The Gospel of Mark: Open Your Heart and Believe!
Adult Vacation Bible School, July 2018
Session 4: The Last week –events in Jerusalem
In chapters one through ten, Mark narrates Jesus’ ministry with breakneck speed from his baptism in the Jordan, through his ministry in Galilee and beyond, to his journey to Jericho near Jerusalem. The next six chapters describe the last week in Jesus’ earthly ministry, in which he enters Jerusalem and confronts the powers of the world. The action slows down as Mark describes each day and then one final day in even greater detail – the day of Jesus’ final battle with the forces of darkness. Marcus Borg Dominic Crossan (2006, pp IX,X) lay out the movement of the story:
Sunday: “When they were approaching Jerusalem” (11:1)
Monday: “On the following day” (11:12)
Tuesday “In the morning” (11:20)
Wednesday: “It was two days before the Passover” (14:1)
Thursday: “On the first day of Unleavened Bread” (14:12)
Friday: “As soon as it was morning” (15:1)
Saturday: “The Sabbath” (15:42;16:1)
Sunday: “Very early on the first dy of the week” (16:2)
Mark chronicles the events of Friday in careful three hour intervals mirroring Roman military watch times:
6 AM “As soon as it was morning” (15:1)
9 AM “It was nine o’clock in the morning” (15:25)
12 noon “When it was noon” (15:33)
3 PM “At three o’clock” (15:34)
6 pm “When evening had come” (15:42)
If you want to look more carefully at Jesus last week in Jerusalem:
Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan, The Last Week: A Day-By-Day Account of Jesus’s Final Week in Jerusalem, Harper, 2006.
If you want to look at the apocalyptic elements in the Gospel of Mark, especially chapter 13:
Elliott C. Mloney, Jesus’ Urgent message for Today: The Kingdom of God in Mark’s Gospel, Continuum, 2004.
Resources on Roman History:
Mary Beard, SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome, Liveright, 2016.
Mike Duncan,The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic, Public Affairs, 2017.
Tom Holland, Rubicon: The Last Years of the Roman Republic, Anchor, 2005.
I would highly recommend Mike Duncan’s podcast, The History of Rome as well.