John and Jesus in Parallel in Mark

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In Mark everything said about John is, in effect, repeated about Jesus, so that the result is that when something is said about John it may be taken as referring to Jesus, as we shall see. This is seen most clearly in Mark 6.14-29, the Passion of John.

John      Jesus  
 6.17 Herod had sent men who arrested John  14.43-50 Jesus arrested
 6.19 Herodias had a grudge against him  15.10 Out of envy the chief priests delivered  up Jesus
 6.20  Herod fearedJohn [see below]   knowing that he was a righteous and holy man  11.19
Chief priests & scribes fear Jesus
Pilate: "Why, what evil has he done?"
 6.20  He heard him gladly [ἡδέως - only 2 times in Mark]  13.37  The great crowd heard him [=Jesus] gladly [ἡδέως]
 6.21 Banquet  15.6  At the feast …
 6.21b Officers and leading men of  Galilee   15.39
[To Peter:] "You are a Galilean."
 6.22  Girl's action precedes John's death   12.41-4

Widow gives all she has into Temple treasury; 13.1-4: Jesus predicts Temple's destruction
Woman richly anoints Jesus before  his burial
 6.23  I will give you even half of my  kingdom  15.6 


At the feast he used to release for  them any one prisoner
But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead.
Released Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified.
 6.25 She came in immediately with  haste   14.53-72 
Night session of Jewish leaders
Early morning session of Jewish leaders [Illegal, since Jewish law takes two sessions
at least one day apart to condemn]
 6.26  The king was exceedingly sorry,  but because of his oaths and his  guests he did not want to break his word.  15.9, 12, 14 
Pilate’s efforts to get Jesus released
Pilate wishing to satisfy the crowd
 6.27  Beheading   15.21 ff.   Jesus’ crucifixion itself
 6.29 When the disciples heard of it,  they came and  took his body (πτῶμα)  and laid it in a tomb  15.42


Joseph of Arimathea. … who was also himself  looking for the Kingdom of God, ... went to Pilate and asked for the body (πτῶμα) of Jesus 
 He granted the body (πτῶμα) to Joseph
and laid him in a tomb.
 11.32 Chief priests, scribes and elders  feared the crowd, for all  held that John was a prophet.    12.12 And they [=chief priests, scribes and elders] tried to arrest him [=Jesus] but feared the crowd.
 9.12-13  [John=] Elijah; Son of Man to suffer. Elijah has come and they did to him what they pleased.    
 1.14  Now after John was betrayed,  Jesus came into Galilee,  preaching the Gospel of God.1  14.28 



 'But after I am raised up, I will go before you into Galilee.’
‘But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going
ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’


    John’s passion is the only narrative in Mark out of time sequence. I am convinced that it is placed here to represent (as proxy for Jesus) the Passover sacrifice which precedes the Passover meal of the feeding of the 5,000 (6.30-44).

    Matthew maintains this. 

    Luke breaks off the Last Supper with the breaking of the bread. The next step would be to point to the lamb, but instead Luke immediately moves to the passion. 

    John narrates the Supper (in what we may call ‘lectionary time’) against the lections of Genesis 1 and Exodus 11-12, the ancient readings for Passover, while having Jesus crucified in narrative time on the eve of Passover. 

    Thus each evangelist provides a solution to the problem of Jesus being the Passover Lamb and the Last Supper/Eucharist being the Passover Meal, fulfilling Paul’s proclamation of ‘Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us, therefore let us keep the feast’ (1 Cor 5.7).

1 See the material on gospel prologues which reinforces this correlation.