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What happened after the Baptist was buried

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posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 05:00 PM
“When his [John’s] disciples heard of it, they came and took his body and laid it in a tomb.
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all they had said and done.
And he said to them- Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest awhile” (Mark ch6 vv29-31).
The feeding of the five thousand follows.

“And his disciples came and took the body and buried it; and they went and told Jesus.
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart” (Matthew ch14 vv12-13).
The feeding of the five thousand follows.

A trigger warning. I am going to do something a little unusual, and perhaps a little unsettling.

I’m going to outline a sequence of events in Mark, beginning with the mission of the twelve, and then compare the equivalent sequence as described by Luke and Matthew.

In Mark ch6 v7, Jesus calls the twelve together, gives them instructions, and then sends them out to cover the country and work on his behalf. King Herod “heard of it” (v14). That is, in the context, he hears about the mission, because the name of Jesus has become well-known. He declares that “John, whom I beheaded” has been raised from the dead. Herod’s memory of killing John prompts a “flashback” in which the last days and burial of John are described. This flashback ends in v29, the first line quoted above. The main story then resumes with the apostles [APOSTOLOI- “those who have been sent out”] returning to Jesus and reporting. So the story of Herod’s reaction and the flashback helps to create a sense of “time passing” during the mission, which would have been missing if Mark had written “the twelve went out” in one verse and “the twelve came back” in the next.

I will break this down into stages for the sake of the comparison;
Stage One- The twelve set out on their mission.
Stage Two- Herod reacts and remembers.
Stage Three- The flashback begins
Stage Four- John is buried.
Stage Five- The flashback ends.
Stage Six- The twelve return from their mission.
Stage Seven- Jesus crosses the lake and finds himself having to feed the five thousand.

The account in Luke ch9 vv1-10 is condensed but similar, the substantial difference being the omission of the flashback stages. Perhaps Luke did not think his mainly Gentile readers would be very interested in John the Baptist.

Things get more interesting in the comparison with Matthew’s account.

In Matthew ch10, Jesus calls the twelve together, gives them instructions, and sends them out. So that covers Stage One.

But I must warn you now that Stage Six does not happen. There is never any formal report, in Matthew, of the twelve returning from their mission.

In ch11, Jesus moves around teaching and preaching, apparently on his own. This chapter includes the episode of John sending a delegation of his disciples to Jesus. The Baptist was evidently still alive at this point.

In ch12 and ch13, Matthew recounts a number of incidents which we also find in Mark, in the same order. Disciples plucking wheat on the sabbath, the man with the withered hand, the hostile claim of the Pharisees, the interference of his mother and brothers, the parables of the kingdom, and the unbelief of the people in his home territory.

The disciples are with him in all these stories. The implication is that they have quietly come back.

Or else they haven’t gone away. For if we look closely, we find that all these incidents are described in Mark before the twelve go out on their mission. It looks as though Matthew has brought the mission forward, out of sequence.

In ch14, we appear to return to the sequence found in Mark.
Stage Two- Herod reacts and remembers (vv1-2). Not to the mission, this time, because the mission isn’t currently happening. Instead he simply “heard about the fame of Jesus”.
Stage Three- The flashback begins.
Stage Four- John is buried.

Then things get a little tangled, because the next two stages are missing. The flashback does not really come to an end, and I’ve already mentioned that the twelve do not return.

At the top of the page, I’ve quoted two different versions of the transition to the feeding of the five thousand.

In Mark’s version, the disciples who bury the Baptist and the disciples who report to Jesus are clearly two different groups of people. The two actions are also separated in time. The first action is the culmination of the flashback, which comes to a close. The second action is the resumption of the main account, which the flashback interrupted. The motivation for the move across the lake is “You are exhausted by the mission described in your report, you need a rest”.

In Matthew’s version, the disciples of John bury him, and THEN go on to Jesus to report on the fact that they have buried him. Two actions carried out by the same group of people and coming in quick succession. The motivation for the move across the lake appears to be “I am exhausted by hearing about the death of the Baptist, I need a rest”.

You may or may not think that this turn of events is as plausible as the account in Mark, but consider the effect on the timeline.

The original narrative was interrupted after “Herod remembers” by the flashback. In Matthew’s version of the sequence, this narrative is never resumed. It simply remains hanging in mid-air. The continuity has been broken.

What happens instead is that the later course of events follows on continuously from the flashback. Technically, the flashback lasts until the end of the gospel. Work that one out if you can.

All this gives the impression that Matthew has rearranged the account in Mark in such a way as to accidentally mess up the logic of the sequence.

One conclusion we might draw is that Matthew has less literary skill than Mark. If we need more evidence for that, we can compare Mark ch8 vv11-21 (an encounter with the Pharisees followed by a boat journey) with Matthew from ch15 v39 to ch16 v12 (an encounter with the Pharisees which seems to take place on the water in the middle of the boat journey).

A more general conclusion could be that human flaws were at work in the preparation of the gospels.

BUT I would protest against finding any conflict between “human flaws were at work” and “God was at work”. For that is how God works, all through the Bible (and in church life). He works in partnership with flawed humanity. That is why we keep finding flaws in the result, and the flaws are our fault, not his.

posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 05:59 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

You took a lot of time and thought and research to write this out and I have enjoyed reading it.

Maybe we have a chicken/egg problem here? Mathew's gospel was written before Marks gospel? But then I find:

Gospel According to Mark, second of the four New Testament Gospels (narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ) and, with Matthew and Luke, one of the three Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). It is attributed to St. Mark the Evangelist (Acts 12:12; 15:37), an associate of St. Paul and a disciple of St. Peter, whose teachings the Gospel may reflect. It is the shortest and the earliest of the four Gospels, presumably written during the decade preceding the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE. Most scholars agree that it was used by St. Matthew and St. Luke in composing their accounts; more than 90 percent of the content of Mark’s Gospel appears in Matthew’s and more than 50 percent in the Gospel of Luke. Although the text lacks literary polish, it is simple and direct, and, as the earliest Gospel, it is the primary source of information about the ministry of Jesus.

Gospel According to Matthew, first of the four New Testament Gospels (narratives recounting the life and death of Jesus Christ) and, with The Gospels According to Mark and Luke, one of the three so-called Synoptic Gospels (i.e., those presenting a common view). It has traditionally been attributed to St. Matthew the Evangelist, one of the 12 Apostles, described in the text as a tax collector (10:3). The Gospel According to Matthew was composed in Greek, probably sometime after 70 CE, with evident dependence on the earlier Gospel According to Mark. There has, however, been extended discussion about the possibility of an earlier version in Aramaic. Numerous textual indications point to an author who was a Jewish Christian writing for Christians of similar background. The Gospel According to Matthew consequently emphasizes Christ’s fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (5:17) and his role as a new lawgiver whose divine mission was confirmed by repeated miracles.

And then........I found this which comports with my understanding of the events, (notice the reference above to an Aramaic version of Mathew's Gospel).

What do others say about the author of the First Gospel?

The early church is unanimous in their acceptance of Matthew as the writer of the First Gospel. Papias, Irenaeus, Pantaenus, and Origen all report Matthew as the writer of the First Gospel. Papias (c. AD 60-130) writes, “Matthew put together the oracles [of the Lord] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.”[2] While we do not have a Hebrew or Aramaic edition of Matthew’s Gospel, there are reports that one may have existed in the early church.[3] Regardless, one should not be surprised that Matthew, who would need to have great knowledge of Greek in the business world, originally wrote his Gospel in Hebrew or Aramaic, only to revise the Gospel in Greek. Even if his Gospel were written in Greek by another, even say an amanuensis,[4] this would not negate Matthew’s authorship. Craig Evans recently recorded a video where he claims that Matthew may have come about in phases.[5]

Pantaenus also confirmed that Matthew was the author of the First Gospel. The great church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, writes that Pantaenus, a church leader in the late 2nd to possibly early 3rd century, came across the Hebrew version of Matthew’s Gospel. Eusebius notes that Pantaenus was “a man highly distinguished for his learning, had charge of the school of the faithful in Alexandria.”[6] The following is Eusebius’s report of Pantaenus’s encounter with the Hebrew edition of Matthew’s Gospel:

“It is reported that among persons there who knew of Christ, he found the Gospel according to Matthew, which had anticipated his own arrival. For Bartholomew, one of the apostles, had preached to them, and left with them the writing of Matthew in the Hebrew language,6 which they had preserved till that time.”[7]

It is certainly reasonable to accept that Matthew was written in the 50s due to the reasonable assumption that Acts was finished before AD 64, with Luke coming before Acts, and Matthew writing his Gospel before Luke’s. Scholars generally hold that Matthew composed his Gospel in or around Antioch of Syria.

Some may argue that a disciple like Matthew would not borrow material from Mark, if in fact it is true that Matthew did borrow material from Mark’s Gospel. However, when one considers that Matthew followed Jesus long after most of the apostles, and that Matthew was not an inner-circle disciple, then it stands to reason that Matthew would borrow material from Mark’s Gospel if it is true that Mark relayed information from Simon Peter—who was both an early apostle and inner-circle disciple.

While some will still disagree, it seems strange to me to ascribe the First Gospel to Matthew of all people, especially when the First Gospel was used as a church manual in many cases. Matthew was a tax-collector. Tax-collectors were held in slightly higher esteem than pond scum…but not by much. So, why ascribe the First Gospel to a tax-collector unless there was at least some merit to the claim?

In my humble opinion, I believe the First Gospel came to us in three phases. First, the apostle Matthew wrote the teachings of Jesus in Aramaic. Then, Matthew added the miracles and deeds of Jesus to his Aramaic and/or Hebrew edition of his Gospel adding his eyewitness testimony and the testimony of Simon Peter as found in Mark’s Gospel. Finally, either Matthew himself or a highly trained scribe translated the Gospel in Greek.

Any way, I have read through your OP 5 times now and can only note that at one point you describe the sending of the "Apostles" on their mission. Later on you wrote: "The disciples are with him in all these stories. The implication is that they have quietly come back." The disciples werent sent on a mission, the Aposltes were, the 12. The Disciples as I understand it were the "followers", not the Apostles. But that's a small point.....we know the Aposltes were present at the Sermon on the Mt. so obviously at some point they had returned.

FWIW, I had come to believe that even during John's "mission" of preaching, some of his disciples had left him to enquire about and follow Jesus; I had also come to believe that some of that party were dispatched by Jesus to find and bury the body of John, (sans head) and they then returned to Jesus main camp. After John's death many of his disciples who had not previously come to follow Jesus, did come to follow Jesus, a second chohort as it were. I had also come to believe that Jesus taking to the boat to cross the waters to find some respite was a move made of his needing time to pray and regroup and possibly take time to grieve the death of John the Baptist.

Thanks for making me think about all of this again.

posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 06:11 PM
a reply to: TonyS
That is a fair point about the distinction between "apostles" and "disciples", so that part of the case really needs to depend on the fact that Mark puts the departure of the 12 at a later point.

To me, seeing the story in Mark so much better organised than the story in Matthew encourages me to think that Mark's version was the original.
Perhaps Matthew's status as "first gospel" really comes from the large body of "sayings" which are not in Mark at all, though they are partially shared with Luke. What we now know as Matthew's gospel could then come from combining the two sets of material.

posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 06:20 PM
I know of a few more issues with some other accounts in Gods word
The Issue with some Protestant denominations is they venerate the bible like Catholics venerate the Virgin
If the bible has errors, some Christians can’t comprehend their own faith as their faith is in the bible not Jesus
Me, if the bible is wrong in some aspects, doesn’t make Jesus wrong

In fact, I could just about dispute a part of the Nicene creed, just about, but not enough to disagree with it

God has always worked with flawed people, why wouldn’t the bible have some flaws
edit on 13-8-2021 by Raggedyman because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 06:28 PM
I thought I had heard that the different Gospels, while telling the same story, do so from different perspectives setting emphasis on different aspects of the events.

So while one might be more concerned with an accurate chronology, another might be more interested in collecting and relating the wisdom and teachings of Jesus. John is clearly the most esoteric and spiritual.

So we are getting the same story, but through four differing lenses. And just as with any testimonial and from any witness, we will get slightly differing accounts as they each experienced it differently.

We are to take the whole altogether.
edit on 13-8-2021 by ketsuko because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 06:28 PM
a reply to: Raggedyman
Believing in a flawless text is a way of hanging on to visible certainty and security, but perhaps our faith needs to learn how to cope with uncertainty. Faith is a decision to trust.

posted on Aug, 13 2021 @ 06:53 PM
a reply to: DISRAELI

Yes, but in Jesus not a book
The Jews trusted in the written word, many Protestants have become like those of the book. Listening to a teacher the other day say that reading the bible was the “most important” aspect of Christianity when Jesus said loving others was the law
Lost our way

posted on Aug, 15 2021 @ 11:07 AM
a reply to: DISRAELI

John's Death signified he had finished his course. His death signified Jesus Christ was the Messiah, King of the Jews, Son of God, the fullness of the Godhead bodily.
edit on 8/15/2021 by ChesterJohn because: (no reason given)


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