Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Jesus and the Pharisees I

Mark 1:21-28

21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an evil spirit cried out, 24 "What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are-the Holy One of God!"

25 "Be quiet!" said Jesus sternly. "Come out of him!" 26 The evil spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, "What is this? A new teaching-and with authority! He even gives orders to evil spirits and they obey him." 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Mark’s plotting of the Scribes and Pharisees

Jesus’ first public act: Exorcism of an “unclean spirit,” as “teaching with authority,” in contrast with the scribes. (1:21)

Forgiving paralytic’s sins (2:1-12)

Eating with tax collectors and sinners (2:13-17)

Disciples not fasting (2:18-20)

Disciples eating grain on the Sabbath (2:23-28)

Jesus Healed on the Sabbath (3:1-6)

Casting out demons (3:13-30)

Not only does Jesus carry out his mission in contrast and opposition to the scribes and Pharisees, but they actively oppose him at every turn and seek to destroy him from the time of his initial campaign in Galilee.

Pharisees absent from the narrative while Jesus performs Moses and Elijah-like acts, (sea crossing, exorcism, healings, and wilderness feeding)

7:1 The Pharisees and some of the teachers of the law who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus

Then the Pharisees come from Jerusalem and attack the disciples for not washing their hands. (7:2-13)

The Pharisees request that Jesus provide them with a sign (8:11)

Pharisees ask Jesus about divorce (10:2-12)

Jesus goes to Jerusalem

11:11 Jesus entered Jerusalem and went to the temple.

Pharisees come to entrap Jesus about paying money to Caesar (12:13-17)

Quiz about marriage in heaven (12:18-27)

Quiz about greatest commandment (12:28-34)

Looked for a way to kill Jesus (14:1)

Come to arrest him (14:43)

Who were the Pharisees?

Pharisees appear to have comprised a political faction among the broader range of scribes functioning in connection with the temple-state. The fragments of information available indicate that they were active in connection with the Jerusalem Temple government and that they served as representatives of the high-priestly rulers in dealing with villages and outlying districts such as Galilee. They were known especially as “accurate interpreters” of the Law and as having promulgated additional rulings, “the traditions of the elders,” that held the authority of state law at points under the Hasmoneans. Their legal rulings and opinions in later rabbinic literature are concentrated on issues such as eating and tithing of agricultural produce.

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