Mark spends only three verses on the institution of the Eucharist. That seems odd given its centrality to Christian worship. He doesn’t give us the washing of the feet. Rather the story hurtles toward Jesus’ death. I admire Jesus for praying that “the hour might pass.” That, and his cry of desolation from the cross, makes it easy for me to accept that he did indeed have a human nature.
While Jesus is a still point amidst the churning confusion and brutality of this chapter, you don’t get a sense of him controlling the action, as much as letting events unfold around him. His surrender is absolute, as, I suppose, ours must be. I find such total surrender impossible, and console myself with the fact that Jesus was clear on what and whom he was surrendering to, and that that clarity makes the surrender possible. So my prayer today is for clarity.
I am always mystified by verses 51-52: A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.
Does the young man symbolize Jesus’ soul making its escape? Or is this a reference that an earlier community understood, but that is lost on us. Or is it just stuck in there because it happened. I doubt the latter. Mark is a ruthlessly economical storyteller, and these two verses don’t add a lot if they are purely descriptive.
I identify with Peter’s betrayal of Christ. Not just because I am a sinful person, but because I can imagine Peter calculating, as I tend to, whether this is the time and place to make my stand, or whether I should fight on ground of my own choosing.