How quickly things can change. These 72 verses reflect 48 hours that have the disciples on the top of the world at the beginning of this chapter, and then all of them end up scattering and abandoning Jesus as he is beaten and tortured. In two days, you go from Jesus being the hero of Jerusalem to a criminal being tried for the death penalty. The room pictured above is supposed to be the upper room where Jesus and his disciples met. Now, to be honest, it is not a hard connection, but it has been considered that room for many centuries. Before they make it to the upper room you have Jesus who goes to the house of someone who would have been considered unclean, Simon the Leper, and there he is prepared for his burial by the woman with the costly ointment of nard. So many things that Jesus does in the Gospels would never have been done by someone of his position. He doesn’t hesitate to spend time with those considered unclean. I love that. He is then anointed by someone who could possibly be a prostitute as she prepares him for his burial. Again, not something that someone of his position would ever do. But he does it, and it just seems right.
We have verses 22-25 as the Words of Institution that we use for communion, although, as I mentioned in Matthew, I tend to prefer the Apostle Paul’s words in I Corinthians 11. Starting at vs. 32 we have Jesus and his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This is what is thought to be the Garden of Gethsemane. It is interesting because in many of the places where we went there is a church located smack dab in the place that is supposed to be where the biblical account takes place. But there are then many alternate places that may be across the street or down the road that could also be the place. This is the one that was across the street and down the road from the church that is supposed to mark the historical Garden. I like this place better. It was quiet and it just felt a lot like the original Garden where Jesus spends his time with his disciples.
It is from this location where everything changes. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss, which is not a strange form of greeting in Mediterranean countries. When we were pastoring in Italy, we would always greet men and women with a kiss on the cheek, actually with a kiss on each cheek. I know, it sounds very foreign, well, it is, it is in Italy after all. So it would not be unusual for Judas to greet Jesus with a kiss. That is pretty normal. With that normal greeting everything changes. A sword strikes off an ear, Jesus is led into the high priest house, he is tried for blaspheme, says some pretty blasphemous things and so is bound and readied for crucifixion.
This is the longest chapter in Mark and since today is our first Sunday in Lent it is appropriate that we find ourselves in the arrest of Jesus which is part of this season.