Holy Week Wednesday and Thursday are the focus on Mark 14. The anointing at Bethany and Judas' deal making are the focus of Wednesday. Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes called "Spy" Wednesday because of Judas' "looking out for an opportunity to betray him". We move from there to Jesus Last Supper (Passover) with the disciples. There is one oddity in the story. Notice that Jesus has set up the dinner preparations and location ahead of time: they are waiting and expecting and room has been prepared. The oddity is that they are told to follow a man carrying a jar of water. In the first century a key household responsibility was bringing water from the village well or cistern to the home. This was women's work. The women would gather early morning and/or evening with their stone jars, draw and carry water for household use. The only reason for man to be carrying a jar of water is that he is in a household that does not have women. We know from the Dead Sea scrolls that the Essene community lived gender segregated lives and that they had some urban houses. Could the location of the last supper be one of the Essene community houses in the city of Jerusalem?
I am going to talk about Peter's denial in my sermon on Sunday (both the prediction and the event).
Jesus goes to Gethsemane (word means "place of the olive press"). Gethsemane was at the foot of the mount of olives (so called because of the abundance of olive trees that grow there). This garden was a quiet place that was less than a half a mile from the gates of Jerusalem. Here Jesus prays for strength to face his coming ordeal. He is taken to the Sanhedrin (the Jewish council) where he is challenged and eventually convicted. He is held for the night before being taken to the Roman governor. He has to go to the governor because the council has pronounced the death penalty which the council has no authority to enforce. Under Roman occupation only the Romans were allowed to legally put someone to death. Jesus goes to Pilate and to the Cross in tomorrow's reading.