When Jesus says, “Look, Reader.”

I’ve written about this scene in Mark before. It appears in Matthew 26:45 and Mark 14:41. Jesus is in Gethsemane with Peter, James, and John, and he finds his friends sleeping for the third time. In Matthew and Mark, the scene is so powerful and intriguing to me because Jesus says “Look!” (ίδού) even though everyone else is sleeping.

In Luke, things are a little different. Jesus is in the garden with “the disciples” (οἱ μαθηταί). He doesn’t go away, pray, and come back to his disciples three times. Luke only mentions one of these cycles. In Luke, when Jesus finds them sleeping, Jesus simply says, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray so that you don’t enter into temptation.”

Now, let’s look at Matthew and Mark.

Matthew 26:45 – ἰδοὺ ἤγγικεν ἡ ὥρα καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδίδοται εἰς χεῖρας ἁμαρτωλῶν. Look, the time has come, and the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Mark 14:41 – ἦλθεν ἡ ὥρα, ἰδοὺ παραδίδοται ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου εἰς τὰς χεῖρας τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν. The time has come. Look, the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

A few observations:

  • “Look” is in a slightly different place, but it’s there in both. Again, it’s striking to me because the only conscious people in the scene are Jesus and you, the reader.
  • “The time has home” — That’s a pretty important signal. As the reader, you know that we have been building up to this moment for a while. Jesus has been saying that he was going to suffer and be betrayed.
  • “Is betrayed” — That’s the tie into the next scene. In both Matthew and Mark, as soon as he says this, he wakes up the disciples and “while he was still speaking,” Judas shows up. I find the present tense of the verb (παραδίδοται) striking.

Jesus, breaks the fourth wall, he looks into the camera, and says to the reader, “Look, it’s happening.”