Jesus Before the Crucifixion and the Apostles after Pentecost: How Their Teachings Relate
Here is the teaching I've been able to glean
I. You Can't Hear the Lord without Hearing the Apostles.
The authority of the apostles is as the authority of Christ himself. After sending out the sevety-two, Jesus says (Luke 10):
The same idea is expressed by Him at greater length in Matthew 10:
II. The Pre-Crucifixion Teaching is Vivid and Intriguing but Cryptic, the Post-Pentecost Teaching Is Plain and Exhaustive:
This theme is emphasized in all three synoptics, whenever Jesus begins speaking in parables. After telling them the parable of the sower, the apostles ask (Mark 4, repeated in Luke 8 and Matthew 13):
And when he was alone, those around him with the twelve asked him about the parables. And he said to them,
and may indeed hear but not understand,
lest they should turn and be forgiven."
And he said to them,
He explains the parable of the sower, the lamp under a basket, the growing seed, and the mustard seed, and then concludes again:
With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything.From Jesus's advice and warnings to the apostles we read this passage, where Jesus takes what is elsewhere a purely apocalyptic saying and uses it to contrast the pre-crucifixion and the post-resurrection teaching (Matthew 10):
In Luke 12, we see Jesus giving this saying a purely apocalyptic sense: what Jesus and the apostles say in secret will be revealed on the Last Day to justify God's judgments.
That the post-Pentecost teaching will be more thorough and exhaustive than that during Jesus's life emerges in Jesus's upper room discourse recorded in John's gospel (John 16):
What are these things that the Holy Spirit will declare to the apostles? For starters, I would expect it to be the sermons of Acts and the texts of the Epistles and the Apocalypse.III. The Pre-Crucifixion Teaching Was Discrete on Certain Topics, but the Post-Resurrection Teaching Avoids No Sensitive Topic.
Sometimes the apostles were directly commanded not to speak until after the resurrection. This occurred after Peter's confession (Mark 8; cf. Matthew 16, Luke 9):
And he asked them,
And after the transfiguration (Mark 9; cf. Matthew 17):And as they were coming down the mountain, he charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
IV. The Full Implications of the Pre-Crucifixion Teachings Were Not Understood by the Apostles Until After the Resurrection.
There are a number of passages in which the apostles are said to have only understood what Jesus said after His resurrection. For example, it is implied that the apostles only understood after the resurrection in the telling of the first miracle of the loaves and the walking on water (Mark 6; cf. the leaven of the Pharisees section in Mark 8 and Matthew 16):
When they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said,
That they did not understand is repeated right after the Transfiguration (Mark 8; cf. Luke 9)
This is mentioned many times in the gospel of John, as in the cleansing of the temple (John 2):
So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" Jesus answered them,
For example, the triumphal entry (John 12):
And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written,
"Fear not, daughter of Zion;
behold, your king is coming,
sitting on a donkey's colt!"
Even on Easter morning (John 20)
Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
Hermeneutically, this is a somewhat tricky category. We read the teachings of Jesus as recorded by men who tell us that at the time they didn't understand them, but now they do. So in their re-telling are they doing it from the first, "didn't understand" perspective, or from the post-resurrection "now I understand!" perspective? Certainly as I said, you can see the substantial difference in tone between the words of Jesus and of the Epistles as evidence that the apostles were quite successful in maintaining the integrity of the pre-crucifixion teachings.
In the following passage from Mark 7, we can see all three levels at work: a parabolic saying not understood by the crowd, a teaching for the apostles which must prudently be left silent for the time being, and a the clear-cut understanding of it which is undoubtedly post-resurrection:
And he called the people to him again and said to them,
At first we have a parable. Jesus explains it to the apostles. Yet the topic of the parables is the cancellation of the law of Moses, which led to Stephen's martyrdom in Acts. Did the apostles understand even then? The final comment has the air of a commentary, inserted by the post-resurrection evangelist, which is why the translators put it in parentheses.
V. The Post-Pentecost Teaching Explicitly Shows How the Old Testament Is Fulfilled in the New:
Finally, as several of the previous examples showed, a good deal of the the post-resurrection understanding was realizing how the Hebrew scriptures was fulfilled in the life of Jesus and the church. According to Luke, this was the main topic of Jesus's post-Resurrection discourses (Luke 24):
And he said to them,
And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?" . . . .
Then he said to them,
The peculiar thing about all this is that Jesus's teachings are honored as being the best teaching despite being explicitly described as cryptic to the point of misleading, occasionally silent on crucial issues, hard to understand, and lacking Old Testament verification. They weren't intended to remain so; indeed the Gospels once written mix both the pre-crucifixion text and the post-Pentecost understanding. But they still retain something of their cryptic, gnomic, discrete, and self-authenticating character compared to the Epistles. I don't think there is any other conclusion that can be drawn but that these things are to be honored; that cryptic, gnomic, discrete, and self-authenticating teaching that causes the hearers to wonder more than they (at first) understand is the mark of a truly divine teaching. Of course this is what the Gospels themselves say (Mark 1:22; note how John 8:28 unpacks the significance of this):And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.