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Mark 14

14:1  Now after two days was [the feast of] the passover and the unleavened bread1: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him2:
    JESUS PREDICTS, THE RULERS PLOT FOR, AND JUDAS BARGAINS FOR HIS DEATH. (Mount of Olives, Bethany, and Jerusalem. Tuesday after sunset, which Jews regarded as the beginning of Wednesday.) Matthew 26:1-5 Matthew 26:14-16 ; Mark 14:1 Mark 14:2 Mark 14:10 Mark 14:11 ; Luke 22:1-6

  1. Now after two days was [the feast of] the passover and the unleavened bread. We may regard Jesus as having entered the templeTuesday morning, and as having taught there until the evening.* He thenretired to the slopes of Olivet and delivered the discourse whichoccupies Sections 113-115. The discourse finished, it is likely that hearose about or a little after sunset (which the Jews reckoned asWednesday) and proceeded on his way to Bethany, where he remained untillate Thursday afternoon. On his way to Bethany he spoke the words ofthis section. The two days mentioned are Wednesday and Thursday. ThePassover was eaten Thursday night after sunset, which the Jews reckonedas Friday. For a full discussion of the time when the Passover waseaten, see Andrews' "Life of Christ", pp. 423-460. On the feast,see "Mr.

  2. And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him. See Mark 14:2.

    *NOTE.--If this had been Tuesday, he would have said "after threedays", as is the case of the resurrection. In all such expressions theremaining part of the present day was counted as one.--J. W. McGarvey

14:2  for they said, Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people1.

  1. Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people. They knew that there were many at the feast from Galilee, andother sections of the country where Jesus ministered; and, judging bythe demonstration made at the triumphal entry, they felt that therewere plenty to take arms in Jesus' behalf. The sense of the council,therefore, seemed to be that if Jesus could be taken by subtlety--thatis, arrested privately--he might be taken during the feast. But if hehad to be arrested publicly, then it was better to postpone hisapprehension until after the feast. The treachery of Judas caused themto adopt the former course.

14:3  And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper2, as he sat at meat, there came a woman3 having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly4; [and] she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head5.

    JESUS ARRIVES AND IS FEASTED AT BETHANY. (From Friday afternoon till Saturday Night, March 31 and April 1, A.D. 30.) Matthew 26:6-13 ; Mark 14:3-9 ; John 11:55-12:11

  1. And being in Bethany. At this place Matthew and Mark insert the account of the supper given to Jesus in the house of Simon the leper( Matthew 26:6-13 ; Mark 14:3-9 ). They do this because the treacherousdetermination of Judas was formed at it and dates from it. The rebukeof the Lord then administered, or the desire to reimburse himself forthe price of the ointment, which Mary expended, and which he felt thathe ought to have had, or some other reasons, evidently induced him atthat time to decide upon our Lord's betrayal. Since then he had beenseeking opportunity to betray the Master.

  2. In the house of Simon the leper. Who Simon the leper was is not known. It is not unlikely that he was one whom Jesus had healed, andthat he united with the household of Lazarus ( John 12:2 ) in a jointeffort to show gratitude unto the Lord for his goodness to this groupof his friends.

  3. There came a woman. Mary, the sister of Lazarus. See John 12:3 .

  4. Having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly. Nard was a liquid perfume distilled from some odorous plant or plants andmingled with oil. It was sealed in flasks or alabaster boxes andimported from the Far East.

  5. [And] she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head. The cruse seems to have been a long-necked flask sealed with wax so tightly as tonecessitate its being broken to extract the nard. These flasks weretasteful and costly objects such as women delight to possess. Many ofthem were so delicate that Pliny compares them to closed rosebuds.

14:4  But there were some that had indignation among themselves1, [saying], To what purpose hath this waste of the ointment been made?

  1. But there were some that had indignation among themselves. The disciples. See Matthew 26:8 .

14:5  For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred shillings1, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her2.

  1. For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred shillings. The price of the pound of nard would be about $51 of ourmoney, but the purchasing power of money was then nearly ten times asgreat as it is now. The price here named agrees almost exactly with thefigures which Pliny rates the most costly nard.

  2. And given to the poor. And they murmured against her. It seems very likely that this murmuring was started by Judas Iscariot, for themurmurers fall in with his notions that the price of the ointmentshould be deposited in the poor fund ( John 12:4 John 12:5 ).

14:6  But Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

    Mark 14:6-8

  1. But Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. See John 12:7. The words of Jesus aboutthe ointment ( Matthew 26:10-12 ; Mark 14:6-8 ; John 12:7-8 ) taken as a wholemay be construed thus: "The sorrows of my coming passion oppress me( Matthew 26:38 ), and Mary, conscious of that sorrow, wishes to cheer mewith the evidence of love and gratitude. She sympathizes with me as Iapproach the shadow of death, and anoints me beforehand for the burial.You do not begrudge what is given to the dead. You do not censure asextravagant what is spent for the embalming of a dear one. Youyourselves would be ready enough to anoint me in this same manner afterI am dead. So do not censure her because in the fullness of hersympathy she has anticipated the coming catastrophe and has anointed mebeforehand".

14:7  For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good1: but me ye have not always2.

  1. For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good. There would be plenty of opportunities in which to dogood to the poor.

  2. But me ye have not always. The time for conferring a personal benefit upon Christ in the flesh was now limited to seven days.Thereafter gifts could only be given to Christ by bestowing them uponthe poor.

14:9  And verily I say unto you, Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world1, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

  1. Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world,
  2. that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. Jesus here makes prominent the different estimates which Godand man place upon the same acts. That which the disciples had censuredas a waste and that which they had regarded as worthy of rebuke was inhis sight an action fit to be kept in everlasting remembrance as amodel for the conduct of future generations throughout the whole earth,and he accordingly decreed that it be so kept in mind.

14:10  And Judas Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve1, went away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them2.

  1. Judas Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve. See Mark 3:19 and see John 6:71.

  2. Went away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them. It is probable that the proposal to sell his Master was made byJudas to individual members of the Sanhedrin ( Luke 22:4 ), and that thisproposal was one of the moving causes leading to the assembling of thecouncil. The language at Matthew 26:15 implies that Judas appeared beforethe council and bargained openly with it.

14:11  And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money1. And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him [unto them]2.

  1. And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money. The amount paid him was about $15 of our money. It was indeeda low price for so base a deed, but from the language used it may befairly implied that it was but the earnest money of a larger sum.See Matthew 26:15.

  2. And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him [unto them]. He soon found his opportunity. He bargained on Tuesday night andfulfilled his contract on Thursday night. Or, as the Jews reckonedtime, he agreed in the beginning of Wednesday and fulfilled hiscovenant on the beginning of Friday. Judas evidently hardened himself,and shut out all thought as to anything save the "actual laborinvolved". Viewed thus, his task was neither difficult nor dangerous.

14:12  And on the first day of unleavened bread1, when they sacrificed the passover, his disciples say unto him2, Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the passover3?

    PREPARATION FOR PASSOVER. DISCIPLES CONTEND FOR PRECEDENCE. (Bethany to Jerusalem. Thursday afternoon and, after sunset, beginning of Friday.) Matthew 26:17-20 ; Mark 14:12-17 ; Luke 22:7-18 Luke 22:24-30

  1. And on the first day of unleavened bread. See Luke 2:43. Leaven was to the Jew a symbol of corruption and impurity, because itcauses bread to become stale. The feast of unleavened bread beganproperly on the fifteenth of Nisan, and lasted seven days, but this wasthe fourteenth Nisan, the day on which the paschal lamb was slain.However, it was common to blend the slaying of the passover, thepassover feast, and the feast of the unleavened bread, and to look uponall three as one great festival, and to use the names passover andunleavened bread interchangeably to describe the entire eight days.This appears from the writings of Josephus, who sometimes reckons thefeast as beginning on the fifteenth (Ant. 3:10.5) and again asbeginning on the fourteenth (Wars 5:3.1). He also sometimes reckons thefeast as lasting seven days (Ant. 3:10.5) and again he reckons it aslasting eight days (Ant. 3:15.1). The Rabbinists say that all theleaven was carefully removed from the houses on the evening before thefourteenth Nisan. To the present day leaven is removed from the housesof the Jews on the night between the thirteenth and fourteenth. Hencethe day could be very fittingly called "the first day of unleavenedbread".

  2. His disciples say unto him. As the head of the household.

  3. Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the passover? It required considerable preparation. The lamb must be slainin the temple, roasted, and unleavened loaves, wine, and bitter herbs,etc., must be provided ( Exodus 12:8 ), and a room for the feast must besecured.

14:13  And he sendeth two of his disciples1, and saith unto them, Go into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him;

  1. And he sendeth two of his disciples. It is not improbable that Jesus let Peter and John ( Luke 22:8 ) thus find the place that Judas might notknow its whereabouts in time to bring the officers of the Sanhedrin soas to interrupt the feasts which meant so much to him and to hischurch.

14:14  and wheresoever he shall enter in, say to the master of the house1, The Teacher saith, Where is my guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

  1. Say to the master of the house, etc. It was customary for the residents of Jerusalem to open their houses for guests during thisfeast, and therefore Jesus might have presumed on the hospitality ofalmost anyone; but the probability is that the man to whom he sent thismessage was an acquaintance and a friend.

14:17  And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve1.

  1. And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve. The law required that the paschal lamb should be slain "between the evenings". The Jewsreckoned the two evenings as from three o'clock to sunset, and fromsunset to nine o'clock, which was the end of the first watch. ButJosephus tells us that the lambs were killed from the ninth to theeleventh hours, or between the hours of three and five. It would takesome time to dress the lamb and to roast it, so that it must have beenabout sundown or shortly afterward when Jesus and his disciples satdown to the feast.

14:18  And as they sat and were eating, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you shall betray me, [even] he that eateth with me1.

    JUDAS' BETRAYAL AND PETER'S DENIAL FORETOLD. (Jerusalem. Evening before the crucifixion.) Matthew 26:21-25 Matthew 26:31-35 ; Mark 14:18-21 Mark 14:27-31 ; Luke 22:21-23 Luke 22:31-38 John 13:21-38

  1. One of you shall betray me, [even] he that eateth with me. The foreknowledge of Judas' crime did not relieve the Lord from the stingof it. By the use of the word "betray" Jesus revealed to Judas that hehad perfect knowledge of the peculiar crime which he was about tocommit. To induce repentance the enormity of the crime is pointed outin two ways: (1) It was the act of one, an act in which no other couldbe found willing to have a part. (2) It was the act of one who handrested on the table, who was admitted to the closest intercourse andfellowship.

14:19  They began to be sorrowful1, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I2?

  1. They began to be sorrowful. That the Lord should be betrayed was sorrow enough, but that one of the twelve should do the deed was anadded grief.

  2. Is it I? The form of the question in the Greek indicates that it expects "no" for an answer, so that it may be rendered, "Surely it isnot I"?

14:20  And he said unto them, [It is] one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish1.

  1. [It is] one of the twelve, he that dippeth with me in the dish. According to Oriental custom, knives and forks were not used. One dishserved to hold the sop for several people, that they might dip theirbread into it. In so large a company, two or three bowls would be usedfor convenience' sake. The words of Jesus, therefore, limited thecircle of accused ones from twelve to four or five, and also furtheremphasized the tender and close intimacy between the traitor and theMaster.

14:21  For the Son of man goeth1, even as it is written of him2: but woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had not been born3.

  1. For the Son of man goeth. Jesus was following with unfaltering step the path of suffering marked out by the prophets. But this fact in noway exculpated the authors of his death.

  2. Even as it is written of him. The prophecies referred to are many. As examples, see Psalms 22:1 ; Isaiah 53:1-12 .

  3. But woe unto that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had not been born. The woe pronounced uponJudas was no vindictive or vengeful wish; it is the solemn announcementof divine judgment. The words of Jesus stop the mouths of theapologists for Judas. When the judge thus speaks in condemnation, whoshall presume to argue in extenuation?

14:22  And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them1, and said, Take ye: this is my body2.

    THE LORD'S SUPPER INSTITUTED. (Jerusalem. Evening before the crucifixion.) Matthew 26:26-29 ; Mark 14:22-25 ; Luke 22:19 Luke 22:20 ; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

  1. And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them. As only unleavened bread was eaten duringthe paschal supper, that kind of bread must have been used by our Lord,and it is fitting that it should still be used by us in keeping theLord's Supper, not only for propriety's sake, but because that breadwhich is emblematic of purity is most suitable to represent the body ofthe sinless Christ.

  2. And said, Take ye: this is my body. The Catholics and some few others take our Lord's words literally when he says, "This is my body".On this they found the doctrine of transubstantiation, that is, thatthe bread and the wine become literal body and blood when blessed bythe priest. There are many weighty arguments "against" such adoctrine, but the main one "for" it is found in the words of our Lord.But Jesus could not have meant them literally, for his body wasuntouched and his blood unshed on this occasion when he spoke them.Moreover, in Mark 14:25 . Jesus calls the wine "the fruit of the vine",when, according to the theory of transubstantiation, it had beenturned into blood and hence was not wine at all.

14:23  And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it.

  1. And he took the cup. Wine, mingled with water, was drunk during the paschal supper. Jesus took a cup of this for his new institution. Butthe word "wine" is nowhere used in any of the accounts of the Lord'sSupper, the terms "cup" and "fruit of the vine" being employed in itsstead. Those, therefore, who choose to use unfermented grape juice areguilty of no irregularity. See Luke 22:20.

14:24  And he said unto them, This is my blood of the covenant1, which is poured out for many2.

  1. This is my blood of the covenant. See Jeremiah 31:31-34 . It was the practice of Eastern peoples to use blood in making any pact or covenant( Exodus 24:6-8 ). Christ represents himself as the victim from whencethe blood was to be taken to ratify or seal the new covenant, and hemakes the cup the symbol of that blood. A full discussion of the oldand new covenants will be found in the Book of Hebrews. We may,however, sum them up by saying that the old covenant promised the landof Canaan and Christ in the flesh to the Israelites, while the newcovenant promises heaven and Christ in glory to the Christian.

  2. Which is poured out for many. It is explicitly stated elsewhere that Christ died for "all" ( 2 Corinthians 5:14 2 Corinthians 5:15 ; Hebrews 2:9 ), and the word "many"is used, not to contradict, but to emphasize the fact. When the personsincluded are contemplated individually, the term "many" is employed onaccount of the vast number of them; for no man can number theindividuals for whom Christ died. But when they are contemplated underthe feebler conception of the whole, the term "all" is employed.

14:25  Verily I say unto you, I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine1, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God2.

  1. I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine. In speaking of this future drinking of the fruit of the vine Jesus does not mean literalwine, for he does not drink literal wine with his disciples in thekingdom as it now it, nor will he do so in the eternal kingdom. Theterm "drink", therefore, is used figuratively for that communion whichJesus has with his disciples while they are drinking the wine of theLord's Supper.

  2. Until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God. The term "new" is most naturally understood as modifying "wine", but as the wineof the supper is not necessarily "new wine", we think it ratherindicates the "new method" of drinking wine just described.

14:26  And when they had sung a hymn1, they went out unto the mount of Olives.

    GOING TO GETHSEMANE, AND AGONY THEREIN. (A garden between the brook Kidron and the Mount of Olives. Late Thursday night.) Matthew 26:30 Matthew 26:36-46 ; Mark 14:26 Mark 14:32-42 ; Luke 22:39-46 ; John 18:1

  1. And when they had sung a hymn. The shadow of the cross did not quench the spirit of praise in Christ.

14:27  And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad1.

    Mark 14:27 Mark 14:28

  1. All ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad. See Zechariah 13:7 .The scattering would take place after the return of the apostles toGalilee, and there after his resurrection, Jesus would gather themtogether as their shepherd.

14:29  But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I1.

  1. Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. Thus Peter repudiates the idea that he could not stand the test.

14:30  And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that thou to-day, [even] this night, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice1.

  1. Verily I say unto thee, that thou to-day, [even] this night, before the cock crow twice, shalt deny me thrice. Mark speaks of two cock-crowings and shows that the denial of Peter occurred between them( Mark 14:68-72 ). But Matthew, Luke, and John speak of but "one" cock-crowing and place the denial before it ( Matthew 26:74 ; Luke 22:60 ; John 18:27 ).The discrepancy is not an important one. Matthew, Luke, and John lookupon the night in its entirety and speak of the cock-crowing at threein the morning, the signal of the dawning day. Mark looks at the nightin its details, and shows that the denials of Peter began at midnight,the time of the first cock-crowing, and were finished before the last,or about three in the morning. Peter appears to have been thunderstruckat this prediction, which showed the nature, the details, and thenearness of his sin. He lapsed into silence, and we hear no more fromhim during the discourses which followed. But he did not yield withoutone final protest, as the sequel shows.

14:31  But he spake exceedingly vehemently, If I must die with thee, I will not deny thee. And in like manner also said they all.

  1. If I must die with thee, will not deny thee. According to Matthew's account these accusations of our Lord and protestations of Peter weretaken up again after Jesus left the upper room and was on his way toGethsemane. The reader may therefore conceive of them as occurringagain in the opening lines of Section 123. See Mark 14:26.

14:32  And they come unto a place which was named Gethsemane1: and he saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I pray.

  1. And they come unto a place which was named Gethsemane. The name Gethsemane means "a place of oil-presses", and hence it accords wellwith the name of the mountain at whose base it was situated. But theplace was now a garden. It was about half a mile from the city, andfrom what Luke says ( Luke 22:39 ; Luke 21:37 ), it seems that Jesus oftenresorted to it while in Jerusalem at the festivals. Compare also

  2. Sit ye here, while I shall pray. As the hour of trial and temptation came upon Jesus he fortified himself against it by prayer. And he badehis disciples do likewise ( Luke 22:40 ), for his arrest would involvethem also in temptations which he foresaw that they would not be ableto withstand.

14:33  And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled1.

  1. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled. While seeking heavenly aid in thishour of extremity, our Lord also manifested his desire for humansympathy. All the eleven apostles were with him in the garden, and thethree most capable of sympathizing with him were stationed nearer tohim than the rest.

14:34  And he saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death1: abide ye here, and watch2.

  1. My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death. The sequel shows that the phrase "to death" was no figure of rhetoric.

  2. Abide ye here, and watch. The nervous prostration of Jesus was such as to endanger his life, and the watching of the apostles may have beendoubly needful. Not only did he require their sympathy, but he may alsohave looked to them to render him assistance in the case of a physicalcollapse.

14:35  And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed1 that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him.

  1. And fell on the ground, and prayed. This posture was expressive of the most intense supplication.

14:36  And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee1; remove this cup from me2: howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt3.

  1. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee. Reminding the Father of the limitless range of his power, he petitions him to changehis counsel as to the crucifixion of the Son, if his gracious purposescan be in any other way carried out. Much of mystery is found in alllife, so it is small wonder if the dual nature of Jesus presentsinsoluble problems. It perplexes many to find that the divine in Jesusdid not sustain him better during his trial in the garden. But we mustremember that it was appointed unto Jesus to die, and that the divinein him was not to interfere with this appointment, or the approaches toit. For want, therefore, of a better expression, we may say that fromthe time Jesus entered the garden until he expired on the cross, thehuman in him was in the ascendant; and "being found in fashion as aman" ( Philippians 2:8 ), he endured these trials is if wholly human. Hisprayer, therefore, is the cry of his humanity for deliverance.

  2. Remove this cup from me. Jesus uses the words "cup" and "hour" ( Mark 13:35 ) here interchangeably. They are both words of broad compass,intended to include all that he would undergo from that time until hisresurrection. They embrace all his mental, moral, physical, andspiritual suffering which we can discover, together with an infinitevolume of a propitiatory and vicarious nature which lies beyond thereach of our understanding.

  3. Howbeit not what I will, but what thou wilt. The submission of Jesus was no new fruitage of his character; the prayer of the gardenhad been the inner purpose of his entire life ( John 5:30 ; John 6:38 ).

14:37  And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest thou not watch one hour?

    Mark 14:37 Mark 14:38

  1. Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Peter, having boasted of his loyalty ( Mark 14:29 ), has his weakness pointedout and is further warned to be on his guard, since the weakness of hisnature will not stand the coming strain. The slumber of the discipleswas not through indifference, but was caused by the prostration ofgrief. When we remember the excitement which they had endured thatnight, the tender words spoken by Jesus, the sadness of which wasintensified by the atmosphere of mystery which pervaded them, thebeautiful and touching prayer, and lastly this agony in the garden, itis not to be wondered at that the apostles, spurred by no sense ofdanger, should succumb to the long-borne tension and fall asleep. Hadthey comprehended how much the Lord needed their "wakeful" sympathy ashe came again and again seeking for it, they would probably have keptawake.

14:39  And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words1.

  1. And again he went away, and prayed, saying the same words. See Matthew 26:42.

14:40  And again he came, and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they knew not what to answer him1.

  1. And they knew not what to answer him. They were ashamed of the stupor which had come upon them and knew not what apology to make forit.

14:41  And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest1: it is enough; the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

  1. Sleep on now, and take your rest, etc. Our Lord's words are paradoxical. In our judgment the saying is best understood by regardingthe first part of it spoken from the disciple's viewpoint. It is as ifhe said, "So far as I am concerned, you may sleep on and take yourrest, for the time to be of comfort or assistance to me has whollypassed. But so far as you yourselves are concerned, you must arise andbe going, because Judas with his band of temple police is upon us".

14:43  And straightway, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve1, and with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders2.

    JESUS BETRAYED, ARRESTED, AND FORSAKEN. (Gethsemane. Friday, several hours before dawn.) Matthew 26:47-56 ; Mark 14:43-52 ; Luke 22:47-53 ; John 18:2-11

  1. Cometh Judas, one of the twelve. The presence of Judas is mentioned by each Evangelist. His treachery made a deep impression upon them.

  2. And with him a multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. The arresting party whichaccompanied Judas consisted of the band of officers and men from thetemple guard or Levitical police, Pharisees, scribes, servants, chiefpriests, captains of the temple, and elders.

14:44  Now he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he; take him, and lead him away safely1.

  1. Now he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that is he; take him, and lead him away safely. Someplace this event before John 18:2-9 . It comports better with thefitness of things to place it after. Jesus made Judas feel his utternothingness, and his worthlessness even as a betrayer. Before Judas canin any way identify Jesus, the Lord had twice declared himself to bethe party whom they sought ( John 18:6 John 18:8 ). On the betrayal kiss, alsosee Luke 7:45.

14:45  And when he was come, straightway he came to him, and saith, Rabbi; and kissed him1.

  1. And kissed him. See Luke 22:48.

14:46  And they laid hands on him, and took him.

  1. And they laid their hands on him, and took him. The sight of Judas touching him no doubt reassured them, and they laid hands on Jesus.

14:47  But a certain one of them1 that stood by drew his sword2, and smote the servant of the high priest3, and struck off his ear4.

  1. But a certain one of them. Peter ( John 18:10 ).

  2. That stood by drew his sword. We have seen that the apostles were but scantily armed, there being only two swords in their possession( Luke 22:38 ). Peter evidently carried one of these, and stood readyto make good his boast that he would suffer, and, if need be, die inhis Lord's service ( Mark 14:31 ).

  3. And smote the servant of the high priest. Malchus ( John 18:10 ).

  4. And struck off his ear. Peter evidently struck a downward blow at Malchus' head, and Malchus would have been killed had he not dodged.

14:48  And Jesus answered and said unto them1, Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me2?

    Mark 14:48 Mark 14:49

  1. And Jesus answered and said unto them. The party which came to arrest Jesus was large. See Luke 22:52 . The word "band" used by John( John 18:3 ) to describe part of it is "speira", which is the Greekname for the cohort, a division of the Roman army which in the time ofAugustus contained fibe hundred fifty-five men. Ten cohorts, or alegion, were usually quartered in the castle Antonia, at the northwestcorner of the temple enclosure. That the whole cohort was present isnot likely ( Matthew 27:27 ), but there was a large enough body to representit. The Evangelists therefore properly style it a great multitude( Matthew 26:47 ; Mark 14:43 ; Luke 22:47 ). Its strength and diversity suggestthe fear that Jesus might miraculously defend himself. Each part of thecrowd found courage in the strength of the other, the priests relyingupon the solidity of the soldiers, the soldiers superstitiouslytrusting to some spiritual power residing in the priests, etc.

  2. Are ye come out, as against a robber, with swords and staves to seize me? Now, because of these fears, the preparation was as greatas if some band of robbers was to be taken. The questions of Jesus,therefore, show two facts: (1) By their extensive preparation therulers bore an unintentional testimony to his divine power. (2) Bytheir failure to arrest him openly in the temple ( Mark 14:49 ), theybore witness to his innocence.

14:49  I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not1: but [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled2.

  1. I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not. With his divinity and innocence, therefore, Jesus challenges them,referring to their own conduct for testimony thereto.

  2. But [this is done] that the scriptures might be fulfilled. In conclusion, he cites them to the Scriptures which they were fulfilling( Psalms 22:6 ; Isaiah 53:7 ). Our Lord's dual reference to the Old Testamentat this sacred time should cause us to handle them with awe andreverence.

14:50  And they all left him, and fled1.

  1. And they all left him, and fled. All the predictions of Jesus had failed to prepare the apostles for the terrors of his arrest. Despiteall his warnings, each apostle sought his own safety.

14:51  And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over [his] naked [body]1: and they lay hold on him;

    Mark 14:51 Mark 14:52

  1. And a certain young man followed with him, having a linen cloth cast about him, over [his] naked [body]. The young man who fled naked isusually presumed to be Mark himself, and it is thought that he thusspeaks impersonally after the manner of Matthew and John. The manner ofhis description shows that he was not an apostle. As Mark's motherresided in Jerusalem ( Acts 12:12 Acts 12:25 ), Canon Cook advances the theorythat the Lord's Supper was eaten in the upper room of her house, andthat when the disciples retired with Jesus from thence to Gethsemane,Mark slipped from his bed, threw his sindon about him, and followedafter them. The sindon, or linen vestment, was very costly, not beingworn even by the middle classes: no apostle would be thus attired.

14:53  And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and there come together with him all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.

    SECOND STAGE OF JEWISH TRIAL. JESUS CONDEMNED BY CAIAPHAS AND THE SANHEDRIN. (Palace of Caiaphas. Friday.) Matthew 26:57 Matthew 26:59-68 ; Mark 14:53 Mark 14:55-65 ; Luke 22:54 Luke 22:63-65 ; John 18:24

14:54  And Peter had followed him afar off, even within1, into the court of the high priest2; and he was sitting with the officers3, and warming himself in the light [of the fire]4.

    PETER THRICE DENIES THE LORD. (Court of the high priest's residence. Friday before and about dawn.) Matthew 26:58 Matthew 26:69-75 ; Mark 14:54 Mark 14:66-72 ; Luke 22:54-62 ; John 18:15-18 John 18:25-27

  1. And Peter had followed him afar off, even within. Leaving Jesus in the palace of the high priest, we now turn back to the garden ofGethsemane at the time when Jesus left it under arrest, that we mayfollow the course of Simon Peter in his threefold denial of the Master.

  2. Into the court of the high priest. For courts of houses, see Mark 2:2.

  3. And he was sitting with the officers. Though his faith in Christ was shaken, Peter still loved him enough to see what would become ofhim.

  4. And warming himself in the light [of the fire]. They were gathered around a little smokeless fire ( John 18:18 ).

14:58  We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands1.

  1. We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands. WhatJesus had really said will be found at John 2:19-22 . Though his wordswere misunderstood at that time, being applied, not to his body, but toHerod's temple, yet it is not unlikely that the Jewish rulers, hearingour Lord's prediction that he would rise from the dead after three days( Matthew 27:62 Matthew 27:63 ), came to understand the import of his words. If so, therecord itself shows the willingness of the Sanhedrin to receive falsewitnesses against Christ ( Matthew 26:59 ; Mark 14:55 ), for its judges receivedtestimony which they knew to be utterly immaterial if rightlyconstrued. The accounts of the two Evangelists, moreover, show how thewitnesses failed to agree ( Matthew 26:60 ; Mark 14:56 ). A man could only becondemned on the testimony of two witnesses as to some fact or factsconstituting a ground for condemnation ( Deuteronomy 17:6 ; Deuteronomy 19:15 ).

14:60  And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?

  1. Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these testify against thee? While the testimony then before the court might be used to show thatJesus was recklessly boastful, it was insufficient to justify asentence of blasphemy. A threat to destroy the temple might be thusconstrued ( Jeremiah 26:9-11 ; Acts 6:13 Acts 6:14 ); but a promise to rebuild thetemple, if destroyed, was altogether different. The high priest,knowing this, sought to extort from Jesus some additional evidence.With great cunning and effrontery he assumes that the testimony is allthat could be possibly desired, and demands of Jesus what he has to sayin answer to it.

14:61  But he held his peace, and answered nothing1. Again the high priest asked him, and saith unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed2?

  1. But he held his peace, and answered nothing. But our Lord did not suffer himself to seem so easily deceived. He gave no explanation,since the future would explain his meaning, and speak the real truth toall who had ears to hear it.

  2. Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? Seeing that Jesus was not to be lured into an answer, and well knowing his perfect frankness,Caiaphas resolved, in his desperation, to question Jesus plainly andbluntly. His question is twofold: (1) Art thou Christ? (2) Art thou theSon of God? The latter of these would constitute blasphemy, and theformer, by showing a boastful spirit would tend to confirm the charge.Perhaps, too, Caiaphas anticipated the future, and foresaw how usefulthis claim to be Messiah would prove when a hearing was had beforePilate ( Luke 23:2 ). Originally the Messiah was recognized as the Sonof God ( Psalms 2:7 ), but if the Jews had ever generally entertained suchan idea, they had lost it before Jesus' day, The Messiah might ofcourse be called the Son of God in that secondary sense in which Adamwas thus called ( John 1:49 ; Luke 3:38 ). But Jesus had used the term inan entirely different sense, and his usage had been extremely offensiveto the Jews ( Matthew 22:41-46 ; John 5:17 John 5:18 ; John 10:30-39 ). Caiaphas evidentlywished Jesus to answer this question in that new sense which the Lordhad given to the words. Caiaphas had no legal right to ask either ofthese questions. No man can be compelled to testify against himself,but he knew the claims of Jesus, and realized that if Jesus repudiatedthem he would be shamed forever, and if he asserted them he could becharged with blasphemy. Taking advantage, therefore, of the situation,Caiaphas put the question with the usual formula of an oath, thusadding moral power to it, for, under ordinary circumstances, one washeld guilty if he refused to answer when thus adjured ( Leviticus 5:1 ).When their own witnesses failed, these rulers called the "faithfulwitness" ( 1 Timothy 6:13 ; Revelation 1:5 ).

14:62  And Jesus said, I am1: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power2, and coming with the clouds of heaven.

  1. And Jesus said, I am. Jesus freely confessed the truth which his church is called upon to confess.

  2. And ye shall see the Son of man sitting at the right hand of Power. Jesus brings the present state of humiliation into contrast with hisfuture state of glory. "On the right hand of power" was commonlyunderstood to mean the right hand of God. As hard as it might be forthem to believe it, the day would come when he should sit in judgmentand they should stand on trial before him.

14:63  And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses1?

  1. And the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What further need have we of witnesses? Though Jesus had given the very answer which thehigh priest was longing to hear, yet he hypocritically pretends to beshocked at it, and rends his clothes and feigns horror. Evidently hefeared the effect of the clear, calm answer of Jesus and sought tocounteract its influence on his colleagues.

14:64  Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be worthy of death1.

  1. And they all condemned him to be worthy of death. This was not the final, formal sentence, but the mere determination of the council atthe preliminary hearing.

14:65  And some began to spit on him1, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him2, Prophesy: and the officers received him with blows of their hands.

  1. And some began to spit on him. To spit in the face has been an insult in all ages and in all lands. See Numbers 12:14 ; Deuteronomy 25:9 ; Job 30:10 .

  2. And to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him,
  3. Prophesy. Jesus, having stood out for examination, is now given back to the officers to be led away into the council chamber. Theseofficers received Jesus with many indignities. They seek to make hishigh claims contemptible, and to make it appear that instead of beingdivine he is hardly worthy to be regarded as human.

14:71  But he began to curse, and to swear1, I know not this man of whom ye speak.

  1. But he began to curse, and to swear. Exasperated by the repeated accusations, Peter loses his temper and begins to emphasize his denialby profanity. Desire to make good his denial is now supreme in histhoughts and the Lord whom he denies is all but forgotten.

14:72  And straightway the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word, how that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept1.

  1. And when he thought thereon, he wept. When Peter remembered the loving tenderness of Jesus manifested when he foretold Peter's crime,it formed a background against which the sin appeared in all itshideous enormity.

Read Mark 14