Mk 14:1-2, 10-11, 27-42 Traveling Holy Week As A Community
We are back in Mark’s gospel this week to travel with Jesus toward all that he has seen before him. We’ve left the wordy- world of John's gospel behind -- for today.
In Mark’s gospel Jesus’ life moves quickly. Even today’s earlier story of his entry into Jerusalem uses the word “Immediately” a couple times.
Now the story gains details while it continues to move fast.
(altho I’ve cut certain stories from it today, I hope you will read the enter chapter this week and catch the beauty of the literary allusions and the images conveyed by even the least of the characters.)
Mark’s author writes a dramatic story! in past years we have enacted part of it. Today I want us to hear it. Today we listen and sit with the stark drama of the words alone.
You just heard Jesus command the disciples, “Stay here and keep alert.” and his rebuke, “Will you sleep and rest all night? That’s enough! The time has come..”
What is the feeling you get from this last dialogue between Jesus and the sleepy disciples?...
How does it compare to the scene with those same disciples as he rode into Jerusalem?
How has the emotion changed?
This gospel account leaves no doubt that he feels deeply. He also knows what is coming. Whether divine foresight or knowledge of how the Romans have always squashed anyone viewed as a threat, Jesus knows!
He has been a 'mostly'-revered teacher, RABBI!
He has been acclaimed for his ability to heal.
His disciples are in awe of him and excited that they have come to Jerusalem to triumph over all those who continue to oppress the working class Jewish people.
Jesus knows his disciples haven’t understood his warnings.
Jesus knows that now the time for words has passed. . . it is time for him to LIVE the words.
and now Jesus sees the one about to betray him, walking ever closer.
Listen to what happens next,
43) Suddenly, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came with a mob carrying swords and clubs. They had been sent by the chief priests, legal experts, and elders. 44) His betrayer had given them a sign: “Arrest the man I kiss, and take him away under guard.”
45) As soon as he got there, Judas said to Jesus, “Rabbi!” Then he kissed him.
46) they came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 47) One of the bystanders drew a sword and struck the high priest’s slave and cut off his ear. 48) Jesus responded,
“Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me, like an outlaw? 49) [During the] day, I was with you, teaching in the temple, but you didn’t arrest me. . . But let the scriptures be fulfilled.”
50) And all his disciples left him and ran away.
51) One young man, a disciple, was wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They grabbed him, 52) but he left the linen cloth behind and ran away naked.
The last disciple escapes, naked and exposed.
As we read these verses in community we are challenged to HEAR how our ways of justice are exposed in the rattle of swords and clubs.
Like the community of disciples, we long for explanation. surely someone here understands what has happened…and why?
What was it that Jesus has been trying to tell us?
What scriptures are being fulfilled?
Jesus becomes silent before those who accuse him, (&) WE are left with the task of seeking justice in his story.
Not because we can fix what happened, but because the scenes we will read this week expose US.
(This is not a story to make us feel guilty, as if we were the crowd that killed Jesus. —but it is THE story to show us that Christ is STILL found among us, still pointing to a different way than our, it’s the message of incarnation - God IS WITH us.)
What this story of Jesus does, is expose our misaligned belief that our system is our ultimate protection.
The disciples desertion reflects our own doubts and the uncertainty of our convictions.
When we FEEL and SEE and HEAR the horrid Injustice of the story, we know that these are the ways of OUR world…even today.
The way of seeking out the truth-teller, hushing the whistle-blower, silencing the cries for justice. - (all) the ways of darkness still exist.
When we KNOW this story deeply, we know it could happen today. Perhaps it ..IS happening again and again.
. . .
Jesus will break his silence once in the trial to come.
For the ONLY time in Mark, Jesus will he say who he is using those key words once spoken by God to Moses, “I Am…”
No matter who you thought Jesus was - up to this point - he is making clear his connection to the Divine.
Jesus has held back the claim.
He has silenced those who thought they understood. “it seems, he cannot believe that there are words that will tell the truth about him in the mouths of others.” . . . (1)
“Whatever [could have been] said would take on the color of the world’s insanity; it will be another bid for the WORLD’S power,. . .” another identification with the unaccountable tyrannies that decide how things shall be.”
..not the Jesus’ Way.
This story gives us a glimpse of the TRUTH that Jesus knows. “Humanity does not live in this world of insane authorities, but with God. When God’s judgment arrives, it will be in the unveiling of a true human face as opposed to the masks of [civil or religious authority]. (2)
Christ is unveiled in this pivotal story of our faith - IF - we have EYES to SEE it and EARS to hear.
He is Still speaking today and challenging us to ..STAY AWAKE.
. . .
We travel the path to Gethsemane this week asking to see THIS TRUTH, of the REALITY around us - thru Jesus’ eyes.
So then we may truly KNOW what GOD means by greatness.
Read, listen, see -
donkeys and peasants not swords and soldiers
serving others on earth not animals sacrificed to heaven
letting the world do it’s worse.. And trusting God for life.
God’s ‘I am’ can only be heard for what it really is when it has no trace of human power left to it; …when it is spoken by a captive under sentence of death.” (3)
I invite you into more of the story...
Listen to the words we are about to Sing about Gethsemane.
Then sit down and listen to the scripture that takes us to the end of Jesus’ trial.
Listen for the place where the “language of this world falls away”. [where excuses die]
Where there is “nothing comforting, edifying or reassuring, about Jesus’ final day or [about our own].”
Then, maybe we will hear the great, “I Am” … when there is nothing else left ( in the way).
1) Rowan Williams Christ On Trial (Grand Rapids, MI:Eerdmans, 2000)6
2) ibid 7
3) ibid 7