Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Last Hours of Jesus a translation by David Breeden

Chapter 14: 17

In the evening Jesus came with the twelve. And as they sat and ate, Jesus said, “Truly I say to you, one of you eating with me will betray me.”

The disciples were dismayed, each asking, “Is it I? Is it I?”

Jesus answered, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips bread into the dish with me. The Child of Humanity goes as it has been written of him. But woe to that man by whom the Child of Humanity is betrayed! It would have been better for that man had he never been born.”

The disciples were dismayed, each asking, “Is it I? Is it I?”

Jesus answered, “It is one of the twelve, one who dips bread into the dish with me. The Child of Humanity goes as it has been written of him. But woe to that man by whom the Child of Humanity is betrayed! It would have been better for that man had he never been born.”

As they continued eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke it, and gave to them, and said, “Take, eat: this is my body.”
And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

And he said to them, “This is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many. Truly I say to you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new in the Sovereignty of God.”

After they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. There, Jesus said to his disciples, “All of you will desert me tonight. For it is written,

‘I will smite the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee.”

Peter said to Jesus, “Even if all the others desert you, I will not.”

Jesus said to Peter, “Truly I say to you that on this day, even in this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”

Peter spoke more vehemently, “Even if I have die with you, I will not deny you in any way.”

All the disciples said the same.

They came to a place called Gethsemane. There, Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him. As he walked, Jesus became distressed and full of anguish. He said to them, “My soul is sad, deathly sad. Wait here and watch.”

Jesus went a little distance farther off, then fell to the ground, praying that, if it were possible, this trial might pass from him. Jesus said, “Abba—Father—all things are possible for you. Take away this cup from me! Nevertheless, it is not what I will, but what you will.”

When he came back, Jesus found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you watch with me one hour? Watch you and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.”

Jesus again went away and prayed, speaking the same words as before.

When he returned, Jesus found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy. They did not know how to excuse themselves.

Jesus prayed a third time, and when he came back, finding them asleep, he said, “Sleep on now, and take your rest. It is all done. The hour has come. See: the Child of Humanity has been betrayed into the hands of those who do not understand. Get up. Let us go. He who betrayed me is near.”

Even as Jesus spoke, Judas, one of the twelve, came with a large crowd carrying swords and staves from the religious leaders and the scholars and the elders.

Judas had explained to them, “Whoever I kiss, that is he. You may take him and lead him away in safety.”

As soon as he saw Jesus, Judas went to him, saying, “Rabbi, Rabbi.” And Judas kissed him.

The crowd laid their hands on Jesus and took him.

One of those nearby drew a sword and struck a servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

Jesus said to the crowd, “Have you come out, as against a thief, with swords and staves to take me? I was there in the temple daily, teaching. You did not take me then. Yet, the scriptures must be fulfilled.”

All of his followers forsook Jesus and fled, including a certain young man who had a linen cloth tied about his naked body. Men in the crowd grabbed him, and he left the linen cloth, running away naked.

They took Jesus away to the high priest. The religious leaders, elders, and scholars had assembled with him.

Peter followed, far off, to the palace of the high priest. He sat outside with the servants, warming himself by a fire.

The religious leaders and the council sought witnesses against Jesus in order to put him to death. They found none. Many bore false witness against Jesus, but their testimony was contradictory. Some bore false witness against Jesus saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.’” Yet none of the witnesses agreed with each other.

So the high priest stood up and asked Jesus, “Don’t you have anything to say? What is it these people are saying about you?”

But Jesus held his peace, saying nothing.

The high priest asked Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed?”

Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Child of Humanity sitting at the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we need further witnesses? You have heard blasphemy. What do you think?”

And they all agreed that Jesus should be condemned to death.

Then some spat on him. Then they blindfolded him and beat him, saying, Prophesy!” The servants slapped him.

Peter was outside, and there came one of the maids of the high priest. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You were with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Peter said, “I don’t understand what you are saying.” Peter went onto the porch of the palace. And a rooster crowed.

The maid found Peter and said to those who were standing around, “This is one of them.”

But Peter denied it again, going off into the crowd. Someone said, “Surely you are one of them, for your speech is like a Galilean.”

Peter began to curse and swear, saying, “I do not know this man you are talking about!”

Then the rooster crowed a second time.

Peter called to mind the words that Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me thrice.” When Peter thought of that, he wept.

Chapter Fifteen: Execution

Early in the morning the religious leaders held a consultation with the elders and scholars and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, delivering him to Pilate.

Pilate asked, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus answered, “You say that.”

Then the religious leaders accused Jesus of many things, but Jesus answered nothing.

Pilate asked Jesus again, “You say nothing? Look how many things they are saying against you.”

Jesus said not a word, and Pilate marveled.

Now it was the custom at the festival time to release one prisoner, whoever the crowd desired. At that time there was a man named Barabbas in custody, a man who had plotted insurrection and had committed murder in the insurrection.

The crowd began crying for the customary release. So Pilate said to them, “Do you wish for me to release the King of the Jews?” For Pilate knew that the religious leaders had arrested Jesus out of envy.

But the religious leaders moved the people, convincing them to cry for the release of Barabbas.

Pilate said to the crowd, “What, then, do you wish for me to do with the one you call the King of the Jews?”

The crowd screamed, “Crucify him!”

Pilate said to the crowd, “Why? What evil has he done?”

The crowd cried all the louder, “Crucify him!”

And so Pilate, wishing to appease the mob, released Barabbas to them and delivered Jesus, after he had been beaten, to be crucified.

Soldiers led Jesus away into a hall, called the Praetorium, and they called together the entire cohort. Then the soldiers clothed Jesus in purple and wove a crown made of thorns, putting it on his head. The soldiers began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” Then they beat him with a reed and spat on him, bowing as if they were worshipping him. After they had mocked him, they took off the purple and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

Along the way, the soldiers compelled a man named Simon, a Cyrenian, who happened to be passing by, a peasant from the country, to bear the cross of Jesus. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus.

So they brought Jesus to Golgotha, which translates, “The Place of a Skull.” There the soldiers offered wine mixed with myrrh, but Jesus would not take it. When they had crucified him, the soldiers took his garments, casting lots for them, deciding what every man should take. It was at nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.

The inscription of his accusation said, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

With him was crucified two thieves, one at his right hand, the other at his left. So it was that the scripture was fulfilled which said, “And he was numbered with the criminals.”

Those who passed by railed at him, wagging their heads, saying, “Ah, you who would destroy the temple and build it in three days! Save yourself. Come down from the cross.”

Likewise, the religious leaders and scholars mocked him, saying, “He saved others, yet he cannot save himself! Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross so that we may see and follow.”

Those who were crucified with him mocked him as well.

At noon, a darkness came over the whole land. The darkness lasted until three in the afternoon. Then Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” Translated, this means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Those standing nearby, hearing this, said, “Listen! He is calling Elijah.” One of them ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, put it on a reed, and gave it to Jesus to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah will come to take him down.”
Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the spirit.

At that moment, the veil of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.

When the centurion who stood nearby saw how Jesus cried out and gave up the spirit, he said, “Truly this man was the Child of God.”

There were women watching from far off, including Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome, who followed Jesus in Galilee and took care of him. There were many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

At evening, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable member of the council, and one who expected the arrival of the Sovereignty of God, came, going in boldly to Pilate and asking for the body of Jesus.

Pilate could not believe that Jesus was already dead. He called the centurion and asked if Jesus was dead. When the centurion said that Jesus was dead, Pilate gave the body to Joseph.

And Joseph bought fine linen and took Jesus down. He wrapped Jesus in the linen and laid him in a tomb that had been cut into rock. Then he rolled a stone to the door of the tomb.

Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses watched, to see where Jesus was buried.

Chapter Sixteen: Prophecy Fulfilled

When the Sabbath had past, Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome bought sweet spices in order to anoint the body. Thus, very early in the morning on first day of the week, they came to the tomb at the time of sunrise. As they walked, they discussed who would roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for them because the stone was very large.

When the women got there, they saw that the stone had already been rolled away. Entering into the tomb, they saw a certain young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment. This frightened them.

But the young man said, “Don’t be frightened. You are searching for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has raised up; he is not here. See, there is the place where they laid him. Go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he went before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he predicted to you.”

The women hurried out, fleeing from the tomb, for they were trembling in amazement. They said nothing to anyone, because they were very afraid.

(Here ends the early text of Mark.)


Why—or if—the Gospel According to Mark ended here is unknown. If the original did end here, “a certain young man” looms even larger, and more mysterious, in the narrative. If the original did end here, Jesus, having become the Child of Humanity, has gone back to Galilee. The women will have to lead the men to the truth.

What would it mean to have the ending be, “They said nothing to anyone, because they were very afraid”? Certainly, such an ending underlines the incomprehension of the disciples. It also underlines the importance of the text we are reading, The Gospel According to Mark, since it is saying something and is not afraid.

If this is the original ending, it also underlines the extreme danger of following Jesus, perhaps challenging the audience of this book to get past fear and go tell everyone.

The Longer Ending of the Gospel According to Mark

After Jesus was raised, early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven demons. She went and told the disciples as they mourned and wept. Yet, when they had heard that Jesus was alive and that Mary Magdalene had seen him, they would not believe it.

After that, Jesus appeared in another form to two of them, as they walked out in the country. These two went and told what they had seen to the group, but no one would listen to them either.

Afterward Jesus appeared to the eleven as they sat at a meal, and upbraided them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they would not listen to those who had seen him after he was raised up.

Jesus said to them, “Go out into all the world and preach the good news to every creature. Those who follow and are baptized shall be saved, but those who will not listen will be damned. Here are the signs that will occur to those who follow: In my name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and, if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and the sick will recover.”

So it was that after God had spoken to them, Jesus was received up into heaven, and he sat at the right hand of God.

Thus it was that they went out, preaching everywhere, God working with them, and confirming the word with signs.


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