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Jesus Traditions

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Addenda (1)

Addendum (A)
Fulfillment of Scripture Texts in Matthew

  »  [Fulfillment of scripture] The fulfillment texts of Matthew share for the most part a common basis formula, “. . . to fulfill what had been spoken through . . . the prophet” (. . . hina plêrôthêi to rêthen . . . dia tou prophêtou legontos). 

  Matthew 1:22-23  The virginal conception of Jesus announced (click on Birth Narrative Issues for further discussion)
“. . . to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet” 
. . . hina plêrôthêi to rêthen hupo kuriou dia tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 2:5-6  The birth of the Messiah in Bethlehem
“. . . for so it has been written by the prophet”
. . . houtôs gar gegraptai dia tou prophêtou

  Matthew 2:15, The flight into Egypt
“. . . to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet” 
. . . hina plêrôthêi to rêthen hupo kuriou dia tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 2:17  The massacre of the Bethlehem infants
“. . . Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah”
. . . tote eplêrôthê to rêthen dia Ieremiou tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 2:23  Settling in Nazareth
“. . . so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled”
. . . hopôs plêrôthêi to rêthen dia tôn prophêtôn

  Matthew 4:13-16  The beginning of Jesus’ work in Capernaum (and Zebulun and Naphtali)
“. . . so that what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled”
. . . hina plêrôthêi to rêthen dia Hsaïou tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 8:16-17  Summary of Jesus’ healing work
“. . . to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah”
. . . hopôs plêrôthêi to rêthen dia Hsaïou tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 12:15-21  Jesus’ healing work
“. . . to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet Isaiah”
. . . hina plêrôthêi to rêthen dia Hsaïou tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 13:14-15  Full quotation of the Isaiah passage implied in the purpose of parables
“. . . With them indeed is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah that says”
. . . kai anaplêroutai autois hê prophêteia Hsaïou hê legousa

  Matthew 13:35  Speaking in parables 
“. . . to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet” 
. . . hopôs plêrôthêi to rêthen dia tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 21:4-5  Entry into Jerusalem, with accommodation of the text to the prophecy
“. . . to fulfill what had been spoken through the prophet” 
. . . hina plêrôthêi to rêthen dia tou prophêtou legontos

  Matthew 21:14-16  Children crying, “Hosanna!
“. . . Have you never read?” [no formula]
. . . oudepote anegn

  Matthew 26:54  Jesus refuses to let his disciples defend him, at his arrest
“But how then would the scriptures be fulfilled, which say it must happen in this way?”
pôs oun plêrôthôsin hai graphai hoti houtôs dei genesthai;

  Matthew 26:56  The flight of the disciples
“. . . so that the scriptures of the prophets may be fulfilled.”
hina plêrôthôsin hai graphai tôn prophêtôn.

  Matthew 27:9  The Field of Blood purchased
“Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremisah.”
. . . tote eplêrôthê to rêthen dia Ieremiou tou prophêtou legontos = 2:17

     Summary comments:

  »  The basic formula is present in most cases, with a number of variations: twice, the prophecy comes by the Lord, through the prophet; frequently the prophet is named (Isaiah six times, Jeremiah twice); twice the prophets are plural; once the prophet is a psalmist (13:35). Generally we find hina (twice, hopôs) in a purpose clause, with the subjunctive, though in several cases the fulfillment is accomplished (indicative). 

  »  In Matthew 21:1-7, it is noteworthy that the author’s interest in scriptural fulfillment leads him to “improve” upon Mark’s text, in that Jesus commands the disciples to bring, not just a donkey, but a donkey and the colt; they place garments on the two animals; and Jesus sits on them. Matthew seems to have overlooked the fact that the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9-10) uses parallelism, the characteristic feature of Hebrew poetry. In parallelism, the poet phrases a single idea in two slightly varying forms, to provide emphasis and variety of expression. A further accommodation of the narrative to the prophetic text may be observed in Matthew 4:13-16, where Matthew anachronistically locates the early work of Jesus in Zebulun and Naphtali. 

 

 

Addendum (B)
End-of-Time Thinking in the Fourth Gospel

It is evident from the texts in the table below that for the author eternal life and judgment were to be presently experienced, without waiting for some future age to come. The same may be said for the resurrection of the believer, so far as this theme is illustrated by the raising of Lazarus from the dead. We also find traditional elements of end-of-time speculation: judgment, resurrection of the believer, and (somewhat disguised) Jesus’ ascension and second coming. There is a curious interplay between this traditional futuristic language and what is already realized, so that it is not always easy to decide whether the reference is present or future.

Present Reality

Future Expectation

Eternal Life

3:36 ...Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life
5:24 ...Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life, and does not come under judgment, but has passed from death to life.
6:47 ...Whoever believes has eternal life.
6:54 ... Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood have eternal life, and I will raise them up on the last day [!]; cp. 6:58
8:51 ...Whoever keeps my word will never see death..
11:25-26 ...25I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.

   

   

   

   

Eternal Life (time, indeterminate)

3:16 ... So that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.
4:14 ... The water that I will give will become in them a spring of water gushing up to eternal life.
4:36 ... The reaper is already receiving wages and is gathering fruit for eternal life.
6:40 ... This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.
10:28 ... I give them eternal life.
11:25 ... Those who love their life lose it, and those who hate their life in this world will keep it for eternal life [probably future]
12:50 ... And I know that [the Father’s] commandment is eternal life.
17:2-3 ... 2. . . You have given [the Son] authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
   

Judgment

3:18 ...Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already.
3:19 ...And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light.
5:24 [above]
      

Judgment

5:27, 29 [see below]
12:47-48 ...47I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. 48The one who rejects me and does not receive my word has a judge; on the last day the word that I have spoken will serve as judge.
      
   

Resurrection of the Believer

11:1-44 ... The raising of Lazarus; esp. 11:25, 
I am the resurrection and the life.

   

   

   

   

   
   

   

   

   

   

   

Resurrection of the Believer

5:25-29 ... 25The hour is coming, and is now here [!], when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 26For just as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself; 27and he has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28Do not be astonished at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice 29and will come out—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.
6:40 ... that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day. [cp. 6:39]
6:44 ... and I will raise that person up on the last day.
6:54 ...and I will raise them up on the last day.
11:24 ...I know that [Lazarus] will rise again in the resurrection on the last day (Martha, quoting earlier statements of Jesus?).
   

 

 

 

Ascension

20:17 ...Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
 

 

 

Second Coming

[Possible references]
16:16-23 ...16A little while, and you will no longer see me, and again a little while, and you will see me. . . . 23On that day you will ask nothing of me . . . .
21:22 ... Jesus said to [Peter], “If it is my will that [the beloved disciple] remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!
   

 

 

 

Addendum C

Second Isaiah” Texts in the New Testament

Among the prophets in the Jewish Bible with whom Jesus seems to have felt an affinity, Second Isaiah is pre-eminent. For well over a century, Old Testament scholars have for the most part assigned Isaiah chapters 40 to 55 to an anonymous prophet of the exile....

to resonate significantly with the period of the Babylonian exile (597-538 B.C.E.): 

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The great world empire is not Assyria, two centuries earlier, but Babylon; and Babylon is about to give way to Persia, under the dynamic leadership of Cyrus.

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The northern kingdom (Israel) has disappeared, and the southern kingdom (Judah) is in exile in Babylon.

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The Jewish exiles are eagerly awaiting a return from exile, to Jerusalem.

 These chapters reflect the history and circumstances of this later period, just as chapters 1 to 39 reflect the historical situation of Isaiah of Jerusalem, active 742-701 B.C.E. The prophet who wrote chapters 40 to 55 is hidden behind an anonymity which does not in any way diminish the brilliance of his poetry or the profundity of his theology. He is referred to in the literature as Second Isaiah, and is generally credited with three great contributions to Hebrew thought (without discounting the importance of his announcement of a return from the exile in which his first readers were suffering): 

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The definitive statement of monotheism, or the belief in the existence of only one God, especially the denial of the existence of other gods; Isaiah 44:6-8; 45:5-6.

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The broadening of Israel’s destiny to include not only its own holiness as God’s people, but its mission through the work of the servant of the Lord to extend the knowledge  of God to the nations of the world and to invite their participation in the covenant; universalism, as this notion is called, is eloquently proclaimed in Isaiah 42:6 and 49:5-6.

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The innocent suffering for the guilty, or vicarious suffering, the vocation of the servant of the Lord, virtually unique in the Jewish Bible; Isaiah 50:5-6; 52:13 – 53:12.

The figure of the servant is a somewhat fluid one, referring sometimes to Israel (41:8; 42:18 – 43:1; 44:1-5; 45:4), sometimes to a group within Israel (49:5-6), and apparently sometimes to an individual (50:5-6; 52:13 – 53:12).

Note on Vicarious Suffering in Isaiah 53
    
With remarkable insight, the anonymous prophet of Isaiah chapters 40 to 55 has sketched a portrait of the Servant of the Lord, whose suffering is understood in a quite different light from anything which had preceded his teaching  in Hebrew thought. This chapter is part of a servant song, Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12, the last of four servant songs in these chapters.
  ¤ The work of the servant is vicarious, as 53:4 makes clear, “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases. . . .”
  ¤
The work of the servant involves sin-bearing, and making many righteous, as in 53:5, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities . . . .” Cp. 53:6, 8, 11-12.
  ¤ The servant suffers quietly and innocently, as in 53:7, “. . . Yet he did not open his mouth . . . .” and 53:9, “. . . although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.”
  ¤ The servant’ suffering ends in death, as in 53:8, “For he was cut off from the land of the living . . . .”
  ¤ The servant suffers willingly, as in 53:12, “. . . He poured out himself to death . . . .”
  ¤ The servant’s suffering is, paradoxically, the will of God, as in 53:10, “Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him with pain.”
  ¤ The servant will enjoy vindication, as in 53:10,  “. . . He shall see his offspring, and shall prolong his days. . . .” and 53:12, “Therefore I will allot him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong . . . .”
     The servant of the Lord in this chapter bears little resemblance to historic Israel, except for the fact of Israel’s suffering, nor does the servant resemble any historical group or individual; so one might reasonably identify the servant here as an ideal figure, a kind of job description for an individual yet to come. However, unless the author really does teach the resurrection of an individual person (some three centuries before the earliest instance in the Jewish Bible of resurrection teaching, in Daniel 12:2), the vindication of the servant does seem to require some sort of corporate immortality, and thus might tilt the interpretation toward a corporate servant of the Lord, either Israel or a group within Israel.

It is relevant for the present study to note the reception in post-exilic and Second Temple Judaism of the anonymous prophet’s three great teachings:

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Monotheism was warmly embraced, and idolatry all but disappeared.

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The universalism of Second Isaiah (and of Jonah, and the Book of Ruth) seems to have been eclipsed by a more exclusivist practice; the exigencies of survival, especially during the threatening period of persecution under Antiochus IV (167-164 B.C.E.), put a premium on observances which defined the holiness or separateness of Israel from other peoples and religions, such as dietary regulations, the Sabbath, circumcision, and endogamy.

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Vicarious suffering did not generate much enthusiasm during this period, when there was more than enough suffering for the Jews from foreign tyrannies and persecutions. No volunteers appeared for the vocation of suffering servant.

The Use of Second Isaiah Texts in the New Testament

Note: allusions in square brackets

Monotheism

Universalism

Vicarious Suffering

Other

       
[1Cor 15:3]

   

   

   

   
   

1Cor 2:16

Gal 4:27
2Cor 6:2
2Cor 6:17
Rom 2:24
Rom 10:15
Rom 10:16
Rom 11:34
Rom 14:11
Rom 15:21

   
Mk 12:32

   
   

   

 

 

Mk 1:3||Mt 3:3
     
Mt 8:17 = Is 53:4
Mt 12:18-21 = Is 42:1-4
Lk 22:37 = Is 53:12
  Acts 13:47 = 
     Is 49:6
     
Acts 8:32-33 
  = Is 53:7-8 
Acts 13:22 = Is 44:28 
Acts 13:34 = Is 55:3
        

   

John 1:23
John 6:45 = Is 54:13
John 12:38 = Is 53:1
        


1Peter 2:22 = 
Is 53:9

1Peter 1:24-25 = Is 40:6-8
1Peter 2:9 (twice) = 
   Is 43:20-21

     

 

Comments:

  1. As one may note, Isaiah 40 to 55 is quoted with considerable frequency. However,

  2. Most of the references are of a proof-texting sort, with little use in connection with the three major themes of Second Isaiah: a single citation in connection with monotheism, Mark 12:32; and one in support of the gentile mission, Acts 13:47. As for vicarious suffering, we have in a quite early tradition quoted by Paul a probable allusion to Isaiah 53, “Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3). Otherwise, we have only two references to Isaiah 53, and these are from the closing years of the first centuryActs 8:32-33, which is loosely connected with the gospel preached by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch, but is not directly associated with vicarious suffering; and 1 Peter 2:22, where the quotation is particularly associated with innocent suffering. These results do not suggest any thing like an overwhelming preoccupation with Isaiah 53, so far as the early church’s teaching on vicarious suffering is concerned.

 

 

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Revised July 12, 2003

 

 

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