Thursday, January 17, 2013

Jesus Gained His Brother: Evidence

A Trespass Against Jesus
Shortly before the last supper, the supper at which Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, Judas made a covenant to deliver Jesus to the chief priests, after the devil put it into his heart. (Matthew 26:14-15; John 13:2) Thereafter, he looked for an opportunity to deliver him. (Matthew 26:16) The making of the covenant to deliver Jesus was a trespass against him. (John 13:18)

After The Trespass, The Ball Was In Jesus' Court
Judas alone among the twelve was lost and in danger of destruction. (John 17:12) If Jesus was true in his declaration that he came to save that which was lost (Matthew 18:11), and if Jesus was true in his declaration that he should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day (John 6:39), then the time had come at last for Jesus to act (John 13:1) – it was the beginning of the last day.

Beyond raising up Judas, much work remained: He had still to be arrested, tried and condemned, killed, and buried – all before the end of the day. What he would do, he would need to do quickly.

How Would Jesus Respond To A Trespass Against Him?
Jesus taught his disciples how to respond if a brother should trespass against them. (Matthew 18:15-17)

He did not say give hints to your brother that you are aware of his trespass, and then wait for his confession and plea for forgiveness – as some think Jesus himself did at verses like Matthew 26:21, where he merely spoke to inform them that one of them would deliver him. He did not say give warnings to your brother about the disastrous consequences of his trespass, thus giving him a chance to repent and ask for forgiveness – as some think Jesus himself did at verses like Matthew 26:24, where he merely spoke to prepare the deliverer for what he would experience. No, he did not teach these things.

He said go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he shall hear you, you have gained your brother.

But if he will not hear you, then take with you one or two more, that in the mouths of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the assembly: but if he neglect to hear the assembly, let him be unto you as an heathen man and a publican.

Could Jesus respond successfully to the trespass against him by following his own teaching?

Jesus Spoke To His Apostles, And Jesus Spoke To Judas Alone
At the beginning of the last supper, Judas was still looking for an opportunity to deliver Jesus. We may be sure that he was conscious of his trespass against Jesus, as Jesus began to wash their feet. We may be sure, too, that Jesus was conscious of the trespass because he spoke of it metaphorically just after he washed their feet: “[he] has lifted up his heel against me.”

Consciousness of the trespass, which Judas and Jesus alone shared, allowed Jesus to speak to Judas at a level of meaning not comprehensible to the others, as he spoke to the others at another level of meaning. Understanding the foot washing as a response to the trespass requires hearing the words of Jesus at the level of meaning he spoke to Judas alone.

Jesus spoke obliquely to Judas when he told Simon Peter that they (the twelve) were not all clean. (John 13:10) The Gospel explains to us that Jesus spoke of the one who should deliver him. (John 13:11) We may conclude that he spoke to the one who should deliver him, when we consider the consciousness of the trespass which the two shared.

Did Judas Hear Him?
If Judas had not heard Jesus, then Jesus, in order to follow his own teaching, would have needed next to recruit witnesses that in their mouths every word might be established. Jesus, however, never spoke of the trespass against him to anyone other than Judas himself.

When he told the twelve that one of them would deliver him, his words conveyed no allusion to a trespass. He did not need to speak of the trespass to anyone else because Judas heard him, as he knew he would.

Jesus Gained His Brother
The fact that Jesus never recruited witnesses for his response to the trespass of Judas is evidence that he was successful after the first step of his response. That being the case, we may conclude with Jesus that he gained his brother.

Nevertheless, I offer this argument only in my own name.

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