In Mark 14:35-36 we read: Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
I wonder how many modern readers actually register the significance of this from the perspective of later Christianity. By Paul’s time, the church had already made a virtue out of a necessity, making sense of the otherwise unintelligible fact of the crucifixion by claiming that it was an essential act for the salvation of humankind. In the story in Mark, Jesus is depicted as praying for that not to happen.
There is, on the one hand, reason to doubt the story based on the story itself, which claims that Jesus went a bit away from the disciples to pray, and found them sleeping when he returned.
On another blog, it has been suggested that even the crucifixion story could have been invented by the earliest Christians, since they viewed it as salvific. I find that to reflect a failure to understand what was going on in the development of early Christianity. But even if we were to grant that point, wouldn’t it provide a strong counterargument to the early Christians having invented the story in Mark 14:35-36?
It is my hope, more than anything else, that this series will provide a jumping off point for discussion. So what do you think?