His Imminent Death

In the Gospel of Mark, Jesus is presented “on the way” to the city of Jerusalem and his inevitable death on a Roman cross. This theme occurs several times in Mark, beginning with John the Baptist who “prepared THE WAY before the Lord.” The Son of God is the Suffering Servant of Yahweh. As such, he is on the road from Judea to Golgotha where he as the Son of Man” first described by Daniel will meet his death for his people outside the walls of the City of David.

Storm Ahead - Photo by Dave on Unsplash
[Storm Ahead - Photo by Dave on Unsplash]

The passage in Chapter 10 adds an apt description - they were “
GOING UP to Jerusalem.” The city was over 1,000 meters above the Jordan River valley. The passage includes the third prediction of his death recorded in Mark’s accountIn all three cases, Jesus foretold his death while he and his disciples were on the way to the city. Moreover, each time he referred to himself as the “Son of Man.”

In this way, the Gospel of Mark links the title “Son of Man” to the suffering and death of Jesus of Nazareth.

  • (Mark 10:32-34) - “Now, they were ON THE WAY, GOING UP to Jerusalem, and Jesus was going before them, and they were amazed, and those following were afraid. And again, taking the twelve, he began to declare the things that were going to happen to him, that, Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem and the SON OF MAN will be HANDED OVER to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles and they will mock him and spit on him and flog and kill him, and after three days he will rise’” - (Parallel passages - Matthew 20:17-19, Luke 18:31-34).

He was “going before” or leading his disciples for he knew what lay ahead. Nevertheless, he pressed on all the same. He was not being led to slaughter like a prisoner of war or an unintelligent animal. He soldiered on in accord with God’s purposes.

The disciples who were journeying with him “were afraid,” suggesting they had some inkling of what lay ahead. While they did not yet understand his messianic mission, previously, he had predicted his sufferings at the hands of the Temple authorities in Jerusalem.

His pronouncement as he approached Jerusalem emphasized the complicity of the religious leaders of the nation in his coming trial and execution, although the Roman authorities would also be involved. Nevertheless, the High Priest and his entourage would be the catalysts in the sordid affair. In the end, no one’s hands would be clean.

The Greek verb rendered “handed over” or paradidōmi means “to hand over, deliver up, betray.” In Mark, it is a theologically loaded term first used when John the Baptist was arrested and “handed over” to Herod Antipas - (Mark 1:14). 

The betrayal of John was a harbinger of what was coming for the Nazarene. Beginning with his first ‘Passion Prediction,’ “handed over” is used consistently for his betrayal into the hands of those who were plotting his death. Moreover, Jesus used this same verb to describe how, in the future, his followers would likewise be “handed over” to suffer for his sake - (Mark 13:9-12).


As before, Jesus referred to his rising “after three days.” Since the disciples did not understand or accept his predicted death, they also could not understand what he meant by rising from the dead. The idea of God sending His Messiah to be killed by his enemies remained beyond their comprehension.

The use of the term “Son of Man” when describing his death echoes the passage in the Book of Daniel from which this term is derived. In his vision, the prophet saw “one like a Son of Man” approaching the “Ancient of Days” to receive his “dominion.”

However, before the receipt of the “everlasting kingdom,” the figure known as the “Little Horn” made war “against the saints and overcame them.” Only then was vindication pronounced “for the saints,” and so they “possessed the Kingdom – (Daniel 7:13-21).

In the passage in Daniel, the figure of the “Son of Man” is virtually interchangeable with the group called the “saints.” The war on the latter fell first on the former. He was the representative of the people of God. Implicit is that the “Son of Man” suffered for his brethren. Only then did they receive the Kingdom, namely, after a time of persecution and tribulation. Jesus is about to fulfill that role when he as the “Son of Man” suffers and dies for his people.



The Suffering Servant

The Living Word