The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Mark 14

Mar 14:1

The rejection of Jesus begins with the leaders of Israel... but ends with the betrayal by his own disciples (Mar 14:18...).

Mar 14:2

BUT NOT DURING THE FEAST: Irony: when they tried to kill him, they failed; when they resolved not to do so, they were forced into it!

Mar 14:3

See Lesson, Mary, "three women".

SHE BROKE THE JAR: Five broken things in the Bible and the results achieved by them: (1) broken pitchers (Jdg 7:18-20), causing the light to shine forth; (2) a broken jar (Mark 14:3), causing the ointment to be poured out; (3) broken bread (Mat 14:20), causing the hungry to be fed; (4) a broken body (1Co 11:24), causing the world to be saved; and (5) a broken will (Psa 51:17), leading the sinner back to God.

Mar 14:4

SOME OF THOSE PRESENT: Including Judas (Joh 12n).

Mar 14:8

SHE DID WHAT SHE COULD: "The limited objective".

POURED: "Murizo" (from "myrrh"). It was, in fact, the only true anointing, except for the dry spices later used.

FOR MY BURIAL: Cp Joh 12:7. It was also an anointing in anticipation of his resurrection (Psa 45:6-8,11).

Mar 14:11

A handful of coins was enough to settle forever the conflict between good and evil. For what price do we sell the Kingdom?

PROMISED TO GIVE HIM MONEY: The 30 pieces of silver (Mat 26:15; Luk 22:5) was a mere "down payment" -- perhaps 10%? (WGos 629).

Mar 14:13

Very precisely arranged beforehand, and undertaken secretly. To have named a precise house ahead of time would have played into the hands of the betrayer, inviting an interruption at the proposed meal.

TWO OF HIS DISCIPLES: Peter and John (Luk 22:8).

A MAN CARRYING A JAR OF WATER: An unusual sight in the East (HVM 150). Carrying water was woman's work (Joh 4:7,28; Gen 24:11). Was this man Mark, going to his mother's house?

WATER: Which may have been used by Jesus to wash the disciples' feet.

Mar 14:14

THE HOUSE: They would be meeting in a private house, not a synagogue.

GUEST ROOM: "Kataluma": sw "inn" (Luk 2:7).

Mar 14:15

"I go to prepare a place": John 14:1-6.

FURNISHED: Lit "strewn" -- ie with pillows and cushions.

Mar 14:18

ONE WHO IS EATING WITH ME: Cp v 20. "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psa 41:9). Cp also Psa 55:12-14. Note: Jesus broke bread with Judas! Cp Joh 13:26.

Mar 14:19

There is no hint that any of the disciples suspected Judas. "An indication of how completely the traitor lived his own life in his own world even while continuing to be an intimate member of the apostles' band."

SURELY NOT I?: "A man ought to examine himself before he eats of the bread and drinks of the cup" (1Co 11:28).

Mar 14:20

ONE WHO DIPS BREAD... WITH ME: Cp Mar 14:18. "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me" (Psa 41:9).

Mar 14:25

I WILL NOT DRINK... OF THE... VINE: A priest officiating in holy place must abstain from wine (Lev 10:9).

Mar 14:26

A HYMN: By tradition at Passover, this was Psa 113; 114 at beginning, and Psa 115-118 at end.

Mar 14:27

A continuation of the same figure: Christ is still a shepherd, leading his flock.

Mar 14:28

AHEAD OF YOU INTO GALILEE: "Unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed them" (Mat 28:16).

Mar 14:31

Cp Peter's boasts to the empty bluster of the rooster (Mar 14:68).

Peter thinks he will lay down (sw Joh 10:11,15) his life for Jesus. Instead, Jesus will lay down his life for Peter. A great irony: cp David/God/build house: 2Sa 7.

Mar 14:32

Jesus had previously baffled Judas (ie Mar 14:12n). But now he places himself in the betrayer's hands -- by retiring to a familiar spot.

GETHSEMANE: Lit "a wine press for oil". Poss its olive trees provided oil for the anointing of priests and kings.

Mar 14:33

Some disciples are closer to their Lord than others. "Members one of another."

JAMES AND JOHN: The two who promised to drink of his cup.

DISTRESSED AND TROUBLED: The mark of a man, not a god! A sign of weakness, trial, but also of compassion and sympathy (Heb 4:15,16; 5:2,7,8).

Mar 14:34

STAY HERE AND KEEP WATCH: Were his disciples already failing him?

Mar 14:35

THE HOUR MIGHT PASS: Perhaps the travails of mind that assailed him in that hour.

GOING A LITTLE FARTHER: He separates himself even from the closest three: seeking the utmost privacy to communicate with his Father. Cp picture of tabernacle/temple: Jesus // Most holy; the 3 // Holy place; the other 8 // outer court; and Judas and crowd // world outside!

THE HOUR: Called "this cup" in next v; Mat 26:39; Luk 22:42. The hours of waiting, or the cross itself? If the cross itself, he would realize quickly that this could not be avoided -- thus "not as I will..."

Mar 14:36

Was this prayer heard by Mark (vv 51,52)?

ABBA: Aram "father". Esp a name by which God was addressed in prayer. Only 3 times in NT text: Mar 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6. But this Aramaic term may lie behind numerous refs to God as Father where only the Gr "Pater" is given in the NT.

Mark frequently uses Aramaic expressions: Boanerges (Mar 3:17), Talitha koum (Mar 5:41), Korban (Mar 7:11), Ephphatha (Mar 7:34), Rabbi (Mar 9:5; 11:21; 14:45), Bartimaeus (Mar 10:46), Abba (Mar 14:36), Golgotha (Mar 15:22), Eloi (Mar 15:34).

TAKE THIS CUP FROM ME: Perhaps the worst suffering, which Christ prays to be spared, is the separation from his Father's presence (Psa 22:1,11; 69:17). But this suffering was, in fact, not spared (Mar 15:34). Also, see Mat 26:39.

NOT WHAT I WILL: Proof that Christ has a will of his own, although he manages not to exercise it here.

"At every step in that last week at Jerusalem we see Jesus master of the situation and not its victim, controlling events even when men think they have him in their power, making the hour for preparation for the disciples and himself, choosing the time for his rendezvous with his enemies. Master at every moment, shall we say, but one -- the mystery of the agony in the garden of the Olive Press when he prays that the cup may pass, yet submits his own will to his Father's. During this week and up to his breathing out his life upon the Cross he more completely than ever lives out the things that were written. Thus it must be -- the Son of Man must suffer. Yet he is not merely acting a preordained role; he is meeting his enemies with all the power of his mind and the depth of his own knowledge of 'the scriptures, and the power of God'. It is they who are fulfilling the prophecy; he knows the course it will take, and he lives it through as the Lamb of God, but he grieves as he sees them going in all assurance the way to their own forewritten doom, judging themselves while they think they are judging him" (SMk 212).

Mar 14:37

See Lesson, Watching for an hour.

Why did they fall asleep? (1) Long days of activity preceding Passover; (2) wine at dinner; (3) lateness of hour; (4) long wait in dark garden.

Mar 14:41

He sits with the sleeping disciples, as a shepherd keeping watch over his flock, quietly awaiting the coming of the band of men to arrest him. (Suggestion: a long period, an hour or two, while they sleep... before "Look!" During the last part of this waiting, Jesus would see the approach of the arresting party, a good way off: (a) they came late at night, (b) with torches, (c) descending into valley from city, (d) climbing mountain on opposite side, toward the garden.

THE THIRD TIME: Both James and John fail Jesus 3 times, just like Peter.

Mar 14:42

RISE! LET US GO!: Not only does he await his persecutors and murderers, but he rises to go and meet them!

HERE COMES MY BETRAYER!: Christ could see the approach of the party to arrest him: they came late at night, carrying torches, traversing the Kidron Valley and climbing the mountain. (If Christ had not awakened the disciples, they might never have seen him go.)

Mar 14:43

SWORDS: Regular weapons of Roman soldiers.

CLUBS: Regular weapons of Jewish temple guards.

Mar 14:44

Why was it necessary that the Son of Man be betrayed with a kiss? There is, of course, the obvious symbolism: the deceitful treachery of a familiar friend. But, on close examination, there would appear to be a practical reason for Judas to suggest a kiss: the time set for Jesus' arrest was night, and the place a rather secluded garden. The Jews bent on taking Jesus have realized that, in the confusion of an arrest, he could slip out of their hands quite easily. The trick would be to single him out from his followers while they were still at some distance, so that the soldiers would know which of the shadowy figures to pursue and lay hands on. (Under normal visibility there would have been no problem identifying Jesus.) And thus the stratagem of having Judas precede the multitude, for only a member of the inner circle (so they would suppose) could get close enough to single out the leader from his followers.

Mar 14:45

Mark's last mention of Judas.

RABBI: Mark frequently uses Aramaic expressions: Boanerges (Mar 3:17), Talitha koum (Mar 5:41), Korban (Mar 7:11), Ephphatha (Mar 7:34), Rabbi (Mar 9:5; 11:21; 14:45), Bartimaeus (Mar 10:46), Abba (Mar 14:36), Golgotha (Mar 15:22), Eloi (Mar 15:34).

KISSED: "Kataphileo". Lit, he "kissed him much, or effusively".

Mar 14:47

ONE OF THOSE STANDING NEAR: Peter (Joh 18:10). Was he aiming for Judas (cp Joh 13:24), but only managed to wound a bystander?


CUTTING OFF HIS EAR: See the contrast: some (like Jesus) wait, watch, pray, prepare, weigh alternatives, and (only then) act. Others (like Peter) doze off, sleep, wake suddenly, and then "cut off an ear". (Jesus heals the ear: Luk 22:51.)

Mar 14:50

Darkness closes down upon the scene. The garden, with its gnarled old olive trees, is dark and quiet again. The silence is broken only by the rustling of the leaves.

Mar 14:51

A YOUNG MAN: John Mark? Mark's nickname in later years was "Kolobodaktulos" = "stump-fingered" (WGos 732). Reasons for this theory: (a) the upper room was (perhaps) at John Mark's mother's house (Act 12:12), (b) after Jesus and eleven leave, Mark goes to bed, (c) later comes a knock on door: Judas and band looking for Jesus; they go away, (d) Mark jumps up quickly, throws on a cloak (sheet), and races out to Gethsemane by another way, hoping to outrace Judas and the soldiers, (e) but he arrives at the scene too late, and is almost apprehended himself, but manages to flee away naked.

Mar 14:52

NAKED: An echo of Amo 2:16?

LEAVING HIS GARMENT BEHIND: As the resurrected Christ left his grave clothes, the symbols of his death, behind in the tomb...

Mar 14:53

Annas was no longer the official High Priest, but the title (and power and wealth) remained in family: 5 different sons, and finally his son-in-law Caiaphas became High Priest (from 18 to 36 AD: OP 23:262). They were a ruthless and ambitious family, who would do almost anything to maintain power (MP 332).

Two injustices here: (1) a private meeting, and (2) late at night. A night trial was illegal: Act 4:3; 5:17-19.

Mar 14:54

AT A DISTANCE: Luk 23:49.

THE FIRE: Peter warmed himself by the fire of the world, but denied the living fire (cp Isa 50:11, in context of judgment -- vv 8,9 -- and smiting -- v 11).

Mar 14:55


Mar 14:56

The false witnesses brought against Jesus are suggested by Psa 27:12; 35:11,12,19; 64:8. (Note: why were the witnesses confused and contradictory of one another? Because, when the key witness -- Judas -- defected, the whole prosecution strategy fell apart! In the hasty scramble to find and "coach" new witnesses, confusion resulted, and was easily brought out -- probably by cross-examination by someone like Nicodemus or Joseph of Arimathea.)

MANY TESTIFIED FALSELY AGAINST HIM: The false witnesses, by law, were liable to the same punishment they sought to inflict on another (Deu 19:15-21). Cp trial of Naboth (1Ki 21:1-19).

Mar 14:57

Notice that the Sanhedrin and chief priests felt some necessity to maintain scruples of Mosaic Law. Poss they knew that a complete fraud would be rejected by others.

Mar 14:58

This (an obvious misapplication) was the best they could do! But, ironically, the death of Jesus would also mark the "end" of the Temple!

IN THREE DAYS: Always ref resurrection (cp Mar 8:31; 9:31; 10:33).

ANOTHER, NOT MADE BY MAN: An obvious misapplication: In effect Christ says, "Destroy me, and in 3 days I will rise again." Jesus himself = temple (Joh 1:14; 2:19-21; Mat 12:6).

NOT MADE BY MAN: "Without hands" (AV): Dan 2:34; ct Act 7:48; cp Heb 9:11.

Mar 14:60

THE HIGH PRIEST: Now Caiaphas (cp Psa 109:2-4).

Mar 14:61

BUT JESUS REMAINED SILENT: "They have spoken against me with a lying tongue... but I give myself unto prayer" (Psa 109:2,4). Cp 1Pe 2:23. Jesus' silence is more eloquent than any words!

"What was the single most amazing thing that Jesus did? Was it the overcoming of the tempter in the wilderness? Was it acts of healing? Of raising the dead to life? Was it even hanging on the cross?

"I submit that the single most amazing thing that our Lord did, was to be silent.

"Jesus was on trial. He was set upon by a band of none-too-gentle soldiers, under orders to whisk him away to a night-time court. False witnesses accused him. Malicious council members conspired against him. Falsely pious leaders plotted with evil intent against him. And all the while, Jesus knew that he was right, and they were wrong.

"Before them was a loved Son. The accused was the only one who was truly blameless. The only one who really cared in his heart for the nation that these brutish elders thought they were saving from the Romans. Before them was someone who had only and always given of himself for others. The only one who had the power to truly do good. The only one who had the power to throw off the true yoke. Jesus was silent.

"Jesus was not powerless. He could have confuted the lies. He could have shouted down the insinuations as well as the blunt accusations. He could have put them in their place. He could have annihilated their arguments. He could have used his power to hurt them, or destroy them, and escape. He was right, and they were all wrong. Jesus was silent.

"How do we react, I wonder, to words spoken against us? Do we consider that they may be justified? Most times they probably are, and we are blind to our own failings.

"More often, perhaps, we are blinded by our sense of justice. We are quick to excuse ourselves, and even quicker to attack supposed injustice against ourselves. We may lash out most often against those closest to us. When we are tempted to react in such a way, let us think on the mind of Christ. "Let this mind be in you..." (Mike Bull).

AND GAVE NO ANSWER: As if to say, 'The prosecution has not made its case.'

AGAIN THE HIGH PRIEST ASKED HIM: Adding, "I adjure thee, by living God" (Mat 26:63) -- the oath of Mishna, called also the "oath of the testimony", binding the defendant to answer (Lev 5:1).

Mar 14:62

I AM: A definite, non-evasive answer. Cp Mat 26:64n.

AND YOU WILL SEE...: Psa 110:1! In the great Day to come, Jesus tells them, our roles will be reversed: I will be the Judge, and YOU will be the JUDGED! They were in the role of judges (for a moment), but (one day, and forever after) he will be the only true judge!

Mar 14:63

THE HIGH PRIEST TORE HIS CLOTHES: The prescribed method for dissociating oneself from blasphemy (SMk 193). But illegal for a High Priest (Lev 21:10), prejudicial as a judge, and symbolizing, unknowingly, the end of his own priesthood (cp Isa 50:9). (High Priest's garment and veil of temple, of same material: cp Mar 15:38.)

Cp 2Ki 11:14.
"Athaliah tore her robes, and called out, 'Treason! Treason!" -- pronouncing her own sentence!

Mar 14:64

YOU HAVE HEARD THE BLASPHEMY: Not a blasphemy against God or Jewish Law, but against Caesar: "We have no king but Caesar" (Joh 19:12,15). Caiaphas was looking for something specifically to arouse the Roman authorities, and in Jesus' intimation of future kingship he thinks he may have found it.

Mar 14:65

Cp Isa 50:6. A complete loss of all judicial restraint and dignity. Even Sanhedrin members participate (cp Psa 22:16: the whole assembly).

PROPHESY: He was blindfolded (Luk 22:64). 'Tell us who is striking you.' One day he will!

Mar 14:66

The only instance in the Gospels where a woman is not on Jesus' side! Or is she?

IN THE COURTYARD: Under the principal apartments of high priest's palace (built on slope of a hill) was a lower story with a porch in front (Temple 34).

Mar 14:67

Peter is also recognized by at least one man: Joh 18:26.

Was Peter afraid especially because of his violent action against the High Priest's servant? Cp John 18:26.

Mar 14:72

Jesus also turned and looked at him (Luk 22:61).

BROKE DOWN: Epiballo = to throw down upon. (AV "when he thought thereon" misses the point.) Godet translates: "hurrying forth". There is support in the papyri for reading it: "he burst into tears". Souter: "he set to and wept" (and kept on weeping).
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