You Can Provide Clean Water to Persecuted Christians

Mark 14 Study Notes


14:1 The temporal clause—it was two days before—points to the start of the Jewish Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. This means the Sanhedrin plotted to kill Jesus some time between sunset on Tuesday and sunset on Wednesday.

14:2 The Sanhedrin hesitated to act because of Jesus’s popularity among the people who had flooded into town for Passover.

14:3 On Bethany, see notes at 11:1 and 11:11. An alabaster jar was a long-necked perfume vase that was considered a luxury item. A woman (Mary of Bethany, according to Jn 12:2-3) poured expensive perfume of pure nard on Jesus’s head.

14:4-5 Some people expressed indignation at the waste of expensive perfume, which was the equivalent of three hundred denarii.

14:6 Jesus rebuked the critics of this woman. What they considered wasteful was actually a noble thing (lit “a good work”). Her act was noble because she did it for the Son of God, who is worthy of great sacrifices.

14:7 Christ’s followers could always minister to the poor, but they would not always have the chance to serve Jesus in person. On concern for the poor, see Dt 15:1-11.

14:8 The phrase she has done what she could is almost identical to what Jesus said about the poor widow’s donation (see note at 12:42-44). The widow gave almost nothing of monetary value; this woman gave a wealthy gift, but Jesus commended both equally. Jesus interpreted the perfume as a makeshift anointing oil for his coming burial.

14:9 Jesus anticipated that the gospel would be proclaimed in the whole world (cp. 13:10). When this happened, this woman’s act would be told in memory of her (cp. Mt 26:13). Your reading of this verse fulfills this promise.

14:10 Mark mentions Judas Iscariot here, in the account of Jesus’s arrest (vv. 43-45), and in the listing of the Twelve (3:19). The phrase went to places the initiative for Jesus’s betrayal clearly on Judas; he wasn’t recruited by the authorities. Betray is used of John the Baptist (1:14), of Jesus (9:31; 10:33; 14:10-11,18,21,41-42,44; 15:1,10,15), and of Jesus’s disciples after him (13:9,11-12). Judas’s actions stand in strong contrast to those of Mary in 14:3-9.

14:11 Only Matthew (Mt 26:15) indicates how much money Judas was given. The phrase a good opportunity recalls the Sanhedrin’s hope to arrest Jesus “when the crowd was not present” (Lk 22:6) so they would not cause a riot (Mk 14:1-2).

14:12 Jesus decided where they would observe the Passover, but his disciples were responsible to prepare it. Preparations included obtaining and preparing a lamb, bitter herbs, unleavened bread, wine, crushed fruit, etc.

14:13-14 Luke (Lk 22:8) identifies the two . . . disciples as Peter and John. Go into the city indicates they were outside Jerusalem, probably at Bethany. A man carrying a jar of water was unusual. Normally women carried water in earthenware pitchers whereas men used animal skins. Meet could mean either “encounter” or that the man was looking for them. The owner of the house was apparently acquainted with Jesus since they identified him only as the Teacher.

14:15-16 The “guest room” (v. 14) was a large room upstairs, probably the spacious roof chamber of a wealthy man. The room was ready to accommodate a large group. Found it just as he had told them stresses the exact fulfillment of Jesus’s words.

14:17 When evening came marked the start of a new day by Jewish reckoning. According to Ex 12:8, the Passover meal had to be eaten at night and be finished by midnight.

14:18 Jesus had said earlier that he would be betrayed (9:31; 10:33). Now he added that the betrayer would be one of his disciples. The words one who is eating with me did not immediately identify the betrayer since all of the disciples were dining together. Rather, the words point to Ps 41:9 and add to the magnitude of the treachery since eating together in the ancient Orient involved a certain intimacy and demanded one restrain from hostile actions.

14:19 No one attempted to refute Jesus or make accusations. Apparently Judas was above all suspicion at this point. The disciples’ statement surely not I expected both a negative response and a word of reassurance from Jesus.

14:20 That the betrayer was dipping bread with Jesus meant he was seated nearby (Mt 26:25; Jn 13:23-30).

14:21 On Son of Man, see note at 2:8-11. Previously Jesus had stated his betrayal was predicted by Scripture (9:12). This verse unites God’s prophesied plan (just as it is written) with human actions and responsibility.

14:22 The institution of the Last Supper is recorded in all three Synoptic Gospels (vv. 22-26; Mt 26:26-29; Lk 22:19-20) and by Paul (1Co 11:23-25). Mark did not specify at what point in the traditional course of the Passover meal Jesus instituted the Last Supper. This is my body is metaphorical.

14:23 They all drank from one cup. “Eucharist” derives from the Greek word for giving thanks.

14:24 The phrase blood of the covenant recalls the institution of the Mosaic cov-enant at Sinai when the Israelites were sprin-kled with blood (Ex 24:1-8; cp. Heb 9:19-20; 10:28-30). Jesus’s blood established a new covenant. Poured out for many recalls Jesus’s words in 10:45 and Isaiah’s words (Is 53:11-12) about Messiah dying on behalf of others.

14:25 Jesus’s solemn formula Truly I tell you focused the group’s attention on the eschatological future. Even though Jesus had explained his death and its meaning, it would not be the end for him. The day (cp. 13:17,19-20,24,32) would come when he would drink with them in the kingdom of God (cp. 15:43-46).

14:26 The Passover meal traditionally ended with singing the Hallel psalms (Pss 115-118).

14:27 Jesus told his disciples, All of you will fall away . . . It is written grounds Jesus’s prediction in OT Scripture, specifically Zch 13:7. Jesus’s prediction of the disciples’ desertion and of Peter’s denial is recorded in all four Gospels (Mt 26:31-35; Mk 14:27-31; Lk 22:31-34; Jn 13:36-38).

14:28 Jesus referred to his resurrection and added that he would gather his disciples again in Galilee for a new mission (cp. 16:7).

14:29-31 Quick-tongued Peter declared his steadfastness, but Jesus infallibly foreknew that Peter would cower in the face of opposition. Not only would he desert like the others, but he would also deny Jesus three times.

14:32 Gethsemane means “olive press.” Located across the Kidron Valley on the western slope of the Mount of Olives, it was Jesus’s regular meeting place with his disciples (Jn 18:2).

14:33 Peter, James, and John were the inner circle of Jesus’s disciples (5:37; 9:2; 13:3). Each had pledged his willingness to die with Jesus (10:38-39; 14:29,31). Mark uses two rare words to describe Jesus’s emotions. Deeply distressed occurs only in Mark (v. 33; 9:15; 16:5-6) and has the nuance of “greatly alarmed.” The word for troubled expresses extreme anxiety, and it occurs elsewhere in Mt 26:37 and Php 2:26.

14:34 The phrase to the point of death indicates the depth of Jesus’s distress. Lk 22:44 adds, “His sweat became like drops of blood falling to the ground.”

14:35 Fell to the ground pictures Jesus collapsing under his burden (Mt 26:39; cp. Lk 22:41). The hour refers to Jesus’s divinely appointed death (Jn 7:30; 8:20; 12:23,27; 13:1; 17:1). If it were possible was a request for God to change his divine plan.

14:36 Abba is Aramaic for “father” and is a term of intimacy. Jesus’s words all things are possible for you affirmed God’s power and recalled his teaching (10:27). This cup refers to personal suffering and death (cp. 10:38-39) but also to God’s judgment on sin (14:24; cp. Jr 25:15-16; 2Co 5:21; 1Pt 2:24). Not what I will, but what you will recalls Jesus’s model prayer (Mt 6:10). Not his personal desire but the Father’s will defined Jesus’s life (Jn 5:30; 6:38).

14:37 Peter was singled out for his failure to stay awake because of his bold claims earlier in the evening (vv. 29-31). One hour may be idiomatic rather than literal.

14:38 Though Jesus addressed Peter in v. 37, his warning in v. 38 is addressed to the others as well since the verbs are plural in Greek. The warning to pray so that you won’t enter into temptation recalls the petition from Jesus’s model prayer (Mt 6:13). Jesus’s acknowledgment that the flesh is weak may have applied to himself also that night, given his suffering. Natural human weaknesses (hunger, fatigue, etc.) can pose great spiritual danger.

14:39-40 The stupefied disciples did not know what to say to him. This recalls Peter’s experience on the Mount of Transfiguration (9:6) and the disciples’ silence in 9:34.

14:41-42 Enough was a cry of exasperation and served to awaken the sleepers. Jesus had prayed “that if it were possible, the hour might pass from him” (v. 35), but God did not grant that request. Get up; let’s go was a call to meet the mob head-on, not an encouragement to flee (cp. Jn 14:31). See indicates they could see the torches of the approaching throng.

14:43 In fulfillment of Jesus’s prediction in 8:31, the mob hailed from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders—the three parties of the Sanhedrin. This was an officially sanctioned arrest party.

14:44 Signal refers to a sign agreed on in advance. The specific signal was a kiss (probably on the cheek). While a kiss was a common greeting (Lk 7:45; Ac 20:37; Rm 16:16), this is the only time a disciple is recorded as greeting Jesus this way (cp. 2Sm 20:9-10).

14:45 Rabbi means “my great one.” It was an address of honor to one’s teacher.

14:46-47 The attack on the high priest’s servant is recorded in all four Gospels (Mt 26:51-52; Lk 22:49-51; Jn 18:10-11). John identifies the attacker as Peter and the servant as Malchus (Jn 18:10). Apparently Jesus’s disciples asked if they should defend him with swords (Lk 22:49), but Peter didn’t wait for a reply. On Jesus’s disciples carrying swords, see note at Lk 22:35-38. Jesus restored Malchus’s ear (Lk 22:51).

14:48-50 The Scriptures that must be fulfilled are not identified, but v. 50 points to Zch 13:7 (quoted in v. 27) as one of them. They all deserted him refers to the fleeing disciples.

14:51-52 The young man is unidentified. Some have suggested he was John Mark, the author of this Gospel.

14:53-65 No single Gospel comprehensively records Jesus’s trials, and each emphasizes different perspectives and events. It is clear, however, that both Roman political authorities and Jewish religious leaders were involved in handing down Jesus’s death sentence.

14:53 They refers to those who arrested Jesus (vv. 43,46). Matthew said the high priest was Caiaphas, who served from AD 18-36 (Mt 26:57). That all three parties assembled indicates this was a meeting of the Sanhedrin (vv. 43,55).

14:54 Peter followed the arrest party and ended up warming himself (cp. Jn 18:18) in the high priest’s courtyard.

14:55-56 The entire Sanhedrin, especially the chief priests, had already decided to put Jesus to death, so they went looking for evidence to justify their plan. Many witnesses gave false testimony that did not agree under cross-examination. The OT required the agreement of two witnesses in a capital case (Nm 35:30; Dt 17:6; 19:15).

14:57-58 Some who gave false testimony claimed firsthand experience. Made with human hands indicates human agency; not made by hands indicates divine agency (cp. Ac 7:48; 17:24; Heb 9:11,24).

14:59 Only Mark notes that the accusers did not agree even on this (cp. Mt 26:60). The Jews took threats against the temple seriously (cp. Jr 26:7-24). This charge was issued against Jesus again while he hung on the cross (Mk 15:29).

14:60 Frustrated with the ineptitude of the proceedings, Caiaphas stood up and questioned Jesus himself.

14:61-62 Kept silent points to the prophesied Suffering Servant’s response in Is 53:7 (cp. Ac 8:32; 1Pt 2:21,23). Throughout Mark’s Gospel, Jesus had shied away from the title Messiah to avoid misunderstanding, but here he embraced it. I am (cp. Mt 26:64; Lk 22:67) echoes the divine name (Ex 3:14). Jesus then switched to his favorite self-designation Son of Man and quoted from Ps 110:2 and Dn 7:13. To be seated at the right hand was an honor (cp. 10:37,40). Coming with the clouds of heaven is often understood as a reference to the second coming, but you will see leads some interpreters to understand that Jesus was referring to his post-ascension enthronement in heaven.

14:63 Tearing one’s clothes symbolized grief (Gn 37:34; Jos 7:6; 2Sm 1:11-12; 2Kg 2:12) or horror at blasphemy (2Kg 18:37; 19:1). Witnesses were no longer needed since Jesus had incriminated himself by claiming he was the Messiah.

14:64 Deserving death indicates death by stoning for blasphemy (Lv 24:10-16).

14:65 To spit in a person’s face (Mt 26:67) was the ultimate insult (Nm 12:14; Dt 25:9; Jb 30:9-10). Jesus predicted this would happen (Mk 10:34; cp. 15:19). Isaiah described this as one of the sufferings of the Servant of the Lord (Is 50:6).

14:66 This picks up from v. 54. The phrase the courtyard below indicates Jesus’s hearing was held in the hall above the entry level to the high priest’s house.

14:67 As Peter stood in the courtyard of the high priest’s house (see note at v. 54), a servant said she had seen him with the man from Nazareth (a contemptuous usage, as is “the Galilean,” Mt 26:69).

14:68 Only Mark records Jesus as predicting a rooster would crow twice (vv. 29-31). This is a logical place for the first crowing, even though it apparently escaped Peter’s notice.

14:69 This time those standing nearby were made aware of Peter’s identity.

14:70 Peter’s accent identified him as a Galilean (Mt 26:73).

14:71 Peter’s denials escalated. To curse means to call down God’s curse on oneself (cp. Ac 23:12,14,21). To swear refers to taking an oath in God’s name. Peter’s cursing and swearing backed his strongest denial—I don’t know this man.

14:72 Immediately links Peter’s third denial to the fulfillment of Jesus’s prophecy (vv. 26-31). Jesus turned and looked at Peter (Lk 22:61) and then he remembered Jesus’s prediction and his own vow of steadfastness. The last sentence of the verse indicates Peter’s total remorse.