Giraudon/Art Resource, NY

In John’s gospel, however, Jesus readily accepts his fate: “Am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?” he asks his disciples (John 18:11). Unlike the “distressed and agitated” Jesus of Mark’s gospel, who throws himself on the ground to pray, Jesus in the Fourth Gospel remains in command—and upright—the night of his arrest: When the Roman troops come for him, Jesus steps forward and identifies himself, and the soldiers fall to the ground (John 18:4–6), as depicted in this illumination from Les Très Riches Heures, a 15th-century Book of Hours painted by the Limbourg brothers for the French aristocrat Jean, the Duke of Berry.

Mark’s and Luke’s versions of the story cannot both be true descriptions of past events. Nonetheless, Crossan deems them profoundly true—not as history but as symbol, metaphor and gospel. (compare with woodcut by Wolfgang Fräger)