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1301 Franklin Rd, Brentwood, TN
Phone: (615) 438-3109

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Pairs at the Death of Jesus

Matthew 27:45-56 recounts the death of Jesus.  Going through the text, Matthew seems to make an intentional use of pairs, whether of words or themes.  I am not entirely sure what Matthew’s underlying purpose might be for this, though my first guess is that it acts as a symbolic “double” witness, establishing the veracity of the event.  Hard to know for sure, and perhaps further reading will give some other clues, but here it is for the time being.  Sadly, some of the pairings get lost in English translations (including the ESV, referenced below), but I’ll do my best to make them clear.

land/earth – ge in Gk.  (45, 51)
ninth hour (45, 46)
Jesus cried out with a loud voice (46, 50)
wait,yielded – aphiemi in Gk.  (49, 50)
torn/split –
σχίζω (v. 51, 2x – veil and rocks)
the earth shook – verb form / the earthquake – noun form (51, 54)
tombs (52, 53)
holy ones (saints)/holy city (52, 53)
raised – verb form /resurrection – noun form (52, 53)
soldiers keeping watch close by (54) versus women looking from afar (55) – different verbs are used.
2 Marys: Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph.
2 Mothers with two sons: Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee (James and John).

One other possible pair could be Jesus crying out in Aramaic/Hebrew, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” followed by the translation in the Greek, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Chiastic Structure of Matthew 27:27-31

In preparing for Sunday’s sermon on Matthew 27:27-44, the following structure for the first section of the text emerged:

A. The soldiers took Jesus into the governor's headquarters (27).
  B. Jesus stripped of his garments and clothed in a scarlet robe (28).
    C. Jesus' head crowned with thorns (29a).
      D. The reed given (29b).
        E. The soldiers' mock obeisance: "Hail, King of the Jews!" (29d).
      D'. The reed taken (30b).
    C'. Jesus' head struck with the reed (30c).
  B'. Jesus stripped of the scarlet robe and clothed in his garments (31b,c).
A'. The soldiers led Jesus away to be crucified (31d).

Clearly the mock bowing and declaration of the soldiers is at the center of the text, and ironically declares the truth.  The title “King of the Jews” is used three other  times in Matthew’s Gospel.  In 27:11, Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the King of the Jews?”  Placarded over Jesus on the cross was the sign which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews” (27:37).  The other use of the title, interestingly enough, is found on the lips of the visiting Magi in Matthew 2, who arrive in Jerusalem asking, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews?” (2:2).  At the beginning and end of Matthew’s Gospel, it is the Gentiles who are declaring Jesus as the “King of the Jews.”  Also, whereas the soldiers bow down in mock worship, the Magi bow down in true worship.  Further, the word translated “Hail” in 27:29 is the imperative form for the word “rejoice.”  The wise men, upon departing from Jerusalem to go Bethlehem, “rejoiced greatly” when they saw the star (2:10).  The same verb is used.  These thematic and literary ties hint at a chiastic structure for all of Matthew’s Gospel, which others have explored, and certainly evidence the excellent manner in which Matthew, inspired by the Holy Spirit, penned the first gospel.  Jesus is “the son of David” (1:1), He is the King of the Jews, even if it takes the Gentiles to proclaim it.  And, subtly, Matthew would have us to imitate the Magi, and obey the solders’ command: “Rejoice!  The King of the Jews.”

2013 Living as the Church Conference

Cultivating the Christian Family

Speaker: Douglas Wilson


Families are a gift from God, but as a living gift from God, they are not static. Families are alive; they grow. This means that husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, need to understand the nature of the journey they have undertaken. Like a good story, families have a beginning, a middle, and an end. From the point of the wedding to the fiftieth anniversary, there are many different milestones, and it is part of God’s grace to us that we may learn how to behave throughout the course of our lives together. This conference is intended to provide a measure of help to that end.

Conference Schedule:

Friday, April 12
Session #1: “Healthy Marriage, Healthy Family”, 6:30 PM

Saturday, April 13
Session #2: “How Maturity Works”, 9:00-10 AM

Break: 10:00-10:30

Session #3:”Courtship Concerns”, 10:30-11:30 AM

Musical Event: Ron Block and Friends
and Contra Dancing, 3:00-5:30 PM

Sunday, April 14
Q&A During SS, 9:45 AM

Worship, 11 AM
Sermon: “A True Culture of Life”

Fellowship Meal

Conference registration is officially closed.  Please call (615) 438-3109 to see if there is any available seating.

Conference Registration Form

Dark Knight Trilogy Chiasm

Douglas Jordan came up with the following structure of the Dark Knight Trilogy, and, since he doesn’t have a blog, he gave me permission to reproduce it here.  Due to significant formatting issues, I had to insert the chiasm as a JPEG, so my apologies regarding the clarity and the ongoing formatting issues below it.   I have also added a few further observations that Doug made as part of an online discussion of his proposed chiasm.  Enjoy.

Dark Night Trilogy Chiasm

I missed an obvious entry. Between B & C, we have Gordon comforting Bruce after his parents die. Between C’ and B’, we have Batman referring to this event. Even have a flashback.

It’s no coincidence that there’s a prison at the beginning and end of the story, or that Batman’s trapped down a well (we even get a flashback to his childhood). His descent into the underground prison is clearly intended to mirror his ascent to the mountaintop. On the mountain, he learned Al Ghul had a wife. In the underground prison, he learns about Al Ghul’s child, and there’s a flashback to the mountaintop scene where he first learned about the wife. Also, a vision of Al Ghul approaches him in the prison, just like the living Al Ghul visited him in prison in the first film.

The flashback with Gordon putting his coat around Bruce is clearly intentional (in order to comfort Gordon, Batman reminds him of the way that Gordon once comforted him), and the inspiration caused by his parent’s death and Batman’s “death” mirror each other well.
I think it’s also
intentional that in both the first and third movie Wayne Enterprises technology falls into the wrong hands and threatens the city.

In the second movie, the contrast between Dent’s character at the beginning and end of the film is clearly intentional — that’s why in the final sequence Batman repeats the phrase that Dent said in the very early restaurant scene, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” I suspect having the bat signal so near the beginning of the film and the end is also intentional.
The third movie makes it very clear that the turning point of Batman’s career is Rachel’s death.

My chiasm might be a bit too detailed, and probably works better at a higher level. For example, I find the parallel between Falcone’s insanity and Blake’s promotion to be a bit forced. 🙂

Anyway, one of Nolan’s mastered skills is flashbacks (every Nolan movie I’ve ever seen has a number of them), so at the end of his movies he wants us to be remembering what happened at the beginning, and I think he was very deliberate to do it for the trilogy as a whole in the latest film.

Just had another thought about the parallels between the dinner scene and the final scene of The Dark Knight:

Dent: When their enemies were at the gates the Romans would suspend democracy
and appoint one man to protect the city. lt wasn’t considered an honor,
it was a public service.

Rachel: Harvey, the last man that they appointed to protect the republic was named Caesar and he never gave up his power.

Dent: Okay, fine. You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

Caesar was one of three members of the First Triumvirate. I wonder if Nolan had this in mind with this exchange near the end of the film:

Batman: You don’t wanna hurt the boy, Harvey.

Dent: lt’s not about what I want, it’s about what’s fair! You thought we could be decent men
in an indecent time. But you were wrong. The world is cruel. And the only morality
in a cruel world is chance. Unbiased. Unprejudiced. Fair. His son’s got the same chance she had. Fifty-fifty.

Batman: What happened to Rachel wasn’t chance. We decided to act. We three.

“We three.” Another Triumvirate.