November 11th, 2006
In many places there is a tradition of offering a condemned man one final meal. The condemned man can choose anything he wants to eat for his final meal. There’s something solemn and memorable about any occasion which you know to be the last. In the case of today’s reading, Jesus knew that he was having his last meal with his disciples, and he did some significant things to make it memorable. Firstly he instructed them when eating the bread at future meals to think of his body and when drinking wine to think of his blood, sacrificed on the cross so that the sins of people could be forgiven.
Mark’s Account of the Good News — Chapter 14
14:1 It was now two days before the feast of the Passover and unleavened bread, and the senior priests and religious lawyers were plotting cunning ways of capturing and killing Jesus, 14:2 but they said, “Not during the feast, in case the people start a riot.”
14:3 While he was at Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive ointment of pure nard. She broke seal on the jar, and poured it over his head. 14:4 Some people were indignantly saying, “Why has this ointment been wasted? 14:5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and the proceeds given to the poor.” They told her off.
14:6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you criticise her? She has done a fine thing for me. 14:7 You will always have the poor with you, and you can help them whenever you want, but you won’t always have me. 14:8 She has done her best. She has anointed my body ready for burial. 14:9 I can guarantee that wherever this Good News is preached throughout the world, the story of what this woman has done will be told in memory of her.” 14:10 Then one of the twelve called Judas Iscariot went to the senior priests, so that he could betray him to them. 14:11 They were delighted to hear it, and promised to give him money. He looked for a convenient way of betraying him.
14:12 On the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the Passover, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to make arrangements for you to eat the Passover?” 14:13 He sent two of his disciples with instructions, “Go to the city, and there you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him 14:14 and tell the owner of the house which he enters, ‘The Teacher asks, “Where is the guest room, where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?”‘ 14:15 He will show you a large upstairs room with everything laid out. Get ready for us there.”
14:16 His disciples went, and arrived in the city, finding things just as he had said, and they prepared for the Passover. 14:17 When it was evening he arrived with the twelve. 14:18 As they sat and were eating, Jesus said, “I can guarantee that one of you who eats with me will betray me.” 14:19 They were distressed, and asked him one by one, “Surely not me?” 14:20 He answered, “It is one of the twelve who dips with me in the dish. 14:21 The Son of Man will go as the prophecies predict, but woe to the man through whom the Son of Man is betrayed! That man would be better off if he had not been born.”
14:22 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “Take, eat. This is my body.” 14:23 He took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them. They all drank from it. 14:24 He said, “This is my blood of the new covenant, poured out for many. 14:25 I can guarantee that I will not drink the fruit of the vine again until that day when I drink it anew in the Kingdom of God.” 14:26 They sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.
14:27 Jesus said, “All of you will stumble because of me tonight. It is predicted, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 14:28 However, after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 14:29 But Peter said to him, “Even if everyone else stumbles I will not.” 14:30 Jesus said, “I can guarantee that you will deny me three times tonight, before the rooster crows twice.” 14:31 But he insisted, “Even if I have to die with you, I will not deny you.” They all said the same thing.
14:32 They came to a place called Gethsemane. He instructed his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.” 14:33 He took with him Peter, James, and John, and began to grieve and be distressed. 14:34 He said to them, “My soul is overflowing with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and watch.”
14:35 He went forward a little, fell on the ground, and prayed that, if possible, the coming time might pass him by. 14:36 He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Please take this cup away from me; nevertheless, not what I want, but what you want.”
14:37 He returned to find them sleeping and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you watch one hour? 14:38 Watch and pray that you avoid temptation. The spirit is eager but the flesh is weak.” 14:39 He went away to pray again, using the same words. 14:40 Again he returned to find them sleeping because their eyes were very heavy, and they didn’t know what to say to him. 14:41 He came back a third time and said to them, “Are you sleeping and resting? That’s enough, time is up. The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 14:42 We must get up and go. The betrayer is advancing.”
14:43 While he was still speaking Judas, one of the twelve, arrived with a great crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the senior priests, religious lawyers and elders of the people. 14:44 The betrayer had given them a sign, “Whoever I kiss, he is the one. Seize him, and lead him away safely.” 14:45 He came straight up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi! Rabbi!” and kissed him. 14:46 They seized Jesus, and arrested him. 14:47 One of the people who were with Jesus drew his sword, and lunged at the high priest’s servant, cutting off his ear.
14:48 Jesus said, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as if I was a robber? 14:49 You didn’t arrest me when I was teaching in the temple each day. But this has happened to fulfil the predictions of the prophets.”
14:50 Everyone deserted him and ran off. 14:51 A young man followed him, wearing nothing but a sleeping gown. They grabbed him, 14:52 but he left his sleeping gown, and ran away naked. 14:53 They led Jesus away to the high priest. All the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes came together with him.
14:54 Peter had followed him from a distance, until he came into the court of the high priest. He was sitting with the officers, and warming himself by the fire. 14:55 The senior priests and the whole council were trying to find evidence against Jesus justifying condemning him to death, but found none. 14:56 Many people gave fabricated evidence against him, but their evidence conflicted. 14:57 Some stood up to give false evidence against him, saying, 14:58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this human-built temple, and in three days I will build another, not made by humans.'” 14:59 Even then their testimony did not agree.
14:60 The high priest stood up in the assembly and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What are these people saying against you?” 14:61 But he stayed quiet, saying nothing. The high priest addressed him again, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” 14:62 Jesus said, “I am. You will see the Son of Man sitting on the right side of the Powerful One, and coming with the clouds of the sky.”
14:63 The high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we need any further witnesses? 14:64 You have heard the blasphemy! What do you think?” They all agreed that he should be condemned to death. 14:65 People began to spit on him, cover his face, punch him with their fists, and say to him, “Prophesy!” The officers slapped him with the palms of their hands.
14:66 Peter was in the courtyard below. One of the high priest’s maids came along, 14:67 and noticing Peter warming himself, looked at him and said, “You were also with the Nazarene, Jesus!” 14:68 But he denied it, saying, “I don’t know or understand what you are saying.” He went out on the porch, and the rooster crowed.
14:69 The maid saw him again, and told some bystanders, “This is one of them.” 14:70 But he again denied it. A little while later some people standing near Peter again said, “You must be one of them, because your accent shows that you are a Galilean.” 14:71 But he began to curse, and to swear, “I don’t know the man you’re talking about!” 14:72 The rooster crowed the second time. Peter remembered what Jesus said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.
Entry Filed under: Perseverance