When did Christ's passion begin?


#1

During Holy Week, we often hear the story of Christ's passion that includes his betrayal, trial, and crucifixion. But I've noticed a common trend in three of the four gospels that would suggest that the plot line started much earlier: the anointing at Bethany. Mark 14:3-9 (the anointing) is immediately followed by the betrayal of Judas (Mark 10-11). Based on that same text from Mark, Matthew 26:6-13 (the anointing) is immediately followed by the betrayal of Judas (Matt 26:14-16). In both of these anointing scenes, some of the people watching complain about the cost of the nard used in the anointing. In John, Judas' betrayal (forecast by Christ in John 13:21-30) is foreshadowed by Judas' complaining about the costly nard used in anointing (John 12:4-6).

The anointing scenes in Bethany all occur just prior to Jesus entering Jerusalem and cleansing the temple.

To me, this argues that the passion drama really began with the anointing of Jesus at Bethany, which for someone called "son of David" would be a clear sign of his kingship. The betrayal by Judas Iscariot followed immediately on the heels of this anointing.

Judas Iscariot -- Ιούδας Ισκάριωθ -- can be translated as "Judas of Kerioth," which appears from a map to be a town in Idumea, the historic land of the Edomites south of Judea. Notably, Herod the Great was born in Idumea, a fact that the Pharisees used to object to his legitimacy. Could Judas have been acting out an ethnic grudge?


#2

Actually, it could be argued that the passion of Christ began with either the fall of man, or the incarnation.


#3

I always thought it began when Our Lord suffered in the garden of Gethsemane, the first Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary.


#4

Well, if we go by the gospels, Jesus’ way to His death really began as soon as He left home to do what He did. I mean, the signs are everywhere; look at what happened to John the Baptist. Heck, it might have even started as soon as He was born! :smiley:

Judas Iscariot – Ιούδας Ισκάριωθ – can be translated as “Judas of Kerioth,” which appears from a map to be a town in Idumea, the historic land of the Edomites south of Judea. Notably, Herod the Great was born in Idumea, a fact that the Pharisees used to object to his legitimacy. Could Judas have been acting out an ethnic grudge?

We don’t know, because we aren’t even totally sure what Iscariot actually means. Technically, the Idumaeans were conquered by the Hasmonean ruler John Hyrcanus (c. 125 BC) and forcibly assimilated to the Jewish nation. Even though the Idumaeans had adopted Jewish beliefs and customs not everyone of course welcomed them - the reaction to Herod the Great as you mention being an example.

Kerioth-Hezron aka Hazor (Joshua 15:25) is close to biblical Edom, on the south-east border, but I don’t think it’s in Edom proper. (Amos 2:2 and Jeremiah 48:24, 41 name a Kirioth, but this is a city in Moab.)


#5

[quote="patrick457, post:4, topic:334764"]
Well, if we go by the gospels, Jesus' way to His death really began as soon as He left home to do what He did. I mean, the signs are everywhere; look at what happened to John the Baptist. Heck, it might have even started as soon as He was born! :D

[/quote]

Well, I guess that's true in retrospect. I tend not to view Jesus as knowing with certainty that he'd be crucified, but having this dread that it might happen (hence the references to "taking up the cross" prior to the Passion). I tend to view Jesus as being confirmed in the vocation of the Messiah from the beginning of his ministry right after his baptism, but not before. You're right that John the Baptist's execution served as an example of how a peaceful preacher could meet his end. But even in Gethsemane, Jesus was asking for "the cup" to be taken from him.

What I guess I meant was that the proximate material causes of the death of Jesus, which we commemorate during Holy Week, seem to be spelled out in the ends of the gospels.

From a historical perspective, the commonalities of the gospels point to Jesus rejecting some of the additions Halakha additions that the Pharisees seemed to demand and his overturning the tables of the money lenders. But the "cleansing" of the temple (actually a reference to the earlier Hasmonean cleansing) immediately after the entry into Jerusalem are the actions of a king and conqueror: David took Jerusalem and planned the Temple, Judas Maccabeus defeated the Seleucids and purified the temple of its defilement, and about a century after Jesus, Simon ben Kosiba / bar Kochba claimed that he would defeat the Romans and rebuild the temple. All of these signs point to Jesus as declaring his kingship, as INRI seems to confirm. The fact that Judas' betrayal immediately follows the anointing (making Jesus literally the Messiah / Christ) points to the anointing as THE event that set all the other events into motion. In fact, for Christians to proclaim Jesus as the Messiah would require him to be anointed.

The Sanhedrin and temple authorities would necessarily see Jesus as a threat to their rule, having declared himself king/messiah and cleansing the temple (respective to either groups). The zealot party (of which Paul may have been one) would reject Jesus after his holding back the armed disciples from attacking the party that came to arrest him -- they wanted Jesus to initiate the war that would purge the powers that had abused the Judeans for centuries up until Rome (which is also found in the Dead Sea Scrolls). All of it goes back to the anointing, which made Jesus -- literally -- the Christ.


#6

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