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The Gospel According to Mark: Chapter 14

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1It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus e Other ancient authorities read and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they purify themselves by stealth and kill him; 2for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”

3While he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, f Other ancient authorities add and beds as he sat at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very costly ointment of nard, and she broke open the jar and poured the ointment on his head. 4But some were there who said to one another in anger, “Why was the ointment wasted in this way? 5For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, a Gk walk and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her. 6But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has performed a good service for me. 7For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish; but you will not always have me. 8She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for its burial. 9Truly I tell you, wherever the good news b Gk lacks to God is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her.”

10Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you want us to go and make the preparations for you to eat the Passover?” 13So he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, 14and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks, Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ 15He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there.” 16So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

17When it was evening, he came with the twelve. 18And when they had taken their places and were eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19They began to be distressed and to say to him one after another, “Surely, not I?” 20He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread c Other ancient authorities add verse 16, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen” into the bowl d Other ancient authorities add and Sidon with me. 21For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that one by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that one not to have been born.”

22While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is my blood of the e Or Lord; other ancient authorities prefix Yes covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

26When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

28But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” 30Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.

32They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36He said, “Abba, a Gk he Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; b Other ancient authorities read Mageda or Magdala the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

43Immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived; and with him there was a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders. 44Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.” 45So when he came, he went up to him at once and said, “Rabbi!” and kissed him. 46Then they laid hands on him and arrested him. 47But one of those who stood near drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 48Then Jesus said to them, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest me as though I were a bandit? 49Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not arrest me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.” 50All of them deserted him and fled.

51A certain young man was following him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth. They caught hold of him, 52but he left the linen cloth and ran off naked.

53They took Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests, the elders, and the scribes were assembled. 54Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, warming himself at the fire. 55Now the chief priests and the whole council were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none. 56For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony did not agree. 57Some stood up and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58“We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’ ” 59But even on this point their testimony did not agree. 60Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it that they testify against you?” 61But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Messiah, a Gk they the Son of the Blessed One?” 62Jesus said, “I am; and

‘you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power,’ and ‘coming with the clouds of heaven.’ ”

63Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “Why do we still need witnesses? 64You have heard his blasphemy! What is your decision?” All of them condemned him as deserving death. 65Some began to spit on him, to blindfold him, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” The guards also took him over and beat him.

66While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant‐girls of the high priest came by. 67When she saw Peter warming himself, she stared at him and said, “You also were with Jesus, the man from Nazareth.” 68But he denied it, saying, “I do not know or understand what you are talking about.” And he went out into the forecourt. b Other ancient authorities read the Herodians Then the cock crowed. c Gk They 69And the servant‐girl, on seeing him, began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” 70But again he denied it. Then after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.” 71But he began to curse, and he swore an oath, “I do not know this man you are talking about.” 72At that moment the cock crowed for the second time. Then Peter remembered that Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

Notes:

b Other ancient authorities read and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they purify themselves

c Other ancient authorities add and beds

d Gk walk

a Gk lacks to God

b Other ancient authorities add verse 16, “Let anyone with ears to hear listen”

c Other ancient authorities add and Sidon

d Or Lord; other ancient authorities prefix Yes

e Gk he

a Other ancient authorities read Mageda or Magdala

b Gk they

c Other ancient authorities read the Herodians

a Gk They

Text Commentary view alone

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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