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Is John 19:17 literal or figurative?

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  • Is John 19:17 literal or figurative?

    I'll expand on the title.

    Young's Literal Translation
    and bearing his cross, he went forth to the place called Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha;
    Is bearing his cross literal or figurative?

    As far as I know, similar phrases were used to mean that they had to be willing to endure persecution and death for the sake of something.

    Matthew 10:38
    Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me.
    Matthew 16:24
    Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
    Mark 8:34
    Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.
    Luke 9:23
    Then he said to them all: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.
    Luke 14:27
    And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.
    The Pulpit commentary has some interesting comments on Matt 16:24

    Take up his cross. This is the second point. St. Luke adds, "daily." He must not only be resigned to bear what is brought upon him - suffering, shame, and death, which he cannot escape, but be eager to endure it, meet it with a solemn joy, be glad that he is counted worthy of it.
    http://biblehub.com/matthew/16-24.htm

    Sounds a tad bit similar as to what Jesus did for Christians, doesn't it? Thoughts?
    -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
    Sir James Jeans

    -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
    Sir Isaac Newton

  • #2
    I don't think there is any reason NOT to believe that Jesus, In John 19, literally carried His cross - or the headbeam of it - as described by John. There appears to be the possibility it is a metaphor, but I think the context makes it more likely it's literal.

    Similarly, I think the other verses you posted, in context, suggest metaphorically carrying our own cross.

    It almost sounds like you feel the need to make BOTH instances (what Christ did, and what we are instructed to do) identical.
    "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
      I don't think there is any reason NOT to believe that Jesus, In John 19, literally carried His cross - or the headbeam of it - as described by John. There appears to be the possibility it is a metaphor, but I think the context makes it more likely it's literal.

      Similarly, I think the other verses you posted, in context, suggest metaphorically carrying our own cross.

      It almost sounds like you feel the need to make BOTH instances (what Christ did, and what we are instructed to do) identical.
      Didn't somebody else (Simon the Cyrene) carry the cross to Jerusalem in the synoptic gospels?
      -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
      Sir James Jeans

      -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
      Sir Isaac Newton

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Quantum Weirdness View Post
        Didn't somebody else (Simon the Cyrene) carry the cross to Jerusalem in the synoptic gospels?
        Part of the way, yes. (The remainder of the way, as I understand it)

        (Matthew 27:31-32)--"And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. 32And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross."
        (Mark 15:20-21)--"And after they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, and put His garments on Him. And they *led Him out to crucify Him. 21And they pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross."
        (Luke 23:26)--"And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus."
        "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

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        • #5
          I often challenge Christians to base their beliefs on what the Bible actually SAYS, as opposed to what men SAY it says.

          I have been looking for the "slam dunk" or "smoking gun" to prove that, IN FACT, Jesus LITERALLY carried the physical cross at least part of the way, but am still looking.

          So far, I have a bunch of "tradition" (the stations of the cross, Gospel songs about Jesus "stumbling" ("the cross became too heavy, he fell beneath the load"), etc, but nothing from Scripture besides John's statement, and no real reason to doubt him. In fact, I don't believe that the Scripture mentions Jesus stumbling at all.

          I'm still inclined to believe that Jesus began literally carrying the physical cross (or crossbeam), then Simon of Cyrene was pressed into service, but have to admit I cannot say with absolute certainty that He did.

          Interesting question!
          "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
            Part of the way, yes. (The remainder of the way, as I understand it)

            (Matthew 27:31-32)--"And after they had mocked Him, they took His robe off and put His garments on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him. 32And as they were coming out, they found a man of Cyrene named Simon, whom they pressed into service to bear His cross."
            (Mark 15:20-21)--"And after they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, and put His garments on Him. And they *led Him out to crucify Him. 21And they pressed into service a passer-by coming from the country, Simon of Cyrene (the father of Alexander and Rufus), to bear His cross."
            (Luke 23:26)--"And when they led Him away, they laid hold of one Simon of Cyrene, coming in from the country, and placed on him the cross to carry behind Jesus."
            The way I read it is that the synoptics generally have Simon carrying the cross to Jerusalem while John has the cross go to Jerusalem on Jesus' back. Maybe there is some language feature of the greek that I'm missing though or some other important context.
            Also, it could be language of representation (i.e. like Pilate scourging Jesus)
            -The universe begins to look more like a great thought than a great machine.
            Sir James Jeans

            -This most beautiful system (The Universe) could only proceed from the dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.All variety of created objects which represent order and Life in the Universe could happen only by the willful reasoning of its original Creator, whom I call the Lord God.
            Sir Isaac Newton

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Quantum Weirdness View Post
              The way I read it is that the synoptics generally have Simon carrying the cross to Jerusalem while John has the cross go to Jerusalem on Jesus' back. Maybe there is some language feature of the greek that I'm missing though or some other important context.
              Also, it could be language of representation (i.e. like Pilate scourging Jesus)
              Yeah, I've seen a breakdown of the language in the Greek, but MY Greek is so rusty I'm having to work through it. Supposedly, it implies that the Romans "after they got going", Simon was pressed into service, not "as they got going". I'll look at that some more.
              "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Cow Poke View Post
                I don't think there is any reason NOT to believe that Jesus, In John 19, literally carried His cross - or the headbeam of it - as described by John. There appears to be the possibility it is a metaphor, but I think the context makes it more likely it's literal.

                Similarly, I think the other verses you posted, in context, suggest metaphorically carrying our own cross.

                It almost sounds like you feel the need to make BOTH instances (what Christ did, and what we are instructed to do) identical.
                AFAICT it was common for the Romans to force someone sentenced to death by crucifixion to carry/drag the post (or maybe crossbeam) that they were to be crucified on to their point of execution.

                I'm always still in trouble again

                "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
                  AFAICT it was common for the Romans to force someone sentenced to death by crucifixion to carry/drag the post (or maybe crossbeam) that they were to be crucified on to their point of execution.
                  Yeah! I think it was usually the crossbeam, as the post was already "planted".
                  "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Quantum Weirdness View Post
                    I'll expand on the title.



                    Is bearing his cross literal or figurative?

                    As far as I know, similar phrases were used to mean that they had to be willing to endure persecution and death for the sake of something.
                    Turns of phrase are based on common experience. "Taking up a cross" could have only one reason for becoming a metaphor.


                    Sounds a tad bit similar as to what Jesus did for Christians, doesn't it? Thoughts?
                    "As they came out, they compelled Simon the Cyrene to bear the cross"
                    - I'll assume that Matthew, Mark, and Luke were satisfied that it was a physical cross - it defies logic to assume that a metaphorical cross could be forced on someone else, particularly by third parties.
                    - I'd expect them to be making an exit from the praetorium (or perhaps the city gates.)
                    - As others have stated, the common practice was for the condemned to carry the cross beam.
                    - Luke's account "as/when they led him away" - aorist - Leading him away viewed as a completed action. "Leading away" was finished, but that doesn't mean "leading toward" was finished. Again, when or after they left the praetorium as the most likely time.
                    - John doesn't follow proceedings beyond the time that they left the praetorium, with Jesus carrying his cross. Events after that departure are not mentioned.
                    sigpic1 Cor 15:34 εκνηψατε δικαιως και μη αμαρτανετε αγνωσιαν γαρ θεου τινες εχουσιν προς εντροπην υμιν λεγω

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