Mark’s PassionPassion is the theological term used to describe Jesus' suffering prior to and including his crucifixion. The Passion Narrative (the portions of the Gospels that tell of the Last Supper, trial, and crucifixion of Jesus) are often read in church during Holy Week. More Narrative proceeds in four stanzas, corresponding to the four watches of the night.
The Passion Narrative opens dramatically in the home of Simon the leperA leper is one who suffers from a chronic disease that eats away the flesh; it is now known as Hansen's Disease. At one time lepers were shunned as outcasts and lived in restricted or quarantined communities. Lepers appear in healing stories in both the... More, where an unknown woman anoints Jesus’ head with pure nardNard is a precious ointment, perfume, or medicine. In Mark 14 a woman pours this very costly substance on Jesus' head while he was at supper in the house of Simon the leper. In John 12 Mary of Bethany anoints Jesus' feet with nard. More. JesusJesus is the Messiah whose life, death, and resurrection are God's saving act for humanity More responds to those who protest her extravagance by saying that “she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial” (14:8). Judas IscariotOne of Jesus' disciples, who betrayed him for 30 pieces of silver More seeks an opportunity to betray Jesus, and the disciples seek a place where they can eat the PassoverPassover commemorates the deliverance of the Hebrew people from Egypt as described in the book of Exodus. It is celebrated with worship and a meal on the fourteenth day of the month called Nisan, which is the first month of the Jewish year. The time... More meal as the passion drama continues to unfold (14:10-16).
The first watch of the night, evening, is the setting for the Passover meal, where Jesus announces his betrayal by one who eats with them (14:17-31). During the meal Jesus offers the bread of his body and the cup of the covenantA covenant is a promise or agreement. In the Bible the promises made between God and God's people are known as covenants; they state or imply a relationship of commitment and obedience. More poured out for many. Following the meal Jesus and the disciples go to the Mount of Olives where Jesus announces a prophetic word from Zechariah 13:7: “I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered” (14:27). Jesus also promises to precede his followers into Galilee after he is “raised up” (14:28) and announces that PeterThe disciple who denied Jesus during his trial but later became a leader in proclaiming Jesus More will deny him before the cock crows twice (14:29-31).
The second watch of the night, midnight, is in the garden of Gethsemane (14:32-52). Taking Peter, James, and John, Jesus is “distressed and agitated.” Directing his prayer to “Abba, Father,” he asks that the cup of suffering might pass from him. Three times Jesus returns to find his disciples unable to watch as sleep has overtaken them (14:37, 40, 41). The betrayer comes, identifying Jesus with a kiss of betrayal, and in fear the disciples all flee (14:50).
The third watch of the night, cockcrow, takes place as Jesus is brought before the Jewish religious leaders. False witness is brought against him (14:53-72). In anger the high priestThe high priest was the most powerful priest in the temple in Jerusalem. The high priest Caiaphas held the office during the trial of Jesus. Later, in the New Testament book of Hebrews, the role of merciful high priest is ascribed to the resurrected Jesus. More challenges Jesus in his silence, “Are you the MessiahThe Messiah was the one who, it was believed, would come to free the people of Israel from bondage and exile. In Jewish thought the Messiah is the anticipated one who will come, as prophesied by Isaiah. In Christian thought Jesus of Nazareth is identified... More, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus responds, “I am; and ‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven'” (14:62, with reference to DanielAn interpreter of dreams who was delivered from the lions' den. More 7:13 and PsalmA psalm is a song of praise. In the Old Testament 150 psalms comprise the psalter, although some of the psalms are laments and thanksgivings. In the New Testament early Christians gathered to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. More 110:1). This is the critical point of divulging Jesus’ identity in the Gospel of Mark, and his words bring forth the charge of blasphemyBlasphemy is disrespecting or dishonoring of something held sacred. To use the name of God in swearing or to commit a profane act is to commit blasphemy. More. Meanwhile Peter is recognized in the courtyard of the high priestA priest is a person who has the authority to perform religious rites. In New Testament times priests were responsible for daily offerings and sacrifices in the temple. More as one who was with Jesus, although he vehemently denies the claims. When the cock crows a second time, Peter remembers Jesus’ words that he would deny him three times, and he weeps (14:72).
In the fourth watch of the night, dawn, the Jewish religious leaders deliver Jesus to Pilate. Pilate discerns that it is out of jealousy that Jesus has been brought to him, and in his perplexity he seeks to release Jesus. The chief priests stir up the crowd, crying out for Jesus to be crucified. Inside the palace courtyard, Jesus is mocked, crowned with thorns, and led out to be crucified (15:1-20). At this point the time mentioned in the narrative slows down to mark hours. Jesus is mocked and crucified on the third hour (15:21-32), and darkness falls over the land from the sixth hour until the ninth, when Jesus cries out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (15:34, with reference to Psalm 22:1). A sponge of vinegar is put to his lips, and Jesus breathes his last. As the templeThe Jerusalem temple, unlike the tabernacle, was a permanent structure, although (like the tabernacle) it was a place of worship and religious activity. On one occasion Jesus felt such activity was unacceptable and, as reported in all four Gospels, drove from the temple those engaged... More curtain is torn from top to bottom, a centurionA centurion was a Roman officer who commanded a military unit made up of one hundred men. Jesus healed a centurion's servant, and a centurion, at Jesus' crucifixion, acclaimed him to be God's Son. More proclaims, “Truly this man was God’s Son.” Three women who have followed Jesus now observe him from a distance (15:33-41). Evening has come, and because it is the day of Preparation for the SabbathSabbath is a weekly day of rest, the seventh day, observed on Saturday in Judaism and on Sunday in Christianity. In the book of Genesis, God rested on the seventh day; in the Gospel accounts Jesus and his disciples are criticized by some for not... More, Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the body. Taking him down from the cross, Joseph buries Jesus in a tomb hewn of rock. Mary MagdaleneFollower of Jesus and among the first to reach Jesus' tomb on Easter More and Mary the mother of Joses witness the burial (15:42-47).