14)-Eschatological discourse : persecutions (13, 9-13)
    -Eschatological discourse : terrible days for Jerusalem (24, 15-22)-Eschatological discourse : terrible days for Jerusalem (13, 14-20)
    -Eschatological discourse : false prophets and false messiahs (24, 23-28)-Eschatological discourse : false prophets and false messiahs (13, 21-23)
    -Eschatological discourse : manifestation of the son of man (24, 29-31)-Eschatological discourse : manifestation of the son of man (13, 24-27)
    -Eschatological discourse : the time is near (24, 32-36)-Eschatological discourse : the time is near (13, 28-32)
    -Eschatological discourse : wake-up call (13, 33-37)
    -Eschatological discourse : surprise as in Noah's time (24, 37-41)
    -Eschatological discourse : wake-up call – the master of the house (24, 42-44)
    -Eschatological discourse : wake-up call – the faithful steward (24, 45-51)
    -Eschatological discourse : wake-up call – parable of the ten maidens (25, 1-13)
    -Eschatological discourse : wake-up call – parable of the talents (25, 14-30)
    -Eschatological discourse : wake-up call – the fate that awaits each one at the Last Judgement (25, 31-46)
    -Jewish conspiracy against Jesus (26, 1-5)-Jewish conspiracy against Jesus (14, 1-2)
    -Anointing in Bethany (26, 6-13)-Anointing in Bethany (14, 3-9)

    • Once again, in the accounts that precede the passion narrative, Matthew follows Mark very closely with three sets: an eschatological discourse, the account of the conspiracy against Jesus (the chief priests and elders gathered at Caiaphas in Matthew's text, the chief priests and scribes at Mark's), and the account of the anointing at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper. The greatest difference appears in Matthew, who adds to the eschatological discourse a set of texts: the parables of the faithful steward, the ten maidens, the talents and the Last Judgment.

    • The whole context prepares the death of Jesus: the eschatological discourse becomes the guide of the disciple during his absence, the conspiracy of the Jews announces his arrest, and the anointing of Bethany symbolically announces his burial.

    • Giving a great expansion to the eschatological discourse with a series of parables on how to behave in Jesus' absence, Matthew emphasizes Christian action: making the treasure received from Jesus bear fruit, caring for the poor and isolated. In this, Matthew shows his Jewish roots, for whom orthopraxis (the right action) is more important than orthodoxy (the right doctrine). The disciples having a clear direction, Jesus can go away and begin his passion.

    • As for the story that follows Jesus' passion, Matthew also follows Mark with the discovery of the empty tomb. But he makes two important additions: first, rather than simply telling that the stone of the tomb is rolled away, he creates an apocalyptic scenario where an angel comes down from heaven to roll away the stone while the earth trembles, and then the guards play the role of witnesses to the rolling away of the stone and the empty tomb. Again, we have an echo of a community of Judeo-Christians who like to refer to Old Testament apocalyptic stories and have to fight against the lies of their Jewish brothers about the empty tomb.

  3. Analysis of parallels

    Let's cut this long story into different sections and compare it to its Marcaan source. The translation from the Greek text is the most literal possible. We underline the identical words.

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    14 Therefore one of the Twelve, the [one] being called Judas Iscariot, having gone to the chief priests 15 and ye said, "What are you willing to give me and I will hand over him to you?" They appointed to him thirty pieces of silver.10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went away to the chief priests that he might hand over him to them. 11 Having heard they rejoiced and promised him to give pieces of silver.
    16 And from that time, he was seeking an opportunity that he might hand over him. And he was seeking an opportunity that he might hand over him.

    • Matthew takes up the basic elements of Mark's story: Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, collaborates with the high priests for a sum of money. But he dramatizes the story by creating a dialogue with the high priests, and above all he makes it an initiative of Judas himself, thus accentuating his responsibility. Finally, by specifying the sum of money involved, he borrows from Zechariah 11: 12, making the story of Judas a story prefigured by the Old Testament.

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    17 On the first [day] of the unleavened [bread], the disciples came close to Jesus saying, Where do you want [that] we should prepare for you to eat the Passover?12 And on the first day of unleavened [bread] when the Passover [lamb] they were to sacrifice his disciples say to him: Where do you want, having gone, we should prepare that you may eat the Passover?
    18a And he said, Go into the city unto a certain one and tell him13 And he sends forth two of his disciples and says to them, Go into the city, and you will meet a man, carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him. 14a And wherever he might enter, say to the master of the house
    18b the master says, My time is near; with you I will do the Passover with my disciples.14b that the master says, Where is my guest room where the Passover with my disciples I may eat? 15 And he will show you a large upper room, having been furnished, ready. And there prepare for us.
    19 And the disciples did as Jesus had commanded them and prepared the Passover16 And the disciples went away and came into the city and found as he had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.

    • A first observation must be made: Matthew's account is shorter. It is typical of Matthew to prune Mark's story down to the last detail; he likes to reduce things to the essential. And sometimes the details are useless for a community of Jewish origin, such as the mention that the first day of the unleavened bread is the time when one immolates the Passover.

    • We also find some typical expressions of Matthew such as "coming close to Jesus" (announcing a dialogue), "the time is near" (see the end of his account of the temptation and the end of Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane), "as Jesus had commanded them" (emphasizing Jesus' authority and transcendence).

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    20 Evening having arrived, he was reclining with the twelve disciples17 And evening having arrived, he comes with the Twelve. 18a And as they were reclining
    21 and they were eating, he said to them, Truly I say to you that one of you will hand over me.18b and they were eating, Jesus said, Truly I say to you that one of you will hand over me, who is eating with me.
    22 And being grieved exceedingly, they began to say to him, one each, Is it not me, Lord?19 They began to be grieved and to say to him one by one, not me?
    23 Answering he said, The [one] having dipped with me the hand in the dish, he will hand over me.20 He said to them, One of the Twelve, who is dipping with me in the one dish.
    24 Indeed the Son of Man goes as it has been written about him; woe however this man by whom the Son of Man is handed over. Better would it be for him if not had been born that man.21 For indeed the Son of Man goes as it has been written concerning him, Woe to this man by whom the Son of Man is handed over; better for him if not had been born that man.
    25 Answering Judas, who was handing over him, said, Is it not me, Rabbi? He says to him, You have said.

    • Matthew modifies his source to add first of all this short dialogue with Judas where Jesus clearly says that it is he who will hand over him. This addition accentuates on the one hand the responsibility of Judas who will act even if he is unmasked, and on the other hand the transcendence of Jesus who knows exactly what is going on. This transcendence was already present rather with the expression: Lord. This is in accordance with his theology.

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    26a Then, them eating, Jesus having taken bread22a And them eating, having taken bread
    26b and having spoken a blessing, he broke and having given to the disciples, he said, Take, this is my body.22b having spoken a blessing, he broke and gave to them and he said, Take, this is my body.
    27 And having taking a cup and having given thanks, he gave to them, saying : drink of it all.23 And having taking a cup, having given thanks, he gave to them, and they drank of it all.
    28 for this is my blood of the covenant, which is being poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.24 And he said to them, this is my blood of the covenant, which is being poured out in favour of many.
    29 Then, I say to you, no more I will drink from this moment of this fruit of the vine, until this day when I drink a new in the kingdom of my Father.25 Truly, I say to you that no more never I will drink of the fruit of the vine, until this day when I drink anew in the kingdom of God.
    30 And having sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.26 And having sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

    • We've already commented on this passage. Let us recall that Matthew improves Mark's literary composition: the text is better structured, the sequence more logical, because Jesus invites not only to take the bread, but also to eat it; he invites not only to take the cup, but also to drink it, and above all he speaks of the meaning of this gesture before the disciples drink, and not afterwards as in Mark. Moreover, Matthew likes to give the theological meaning of things, and here this meaning concerns the tragic death of Jesus which is associated with the forgiveness of sins, like the sacrifices of the temple in Jerusalem. Matthew's Jesus then announces not only that he will drink new wine in the Kingdom as in Mark, but that he will drink it "with you": it will be drunk as a community or as the Church, a typical insistence of Matthew. Finally, we will have noticed that, like every good Jew, Matthew avoids pronouncing the name of God, and therefore speaks of "the Kingdom of my Father".

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    31 Therefore Jesus says to them, You, all you will fall away because of me during this night. For it has been written: I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.27 And Jesus says to them that all you will fall away. For it has been written: I will strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.
    32 After having arisen, I will go before you into Galilee.28 But after having arisen, I will go before you into Galilee
    33 Answering, Peter said to him: If all will fall away because of you, me, I will never fall away.29 And Peter was declaring to him, If also all will fall way, but not me.
    34 Jesus declared to him, Truly, I say to you that in this night before rooster crowing, three times you will deny me.30 And says Jesus to him, Truly I say to you that yourself today this night before than twice rooster crows, three times you will deny me.
    35 Peter says to him, And even if it were necessary for me to die with you, no, I will not deny you. Likewise also, all the disciples said.31 Emphatically he kept talking, Even if it were necessary for me to die for you, no, I will not deny you. In the same way also all were saying.

    • Matthew copies Mark in substance. Small modifications show his concern for precision: it is no longer a question of falling away (being scandalized) in itself, but of falling away because of Jesus ("because of me", "because of you"); and the moment is precise ("this night"). As he has accentuated Judas' guilt, he accentuates Peter's guilt by repeating the word "fall away" twice.

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    36 Therefore Jesus comes with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he say to the disciples, Sit here, until that having gone away over there, I shall pray.32 And they come to a place, whose the name Gethsemane, and he says to his disciples, Sit here, while I shall pray.
    37 And having taken Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed.33 And he takes Peter and James and John with him, and he began to be greatly awestruck and deeply distressed.
    38 Therefore he says to them, My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me.34 And he says to the them, My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch.
    39 And having gone forward a little, he fell upon his face, praying, and saying, My Father, if it is possible, let pass from me this cup. Nevertheless not as I will, but as You.35 And having gone forward a little, he fell upon the ground and was praying that if it is possible might pass from him the hour. 36 And he was saying, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible to You. Take away this cup from me; but not what I will, but what you.
    40 And he comes to the disciples and finds them sleeping. And he says to Peter, Thus you (plural) were not able to watch one hour with me.37 And he comes and finds them sleeping. And he says to Peter, Simon, are sleeping? Were you (singular) not able to watch one hour?
    41 Watch and pray, so that you do not enter into temptation. Indeed the spirit [is] willing, the flesh weak.38 Watch and pray so that you may not enter into temptation. Indeed the spirit [is] willing, but the flesh weak.
    42 Again for a second time having gone away, he prayed saying, My Father, if is not possible this to pass, unless I drink it, be done Your will39 And again having gone away, he prayed having said the same word.
    43 And having come again, he found them sleeping, for their eyes were burdened.40 And having come again, he finds them sleeping, for their eyes were burdened down. And they did not know what they should answer to him.
    44 And having left them again, having gone away, he prayed for third time, having said again the same word. 45 Therefore he comes to the disciples and says to them, Are you still sleeping and are you taking your rest? Behold, the hour has drawn near, and the Son of Man is handed over into hands of sinners.41 And he comes the third time, and says to them, Are you still sleeping and are you taking your rest? It is enough; behold, the hour has come, the Son of the Man is handed over into the hands of the sinners.
    46 Rise, let us go! Behold, has drawn near he who is handing over me.42 Rise, let us go! Behold, he who is handing over me has drawn near.

    • Once again, Matthew copies Mark's story, structuring it much better:
      • To avoid confusion about where Jesus prays, he explicitly says: having gone away over there, I shall pray (rather than Mark's vague "I shall pray").
      • The movement back and forth between the place of prayer of Jesus and his disciples is much better marked: he will pray "for the second time", he will pray "for a third time"; everything is well counted. Each time, Matthew takes the trouble to repeat that Jesus prays, whereas at Mark's we have to assume it the third time.

    • We have mentioned earlier that Matthew gives great importance to the role of the community or the Church. We find the same interest here with the insistence on community prayer. Matthew's Jesus does not simply ask to watch, but to watch "with me". When he returns to his disciples, he will repeat again: you did not have the strength to watch with me for one hour! The discerning reader will have noticed that when Jesus called Peter, he said, "you (plural) were not able to watch one hour" and not "Were you (singular) not able to watch one hour" as in Mark's text. For Matthew, Peter represents the church community. And it is the role of this community to support people in their anguish and suffering.

    • Let us underline one last trait of Matthew: he likes to accentuate the transcendent character of Jesus, as if he were already looking at him through the glasses of faith. Rather than falling to the ground as with Mark, Jesus falls face down, which is a gesture of abandonment, submission and acceptance, as seen in the scene of the gift of the covenant to Abraham (Genesis 17: 3). It minimizes Jesus' resistance to his Father's will: 1) in the first moment of prayer Jesus asks only once for the cup to pass away from him, whereas it takes place twice in Mark; 2) the emphasis is on the fulfillment of the Father's will in the second moment of prayer. Finally, 3) he avoids Mark's overly intimate word Abba (Literally: papa).

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    47 And while him talking, behold, Judas one of the Twelve, came and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and elders of the people.43 and immediately while him speaking, arrive Judas one of the Twelve and with him a crowd with swords and clubs from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.
    48 The [one] handing over him gave them a sign, saying, Whomever I shall kiss, it is him, seize him.44 The [one] handing over him had given them a sign, saying, Whomever I shall kiss, it is him, seize him and lead [him] away securely.
    49 And immediately having come up to Jesus, he said, Hail, Rabbi, and he kissed him fervently.45 And immediately having come to him, he says, Rabbi, and he kissed him fervently.
    50 Jesus said to him, Friend, for what are you here? Therefore having moved forward they threw the lands on Jesus and seized him.46 They threw the hands on him and seized him.
    51 And behold, one of those with Jesus, having stretched out the hand, drew his sword and having smitten the servant of the high priest, cut off his ear (ōrion).47 A certain one of those standing by, having drawn the sword, hit the servant of the high priest and cut of the his ear (ōtarion)
    52 Therefore Jesus says to him, Return your sword into its place, for all those having taken sword, by sword will perish 53 Or do you think that I am not able to call upon my Father, and he will place besides me just now more than twelve legions of angels? 54 So how should be fulfilled the Scriptures that in this way it must be?
    55 In that hour Jesus said to the crowds, As against a robber you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day in the temple I was sitting teaching, and you did not seize me. 56a All this had happened so that may be fulfilled the Scriptures of the prophets.48 And answering Jesus said to them, As against a robber you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? 49 Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But [it is] so that may be fulfilled the Scriptures.
    56b Therefore all the disciples having left him, they fled.50 And having left him, they fled all.
    51 And a certain young man was following him, having cast a linen cloth about [his] naked [body] and they seize him. 52 Having left behind the linen cloth, naked he fled.

    • As is his habit, Matthew likes to dot the i's. In vv. 49 and 50 he replaces Mark's "he" with "Jesus"; no ambiguity is possible. Similarly, in v. 58 Mark's "they" is replaced by "the disciples", to be precise. When Judas gives his kiss, he does not just say "Rabbi", but "Hail, Rabbi", which is the usual greeting. Finally, when he speaks of the Scriptures that shed light on events (v. 56), he makes it clear that these are the Scriptures of the prophets, in this case a reference to the prophet Zechariah. In short, we are before an evangelist who likes things neat and precise.

    • Matthew maintains the transcendent character of Jesus who remains in control of the situation. Thus, after receiving Judas' kiss, he orders him to do what he has to do, fully aware of everything that is happening (v.50); even when he is about to be arrested, Jesus remains the leader. Moreover, according to Matthew, if Jesus is arrested, it is his choice: he could have called an army of angels to protect him.

    • We have already talked about Matthew who, like a good Jew, emphasizes action rather than doctrine. Now the event of the companion who draws his sword becomes an opportunity for ethical teaching about violence.

    • Why didn't Matthew take up the scene of the young man running away naked? Probably, according to his habit of keeping only the essential, he judged that this scene did not add anything to the drama that was being played out and to his theology.

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    57 Those having seized Jesus led [him] away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were assembled.53 And they led away Jesus to the high priest. And are assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.
    58 And Peter was following him from afar, even to the court of the high priest. And having entered within, he was sitting with the officers to see the outcome.54 And Peter from afar followed him even within the court of the high priest, and he was sitting together with the officers and warming himself at the fire.
    59 And the high priests and the whole Sanhedrin were seeking false testimony against Jesus so that they might put him to death. 60a And they did not find, many false witnesses having come forward.55 The high priests and all the Sanhedrin were seeking against Jesus testimony to put him to death and they were not finding [any]. 56 For many were bearing false testimony against him, and their testimonies were not alike.
    60b At last, having come forward two, 61 they said, This [guy] has been declaring, I am able to destroy the temple of God and in three days to build.57 And some having risen up, were bearing false testimony against him, saying that, we heard him saying that, I will destroy the temple, this [one] made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands. 59 And neither was thus their testimony alike.
    62 And having risen up, the high priest said to him, You answer nothing? What these do witness against you?60 And the high priest having risen up in the midst, he questioned Jesus, saying, you do not answer anything? What these do witness against you?
    63 Jesus was silent. And the high priest said to him, I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.61 He was silent and did not answer anything. Again, the high priest was questioning him and says to him, Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed [one]?
    64 Jesus says to him, You have said. Yet, I say to you, from now you will see the Son of Man sitting at [the] right hand of Power and coming upon the clouds of heaven.62 Jesus said, I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at [the] right hand of Power and coming with the clouds of heaven
    65 Therefore the high priest tears his garments, saying, He has blasphemed, what any more need have we of witnesses? Behold now, you have heard the blasphemy? 66 What does it seem to you? And answering they said, He is deserving death.63 The high priest, having torn his tunic says, What any more need have we of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy. What does it appear to you? And all condemned him, to be deserving death.
    67 Therefore they spat in his face and hit him [with the fist]. Others slapped [him with the palms of the hands] 68 saying, Prophesy to us, Messiah, who is the [one] having struck you?65 And some began to spit upon him and to cover his face and to strike him, and to say to him, Prophesy! And the officers received him with the palms [of the hands].

    • -The texts of Matthew and Mark are very similar in substance. We can only notice in Matthew some features that are usual to him, i.e.
      • Removal of useless details: this is the case of this blaze with which Peter was warming himself;
      • Care for precision:
        1. We learn that the high priest's name was Caiaphas
        2. Testimonies against Jesus are called false testimonies.
        3. He knows that the Sanhedrin does not have the power to condemn to death, so he avoids giving his decision a legal power, and therefore uses the expression "They said, 'He is deserving death'". rather than "All condemned him, to be deserving death" as in Mark's case.
        4. The brutal gestures against Jesus take place before asking him to guess (we have to assume that he is blindfolded) who did it (Prophetize), which is quite logical, whereas at Mark's we have some servants who are beating him up after this request, which makes the scene a bit confusing;
        5. Matthew clarifies the meaning of "prophetize" by adding: who is the one having struck you;
      • Jewish outlook
        1. As a Jew, Matthew cannot accept Mark's remark that the temple of Jerusalem is simply a man-made shrine, and therefore discards the sentence.
        2. The call to speak the truth in the mouth of the high priest uses a very Jewish expression: "I adjure you by the living God".
        3. In accordance with the Law, which requires two witnesses for a testimony to be valid, two witnesses recall Jesus' word about the destruction of the temple.
        4. As a Jew with a strong sense of God's transcendence, there is a small discomfort when the high priest asks Jesus if he is the Christ, the Son of God: rather than Mark's "I am", he has "You have said", which leaves room for a form of ambiguity.

    Matthew 26Mark 14
    69a Then, Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard.66a And Peter being below in the courtyard.
    69b and came to him one servant girl 66b comes one of the servant girls of the high priest
    69c saying, You also you were with Jesus the Galilean. 67 and having seen Peter warming himself, having looked at him, she says, You also you were with the Nazarene, Jesus.
    70 Then, he denied before all saying, I do not know what you say. 68a Then, he denied saying, neither I know nor even understand what you say.
    71a Then, having gone forth into the porch 68b And he went forth out into the hall [and a rooster crowed]
    71b Another [servant girl] saw him and said to those there, This [one] was with Jesus of Nazareth.69 and the servant girl having seen him began again to say to those standing by : This [one] of them is.
    72 And again he denied with an oath: I do not know the man. 70a then, again he was denying
    73 Then, after a little, those standing by, having come to [him], said to Peter, Truly, you also you are of them and indeed your speech gives you away. 70b And again after a little, those standing by were saying to Peter : Truly, you are of them and indeed you are Galilean.
    74a Subsequently he began to curse and to swear: I do not know the man whom you speak of. 71 Then, him he began to curse and to swear: I do not know this man whom you speak of.
    74b And immediately a rooster crowed.72a And immediately, for the second [time], a rooster crowed.
    75a And Peter remembered about the word of Jesus having said, Before a rooster crows, you will deny me three times. 72b And Peter recollect the word that has said to him Jesus, Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.
    75b And, having gone out, he wept bitterly.72c And, having broken down, he was weeping.

    • -The features of Matthew's composition that we have already highlighted continue.

      • His composition is neat. He takes great care to establish that Peter's questioners are different for each of his denials, while Mark stages the same servant for the first two; this avoids the problem of the second denial in Mark, which appears redundant. And the way in which the three interlocutors force Peter to take a stand varies each time: first they refer to Jesus the Galilean, then to Jesus the Nazarene, and finally to the fact that he himself is a Galilean. Finally, he gets rid of the anecdote that he no doubt finds in bad taste of a rooster that crowed twice before Peter denies it three times.

      • As he did it earlier with Judas, then with Peter who swore of his fidelity, Matthew dramatizes the scene of denial and accentuates its features: it is "before all" that Peter denies knowing Jesus the first time, it is "with oath" that he denies the second time. For the third denial, Mark had already "to curse and to swear", so it was difficult for him to add more. By dramatizing Peter's gesture in this way, Matthew is saying this: Peter's denial was a clear and conscious gesture. All this has the effect of accentuating his guilt, which is not surprising in an evangelist who is very ethical.

      • As it often happens to him, Matthew likes to clarify things that may be ambiguous and not understood. This is the case of the third denial. If we only had Mark's version where Peter is told, "You are a Galilean," we might have difficulty understanding the meaning of this statement and wonder: How do people know this? Is it written on his forehead? Is he dressed differently? Matthew removes any ambiguity: "your speech gives you away". Thus we learn that the Jews of Galilee spoke Aramaic with a different accent from those of Judea.

    Matthew 27Mark 15
    1 Morning has arrived, all the high priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus so that they might put him to death.1a And early in the morning, the high priests with the elders and scribes and all the Sanhedrin having formed a counsel,
    2 And having bound him, they led him away and handed over him to Pilate, the governor.1b having bound Jesus, they led [him] away and handed over [him] to Pilate.
    3 Therefore, Judas, the [one] having handed over him, having seen that he was condemned, having regretted [it], returned the thirty pieces of silver to the high priests and elders, 4 saying, I sinned, having handed over an innocent blood. They said, What [is that] to us? You will see. 5 And having cast down the pieces of silver into the temple, he withdrew and having gone away, hanged himself. 6 The high priests, having taken the pieces of silver, said, it is not permitted to put them into the treasury since price of blood it is. 7 Having taken counsel, they bought with them the filed of the potter for a burial place for the strangers. 8 For this reason that field was called Field of Blood to this day. 9 Therefore, was fulfilled that having been spoken by Jeremiah the prophet saying, And they took the thirty pieces of silver the price of the [one] having been priced, whom they set a price by [the] sons of Israel, 10 and they gave them for the field of the potter as commanded me the Lord.

    • Two points are worth noting:
      • Loyal to his reputation, Matthew points out the things that can be ambiguous about Mark: if the high priests are meeting, it is because it is a meeting "against Jesus, so as to put him to death"; Mark assumed that the reader would easily get it. From the beginning of the trial at Pilate's, Matthew always gives the title of governor to Pilate, and he is the only one to do so: Mark assumed that everyone knows who Pilate is, Matthew does not.

      • And as he did from the beginning, he insists on the guilt of the Jewish people. This is the meaning of this story about the death of Judas, a story he probably created by reusing a legend that was circulating in his milieu. He writes this account in the light of the prophets Jeremiah and Zechariah where God complains about the infidelity of his people. As we have already pointed out, Judas represents this unfaithful people.

    Matthew 27Mark 15
    11a Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor questioned him, saying, You are the king of the Jews? 2a And Pilate questioned him, You are the king of the Jews?
    11b Jesus declared, You say.2b Answering to him, he says, You have said.
    12 And him in being accused by the high priests and elders, he answered nothing.3 And the high priests were accusing him of many things.
    13 Therefore Pilate says to him, You do not hear how many things they testify against you?4 Pilate was questioning him again, saying, You do not answer anything? See how many things they testify against you.
    14 And he did not answer him, not even to one word, so as to amaze exceedingly the governor.5 Jesus no longer answered anything, so as to amaze Pilate.
    15 At [the] feast the governor was accustomed to release one to the crowd a prisoner whom they want. 16 They were having at that time a notable prisoner called Jesus Barabbas.6 At [the] feast he was releasing to them one prisoner whom they requested. 7 There was the [one] called Barabbas having been bound with the rebels who in insurrection has committed murder. 8 And the crowd having got up began to beg just as he was doing for them.
    17 So them being gathered together, Pilate said to them, Whom you want that I should release to you, Jesus Barabbas or Jesus who is called Messiah? 18 For he knew that because of envy they handed over him.9 Pilate answered to them, saying, Do you want that I should release to you the king of the Jews? 10 For he was knowing that because of envy the high priests had handed over him.
    19 As he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, [`let there be] nothing between you and that righteous [man], for I suffered many things today because of him.
    20 The high priests and the elders persuaded the crowds so that they should ask for Barabbas, and they should destroy Jesus.11 The high priests stirred up the crowd so that instead he might release Barabbas to them.
    21 Answering the governor said to them, Which do you desire of the two I should release to you? They said, Barabbas.
    22a Pilate says to them, So what should I do [with] Jesus who is called Messiah? 12 Pilate answering again, was saying to them, So what do you want that I should do to him you call the king of the Jews?
    22b All they say, Let [him] be crucified.13 Again they cried out, Crucify him!
    23a He declared, For what evil did he do? 14a Pilate was saying to them, For what evil did he do?
    23b They cried out all the more saying, Let [him] be crucified.14b They cried out all the more, Crucify him.
    24 Pilate having seen that it availed to nothing but rather a riot was happening, having taken water, he washed the hands before the crow, saying, I am guiltless of this blood. You will see for yourselves. 25 And answering, all the people said, His blood [be] on us and on our children.
    26 Therefore he released to them Barabbas Jesus. Having flogged, he handed over [him] so that he might be crucified.15 Pilate, wanting to do to the crowd what [is] satisfactory, he released to them Barabbas and he handed over Jesus, having flogged [him], so that he might be crucified.
    27 Therefore the soldiers of the governor, having taken with [them] Jesus to the Praetorium, they gathered before him the whole cohort. 28 And having stripped him, the put around him a scarlet robe. 29 And having twisted together a crown of thorns, they put [it] on his head and a reed in his right hand, and having bowed the knees before him, they mocked him saying, Hail, king of the Jews! 30 And having spit upon him, they took the reed and kept striking [him] on his head.16 The soldiers led him away into the courtyard, that is [the] Praetorium, and they call together the whole cohort. 17 And they put on him purple and put around him, having twisted together a crown of thorns. 18 And they began to salute him, Hail, king of the Jews! 19 And they kept striking his head with a reed, and spitting on him, and putting [down] the knees, they were kneeling down to him.
    31 And when they had mocked him, they took off his robe and they put on him his garments and led him away to crucify [him].20 And when they had mocked him, they took off his purple and they put on his own garments. They lead him out so that they might crucify him.

    • Let's first examine Pilate's dialogue with the crowd. Since Jesus does not answer anything, the story quickly turns to the interaction with the crowd. On this point, the dynamics of the dialogue are totally different in Mark and Matthew. In Mark, Pilate asks three questions:

      1. Do you want me to release the King of the Jews to you? (Answer: release Barabbas instead).
      2. What shall I do then with him whom you call the King of the Jews? (Answer: crucify him)
      3. What did he do wrong? (Answer: crucify him)

      Thus, Mark's Pilate constantly tries to justify the release of Jesus, and the crowd gives in to the "brainwashing" of the chief priests and the people hysterically demand to crucify Jesus. But Matthew's dynamic is totally different. Pilate asks four questions, the first two of which are unique to Matthew:

      1. Which do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Messiah? (Answer: release Barabbas, but destroy Jesus)
      2. Which one do you want me to release you? (Answer: Barabbas)
      3. What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called Messiah? (Answer: let him be crucified).
      4. What did he do wrong? (Answer: let him be crucified)

      In Matthew, what Pilate asks the crowd is to make a choice between Jesus and a murderer. It is a bit like the setting of Deuteronomy that we find here when Moses asks his people to choose between life and death (Deuteronomy 30: 15-20: See, I offer you life and happiness, death and misfortune... Today I call heaven and earth to witness against you: I offer you life or death, blessing or curse.... I offer you life or death, blessing or curse. Choose life, then, that you and your descendants may live). Pilate becomes in some way a Moses who asks the Jewish people to choose between life and death. And to emphasize the fact that this people choose death, their request is not only to release Barabbas, but also to "destroy" Jesus (v. 20). And to make it clear that this is the Jewish people as a whole, he adds the elders of the people on top of the high priests who persuade the crowd to make this choice.

    • We have already analyzed this pericope. We need only re-emphasize the more thoughtful features of Matthew's composition in this sequence in which the soldiers mock Jesus: his sequence is much more in keeping with the logical order of things, where the man is stripped before being clothed in royal clothes with a crown and scepter, and where the usual ceremony of kneeling when facing the king before saluting him and kissing him is parodied; Mark's sequence is more confused. We have put Mark in parallel with Matthew, but with the number of the order in which the action appears in his Gospel.

      MatthewMark
      0. Having undressed him,
      1. they gave him a scarlet robe,1. They put on him purple
      2. then, having twisted a crown of thorns,2. then, having twisted a crown of thorns,
      3. They placed it on his head,3. They put it on him
      4. with a reed in his right hand.
      5. And, the bowed the knees before him,7. And they were kneeling down to him
      6. And they mocked him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!"4. And they began to salute him, "Hail, King of the Jews!"
      7. And spitting on him,6. And they spat on him,
      8. And they took the reed and strike his head with it.5. And they strike him on the head with a reed...

    • Let us conclude with one last point: the addition of the scene of Pilate's wife and her dream and that of the washing of Pilate's hands, scenes which he probably created himself, as we have said earlier, are only intended to exonerate the pagans represented by the Romans and to accentuate Jewish guilt.

    Matthew 27Mark 15
    32 Going out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, They compelled him so that he might carry his cross21 And they compel a certain passing by, Simon of Cyrene, coming from the field, the father of Alexander and Rufus, so that he might carry his cross
    33 And having come to a place called Golgotha which is called Place of a Skull. 34 They gave him to drink wine mingled with gall and having tasted, he did not want to drink. 35 Having crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots, so that might be fulfilled that which was spoken by the prophet, They divided my garments among themselves, and for my clothing they cast a lot. 36 and sitting down, they were guarding him there.22 And they carry him to the Golgotha, a place which is translated: Place of a Skull. 23 They were giving him wine, having been mixed with myrrh. Him, he did not take [it]. 24 They crucify him and they divide his garments, casting lots for them who should take what. 25 It was [the] third hour and they crucified him.
    37 And they put on over his head his charge, written, This is Jesus, the king of the Jews. 38 At the same time are crucified with him two robbers, one at [the] right hand, and one at [the] left.26 And there was the inscription of the charge against him, having been written, The king of the Jews. 27 And with him they crucify two robbers one at [the] right hand, and one at [the] left of him.
    39 Those walking by kept slandering at him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, the [one] destroying the temple and building [it] in three days, save yourself, if you are Son of God, and descend from the cross!29 And those walking by kept slandering at him at him, wagging their heads and saying, Aha! the [one] destroying the temple and building [it] in three days, 30 save yourself, having descended from the cross!
    41 Likewise also the high priests mocking with the scribes and elders, were saying, He saved others, he is not able to save himself. 42 He is king of Israel, let him descend now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He has trusted on God. Let Him deliver now if he wants him. For he said that I am Son of God. 31 Likewise also the high priests mocking one another with the scribes, were saying, He saved others, he is not able to save himself. 32a The Messiah, the king of Israel, let him descend now from the cross so that we might see and believe!
    44 The robbers, having been crucified with him, were also upbraiding him.32b And those having been crucified with him were upbraiding him.
    45 From [the] sixth hour, darkness was over all the land until [the] ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani? That is, my God, my God, so that why have you forsaken me? 33 And having arrived [the] sixth hour, darkness arrived over the whole land until [the] ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani? Which is translated: My God, my God, to why have you forsaken me?
    47 Some of those who were standing there, having heard, were saying that this [guy] calls Elijah. 48 And immediately one of them having run and having taken a sponge, having both filled [it] with vinegar and put [it] around a reed, was giving him to drink. 49 The rest were saying, Leave, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.35 And some of those standing by, having heard, were saying, Behold, he calls Elijah. 36 One having run and having filled a sponge with vinegar, having put [it] around a reed, was giving him to drink, saying, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down.
    50 Jesus having cried again in a loud voice, left alone [his] spirit. 51 And behold, the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom into two, and the earth was shaken and the rocks were split. 52 And the tombs were opened and many bodies of the saints, having fallen asleep, arose. 53 and having come out of the tombs after his rising, they entered into the holy city and were shown to many.37 Jesus having left a loud voice, expire. 38 And the veil of the temple was torn into two from top to the bottom.
    54 The centurion and those with him keeping guard over Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things arriving, feared greatly, saying, Truly, this [one] was Son of God.39 The centurion standing from opposite of him, having seen that he has expired in this way, said, Truly, this man was Son of God.

    • In this account of the crucifixion of Jesus, Matthew seems to take up Mark's story as it is. But he gives it a more strongly theological orientation. We can see it immediately by the two titles "Son of God" (vv. 40 and 43) which he adds and puts in the mouths of those who mock. For Mark's scene is about the political accusation of "King of the Jews". Matthew subtly brings to the foreground the religious accusation of claiming to be the Messiah, and therefore Son of God. He does this not only through the title, but also through several references to the Old Testament where they speak of the Righteous One or the one who remained faithful to Yahweh but had to endure the sarcasm or persecution of those around him. Let us quote Psalm 69: 22: (And they gave me gall for food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar, cf. v. 34), Psalm 22: (7 All that saw me mocked me: they spoke with their lips, they shook the head, saying, 8 He hoped in the Lord: let him deliver him, let him save him, because he takes pleasure in him. , cf. vv. 39 and 42), Wisdom 2: 27 (He assures that he has the knowledge of God, and he calls himself the Son of God, cf. v. 43). Let us understand Matthew's point of view. It is not the past that interests him, but the present, and his present is the Judaism of the eighties and the fact that the whole of his people closed themselves off to Jesus' preaching; the tragedy for Matthew is that his people were living the hope of a messiah, and when the one who incarnated him presented himself, they totally rejected him. Let us conclude by saying that Matthew changes the final proclamation "This man was the son of God" to "This [one] was the son of God", because in his faith, at the time of writing, Jesus belongs to the world of God, and therefore is no longer a man.

    • Matthew again improves Mark's text with a more careful composition. The scene of the vinegar sponge is incomprehensible in Mark, because the one who went to fetch the sponge then tells the audience to leave it alone (cf. v. 36): it is incomprehensible, because why does the man address the crowd when it is he who makes the gesture with the sponge, and why does he ask the crowd to leave it alone, when the crowd does absolutely nothing? Matthew has certainly seen Mark's illogicality and changes the story: it is the crowd that, addressing the man giving a probably dehydrated Jesus a drink, asks him to stop his gesture of compassion and, out of derision, suggests that he let the prophet Elijah take care of it.

    • This taste for well-structured compositions can also be seen in the presence of the guards. For Matthew has to fight against the false story circulating in Jewish circles of a nighttime theft of the body of Jesus by his disciples, and so he creates a scene where a guard is placed at the entrance to the tomb. Now this guard is introduced at the crucifixion (and sitting down, they were guarding him there, v. 36), and will witness the cosmic earthquake and the resurrection of the dead after Jesus breathed his last (The centurion and those with him keeping guard over Jesus, having seen the earthquake and the things arriving, v. 54). This guard, therefore, plays the role of witness throughout Jesus' last moments, and it is this guard who will proclaim with the centurion that he is the Son of God. The same rigor of composition can also be seen in the testimony of the centurion proclaiming: "Truly, this [one] was Son of God". Matthew and Mark share this final scene. But with Mark, the title "Son of God" appears out of the blue. On the contrary, Matthew was careful to introduce the title earlier in two sequences where it is derided (vv. 40 and 43), so that the third time, in the mouth of the centurion and the guards, the title finally receives its confirmation.

    Matthew 27 Mark 15
    55 There were there many women, who followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him, they were looking on from afar off. 56 Among whom was Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 40 There were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also Mary Magdalene and Mary mother of James the least and Joseph and Salome, 41 who, when he was in Galilee, were following him and were servicing him, and many other, those having come up with him to Jerusalem.
    57 Evening having arrived, a rich man came from Arimathea, named Joseph, who was also disciples himself to Jesus. 58 Him, having gone to Pilate, asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate commanded [it] to be handed over. 42 And already evening having arrived, since it was Preparation, which is the day before Sabbath, 43 having come Joseph from Arimathea, a prominent Council member, who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God, having boldness, he went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate wondered if already he were dead. And having called to [him] the centurion, he questioned him if already he had died. 45 And having known [it] from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.
    59 And having taken the body, Joseph wrapped it in a clean linen cloth 60 and place it in his new tomb, which he had cut in the rock; and having rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, he went away. 46 And having bought a linen cloth, having pulled him down, he wrapped [him] in the linen cloth and placed him in a tomb which was cut out of a rock; and he rolled a stone on the door of the tomb.
    61 Mary Magdalene was there and the other Mary, sitting opposite to the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary of Joseph were watching where he has been placed.
    62 The next day which is after the Preparation, the high priests and the Pharisees were gathered together before Pilate, 63 saying, Lord, we have remembered that this deceiver said while living, After three days I arise. 64 So command to be secured the tomb until the third day, lest, while having come his disciples, they steal him away and say to the people, He is risen from the dead. And the last deception will be worse than the first. 65 Pilate declared to them, You have a guard, go, ensure to be secured as you know. 66 Them, having gone, they ensure to be secured the tomb; having sealed the stone with the guard.

    • With the exception of the episode of the meeting with Pilate to ask for a guard, which is Matthew's own, Matthew is content to follow Mark. But according to his habit, his writing is more compact and concise. In his description of the women who are at the place of crucifixion, he first mentions that there are many of them, that they followed Jesus from Galilee, before giving the details of their names. In Mark's description of the women who are at the place of crucifixion, he first mentions that there are many of them, that they followed Jesus from Galilee, before giving the details of their names, and then he goes back to their number and identity. And in the scene around Joseph of Arimathea, Matthew eliminates all the details that do not serve his purpose, such as Pilate's astonishment at Jesus' early death and his need for information. He simply sticks to the essential attributes, i.e. a disciple of Jesus and a rich man, which allows him to explain this brand new sepulchre.

    • Matthew's faith and his perception of the transcendence of Jesus is manifested in many small details. First of all, the shroud is "clean" and not soiled, the tomb is "new" and not soiled, which is appropriate to the dignity of Jesus. Finally, the stone at the entrance of the tomb is "large", which will only enhance the power of God in his intervention.

  4. Intention of the author when writng this passage

    The text we have analysed covers two chapters, and it is impossible to reduce everything to a single idea. Let's try to summarize what we have discovered.

    • There's suffering in Matthew. He belongs to the chosen people, to this people whom God has chosen to reveal his love, to this people to whom God has raised a whole line of prophets, to this people to whom God has promised a messiah. And now his own people have rejected him who is the prophet among the prophets, the promised messiah, the true son of God. So, for him, the issue at stake in the trial of Jesus is not of a political nature, but of a religious nature. Throughout this account of the passion he takes up from Mark, he emphasizes the responsibility and guilt of his people, just as he emphasizes the responsibility and guilt of two other Jews, Judas who betrays him and Peter who denies him. For his people had the opportunity to make a fundamental choice, as we see in the trial of Jesus, and they chose death. On the other hand, the Gentile Romans bear less responsibility than his Jewish brethren, since they did not really want to kill Jesus. Thus, what happened to him is a real drama, the meaning of which he tries to understand. How can a human being bite the hand that feeds him? How can we explain the mystery of human freedom and evil? And now, as he writes his Gospel, his people bear the consequences of his choices, since the city of Jerusalem has been destroyed.

    • Together with the members of his community and all other Christians, he goes through the Scriptures, what we call the Old Testament, to find meaning in all these tragic events. The prophet Zechariah helps him to understand the act of Judas and the abandonment of the disciples and the infidelity of a whole people; history repeats itself. The prophet Jeremiah helps him to understand the fate that awaits Jesus after having spoken of the destruction of the temple, the strange outcome of Judas' betrayal where a field will be bought with the money from the crime, and especially the fact that the Jewish people can thus shed innocent blood. The prophet Isaiah, especially ch. 50 and 53, helps him to understand the horror of Jesus' last hours where, in silence, he is mocked and violently attacked, while ch. 59 illuminates his burial. Finally, several psalms allow him to enter into the inner drama of Jesus, such as Psalm 42, which speaks of sadness and anguish, Psalm 69, which speaks of the righteous being made to drink vinegar and gall, and Psalm 22, which speaks of the mockery and derision to which the faithful person must be subjected, especially his call to God in a situation where there is almost no hope. There are of course many other references to Scripture, but we have noted the most important ones. What light does all this shed on him? What happened to Jesus, and the actions of the main actors, were in a way foreshadowed. So he often uses the expression: "All this happened so that the Scripture might be fulfilled", which we prefer to translate as "All this made it possible to reach the complete understanding of the Scriptures": for the events that took place send us back to the Scriptures and allow us to reread them in a new light, and to find an even deeper meaning in them. For Matthew, Scripture made sure that what Jesus experienced was not absurd, he relived what the prophets experienced; the refusal of the Jews repeated the infidelities of the past. There is nothing that happens in life on which we cannot shed some light to help us find meaning.

    • For Matthew, despite the horror of the drama, the figure of Jesus keeps its transcendent and unique side. He remains the leader who commands the organization of the farewell meal. He knows the one who will betray him, and will make the traitor aware of it. When he arrives in Gethsemane, he does not collapse on the ground, as in Mark, but makes a gesture of submission to the Father's will. In the same way, if he experiences sadness and anguish, he does not experience fear as in Mark. When he receives Judas' kiss, he calmly tells him to do what he has to do, in a gesture of total submission to his father's will. To the disciple who wants to take up arms to prevent his arrest, Jesus simply says that he could have called upon an army of angels, but that would have prevented him from following his way. When he dies, he will be laid to rest in a clean shroud and a new sepulchre, according to his dignity. In all this, it is his present faith that Matthew transmits and proposes to his readers.

    • For Matthew, Christian life is lived in community. This is reflected in the way he takes over from Mark the farewell meal where he adds "eat" and "drink" to Jesus' gesture, insisting on its "communion" aspect. In Gethsemane, he insists that his intimate disciples watch with him, for prayer is lived in community and, when he calls out to Peter, it is as the head of the community.

    • Matthew is Jewish and his main audience is Christian Jews. It should therefore come as no surprise that he insists on the ethical aspect of life: Judaism is orthopraxy (rectitude of action), not orthodoxy (rectitude of doctrine). Therefore, acting in accordance with God's will becomes fundamental, and this is reflected in his prayer in Gethsemane. Thus the gesture of Jesus' companion, who uses his sword to cut off the ear of the high priest's servant, becomes the occasion for a sermon on violence. On the other hand, since his audience is of Jewish culture, he can refer to their religious world to propose his catechesis. Thus, during the farewell meal, the meaning of Jesus' death is associated with the animal sacrifice for the forgiveness of sins that took place in the temple. When Jesus dies, Matthew explains the meaning of what he calls "the hour" by using apocalyptic scenes found in prophets such as Ezekiel, Daniel, Isaiah and Daniel where the earth trembles, the graves open, and the dead are awakened. Finally, he has to deal with the various stories circulating in the community, such as the one surrounding Judas, and especially the one peddled by Jewish opponents about the so-called night flight of Jesus' body.

  5. Current situations or events in which we could read this text

    1. Suggestions from the different symbols of the story

      Here are seventeen suggestions gleaned throughout this long story.

      • "Judas Iscariot went to the high priests and said to them, 'How much will you give me if I hand him over to you?'" Isn't Judas' attitude representative of some of our contemporaries? Are not the high priests associated with God in Judaism? There is a reflection to be made on human frailty and blindness.

      • "The one who will betray me is the one who will have dipped his hand with me in the dish... it would have been better for this man not to have been born". How can one betray a partner in life? What's the matter? What happened? Let's look around us, look at our lives. Do we see things like that? What's the source of it? And there is that terrible sentence that Matthew puts in the mouth of Jesus: It would have been better for this man not to have been born? Would we say that about Hitler? We could say that not everything is totally black in a human being, but the fact remains that the consequences of some of our actions can be the source of a terrible evil. We can reflect on the mystery of life.

      • "Take, eat, this is my body. Drink in all, this is my blood of the covenant, shed so that a great part of humanity may return from its wanderings". This is the answer to evil: the gift of his life. To eat this bread, to drink from the cup, is to embrace this option of life. Let us reflect on all that is involved in participating in this symbolism at the heart of the Eucharist.

      • "Truly, I assure you, this very night, before the rooster crows, you will have denied knowing me three times". Peter represents us when in difficult situations we lack courage and give in to fear; he represents many aspects of us of which we are ashamed on certain days. But our reflection must take into account the fact that he bitterly regretted his attitude and must take into account what he became afterwards, the one who accepted the leadership of the young Christian community. Should we not see in every weak human being what he can become? Under what condition can gestures of weakness project a person forward?

      • "My being is sad to death. Stay here and stay awake with me." Jesus needed others in times of need. Can we get through life's trials without the support of others? And what is our attitude towards those who experience pain, suffering and loss? We can reflect on the role of community.

      • "Father, if it is possible, avoid this cup. However, let it not be what I want, but what you want". There are two extremely important aspects in this prayer: on the one hand, there is the recognition of our deep desire to avoid the difficult things that happen to us, and on the other hand, the acceptance of the difficult situation after having done everything possible to avoid it. Desiring unhappiness, suffering, painful things is mental illness. But the great challenge is to open up to it when it is impossible to avoid it. Let's take the time to look at Jesus' attitude and compare it to that of those who stubbornly refuse what happens to them.

      • "Stay awake and pray, so that you do not enter into the trial. For though the spirit is well disposed, the flesh is weak". Jesus was a being of prayer, and that moment of prayer in Gethsemane was fundamental for him, and it enabled him to face the last moments of his life. On the other hand, the disciples were unable to stay awake in prayer, and the rest is known. Why is prayer so fundamental? Isn't it the way to go down to the source of our lives, to recover our values, to establish a moment of total truth, and thus to hear the Spirit of God? Is this type of prayer part of our lives?

      • "But Jesus said to him, "Put the sword back into its sheath. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword". Of course, there is a universal truth in this saying: violence leads to violence; a vicious circle follows. But this maxim takes on a new colour in Jesus' attitude, that of facing violence by responding with self-giving love. Of course, it is not a question of being naive and having a bucolic vision of life. But what Jesus' attitude makes clear is that responding to violence with violence is a simplistic response that does not produce results. The fruitful response is one that goes deep into the sources of violence and accepts to abandon certain things in the name of a love greater than oneself. The story of passion allows for much reflection on this point.

      • "The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin were looking for a false witness against Jesus so that they could put him to death". Stacking the deck and using the justice system for one's own ends is well known to us. There is no search for truth and no concern for justice here. What causes such attitudes? Let us note that these attitudes do not spare the religious world. How can we free ourselves from these attitudes? Can we find an answer in this account of the passion?

      • "This man proclaimed: I am capable of destroying the temple, and in three days I will rebuild it". We know from other Gospel passages the attitude of Jesus towards the temple. The temple represents our absolutes, our idols, our taboos. Is it possible to grow without destroying them? Judaism will hold on to this temple, and paradoxically it will be destroyed anyway by the Romans in the year 70. The true Christian accepts that his world will be rebuilt by what Jesus proposes. What does this imply? A reflection is necessary.

      • "Now you will see the Sone of Man, sitting at the right hand of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven". At that moment the high priest tore his clothes, saying, 'He has blasphemed God". Today we hear a similar expression: "He has insulted Islam". This is not the beginning of much religion, for in the Middle Ages Christians burned at the stake many people who "insulted God or religion. Generally speaking, regardless of religion, what right does one have to say to someone: "He insulted God"? If Jesus is representative of a certain number of our situations, can we not say that it is the person who shouts "He has insulted God" who, in fact, insults God? Is not this scene a call to review our ways of judging others? And does it not reveal our false faces of God?

      • "Then they spat in his face and punched him, and others slapped him in the face, saying, 'Be a prophet for us, Messiah, who hit you?" Here we have a scene of violence. Why don't we stop at all the violent acts in our society. As long as we ignore them, we will not be able to respond appropriately. Where does such violence come from? Is there a way to channel it? Is it essentially bad? What does it express? Was Jesus violent? How did he react to violence?

      • "Pilate asked them, "Which do you want me to set you free, [Jesus] Barabbas or Jesus called Messiah?" This is an example of a fundamental choice where we are faced with two paths. Of course, Matthew probably transformed the original story in order to dramatize it. But the fact remains that the people who consciously intervened to destroy Jesus made a fundamental choice, even though they would be surprised to hear that. Most of our daily minor decisions are the result of our fundamental choices that have been confirmed over the years, even though it can rarely be said that on any given date we made a fundamental choice. Let's stop for a moment and ask the question: what were the big decisions of our lives? What were the values at stake? What explains our choices? Would we make the same choices today? Why would we make the same choices today?

      • "Passers were waving their heads at him and saying, "You who destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are a son of God, and descend from the cross". What is it in our humanity that explains this need to mock, ridicule and taunt others? Whatever the historical value of the details of this scene, it is typical of a number of our attitudes. What is really going on with us. Is this a way to reassure us in our choices? Is it a way to stop seeking the truth by caricaturing other people's choices?

      • "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" Of course, we have here the beginning of Psalm 22, and we know that the Psalm ends with a great song of hope. But it is important to listen to all the cries of despair of our humanity, to take time to weep with those who weep, to accept the feeling of powerlessness. For it is an aspect of reality that cannot be ignored: God has allowed this world where it's possible to feel like you're in a bottomless pit with no way out. How do we react? Let's take the time to look at Jesus on the cross.

      • "Again, Jesus cried out in a loud voice and gave up the spirit". These were the last seconds of Jesus of Nazareth in our midst. He gave back the life he received, as we will have to do one day. There is something paradoxical in death: on the one hand, we lose that life which is unique and which has been the source of our joys and sorrows, of our loves and angers, of our discoveries and questions, and our friends experience a void, our partners and our children weep for us; on the other hand, it is often the beginning of a time of peace when there has been long suffering. Let us not be afraid to stop for a few moments at the reality of death, our death, the death of our loved ones. This reflection will undoubtedly allow us to enter more deeply into life.

      • "There were several women watching from a distance, some of whom had followed Jesus from Galilee to support him". It is ironic that the people who supported Jesus to the end of his life were women. The disciples disappeared into thin air. And later these women will be the first witnesses of the resurrected Jesus. It is to the honour of the Christian tradition not to have crossed out this memory. How can we give all the space to these true disciples of Jesus? How can their testimony be heard? The reflection is far from over.

    2. Suggestions from what we are currently experiencing

      Our reflection can be guided by events that we experience and on which we try to shed the evangelical light.

      • On 27 March 2011, in Tripoli, 72 people, including pregnant women and babies, board a 10-metre Zodiac bound for the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, about 300 km away, leaving Gaddafi's regime. They will never make it. They will all die one by one, in despair, except 9 who will survive to tell what happened. "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? " Actually, it was some frigate captains who abandoned them, refusing to help them.

      • A couple I know well are going through the last moments of their union: verbal abuse, repeated bickering, resentment, and a young child who can't take it anymore and is crying.

      • A 19-year-old man, the son of a policeman, stabbed to death 5 other young students at a party celebrating the end of classes at the university, for no apparent reason, probably in a moment of madness. The violence seems gratuitous. How will the parents of the accused live this tragedy? How will the parents who have lost a child experience this tragedy? How will we find meaning in what is inexplicable?

      • The tension between Russia and Ukraine is extreme. Some pro-Russian supporters have infiltrated Ukrainian government buildings. What do we do about it? Military action? Diplomatic action? Do nothing? Can today's Gospel shed some light on our decisions?

      • Islamic extremists named Boko Haram continue to wreak havoc in Nigeria. They just blew up a bomb in Abuja, the capital, killing 75 people, after previously kidnapping 85 schoolgirls in a city in the north-east of the country. How can human beings give in to such indiscriminate violence? How can we intervene?

      • The war in Syria has created more than a million displaced people, people who have lost almost everything, people living in makeshift shelters. How can we not be moved? But what can we do?

      • A young woman I know very well has just received the results of a medical examination: three discs displaced in the spine, nerves pinched, needing the intervention of a neurosurgeon and the possibility of a lifelong disability. Suddenly some perspectives change. How do you cope with such a situation?

 

-André Gilbert, Gatineau, April 2014