Betrayed, Denied, Accused (Mark 14)

We are now reaching the culmination of the Gospel.  Jesus is about to be betrayed and handed over to death.  The leaders are hesitant, not wanting to cause a disturbance during the festival, and yet the focus on Passover is exactly the time when God has planned these events to come to pass (14:1-2)

It seems that Jesus and his disciples spent their days in Jerusalem during the festival but had lodgings out of town either camping in Gethsemane or heading back to Bethany and the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha. It’s there that Jesus is anointed. This is seen as wasteful by his disciples but Jesus says that this is an anointing for his burial (14:3-9). Judas, who was one of those critical is now provoked to betray Jesus (14:10-11).

Jesus eats the Passover meal with his disciples and there refocuses the imagery of the meal from God’s salvation in rescuing the Israelites from Egypt to the greater salvation coming for all through his death and resurrection. The bread and the cup represent his body and blood given on our behalf (14:12-25).

The disciples, especially Peter make brave promises but when the time comes, they will desert him (14:26-31). They cannot even stay awake as he experiences trial and testing, wrestling in prayer in the Garden (14:32-42).  Jesus is tested but remains obedient, he submits his will to the Father. Remember how in the earlier chapters we have seen how Jesus retraces Israel’s journey of Exodus and testing but obediently. Here we see his obedience right to the end.  We sometimes talk about “imputed righteousness”. Jesus as the obedient son is righteous.  We receive his righteousness. God looks at us as having lived completely obedient to his law.  This means that justification/imputed righteousness are the other side of the coin to penal substitution -that Jesus’ death as represented by the last supper was in our place and on our behalf.

Jesus is betrayed and deserted (14:43-52), arrested and put on trial by the Sanhedrin where he is subject to false accusation. (14:53-65).[1]  Peter denies him (14:66-72).

Big Theme: Jesus suffers on our behalf

Questions to consider

  1. In what ways does Jesus’ experience here offer hope to us when we experience rejection, betrayal, desertion and false accusation?
  2. Based on this passage how can we best sum up what the good news of the Gospel is?

[1] The young man who fled was probably Mark himself – indicating that he has been an eye witness to these events.  This is an occasion where we need to stop and ask why such a small, seemingly insignificant detail is included.

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