Mark 14:27

“All of you will fall away; for scripture says – ‘I will strike down the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

first call the olives together
thank them for growing well
acknowledge they can’t stay
the same branch stem fruit

they will bring new life
to those who eat them
those who press flesh to oil
their preparation has ended

faithfulness from last season
trusting flower and tree
now needs a different calculus
accounting for a press

we falter during transitions
deeply disappointed
the old does not hold
the new does not cohere

though nothing new
we are thrown for a loop
out of time out of joint
we practice trusting nothing

Mark again uses his εὐθύς (immediately) jump. This time the shift is not about geography but from songs of praise to a foreseeing of abandonment. This is quite a shift from the heights to the depths.

What the Common English Bible (CEB) sees as a “falter[ing] in your faithfulness” needs to be seen in light of other uses Mark has made of σκανδαλίζω  (skandalizō, take offense or loss of confidence). It describes his hometown’s rejection of him, what the disciples did to the children by keeping them at bay, and what one should do to an arm or an eye should it offend.

If seen in light of the quote about the shepherd from Zechariah 13:7, Bratcher442 notes it means:

not that the disciples will lose their faith in their Master, but that their courage will fail and they will abandon him.

Likewise, Mark’s πατάσσω (patassō, smite or kill) can bring to mind a rainbow story where G*D says flooding/smiting all won’t happen again and to a Passover that protects a first-born from being destroyed. This is not a mere “hitting” of a shepherd, but a killing of that shepherd and subsequent scattering of the flock in all directions.

The abandonment is an abandonment to death. That death has been denied by Peter already and in just another two verses he will deny his part in that death by being one who abandons.

Imagine the whiplash here—Jesus has triumphantly entered Jerusalem, rebutted religious authorities, upset the Temple and predicted its downfall, and sung songs of praise. Now, abandoning disciples!

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