Mark wasted no words in recording the events of Jesus’ life. In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus moved from one event to another on His way to the cross. But the narrative slows in Mark 14. Mark provided a protracted account of the last Passover celebration Jesus enjoyed with His disciples and then detailed how Jesus was arrested and tried by the Sanhedrin. Along the way, Jesus showed His sovereignty over all that was taking place around Him. At key moments, Jesus cited the Old Testament to articulate how His death and glorious return would fulfill expectations established in Scripture.
(1) In Mark 14:12-26, Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper during the Passover celebration. Before the Lord sent the tenth and final plague upon the Egyptians, He instructed Moses to have the Israelites put lamb’s blood over their doors so that the death angel would pass over His people (Exodus 12-13). The Passover celebration became a national celebration for Israel, annually recalling their birth as a nation at the exodus. When Jesus was a boy, He went with His parents from Nazareth in Galilee to the Passover celebration in Jerusalem (Luke 2:41). During His final Passover celebration, Jesus instituted a special meal to commemorate His death and resurrection (Matt 26:26-30//Mark 14:22-26//Luke 22:17-20). The bread they ate represented His body and the cup they drank represented a new covenant in His blood.
(2) In Mark 14:27, Jesus quoted Zech 13:7 to inform the disciples that they would fall away when He was arrested. In Zechariah 13, Zechariah prophesied that God would judge His shepherd, strike him, so that the people would be refined. Following the Passover meal Jesus portrayed Himself as the Shepherd who would soon be struck and the disciples as the sheep who would soon be scattered. In quoting Zech 13:7, Jesus thus made it clear—as He did at other times (Mark 8:31-32; 9:30-32; 10:32-34)—that God was the ultimate agent in the affairs of His day. While the Sanhedrin would not remain guiltless, ultimately the shepherd was struck by the sword of the Lord. Immediately after quoting Zech 13:7, Jesus said to His disciples, “But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee” (Mark 14:28). Jesus’ statement echoed Zechariah’s theme of God’s gracious restoration of Israel after the period of refining was complete (Zech 13:9).
(3) In Mark 14:62, Jesus cited Dan 7:13 and Ps 110:1 to affirm for His opponents that He was the Messiah. The imagery Daniel used to describe his vision of the Son of Man in Dan 7:13-14 shared points of contact with the language of the psalmist in Psalm 110:1. Both authors portrayed an exalted and powerful figure who enjoyed special access to Israel’s God. If an ordinary human took up phrases from Ps 110:1 and Dan 7:13 and applied them to himself, those with a high view of the Old Testament would be outraged and charge that person with blasphemy. When the Sanhedrin could find no solid testimony against Jesus from the witnesses they had gathered, the high priest turned to Jesus and asked, “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?” (Mark 14:61). Jesus next affirmed that He was the Messiah and continued by fusing together phrases from Ps 110:1 and Dan 7:13, saying, “And all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). As a result, the high priest was outraged, and the Sanhedrin condemned Jesus to death.