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The Crucified & Risen Christ. A Lenten Journey. The Passion According to Mark. Session 1 of Lenten Series. Opening Prayer. “In the name of the bruised one” by Walter Brueggemann. Introduction. Notes About the Setting. Rome took over Judea in 63 BC

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the passion according to mark

The Passion According to Mark

Session 1 of Lenten Series

opening prayer
Opening Prayer

“In the name of the bruised one”by

Walter Brueggemann

notes about the setting
Notes About the Setting
  • Rome took over Judea in 63 BC
    • Judean kings & high priests served at the pleasure of Rome
    • Keep things calm – or else – Rome will
  • Judean religion given certain unique dispensations by Rome
    • No military service demanded of Judeans
    • Money without emperor’s image allowed in Temple
    • Yearly sacrifice on behalf of emperor made in Temple
  • Judea was a troubled province for Rome
  • Roman Empire’s widespread influence
    • Rome spread “good news” about the emperor, the son of god, the savior
    • Images & symbols of the empire were widespread
  • Important dates
    • 70 AD – Jerusalem destroyed
    • 135 AD
      • Jerusalem renamed Aelia Capitolina
      • Judea renamed Syria Palestine
  • Mark written between 50 & 70 AD, with most scholars leaning toward the later date
notes about the setting1
Notes About the Setting
  • Events of Passion occur during Passover
  • Passover the definitive Jewish holiday
    • Celebrates the liberation of a nation from slavery
    • Collapses present into the past
      • “I was a slave in Egypt…”
      • Jewish rabbis in 200 AD will tell the story so that it specifically equates Rome with Egypt
  • Passover was time for the Roman soldiers stationed at Caesarea Maritima to march to Jerusalem to keep order
  • Word used for the Jews in the gospels is the same as the Judeans
pre gospel accounts of the passion resurrection
Pre-Gospel Accounts of the Passion & Resurrection
  • Paul the first to give written account of gospel
    • Romans 1:1-4
    • Galatians 4:4-7
    • I Corinthians 15:3-8

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord.

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children. And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave but a child, and if a child then also an heir, through God.

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

events preceding gethsemane
Events preceding Gethsemane
  • At beginning of Mark 14
    • Passover is approaching
    • Jewish leaders plot the death of Jesus
    • Leaders are afraid of the crowd
  • Unknown woman anoints Jesus’ feet
  • Jesus celebrates the Last Supper, a Passover Seder, with his disciples
    • The Twelve discover a betrayer in their midst
    • Took bread, blessed, broke and gave it
      • This has happened twice before in Mark (at feeding of five thousand and at feeding of four thousand)
gethsemane prayer arrest
Gethsemane: Prayer & Arrest
  • Discerning the coming death
    • Jesus understands
    • Disciples don’t get it
  • Jesus will die alone
    • Disciples will scatter
    • One will betray him
    • One will deny him
gethsemane prayer arrest1
Gethsemane: Prayer & Arrest
  • Jesus’ prayer to “have this cup pass” contrasts with his teaching, “Whoever would save his life will lose it”
  • Jesus’ prayer at Gethsemane is very human
    • Contrasts with the death of Socrates
    • Jesus’ last temptation
    • Highlights Jesus’ obedience to God despite the necessity of going through death
gethsemane prayer arrest2
Gethsemane: Prayer & Arrest
  • Violence erupts early on when someone cuts off the ear of the high priest’s slave
  • Jesus asks “Have you come …to arrest me as though I were a bandit?”
    • Bandit is the term used of insurrectionists who threaten the Roman empire
  • “All of them deserted him and fled”
    • Last time the disciples appear in Mark’s Gospel (Juel)
  • Puzzle of the young man who flees naked
  • Scholars have offered a variety of explanations
    • “Autograph” of the author
    • Link to the young man in white at Jesus’ tomb
    • Symbolic presence of the newly baptized Christian
sanhedrin trial peter s denial
Sanhedrin Trial & Peter’s Denial
  • Jesus will be questioned before the Sanhedrin while Peter is questioned by the servants in the courtyard
  • Trial testimony begins with false statements about Jesus’ intent to destroy the Temple
  • Jesus keeps silent until high priest asks, “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?”
  • Jesus responds, “I Am”
    • Then elaborates, “and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven”
  • High priest tears his robes in response to blasphemy as required by law (Juel)
    • Questionable whether Jesus could be charged with blasphemy
    • Stoning is the death required by Jewish law for blasphemy
  • Some spit on Jesus in response (Isaiah 50:6)
sanhedrin trial peter s denial1
Sanhedrin Trial & Peter’s Denial
  • Peter takes the evasive route in response to his questioning
    • First, pretends not to understand
    • Then, flat denial
    • Finally, he curses (Jesus)
  • Cock crows a second time
  • Peter collapses in tears, remembering Jesus’ prophecy
  • Inside, Jesus is tormented & berated to prophesy
  • In the courtyard, his prophetic status is being validated
roman trial
Roman Trial
  • Focus of trial shifts from religious crimes to political crimes
  • Juel suggests the charge is the same
    • Jewish leaders are concerned with the Christ (Messiah) – a claim to be king of Israel
    • Pilate is concerned with a man who claims to be King of Israel, who has not received that designation from Rome
  • Pilate asks, “Are you the King of the Jews?”
  • Jesus responds, “It is as you say.”
    • Juel suggests this translation corresponds to the role of Jesus’ enemies in Mark as those who unknowingly speak the truth
  • Crowd incited by the religious leaders demands the execution of Jesus and release of Barabbas (son of the father)
  • Pilate acquiesces
  • This trial ends with the mockery of the man who would be king
    • Sanhedrin trial ends with the mockery of the man who would speak for God (a prophet)
  • Jesus is a man utterly alone and without support
crucifixion death burial
Crucifixion, Death & Burial
  • Within a short account, Mark gives us tantalizing details
    • Simon of Cyrene is remembered as the father of Alexander & Rufus
    • Jesus is offered wine mixed with myrrh
    • Jesus’ clothing is divided echoing Ps. 69:22 & 22:19
  • Inscription on the cross: “The King of the Jews” is the capitol offense Jesus has been found guilty of violating
    • A political crime
crucifixion death burial1
Crucifixion, Death & Burial
  • Mark uses patterns of 3’s
    • Jesus prays 3 times in the garden
    • Peter denies Jesus 3 times
    • Time is divided into 3 periods
      • Third hour (9 a.m.)
      • Sixth hour (Noon)
      • Ninth hour (3 p.m.)
    • 3 groups mock Jesus between the 3rd & 6th hour
      • Passersby use the accusation that Jesus sought to destroy the Temple to blaspheme Jesus on the cross
      • Chief priests & scribes mock Jesus as the Messiah & King of Israel
      • Both criminals crucified with Jesus add their own insults
crucifixion death burial2
Crucifixion, Death & Burial
  • At beginning of sixth hour, darkness covers the land
    • Reminiscent of Amos 8:9
  • Ninth hour is only time Jesus speaks on cross in Mark
    • Jesus quotes the initial words of Psalm 22
    • First time in Mark that Jesus speaks to God instead Father
    • Stimulates both compassionate & mocking responses
      • Offer of wine
      • Mock Jesus for calling on Elijah
        • Elijah has already come as John the Baptist and he was executed
    • In Jesus’ ministry the outcast demons cry out as they depart
      • Now Jesus cries out at the height of the struggle with Satan and death
    • Recalls Joel 2:10-11 & 4:16
crucifixion death burial3
Crucifixion, Death & Burial
  • When Jesus dies, God responds by tearing the veil of the Temple from top to bottom
    • 2 veils in the Temple and unclear which veil intended
    • Symbolized God’s displeasure and departure from the Temple
      • Or opening of Holy of Holies
    • Echoes the actions of the high priest in tearing his garments at Jesus’ trial
    • For Brown, this initiates the destruction of the Temple
  • Both the tearing of the veil and the centurion’s declaration that “This man was Son of God.” now validate Jesus’ acceptance of the designation of Messiah, Son of the Blessed One
  • Then we hear of the presence of women who had ministered to Jesus in Galilee
  • Joseph of Arimathea boldly asks for the body of Jesus
    • A member of the Sanhedrin, the same group that has deemed Jesus worthy of death
  • “People can believe and become true disciples only through the suffering symbolized by a cross which strips away human supports and makes one totally dependent on God.” (Crucified Christ, p. 33)
  • This emphasis suggests a Christian community under persecution
  • Detail that Pilate verified Jesus’ death may be an apologetic point
notes on mark s ending
Notes on Mark’s Ending
  • Mark originally ends with verse 8 of chapter 16
  • Contrast this ending with the beginning of the gospel
    • “The good news of Jesus Christ…” (Mark 1:1)
    • “So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” (Mark 16:8)
the women at the tomb
The Women at the Tomb
  • For Brown, the presence of the women at the cross, gives Jesus no consolation, but an example of the untested disciple
    • Mary Magdalene
    • Mary, the mother of James the younger & Joses
    • Salome
  • Mary Magdalene & the other Mary follow Joseph of Arimathea to see where Jesus is buried
  • Earlier in chapter 14, Jesus is anointed for his burial by a woman whose name we do not know
  • Now the group of women at the cross go to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body after his death
    • Issue of the heavy stone comes up
    • But the stone “had already been rolled back”
    • Use of the passive voice indicates that God is responsible for this action
the women at the tomb1
The Women at the Tomb
  • On entering the tomb, the women express amazement at the presence of the “young man, dressed in a white robe”
    • Reaction suggests an angelic presence
    • Young man’s words, “Do not be alarmed…” is formulaic for the appearance of an angel in scriptures
  • Young man
    • Knows the women are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the crucified one
    • States the obvious with a twist
      • “He has been raised; he is not here.”
        • Note the passive voice, indicating the action of God
the women at the tomb2
The Women at the Tomb
  • God has demonstrated his power through Jesus
    • Over evil during Jesus’ ministry by healings and exorcisms
    • Over death through Jesus’ death & resurrection
  • Jesus has unfinished business
    • Jesus is preceding the disciples to Galilee
    • The women are to tell the disciples to meet Jesus there
    • Women are presumably included since the young man tells them “there you will see him”
  • The women flee in fear and amazement
  • The Gospel of Mark ends
the women at the tomb3
The Women at the Tomb
  • Failures of the disciples not the end of the story; Jesus is not finished with them yet
  • Brown sees the task as the first failure of the women
  • This failure serves as encouragement for the Christians reading Mark
    • May also be afraid
    • May also have failed
three appearances of jesus
Three Appearances of Jesus
  • Appearance 1 – Mary Magdalene
    • Literally Jesus becomes visible to Mary
    • Now Mary is empowered to tell the disciples that Jesus is risen
    • But – they don’t believe her
      • Redactor here shares the pessimism of the original author regarding humanity
  • Appearance 2 – Two of the Disciples
    • Disbelief is overcome by the appearance of Jesus
    • These return to tell the other disciples
    • But – the other disciples do not believe
three appearances of jesus1
Three Appearances of Jesus
  • Appearance 3 – The Eleven
    • This appearance as the eleven are seated at the table suggests ties to the Lord’s Supper
    • Focus is on the Commission
    • Prior lack of belief does not deter Jesus from entrusting the future of the Church to these disciples
    • Following Jesus’ commission to preach the Gospel will serve to strengthen the faith of the disciples
      • This good news is identified in Mark 1:1 as “The gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”
    • As in the Gospel of John, proclamation of the gospel carries with it a time of crisis, or judgement
    • Now the disciples believe, & are obedient to Jesus’ command to preach the gospel
    • And “the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by the signs that accompanied it”
  • Background Clipart. Microsoft Office Online. (30 Jan. 2007)
  • Brown, Raymond E. A Crucified Christ in Holy Week. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1986.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. Awed to Heaven, Rooted in Earth. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 2003.
  • Brown, Raymond E. A Risen Christ in Eastertime. Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1991.
  • Juel, Donald H. Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: Mark. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1990.
  • Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers. Hearing Mark: A Listener’s Guide. Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 2002.