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Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Gospel of Mark - Chapters 13-16 Notes

Chapter 13 [The Eschatological Discourse]

The way the Jews understood it, the Exile was the judgment and the Messiah was going to come and defeat all enemies, mainly Rome. They were a bit off. Christ and the Church correct this. The Jews don't realize that John the Baptist has been telling them to repent because the Messiah is coming to judge Israel and when He does a remnant will survive (Jews and Gentiles) and inherit the Kingdom. 


As they are leaving, the Apostles are marveling at the Temple and all the buildings. Jesus says: This building won't be here for long. It will be leveled. 


They rest on the Mount of Olives and ask privately about this. Jesus answers that when you see these things take place, these will be the beginning of sorrows. 

64 AD a rebellion begins and Jews try to take Jerusalem. 

70 AD Nero and later Vespasian send Titus who kills off all the rebels there. They level the Temple also. It is the economic center, place of power, etc. They seized the Temple Treasury which was all of the chief priests' wealth. 

128 AD Simon bar Kochba (Son of a Star) shows up, claims he is Messiah, and starts off the 3rd Jewish-Roman War. They temporarily free a chunk of Judea. 

131-132 AD Masada is all that is left and they all commit suicide. Jerusalem is then completely flattened, Simon is killed and the High Priest gets filleted alive. Rome then found a new pagan city atop Jerusalem's ruins and only allowed them into Jerusalem one day of the entire year to mourn the Temple Mound. 

"Many will come saying "I am He". It did. 70 and 132 AD it does take place. 

Simon Bar Kochba even mints himself coinages with "Year One" on it. 

79 AD there is also a huge earthquake and Mount Vesuvius destroys Pompey. Famines and pestilences happen dramatically. Jesus warns the disciples that they will face persecution themselves. This happens to them way before 64 AD in Acts as well. Paul and Peter get executed by Nero and James is killed by the Jews. 


Code is here (let the reader understand) for the Romans are going to destroy everything. Mark has just seen Peter die in Rome when he writes this gospel. 

The abomination of desolation in Daniel is Antiochus IV who sacrifices to Zeus at the Temple. This is going to happen again in 70 AD when Titus makes sacrifices to Zeus/Jupiter in the Temple before destroying it. 

It sounds like hyperbole but Josephus records how horrible the Jewish Roman War was. It was horrific and that is what Jesus refers to here. The Christians left for Jordan in Petra and Pella. 

There will be a remnant preserved. For the sake of the ones who will believe (Jewish Christians), there will be Jews to survive. If it went further, they would be exterminated. Rome had exterminated before. Phoenicians were by Rome before. Jews barely survive but God saves some. Jesus has warned them here beforehand. He is Messiah so they should know when Bar Kochba claims he is Messiah, he is a liar. Mark had witnessed Peter's death and they'd already fled Jerusalem by that time. 


Shift here. "In those days, after that tribulation". It is not specified when. The last Judgement is here. The 2nd Coming. He brings it up here so they know that it is not the end of the world in 70 AD nor in 132-135 AD. 


A parable of the fig tree about the 2nd Coming is given by Christ. They just saw Him curse the fig tree. You plant a tree to produce fruit and Israel didn't produce fruit. When the fig tree is about to produce figs, we would expect harvest time. Harvest time is the Last Judgment time. We should ask ourselves what kind of fruit we will produce. If a fig tree doesn't produce, you remove it. 


This generation (genea-genos-family line, race, ethnic group). 

Here, generation (in 1611 meant generate - to give birth to a family lineage) means "this people".

Which genos? His people. The Christians.

Not all Jews were wiped out in 70 AD. Nor 132-135 AD. Not all Christians have been wiped out either. Christians will survive until the end (the 2nd Coming). 

The promise He made WILL happen. God will protect His people and they will be in this world until it ends. Until He comes so keep watch and be mindful for we do not know the Day nor the hour.

Don't be asleep on the job. The penalty for a Roman officer asleep on the job was the death penalty. 

Chapter 14


After two days it is Passover (Pascha) and the Feast of the Unleavened Bread and the chief priests and scribes plot how to get Jesus and put Him to death. They also want to avoid making Pontius Pilate angry as they remember he has had people executed before for mob violence and attempts at messianic uprisings before. 


In Bethany, house of the poor Simon the Leper (formerly a leper), Jesus is there with the Apostles and a woman comes in and annoints Him with a spikenard perfume (floral). She breaks the bottle and gives Jesus the whole thing. The disciples become upset because they think that this could have been used to feed a bunch of people. 300 denari's worth is a year's worth of money at that time. Jesus tells them though it is good because He is about to be killed. 

"For you the poor will always be with you". Jesus is saying here: Your concern for the poor... Where was it before? I see her love for Me. Where is your love at hating on this poor woman?


Judas goes off to betray Jesus. He seems to have his doubts now and that his future is unappealing so Judas wants out. Judas doesn't love Jesus and just hates it all. 


The disciples on the first day of Unleavened Bread kill the Pascha Lamb. Jesus gives them information to get them to do it all correctly and because He knows what is about to happen. He is sending a message that obviously He is the Messiah and this is part of the plan. 


What may be happening here is they are not doing the Pascha Seder here. There's a spot in the OT where you save money and then get a feast set up. This could also be Pascha Seder so it is debatable. Jesus never tells Judas to go away. Judas does so and betrays Jesus on his own volition. All the disciples ultimately betray Christ but all but Judas repented. In V. 19 they all ask "is it me?" because they all are thinking about it at least to some extent and were definitely ready to run off and abandon Him. Judas isn't the only one thinking about doing it. 

The Eucharist here is given. Christ cuts the covenant here with the Apostles. A sacrifice is made here.

Food=sacrifice offerings. 

You participate with the sacrifice by eating. You are offering and sharing food with "the gods" (in this case the One True God, Christ) to please them. This was how the OT and even paganism often worked, but in Judaism, it is more for hospitality reasons instead of to appease a wrathful deity. This section is here to remind you of Genesis 18 with Abraham when Yahweh cut the covenant with him. 

Prodigal Son, when the son returns, hospitality is given to the son when he has returned. A sacrifice is there and Communion. Jesus offers Himself as a pleasing sacrifice and takes the evil intentions of humanity and turns it into good. They sing a hymn after the Eucharist is given and taken and go to the Mount of Olices. You can see essentially all of Jerusalem there. Jesus tells them that they will all betray Him. He quotes Zechariah 13:7 in the process. 

Peter protests this and Jesus responds that Peter will actually deny Him 3x and that a rooster will crow twice. Before dawn, in mere hours this is going to happen. Peter does what Jesus says will happen. In only a few hours, Peter as well as the other apostles all do it, including Judas. 


They go to Gethsemane and Jesus brings His 3 closest to stand watch and then goes off to pray. Jesus is sorrowful. He is human after all. The hypostatic union is put on full display here. 

Cup = suffering. 

This is not a public announcement. This is put here to tell us something about Jesus privately to tell and show us that He is God, human, King, and servant. St. Mark has been showing us a lot that Jesus is God. Here, he makes sure to show us that Jesus is fully God and human; God Incarnate, not a god cloaked or pretending to be a human... a real human. 

In paganism, the gods could not die and pretended to be human a lot. Here, Mark shows us that Jesus is totally human and really does suffer and really died and really was scared. If Jesus is really a human, His instinct is to live, not to die. We brought death into the picture. Death and sin are foreign to Jesus. 

Jesus does not want to die but He will so "Your will be done" (the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit's will). 

He comes back to the disciples 3x and they all fail to even stay awake. The 3rd time they find Him about to be arrested. The hour has come and they failed to keep the lookout. 


Before finishing speaking, Judas comes and betrays them. While they slept, Judas came back with the chief priests and etc. mob to get him. Judas kisses Judas, a sign to betray Him. Gives off His location. A servant of the high chief priest gets his ear sliced off by sword in the midst of the capture. Then a random youth followed Jesus and then ran off, under 13. All he had on was a tunic and he runs off naked to get away from them. Traditionally this is John Mark who the youth was. 


When Judah the Hammer (1 Maccabees) took back Judaea for a time he made his brother Simon, the high priest and they were until 70 AD. Annas father is Caiaphas, the High Priest. Annas gradually steppend into his role as High Priest. 

The Sanhedrin originally was based on Moses and the system placed in Numbers. Problem is even in Israel of old, they did not obey Torah and then Exile happened and they needed judgment. By Jesus' time it is predicted that the Sanhedrin had owned 85% of the land. The Levites weren't supposed to own or get the land but they control it here. 

They take Jesus to a "trial" at Caiaphas' home. They tell the servents to go out to the fireplace outside (Peter goes there and hangs around to see what happens). They try to charge Jesus with a crime but they can't manage to get two people to even agree until they mention the Temple and question Him if He is Messiah. Jesus answers "yes" and then says "I AM" as well. Jesus is quoting Daniel and uses the Name of the Lord. He is fulfilling it and answers Who He is: God Incarnate. Caiaphas breaks and they condemn Christ to the death penalty. 

It isn't blasphemy to claim you are Messiah. Claiming you are an archangel of God would just make you silly or stupid. Jesus here claims He is not just Messiah but God Incarnate. This is what the Jews try to claim is a blasphemy so they then beat and mock Jesus. 


They beat and abuse Jesus and then await to turn Him over to the Romans. Peter meanwhile in the courtyard is witnessing this and the servants by the fire realize Peter is a disciple and question him, who ends up denying Jesus, 3x just like Jesus said would happen. Peter even curses and swears about it, then realizes what he has done, weeps, and leaves.

Chapter 15


They deliver Jesus to Pilate, who likes to execute. Pilate asks, "Are You the King of the Jews?"

Romans hate kings and do not like that title. Even the emperor doesn't mean king because Rome saw kings as terrible tyrants. They hated it so much they stabbed Julius Caesar for it. Pilate does not want a revolt. He desires to keep Pax Romana for the Empire in this region so Jews causing him a problem causes him a problem and this could mean Pilate's head too.

Jesus answers Pilate but does not answer the Sanhedrin. Jesus admits He is King of the Jews and it perplexes Pilate. The Sanhedrin tries to charge Him with more crimes but Jesus says nothing in response. Pilate then likely for entertainment purposes tries to release a prisoner to the mob that comes. He gives a choice to the mob: Jesus OR a rebel murderer Barrabas. He knows the Sanhedrin are just plotting evil stuff and envy Jesus and Pilate thinks the Sanhedrin are scum too. He assumes Jesus will be freed but they get the mob to choose Barrabas, a rebel Jew. They choose to kill the Messiah and demand a crucifixion. 

Pilate curiously asks, "What has this Jesus guy done?" They just yell more and Pilate allows it. 


They release Barabbas and scourge Jesus and lead Him off to be crucified. The soldiers take Him to the Praetorium, a complex where the Legionaires are. It is where they beat and scourge and flog Jesus. They clothe Him mockingly with purple and give Him a crown of thorns. They hit Him with a reed and spit on Him, mock Him for being "King of the Jews". The reed here is important because in Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, they take two goaats. One is sent off to the desert, sins are taken away.

In the Epistle of Barnabas, he explains that in the goat ritual they would put a red rag: blood around it and spit and hit the goat. 

Jesus is the Goat carrying their sins out of the city to cleanse them and bring them back into communion with God. 


Mark mentions Simon of Cyrene, son of Rufus and Alexander, implying at the time of the writing, that they are alive and still able to be witnesses. Simon of Cyrene helps carry the Cross for Jesus. They go to Golgotha, Place of hte Skull. Tradition in 2nd Temple Judaism says that Adam was buried there and in Rabbinic Tradition, Jerusalem is also Eden/Paradise. This is where Jesus is killed (the New Adam). Tradition is that Jesus' blood dripped into Adam's grave signifying Adam and his descendents (all of us) will be raised from the dead. 

The Romans strip Christ naked and He doesn't drink the wine (myrrh) (it's poisonous). He refuses it. While on the Cross, they try and play lots to sell off His clothes and Isaiah 53 is fulfilled. 

In the 3rd Hour, He is crucified and an inscription is put on the Cross saying "The King of the Jews", his charge. He is crucified with two robbers, Him in the middle. "He was numbered with the transgressors". He is dying for the peoples' sins because He has none. The people mock Him. There are many here who apparently know Jesus and still blaspheme Him. How do you blaspheme a man if He isn't God? 

The chief priests mock Him and say to come off the Cross so they can "see and believe". They would not do it anyways if He did. It is mockery. 


On the 6th Hour, Jesus yells out in Aramaic, "Why hast Thou forsaketh Me? My God. My God." He is praying aloud Psalm 22. On this 6th Hour, there is a great darkness. Christ is expressing confidence here that though He appears forsaken, God is with Him and He will be victorious. This darkness is also evidence that a Day of the Lord and Judgement on the world is about to happen with His death. 

They all misinterpret Jesus here (Pharisees and all) and think He is calling out for Elijah to come and save him so they then try and mock Him again by trying to get Him to take a sponge of sour wine. Jesus then with His last breath dies. 

The judgment begins. The veil of the Temple is torn into two from top to bottom. When Jesus came, He first went to the Temple, the place/house where Yahweh is supposed to be and live in. Jesus has prophesied that the Temple will be destroyed. Much like Jeremiah who said to quit sacrificing because God had left the Temple and they didn't even notice (Israel). 

At the moment, Messiah dies, the veil is torn, signifying that God has left His people (the apostate Jews). The centurion actually says (later will be St. Longinus) "Truly this man was a son of a god", typical of a Roman Gentile centurion. Why does he say this? Because this Gentile witnessed it and can vouch for it. (St. Longinus converted later and became a Christian so he can tell about this event in Mark's time. Another list of witnesses is given: Mary Magdalene, Mary, Mother of James, Joses, and Salome. 


Day before Pascha. Anyone hanging on Pascha is cursing Pascha. Normally, the Romans would not care and would leave you unburied and hanging up there. 

St. Joseph of Aramathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the Kingdom of God, meaning he still believed in Jesus, even after He'd just died. He goes to Pilate knowing he could be executed for this bold act, and asks for Christ's body. Pilate marvels at this and asks the centurion if Jesus has been dead a while and then allows it. Joseph of Aramathea is an upper class Jew and member of the Sanhedrin and Pilate marvels that Jesus only lasted 6 hours and has died and is curious about it. Here are given witnesses to His burial: Jew and Gentile both. 

Chapter 16


Witnesses are given for the Empty Tomb. After the Sabbath had passed, the women go to annoint His body. This is a common burial practice but Joseph had to do a rush job and so the women are coming on Sunday to finish it. On the way, they question how they are going to roll the stone seal away but then they see it actually has already been rolled away. 

In the tomb, is a white robed man sitting there and they are alarmed because he is an angel. The angel tells them that Jesus has Risen and to go tell the disciples and Peter. Christ is going before them to Galilee. At this point, Peter isn't considered one of the disciples. This is written this way because Mark is writing Peter's account here. Why Galilee? They, the uneducated Gentiles get to see Him and rejoice, and they get to see the Resurrection. Jerusalem does not. They get the darkness, the "educated rich" ones. The ladies flee alarmed. 

This is where the earliest manuscripts of Mark end. When you read the entire NT, it is consistently seen that the Apostles and writers talk about the Resurrection and etc. Paul's letters are older too. 

There are likely manuscripts of Mark before Islam that had the rest of Chapter 16 but they have likely been destroyed since then. We know that all the lectionaries in Byantintium have 16:9-20. This may have been added because of the Lectionary. It is debatable and unclear, but this doesn't negate it from being inspired by God. God inspired everything with the process of the development of the Old and New Testaments. 


When He rose, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, who had 7 demons. She tells the apostles and they don't believe her or them. Jesus appears to them again. Awkward transition here. 


Great Commission is given by Jesus to the disciples. 


Jesus ascends. Goes to the right hand of God. Ascends. Dan 7 is fulfilled. They preached and God was with them and the Holy Spirit. 


Some extra notes: The Gospel of Nicodemus, Enoch 1, 2, and 3, etc. all survive because of Orthodox Christians. The Jews in the 2nd and 3rd CE began to destroy these works and forbade these 2nd Temple works be read in Judaism. The Jews also began changing Pascha and added the Seders, adding prayers to them to try and parody the Eucharist. Rabbinic Judaism is a 5th CE response to Christianity and this is not much different from Islam. Until the 3rd CE, Sirach was used by Jews. They did not like that the Christians used it as a catechism book and so removed it from their usage forbidding it. 

The Christians did not have one canon but many of the Old Testament. They read non-canon works like Jubilees and Enoch at home or in private settings. 

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