When did Jesus weep over Jerusalem...Sunday or Monday? Chronology question

Discussion in 'The Gospels & Acts' started by Pergamum, Apr 20, 2015.

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  1. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Trying to figure out a fine point of chronology. Did Jesus weep over Jerusalem on Sunday during the "Triumphal entry" or on Monday?

    On Sunday he entered the city with all the palms and audience while he rode the young foal of a donkey. He entered the city and went to the temple and just looked around. Then he went back to Bethany and slept there. That means he retraced his route and entered the city again on Monday (when he was hungry and cursed the fig tree). Would he have walked like normal or did he also ride the donkey into Jerusalem on Monday too? On Monday that was when he entered the temple again an overthrew the tables of the money changers.

    So, when he wept over Jerusalem, was this on Sunday from donkey-back, or on Monday when coming from over-nighting in Bethany? From Luke 19 it seems natural to see this as happening on Sunday.

    What is the best chronology of "Passion Week" that shows the events of Sunday and Monday in order?

    Also, if his weeping occurred on Sunday, when did Matthew 23:37 happen? On Monday? The sub-headings in my bible label both Luke 19 and Matthew 23 as Jesus lamenting over Jerusalem, as if these were one solitary event. But, it appears that Jesus weeping over the city occurred on Sunday whereas Matthew 23:37 might have occurred on Wednesday?

    Finally, Luke 13 mirrors Matthew 23:37. It appears Jesus spoke these same words twice (the only other conclusion would be that Luke forgot when Jesus said these things and misplaced the chronology of this saying).
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  2. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Perhaps there can only be a "best guess" at the precise chronology of certain events, even (or especially) when they fall in close proximity and two writers place the same (or apparently the same) incident in two different places relative to the whole presentation of the final week of Christ's pre-crucifixion ministry.

    The Gospel writers are, to a man, driven above all by theological considerations and by literary or thematic aims; and strict chronology takes a backseat. It is enough that the general shape of time-progression is maintained. The evangelists never intended to remove Jesus of Nazareth from history or his ministry from a definable period of time. And when a time-marker was deemed significant each man included such.

    It should perhaps be of more concern to the reader to determine how both Luke's record of the lament, and Matthew's respectively, comport with the larger narrative(s). Luke, it should be noted, includes the express language of Mt.23:37-39 in Lk.13:34-35, long before the Passion week. The language of LK.19:41-44 is very different from either of the other texts. Lk.19 vv foreshadow the apocalyptic of ch.21 (the Olivet discourse) which is immediately following in Matthew (chs.24-25).

    All these details--the ones that are close parallels and those that are not; those that are closely related in time and those that are distantly related in text location--all this combines to make us cautious about being "fixated" on the precise order of the events and sayings. Sometimes we must conclude that very similar things were said on different occasions. Other times, we will conclude that one event is spread over two reports, and thus the precise hour or day is indeterminate based on the available data.

    The text may simply tell us that something was said, and that it is important to the evangelist's context just where he incorporated it. Luke opens his narrative of Jesus' ministry at 4:16 with Christ's memorable preaching in his hometown of Nazareth. He does this without reference to a time, and I do not think we were supposed to imagine that his hometown rejection occurred twice (not impossible); Mark makes it very clear that this event took place over a year into his ministry when for the first time he was about to disperse the Twelve he had trained, see ch.6 (cf. Mt.13:54ff). Matthew writes about this same dispersal, in advance of the commencement of that preaching tour in Nazareth, in Mt.10. The return of these men (see Mk.6:30; Lk.9:10) is never even mentioned by Matthew.

    Luke wanted the Nazareth event at the very outset of his story for the sake of establishing a very important theme to his Gentile-oriented Gospel. I think he included Jesus' verbally-parallel lament over Jerusalem where he did (ch.13) because there is a powerful triple-hostility to divine love Luke means to convey (13:31-14:6). Then, in ch.19 we have record of the Lord's heart, as the symbol of Old Covenant unity comes into view on his final approach to the city--the place of Ascents, the highest of all mountains, which is also where he will descend into hell.

    It certainly fits the scene for Palm Sunday morning, even as he enters triumphantly. And maybe similar sentiments were expressed by him on more than one morning that week.
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