In John 20:17 does Jesus intent ἀναβέβηκα to have a secondary meaning related to sacrifice? This question is not intended to question the correct way translations have translated this word, but to point out how the first century Hebrew follower might understand Jesus’ statement, especially considering Jesus probably spoke to them in Hebrew/Aramaic. The prominent Hebrew word ἀναβαίνω translates in the Septuagint (LXX) is עלה.
While עלה primarily means to go up or ascend, it also means to offer a burnt offering, such as in Genesis 8:20.
Note also the meaning of the Hebrew noun form in Genesis 8:20:
One might dismiss the secondary meaning implied in this verb if it were the only case, but it is not. In John 19:30, Jesus said Τετέλεσται (it is finished). The Hebrew word that this word best translates is שָׁלֵם, which is how the Syriac Peshitta and modern Hebrew translations translate Τετέλεσται in John 19:30. `
While שָׁלֵם in the context of translating Τετέλεσται in John 19:30 has the meaning, “It is finished,” שָׁלֵם in the Torah has the meaning to make restitution. Thus, in the Jewish mind this word also brings up the thought of to pay or make restitution, to restore or make peace, to make whole.
The fact is Jesus’ words having a secondary meaning often more important than the primary is not foreign in the Gospel of John. Here Jesus’ own words seem to point his disciples to Jesus’ sacrificial death and atonement. Thus, this method of looking for the historic Jesus using Jesus’ words points to the same Jesus portrayed in the New Testament.
[Charts made with Logos Bible Software 8.]