Chap. 26

The chapter today is long and there is a lot going on. It is also very famous, and reading through it feel like passing over familiar territory. There are a couple of little details that stick out to me, both brought to my attention by Ruden's footnotes.


The first is this detail of Caiaphas tearing his clothes. Ruden points out that he was forbidden in the OT law to do this. Lev. 10:6 says, "Then Moses said to Aaron and his sons Eleazar and Ithamar, “Do not let your hair become unkempt and do not tear your clothes, or you will die and the Lord will be angry with the whole community." This direction if given to Aaron to forbid him from mourning for his sons, who had been struck down for idolatry. The other passage Ruden cites is a more general prohibition on tearing clothing, but most commentators think it applies only to mourning--the high priest is not to grieve the way others do, but there are Rabbinic traditions that say you should rend your clothes in the presence of blasphemy. In any case, Caiaphas is clearly being a drama-queen and a liar.

The other thing, more substantial, that I notice is the way Jesus addresses Judas in the moment of the betrayal. Ruden renders it "pal" and has a note saying that Jesus is using a term that is condescending to Judas. I don't often think of Jesus being condescending, but if ever there was a moment, this is it. This whole passage is loaded, absolutely fraught, with emotion, and Jesus is responding in some very interesting ways. It seems clear to me that as he faces the trials in this passage, He is not nearly as stoical as we would like Him to be. He is deeply, deeply disappointed in the people around Him--the sleepers, the traitors, the robe tearers, and that comes out in the way He speaks. I think the view into Jesus' inner life that the passage gives us is interesting and instructive.

2 comments