Mark 14 (a)

If you are a writer and a Christian, it is difficult to tell whether your appreciation of the Passion is colored by your sense of plot, theme, etc. or whether your sense of plot, theme, etc. is formed primarily by the Passion, which you hard a few dozen times growing up.

Anyway, Chapter 14.

We start with another great example of Mark’s economy. I realize that we cant describe our finished product here to a particular individual. But at some point, somebody with a terrific, and oddly contemporary, sense of timing had his or her hand on this. It takes only two verses to give a sense of heightened emotion.


Next, we get to verse six on the anointing of Jesus’ feet by the sinful woman. I am going to leave aside the fact that this woman was a) automatically assumed to be a prostitute by many exegetes (you hang around here, and somebody is going to throw out the word exegetes every now and again. And not only that: hermeneutic!) and b) was then conflated with Mary Magdalene, thereby undermining her authority in the post-Resurrection community; and focus on the utterly common observation that this anointing prefigures the anointing of Jesus body in death, and what I hope is a less common observation, that this extremely sensual act moved Jesus as few other kindnesses done to him had.

I am not trying to say that Jesus was a fledgling libertine—and then they off-ed him, man!—just that he appreciated this person giving him a physical gift, whereas so many others had simply taken from him by touching him, clinging to him, demanding his touch, etc. What sets this woman gift apart (says me) is that she gave to Jesus through the channel through which Jesus usually gave to others—touch. (Makes you wonder about the whole body-hating school of Christian thought, but that’s another blog entry.)

V. 10-11: You have seen my skeptical take on the Gospel of Judas a few entries down-blog. But a question remains: if Jesus was all knowing (as I don’t think he was) then he must have known what Judas was up to. And as he didn’t stop it—assuming he could have, which is a separate argument—then he was at least complicit in his own death. No? As I assume Jesus wasn’t quite sure what was unfolding, I don’t have to answer that question. But sometimes I wonder if I believe what I believe just because it is easily defensible.

V. 12-16: There is something in these verses and the “find me a mule” verses on Palm Sunday that make Jesus sound a little like gentle Tony Soprano.

More soon

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