Mark 14:60

Then the high priest stood forward, and questioned Jesus. “Have you no answer to make?” he asked. “What is this evidence which these men are giving against you?”

when forms fall apart
it is time to get personal

in the center of confusion
there is an affirmation to hear

let’s cut to the accusations
what do you make of them

pick any of them
what say you

don’t worry
about self-incrimination

we just want to get
a balanced view

Translators have a choice to make as to whether there are one or two questions asked by the high priest. In addition to the double question printed above, it could be: “Aren’t you going to respond to the testimony these people have brought against you?.”

Either way, the hope is that of every prosecuting attorney—to have the accused say one extra word that will destroy their defense. Imagine Jesus proceeding to show how the false testimonies contradict one another. An explanation usually digs a deeper hole by opening the way for the whole kitchen sink to be thrown in someone’s face.

The attempt to reduce the ambiguity of silence heightens a key element of Mark’s writing. Aichele28 describes it this way:

How the reader understands Mark’s ambiguous conclusion will be largely governed by how she understands the previous parts of the narrative, including the arrest/trials sequence. …they continue a pattern of ambiguity that has already been well-established in Mark – a pattern that begins not at the beginning of the passion narrative but at the strange beginning of the gospel itself.

Aichele continues,

…Mark is a continuously and conspicuously self-disruptive narrative which resists every attempt to define its identity or even to render it coherent. …the whole gospel of Mark presents a proclamation which is, like Jesus’s responses to the high priest and to Pilate, “no answer.”

Readers may also want to know Jesus’ response to the situation that he is in, to clearly justify himself, so they won’t have to trust a parabolic mystery, offer their own service to wounded children.

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