Before the Meal
Mark 14:3-9 – woman anoints Jesus’ head with perfume.
This part of the text actually happened a few days prior. Mark is about to relate the treachery of Judas, and this passage demonstrates some of Judas’s greed. Mark does not relate his name to us, but in the parallel passage of John 12:4, Judas is the one that suggested selling the perfume.
Mark 14:10-11 - Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. And when they heard what he had to say, they were delighted and undertook to pay him for it. So he looked out for a convenient opportunity to betray him.
Mark 14:12-16 – Instructions to prepare for Passover
Mark 14:12 - On the first day of unleavened bread, the day when the Passover was sacrificed, Jesus' disciples said, "Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?"
Mark 14:13-15 - Jesus sent off two of them with these instructions, "Go into the town and you will meet a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him and say to the owner of the house to which he goes, 'The Master says, where is the room for me to eat the Passover with my disciples?' And he will show you a large upstairs room all ready with the furnishings that we need. That is the place where you are to make our preparations."
Mark 14:16 - So the disciples set off and went into the town, found everything as he had told them, and prepared for the Passover.
Timeline of the Meal
Mark 14:17-26 – Passover meal (Exodus 12; Lev. 23:4-8; Numbers 9:1-14; Deuteronomy 16:1-8)
Mark focuses mostly on the betrayal in his account of the Passover meal. John gives some more detail, and in Luke’s gospel, we see that there was a dispute amongst the Disciples about whom would be the greatest.
John 13:1-20 – Footwashing
John 13:3-5 - Jesus, with the full knowledge that the Father had put everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was going to God, rose from the supper-table, took off his outer clothes, picked up a towel and fastened it round his waist. Then he poured water into the basin and began to wash the disciples' feet and to dry them with the towel around his waist.
They then sit and partake of the meal - the breaking of the bread symbolizing our Savior’s Body and the drinking of the wine symbolizing our Savior’s Blood.
Luke 22:19 - Then he took a loaf and after thanking God he broke it and gave it to them, with these words, "This is my body which is given for you: do this in remembrance of me."
Luke 22:20-22 - So too, he gave them a cup after supper with the words, "This cup is the new agreement made in my own blood which is shed for you. Yet the hand of the man who is betraying me lies with mine at this moment on the table. The Son of Man goes on his appointed way: yet alas for the man by whom he is betrayed!"
Luke 22:23 - And at this they began to debate among themselves as to which of them would do this thing.
During the meal, Jesus shares with the disciples that one of them will betray Him. They don’t seem to have any reason to simply think that Judas would be the one because they debate and question which disciple it will be:
Mark 14:19 - This shocked and distressed them and one after another they began to say to him, "Surely, I'm not the one?"
Jesus, however knew the exact one of His followers that would betray him:
John 13:26-27 - And Jesus answered, "It is the one I am going to give this piece of bread to, after I have dipped it in the dish." Then he took a piece of bread, dipped it in the dish and gave it to Simon's son, Judas Iscariot. After he had taken the piece of bread, Satan entered his heart. Then Jesus said to him, "Be quick about your business!"
Also, see John 13:18. It is also very likely that Jesus only told John in an aside that it would be the one who was receiving the bread - as the remainder of the disciples still asked each other who would be the betrayer.
Then, an extraordinary thing happens. It is almost as if the disciples just don’t get it! What happens right after the meal and after the lesson on being a servant given through the footwashing?
Luke 22:24 - And then a dispute arose among them as to who should be considered the most important
Then Jesus has to teach them again about servanthood.
Mark 14:27-31 – Peter’s Denial
John records more of the events that transpired after the Passover meal. See John 14:1-17:26 for these events.
The highlights include John 14:1-31 and John 15:5-33 about Christ’s departure and return. The parable of the vine and branches (John 15:1-17), strong opposition from the world (John 15:18-16:4), and Christ’s Prayer for himself (John 17:1-5), his disciples (John 17:6-19), and later followers (John 17:20-26). The time has come (John 17:1); Christ now knows the hour is at hand.
The story picks back up with Mark’s account in chapter 14.
Mark 14:32-42 is the account of Christ and the disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Mark 14:32-42 - Then they arrived at a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to the disciples, "Sit down here while I pray." He took with him Peter, James and John, and began to be horror-stricken and desperately depressed. "My heart is nearly breaking," he told them. "Stay here and keep watch for me." Then he walked forward a little way and flung himself on the ground, praying that, if it were possible, he might not have to face the ordeal. "Dear Father," he said, "all things are possible to you. Please - let me not have to drink this cup! Yet it is not what I want but what you want." Then he came and found them fast asleep. He spoke to Peter, "Are you asleep, Simon? Couldn't you manage to watch for a single hour? Watch and pray, all of you, that you may not have to face temptation. Your spirit is willing, but human nature is weak." Then he went away again and prayed in the same words, and once more he came and found them asleep. they could not keep their eyes open and they did not know what to say for themselves. When he came back for the third time, he said "Are you still going to sleep and take your ease? All right - the moment has come: now you are going to see the Son of Man betrayed into the hands of evil men! Get up, let us be going! Look, here comes my betrayer!"
Verse 36 is the striking reality that Christ is actually human. “Please - let me not have to drink this cup! Yet it is not what I want but what you want.” He doesn’t want to physically have to go through what he knows will happen. Blomberg, in “Jesus and the Gospels,” asserts “this is also a perfect example of a prayer not answered in the manner preferred by the person making the request, but through no fault of the pray-er! Hebrews 5:7 will later reflect on this text and insist that Christ ‘was heard because of his reverent submission.’ But the answer to Jesus’ prayer was resurrection after death, not exemption from it. God may often answer our most fervent prayers to be spared hard times in the same way.” (339)
Mark 14:43-52 is the account of Judas delivering over Christ to the authorities. “So he walked straight up to Jesus, cried, "Master!" and kissed him affectionately.” The revelation that this was actually Jesus shocked the authorities (When he said to them, "I am the man", they retreated and fell to the ground - John 18:4-9). Then Peter drew a sword and cut off Malchus, the High Priest’s Servant’s, ear and Christ rebukes him (John 18:10-11). Then Jesus points out that it was always in His timing for this to be fulfilled. (Day after day I was with you in the Temple, teaching, and you never laid a finger on me. But the scriptures must be fulfilled. – Mark 14:49) Finally, the utterly saddening portion of this passage is in Mark 14:50 – “Then all the disciples deserted him and made their escape.” It would appear that they could not believe their Messiah could be taken. “The Fourfold Gospel” states “All the predictions of Jesus had failed to prepare the apostles for the terrors of his arrest. Despite all his warnings, each apostle sought his own safety.” (693)