Reading for Thursday, Oct 25: Mark 14
We’ve reached the climax of Mark’s writing: the hours leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion. The setting here is no doubt familiar to many of us: Jesus and His disciples observing the Passover; Jesus initiating a new covenant observance for those who would follow Him; His time of prayer; the disciples falling asleep; the betrayal by Judas and denial by Peter.
What is surprising is the power of this narrative to stir something within us no matter how many times we’ve read it or heard it. The temptation is to “switch off” — to think, “Yeah, yeah, yeah…heard this before.” But when we really go there, we find ourselves in this world of sights and sounds that unfolds for us directly in the pages of Scripture. I hear my own voice as Peter denies Jesus; I see my own weakness in his heavy lids in the Garden; Simon’s drawn sword too often encapsulates my own violent posture. Worst of all, I suppose, is the look on Judas’ face — full cognizance of his surroundings, complete awareness of what he is about to do. This look resonates with us because we’ve been there. We ARE there right now. And so this narrative moves in the deep places of our hearts, brimming with life and power, and we are changed because of it.
This is why Mark writes.
And this is why we read.