Mark 14: The Beginning of the End

It seems strange to be reading about the Last Supper, Gethsemane, and the beginning of Jesus’ trials already.  Mark is truly short and to the point.  In his preface to the KNT, N. T. Wright calls the Gospel of Mark a “revolutionary tract” (xiv), and that point has come out to me more so in this reading than ever before.

There is much to comment on in this long chapter.  What stood out the most to me was this wonderful juxtaposition of disappointment and grace:

“You’re all going to desert me,” said Jesus, “because it’s written, ‘I shall attack the shepherd, and then the sheep will scatter.’  But after I am raised up, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.” (Mark 14:27-28)

Jesus knows his dearest friends will run away instead of stay by his side when the time comes for his arrest and death.  There is that young man (John?) who is only wearing a tunic (?) but he runs away too in the end.  Peter stays a stone’s throw away but utters his fated denials.  Desert him they do.  Still, knowing that they will leave him, Jesus says he will never leave them.  In fact, he will go ahead of them to Galilee to prepare the way.  He will care for them until the end and even after that.  What a wonderful Savior!

Jesus prays while the apostles sleep

Now, jump over to Mark 16:7.  The women come to Jesus’ tomb on Easter Sunday.  Amazed, they meet an angel sitting on the rolled away tombstone.  He told them:

“But go and tell his disciples — including Peter — that he is going ahead of you to Galilee.  You’ll see him there, just like he told you.”

More grace!  The angel singles out Peter to be told specifically that he is welcome in Galilee.  That Jesus is right there waiting for him.  The very same Peter who had denied Jesus three times.

As many of you know, it is typically thought that Mark is writing his gospel in Rome based on the testimony and memories of Peter himself.  As Max Lucado said of this passage, you have to imagine Peter had a big lump in his throat when he told this story.

Praise God for His grace, patience, and kindness to us!  He goes before us today.  

Categories: Mark | Tags: , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

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14 thoughts on “Mark 14: The Beginning of the End

  1. I think this is the major different stories of Jesus in two different scripture, Quran and NT.

    Judas behaviour –
    People will do what ever to get some little money, even selling his own prophet.
    Double edge people is every where, in this case 1 over 12.

    Again, Jesus warn there was only one among twelve apostle is betraying him – i though it was Judas, but why I see in this chapter, it look like Peter also betray him?
    As religious person as Peter, it was a bad behavior to ignore a prophet, in your case, god?

    In the trial I see Jesus silently defend himself, as we all know Jesus is a wisdom man, is it that make Peter confuse about him? and in v71- It gone more havoc with swearing and cursing that he dont know Jesus. For me it too much even for religious person as Peter.

    Or there was something we dont know?

    • Yes, the rest of Mark is going to be a radically different take on Jesus from what you believe as a Muslim. (For those Christians who may be reading comments, many Muslims believe Jesus was taken up to heaven just before his death and it only seemed that he died on a cross or that Judas died in his place on the cross.)

      At Jesus arrest most of his disciples run for cover. Peter stays close by but three times denies knowing or being associated with Jesus. I guess that is a kind of betrayal, though most Christians would just use the term “denial” instead. The planning, premeditation, and consequences of Judas’ betrayal seems to be much worse, so most Christians will only use the term “betrayal” when referring to Judas. But, yes, they all show their flaws. Christians don’t claim to always get it right. There is not in Christianity the same veneration and protection of the reputation of the biblical characters like Abraham, Moses, David, Peter, and Paul. A foundational belief in Christianity is the fallenness of humanity. We all have to acknowledge our sinfulness and brokenness to accept forgiveness, thus having religious leaders with sin is the norm. Bad behavior, yes. That is why we need a Savior.

      I am afraid you lost me on the last paragraph and question.

    • Yes, I missed that paragraph. “you have to imagine Peter had a big lump in his throat when he told this story”

      But I can not imagine the stories behind verse as Max Lucado comment. Why I said that.
      1) To go as swearing and cursing is absurd to believe for religious man, if Peter cursing others person, I may can accept it. But we talking about Jesus here, a person that Peter take as teacher, rabbi and prophet. A person that have level higher than own father.
      2) Prophesy talking about only one person of 12 apostle will be betrayal him. But the verse above seem differently.

      I think something fishy happen between and during trial. Only God know.

      • I see what you thinking. Though the phrases “swearing” and “cursing” probably meant something different 2000 years ago. This doesn’t mean saying a bunch of bad words. This means swearing oaths that he did not know Jesus. Cursing would be cursing himself if he is lying. Of course, that is not much better. It is plain dishonest still. Peter is not going to come out of this scene looking good, no matter how we describe it.

        What kind of fishy thing are you thinking?

        • Peter is not going to come out of this scene looking good, no matter how we describe it. I agree with you on this.

          This argument make me goes back to biography of Peter in wiki. He is caliber, and for sure love Jesus very much, but what make him give that statement.

          As Muslim, I need to believe that Jesus was raised to sky/heaven by Allah (Father). So at this time I think that is not Jesus pbuh.

          but, to criticize solely on NT.
          1) Jesus very silent and rarely speak,
          2) Jesus prophecy of only one person will betrayal him -Judas.
          3) Trial log is not being preserved.
          4) Action taken by swearing that “It was not Jesus” by Peter.
          5) Biograhy of Peter as righteous and good person and also
          5) Mark 15:2 ; Jesus weakened, “Yes, it is as you say”. It normal being said by a person who has lost hope. It suppose not being said by Jesus. Jesus suppose a man that stand to his word as what John do.
          6) 11 apostle is being consider highly knowledgeable and faithful to Jesus pbuh. The act of Peter can be consider blasphemous, no matter how it look like.

          To make all point harmony with each other, I still stick with Quranic claim, but the truth is : Only God know all.

          • That seems like a lot of elaborate work to believe what you feel you “need to believe.”

            Peter didn’t claim that person was not Jesus. He said he was not associated with Jesus. If he had just said “I don’t know that man,” I could see what you are saying, but he says he (Peter) is not who they think he is.

            And I am not sure where you see Jesus weakening or giving up here. That would only be true if you think he should fight back, but he is not in that kind battle.

            Let me add a new point: the Jewish religious leaders want Jesus dead. They have whipped the entire city up into a frenzy so they all want Jesus dead. They all know Jesus very well. If that is not Jesus at the trials, not Jesus on the cross, not Jesus standing before them with Pilate being offered to the crowd for release when they shout “Crucify him,” they are going to know this is someone else. And they are going to have a problem with it.

  2. Ron

    It is truly amazing that through the Son we can see the Father at work. It just has to give us an “attitude adjustment” as we relate to others! Your comments are most encouraging.

  3. Chris Dahlberg

    Something hit me with reading this chapter that never hit me quite as hard. And obviously, it’s been working on me for a few days now. I am reading the Message and Peterson closes the chapter with “He (Peter) collapsed in tears.”
    That collapse, that complete coming apart and crashing I believe is the key to what came later: Peter as a leader in the newly founded movement of the The Way.

    A few times in my life I have come close to that collapse. My background, my view of what a man is (strong, self-sufficeint, in control of his emotions and his life) takes a big hit here. Have I collapsed in tears because of my sin? Have I completely been undone by the realization of what I’ve done so that God can then pick me up and be in control? Sin is serious and I certainly don’t want any of us, myself included, to be trapped in guild and unable to move forward because what Peter was seeing and what we see is Grace with a capital G, but I also don’t want any of us to miss Peter’s collapse when he realized what he had done.

    I am very thankful for Peter because if God can use him, then I believe he can use me.

    • He IS using you, and as a leader. Thank you for the heart-felt comment reminding us that we only appreciate grace in proportion to the sin within us that we are willing to recognize.

    • Chris Dahlberg

      guilt, not guild

  4. There are so many people in this long chapter today, and they all have such different responses to Jesus. I wonder which one I would be most like if thrust into this same sad story.

    Would Jesus be a threat to my livelihood and reputation so I might think about killing him, as the Jewish religious leaders did? How I wish I would be like the woman who lavishly anointed Jesus with an expensive gift. Or would that just send me over the edge like Judas, such a wasteful show and Jesus didn’t rebuke her, so much so that I would work against Jesus? Or maybe the unnamed homeowner ready to give the Rabbi and his disciples an upper room for a night of feasting, even though this alliance would put the homeowner on the side of Jesus and against the religious establishment. I am afraid I would be like impetuous Peter, so sure I would never deny an association with Jesus only to turn quickly and do exactly that. I see too often how I let my fatigue keep me from doing what Jesus asks. I am rather sure I would not be like the abusive, murderous leaders and guards.

    Who would I be? Who will I be?

  5. Courtney

    The words from verse 38 rang in my mind all day yesterday. I cannot get rid of them. “Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.” If I want to keep myself from trial I will pray. Seriously. And keep my eyes open. I cannot rely on the fact that I have a good spirit about me. The flesh is weak. So opening my eyes to satan’s tricks while fixing my heart soul and mind on Jesus is the way to go about each day.

  6. “An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow and agony. And he said to them, ‘My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying.'”

    Such sorrow! The Passion Translation really brings out the sadness of it all.

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