PALM SUNDAY, LAST SUPPER AND JESUS' BETRAYAL, UNDER THE CRITICAL EYE 

The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry by Michael J Alter is outstanding. The book literally tries to think of every problem with the core belief of Christianity that Jesus was saved from the dead bodily by God. Jesus supposedly died and rose to live forever in glory and perfection and happiness. The sign of the resurrection was to be the essential authentication of Jesus claims.

To me the book's most important point is that the Christian scriptures never report even one direct eyewitness to Jesus’s resurrection. That settles the dispute. It does not stop Christians from trying to make out accounts that don't claim to be eyewitness actually are. Christians show themselves dishonest and incompetent or they think everybody is stupid.

PALM SUNDAY?

The John Gospel (12:13) says that palms were spread before Jesus when he entered Jerusalem to much acclaim from the people who hailed him as Messiah - Son of David. Mark, Luke and Matthew carefully avoided calling them palms.

So the context is that something nationalistic was happening. It was political.

Another context is that palms are associated in the Bible with a violent nationalistic Messiah. Palms were used in the feast of Tabernacles (Leviticus 23:40). Speaking of messianic times the following goes,

"Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles. If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain." (Zechariah 14:16-17)

Carson (1991, 432) maintains that that “From about two centuries earlier, palm branches had already become a national, (not to say nationalist) symbol”.  See Carson, D. A. —. 1991. The Gospel According to St. John.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.

It makes no sense that Jesus got away with it - why was he not arrested there and then for the Romans did not tolerate alleged messiahs as there was a problem in the nation with messianic and nationalistic terrorism.

CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE THAT THE LAST SUPPER WAS A PASSOVER MEAL

Three of the gospels make out that the last supper of Jesus, the first Eucharist, was a Passover meal.

It has been noticed that John's account of the supper does NOT align with a Passover meal. That is John's ploy to separate his gospel from the Eucharist. A Passover becoming a new meal, the Eucharist makes sense, so John is careful to avoid that. Bitter bread and wine were drunk at the Passover which was also a sacrifice. A lamb was killed. The last supper then is cut off from ideas of bread and wine picturing body and blood and sacrifice. It is not a Eucharist. To emphasise that John has Judas going off to which might have been the purchase of food for the Passover (John 13:29).

As John 6 uses the symbolism of the Eucharist but is not about the Eucharist, John needed to offset anybody basing a eucharistic theology on it. It did not work. The Catholic Church thinks the chapter says bread and wine can turn into the body and blood of Jesus!

JUDAS - THE DISCIPLE WHO TURNED JESUS IN

The book says, "From 126 BC until AD 70, the silver tetradrachm became the universal currency accepted throughout the Roman Empire. In currency terms, the silver tetradrachm is the equivalent of the American dollar in today’s global economy. In value terms, one of these coins roughly equaled a week’s wages for a skilled laborer in those days. The Jewish moneychangers of the time called them shekels. The temple in Jerusalem accepted only the Tyre shekels as currency." But as there is confusion about the value of the money Judas got, it seems clear from other reckoners that Judas got a lot of money. So Judas was improbably paid a fortune to take a mob to arrest Jesus. Even Jesus said that was silly for he was easy prey. All Judas did was lead them to him. It was not worth the money. The story makes less sense than it does if Judas did not get much money.

Matthew and Luke disagree about why the field of blood got its name. Is there a lie here and why? Matthew says Judas's blood money paid for this field and it was intended to bury strangers in it. Luke in Acts seems to have Judas bursting with heat or something which is why it got its name. [Jesus' corpse if it were that hot would have disfigured rapidly.]

Christians dubiously say that the two explanations are true for the name was given both for it was paid for with blood money and because Judas spilled his own blood on it!  They would not say that if there were two differing accounts of your uncle Archie's demise.