Studies in Mark Part II – “Passover Lamb” Mk 14:12-52

September 24, 2008

Having brought freedom, healing and truth to the houses of Israel, Jesus’ ministry culminates in his final teaching and cleansing of “the house of Prayer for the nations” (11:17).  After a period of teaching in the Temple (note the absence of miracles, showing the lack of faith, cf. Mark 6:5-6), Jesus directs his Disciples to prepare the Passover (note that the lamb is never mentioned) in one of the city residents’ homes (Mark 14:13–as a poor person would have, cf. Ex 12:3f).  Once “they prepared the Passover” (14:16), “he [Jesus] came…with the twelve.”  Now that the Passover had arrived (i.e. Jesus), they consume the offering–his body (14:22) and blood (14:24)–in anticipation of Jesus immanent death (14:21).  Once betrayed (14:18) the Passover Lamb would “go as it is written about him” (Is. 53:7-8–“Like a lamb to the slaughtering block.”).  This divinely pleasing one (1:11) would be presented by the priests (Mark 8:31; 10:33; 14:43, 53, 55; 15:1, 3, 10, 11, 31-32) in Jerusalem (10:33) as Malachi 3:1 explained would happen.  From There Jesus and his disciples go out (Ex 12:22) where only Jesus will stand fast (14:27-31, 43-52) to keep vigil (14:32-42; cf. Ex 12:42).

Update:

Thinking yet more over Marks’ portrayal of Jesus as the Passover lamb, I got to thinking of the happenings in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Here again, having gone out of the house (as Ex 12:22 prohibits), Jesus stands in the place of the Passover Lamb as he absorbs all of the mob’s attention.  When judgement comes (again in the middle of the night–cf. Ex. 11:4)–i.e. the mob (instead of “the destroyer” in Ex. 12:23)–Jesus alone is arrested, (even though one of the bystanders clearly should be arrested for cutting off the High Priest’s servant’s ear; Mk 14:47!) while the others are “passed over.”  Even further than the other Gospel writers, Mark points out not only that “all the disciples left him and fled” (Mk 14:50) but that “A young man was following him, wearing only a linen cloth. They tried to arrest him, but he ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth behind.” (Mk. 14:51-52), further highlighting just how alone Jesus is in his role as Passover lamb.

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