Mark 14:12-16, 17-21, 26-31 – Three Prophecies


Mark 14:12-16


As his passion approaches, Jesus makes three prophecies regarding his fate and the unfaithfulness of the disciples.


From the beginning of the Gospel, Jesus has been linked with the prophetic lineage. This has occurred in a variety of different ways, ranging from quotations of the Old Testament prophets to Jesus’ actions in the Temple courtyard to his apocalyptic discourse. As the Passover and Jesus’ passion approach, the theme of prophecy reemerges as Jesus exhibits yet another mark of his prophetic office, namely “second sight.” Second sight describes the ability of prophets to see the future, and was a mark of prophecy throughout the ancient world. The three instances of second sight in Mark 14 are arranged in a crescendo, moving from the mundane to the tragic.

The first instance mirrors the actions of Jesus before his entry into Jerusalem (11:1-6). Just as Jesus predicted where a donkey could be found, he predicts where his disciples can find a place to celebrate the Passover. Though it represents a mundane instance of seeing the future, this instance of second sight sets up the next two, more serious prophecies.

Jesus gives his next prediction while eating with his disciples. This prediction, while tragic, is not as specific as the prediction that preceded it or the one to follow. Jesus makes clear that he is about to be betrayed and that the betrayer is one of the Twelve. However, he does not name the person.

In contrast, the third prediction points fingers. Jesus begins with a general prediction of abandonment, but then singles out Peter. Peter will betray Jesus by denying him, not once, but three times. The increase in specificity of the prophecy heightens its tragedy and poignancy.