Mark 14:32-42 is loaded with theological insights but I would like to deal closely with the suffering and Who Is Jesus according to the Markan Narrative. Thereafter, in the light of the atrocities committed against women in our society, I would like to reconstruct the meaning of suffering and death of Jesus and analyze its relevance to the present context.
On that difficult night, Mark narrates that Jesus along with Peter, James and John went to Gethsemane to pray. Now that the time of his arrest is at hand, Jesus is portrayed like almost any other human being, who knowing that his life is growing short, began to be distressed and agitated.
When we look into the socio-political world of the text, this story resembles strongly with Mark’s audience. Mark’s audience too suffered persecution, arrest and were threatened with execution. In the midst of pain and agony Jesus, the suffering Child, prays to ‘Abba’ (Mark 14:36) and pleads to remove the cup. Brown argues that the meaning of the cup here could not be anything but suffering and death since this “cup” language was used earlier in Mark, in the dialogue between Jesus and James and John. Jesus did not want to face the cross, because that was not his mission and that is the reason why Jesus prays “remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” Then, why did Jesus accept suffering and death? Was it imposed on him or preordained by God?
Reconstruction of Jesus’ Suffering and Death
Most of the New Testament scholarship proclaims that the suffering and death of Jesus was in accordance with God’s redemptive purpose and therefore it is preordained by God. But according to Mark Jesus’ fundamental mission was not to die but to initiate the Kingdom of God (reign of God). (Mk 1:14-15)
Earlier in the gospel, Mark depicts Jesus as a person, who is confident and is in command of affairs around him. He isn’t troubled by challenges from his enemies and he demonstrates detailed knowledge about coming events – including his death. He knows that ‘the hour is come; now the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners’ (Mark 14: 41) seems to prove that Jesus’ death was preordained by a divine decree and Jesus accepted it and went to Jerusalem to fulfill what God has imposed. If so, was Jesus a Sacrificial Scapegoat?