Bible Background: Each of the 4 gospels tells of Jesus’ arrest, trial, and crucifixion, with similar and yet different details. Mark especially shows the suffering and silence of Jesus. Because Mark’s account was likely used by Matthew and Luke as their outline, there are fewer features ‘unique’ to Mark. Here are some of them:

1. Mark tends to paint the disciples in a little worse light than Matthew and Luke. For example, Judas seems determined to betray Jesus, even before money is discussed. Peter, is made to be even more of a fool at his denial of Jesus. One follower of Jesus runs away naked, rather than be arrested with Jesus (14:51-52).

2. Mark makes clear how unjust the ‘trials’ of Jesus are; and how false the charges are. Mark shows Jesus’ being treated particularly harshly.

3. Mark sheds a little more light on the person of Barabbas, who is more than a robber and a notorious prisoner. He committed murder during a rebellion against the Romans. (And hardly seems like the kind of person the Romans would want to release.)

4. Only Mark notes that Pilate “wishing to please the crowds” (15:15) sets up the choice between Jesus and Barabbas.

5. In Mark, the statement of the centurion when Jesus dies, is especially strong: Truly, this man was the Son of God! For Mark, it is important to see both Jesus’ humanity and divinity!

6. In Mark and Matthew, the only ‘last’ saying of Jesus is Psalm 22:1 My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? This can be interpreted 2 ways: Does Jesus die, feeling abandoned on the cross? Or does he trustingly, with scripture on his lips?

7. There’s a bit more grace in Mark’s account, to balance out the harshness too. On the 1st day of the week, when the women discover the empty tomb and are met by an angel, there are instructed to “go and tell his disciples, and Peter, that he is going ahead of you to Galilee.” No matter how unfaithful Peter and the others have been, Jesus is and will be faithful to them!

Read Mark’s account at home sometime this week! Let scripture lead you through Holy Week to Easter joy!