Day 294

Matthew 26

This chapter follows Mark 14 pretty closely for the first couple of stories – the elders plot to off Jesus, and then he is anointed with the expensive oil. But when we get to v 14, where Judas betrays Jesus, Matthew gets specific, naming the price as 30 pieces of silver; Mark only mentioned ‘money’. Why would Matthew add this number in? Did he know something Mark didn’t? Or was he just trying to link another OT verse to reinforce the idea that Jesus was fulfilling prophesy? Consider Zechariah 11:12, where the ‘shepherd’ who is assigned to select sheep for slaughter says “‘give me my wages, whatever I am worth; but only if you want to.’ So they counted out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.” (Judas, of course, fills the role of that ‘shepherd’). Pretty revealing, especially since there is another reference to Zechariah in this chapter (v 31 refers to Zech 13:7), proving that Matthew was familiar with it.

Next is the Last Supper. I almost glossed over it for the second time without noting how macabre it, and the ritual associated with it (Holy Communion), is. ‘Eat my body, drink my blood?’ Bizarre! But I used to sing peppy songs about it without blinking an eyelash. Proof that what you learn as a child you become inured to.

Comparing versions, I see that v 25 has been added since Mark told the story. For emphasis? (It seems to me that often when Matthew adds to the story it is usually to either clarify, flesh out details, or reinforce a point for emphasis.) And I didn’t comment last time on Jesus’ remark in v 29 (it’s the same in Mark) – but we’re still waiting…

holy communion

Read v 34 carefully and compare it to Mark 14:30. Mark is the only gospel that has the rooster crowing twice. The scene in Prayer_at_GethsemaneGethsemane is virtually identical to Mark’s version, except for v 42 which is an addition; since it basically repeats the sentiment in v 39, it must again be for emphasis. (And what was that sentiment, anyway? Was Jesus having cold feet and trying to renege on his supposed arrangement?)

The story of Jesus’ arrest sticks with Mark’s version until v 52-54, which are not in Mark. Again, I have to ask why? And again, it seems like it must be to emphasize that what is happening if fulfilling scripture. This idea is mentioned again in v 56. But the SAB points out that there appears to be no such prophesy in the OT. I’m pretty sure that’s correct, because my online bible, which contains cross-references to all prophesies referred to in the OT, has no link at this verse.

And interestingly, the last two verses of the story of Jesus’ arrest (Mark 14:51-52) are omitted completely by Matthew. Another attempt at refinement? The story of the naked kid just doesn’t quite meet the criteria for decorum…

The story of Jesus’ trial, starting at v 57, differs only slightly between Matthew and Mark – mostly Matthew just fleshes it out a bit. Until we get to v 64 – where Jesus prevaricates when asked directly if he is the Messiah. In Mark 14:62 he made no bones about it. Why the change? The last section of the chapter is about Peter denying Jesus. Pay attention to the details – all 4 gospels cover this incident. Note that in Mark, Peter denied Jesus, and then the rooster crowed, and then Peter denied Jesus twice more, and then the rooster crowed again. In Matthew, Peter denied Jesus 3 times before the rooster crowed even once. Also pay attention to whom Peter was speaking when he denied Jesus… it’ll be different in every gospel.

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