Saturday, June 26, 2010

294: Jesus, Followed by Naked Boys?

Mark 14
"A young man, wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him, he fled naked, leaving his garment behind." - Mark 14:51-52

This section is fairly similar to Matthew's account. With a few exceptions.

The first story is about Jesus having expensive perfume poured on his head. We are further told that this perfume was worth more than a year's wages. Like in Matthew, Jesus rebukes his disciples for suggesting that the woman could have donated that perfume to the poor. If she were truly a follower of Jesus would she have had the perfume in the first place? Aren't loyal followers of Jesus supposed to sell everything they have? I guess Jesus disagrees with his own principles.

Next is the Lord's supper. The part about Jesus confronting Judas in front of the other disciples is strangely absent. It didn't really make any sense in the first place. Again Jesus predicts Peter's denial, and again Jesus goes to pray at Gethsemane. These are both extremely similar to Matthew's accounts.

When Jesus is arrested, the story gets a little different. Again Jesus is seized, and again one of Jesus's followers chops off the ear of one of the high priest's servants. This time, though, Jesus never tells his followers to stop fighting (remember "all those who draw the sword will die by the sword"?). The only line that is included is Jesus asking his capturers why they have come with clubs and swords to capture him. For some reason Jesus's followers decide to stop chopping people's ears off and Jesus is taken away.

This is where the story really gets strange. After Jesus is taken, Mark says, one of his followers (a "young man") strips off his linen garment and runs away naked. What? His follower was so sad that he felt the need to go streaking? As a side note, were all his followers wearing only linen garments, or only the little boys?

The chapter ends the same as Matthew's account, with Jesus being convicted by the high priest, and denied by Peter (as predicted).

Is biblical prophecy coming true? My tiny American reference frame tells me yes!
"Immediately after the distress of those days the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light" (Matthew 24:29). Just over two months ago (April 14, 2010) a massive volcano erupted in Iceland; darkening the sun and moon and shutting down all air traffic throughout Northern Europe. Thousands of people were stranded, millions of dollars were lost by the airlines and many thousand lives were disrupted. When I read the newspaper that day, I thought I was reading the Bible.
Well, case closed. The end of the world is at hand. Except as of May 21 Eyjafjallajökull has gone back into it's dormant phase and isn't blocking the sun or the moon any more. Does that mean we're safe again? Can I come out of my bomb shelter?
"The second angel sounded his trumpet ... and a third of the living creatures in the sea died" (Revelation 8:8, 9). Was Jesus talking about the Gulf oil spill or some other event? How much of the Gulf has been polluted so far? How many of the sea creatures have died? The toll isn't completed yet, but I am sure many of us are sickened by the birds and sea creatures dying from the toxic poison.
I haven't read Revelations yet, but it sounds like the sea life died as a result of the angel. The bible doesn't say that the angel sounded it's trumpet, oil erupted into the gulf of mexico, then the sea life started dying. I think I can safely say that Jesus was not talking about the gulf oil spill, considering he didn't know that the Americas existed. This is not to mention that this is not the first gulf oil spill. What other events that happen all the time are currently happening?:
Many other prophecies are also coming true: "But mark this: These will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers God -- having a form of godliness but denying its powers" (II Timothy 3:1-5). Is this not an accurate description of our day? I think most people would agree that it is.
Lovers of money? Disobedient to their parents? Loving pleasure? I am forced to agree that these are accurate descriptions of our day. But they're also accurate descriptions of every other day, past, present, and (I daresay) future.
He will come again, in the future, in great glory and majesty according to the scripture. "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory." (Matthew 24:30).
This is the bible being taken out of context at it's best. Jesus clearly says (at least in Matthew and Mark) that this will happen before his generation is dead. I suspect this guy has read Matthew (he's a pastor), so I'm forced to conclude that he's being willfully dishonest about this "prophecy".

Can we stop turning every day events into pre-apocalyptic nonsense?


  1. Mark 14

    Mark 14:4. Note that only "some of those present" (Simon the Leper?) rebuked the woman, not necessarily the disciples. Matthew (26:8) makes it some of the disciples, whereas John explicitly has the complainer as Judas (which could still be implicit in Mark and Matthew).

    Mark 14:10. Note that Mark gives us no explanation for why Judas, one of Jesus' handpicked followers and someone who presumably witnessed his miracles, would betray him. Was he sick of Jesus' narcissism? It's impossible to say. The other 3 evangelists at least supply motives. However, the notion that Jesus was betrayed by one of his followers was probably derived from scripture, such as verses Obadiah 7, Psalm 41:9, or Psalm 55:12-13, and also possibly from a misreading of Paul's assertion that Jesus was "delivered up" (more on this later when we read Paul's epistles).

    As I observed when discussing Matt 26:47-49 (cf. Mark 14:44-45 as well), there really is no function for Judas in Jesus' arrest, since he certainly would've been recognizable, considering how we are constantly told how popular he was. There also remains in the NT (in, e.g., Matt 19:28 or 1 Cor 15:5) evidence that "The Twelve" was a group that witnessed the resurrection, and thus had not been reduced to the Eleven by that time, as the Gospels have.

  2. We're jumping ahead, but this is what Rev 8:6-9 says:
    "6 Then the seven angels who had the seven trumpets prepared to sound them.

    7 The first angel sounded his trumpet, and there came hail and fire mixed with blood, and it was hurled down upon the earth. A third of the earth was burned up, a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.

    8 The second angel sounded his trumpet, and something like a huge mountain, all ablaze, was thrown into the sea. A third of the sea turned into blood, 9 a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed."

    I don't recall "hail and fire mixed with blood" raining down on the earth, a third of the earth being burned up, a third of the trees being burned up, or all of the grass being destroyed (don't people still have lawns where you live?). I also don't recall that huge fiery mountain being cast into the sea, and I certainly haven't seen that the sea has turned into blood (not oil) and a third of the ships in it destroyed. Did I miss something?

    Moreover, Rev 8:8 was not spoken by Jesus - it is purported to be from someone named John.



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