14:1 Now the Passover [see Ex. 12; celebrated on 14th day of Nisan (corresponds to last of March and first of April)] and the Festival of Unleavened Bread [festival lasted seven days; all Jewish males over age 12 required to to to Jerusalem for Passover Feast (included Festival of Unleavened Bread) as per Deut. 16:5-6] were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly [because of Jesus’ popularity] and kill him [cf. Jn. 11:47-53].
14:2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
14:3 While he was in Bethany [located on eastern slope of Mount of Olives; hometown of Mary, Martha, Lazarus], reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper [not a leper at this time; perhaps he was one who Jesus had healed; this was not a good nickname], a woman came with an alabaster jar [the jar itself was expensive] of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard [nard came from India]. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head [cf. Lk. 7:44-46; according to Jn. 12:3-5 a pint of pure nard was worth 300 denaii or a year’s wages for an average laborer].
14:4 Some [specifically Judas as per Jn. 12:4-5] of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume?
14:5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor [Passover a time of giving to poor as per Jn. 13:27-29].” And they rebuked her harshly.
14:6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her [Judas and others failed t grasp the significance of May’s actions]? She has done a beautiful thing to me [she had taken the initiative to do something costly for Jesus rather than just wishing or talking as some are prone to do].
14:7 The poor you will always have with you [Deut. 15:11], and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me [Jesus would soon be physically gone from them].
14:8 She did what she could. She poured perfume [the dead anointed with fragrant perfume] on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.
14:9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done [an unselfish and heartfelt act of devotion] will also be told, in memory of her.”
14:10 Then Judas Iscariot [name means “the man from Kerioth,” a town in southerJudea (see Jos. 15:25); he was the only disciple who was not from Galilee], one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them [he finally realized that Jesus was not going to establish a political kingdom].
14:11 They [the religious leaders] were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money [cf. Matt. 26:15; h received thirty silver coins which was the price of a slave (Ex. 21:32)]. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over [a time when Jesus would be away from the crowds (cf. Mk. 14:2 re: crowds)].
14:12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread [a week long celebration that technically started the day after Passover], when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb [to commemorate escape from Egypt], Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and make preparations [required preparation of unleavened bread, herbs, wine, and other foods] for you to eat the Passover?”
14:13 So he sent two of his disciples [Peter and John as per Lk. 22:8], telling them, “Go [from Bethany] into the city [Jerusalem], and a man carrying a jar of water [unusual because women generally fetched and carried water] will meet you. Follow him.
14:14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is my [personal pronoun suggests that Jesus may have previously made arrangements to use room] guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’
14:15 He will show you [fact that Jesus knew exactly what the room looked like suggest He mad have prearranged its use] a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.”
14:16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.
14:17 When evening [after sunset on Wednesday or Thursday] came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.
14:18 While they were reclining at the table eating [meal started after sunset and had to conclude before midnight], he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me [cf. Ps. 41:9].”
14:19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, “Surely you don’t mean me [indicates that they did not know who the betrayer was]?”
14:20 “It is one of the Twelve,” he replied, “one who dips bread into the bowl with me [indication that it was someone close to Jesus].
14:21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him [see Ps. 41:9-13; Isa. 53:1-6]. But [this conjunction introduces what would happen to the betrayer] woe to that man [according to Lk. 22:3 Satan entered Judas prior to betrayal] who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born [read Jn. 13:27 re: instructions of Jesus to Judas].”
14:22 [cf. 1 Cor. 1:23-29 re: significance of the Lord’s Supper] While they were eating, Jesus took bread [unleavened], and when he had given thanks [“daily bread” (Matt. 6:11) considered a gift from God], he broke [bread torn and not cut with a knife] it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is [represents] my body [figurative language].”
Note: Three Views of the Lord’s Supper (also called Communion and Eucharist)
A. Transubstantiation | The bread actually becomes Christ’s body and the wine actually becomes His blood.
B. Consubstantiation | Christ is spiritually present alongside the bread and the wine.
C. Symbols | Bread and wine are symbols of Christ’s sacrifice.
14:23 Then he took a cup [wine served four times during traditional Passover meal; Christ drank all but the final cup], and when he had given thanks [from Greek word “eucharisteo”], he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
14:24 “This is [represents] my blood of the covenant [God established this new covenant; we can only accept or reject covenant but never alter it], which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
14:25 “Truly [“Assuredly” as in NKJV] I tell you, I will not drink again [Jesus made this statement after drinking the third cup of wine; He would not drink the fourth and final cup at this time] from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God [this celebration would be concluded in heaven (see Lk. 14:5; Rev. 3:20; 19:6-9); Matt. 26:29 adds the words “with you”].”
14:26 When they had sung a hymn [very likely Psalm 116-118 which was sung after the Passover meal], [John 13:31–17:26 records discourse before leaving the upper room] they went out to the Mount of Olives [located east of Jerusalem; Jesus went to Gethsemane, an olive grove on the southwestern slope].
14:27 “You will all fall away [desert, turn away, distance themselves from Him],” Jesus told them, “for it is written [Zech. 13:7]: “‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
14:28 But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee [cf. Lk. 16:6-7; post-resurrection appearances recorded in Matt. 28:16; Jn. 21:1-23; Lk. 24:13-52; Jn. 20-11-29; 1 Cor. 15:5-8].”
14:29 Peter declared, “Even if all fall away [become deserters], I will not.”
14:30 “Truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “today—yes, tonight—before the rooster crows twice [only Mark records this detail of the rooster crowing twice] you yourself will disown me three times.”
14:31 But Peter insisted emphatically, “Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.” And all the others said the same.
14:32 They went to a place called Gethsemane [located in the Kidron Valley; names means “olive press”], and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”
14:33 He took Peter, James and John [Jesus’ inner circle] along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled [Jesus knew what awaited Him; 2 Cor. 5:21; He would become “a curse for us” (Gal. 5:21)].
14:34 “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them [Jesus shared His deepest struggle with His inner circle of friends]. “Stay here and keep watch.”
14:35 Going a little farther [a beautiful phrase; Jesus was always “going a little farther” in everything He did], he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him [or that His redemptive mission might be accomplished some other way].
14:36 “Abba [a tender and loving Aramaic word for “Father”; cf. Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6 re: how the early church used this term], Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you [God is indeed omnipotent]. Take this cup [all that Jesus would endure in the coming hours in order to atone for our sins, including isolation from God (Heb. 5:7-9)] from me. Yet [this is an indication that Jesus was not trying to get out of His mission of dying for the sins of the world; He was indeed willing to fulfill His mission] not what I will, but what you will.”
14:37 Then he returned to his disciples [His inner circle of Peter, James, and John] and found them sleeping [“exhausted from sorrow” as per Lk. 22:45]. “Simon [perhaps Jesus used this old name because Peter, who had boasted of his loyalty to Jesus, now demonstrated that he was behaving as less-than a rock-like man],” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour?
14:38 Watch and pray [for themselves] so that you [the three disciples] will not fall into temptation [to forsake or deny Him, especially during the coming hours]. The spirit [human spirit] is willing [to stand strong or to not deny him as they had boasted earlier], but the flesh is weak.”
14:39 Once more he went away and prayed the same thing [cf. Mk. 14:35-36].
14:40 When he came back, he again found them [the three disciples] sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him.
14:41 Returning the third time, he said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come [the time for prayer was now past]. Look, the Son of Man is delivered into [see Mk. 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34 re: predictions of Jesus’ death] the hands of sinners [refers to the Jewish religious leaders and the Gentiles who were cooperating with them to arrest Jesus].
14:42 Rise! Let us go [Jesus walked toward His betrayer and the crowd that was there to arrest Him]! Here comes my betrayer [Judas knew where to find Jesus; the Garden of Gethsemane was a favorite place of Jesus and the disciples (see Jn. 18:1-2)]!”
14:43 Just as he was speaking [to His half-asleep disciples], Judas [had left the Last Supper at the request of Jesus (Jn. 13:27)], one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from [note the three groups that made up the Sanhedrin…] the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders.
14:44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss [a common way to greet others in the Middle East] is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.”
14:45 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Rabbi [a sign of respect]!” and kissed him [either on the cheek or on the hand].
14:46 The men seized Jesus [who offered no resistence] and arrested him.
14:47 Then one of those [Peter as per Jn. 18:10] standing near drew his sword and struck the servant [named Malchus (Jn. 18:10)] of the high priest, cutting off his ear [according to Lk. 22:51, Jesus healed Malchus’ ear].
14:48 “Am I leading a rebellion,” said Jesus [addressed the manner in which they had come to arrest Him], “that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me?
14:49 Every day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts [where they could have arrested Him but did not do so for fear of the crowds], and you did not arrest me. But the Scriptures must be fulfilled [cf. Ps. 22:7-8,14,16-17; 41:9; Isa. 50:6; 53:7-8].”
14:50 Then everyone [those who had boasted that they would never desert Jesus (Mk. 14:31)] deserted [just as Jesus had predicted in Mk. 14:27] him and fled.
14:51 A young man [traditionally believed to be John Mark, the writer of this Gospel], wearing nothing but a linen garment, was following Jesus. When they seized him,
14:52 he fled naked, leaving his garment behind. 14:53 They took Jesus to the high priest [Caiaphas served as high priest from AD18 to 36/37; Jesus questioned by Annas, the father-in-law of Caiaphas and former high priest (see Jn. 18:12-24)], and [note that the members of the Sanhedrin assembled that night; another meeting was held in the morning (Mk. 15:1)] all the chief priests, the elders and the teachers of the law came together [they were motivated to meet and to act quickly because they finally had Jesus where they wanted Him; they needed to act quickly in order to execute Jesus before the Sabbath].
Note: Sequence of Events
• Jesus taken from Gethsemane to the home of Caiaphas, the high priest.
• Jesus taken from Caiaphas‘ home to Pilate, the Roman governor.
• Pilate sent Jesus to Herod who was in Jerusalem (see Lk. 23:5-12).
• Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate.
• Pilate handed Jesus over to be crucified.
14:54 Peter [and “another disciple” (perhaps John) as per Jn. 18:15] followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. There he sat with the guards and warmed himself at the fire.
14:55 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin [seventy-one leaders] were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any [the fact that Jesus was innocent did not stop these religious leaders from finding a reason or a way to put Jesus to death; this trial was not about justice but instead about looking for a way to conceal an evil plan under the guise of justice].
14:56 Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree [two or more witnesses whose testimonies were in agreement were required in order to put someone to death; Num. 35:30; Deut. 19:15].
14:57 Then some [possibly hired by the Sanhedrin] stood up and gave this false testimony [a violation of one of the Ten Commandments: “You shall not give false testimony.” (Ex. 20:16)] against him:
14:58 “We heard him say [statement twisted Jesus’ words; compare to Jesus’ words in Jn. 2:19], ‘I will destroy this temple [considered a blasphemous statement] made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands.’”
14:59 Yet even then their testimony did not agree [there were discrepancies in their statements].
14:60 Then the high priest [Caiaphas] stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Are you not going to answer [Jesus wisely did not try to answer the fabricated lies of the false witnesses]? What is this testimony that these men [the false witnesses] are bringing against you?”
14:61 But Jesus remained silent and gave no answer [as per prophecy in Isa. 53:7]. Again the high priest asked him [he put Jesus under oath as per Matt . 26:63, thus Jesus was obligated to answer this question as per Lev. 5:1], “Are you the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One?”
14:62 “I am [the first time in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus openly claimed to be the Messiah; cf. Ex. 3:14 and Matt. 26:64 and Lk. 22:67-70],” said Jesus. “And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand [the position of honor; referred to ability to act on behalf of God] of the Mighty One [cf. Ps. 110:1] and coming on the clouds of heaven [cf. Dan. 7:13-14].”
14:63 The high priest tore his clothes [ancient expression of sorrow (see Gen. 44:13); read Lev. 10:6; 21:10 re: what he law had to say about a high priest tearing his robes]. “Why do we need any more witnesses [a rhetorical question]?” he asked.
14:64 “You [the Sanhedrin] have heard the blasphemy [the claim to be God or of attacking God’s authority; a serious charge punishable by death as per Lev. 24:15-16]. What do you think?” They all [those present; likely a majority were present; neither Nicodemus (Jn. 3:1-21; 19:38-40) nor Joseph of Arimathea (Lk. 23:50-51) would have agreed to this action] condemned him as worthy of death.
14:65 Then some began to spit at him [a terrible insult (see Num. 12:14)]; they blindfolded him, struck him with their fists, and said, “Prophesy!” [cf. Isa. 11:2-4] And the guards took him and beat him [see prophecy in Isa. 52:14].
14:66 While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls [Jn. 18:16] of the high priest came by.
14:67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him [perhaps saw him more clearly by the light of the fire]. “You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.
14:68 But he denied it [Peter lied about his association with Jesus, just as Jesus had predicted]. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.
14:69 When the [“another” as per Matt. 26:71] servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.”
14:70 Again he denied it [Peter lied about knowing Jesus a second time]. After a little while [after about an hour as per Lk. 22:59], those [including a relative of Malchus as per Jn. 18:26] standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean [Peter’s accent gave him away (see Matt. 26:73)].”
14:71 He began to call down curses [the strongest form of denial, akin to saying: “May God kill me if I am not telling you the truth.”], and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”
Note: Progression of Peter’s Denials
1. Pretended not to understand the question (Mk. 14:66-68).
2. Denied being one of the disciples (Mk. 14:69-70).
3. Sealed his denial with a strong oath (Mk. 14:70-71).
14:72 Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept [tears of sorrow and repentance; Peter later reaffirmed his love for Jesus and was forgiven (Mk. 16:7; Jn. 21:15-19)].