you are here: in the garden

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Below you can read the Passion Narrative According to John, which is traditionally chanted on Good Friday services in the Catholic Church. Some People think this narrative is anti-Jewish because it seems to accuse the Jews of killing Jesus. If you read the narrative, however, you will see that the Jews indeed had Jesus killed, which is why the narrative seems to accuse them of said murder, though they used Roman proxies to do the deed. Anyway, this "perception" has caused such a furor over the years that it had to be addressed in the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate to absolve "The Jews" for the death of Christ.
“Even though the Jewish authorities and those who followed their lead pressed for the death of Christ, neither all Jews indiscriminately at that time, nor Jews today, can be charged with the crimes committed during his passion. It is true that the Church is the new people of God, yet the Jews should not be spoken of as rejected or accursed as if this followed from holy Scripture."

This sentiment is usually expressed today as "Not All Jews..." For instance, not all Jews believe we should attack Iran; and not all Jews think the settlements should be expanded, etc. Naturally. And what of it? Doesn't the "not all..." caveat hold for any group? Not all American school children believe in Santa Claus, but enough do. Enough believe that lie to justify an annual consumer orgy bloodbath allegedly to celebrate Jesus' birth. And the children who know that Santa is a lie are expected not to let on so as not to ruin the fun for their little friends, or even more bizarrely, for their parents, who often just love the whole charade. I mean, if everyone knew the truth they might have to get real with their expectations. What fun is that?

You don't need all, you only need enough. There are enough. {http://tinyurl.com/yfsmbk7} But the "not all" category creates a very convenient safety zone. Whenever "the Jews" as a tribe are accused of collective bad behavior, any single Jew can immediately fragment the tribe by claiming that not all Jews are responsible, diverting your wrath to those (unspecified) bad Jews over there. And not all are responsible basically means, in practice, that none are responsible, because those good Jews who supposedly disagree with the tribe on any particular issue are never expected to actually disavow the tribe and forego the tribe's many benefits. That would be unreasonable. Perish the thought. The tribe has no real fault lines which are deep enough to fragment it. Any and all fragmentations are purely temporary and automatic, like an animal defense mechanism, and will seamlessly disappear once the danger has passed. On the contrary, it's very useful for some amount of disagreement to always persist among Jewry because it allows them to play monkey in the middle with non-Jews forever and ever. They even have an expression for this, three Jews four opinions, which is supposed to be funny ha ha. Do you get it? Nobody is actually ever responsible for the fourth opinion. It just gets passed around like a hot potato until some whack-job like Bibi or the settlers hold it, and then Bibi and the settlers become the hot potato but nothing ever really gets done about them because the Jews know they're providing a valuable service to the tribe by being the bad Jews over there, thereby allowing everyone else to look good by comparison. It's a game, a game the Catholic Church very helpfully officials.

So here's the story of what happened to Jesus according to John:
When Jesus had spoken these words, he went forth with his disciples across the Kidron valley, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas, procuring a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. Then Jesus, knowing all that was to befall him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. When he said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. Again he asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he; so if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfil the word which he had spoken, “of those whom thou gavest me I lost not one.” Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his right ear. The slave’s name was Malchus. Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup which the Father has given me?”

So the band of soldiers and their captain and the officers of the Jews seized Jesus and bound him. First they led him to Annas; for he was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. It was Caiaphas who had given counsel to the Jews that it was expedient that one man should die for the people.

Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. As this disciple was known to the high priest, he entered the court of the high priest along with Jesus, while Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the man who kept the door and brought Peter in. The maid who kept the door said to Peter, “Are not you also one of this man’s disciples?” He said, “I am not.” Now the servants and the officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves; Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

The high priest then questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in the synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together; I have said nothing secretly. Why do you ask me? Ask those who have heard me, what I said to them; they know what I said.” When he had said this, one of the officers standing by struck Jesus with his hand, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, bear witness to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” Annas then sent him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.

Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They said to him, “Are not you also one of his disciples?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” One of the servants of the high priest, a kinsman of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” Peter again denied it; and at once the cock crowed.

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the praetorium. It was early. They themselves did not enter the praetorium, so that they might not be defiled, but might eat the Passover. So Pilate went out to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not an evildoer, we would not have handed him over.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “it is not lawful for us to put any man to death.” This was to fulfil the word which Jesus had spoken to show by what death he was to die.

Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew?” Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” The Jews answered him, “we have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.”

When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”

Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; everyone who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your king?” The chief priests answered, “We have no King but Caesar.” Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called the place of a skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this title, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, in Latin, and in Greek. The chief priests of the Jews then said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but, ‘This man said, I am the King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

When the four soldiers had crucified Jesus they took his garments and made four parts, one for each soldier; also his tunic. But the tunic was without seam, woven from top to bottom; so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfil the scripture, “They parted my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” So the soldiers did this.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

After this Jesus, knowing that all was finished, said (to fulfil the scripture), “I thirst.” A bowl full of vinegar stood there; so they put a sponge full of the vinegar on hyssop and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, “It is finished”: and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him: but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. He who saw it has borne witness—his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth—that you also may believe. For these things took place that the scripture might be fulfilled, “Not a bone of him shall be broken.” And again another scripture says, “They shall look on him who they have pierced.”

After this Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate that he might take away the body of Jesus, and Pilate gave him leave. So he came and took away his body. Nicodemus also, who had at first come to him by night, came bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pound’s weight. They took the body of Jesus, and bound it in linen cloths with spices, as is the burial custom of the Jews. Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb where no one had ever been laid. So because of the Jewish day of Preparation, as the tomb was close at hand, they laid Jesus there.

John 18:1-19:42
So here's a little thought experiment. If Obama played the role of Jesus, the Prince of Peace, in the passion reenactment, who would play the following roles:

Simon Peter
Mary the mother of Jesus
Mary Magdalene
Joseph of Arimathea

That's a nice picture of Obama in the Rose Garden, don't you think? It's a classic.

And by the way, it was "inevitable" according to Howard Fineman, leading Jewish opinion shaper for Newsweek.
In the rose garden last Friday, Barack Obama, with a deep sense of humility and in the name of all mankind, reluctantly accepted the Nobel Peace Prize committee's decision proclaiming him president of planet Earth. He will be sworn in at a glittering ceremony in Oslo in December....OK, I'm joking. Obama isn't going to be sworn in as planetary president. But it doesn't matter; in his mind, he already is. From the time he announced his candidacy, his appeal—and his sense of himself—has been global...For one of his first major speeches, he flew to Cairo, offering himself as a human bridge between the West and Islam in an event that had the aura of a Second Inaugural Address, this one aimed at the whole world...In office for a mere nine months, Obama is now a full-blown "ism." And Obamaism—the idea that there must be shared global responsibility for virtually every problem we face—makes some obvious sense....But the president had better be careful...The bigger risk for Obama is personal. No one in recent decades has come into office with such high—perhaps dangerously high—expectations...To be sure, he tried to be humble in the Rose Garden.

Yeah, he's *not* going to be sworn in as planetary president. And it doesn't matter. He's already there in his mind, Howard Fineman informs us.

Mind control?

Update: Oh, ha. You thought it was just *me* being wacky.

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