Going Viral #12 — Mark 14:53-72

Covid19 has us stuck at home preparing for Easter… but we can mark each day with devotion. Click here if you missed a past day’s reading.

Mark 14:53-72

Loneliness. The quarantine leaves us all at a different place. For our family of six, we miss our friends, but we rarely feel alone. Instead we have new adventures with each other. Ezekiel and I take daily walks beyond the sidewalk’s end. As a family we are reading the Wingfeather Saga out loud1… But this is not everyone’s experience. For many quarantine is lonely. An empty house. Missing relationships.

Loneliness is what strikes me about this passage. The disciples flee. Peter follows, only to deny him. Jesus is all alone. To face his accusers. To face the darkness.

So when you turn to him with grief. He understands. He has walked your path. Not because it was forced on him… but he chose, “Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering… the punishment that brought us peace was on him.” (Isaiah 53:4-5, the chapter brings me to tears.)

Deeper: This passage is another Markan Sandwich2

Bread –> 14:53-54 (Peter Follows), Meat –> 14:55-65 (Jesus questioned), Bread –> 14:66-72 (Peter Denies)

The Sandwich connection is one of time. The stories appear separate, Jesus questioned three times/Peter denying three times, but are in fact happening simultaneously.

  1. Jesus is asked to speak in defense, but will not answer the false charges (v60-1), Peter denies knowing Jesus to the servant girl (v68).
  2. Jesus, when asked if he is the messiah, declares, Ἐγώ εἰμι, “I am”, Greek for the Hebrew Yahweh (proper name of God, v61-2). Again Peter denies knowing Jesus to the servant girl (v69-70).
  3. While they hit Jesus, they demand he prophesy who hit him (v65), Peter calls down curses, “I don’t know this man.” (v71)

1 Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson who is best know to us as a children’s songwriter, including Bears Bears, my favorite nursery song: “Bears Bears they got no cares, bears don’t drink from cup, sharp teeth and claws and furry paws to catch you and eat you up.”

2 Markan Sandwich — A literary device used by Mark throughout his gospel. A sandwich section begins with one narrative (Bread), but it is interrupted with another narrative (Meat), then returns and concludes the original narrative (Bread). Combined, the stories inform one another.

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