In Mark's gospel the account of Jesus celebrating the Passover with his disciples (Mk 14:12-31) is followed by the story of Jesus being arrested and tried by the high priest (Mark 14:32-72). Watch the video or listen the story and then read the comments below.
So far in Mark’s gospel Jesus has always been under control. But now we see Jesus so sad and so distressed that he felt like dying. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus fell down and prayed, “Abba, Father, everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me, but not my will, but your will be done.” Jesus glimpsed the horror of the cup of God’s wrath and pleads with his ‘Abba, Father’ that he might be spared the cup of God’s wrath. Yet after a period of agonizing prayer Jesus surrenders his will to the father and arises committed to the Father’s will. Yet now all Jesus’ disciples will shamefully abandon him. When the shepherd is struck, the sheep will abandon him. Jesus must now drink the cup of God’s wrath alone and no one else can give their life as a ransom for many.
Jesus found his disciples sleeping three times but now they must be awakened to the reality of Jesus’ betrayal. Judas, one of the Twelve, led a crowd armed with swords and clubs sent by the religious leaders, and they arrested Jesus. Neither Judas nor Peter really understood Jesus’ kingdom. The revolution that Jesus was leading would come about not by the sword but by means of the word of God. Jesus had taught daily in the temple courts and now what would happen would fulfill the Scriptures. Now, as foretold, Peter and all the rest would flee and one even fled naked shamefully. Are we prepared to keep watch and wait upon the Lord in watchful prayer? Are we willing to agonize in prayer to see the Father’s will be done? Surely, we must admit that we are all capable of deserting Jesus when he doesn’t validate our plans.
They took Jesus to the high priest and the religious leaders met to condemn Jesus. Many testified falsely against Jesus but their testimonies didn’t agree. The high priest asked Jesus to response but Jesus said nothing. Yet when asked directly if he was the Christ, Jesus not only said he was the Christ but he said, “You’ll see the Son of Man sitting at the right of God and coming on the clouds of heaven.” They all condemned Jesus as worthy of death. Then they spit at Jesus, they blindfolded him and mocked him saying ‘Prophesy’ the guards beat Jesus. Here Jesus makes it clear that he is the ‘son of God’ which recalls for us the voice from heaven both at the beginning of Mark’s gospel and at the transfiguration. Moreover, Jesus’ statement combines the image of his enthronement at the right hand of God (Psalm 110, Mark 12:36) with the idea that God would judge is enemies (Daniel 7:13, Mark 13:26).
Meanwhile the high priest’s servant girl saw Peter in the courtyard by the fire and said, “You were with Jesus.” Peter denied it and claimed he didn’t know what she was talking about. Sometime later she again said that Peter was one of Jesus’ followers but Peter again denied it. Later those standing near Peter said, “You’re a Galilean, you’re one of them.” This time Peter called down curses and swore, “I don’t know the man you’re talking about.” The rooster crowed a second time and Peter remembering Jesus’ words broke down and wept.
Three times Jesus surrendered to the will of his father which cost him his life. By contrast Peter denied knowing Jesus three in order to save his own life. Jesus had been betrayed by a close friend, abandoned by his own followers, condemned, taunted and beaten by the religious authorities. Now Jesus is being publicly renounced by Peter, his closest friend. They blindfolded Jesus and mocked him saying, ‘Prophesy’ so that he looked like a false prophet and a failed Messiah. So now is their time to present Jesus to Pilate as a rebel king, a claim that would have to be violently suppressed by the Roman governor.