It is this aspect that makes possible the establishment of fraternal bonds between Christians and Jews

It is this aspect that makes possible the establishment of fraternal bonds between Christians and Jews

Mark regularly opposes the attitude of the leaders to that of “the crowd” or “the people”, who are favourably disposed to Jesus

Conclusion. More than the other Synoptic Gospels, Matthew is the Gospel of fulfilment – Jesus has not come to abolish, but to fulfil – for it insists more on the continuity with the Old Testament, basic for the idea of fulfilment. But on the other hand, the Gospel of Matthew reflects a situation of tension and even opposition between the two communities. In it Jesus foresees that his disciples will be flogged in the synagogues and pursued from town to town (). Matthew therefore is concerned to provide for the Christians’ defence. It is equally necessary to say this in relation to the destruction of the city and the Temple. This downfall is an event of the past which henceforth ought to evoke only deep compassion. Christians must be absolutely on their guard against extending responsibility for it to subsequent generations of Jews, and they must remind themselves that after a divine sanction, God never fails to open up positive new perspectives.

72. Mark’s Gospel is a message of salvation that does not inform us as to who the recipients are. The ending which has been added addresses it boldly “to the whole of creation”, “into the whole world” (), an address which corresponds to its universalist openness. As regards the Jewish people, Mark, himself a Jew, does not pass any judgement on them. The negative judgement of Isaiah () is applied in Mark only to the Pharisees and scribes (Mk 7:5-7). Apart from the title “King of the Jews” which is applied to Jesus five times in the passion narrative, 316 the title “Jew” appears only once in the Gospel, in the course of explaining Jewish customs (7:3), addressed obviously to non-Jews. This explanation comes in an episode in which Jesus criticises the Pharisees’ extreme attachment to “the tradition of the elders”, causing them to neglect “the commandments of God” (7:8). Mark mentions “Israel” only twice, 317 and twice also “the people”. 318 In contrast, he frequently mentions “the crowd”, for the most part certainly composed of Jews, and favourably disposed towards Jesus, 319 except in one passion episode, where the chief priests pressure them to choose Barabbas ().

It is towards the religious and political authorities that Mark takes a critical stance. His criticism is essentially of their lack of openness to the salvific mission of Jesus: the scribes accuse Jesus of blasphemy, because he uses his power to forgive sins (2:7-10); they do not accept that Jesus “eats with publicans and sinners” (2:15-16); they say he is possessed by a devil (3:22). Jesus has continually to face opposition from them and from the Pharisees. 320

Since that situation has radically changed, Matthew’s polemic need no longer interfere with relations between Christians and Jews, and the aspect of continuity can and ought to prevail

The political authorities are less frequently called in question: Herod for the death of John the Baptist (6:17-28) and for his “leaven”, juxtaposed with that of the Pharisees (8:15), the Jewish Sanhedrin, a political-religious authority (; 15:1), and Pilate () for their role in the Passion.

In the passion narrative, the second Gospel attempts to reply to two questions: By whom is Jesus condemned and why is he put to death? It begins by giving a general answer that puts events in a divine light: all this happened “so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled” (). It then reveals the role of the Jewish authorities and that of the Roman governor.

Jesus was arrested on the orders of the three components of the Sanhedrin, “chief priests, scribes and elders” (). The arrest was the end result of a long process, set in motion in Mk 3:6, where, however, the protagonists are different: there they are the Pharisees who have joined the Herodians to plot against Jesus Cambridge escort. A significant fact: it is in the first prediction of the passion that “the elders, chief priests and scribes” appear together for the first time (8:31). In “the chief priests and the scribes” search for a way to eliminate Jesus. The three categories meet in , to put Jesus through an interrogation. Jesus recounts for them the parable of the murderous tenants; their reaction is “to look for a way to arrest him” (). In 14:1, their intention is to apprehend him and “to put him to death”. The betrayal of Jesus offers them a suitable opportunity (-11). The arrest, followed by condemnation and death, is therefore the work of the nation’s ruling class at that time. Three times the evangelist notes that in their attempts 321 to have Jesus killed, the authorities were inhibited by fear of the people’s reaction. Nevertheless, at the end of the trial before Pilate, the chief priests succeeded in sufficiently inciting the attendant crowd to make them choose Barabbas () in preference to Jesus (). The final decision of Pilate, powerless to calm the crowd, is to “satisfy” them, which, for Jesus, means crucifixion (). This merely incidental crowd certainly cannot be confused with the Jewish people of that time, and even less with the Jews of every age. It should be said that they represent rather the sinful world (Mk ) of which we are all a part.

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