THE GOSPEL OF MARK
Lesson 10: Chapters 14:17-16:20
The Passion and Resurrection of the Christ
God our Father,
When we gather together to share in the sacred meal of the New Covenant people of God, we remember Your great love for us that is made present in the life of our Savior on the night He offered the Last Supper but also in the offering of His Passion, death and Resurrection. It is the Resurrected and glorified Christ that we receive through the power of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant sacred meal of the Eucharist. We understand that it is a meal that both looks backward in time to the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper on the night before Jesus was crucified and of which we partake in our earthly Sanctuaries. But it is a sacred meal that also looks forward in time to the Wedding Supper of the Lamb that we, as Baptized Christians, will receive joyously in the courts of the heavenly Sanctuary. Please send Your Holy Spirit to guide us as we study those events in the life of Jesus of Nazareth that has led us to the miracle of Christ in the Eucharist. We pray in the name of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
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So then these
chief priests, upon the coming of their feast which is called the Passover,
when they slay their sacrifices, from the ninth hour till the eleventh, but so
that a company not less than ten belong to every sacrifice, for it is not
lawful for them to feast singly by themselves, and many of us are twenty in a
company, found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand
five hundred; which upon the allowance of no more than ten that feast together,
amounts to two million seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons that were
pure and holy; for as to those that have the leprosy, or the gonorrhea, or
women that have their monthly courses, or such as are otherwise polluted, it is
not lawful for them to be partakers of this sacrifice; nor indeed for any
foreigners either, who come hither to worship.
Josephus, The Jewish Wars, 6.9.3 [423-427]
The Passover Sacrifice
The Passover sacrifice and the sacred feast of the Passover victim that took place at sundown reenacted for every generation of the covenant people the themes of judgment and redemption that occurred in the first Passover event in Egypt. The animal for the Passover sacrifice had to be an unblemished male lamb or goat-kid not younger than eight days and not older than a year (Ex 12:5; Lev 22:27). The animal had to be large enough to feed not less than ten people and not more than twenty (Josephus, Wars of the Jews, 6.9.3 ). If there were more than twenty people, two groups were formed with a separate Passover victim for the second group, or if the Passover victim was not large enough to feed a designated group, in addition to the Passover sacrifice a festival communion hagigah offering from either the flock or the herd (male or female) was necessary to be included in the feast (Lev 3:1-17; 7:11-21). Adding the festival hagigah in addition to the Passover sacrifice allowed for everyone to be adequately fed (Mishnah: Pesahim, 6:3-6:4). The communion hagigah festival peace offerings were the way the covenant people ate together for the entire week-long celebration of Unleavened Bread after the morning Tamid worship service in meals of joyous celebration within the holy city of Jerusalem.
On the day of the Passover sacrifice, the offering of other sacrifices was suspended after the morning Tamid worship service, and the afternoon Tamid took place two hours earlier to allow enough time for the sacrifices of thousands of the Passover lambs and goat kids which were slain from the ninth to the eleventh hours Jewish time which was from three to five in the afternoon (Josephus, The Jewish Wars, 6.9.3 ). Moving the service to an earlier hour permitted the time needed to clean the altar courtyard after the liturgical service and for the people to roast the meat of their Passover goat-kids and lambs within the city of Jerusalem for the sacred meal that took place at sundown (Ex 12:8). The other exception was if the day of the Passover sacrifice fell on a Friday that was the day of preparation for the Sabbath. Since no work could be done on a Sabbath, not even lighting a fire for cooking, the earlier ending of the service gave everyone, including the chief priests, time to prepare for the Sabbath that began at Sundown. According to the Talmud, if Passover fell on a Friday, the afternoon Tamid lamb was sacrificed at twelve-thirty and the Passover sacrifices began the next hour (Mishnah: Pesahim, 5:1B-D).
Flavius Josephus recorded that in one year of the Passover when he was serving in the Temple during the reign of the Emperor Nero (AD 54-68), the Romans told the chief priests to count the animals that were slain and provide an estimate of how many people participated in the festival. They "found the number of sacrifices was two hundred and fifty-six thousand five hundred" which, with no more than ten that feasted together, it was determined "amounts to two million seven hundred thousand and two hundred persons that were pure and holy" (Josephus, The Jewish Wars, 6.9.3 [424-5]). All the Gospels and two thousand years of Christian tradition agree that the Passover victims were slain on the Thursday of Jesus' last week in Jerusalem, the day before His crucifixion on Friday (Mk 15:42; Jn 19:31). Those of the covenant community who were offering the Passover sacrifice for their family and friends gathered at the Temple with their Passover victims at noon for the afternoon Tamid worship service (Philo, Special Laws, II, 145).
In English Tamid is translated as the "daily sacrifice" but the word Tamid in Hebrew means "standing" as in continual or perpetual. The offering of the Tamid was the center of liturgical worship and prayer life for the covenant people. It was a worship service that took place twice a day, seven days a week that involved the sacrifice of an unblemished male lamb in a morning and afternoon liturgical worship service (the two lambs were considered a single sacrifice; see Ex 29:38-42). Those who could not attend the Temple liturgies observed the Tamid sacrifice in their private daily prayer times (Acts 10:9). All other sacrifices, even on feast days, had to be offered within the Tamid liturgical worship services and after the Tamid lamb had been slaughtered (repeated 15 times in Num 28:10, 15, 23, 31; 29:6, 11, 16, 19, 22, 25, 28, 31 34, 38).
The sacrificial ceremony of the Passover lambs and kids began immediately after the body of the afternoon Tamid lamb was placed on the altar fire (Mishnah: Pesahim, 5:1E). Passover on the 14th of Nisan was not a pilgrim feast and attendance was not required for everyone at the liturgical worship service; a Jewish slave or a relative could present the animal for sacrifice at the Temple (Mishnah: Pesahim, 8:2). Peter and John, who were chosen by Jesus to make the preparations, probably fulfilled this obligation. That night at sundown, on the night of the full moon (Nisan the 15th on the lunar calendar), Jesus and His disciples met in the Upper Room to celebrate the sacred meal of the pilgrim feast of Unleavened Bread (Num 28:17 NAB) that reenacted the first Passover sacred meal and Exodus liberation from slavery in Egypt (Ex 12). That first Passover began with the slaughtering of the Passover over victims and the smearing of the victim's blood from the thresholds to the doorposts and lintels of the houses of the Israelites in the sign of a cross (Ex 12:21-22).(1) On this night, in the spring of 30 AD, the lives of those who had come to see and to hear and to recognize Jesus as the Redeemer-Messiah promised by the prophets was going to be transformed forever as He inaugurated a new liturgy of worship in a new sacred meal in which He became the Lamb of sacrifice who came to liberate mankind from slavery to sin and death and whose blood would be smeared on the altar of the Cross.
Mark 14:17-21 ~ The Feast of Unleavened Bread and Jesus Announces
17 When it was evening, he came with the Twelve. 18 And as they reclined at table and were eating, Jesus said, "Amen, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me." 19 They began to be distressed and to say to him, one by one, "Surely it is not I?" 20 He said to them, "One of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. 21 For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It would be better for that man if he had never been born."
The date of the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th of Nisan was always set by the Temple hierarchy according to the lunar calendar on the night of the first full moon of the spring equinox (Ex 12:8; Lev 23:5; Num 28:16; Mishnah: Pesahim, 1:1; Philo, Special Laws, II, 151, 155 ).
And as they reclined at table and were eating...
Question: What were they eating? See Ex 12:8.
Answer: They were eating unleavened bread, bitter herbs and the roasted meat of the Passover victim.
To share a meal was the greatest sign of communion among friends and
also communion with the Lord God (Gen 26:30; 31:54; 1 Sam 9:24 and Ex 24:9-11;
Lev 7:11-21; Dt 12:4-7, 11, 26-27). At the sacred meal on the first night of
Unleavened Bread, Jesus makes an announcement. The joyous gathering becomes
solemn as Jesus announces His betrayal by one of the Twelve. His prediction is
a fulfillment of a psalm that is attributed to David in Psalm 41:10 ~ Even
the friend who had my trust, who shared my table, has scorned [lifted his heel
against me] me. The words in the brackets are the literal translation; it
is a Semitic expression for "to do violence" (also see the same words used by
Jesus in John 13:18 where Jesus, speaking of His betrayal said: "I am not
speaking of all of you. I know those whom I have chosen. But so that the
Scripture might be fulfilled, The one who ate my food has raised his heel
against me.'" Also see comments on such a betrayal in Sirach 37:1-2.
Question: What do the words from Psalm 41:10 recall from God's judgment against the Serpent in Genesis 3:15 concerning his relationship with the "seed of the woman" that is the future Redeemer-Messiah? I will put enmity between you and the woman, between your seed and her seed; He will crush your head while you strike at His heel (literal translation in Gen 3:15; the pronoun "He will crush" can be read in the Hebrew as either masculine or feminine and therefore can refer to both Christ and His mother). The Serpent's identity is given in Rev 12:9.
Answer: God told the Serpent (who is Satan) that the "seed of the woman," who is Jesus Christ, will "crush" his head, or destroy him while the Serpent is only able to do violence to Jesus.
In the movie "The Passion of the Christ," the opening scene dramatizes this prophecy very effectively and recalls what St. John wrote in 1 John 3:8b ~ The son of God was revealed to destroy the works of the devil.
Question: What are the two reasons Jesus makes this announcement
without revealing the name of His betrayer? One reason lies in the response of
Answer: First, it causes His disciples to search their hearts in an examination of conscience as they recall Jesus' prophecy of His Passion, death, and resurrection. They must ask themselves will they remain loyal or will they betray their Lord. Second, it gives Judas the opportunity to confess, to repent his evil intentions, and seek forgiveness.
20 He said to them, "One
of the Twelve, the one who dips with me into the dish. 21 For the Son of Man indeed goes, as it
is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It
would be better for that man if he had never been born."
They were eating from a communal dish into which they had all dipped their hands, so they did not know which one was the betrayer. The Scripture Jesus refers to that foretells His death is probably Isaiah 52:13-53:12. In betraying the Son of God, Judas will condemn himself to eternal damnation. But, just as Jesus opened the opportunity for Judas to confess and be forgiven by His warning, Judas rejects the offer. That Judas' actions fulfilled prophetic Scripture does not mean that he did not have free will in his decision. Judas took full responsibility for the wicked path he took. God's divine plan anticipates human actions but does not cause them.
Jesus came to the feast dressed in the linen seamless tunic of a priest (Jn 19:23). The manner of His dress identifies the Last Supper as a liturgical service. The sacred meal opened with a traditional blessing of the food by the father or host of the feast. All the food they ate that night was symbolic of the first Passover liberation from death. It was a story that Jesus, as the host of the meal, retold for the assembled guests according to the traditions of the meal. In addition to the roasted lamb or goat-kid that represented the first Passover victims, they ate unleavened bread, a mixture of chopped fruit with a little red wine and cinnamon that represented the red clay of Egypt, two kinds of bitter herbs that represented both the bitterness of the Israelites' slavery in Egypt and the bitterness and suffering that is the result of sin, and they were drinking red wine from individual cups and from four communal cups mixed with a little water that represented the blood of the sacrificed animal (Mishnah: Pesahim, 9:3F; 10:1-10:5). They were also three ritual hand washings during the meal. At one of those ritual hand washings (probably at the beginning) Jesus washed the feet of the Apostles to teach them the importance of humility in service to the Kingdom of the Christ (Jn 13:4-17). They also sang the Hallel Psalms (Ps 113-118) during the meal.
Some scholars have suggested that Jesus and His disciples celebrated the Last Supper a day or two earlier than the designated feast day, using a solar calendar instead of the liturgically required lunar calendar and thereby rejecting the date set by the Temple hierarchy. Other scholars have suggested that no sacrificed lamb or kid was present at the meal and that the Last Supper only consisted of the bread and wine transformed into Jesus' Body and Blood.
It is unthinkable that Jesus did not celebrate this feast at its liturgically designated time and according to the obligations of the covenant. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus supported every aspect of the Old Covenant Law saying: Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Mt 5:17-19). Jesus' work to fulfill the Old Covenant was not accomplished until He pronounced the words It is finished (it is fulfilled/accomplished) from the Cross (Jn 19:30). Until that pivotal moment in salvation history, obedience to the Law as it was intended to be fulfilled in the true meaning and expression of the commands, prohibitions and rituals God established for His people at Mount Sinai was supported by Jesus as the "way of life" (Dt 30:15-20).
Jesus fully supported the authority of the priesthood in fulfilling the rites and rituals of the Sinai Covenant, which certainly included appointing the dates of the designated feast days. On His last day of teaching at the Temple in Jerusalem, Jesus addressed the issue of the authority of the Temple hierarchy: Then said Jesus to the crowds and to his disciples, "The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses' seat; so practice and observe whatever they tell you..." (Mt 23:1-3; emphasis added). Jesus would not have told the people to obey the hierarchy of the Church one day and then do the exact opposite by celebrating the Passover on a day other than what was designated according to the liturgical calendar on the next day.
The theory that Jesus and His disciples used another calendar and celebrated their meal earlier on Thursday instead of Friday comes from a misunderstanding of John 19:28 in which, after Jesus was taken to the Roman governor, the chief priests refused to enter the Roman Praetorium but insisted on remaining in the courtyard of Pilot's residence: And they themselves did not enter to Praetorium, in order not to be defiled so that they could eat the Passover. In St. John's Gospel the entire 8-day feast is called "Passover" and "eat the Passover" that is referred to in this verse must refer to the Sacred Assembly at the Temple that was required that morning at 9 AM where the people brought their festival communion sacrifices (hagigah) that were to be eaten each day in a festive meal (Mishnah: Pesahim, 6:4A). They had to remain ritually pure in order to attend the Sacred Assembly and take part in the communion meal (Lev 7:19b-21). This verse could not be referring to the Passover sacrifice and meal for three reasons:
The motivation of some to say the Passover sacrifice took place on Friday instead of Thursday is to reconcile their misunderstanding of John 19:28 and to make Jesus' death take place at the very hour the Passover lambs and kids were being sacrificed. They apparently do not realize if Passover fell on a Friday the sacrifices began earlier at one-thirty (Mishnah: Pesahim, 5:1B-D). They also do not realize that there was a sacrifice that perfectly coincides with Jesus' Passion. It was not the many thousands of Passover lambs and goat kids but the single sacrifice of an unblemished male Lamb known as the Tamid sacrifice that was ritually sacrificed and its blood poured out against the altar in a morning liturgy at 9 AM (the third hour) and again in the afternoon at 3 PM (the ninth hour) for the atonement and sanctification of the covenant people and the hoped for salvation of the entire human race (Ex 29:38-42; Num 28:3-8; the entire section of the Mishnah:Tamid; Philo, Special Laws, I.35 ).
It is also ludicrous to suggest that only bread and wine were served at the meal Jesus hosted. This theory completely contradicts all the Gospel accounts that clearly refutes the theory that Jesus and His disciples did not eat the required Passover meal under the Law of the Sinai Covenant prior to the gift of the Eucharist. In addition to Mark 14:17 see:
The eating of this sacrificial meal in the middle of the lunar month of Nisan at the time of the full moon was the last legitimate sacrificial meal of the Old Covenant. It was a sacred meal that was transformed and fulfilled in Jesus' Last Supper that became the first Eucharistic ("thanksgiving") banquet of the New Covenant people of God. It was absolutely necessary for the faithful remnant of Jews who became the restored Israel of the New Covenant to participate in this last Old Covenant ritual. It was necessary for them to be able to comprehend its transformation and fulfillment as a true sacrificial meal in the offering of Christ the Lamb of God in the Eucharistic banquet a New Covenant liturgy. If the Last Supper did not take place during the legitimately designated meal of the Passover victim on the first night of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, then the Jews present at the meal could not have understood Jesus' offering of the unleavened bread and red wine as His Body and Blood to be a continuing sacrificial meal and not only a symbolic gesture. The suggestion that Jesus celebrated the Last Supper on a night other than the prescribed Passover feast erodes the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist and that the Eucharist is indeed a true sacrificial meal.
Mark 14:22-26 ~ The Last Supper and the Institution of the Eucharist
22 While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." 23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it. 24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many. 25 Amen, I say to you, I shall not drink again the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God." 26Then, after singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
Notice that Jesus did not offer His disciples the sacred meal of the New Covenant until after they had already been eating (verse 22). He offered the gift of the first Eucharist after the ceremonial passing of the unleavened bread that was dipped into the fruit mixture and bitter herb in the communal dish, after the boiled meat of the hagigah festival offering was eaten, and finally after the roasted flesh of the Passover sacrifice. After consuming the Passover sacrifice, no other food was to be consumed and only the last two of the communal cups of wine were to be offered to the guests: the third cup, called the Cup of Blessing or Redemption and the fourth cup that concluded the meal called the Cup of Consecration. But for the second time Jesus broke with the ritual tradition of the meal; the first time was the washing of the Apostles' feet at the beginning of the meal (Jn 13:4-10).
he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body." The Greek verb translated "gave thanks" is euchristeo. It is the origin of the Church's name for the Sacrament of the Eucharist which commemorates the Last Supper.
24 He said to them,
"This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
The phrase "blood of the covenant" is the same phrase used in the ratification of the Sinai Covenant (Ex 24:8). The Last Supper is not only the New Covenant sacred meal, but it is a covenant ratification ceremony in the presence of God the Son in the same way the representatives of the covenant people ate in the presence of God at Mount Sinai (Ex 24:9-11).
But take a moment to reflect that His statement is absolutely shocking. Not only does it suggest His violent death in the shedding of His blood but He asks them to violate a prohibition of the Sinai Covenant. It is as shocking as His statement in the Bread of Life Discourse that caused many of Jesus' disciples to walk away from Him (Jn 6:60, 66) when we said: "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day (Jn 6:54).
Question: What about this statement made remaining in the Old
Sinai Covenant impossible? See Gen 9:4; Lev 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-12, 14; 19:26;
Dt 12:16, 23-28; 15:23.
Answer: The blood of a living creature was the means God provided for the atonement of mankind's sins; therefore consuming blood was a prohibition for the people of God and the punishment for the violation of this prohibition was excommunication.
Question: How then could Jesus ask His disciples to do what was
forbidden by the Law of the covenant? See 2 Pt 1:4.
Answer: To drink the blood of animals would be base and demeaning, but to drink the blood of the Son of God is to be elevated to a share in His own divine life.
Question: What oath did Jesus swear in verse 25?
Answer: He swore that He would not drink wine again until the day when He would drink it new in the kingdom of God.
Drinking wine is a symbol of joy, festivity, abundance, and covenant union (Ps 4:8; 23:5b; Is 62:9; Mt 27:27-28; Lk 22:20). The oath Jesus swore means He could not have passed the fourth communal cup that official concluded the sacred meal. It was called the Cup of Consecration and it symbolically sealed and confirmed God's covenant with Israel for yet another year. In offering those gathered what He literally identifies as His Body and His Blood, Jesus is fulfilling what He promised in the Bread of Life Discourse in John 6:35-56. He gave them the living bread that came down from heaven with the promise that whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world (Jn 6:51). Jesus' gift of Himself carries the promise: Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him (Jn 6:54-56; see CCC 610-11).
Mark 14:27-31 ~ Peter's Denial Foretold
27 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will have your faith shaken, for it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be dispersed.' 28 But after I have been raised up, I shall go before you to Galilee." 29 Peter said to him, "Even though all should have their faith shaken, mine will not be." 30 Then Jesus said to him, "Amen, I say to you, this very night before the cock crows twice you will deny me three times." 31 But he vehemently replied, "Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you." And they all spoke similarly.
Jesus quotes from the prophecy of Zechariah 13:7 ~ Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who is my associate [chosen], says the LORD of hosts. Strike the shepherd that the sheep may be dispersed [scattered]... How bitterly Peter and the others must have remembered their boasts as the tragic events of Jesus' Passion and death began to unfold. Jesus predicted that before the double trumpet signal of the "cockcrow" at 3 AM that Peter would betray Him three times. There were indeed two trumpet signals at 3 AM: one from the Levitical guards of the Night Watch at the Temple and the other from the Roman Night Watch at the Antonia Fortress.
Mark 14:32-42 ~ Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
32 Then they came to a place named Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, "Sit here while I pray." 33 He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. 34 Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch." 35 He advanced a little and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass by him; 36 he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will." 37 When he returned he found them asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? 38 Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." 39 Withdrawing again, he prayed, saying the same thing. 40 Then he returned once more and found asleep, for they could not keep their eyes open and did not know what to answer him. 41 He returned a third time and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough. The hour has come. Behold, the Son of Man is to be handed over to sinners. 42 Get up, let us go. See, my betrayer is at hand."
It is probably about midnight when Jesus and His disciples departed from the house of the Last Supper, exiting the city of Jerusalem and crossing the Kidron Valley to the Mount of Olives. They go to a place called Gethsemane (oil press) that St. John describes as a garden; it was a place where Jesus often met with His disciples (Jn 18:1-2). It is in this garden that Jesus will face His covenant ordeal. A covenant ordeal is a test of obedience to God that often involves personal sacrifice. Abraham's covenant ordeal was his test concerning God's command that he offer his only "beloved son," Isaac, in sacrifice (Gen 22:1-2). In this covenant ordeal, God the Father is asking His "beloved Son" (Mk 1:11) to offer Himself in sacrifice, but Jesus in His humanity must submit of His own free will.
Question: Where was it that the first man faced a covenant
ordeal in a decision to either remain obedient to the will of God for his life
or to make his own destiny? How was Adam's test similar to Jesus' test? Gen 2:8, 16-17; 3:6-7
Answer: Both Adam and Jesus faced a covenant ordeal of obedience in a garden.
33 He took with him
Peter, James, and John, and began to be troubled and distressed. 34 Then he said to them, "My soul is
sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch."
Jesus takes the same three Apostles aside that He took with Him in the healing of the Synagogue official's daughter (Mk 5:37) and in the Transfiguration experience (Mk 9:2).
35 He advanced a little
and fell to the ground and prayed that if it were possible the hour might pass
by him; 36 he said, "Abba,
Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not
what I will but what you will."
Question: What is the "hour" (see Jn 12:27). And what is the "cup"? For the significance of the "cup" see the chart on the symbolic significance of the reoccurring images of the Old Testament Prophets. Remember, Jesus has already judged the Temple, the religious hierarchy and the people of Jerusalem and found all guilty of covenant failure.
Answer: In the images of the prophets, the "cup of God's wrath" symbolized divine judgment for rebellion against God in the failure to be obedient to His covenant commands. The "hour" refers to the coming Passion of the Christ.
This passage reminds us that Jesus is fully human and His humanity shudders at what He must face in offering Himself up in atonement for the sins of mankind. St. Luke tells us that He was in such agony that His sweat became like drops of blood (Lk 22:44). But, of His own free will, Jesus submits Himself to God's divine plan for Him and for the salvation of the world. This is the cup of His Passion that He told James and John Zebedee that they would surely drink in Mark 10:39. It is the "cup" of the full force of God's judgment on sin, which he now willingly accepts (Mk 14:36) and fulfills the prophecy in Isaiah 51:17 and Jeremiah 25:16-18,
The key word is Jesus' command to "keep watch." It is a command He first gave in His discourse on the coming tribulation in Mark 13:9 and repeated in verse 37. It is a warning for disciples in all generations.
Mark 14:43-52 ~ The Arrest
43 Then, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs who had come from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44 His betrayer had arranged a signal with them, saying, "The man I shall kiss is the one; arrest him and lead him away securely." 45 He came and immediately went over to him and said, "Rabbi," And he kissed him. 46 At this they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47 One of the bystanders drew his sword, struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear. 48 Jesus said to them in reply, "Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs, to seize me? 49 Day after day I was with you teaching in the Temple area, yet you did not arrest me; but that the Scriptures may be fulfilled." 50 And they all left him and fled. 51 Now a young man followed him wearing nothing but a linen cloth about his body. They seized him, 52 but he left the cloth behind and ran off naked.
Again Mark announces that Jesus' betrayal is by one of His own, one of the Twelve. The chief priests, scribes and elders are the three groups that make up Judea's governing civil body, the Sanhedrin, for whom the reigning High Priest serves as the president. Judas' prearranged signal, of a greeting and kiss that are normally acts of respect and affection have become acts of betrayal that illustrate the depth of Judas' contempt for Jesus. When Judas, of his own free will, refused Jesus' invitation to repent but still received Jesus' offer of the sop at the meal of the Last Supper, he closed his heart to Jesus and gave over his soul to Satan (Jn 13:26-27).
St. John's Gospel relays the information that it was Peter who attempted to protect Jesus by attacking the high priest's servant and cutting off his ear (Jn 18:10). Jesus offers one last sign of His divine authority by healing the servant's ear (Lk 22:51). Jesus protests that they are treating Him like a robber, but acknowledges this is so "the Scriptures may be fulfilled," probably a reference to the "Suffering Servant" passages in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and to the suffering of all God's holy prophets for carrying out God's commission (see Jer 37:13-16).
All the Apostles ran away, including a young man clothed only in a linen cloth; not a tunic but a toga type Greek garment. The incident with the young man is only included in Mark's Gospel and many of the Church Fathers believed the youth was Mark himself. Linen was the cloth of the wealthy and the young man is not wearing the tasseled cloak of an adult member of the covenant. His escape in his naked condition recalls the prophet of Amos: the most stouthearted of warriors shall flee naked on that day, says the LORD" (Amos 2:16).
Mark 14:53-59 ~ Jesus is tried by the Sanhedrin
53 They led Jesus away to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. 54 Peter followed him at a distance into the high priest's courtyard and was seated with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55 The chief priests and the entire Sanhedrin kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they found none. 56 Many gave false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. 57 Some took the stand and testified falsely against him, alleging, 58 "We heard him say, I will destroy this Temple made with hands and within three days I will built another not made with hands.'" 59 Even so their testimony did not agree.
Mark places the narrative of Peter's covenant ordeal at either end of Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin. Peter's cowardliness is contrasted with Jesus' acceptance of the cup of suffering and His courage and resolve.
The way the trial is conducted shows their hypocrisy and the contempt the religious leaders have for the law. The entire trial was a travesty of justice:
The false witnesses who testify against Jesus recall
Psalm 35:11-12 and 72:12.
Question: What was the Law concerning giving false statements? What was the penalty for giving false evidence in a capital penalty trial? See Ex 20:16; Dt 5:20; 19:16-18. What is the force of their judgment against Jesus in relation to their actions?
Answer: Bearing false witness was forbidden in the Ten Commandments and the penalty according to the Law was death. For this outrage against justice, the unjust sentence with which they condemned Jesus became a judgment on their own dark souls.
Mark 14:60-65 ~ The High Priest Questions Jesus
60 The high priest rose before the assembly and questioned Jesus, saying, "Have you no answer? What are these men testifying against you?" 61 But he was silent and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him and said to him, "Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?" 62 Then Jesus answered, "I AM [Ego ami]; and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven.'" 63 At that the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further need have we of witnesses? 64 You have heard the blasphemy. What do you think?" They all condemned him as deserving to die. 65 Some began to spit on him. They blindfolded him and struck him and said to him, "Prophesy!" And the guards greeted him with blows.
Again the high priest asked him and said to him, "Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?" The title "Blessed One" is an indirect reference to God. These are the two titles St. Mark used concerning Jesus' true identity in Mark 1:1.
In Jesus' trial the High Priest, Joseph Caiaphas, is
acting as the chief prosecutor.
Question: What does Jesus say that causes the High Priest to condemn Jesus for blasphemy? See verse 62, Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1. Ego ami in verse 62 is the Greek equivalent of the Divine Name.
Answer: Jesus has used the Divine Name in His "I AM" statement and has applied to Himself the Messianic prophecies in Daniel 7:13 and Psalm 110:1.
Jesus' use of the Divine Name in His "I AM" declaration and His claim to Daniel's vision of the glorified "Son of Man" Messiah from Daniel 7:13, coupled with David's prophecy of a priestly Messiah in Psalms 110:1 was all that was needed to condemn Jesus for the capital offense of blasphemy. The members of the Sanhedrin certainly understood that by His statement Jesus declared Himself to be the divine Messiah in the prophecies. According to the Law: He who blasphemes is liable only when he will have fully pronounced the divine Name; if the blasphemy was proved then the judges stand on their feet and tear their clothing, and never sew them back up (Mishnah: Sanhedrin, 7:5E). The penalty for blaspheming the Divine Name was death (Lev 24:16). After Jesus' statement, Caiaphas immediately tore his robes (Mt 26:65; Mk 14:63). The tearing of the judges' robes and the prohibition against repairing the garment symbolized that the offender had broken with the covenant in such a way that his membership in the covenant family could never be restored (Mishnah: Sanhedrin, 7:1). Addressing the court Caiaphas said: Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision? (Mk 14:63-64).
As these events were transpiring, below in the courtyard St. Peter was facing his own ordeal.
Mark 14:66-72 ~ The Prophecy of Peter's Denial of
66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's maids came along. 67 Seeing Peter warming himself, she looked intently at him and said, "You too were with the Nazarene, Jesus." 68 But he denied it saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are talking about." So he went out into the outer court. Then the cock crowed [cockcrow]. 69 The maid saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, "This man is one of them." 70 Once again he denied it. A little later the bystanders said to Peter once more, "Surely you are one of them; for you too are a Galilean." 71 He began to curse and to swear, "I do not know this man about whom you are talking." 72 And immediately a cock crowed [cockcrow] a second time. Then Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before the cock crows [cockcrow] twice you will deny me three times." He broke down and wept. [..] = literal translation IBGE, vol. IV, page 145, no definite or indefinite article with the word "cockcrow".
Question: How many times does Peter deny that he knows Jesus?
Answer: Three times.
Servants in the High Priest's household recognized Peter as one of Jesus' followers; it was a claim Peter denied twice as those in the courtyard heard the "cockcrow." When Peter denied the Christ a third time he heard the "cockcrow" a second time in fulfillment of what Jesus told Peter earlier in the evening: And Jesus said to him, "Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times" (Mk 14:30, 72). Like Jesus, Peter was also condemned; he was condemned by his own lack of trust in Christ in his crisis of expectation. The two "cockcrows" heard by those assembled in the courtyard were the trumpet signals of the guards of the night watches from the Temple and from the Roman Antonia fortress. The time was 3 AM. In the Temple, the chief priests and Levites assigned to the Temple service for that feast day were rising at the trumpet signal of the "cockcrow" to begin to prepare for the morning Tamid worship service (Mishnah: Tamid 1:2E).
When it was morning [dawn] all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate, the governor.
Jewish theologian Philo of Alexandria (c.
25 BC " AD 50) on the Tamid sacrifice: Accordingly, it is commanded that
every day the priests should offer up two lambs, one at the dawn of the day,
and the other in the evening; each of them being a sacrifice of thanksgiving;
the one for the kindnesses which have been bestowed during the day, and the
other for the mercies which have been vouchsafed in the night, which God is
incessantly and uninterruptedly pouring upon the race of men.
The Works of Philo, Special Laws, I.35 
Note that the Jewish "evening" is our afternoon. Their "evening" began after high noon.
At dawn the morning Tamid lamb was led out from the Lamb Office to be inspected by the High Priest or his representative. If it was judged "without fault," it was tied near the altar where it remained until the hour of sacrifice. The same procedure was followed for the afternoon Tamid that was brought out at noon (Mishnah: Tamid). The single sacrifice of the Tamid Lamb in two worship services is intimately tied to the Passion of the Christ (see handout 1 and the chart: Jewish time division).
Mark 15:1-15 ~ Jesus' Trial by the Roman Governor
1 As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2 Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" He said to him in reply, "You say so." 3 The chief priests accused him of many things. 4 Again Pilate questioned him, "Have you no answer? See how many things they accuse you of." 5 Jesus gave him no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. 6 Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. 7 A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. 8 The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. 9 Pilate answered, "Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?" 10 For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate again said to them in reply, "Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?" 13 They shouted again, "Crucify him." 14 Pilate said to them, "Why? What evil has he done?" They only shouted the louder, "Crucify him." 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scoured, handed him over to be crucified.
Jesus was condemned die by the Sanhedrin at dawn. In the Temple the first Tamid lamb was led out to the altar at dawn where it was inspected by the High Priest or his representative, declared "without fault" and condemned to die in the morning worship service that was also a Sacred Assembly for the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Num 28:17-18). Both the Tamid lamb and Jesus were selected by the religious hierarchy to die for the sake of the people (Jn 11:49-50).
The Sanhedrin did not have the power to condemn Jesus to death. In the Roman provinces, only the Roman government had the power over life and death (Jn 18:31). Therefore, they took Jesus to Pontius Pilate who had come to Jerusalem from the governor's residence in Caesarea Maritima on the coast. The Gospel of John records that it was "about the 6th hour" Roman time, which according to our time would be between dawn and 7 AM when Pilate sat in judgment over Jesus (Jn 19:14). All the Gospels record that Jesus was not intimidated by the High Priest, nor was He intimidated by the Roman governor. Jesus was in charge of His destiny.
Jewish nationalism was always a problem during the annual feasts, and therefore there was usually an additional Roman presence during the festivals to ensure the peace. Pilate had served as the governor of Judea since 26 AD. All the Gospels record that Pilate was reluctant to condemn Jesus. In the Gospel of John, Pilate declares Jesus "without fault" three times (Jn 18:38; 19:4, 6). Pilate realized the Jewish leaders condemned him because of their jealousy (Mt 27:18; Mk 15:10), and he continued to bait them by referring to Jesus as "king of the Jews;" Pilate knew it was the title by which the crowds acclaimed Jesus on His ride into Jerusalem.
8 The crowd came
forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed.
One wonders where this crowd came from in the early morning hours when most righteous Jews who had attended the sacred meal were either just getting up or preparing for the required liturgical Sacred Assembly at the Temple that began at 9 AM with the offering of the first Tamid lamb (Lev 23:7; Num 28:18). Were these people cut from the same cloth as the false witnesses who were recruited by the religious leaders?
11 But the chief
priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead.
Question: What was ironic about the demand for Pilate to release Barabbas instead of Jesus? The name bar Abbas in Aramaic means "son of the father."
Answer: They preferred to have a robber/revolutionary and a murderer released to them instead of the peaceful and innocent Jesus. Jesus was the true "Son of the Father" who was the Son of God while Barabbas was the son of a human father.
13 They shouted
again, "Crucify him."
Crucifixion is the most horrific form of capital punishment. The Romans only used this form of execution for non-Roman citizens who were accused of heinous crimes including treason against Rome (St. Peter was crucified but St. Paul, a Roman citizen, was beheaded). Jesus' crime was treason: fostering insurrection against Rome by claiming to the king of the Jews and the son of God, both titles of the Roman emperor.
Question: Why would the religious authorities want to have Jesus discredited by being crucified by the Romans? See Dt 21:22-23.
Answer: They wanted Jesus discredited as a common criminal and as one who was cursed by God by being "hung on a tree" who therefore could not possible be the Messiah. Having the Romans execute Jesus also protected them from the crowds of Jews who believed Jesus was the Messiah.
They did not understand that Jesus was taking upon Himself the curses they deserved for disobedience to God and His covenant. St. Paul wrote, Christ ransomed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written, "Cursed be everyone who hands on a tree," that the blessing of Abraham might be extended to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith (Gal 3:13-14 quoting from Dt 21:22-23).
Mark 15:16-20 ~ Christ the King is Crowned with Thorns
16 The soldiers led him away inside the palace, that is, the Praetorium, and assembled the whole cohort. 17 They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, place it on him. 18 They began to salute him with, "Hail, King of the Jews!" 19 and kept striking his head with a reed and spitting upon him. They knelt before him in homage. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him out to crucify him.
Wherever the Roman governor had his residence was considered the seat of the Roman government. Pilate was either staying in the Antonia Fortress adjacent to the northeast corner of the Temple area or in the palace of Herod near the Jaffa Gate. Most Biblical scholars favor the palace of Herod since Jesus was passed back and forth between Pilate and Herod Antipas in Luke 23:6-11.
Jesus' silence before Pilate and Herod (Lk 23:9) and the ridicule Jesus endured at the hands of the Roman soldiers fulfills Isaiah's prophecies of Yahweh's Suffering Servant:
Mark 15:21-32 ~ The Way of the Cross and the
21 They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 They brought him to the place of Golgotha which is translated Place of the Skull. 23 They gave him wine drugged with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. 25 It was nine o'clock in the morning [the third hour] when they crucified him. 26 The inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews." 27 With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. 28 And Scripture was fulfilled that says, And he was counted among the wicked.'* 29 Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, "Aha! You who would destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself by coming down from the cross." 31 Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe." Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.
*not in the earliest manuscripts; it is a quote from Is 53:2. [..] = literal transltion
A pilgrim to the feast, Simon of Cyrene, is forces to carry Jesus' cross when Jesus becomes too weak (Mt 27:32-33; Lk 23:26; Jn 19:17). That Mark names the sons of Simon suggests that they were known within the Christian community. The place of execution was called "Place of the Skull," Golgotha in Hebrew/Aramaic, not because the hill looked like a skull but because it was a burial site; it was located outside the city walls according to the Law since nothing "unclean" like a dead body could remain with the holy city of Jerusalem (Lev 24:14; Num 15:35; Jn 19:20).
As the Tamid lamb awaited its sacrifice, it was given a
last drink from a golden cup. Jesus was also offered a drink. It was wine
mixed with a narcotic to dull the pain, but He refused it. It was probably a
custom based on Proverbs 31:6-7 in which a condemned criminal was offered a drug.
Question: Why did Jesus refuse to drink the wine? See Mk 14:25.
Answer: Jesus vowed He would not drink wine again until He came into His kingdom.
24 Then they crucified him and divided his garments by casting lots for them to see what each should take. What we know of the horrors of crucifixion and that the soldiers cast lots for Jesus' clothing evokes Davidic Psalm 22. The entire psalm is a description of a crucifixion victim centuries before the Persians invented this form of torture and death: As dry as a potsherd is my throat; my tongue sticks to my palate; you lay me in the dust of death. Many dogs surround me; a pack of evildoers closes in on me. So wasted are my hands and feet that I can count all my bones. They stare at me and gloat; they divide my garments among them; for my clothing they cast lots Ps 22:16-18
25 It was nine
o'clock in the morning [the third hour] when they crucified him.
Mark is the only Gospel writer to record the exact time of Jesus' crucifixion. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke only mention the darkness of a total eclipse that began at noon after Jesus had been on the cross for some time, as does Mark in 15:33. The darkness, a symbol for evil and sin in the Bible, engulfed the world. The eclipse occurred:
The darkness lasted from noon until the ninth hour which is three in the afternoon (Lk 23:44). It is contrary to the laws of nature for a total eclipse of the sun to occur during the full moon cycle of the spring equinox and even secular writers recorded the strange event. Julius Africanus quoted a Roman scholar named Phlegon who wrote a history in which he commented on the rare phenomenon of a solar eclipse during a full moon cycle at the time of Christ's crucifixion: "During the time of Tiberius Caesar an eclipse of the sun occurred during the full moon" (Julius Africanus, Chronography, 18.1 quoting from Phlegon's Chronicles).
The chief priests perfectly planned their attack against Jesus. That morning all Jews who faithfully observed the covenant, including Jesus' followers, were going to the Temple for the required Sacred Assembly. By the time the liturgical service was over, with its many communal sacrifices and personal communion offerings, Jesus will be dead (Num 28:18-23).
Question: According to the chart on the Tamid sacrifice, what
was happening at the Temple at 9 AM? What happened at noon, and what happened
at 3 PM?
Answer: The first Tamid lamb was sacrificed as the Temple gates opened for the liturgical worship service of the Sacred Assembly at the third hour Jewish time (9 AM). At noon, the 6th hour Jewish time, the second Tamid lamb was brought out to the altar. At the ninth hour Jewish time (3 PM) the second Tamid lamb was sacrificed for the atonement and sanctification of the covenant people.
In the first Passover, the blood of the sacrificial victim that was smeared with a hyssop branch from the threshold to the doorposts and lintels of the houses represented the safe entry and protection of those under the "sign" of the blood (Ex 12:22-24).(1) It was also a "sign" that visually illustrated the price of redemption and salvation and symbolically pointed forward in salvation history to the sacrificial death of Jesus, the Lamb of God (see 1 Pt 1:2; Rom 5:8-9; Heb 9:13-14; 13:12). Jesus' precious blood was smeared on the cross beams and upright support of the Cross, becoming a "sign" of salvation and redemption, just as the blood of the first Passover victims was smeared on the doorposts and lintels of the Israelite houses as a "sign" of salvation and redemption from the tenth plague. The entire event of the first Passover and the salvation of the Israelites prefigured the Passover of our Lord and the salvation of humanity.
inscription of the charge against him read, "The King of the Jews."
Despite the protests of the chief priests that the plaque should read "He said he was King of the Jews," Pilate ordered that the plaque that listed the crime for which Jesus was being executed was to read "The King of the Jews" in three languages: Aramaic, Greek, and Latin (Jn 19:19-22). The irony is that it was the truth.
Mark 15:33-41 ~ The Death of Jesus
33 At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon [the ninth hour]. 34 And at three o'clock [the ninth hour] Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 35 Some of the bystanders who heard it said, "Look, he is calling Elijah." 36 One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down." 37 Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 The veil of the Sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!" 40 There were also women looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These women had followed him when he was in Galilee and ministered to him. There were also many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.
According to Flavius Josephus, who was himself a chief
priest, the afternoon Tamid was sacrificed at the ninth hour, which is three in
the afternoon (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 14.4.3 ). Despite
the darkness, the afternoon Tamid was continuing at the Temple by the light of
the altar fire.
Question: What is the connection between Jesus and the Tamid sacrifice, a single sacrifice of two lambs that was to be offered to God perpetually (Ex 29:38-42): one in the morning at 9 AM and the second in the afternoon at 3 PM with each sacrifice accompanied by a red wine libation and unleavened bread? Note that the Hebrew word "Tamid" means "standing" as in continual or perpetual. See how Jesus is described by St. John in his vision in Revelation 5:6.
Answer: Jesus is the true Lamb of God which every Tamid lamb down through the centuries only prefigured. St. John saw Jesus as the "Lamb Standing" before the throne of God continually offering up His perfect, unblemished sacrifice. Jesus' sacrifice, like the Tamid, was a single sacrifice of His humanity (morning Tamid) and His divinity (afternoon Tamid). His sacrifice is continually (the meaning of tamid) made present on the altar of the New Covenant people of God with unleavened bread that becomes His glorified Body and a red wine libation that becomes His precious Blood.
All the different classes of the blood sacrifices of the Old Covenant were fulfilled in the one perfect sacrifice of Jesus, the Lamb of God. However, the Passover blood sacrifice of the thousands of unblemished male lambs and goat-kids, the Tamid sacrifice of the unblemished male lamb offered for the expiation and sanctification of the covenant people in a liturgical worship service every morning and afternoon, and the sacrifice of an unblemished male lamb on the day of the Feast of Firstfruits were sacrifices that were uniquely fulfilled in Christ's Passion and Resurrection:
34 And at three o'clock [the ninth hour] Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
|Jesus' Last Seven Statements from the Cross||Scripture|
|1. "Father, forgive them, they know not what they do."||Lk 23:34|
|2. "Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."||Lk 23:42|
|3. "Woman, behold, your son"... "Behold, your mother."||Jn 19:26-27|
|4. "Eli, Eli lema sabachthani," "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" ~ Hebrew||
(*Ps 22:1a quoted in Hebrew)
|"Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani," "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" ~ Aramaic*||
(Jesus quoted from Ps 22:1/2a in Aramaic)
|5. "I thirst."||Jn 19:28|
|6. "It is fulfilled."+||Jn 19:30|
|7. "Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit."+||
(Ps 31:5/6 quoted)
|Michal E. Hunt © copyright 2012|
35 Some of the
bystanders who heard it said, "Look, he is calling Elijah." 36 One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine,
put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see if
Elijah comes to take him down." 37 Jesus
gave a loud cry and breathed his last.
Some in the crowd are confused and think Jesus is calling on the prophet Elijah. St. John records that the "reed" upon which the drink of wine was offered was a hyssop branch and Jesus drank the wine, cried out "It is finished" and then took His last breath and gave up His spirit (Jn 19:29).
Question: Why is it significant that the reed was a hyssop branch and that Jesus drank this wine while He had refused the wine earlier because of His vow not to drink wine until He came into His Kingdom? See Ex 12:22.
Answer: A hyssop branch was used to smear the atoning blood of the first Passover victim around the doors of the children of Israel as a sign of redemption and salvation. It is fitting that now a hyssop is used to give Jesus the wine that symbolized the "wine of God's wrath" in divine judgment that Jesus takes upon Himself as His sacrifice is accepted by God and He enters into His Kingdom.
As Jesus prepares to enter into His divine Kingdom, the wine He drinks is also symbolic of the 4th Cup of the sacred Passover meal that He could not offer at the meal. When the last cup is offered, the host of the meal says "It is finished" (can also be translated "It is fulfilled"), announcing that the obligation is finished for another year and the people are again consecrated to the covenant with Yahweh. What is "finished/fulfilled" that Jesus announces is the Old Covenant (see Mt 5:18; Heb 8:6, 13). There is now a new Passover sacrifice whose blood has been offered for the purification of sins (Heb 9:22, 27-28) and a new sacred meal that will mark the continuation of a New Covenant in the blood of Christ.
38 The veil of
the Sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom.
Question: What is the significance of the tearing of the curtain from top to bottom that covered the entrance to the Temple's most sacred space where God dwelled in the midst of His people, the Holy of Holies? Josephus writes that the thickness of the curtain was the width of a man's hand. Also see CCC 536 and 1026.
Answer: It was not a natural event. The ripping open of the curtain signifies that the way into God's Divine Presence in the heavenly Sanctuary that had been closed since the Fall of our original parents is now opened and ready to receive the souls of the just. God the Father has accepted His Son's atoning sacrifice.
39 When the
centurion who stood facing him saw how he breathed his last he said, "Truly
this man was the Son of God!"
The Roman officer is the first to proclaim Jesus the Son of God after the Crucifixion. It is a foreshadowing of the coming of the Gentiles into the New Covenant Kingdom.
Mark 15:42-47 ~ The Burial of Jesus
42 When it was already evening, since it was the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a distinguished member of the council, who was himself awaiting the kingdom of God, came and courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was amazed that he was already dead. He summoned the centurion and asked him if Jesus had already died. 45 And when he learned of it from the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. 46 Having bought a linen cloth, he took him down, wrapped him in the linen cloth and laid him in a tomb that had been hewn out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched where he was laid.
The Jewish "evening" is our afternoon since the next day began at sundown. Mark 15:42 establishes that Jesus was crucified on Friday, which is called "preparation day" for the Saturday Sabbath. Pilate was surprised that Jesus had died because it was not uncommon for a crucifixion victim to last for three days.
Question: Why was it necessary for Jesus' friends
to get custody of His body as soon as possible on Friday afternoon?
Answer: At sundown the Sabbath will begin and if they want to bury Him according to the traditions of the Jews, He must be in the tomb before sundown. If they hadn't acted as soon as possible, the Romans would have cremated the body according to Roman customs.
The tomb was a new tomb (not previously used) that belonged to Joseph of Arimathea who was one of Jesus' disciples (Mt 27:57-60). The Gospel accounts do not mention Jesus' body being washed in the usually way of a person who died naturally because the blood of a person who died a violent death had to remain with the body.(2) That the shroud was made of linen means it was very expensive. The women disciples watched. Salome is believed to be the name of James and John Zebedee's mother.
Mark 16:1-8 ~ The Resurrection of Jesus
1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go and anoint him. 2 Very early when the sun had risen, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb. 3 They were saying to one another, "Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?" 4 When they looked up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; it was very large. 5 On entering the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a white robe, and they were utterly amazed. 6 He said to them, "Do not be amazed! You seek Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him. 7 But go and tell his disciples and Peter, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'" 8 Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
Question: What day of the week was it that the
women went to the tomb? What day of the week was it in the Creation event and
what is the significant link to the resurrection? What was significant about
the day after the Sabbath during the Holy Week of Unleavened Bread? See Gen 2:1-2 and Lev 23:6-14.
Answer: It is the day after the Saturday Jewish Sabbath, therefore it is Sunday. Saturday was the last day of the Creation event when God rested from the work of creation; therefore, Sunday was the first day of the Creation event. Jesus' resurrection on this day signifies a new creation and a new Age of Mankind. It is also the Jewish Feast of Firstfruits.
Firstfruits and Weeks/Pentecost were the only two annual feasts in the Old Covenant liturgical calendar that did not have a specific date. The dates were to be determined by the day after the Sabbath of Unleavened Bread for Firstfruits and then fifty days later for Pentecost. These were the only annual feasts that were designated perpetual feasts for all generations (Lev 23:14b, 21b) as they continue to be in the liturgical calendar of the Church where they are celebrated as Easter Sunday and Pentecost Sunday.
7 But go and tell
his disciples and Peter, He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see
him, as he told you.'" 8 Then they
went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They
said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
The angel invites the Apostles to return to the Galilee where Jesus' mission to declare the Kingdom started. Notice that Peter is the only Apostle who is named; he is clearly the leader and is expected to take up his mission as the Vicar of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The Apostles will not leave immediately, but they will later meet Jesus along the shores of the Sea of Galilee (Jn 21).
The Longer Ending
There are two endings that appear in the ancient manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark. Some Biblical scholars believe the shorter ending was the original conclusion of Mark's Gospel since the longer ending does not appear in some important Biblical manuscripts like Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.(3) Possible explanations are:
The third possibility is favored by most Bible scholars. In any event, the longer ending is accepted in the canonically accepted body of inspired Scripture (Council of Trent).
Mark 16:9-12 ~ The Resurrected Christ Appears to Mary
9 When he had risen, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. 10 She went and told his companions who were mourning and weeping. 11 When they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.
Nowhere in the New Testament is Mary Magdalene described as a prostitute. Only St. Mark identifies her former affliction as demon possession. She was rewarded for her faithfulness by being the first disciple to see the Resurrected Jesus.
Mark 16:12-13 ~ The Resurrected Christ Appears to Two
12 After this he appeared in another form to two of them walking along on their way to the country. 13 They returned and told the others; but they did not believe them either.
This resurrection appearance is told in detail in Luke 24:13-35.
Mark 16:14-18 ~ Jesus' Commissions the Eleven Apostles
14 But later, as the eleven were at table, he appeared to them and rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart because they had not believed those who saw him after he had been raised. 15 He said to them, "Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 These signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will drive out demons, they will speak new languages. 18 They will pick up serpents with their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not harm them. They will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover."
Jesus' resurrection appearance to the Apostles is recorded in detail in Luke 24:36-49 where Jesus opens their minds to understanding the Scriptures and in John 20:19-23 where Jesus breaths the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and gives them the power to "bind and loose" sins as they govern the Church, His Kingdom of Heaven on earth. He will appear privately to St. Peter and to also St. James His kinsman who becomes the first Christian bishop of Jerusalem, and to more than 500 disciples at one time (1 Cor 15:5-7). In verse 15 Jesus gives His disciples the commission to carry the Gospels to the ends of the earth and to work miracles in His name. Each of the "signs" of power that He gives the Apostles are recorded in Acts including St. Paul experience with a snake (28:3-6).
Question: What important statement does Jesus make
about baptism in verse 16? See CCC 1257.
Answer: Baptism is necessary for salvation! God will save whomever He wants, but the Church has been given no other way to bring mankind to salvation other than the Sacrament of Baptism.
Mark 14:19-20 ~ The Ascension of the Christ
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took his seat at the right hand of God. 20 But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs.
The Ascension of the Christ is given in greater detail in
Acts chapter 1.
Question: What significant information are we given in verses 19-20? See Dan 7:13-14.
Answer: Jesus rules over mankind from the right hand of the Father in the heavenly Sanctuary, just as Daniel saw in his vision in Daniel 7:13-14. Even though Jesus has ascended to the Father, He has not abandoned His disciples. Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit: the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs. The miracles they worked in His name confirmed for them His divine presence throughout their mission to carry the Gospel forward to the ends of the earth.
The Shorter Ending
And they reported all the instructions briefly to Peter's
companions. Afterwards Jesus himself, through them, sent forth from east to
west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Amen.
Only Peter is named again as in 16:7. He is the Vicar of the new Davidic Kingdom in the tradition of the vicars of the old (see Is 22:20-22); it is the Kingdom of the Church that will endure forever according to the covenant promise God made to Jesus' ancestor David of Bethlehem (2 Sam 7:16; 23:5; 1 Kng 2:4; 2 Chr 13:5; Sir 45:25).
Question for reflection or group discussion: What does the shorter ending confirm about Jesus' continuing activity in the Church and in carrying the Gospel of salvation to mankind?
1. The Hebrew word caph, often translated as "basin" in Exodus 12:22 is a Hebrew word of Egyptian origin meaning "vestibule" or "threshold;" Brown-Driver-Briggs # 5592, page 706. See other uses of this word translated as "threshold" in Jdg 19:27; 1Kgs 14:17; Ez 40:6-7 (three times); 43:8 (twice); Zeph 2:14.
2. Tahara is the ritual washing of the dead prior to burial: "Just as a baby is washed and enters the world clean and pure, so do we leave the world cleansed by the religious act of tahara" (Jewish Book of Why, vol. I). The ritual fulfills Ecclesiastes 5:14 ~ As we come forth, so we shall return. For the sake of modesty, women cleansed the bodies of women and men cleansed the bodies of men. Dirt on the body is removed but any blood must remain with the body. Jesus' body must have been so covered in blood that it probably was not washed but was only covered with spices. Afterward, according to custom, His body would have been dressed in a shroud or shrouds and then tied with strips of cloth (in Hebrew, tachrich or tachrichim in the plural). The small bloody cloth that was placed over His face when He was taken down from the Cross would have also accompanied the body in burial (see Jn 20:3-7). That the Shroud of Turin was a single large cloth means it was a very expensive tachrich.
3. The Codex Vaticanus is one of the oldest manuscripts of the Greek Old and New Testaments dated to the 4th century AD and is in the possession of the Vatican library. The Codex Sinaiticus was discovered at St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai and was also written in the 4th century AD. At one time it contained the whole of both Testaments in Greek but approximately half of the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) has survived along with a complete New Testament plus a few non-canonical documents. Parts of Codex Sinaiticus are in the possession of four different libraries around the world.
Michal Hunt, Copyright © 2014 Agape Bible Study. Permissions All Rights Reserved.
Catechism references for this lesson:
|Mk 14:18-20||CCC 474||Mk 16:5-7||CCC 333|
|Mk 14:22||CCC 1328||Mk 16:7||CCC 652|
|Mk 14:25||CCC 1335, 1403||Mk 16:11||CCC 643|
|Mk 14:26-30||CCC 474||Mk 16:12||CCC 645, 659|
|Mk 14:33-34||CCC 1009||Mk 16:13-14||CCC 643|
|Mk 14:36||CCC 473, 2701||Mk 16:15-16||CCC 977, 1223|
|Mk 14:57-58||CCC 585||Mk 16:15||CCC 888|
|Mk 14:61||CCC 443||Mk 16:16||CCC 161, 183, 1253, 1256, 1257|
|Mk 15:11||CCC 597||Mk 16:17-18||CCC 670, 1507|
|Mk 15:34||CCC 603, 2605||Mk 16:17||CCC 434, 1673|
|Mk 15:37||CCC 2605||Mk 16:18||CCC 699|
|Mk 15:39||CCC 444||Mk 16:19||CCC 659|
|Mk 16:1||CCC 641, 2174||Mk 16:20||CCC 2, 156, 670|
|Mk 16:2||CCC 2174|