Mark 14:43-52 – The Arrest


Mark 14:43-52


Jesus’ prophecies begin to be fulfilled as he is arrested and his disciples desert him.


The arrest of Jesus is full of painful irony. It begins with the arrival of the gang sent to find him, armed to the teeth with swords and clubs. In the ancient world, there were no professional police officers and so Judas comes to the garden leading the ancient equivalent of a lynch mob. Judas’ gestures upon seeing Jesus heighten the absurdity of the situation; though he is leading a mob, Judas observes proper etiquette, calling Jesus “Rabbi” and kissing him before they seize him (14:45).

The scene devolves into chaos; one of Jesus’ disciples cuts off somebody’s ear, Jesus denounces the mob as cowards and then all of Jesus’ followers run away terrified. To add to the chaos of the scene, Mark includes the strange detail that one of Jesus’ followers ran away naked (14:51-52). Some have seen the naked man as Mark himself, but it seems more probable that the man is included to highlight the shamefulness of the disciples deserting Jesus.