Bringing the Text to Life

Suffer or Skedaddle? Mark 8:31-38

Suffer or Skedaddle?

The question for Christians who take Lent seriously is: Will we suffer or skedaddle?


You know what the word means: to run away quickly. As in, “When the police showed up at the keg party, the teenagers skedaddled.” As in, “He skedaddled faster than a flashlit roach on a baseboard.” As in, as former CBS anchor Dan Rather might put it: “He skedaddled faster than stink from dead skunk run over by a rusted-out Ford pickup on a hot Texas highway.”

This is nothing new. In the garden of Gethsemane, Judas led an armed posse to Jesus, and they laid hands on him and arrested him. And what did the disciples do? According to the gospel of Mark, they skedaddled.

Actually, Mark says that they “deserted him and fled” (14:50). Same thing.

But do you know where the word “skedaddle” comes from? It appeared during the Civil War and was used to describe a flight from the battlefield. It may have come from a Scottish or Northern English word meaning to spill or scatter — in particular to spill milk. The sight of blood being spilled on the battlefield probably caused Civil War...

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