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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on Mark

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14.1–15.47 : Jesus' death as martyr‐messiah

(Mt 26.1–27.66; Lk 22.1–23.56; Jn 18.1–19.42 ).

1–2 :

Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread, in March/April, celebrated Israel's deliverance from foreign rule in ancient Egypt. Repressive actions by rulers repeatedly touched off massive protest demonstrations at Passover.

14.3–8 : Anointing for burial

(Mt 26.6–13; Jn 12.1–8 ). As a prophet had poured oil on the head of (anointed, made a messiah of) David and other popular kings leading Israel, so a woman … poured ointment on Jesus' head, but to prepare his body for burial. In reply to strenuous objections, Jesus recognizes what she has done as part of the gospel itself.

3 :

Nard was imported from the Himalayan mountains.

14.10–11 : Prediction of betrayal

(Mt 26.14–16; Lk 22.3–6 ). It is from within the twelve, representatives of the renewed Israel, that the betrayal comes.

14.12–25 : The Last Supper

(Mt 26.17–29; Lk 22.7–20 ).

12–16 :

Just as the chief priests and scribes had resorted to covert means to arrest Jesus by stealth ( 14.1 ), so Jesus and his disciples are now operating covertly, “underground,” as indicated by Jesus' instructions for discreet movement inside the city and the carefully planned signal of a man carrying a jar of water (a task that a woman would usually have performed).

18 :

Cf. Ps 41.9 .

20 :

Dipping bread into the bowl with me, the common meal was the most intimate form of fellowship.

22–25 :

Mt 26.26–29; Lk 22.15–20; 1 Cor 11.23–26 . Jesus' words at the Last Supper became the words of institution of the regularly celebrated Lord's Supper.

22 :

My body, without “for you” as in 1 Cor 11.24 , clearly a collective symbol of the community.

24 :

My blood of the covenant, thus renewing the covenant between God and the people, alluding to the covenant ceremony on Sinai (Ex 24.4–8 ). For many, see Isa 53.12 .

25 :

The Supper is eaten in anticipation of celebrating it new in the kingdom of God, whereas in 1 Cor 11.25–26 it is eaten also in memory.

14.26–52 : Agony and betrayal in Gethsemane

(Mt 26.30–56; Lk 22.31–53 ). Jesus' prediction of the disciples' desertion and their actual desertion frames his agonized prayer over his impending martyrdomand his enemies' surreptitious seizure of him.

26 :

The Passover ended with the singing of Ps 115–118 .

27 :

Zech 13.7; Jn 16.32 . See 6.34n.

28 :

Although the disciples are all about to desert, the movement will continue as Jesus will go back to Galilee after his martyr's death; see 16.7 .

29–31 :

Cf. 8.34; 14.66–72; Jn 13.36–38; 18.15–18,25–27 .

32 :

Gethsemane, meaning “oil press,” was an olive orchard or “garden” (Jn 18.1 ) on the slope of the Mount of Olives just east of Jerusalem.

33–35 :

Distressed and agitated … deeply grieved, even to death … threw himself on the ground. The language and action are very strong, v. 34 echoing Ps 42.5,11; 43.5 .

36 :

Abba, Aramaic for “father” (see 5.41n.). This cup, refers to both vv. 23–24 and 10.39 , implicating the disciples, especially James and John.

37–41 :

The disciples are utterly incapable of doing what Jesus had emphasized in teaching about future crises; see 13.35–37 .

43–50 :

Emphasis is on the excessive force used by the Jerusalem rulers in their covert action to capture Jesus, as if Jesus were a violent bandit‐chieftain. Jesus mocks their reluctance simply to seize him when he had been teaching in the Temple courtyard, which betrays their lack of “authority” and political impotence with the people.

45 :

Rabbi, see 9.5–6n.

47 :

In contrast to Mt 26.52–53, Lk 22.51, and John 18.10–11 , Jesus in Mark does not rebuke the spontaneous violent response by one of those who stood near (not necessarily a disciple, although identified as Peter in Jn 18.10 ).

49 :

Let the scriptures be fulfilled, Jesus' arrest, trial, and death in particular proceed “as written” in the scripture (vv. 21,27 ; etc.); fulfilled, only here and 1.15 , marks a highly significant point in the overall gospel.

51–52 :

Young man … naked, presumably symbolic in the narrative, of the disciples now standing exposed as unfaithful deserters and of Jesus as defenseless before the rulers. The “young man” appears once more in the narrative in 16.5–7 .

14.53–72 : Jesus condemned by chief priests and council and Peter's denial

(Mt 26.57–75; Lk 22.54–71 ). Jesus is condemned twice, first by the ruling chief priest and council (Gk “synedrion,” Sanhedrin), then by the Roman governor. While the accounts are integral parts of the Gospel, not historical transcripts, they have historical plausibility against the background of Roman imperial rule in Judea.

53 :

Convening the council at night would have been highly unusual, but by this point due process was hardly a concern of the Jerusalem rulers.

55–59 :

Although Jesus had been speaking and acting in public (see v. 49 ), the council had no witnesses with credible testimony to justify his execution. The false testimony appears to be a confusing parody of Jesus' prophetic condemnation of the Temple and his renewal of Israel (the “house of God” “not made with hands”?) in opposition to the Temple (the “house of God” “made with hands”?).

61–62 :

The Messiah, it is unclear whether this is a charge. “I am” would be an uncharacteristic answer for Jesus (but see 6.50n.). It stands in sharp contrast with his answer to Pilate in 15.2 : “You say so,” and both Mt 26.64 and Lk 22.70 have “You say (that I am),” which suggests that Mk 14.62 also originally read “You say so” or “Am I?” But in immediately confessing the Son of Man … coming with the clouds of heaven (quoting Dan 7.13 and Ps 110.1 ), Jesus gives the high priest all he needs for condemnation.

63–64 :

Blasphemy would presumably refer to the confession of being the Son of Man, rather than his threat against the Temple. For the prescribed punishment, see Lev 24.16 .

66–72 :

Cf. v. 54 . Peter's denial of Jesus is juxtaposed to and simultaneous with Jesus' confession and condemnation. Even the servants of the high priest share the prejudice against and contempt of Galileans such as Jesus, “the man from Nazareth,” and Peter.

71 :

Peter's third denial is very strong language. I do not know this man had double meaning: As indicated repeatedly throughout the Gospel, Peter indeed does not understand who Jesus is and what he is doing.

72 :

See v. 30 .

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