Feast upon the Word Blog

A blog focused on LDS scriptures and teaching

Easter lesson: Mark 14-16

Posted by cherylem on April 1, 2007

Text for Easter Lesson: Mark 14-16 Suffering, Death and Resurrection
Emphasis on:
1. The anointing of Jesus
2. The Passover Supper – what does Jesus’ comment about betrayal have to do with us?
3. Jesus’ suffering/Peter’s suffering: abandonment and loss of the presence of God
4. The rent temple veil, in light of Hebrews 10:19-20
5. The resurrection: fear and trembling before the revelation of God

1. Mark 14:1-11 Death Plot to Betrayal; The anointing of Jesus

1After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.2But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.

-the story of the anointing-

10And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

• The chief priests are in both segments.
• V. 1, v. 11: “sought how” or “look for”

Mark 14:3-9 The Anointing

Between these two segments revealing the final plot to arrest and execute Jesus is sandwiched the narrative of a nameless but ever-to-be-remembered woman who simultaneously (a) anoints Jesus as Messiah Israel’s anointed king, and (b) performs the function of preparing the body of Jesus for burial.

v. 3: three very active verbs: woman came, brake, poured
v. 5: pence = denari (a year’s salary)

The JST of Mark 14:8-9 changes these verses into a chiasmus (credit to Julie M. Smith for this insight):

She hath done what she could: and this which she has done unto me, shall be had in remembrance in generations to come, wheresoever my gospel shall be preached; for verily she has come beforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

A she hath done what she could . . . had in remembrance
B in generations to come
C wheresoever my gospel shall be preached
D for verily she has come beforehand
E to anoint my body to the burying
D’ verily I say unto you
C’ wheresoever this gospel shall be preached
B’ throughout the whole world
A’ this also that she hath done . . . for a memorial of her

This structure suggests:
1. The focus of the story is on the anointing, not the objection.
2. D, D’: the two “verily” sayings surround the anointing (in other words, pay attention!)
3. B, B’: the scope includes not just space but time, not just the whole world but throughout all generations.
4. A, A’: She will be remembered.

Other things to note about this story:
• The identity of Jesus as Israel’s King and the paradoxical truth that Jesus’ kingship is to be discerned only in his death as one who has been betrayed and delivered up for execution by one of his own disciples and by leaders of his own people.
• Jesus is anointed by an unknown woman to the disapproval of bystanders. Traditional kings of Israel anointed by a prophet to the acclaim of bystanders
• v. 8: For what was Christ anointed? When was Christ crowned?

2. Mark 14:18-26 At the Passover supper/how do we read the betrayal of Christ?

v. 18-20 Who would betray Christ? (not answered in Mark)

Psalm 41:9:
Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me.

v. 21 What does this mean?
See D&C 76:32, but how did Peter feel at the end of Chapter 15?

Every one of Jesus’ disciples is put on notice about the seriousness of his commitment. Do we examine our own conscience when we partake of the sacrament? Viewed in this manner, is Jesus’ statement an admonition to all to give heed to the dimensions of the commitment we have undertaken?

v. 22-23: See 1 Corinthians 10:16 (NIV) 16Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?

v. 24: “Blood of the new covenant” – a new covenant-establishing ritual, a covenant-existence shared with Christ

Old Testament antecedent: Exodus 24:7-8
7 Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it to the people. They responded, “We will do everything the LORD has said; we will obey.”
8 Moses then took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”

v. 25 To what does this refer?
D&C 27: 5-18 (p. 46)
See also: Rev. 19:7-9

But what was Mark’s understanding? As far as we can tell, the early Christians expected the coming of the Son of Man to fall within the lifetimes of some of those who heard him.

v. 26 “sung a hymn:” usually from Psalms 115-118. How do these relate to Christ?
Psalm 116:12-19, esp. v. 16-18

Psalm 116:18 I will fulfill my vows to the LORD
in the presence of all his people,

Psalm 118:17-23 (NIV)
17 I will not die but live,
and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18 The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19 Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20 This is the gate of the LORD
through which the righteous may enter.
21 I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22 The stone the builders rejected
has become the capstone;
23 the LORD has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes.

3. Jesus’ suffering/Peter’s suffering: Abandonment and loss of the presence of God

Mark 14:29-31 Peter’s vehemence

29But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended [scandalized], yet will not I.
30And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
31But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

Mark 14:32-50 Gethsemane (place of the Olive Press)

v. 34: The Greek literally means “my soul is overwhelmed with grief to the point of death.”

v. 35: “the critical moment,” usually translated as “the hour.”

Suffering of Christ: THE CUP
14:33-36 -> but see JST
Psalm 69:20 (p. 757)
Mosiah 3:7 (p. 152)
D&C 19:15-20 (p. 32)

Could James and John drink the cup? (Mark 10:38)

v. 37-39, 40 What is the significance of the disciples’ sleeping?
• Of Christ’s coming to check on them
• Of not knowing what to answer -> Mark 9:5-6
v. 37 Significance of “Simon.”

v. 41 Christ heroically faces his tragic destiny
“… yet a third time …” There are here three instances of failure by the inner circle; Peter will deny Jesus three times.

v. 50 ABANDONMENT by disciples
See Mk 14:27; Mk 14:27; it has happened exactly as Jesus foretold them all so recently,but also in accordance with earlier indications: cf. Mk 4:16-17: the seeds sown on rocky ground: ” when they hear the message they accept it happily, 17 but they have no roots of their own-they respond to circumstances, and so, when hard times or persecution arises because of the message, right away they find all manner of difficulties.”

Mark 14:51-72 Jewish Trial and Peter’s Denial

v. 51-52
To think about: Those who have left everything to follow Jesus now leave everything – even their clothing – to get away from him.

v. 53-72
vs. 53-72 form another Marcan story within a story: the narrative account of Peter’s following Jesus into the courtyard of the High Priest (14:53-4) then emphatically denying on three successive occasions that Peter was himself a follower of Jesus (14:66-72) encloses as a frame the account of Jesus’ hearing before the Sanhedrin.

How does Peter’s confession compare with Christ’s?

v. 72: If we have seen the human side of Jesus in the narrative of the Garden of Gethsemane, here we see Peter in his magnificent weakness and then–in a masterful narrative closing touch–his profound remorse and acknowledgement of his own weakness.

4. Mark 15:21-47 The rent temple veil, in light of Hebrews 10:19-20

v. 32 Even the crucified thieves reviled him. ABANDONMENT, and then, the ultimate ABANDONMENT:

33And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour

v. 33 Darkness at noon
What does this symbolize: the light of the world taken away; spiritual death

34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Was Christ experiencing spiritual death?

38And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

Hebrews 10:19-20 (NIV)
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body,

5. Mark 16:1-8 The resurrection: fear and trembling before the revelation of God

v. 5, v. 8 What/who is there?
Why are they afraid?

v. 8 What is the significance of the fear and trembling?

Mark 5:33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her, came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.

Exodus 3:2-6
2And the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
3And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt.
4And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.
5And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.
6Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

Mark 4:41 And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Mark 9:6 And he [Peter at the transfiguration] whist not what to say, for they were sore afraid.

Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Fear and trembling is the response to God’s revelation of himself in Mark and elsewhere.
• For those on the path to salvation
• Those who reject God now do not fear and tremble now BUT will on the day of judgment

How can we overcome our fear of God? Read D&C 121:45-46 (p. 242-243)
Bowels full of charity towards all men
Virtue garnish our thoughts
Then shall our confidence wax strong in the presence of God
The doctrine of the priesthood shall distill upon our souls like the dews from heaven
The Holy Ghost shall be out constant companion
A scepter of righteousness and truth
An everlasting dominion
Without compulsory means it shall flow unto us forever and ever

One Response to “Easter lesson: Mark 14-16”

  1. nhilton said

    Thanks, Cheryl, for your efforts on this. I will personally enjoy studying this as part of my own Easter celebration. :)

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