Mark's Passover Lamb: Studies in Mark, Pt. 81

A few weeks ago, some good discussion (here and here, for example) was taking place here at Pisteuomen on the relationship between the gospel accounts of Mark and John. At the heart of those discussions was whether or not the two writers had the Passion & Passover events taking place on the same days or different days. As I showed, I think that the evidence certainly corroborates with the former supposition.

One thing I didn't get to discuss in those posts or in the discussion afterwards was Mark's view of Jesus as the Passover Lamb. In my view, the reason this topic is important at all is because people try to assert that the reason John's timeline didn't corroborate with that of Mark's is because John (or Lazarus, whomever wrote that account) had a different theological agenda. The argument is that John's theological agenda was to make sure everyone knew that Jesus was "the" Passover Lamb. Now, it is clear that John's text does go this route. However, to use this as an argument in the "timeline" discussion, in my opinion, doesn't get us very far. Why?

Well, it doesn't get us very far because I think that in Mark's Gospel, Jesus is also being portrayed as the Passover Lamb (Lamb of God). It may be more overt in John but if you read Mark closely, you will see it there too! For instance, have you noticed that in keeping with the 4-day examination of lambs before Passover, that Jesus was in Jerusalem for four days (count from chp. 11 on). Also, did you realize that during those 4 days He was repeatedly being examined by the religious leaders, the very same people who examined the animals? Yes, that's why we have the question / answer sessions when Jesus is in the Temple!

Also, did you notice that just as a lamb was to be found spotless before being sacrificed, Jesus was also found to be without fault or blemish? Indeed, in Jesus' encounter with Pilate, it is clear that Jesus is without fault (15.14). To be sure, Jesus is depicted, even if rather covertly, as a lamb being led to the slaughterhouse. Indeed, Mk. 14.12 sets the whole Passion scene when it speaks of the "sacrifice of the Passover lamb" (the term pascha is used 3 other times in chapter 14: 1, 14, 16 and is probably referring to the meal proper, which includes the "lamb" but is not speaking exclusively of it).

While I'm sure there are other links that I'm missing, these are a few that I've come to see. I wonder if the phrase "thn odon" (the way) could drive this point home even more. Or what about 10.33 where Jesus says "we are going up to Jerusalem and the Son of Man will be delivered over..."? Could this bespeak the travel of the lambs up to Jerusalem for sacrifice?

In the end, I think there are enough elements in Mark's story to suggest that, like the Johanine author, he too, saw Jesus as a Passover Lamb.

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