From now on, I am going to re-construct the lections for Lent to use each of the 6 Sundays to take us through the last week of Jesus' final days in Jerusalem. This change is largely the result of long dissatisfaction with the lectionary's "salvation history" approach that gives the long view (which is a good thing to know), at the expense of the immediate context (which is a bad thing not to know).
I agree with Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus's Final Days in Jerusalem, that not knowing the specific context of the last days of Jesus makes the only possible explanation of his death be that is a culmination of the long "salvation history." And in that way, is seen as "fated," or "proscribed." It is required by the logic of the "salvation history" story. This view de-humanizes the very real humans, and makes their actions seem like characters in a play rather than real people with real choices.
Without understanding the immediate context of Jesus' final days our understanding of why they killed the one who taught us to call God, "Daddy," is turned on its head: "Jesus died for our sins," becomes: "Jesus died in our place for our sins," instead of: "Jesus died because of our sin." And just what is that sin that is in every human heart? Resorting to unjust viloence. And just what is the way of Jesus? Nonviolent justice.
The above, and most of the comments below are drawn from Borg and Crossan's book mentioned above. Higly recommended. Check it on Amazon here.
And I also use, and highly recommend, the Social Science Commentary series by Bruce Malina, et. al. Check it out on Amazon here.
Below are the six Sundays of Lent and Easter Sunday with the associated day of the last week of Jesus' life and the section of Mark which describes that day. Below that is a link to the specific text that I have chosen to preach on. Note the large section devoted to Tuesday.
Lent 1 - Palm Sunday (Mark 11:1-11)
Mark 11:1-11 Jesus Enters Jerusalem.
Lent 2 - Monday (Mark 11:12-19)
Mark 11:12-19 (20-25) Mark's "sandwich" of Jesus cursing a fig tree, shutting down the Temple's normal routines, and (the following day) explaining the fig tree.
Lent 3 - Tuesday (Mark 11:20-33 and Chapters 12 and 13)
Mark 11:27-33 The first of several challenges to Jesus' honour that begin this day.
Mark 12:28-34 The culmination of the challenges which ends with a genuine question from a Scribe about the Greatest Commandment.
Mark 12:38-44 Jesus condemns the behaviour of religious elites that violates love of neighbour and his call to servanthood. A widow foreshadows giving all one has.
Mark 13:1-8 The first few verses of Jesus' final words - which take up all of Chapter 13. (The comments I have prepared also make reference to the fact this text appears in the Lectionary in late November.)
Lent 4 - Wednesday (Mark 14:1-11)
Mark 14:1-11 Remembering the unnamed woman whose loyalty to, and bonding with Jesus stands in sharp contrast with - and as an indictment of - his disciples.
Lent 5 - Holy Thursday (Mark 14:12-72)
Mark 14:12-25 The Last Supper. Jesus as the Passover Lamb.
Mark 14:26-31 Jesus predicts his followers will all desert him, and specifically that Peter will deny him 3 times before the cock crows twice.
Mark 14:32-42 Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane for courage
Mark 14:43-72 Jesus is arrested. False testimony and conviction by the religious authorities. Peter's total disloyalty.
Lent 6 - Good Friday & Holy Saturday (Mark 15)
Mark 15:1-47 Jesus before Pilate, His Crucifixion, Death and Burial.
Mark: Holy Saturday The complete text of everything Mark says about Holy Saturday.
Easter Sunday (Mark 16)
Mark 16:1-8 Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome go to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body and receive two high honours.
Click here to read my annual rant about why it is important to insist that the resurrection is really real - and not get side-tracked by Borg and Crossan's lame contrast between "historical" language and "parabolic" language.
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
+ Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, Jewish Annotated New Testament, The Bible With and Without Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, Entering the Passion of Jesus, and others.