Did Jesus Anticipate His Death

A second question regarding Jesus' own motivation is simply an extension of the first. If Jesus' mission in Galilee was causing increasing irritation among the Jerusalem authorities, it is not very likely that Jesus was unaware of this fact, and more than likely that he was aware of the possibility of arrest — and worse. Did he then go up to Jerusalem knowing that he might well pay for the action with his life?177

174. Chilton's much repeated thesis (e.g., Temple 150-54; Pure Kingdom 124-26; Rabbi Jesus 253-55).

175. Acts 3.1 (the ninth hour was when the evening sacrifice was offered: Josephus, Ant. 14.65); 21.26; Matt. 5.23-24.

176. Bockmuehl, This Jesus 75 and 201-202 n. 50; Klawans, 'Interpreting the Last Supper' 9- 10. Cf. Becker: 'If Jesus had predicted the destruction of the temple or had pronounced God's judgment on Jerusalem, the earliest post-Easter church would probably have established itself in Galilee rather than in Jerusalem' (Jesus 334).

177. J. Gnilka, 'Wie urteilte Jesus über seinen Tod?' in K. Kertelge, ed., Der Tod Jesu. Deutungen im Neuen Testament (QD 74; Freiburg: Herder, 1976) 13-50, seeks to avoid misunderstanding by distinguishing between 'Todesbereitschaft' (readiness for death) and 'Todesgewissheit' (certainty of death) (58). L. Oberlinner, Todeserwartung undTodesgewissheit Jesu. Zum Problem einer historischen Begründung (SBB 10; Stuttgart: KBW, 1980) develops the point (conclusions 165-67).

Most of the relevant data has been reviewed well enough in earlier studies178 and requires little fresh discussion.

a. The Fate of the Prophets

The likelihood that Jesus saw himself as at least standing in the tradition of Israel's prophets, perhaps even as the climax of that tradition, has already been indicated (§§15.6, 16.2c[2]). Also that Jesus' expectation of suffering probably grew out of a full awareness of the proverbial fate of Israel's prophets (§ 12.4d). It is more than likely, then, that Jesus expected to suffer a prophet's rejection, 'martyrdom in Jerusalem as part of the prophetic office'.179 Given also the tradition that the righteous could expect to suffer, anyone who put doing God's will before everything else must have expected to suffer for it, even to die for it.180 Above all, Jesus would hardly have been unaware of what had happened to his mentor, John the Baptist; and though John had suffered at the hands of Antipas, Jesus would hardly assume that things might be different in Judea.

b. Mounting Hostility

If §17.3 is on the right track, then, again, Jesus must have been aware that his continued mission and liberty were likely to come under increasing threat. Earlier on I aired the possibility that Jesus' movements in Galilee were motivated in part at least by the need to keep clear of Antipas's clutches (Luke 13.31).181 His political antennae seem to have been sufficiently sensitive on that front.

178. Particularly Jeremias, Proclamation 277-86; V. Howard, 'Did Jesus Speak about His Own Death?' CBQ 39 (1977) 515-27; Ädna, Jesu Stellung 412-19; P. Balla, 'What Did Jesus Think about His Approaching Death?' in Labahn and Schmidt, eds., Jesus, Mark and Q 239-58; S. McKnight, 'Jesus and His Death: Some Recent Scholarship', CR:BS 9 (2001) 185-228.

179. Jeremias, Proclamation 280; Stuhlmacher, Biblische Theologie 1.127-8; Theissen and Merz, Historical Jesus 429-30; see above, chapter 12 n. 184; on Mark 12.1-9, see §16.2c(2).

180. The psalms often voice complaints on the theme, including Psalms 22 and 69; note particularly Ps. 34.19 (e.g., Davies and Allison, Matthew 2.656-57); Pesch lists the extensive Psalm allusions forming the OT substructure of the pre-Markan Passion narrative (Markus-evangelium2.13-14). The motif is taken up in Wisdom literature, notably Job and Wis. 3.1-10 and 5.1-5 (cited below, § 17.6a). And it is obvious in apocalyptic expectation of a final tribulation (§ 11.4c). See further particularly L. Ruppert, Jesus als der leidende Gerechte (SBS 59; Stuttgart: KBW, 1972); G. W. E. Nickelsburg, Resurrection, Immortality and Eternal Life in Intertesta-mental Judaism (Cambridge: Harvard University, 1972) chs. 2-4; K. T. Kleinknecht, Der leidende Gerechtfertigte. Die alttestamentlich-jüdische Tradition vom "leidenden Gerechten" und ihre Rezeption bei Paulus (WUNT 2.13; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1984) I. Hauptteil.

In addition, serious charges had probably been levelled against him: of sorcery, of sabbath violation, possibly of being a rebellious son182 — all of which, according to the later transcribed ruling of m. Sank. 7.4, were punishable by stoning. According to Matt. 23.37/Luke 13.34 (§17.3a) Jesus may have reckoned with the possibility of being stoned. And according to Mark 14.8 pars. (§13.4b n. 166) Jesus may have anticipated the likelihood of burial without anointing, that is, a criminal's burial. Arguably, the fact that such premonitions were not realized (he was not stoned, he probably was given a proper burial) indicates that Jesus was remembered as so surmising, despite the fact that a different outcome transpired.183

Whatever had gone before, Jesus could hardly have undertaken the symbolic action in the Temple (whatever it was) without being fully aware that he was throwing down a gauntlet to the Temple authorities (§ 15.3d), especially if he had also spoken provocatively about the Temple's destruction and replacement (§15.3a).184 Nor is it likely that he was at all surprised by his subsequent arrest or by the accusations brought against him. Jesus would have been naive had he not seen where such actions and opposition were likely to end.

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