The reading is from St Mark's gospel is a long one being chapters 14:1 to 15:27. After such a long reading you will not want a follow-on sermon so I am going to make some comments now before I read. Given that Palm Sunday is the day that we celebrate Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem its may seem odd that the readings do not include a description of that event and do not acknowledge that in entering the city to shouts of acclimation from people waving palms and spreading garments on the road Jesus is following in the footsteps of his ancestor King David. This was an important moment but it was not the reason for his journey to the city. His purpose in travelling there was to complete the plan that commenced when the eternal creator God entered into human history as a living person for the purpose of taking on the consequences of human sin. Jesus travelled to Jerusalem to die and that is more important than the greeting he received on arrival. It is not clear what the cheering crowd thought was going to happen next. It's not even clear how they knew to expect him at that precise time. These are interesting psychological questions but do not add anything to our understanding of what happened next and Mark did not comment on them. Whatever they expected, Jesus spent the next few days in and around the temple where he clearly told the religious leaders that they had failed the people and God and we should note that he also disrupted their “very nice” income stream when he drove the traders out of the temple courtyard. My bible commentary said that he was warning them that judgement for the people of Israel was nigh and that they were going to be found to be lacking. Not unexpectedly these activities caused the religious authorities to decide to dispose of this unwanted messenger because they were too blind to realise that it was God himself and no mere messenger who was speaking. And so we reach Thursday of the week which is where our gospel reading begins. The story of Jesus death is very well known to us but I suggest that we try to listen to it with renewed interest to see if we can learn anything that we did not previously know. Reading it in preparation for today I was struck by the number of people who have cameo roles in that they appear briefly to do or say something and then disappear from the story line. Mark just reports what happens, he made no attempt to explore why they acted as they did so he obviously felt that it wasn't important but I would love to know as they all played an important part in the unfolding events. Why did the woman decide to anoint Jesus at that particular time? Why did Judas decide to betray his master? Why did the owner of the upper room make it available. I know why Pilate was such a sap but I do not understand why the soldiers needed to behave as they did in beating Jesus. These are seemingly random acts but they all contribute to the story so they are important. One thing to remember is that although many of these actions were necessary to the unfolding drama that does not mean that the people were forced to act as they did. They exercised free will with respect to decisions made but the eternal all knowing God knew what would happen, which is why Isaiah was able to predict the humiliating acts visited on Jesus. Thinking about being all knowing I often wonder how Mark knew what went on in the Garden of Gethsemane when everyone who was present was asleep. He either made it all up, which is possible but unlikely or Jesus talked about it later or he received another revelation when he was writing the gospel. However he obtained the information this was an important time because it highlights Jesus humanity and the fact that like most humans he was dreading the painful death that was going to happen. Another event that Mark mentions is the flight of the naked man from the garden. He is the only writer to record this and it has been suggested that he was in fact that person. As with so much in Mark's account we do not know but if it is true it shows that he was present and deeply involved in the events he records.