Please comment on the following obeservation, as to whether is
represents a fair interpretation fo the text.
I am beginning sermon research on the pericope from which the
reference is taken. Before I go off at a tangent that will effect
the outcome of my original train of thought I wanted a little
guidance on the perfect tenses that occur in these two verses.
The context is such that Jesus has performed the miracle of feeding
the 5000 and the result was that the crowd was impressed more with
the material ramifications that the spiritual ones. When the Lord
did in fact seek to redirect their attention the result was that they
did not understand him and asked for proof (a sign) that he was in fact the
bread from heaven. The Lord them seems to use their own slowness of
understanding against them by insisting that they eat his flesh and
drink his blood.
To this many take great offense and grumble. When Christ explains
that it is the Spirit that counts and not the material things their
hopes are dashed and many of the peripheral disciples leave.
In questioning the 12 as to whether they will leave too, I was
astounded to find Peter's reply on behalf of the 12 in the prefect
tense, that they both believed (PEPISTEUKAMEN) and knew (EGNWKAMEN)
that Jesus was the Holy One from God, the very point Christ was
trying to make earlier. The perfect tense seems to imply that the
twelve had believed and still believed in spite of the apostacy of
others. That is, their faith and knowledge remained firm and
Christ uses an aorist (EXELEXAMHN) in reply to this assertion, saying
that he had chosen the twleve, yet one among them (EK) is a devil.
Would we not ordinarily expect a present tense here in Peter's
reassurances to the Lord, or is there some reason other than Peter's
desire to be firm and strong in his reply that requires a perfect?
In reminding Peter that he had chosen them, was the Lord downplaying
the strong assertions of Peter? In other words is he reacting to
Peter's use of the perfect tense here? (I mean of course what that
implies and not that Christ is concerned with syntax) Even though
this one of Peter's great confessions of faith, are we to understand
Peter's remarks as tantamount to saying they had chosen to remain
loyal to Jesus and, therefore, is Christ here saying that in spite
of the Peter's strong assertions of loyalty, on behalf of the 12
notwithstanding, that even among those who still "believe and know"
that there is the possibility of turning back, of failure? If so is
this intended as a subtle and solemn warning? ( A Question for good
measure but off the subject: Is there a even a hint of Peter's
deniel of Christ?)
Paul F. Evans
Thunder Swamp P. H. Church
(Endeavouring to make use of NT Greek in a real live ministry!)