Mark 14 Commentary

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           John Mark


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Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll-right side of page


Click chart to enlarge
Chart from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission

Mark 14:1  Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away; and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to seize Him by stealth and kill Him;

NET  Mark 14:1 Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the chief priests and the experts in the law were trying to find a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.

NLT  Mark 14:1 It was now two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The leading priests and the teachers of religious law were still looking for an opportunity to capture Jesus secretly and kill him.

ESV  Mark 14:1 It was now two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth and kill him,

NIV  Mark 14:1 Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him.

GNT  Mark 14:1 Ἦν δὲ τὸ πάσχα καὶ τὰ ἄζυμα μετὰ δύο ἡμέρας. καὶ ἐζήτουν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς πῶς αὐτὸν ἐν δόλῳ κρατήσαντες ἀποκτείνωσιν·

KJV  Mark 14:1 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.

YLT  Mark 14:1 And the passover and the unleavened food were after two days, and the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how, by guile, having taken hold of him, they might kill him;

ASV  Mark 14:1 Now after two days was the feast of the passover and the unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him with subtlety, and kill him:

CSB  Mark 14:1 After two days it was the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a treacherous way to arrest and kill Him.

  • two: Mt 6:2 Lu 22:1,2  Joh 11:53-57 13:1 
  • the passover: Ex 12:6-20 Lev 23:5-7 Nu 28:16-25 De 16:1-8 
  • chief: Ps 2:1-5 Joh 11:47 Ac 4:25-28 
  • by: Ps 52:3 62:4,9 64:2-6 Mt 26:4 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:1-5  When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.”  3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; 4 and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him.

Comment: "Matthew’s account follows Mark quite closely but adds a few details of its own. It links the setting with the previous teaching of Jesus on the last judgment (Matt 25:31–46) and records Jesus uttering another Passion prediction on the very threshold of the Passover celebration. It thus heightens the tension as the decisive hour draws near, and solemnly declares the betrayal and the ensuing crucifixion (Matt 26:1–2). In addition, Matthew notes that the plot to kill Jesus was hatched “at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest” (Matt 26:3), thus highlighting the fact that Jesus came to his own people, and yet they tragically rejected him (cf. John 1:11+), even planning his execution in the house of the high priest (ED: NOTE THE TRAGIC IRONY - THE HIGH PRIEST WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN THE LEADER OF WORSHIP INSTEAD IS THE LEADER IN PLOTTING THE DEATH OF THE MOST HIGH GOD! "RELIGION" CAN BE A TREACHEROUS THING IN THE WRONG HANDS!)." (Trites)

Luke 22:1-2+  Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. 2The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. 


The depiction above is the Jewish Sanhedrin which does not come into play until Mark 15:1ff+. Cross the Rubicon means to commit to a particular plan or course of action that cannot be reversed. To do something that inevitably commits one to following a certain course of action. The phrase refers to how Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon river and became embroiled in civil war in 49 BCE. The Jewish religious leaders with the help of Judas will soon "cross the Rubicon" regarding their plot to kill Jesus.

Constable has an interesting note on Mark 14 and Mark 15 - This section of Mark’s Gospel records the climaxes of many themes that the writer had introduced. Mark chose to concentrate on the passion or sufferings of Jesus rather than simply to give a record of all the events of the last week of Jesus’ life. Out of Mark’s 661 verses, 242 (37%) deal with the last week, from the Tri umphal Entry through the Resurrection, and 128 concern Jesus’ passion and resurrection. Over half the events Mark recorded in the last week (53%) deal with Jesus’ sufferings and triumph, the two major themes in the last three chapters

A note of warning as we begin to study what is often referred to as Jesus' Passion (suffering) - Reading different commentaries may result in some confusion as to the timing of events on the last days of Passion week. For example, the noted expositor John MacArthur is one of the few who state that the Triumphal Entry was on a Monday and not a Sunday (see his sermon notes explaining his logic), which would make the events in Luke 22:1-6 as occurring on Wednesday, not Tuesday as described by most other commentators. For example, Jewish commentator Arnold Fruchtenbaum places the events in Luke 22:1-6 on Tuesday adding that "the Gospels are silent about the events of Wednesday. We can only guess that it was a day of private preparation by Jesus for what will begin on the Passover, which began on Thursday afternoon." MacArthur places the events in Luke 22:1-6 on Wednesday. So that is one point of difference in many of the commentaries. Another point of difference is regarding the chronology of the Passover. Specifically, did Jesus really celebrate the Passover meal with His disciples on Thursday evening and then die as the Passover Lamb of God on Friday afternoon. This will be discussed in more detail below, but just be aware that there is not a clear cut consensus regarding the events on Thursday and Friday. Another point to keep in mind as taught in Lk 22:1 is the fact that in Jesus' day the two separate feasts, Passover and Unleavened Bread, were considered as one feast, sometime referred to as Passover and sometimes as the Feast of Unleavened Bread (see Mt 26:17, Mk 14:1, 12, Lk 22:1). 

Leon Morris also points out that "All our Gospels agree that the crucifixion took place on a Friday in the Passover season, but whether the Passover coincided with the Lord’s Supper (as it seems to do in the Synoptics) or with the crucifixion itself (as John seems to say) is one of the most difficult questions in New Testament interpretation....Possibly the best explanation is that there were different calendars in use (Edsee note below). Jesus died as the Passover victims were being slain according to the official calendar; but he had held the Passover with his followers the previous evening according to an unofficial calendar.

Grassmick adds that "The chronology of the Passion Week events is complicated partly because two systems of reckoning time were in use, the Roman (modern) system in which a new day starts at midnight and the Jewish system in which a new day begins at sunset (cf. Mark 13:35)." (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

J C Ryle - THE chapter which opens with these verses, begins the account of our Lord’s sufferings and death. No part of the Gospels is so important as this. The death of Christ was the life of the world.—No part of our Lord’s history is so fully given by all the gospel writers as this. Only two of them describe the circumstances of Christ’s birth. All four dwell minutely on Christ’s death. 

Now the Passover and Unleavened Bread were two days away - This is the first mention of the Passover in Mark. Note that the Feast of Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were often considered by the Jews to be one feast or festival and so it was often called the “Jewish Passover Feast” which identified the full 8 days of the Passover and Unleavened Bread (from Nisan 14 through Nisan 21). Wuest simplifies it saying "It was one feast." 

MacArthur on the timing: That is not incidental information. It is the purpose of God that on that Passover in A.D. 30, on the fourteenth of the month Nisan, at the very hour when the Passover lambs were being slain on the Passover, three in the afternoon, Jesus would die. That’s pretty specific. . . Now there were three main feasts the Jews celebrated; the Feast of Pentecost, which was kind of a firstfruits, Feast of Booths, they’re remembering the wandering in the wilderness, and the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

And so strictly speaking in the Mosaic Law, the Feast of Passover was one day, followed by a distinct celebration  of unleavened bread for 7 days. As Fruchtenbaum notes "by Jesus’ day in 1st century Israel, and up until today, these two feasts were combined into one 8 day observance all labeled Passover."

Passover of course was a memorial that celebrated (Ex 12:14) the night when the death angel passed over (Ex 12:12, 13) the doors of homes marked with the blood (Ex 12:7) of a blemish free lamb (Ex 12:3-5, cf  Jn 1:29, 1 Pe 1:18-19+, 1 Cor 5:7). The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated Israel's exodus journey out of Egypt after the Passover. So at this time in Jerusalem, there would be Jewish pilgrims flooding in for these two great feasts which were in effect a celebration of Israel's past temporal salvation! How ironic that the very One to Whom all of the Feasts pointed (1 Cor 5:7) was preparing to sacrifice Himself to make a way for the eternal salvation of their souls! Sadly, most of the pilgrims did not have eyes to recognize Jesus as the Lamb of God Who could take away their sin and the sin of the world (Jn 1:29). 

This feast is prescribed in Leviticus 23:5-6+ 

In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight is the LORD’S Passover. Then on the fifteenth day of the same month there is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.

Grassmick - These two Jewish festivals were closely related and in popular usage were often designated as the “Jewish Passover Feast” (an eight-day festival, Nisan 14–21 inclusive; cf. Mark 14:2; John 2:13, 23; 6:4; 11:55). So Nisan 14, the day of preparation, was commonly called “the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread” (cf. Mark 14:12).  (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

The Jewish historian Josephus speaks of them as separate feasts but also combines them as one feast as in Antiquities xiv. 21 where we read....

So Aretas united the forces of the Arabians and of the Jews together, and pressed on the siege vigorously. As this happened at the time when the feast of unleavened bread was celebrated, which we call the Passover, the principal men among the Jews left the country, and fled into Egypt. (Josephus The Antiquities of the Jews 14:2.1)

Constable - These verses introduce the whole passion narrative. Passover commemorated the Israelites’ redemption from slavery in Egypt through the Exodus (Exod. 12:1–13:16). It anticipated a greater deliverance from the consequences of slavery to sin. The Jews began to celebrate Passover on the fourteenth of Nisan, and the feast of Unleavened Bread followed on the fifteenth through the twenty-first of Nisan. Mark dated the events that follow immediately as occurring two days before Passover. This would have been Wednesday, April 1, 33 A.D.

And so strictly speaking in the Mosaic Law, the Feast of Passover was one day, followed by a distinct celebration  of unleavened bread for 7 days. As Fruchtenbaum notes "by Jesus’ day in 1st century Israel, and up until today, these two feasts were combined into one 8 day observance all labeled Passover."

Passover of course was a memorial that celebrated (Ex 12:14+) the night when the death angel passed over (Ex 12:12, 13+) the doors of homes marked with the blood (Ex 12:7+) of a blemish free lamb (Ex 12:3-5+, cf  Jn 1:29+, 1 Pe 1:18-19+, 1 Cor 5:7). The Feast of Unleavened Bread commemorated Israel's exodus journey out of Egypt after the Passover. So at this time in Jerusalem, there would be Jewish pilgrims flooding in for these two great feasts which were in effect a celebration of Israel's past temporal salvation! How ironic that the very One to Whom all of the Feasts pointed (1 Cor 5:7) was preparing to sacrifice Himself to make a way for the eternal salvation of their souls! Sadly, most of the pilgrims did not have eyes to recognize Jesus as the Lamb of God Who could take away their sin and the sin of the world (Jn 1:29+). 

Wuest on the Passover - The word “Passover” is the translation of pascha which means “a passing over.” The paschal lamb was the lamb for sacrifice which the Israelites were bidden to kill, the blood of which they were to sprinkle on the door-posts of their dwellings in Egypt so that the destroying-angel might pass over their homes without entering and taking the life of the first-born. The paschal lamb therefore was the slain lamb, the death of which was accepted in lieu of the life of the first-born child. Our Lord is the Paschal Lamb in the sense that His death was accepted by the High Court of Heaven as a payment for our sin. As the symbolic Passover was about to be celebrated in Israel, the actual Passover Lamb was entering Jerusalem to fulfill the type by dying on the Cross.

Unleavened (106)(azumos from a = negative + zume = leaven) means free from yeast, without fermentation and speaks of unleavened bread, the Hebrew word matzoth, eaten by the Jews during Passover. Figuratively, undefiled or a life free from sinful corruption (1 Cor 5:7-8).  In the NT feast of unleavened bread is used to speak of the Passover (Mt. 26:17; Mk. 14:1; Mk. 14:12; Lk. 22:1; Lk. 22:7; Acts 12:3; Acts 20:6). 

Passover (3957)(pascha) is the transliteration of the Hebrew word pesach/pesah (06453) which is a masculine noun thought by some writers (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon) to have its origin from pacach/pasah which apparently means to pass over; to spare (Ex 12:13, 23, 27+ - "Jehovah will pass"). Depending on the context, pascha refers to the Passover lamb (Lk 22:7+), the Passover meal (Lk 22:8+), or the festival of Passover (Lk 22:1+).

Click here for much more in depth discussion of the actual Seder or Passover celebration.

This is a fascinating side note: The Jewish Talmud describes the death of the Passover Lamb of God on the eve of Passover! And yet the Jewish scholars remained blind to the truth for "their minds were hardened; for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it is removed in Christ." (2 Cor 3:14+)

Sanhedrin folio 43a records - On the eve of the Passover Yeshu (34)  was hanged. For forty days before the execution took place, a herald went forth and cried, 'He is going forth to be stoned because he has practised sorcery and enticed Israel to apostacy. Any one who can say anything in his favour, let him come forward and plead on his behalf.' But since nothing was brought forward in his favour he was hanged on the eve of the Passover!"

And the chief priests and the scribes - Members of the Sanhedrin – this was not some radical, outsider group – these were the hard core religious leaders of the establishment. They wanted to make their problem go away quietly, with the least amount of commotion. We have seen these men before in Mark 8:31 and Mark 11:27. Matthew 26:3 adds that "the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas." And so we see that representatives of each order of the Sanhedrin were present for this plot to put Jesus to death.  Recall that Caiaphas was the one who had advocated sacrificing Jesus John recording "You know nothing at all, nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.”" (Jn 11:49-50, see context Jn 11:47,48) 

Paul Apple speaks of the utter irony - These were the religious leaders plotting to kill the ultimate Passover Lamb at the very time they were celebrating the feast that pointed to his redemptive work!

These men are the ones pictured in Ps 41:5-8+

My enemies speak evil against me, “When will he die, and his name perish?”  6 And when he comes to see me, he speaks falsehood; His heart gathers wickedness to itself; When he goes outside, he tells it.  7 All who hate me whisper together against me; Against me they devise my hurt, saying,  8 “A wicked thing is poured out upon him, That when he lies down, he will not rise up again.” 

IVP Background Commentary - Jewish literature reports that the high priests bullied those who opposed them. 

Grassmick points out that "Like other passages in Mark the first cycle of events in this division also has a “sandwich” structure (ED: SEE SANDWICH BELOW) (cf. Mark 3:20–35; Mark 5:21–43; Mark 6:7–31; Mark 11:12–26; Mark 14:27–52). The account of the conspiracy by the religious leaders and Judas (Mark 1–2, 10–11) is divided by the account of Jesus’ anointing in Bethany (Mark 14:3–9). In this way Mark emphasized the striking contrast between the hostility of those who plotted His death and the loving devotion of one who recognized Him as the suffering Messiah. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)


  • The Decision of the Rulers to kill Christ - Mark 14:1-2
  • The Devotion of Mary to anoint Christ- Mark 14:3-9
  • The Determination of Judas to betray Christ - Mark 14:10-11 (from What the Bible Teaches - Mark)

Chief priests (749)(archiereus) in the plural denotes members of the Sanhedrin (Wikipedia) who belonged to high priestly families (Mt 2:4; Lk 23:13; Ac 4:23) and would include the current high priest, Caiaphas (Mt 26:3), a Sadducee, the leader of the Sanhedrin, and the former high priest Annas, who still wielded significant influence behind the scenes. 

Scribes (1122)(grammateus) most of whom were Pharisees were those skilled in the law of Moses and rabbinic literature (Mt 2:4; 23:2, 13ff; Mk 2:16; Lk 9:22; Acts 6:12). It always amazes me that the Scribes were the Biblical experts and thus would have (or should have) been familiar with the Messianic Prophecies (>300 specific prophecies), the very prophecies that were perfectly fulfilled in the God-Man Christ Jesus! Sin blinds our spiritual eyesight. Sin makes it impossible to see truth in the Scriptures! It follows that before you go to the Word of God, go to the God of the Word and confess any sin that might impede the illuminating work of God's Spirit. (cf 1 Jn 1:6-7+, 1 Jn 1:9+) To read the Word, without allowing God's Spirit to "read your heart" (cf Jn 16:8) is an exercise in futility.

Were seeking how to seize Him by stealth (“some sly way” - NIV) and kill Him - Mark begins with a striking contrast between the enemies who sought to kill Christ (Mk 14:1-2) and the friends, one of whom sought to anoint Christ (ultimately for burial) (Mark 14:3-9). It is also notable that at the same time the Jewish leaders were seeking to seize Him and kill Him Matthew 26:1-2 tells us Jesus was predicting the exact day of His death declaring "You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.” Once again we see the juxtaposition of men's responsibility (seeking to kill) and God's sovereignty (giving the day of the killing). Stealth is a detail not found in the other Gospel accounts and is the word dolos which Jesus had used in Mark 7 declaring "For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, 22 deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit (dolos), sensuality, envy, slander, pride and foolishness."

THOUGHT - The point of the juxtaposition of the evil and the good discussed above should serve as a constant reminder that God was in complete control of every aspect related to the Crucifixion of His Beloved Son. And beloved saint, He is just as IN CONTROL of every aspect of our lives, even when our lives may appear (humanly speaking) to be out of control! Rest in that absolute truth in full confidence that He is still the God Who is able even when it seems impossible to fulfill His promise in Romans 8:28 to cause "all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." This is His trustworthy Word dear suffering saint! Take a moment and rejoice in the truth that God is in Control

Arnold Fruchtenbaum -   The leaders of Israel are in unison on their desire to kill Jesus. Their conspiracy has TWO goals: (1) They want to find a way to arrest Jesus away from the multitude to avoid a riot breaking out. (2). They want to avoid killing Him on the Passover. This goal is in keeping with Satan’s plan to kill Jesus but avoid fulfilling the prophetic nature of the Feast of Passover. But we see that despite Satan’s best efforts God is the one who is in control, and Jesus’ death occurred when it was ordained to occur. Previous attempts to kill Jesus had been unsuccessful, as they had not been at the appointed time. In order for the atonement to be made Jesus HAD to die during this Passover, and He HAD to die by crucifixion. Read Isaiah 53:5+, and Psalm 22:11-18. If that were not the case God could have allowed the death of the Messiah Jesus to happen at any other time by any other means. But He ordained the feasts of Israel as a prophetic template in which He would accomplish His purposes towards Israel and mankind in general. (Life of Messiah)

Seeking (imperfect tense - again and again, constantly on watch for an opportunity to seize Jesus)(2212)(zeteo) means these evil men were continually trying to discover some way to destroy Jesus, thus it is not surprising that this verb zeteo is used repeatedly by the Gospel writes to describe the efforts of the Jewish religious leaders to seize and destroy Jesus (Mt 21:46,  26:16 , Mt 26:59, Mk 11:18, 12:12, Mk 14:1, 11, 55, Lk 19:47, 20:19 , Lk. 20:19, 22:2, 22:6,  John 5:18, 7:1, 7:25, 7:30, Jn 8:37, 8:40, 10:39, 11:8, Jn 18:4, 7, 8)

Stealth (deceit) (1388)(dolos from dello = to bait) literally refers to a fishhook, trap, or trick all of which are various forms of deception. Dolos is a deliberate attempt to mislead, trick, snare or "bait" (baiting the trap in attempt to "catch" the unwary victim) other people by telling lies. It is a desire to gain advantage or preserve position by deceiving others. A modern term in advertising is called "bait and switch" where the unwary consumer is lured in by what looks like an price too good to be true! 11x in NT =- Matt. 26:4; Mk. 7:22; Mk. 14:1; Jn. 1:47; Acts 13:10; Rom. 1:29; 2 Co. 12:16; 1 Thess. 2:3; 1 Pet. 2:1; 1 Pet. 2:22; 1 Pet. 3:10

Kill (put to death)(615)(apokteino from apó = intensifies meaning + kteíno = slay) means to kill outright or to put to death in any manner. To kill someone results in a state of separation. To kill physically (Mt. 10:28; Mt. 14:5, Jn 18:31; often of Christ's death; in Rev. 2:13, Rev. 9:15, Rev. 11:13). Uses in Mark -  Mk. 3:4; Mk. 6:19; Mk. 8:31; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:34; Mk. 12:5; Mk. 12:7; Mk. 12:8; Mk. 14:1

Related Resources:


Note that each of the Seven Great Feasts has a specific eschatological (prophetic) fulfillment. The four Spring feasts have been fulfilled at the First Coming of the Messiah. The final three feasts will be fulfilled at the Second Coming of the Messiah when He returns to to establish His Kingdom (cf Lk 17:20ff+, Lk 22:18+) and fulfill God's literal promises to the literal nation of Israel, promises which are summarized by Paul when he wrote "all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” (Ro 11:26+)




1st Month = Nisan
Festival of Passover

3rd Month = Sivan
Feast of Pentecost


7th Month = Tishri
Festival of Booths
(Tabernacles) (Sukkot)




of Weeks

of Trumpets

Day of

of Booths

Lamb's blood on Door
Ex 12:6-7+

Purging Leaven (Sin)

Wave Offering (Promise of Harvest to come)

Wave Offering of two loaves of leavened bread (promise of harvest to come)

Trumpet Blown -
A Holy Convocation

Atonement shall be made to cleanse you
Lev 16:30+

Celebrates harvest, memorial of God's care in wilderness

1st Month, 14th Day
Lev 23:5+

1st Month, 15th Day
Lev 23:6-8+
(1st & 8th are Sabbath)

Day after Sabbath
Lev 23:9-14+

50 Days after first fruits
Lev 23:14-21+

7th Month, 1st Day
Lev 23:23-25+
(A Sabbath)

7th Month, 10th Day
Lev 23:26-32+
(A Sabbath)

7th Mo, 15th Day
7 Days;
Convocation on 8th Day Lev 23:33-44
(1st & 8th are Sabbath)

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed

Clean out the old leaven… just as you are in fact unleavened

Christ has been raised… the first fruits

Promise of the Spirit, Mystery of Church - Jews and Gentiles in one body

Regathering of Israel before final day of atonement
Jer 32:37-41+

Israel repents and looks to Christ in one day
Zech 3:9-10,
Zech 12:10+,
Zech 13:1+,
Zech 14:9+

All families come to Jerusalem for Feast of Booths
Zech 14:16-19+

1Cor 5:7

1Cor 5:7-8

1Cor 15:20-23

Acts 2:1-47+
1 Cor 2:13
Eph 2:11-12


Ezekiel 36:24+

Ezekiel 36:25-27+
Heb 9-10
Ro 11:25-29+

Ezek 36:28+

Mark 14:2  for they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people."

NET  Mark 14:2 For they said, "Not during the feast, so there won't be a riot among the people."

NLT  Mark 14:2 "But not during the Passover celebration," they agreed, "or the people may riot."

ESV  Mark 14:2 for they said, "Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people."

NIV  Mark 14:2 "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot."

GNT  Mark 14:2 ἔλεγον γάρ, Μὴ ἐν τῇ ἑορτῇ, μήποτε ἔσται θόρυβος τοῦ λαοῦ.

KJV  Mark 14:2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.

YLT  Mark 14:2 and they said, 'Not in the feast, lest there shall be a tumult of the people.'

ASV  Mark 14:2 for they said, Not during the feast, lest haply there shall be a tumult of the people.

CSB  Mark 14:2 "Not during the festival," they said, "or there may be rioting among the people."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:5  But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.”

Luke 22:2+  The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. 

for they were saying, "Not during the festival, otherwise there might be a riot of the people" - As discussed above, during the festival would have been between Nisan 14-21, referring to the combined feasts of Passover and Unleavened Bread which were often spoken of as one "festival." What are the religious leaders saying? They are thinking that they would not be able to complete their task of killing Him until AFTER the Passover. As discussed above Jesus' prediction was "spot on" and reiterates the theme that God not men is in total control of this grand story of redemption. 

Hendriksen: It is only on the background of God’s decree that its meaning becomes clear. “Not at the Festival,” said the plotters. “At the Festival,” said the Almighty. That was the divine decree, for which see also Luke 22:22; Acts 2:23; Eph. 1:11.

MacArthur: In spite of their fears, it was God’s determination that not only would He die during the eight-day period which started with the Passover, followed by seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread when Jerusalem had been swelled by hundreds of thousands more people. Not only would He die during that festival, but at the most unlikely, and from their viewpoint, inappropriate and threatening moment and that was in the afternoon of Friday when the Passover lambs themselves were being killed and the mass of the population was in and around the very temple area, not far from the hill of crucifixion. But God schedule was the only schedule that mattered and God’s purpose would be unfolded. They would never have planned to have Jesus arrested, tried, crucified and dying on that very Friday. But that was what happened because that was God’s plan. Look at ways in which people try

Nothing could deter the greatest event in history from occurring on the Father's timetable! 
What a mighty God we worship and serve!

Barclay on Not during the festival -  It was just there that the problem of the Jewish authorities lay. During the Passover, feeling ran very high. The remembrance of the old deliverance from Egypt made the people long for a new deliverance from Rome. At no time was nationalist feeling so intense. Jerusalem was not the Roman headquarters in Judaea. The governor had his residence and the soldiers were stationed in Caesarea. During the Passover time special detachments of troops were drafted into Jerusalem and quartered in the Tower of Antonia which overlooked the Temple. The Romans knew that at Passover anything might happen and they were taking no chances. The Jewish authorities knew that in an inflammable atmosphere like that, the arrest of Jesus might well provoke a riot.

Robertson- The triumphal entry and the temple speeches of Jesus had revealed his tremendous power with the people, especially the crowds from Galilee at the feast. They were afraid to go on with their plan to kill him at the feast. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

John Calvin  - They did not think it a fit season, till the festival was past, and the crowd was dispersed. Hence we infer that, although those hungry dogs eagerly opened their mouths to devour Christ, or rather, rushed furiously upon him, still God withheld them, by a secret restraint, from doing any thing by their deliberation or at their pleasure. So far as lies in their power, they delay till another time; but, contrary to their wish, God hastens the hour. And it is of great importance for us to hold, that Christ was not unexpectedly dragged to death by the violence of his enemies, but was led to it by the providence of God; for our confidence in the propitiation is founded on the conviction that he was offered to God as that sacrifice which God had appointed from the beginning. And therefore He determined that; His Son should be sacrificed on the very day of the Passover, that the ancient figure might give place to the only sacrifice of eternal redemption. Those who had no other design in view than to ruin Christ thought that another time would be more appropriate; but God, Who had appointed Him to be a sacrifice for the expiation of sins, selected a suitable day for contrasting the body with its shadow (Ed: OT "shadow" in Exodus 12 pointing to the Cross on Passover), by placing them together. Hence also we obtain a brighter display of the fruit of Christ’s suffering.. (Commentary)

Spurgeon - Dastardly fear often drives men to the greatest crimes. He who is not brave enough to be master of his own spirit, and to follow the dictates of his own conscience, may do, before long, he little knows what. Because of the fear of the people, the chief priests and scribes were driven to compass the death of Christ by craft, and to bring him to his death by the cruel betrayal of Judas, one of his own apostles.

THOUGHT - This section is filled with irony, and here we see the sad irony that the Jewish leaders feared men but did not fear God! The feared the crowds more than they feared the crime. They were not afraid to kill the Son of God but were afraid of what the crowds might do! Beloved, we need to look out when we are more concerned with what people think than with what God thinks about us. We are in danger of becoming entrapped as a pawn of peer pressure! Pr 29:25+ says "The fear of man brings a snare, but he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted." Notice the antidote for fear in this passage in Proverbs. What do you observe? The antithesis if fear is faith, trusts in Jehovah.

Up to this time in the ministry of Jesus, the Pharisees were His chief opposition, but as He approaches the Cross the high priests take control of the opposition. The tragic irony is that the very men who should have been leading Israel to the way, the truth and the life, were the very ones plotting to kill the only One Who is Himself "the Way, the Truth and the Life," the only One through Whom one could receive eternal access to God the Father (John 14:6, Acts 4:12+) and entrance into the Kingdom of God (cf Jn 3:3+), the very Kingdom which the Jews were thinking Jesus would soon bring to fruition (cf Lk 19:11+, "the King" in Lk 19:38+). Of course the Jews who had these dreams of a Messianic Kingdom, did not know the truth that before the Crown, He must endure the Cross. 

The religious leaders' plot will soon become much easier to carry out as the last piece of the puzzle falls into place when one of Jesus' inner circle decides to betray the Lord. As you contemplate outworking of these evil deeds by evil men in Jesus' Passion, remember that behind the scenes is God, controlling even the darkest aspects of the drama. And so we see the mysterious juxtaposition of God's sovereignty over these events and men's responsibility for carrying our their heinous acts in Peter's declaration in his first sermon in Jerusalem...

This Man (JESUS), delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God (DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY), you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death (HUMAN RESPONSIBILITY). (Acts 2:23+).

John gives  the most detailed background of the conspiracy to kill Jesus, their evil desires coming to a head so to speak with Jesus' miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead:

John 11:43-53, When He had said these things, He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” 44 The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”  45 Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him. 46 But some of them went to the Pharisees and told them the things which Jesus had done.  57 Therefore the chief priests and the Pharisees convened a council, and were saying, “What are we doing? For this man is performing many signs. 48If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.” 49 But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, “You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you take into account that it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish.” 51 Now he did not say this on his own initiative, but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, 52 and not for the nation only, but in order that He might also gather together into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. 53 So from that day on they planned together to kill Him....57 Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where He was, he was to report it, so that they might seize Him.

Paul Apple - Look at ways in which people try to dismiss Jesus from their lives today as if He is a problem they need to rid themselves of:

  • Ignore Him – fill my life with work and pleasure so that I don’t pay any attention to the claims of Jesus on my life
  • Minimize Him by saying He is just a god among other gods; there are many ways to God – let’s respect them all equally; or Jesus is merely a good example to be followed in a moral sense
  • Pervert his Gospel Message of Grace – so as the Roman Catholics do, they substitute the commandments of men with all of their legalistic regulations (just like the Pharisees of Christ’s day) so that the Person of Jesus and His saving work of redemption on the cross is obscured

Mark 14:3  While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head.

NET  Mark 14:3 Now while Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of costly aromatic oil from pure nard. After breaking open the jar, she poured it on his head.

NLT  Mark 14:3 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.

ESV  Mark 14:3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.

NIV  Mark 14:3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

GNT  Mark 14:3 Καὶ ὄντος αὐτοῦ ἐν Βηθανίᾳ ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ Σίμωνος τοῦ λεπροῦ, κατακειμένου αὐτοῦ ἦλθεν γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς, συντρίψασα τὴν ἀλάβαστρον κατέχεεν αὐτοῦ τῆς κεφαλῆς.

KJV  Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

YLT  Mark 14:3 And he, being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, at his reclining (at meat), there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment, of spikenard, very precious, and having broken the alabaster box, did pour on his head;

ASV  Mark 14:3 And while he was in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster cruse of ointment of pure nard very costly; and she brake the cruse, and poured it over his head.

CSB  Mark 14:3 While He was in Bethany at the house of Simon who had a serious skin disease, as He was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of pure and expensive fragrant oil of nard. She broke the jar and poured it on His head.


Related Passages

 Matthew 26:6 Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, 7 a woman (MARY) came to Him with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume, and she poured it on His head as He reclined at the table.

Luke omits this story apparently because he recorded an earlier anointing in Galilee by "a woman in the city who was a sinner" (so not this Mary of Bethany) (Lk 7:36–50+).

John 12:1-8+  (WORDS IN BOLD ARE UNIQUE TO JOHN'S ACCOUNT) Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, (SEE NOTE BELOW ON TIMING) came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they made Him a supper there, and Martha was serving; but Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him. 3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume


Mark suddenly shifts the scene from the plotting Pharisees to the wonderful worship of an anonymous woman, who is identified as Mary in the parallel account in John 12:3+.

Paul Apple - Remember the most important commandment – love the Lord your God with your whole being; What does that look like in real life? In Mark 14, as Jesus is just a couple of days away from His death on the cross, we get a vivid picture of what it looks like to be broken and poured out in our love and devotion and worship of our Savior.

Mary’s anointing of the Lord must not be confused with a similar event recorded in Luke 7:36–50+. The beautiful picture above by Tissot in fact depicts the event in Luke, not this event with Mary. It is given just to illustrate how in typical Eastern fashion, the dinner guests would recline at the table rather than sit in chairs.

Hiebert - John’s arrangement (Jn 12:1-8) suggests that it occurred on Friday or Saturday evening before “Palm Sunday,” while the synoptic order suggests that it occurred on Tuesday, or possibly Wednesday, evening of Passion Week. Most modern scholars prefer John’s chronology as being more precise and hold that the synoptic arrangement is due to a desire to show the close connection between the anointing and the treachery of Judas. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Edwards writes that "This is a classic Markan sandwich, . . . As in each sandwich technique, the middle story provides the key to understanding the whole. The bracketing of the devotion of the woman, who remains an unnamed outsider [John identifies her as Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus], by the betrayal plot of an intimate insider, creates an acid contrast between faith and treachery." (The Gospel according to Mark Pillar NTC-Mark) 

This Markan Sandwich is like a "Rose between two thorns, a Pearl placed in between the 2 ugly shells, a Blazing Light offset by pitch blackness." 

While He was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper - Bethany is one of the few specific place designations in Mark. Simon is a common name; must have been a leper healed by Jesus who is now responding in thanksgiving and hosting this significant fellowship dinner with some of Jesus’ closest friends, the disciples, Mary, Martha and Lazarus

The timing of the anointing of Jesus by Mary could be confusing because John's Gospel says "Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead." (Jn 12:1) John clearly gives the actual day of Jesus' anointing. On the other hand, Mark and  Matthew (Mt 26:6-13) describe the anointing of Jesus in after the statement that the Jewish leaders were plotting to seize Jesus (Mark 14:1-2, Mt 26:1-5) which would have been either Tuesday (most commentators) or Wednesday (MacArthur - see sermon explanation of timing) prior to the Passover. Clearly, both Mark and Matthew insert this description as a "flashback" while John gives the correct chronology of this event which would have been the preceding Saturday. In this particular and unique act of worship, when Mary poured this perfume upon Jesus' body, without her even realizing it she did it to prepare Him for burial. It became a symbolic deed that anticipated His death and burial (Mt 26:12). And so Matthew and Mark place this event in the context of the events leading up to His betrayal, trial and crucifixion. 

And reclining at the table - This describes the posture of the orientals when partaking of a leisurely meal (See picture below). "1st century middle eastern meals were not eaten while sitting at a table, but while reclining on one’s side on the floor with the head closest to the low table and the feet farthest away." (NET Note)

There came a woman - This is very unusual for a woman to step into such a scene and become the center of attention. John 12:3 says her name was Mary and she was the sister of Lazarus and Martha for John 11:2 says "It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick."

Ralph Earle - The woman had glimpsed who Jesus was, namely the true King of Israel and had supplied the consecrating oil to proclaim his “messiahship” (“Messiah” [messias] means the “anointed” by God).

Williamson comments, “The reprehensible roles in Mark 14:1–11 are played by men; the one praiseworthy character is identified only as a woman.” 

With an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard (nardos) - "Her alabaster flask, a translucent white bottle, was itself of some value. The very precious perfume it contained, oil of spikenard, was worth more than three hundred denarii. As we have seen, a denarius was typically one day’s wage for a laborer in Israel. The people worked six days a week. So, the contents of this flask cost a whole year’s wages." (Sproul)

Wuest - The ointment is described by Mark in three words, nardos (nardos) referring to a perfume which came from India, well known to the Greeks and Romans, and procured from the hills on the banks of the Ganges River, pistikos , speaking of the fact that it was genuine, not imitation or adulterated, and polutelēs, telling us that it was very costly. The woman broke the neck of the flask so that she could quickly pour the contents. 

NET NOTE - A jar made of alabaster stone was normally used for very precious substances like perfumes. It normally had a long neck which was sealed and had to be broken off so the contents could be used. Muron was usually made of myrrh (from which the English word is derived) but here it is used in the sense of ointment or perfumed oil (L&N 6.205). The adjective πιστικῆς (pistikēs) is difficult with regard to its exact meaning; some have taken it to derive from πίστις (pistis) and relate to the purity of the oil of nard. More probably it is something like a brand name, “pistic nard,” the exact significance of which has not been discovered. Nard or spikenard is a fragrant oil from the root and spike of the nard plant of northern India. This aromatic oil, if made of something like nard, would have been extremely expensive, costing up to a year’s pay for an average laborer.

Hiebert - “An alabaster cruse (vial) of ointment of pure nard very costly” (ASV)—the cruse was a long-necked flask with no handles used for preserving precious perfumes or fragrant oils. Although such flasks might be made of other materials, perfumes were found to be best preserved in vessels made of alabaster, a finely textured, translucent stone. The flask contained “a pound of ointment,” twelve ounces of highly aromatic perfume which evaporated rapidly and left a very pleasant odor (John 12:3). The ointment is described as “of pure nard very costly.” Nard identifies the ointment as derived from nard plants, native to India, and the source of the finest ointments. The meaning of the adjective rendered pure is uncertain, but the most probable meaning is “unadulterated.” The nard was “trustworthy,” or “pure,” as opposed to nard adulterated with inferior substances. Such ointment naturally was very costly. Mary’s possession of such costly perfume indicates that the Bethany household must have been comparatively wealthy. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Paul Apple asks "How many of you have spent a year’s salary on expensive perfume for your wife? She would think you were nuts." 

Daniel Akin - This was done in full display of a room full of people. It was done against cultural convention as a woman normally would not approach a man in this setting except to serve him food. Mary cared not one wit for any of this. Jesus was her Lord and Master. She deeply loved Him and would have done anything for Him. And, she did not care who heard or saw. Her devotion to Him trumped all others. She wanted everyone to know the inestimable value she placed on Jesus. So she went public! No one could deny or doubt where her loyalty lay. Can the same be said for you and me?!

And she broke the vial - Only Mark mentions she broke the vial.She broke the flask, making it no longer usable. As Hiebert says her action "expresses the wholeheartedness of her devotion, for she had destined its entire contents for Jesus."  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Mary anointed Jesus' head and feet, for He is beautiful from head to toe! John 12:3 says "Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume." Note that each of the 3 times we see Mary in the Gospels, she is at the feet of Jesus (Luke 10:39, John 11:32, 12:3).

Luke 10:39+ She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.

John 11:32; Therefore, when Mary came where Jesus was, she saw Him, and fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died.”

Anointing Jesus' Feet 
John 12:3

And poured it over His head - "poured, literally, “poured down,” pictures the stream of liquid flowing from the vessel. Mark and Matthew mentioned His head, while John noted that Mary poured the ointment on His feet and that the precious liquid was so abundant that she wiped His feet with her hair. His recumbent position made the anointing of both head and feet readily possible. Pouring some oil on the head was common treatment of a festive guest (Ps. 23:5; Luke 7:46), but anointing the feet was unusual, an act of special esteem. Scroggie comments, “The story of Mary’s graceful act is one of the most beautiful on record; it is a story of loving devotion revealing the acceptable motive, natural modes, and true measure of Christian service.”  (Hiebert)

Nard (3487)(nardos)  a fragrant plant native to India (spike)nard and the aromatic oil extracted from its roots. Only in Jn 12:3 and Mk 14:3

ISBE - SPIKENARD - spik'-nard (nerd; nardos (Song 1:12; 4:14); neradhim; nardoi (Song 4:13), "spikenard plants"; nardos pistike (Mk 14:3; Jn 12:3), "pure nard," margin "liquid nard"; the English word is for "spiked nard," which comes from the Nardus spicatus of the Vulgate): Spikenard is the plant Nardostachys jatamansi (Natural Order, Valerianaceae); in Arabic the name Sunbul hind, "Indian spike," refers, like the English and Latin name, to the "snike"-like shape of the plant from which the perfume comes. The dried plant as sold consists of the "withered stalks and ribs of leaves cohering in a bundle of yellowish-brown capillary fibres and consisting of a spike about the size of a small finger" (Sir W. Jones, As. Res., II, 409); in appearance the whole plant is said to look like the tail of an ermine. It grows in the Himalayas. The extracted perfume is an oil, which was used by the Romans for anointing the head. Its great costliness is mentioned by Pliny. With regard to the exact meaning of the pistike, in the New Testament, there is much difference of opinion: "pure" and "liquid" are both given in margin, but it has also been suggested among other things that this was a local name, that it comes from the Latin spicita or from pisita, the Sanskrit name of the spikenard plant. The question is an open one: either "genuine" or "pure" is favored by most commentators.-  E. W. G. Masterman

See R K Harrison's in depth description of spikenard in his book Healing Herbs in the Bible, page 48 (BORROW)

WikipediaSpikenard, also called nardnardin, and muskroot, is a class of aromatic amber-colored essential oil derived from Nardostachys jatamansi, a flowering plant in the honeysuckle family which grows in the Himalayas of NepalChina, and India. The oil has been used over centuries as a perfume, a traditional medicine, or in religious ceremonies across a wide territory from India to Europe. Historically, the name nard has also referred to essential oils derived from other species including the closely related valerian genus, as well as Spanish lavender; these cheaper, more common plants have been used in perfume-making, and sometimes to adulterate true spikenard.

Gilbrant - Classical Greek Nardos refers to a fragrant and very valuable oil used as a perfume and for the anointing of important guests and persons. It was extracted from the Nardostaychys Jatamansi plant which was found in the Himalayan mountains. In the classical Greek nardos is used in reference both to the plant and to the oil from the plant. The Septuagint uses the word in the sense of the oil or perfume only (Song of Solomon 1:12; 4:13,14). In the 4:14 passage it is mentioned in a list of some of the other most valued ancient aromatics. The two references in the New Testament (Mark 14:3 and John 12:3) refer also to the oil or perfume from the plant. In these passages great emphasis is given to the extreme value of the oil that was used to anoint Jesus. Obviously, it was of great value. The oil was so expensive because of the distance it had to be transported (from the Himalayan mountains), the difficulty of its transportation, the further difficulty of its preservation, and also because Jesus was anointed with the oil in its unadulterated form. According to R.K. Harrison, “The best spikenard was imported from India in scaled alabaster boxes, which were opened only on very special occasions” (“Nard,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 3:490f.). (Complete Biblical Library)

Wiersbe - Nothing that is given to Christ in faith and love is ever wasted. The fragrance of Mary's ointment faded from the scene centuries ago, but the significance of her worship has blessed Christians in every age and continues to do so.  (Bible Exposition Commentary)



John 12:1-8+

Matthew 26:6-13

Mark 14:1-9+

Time Before

6 days
Jn 12:1+


2 days
Mk 14:1+


Jn 12:1

Mt 26:6

Mk 14:3


no home
Jn 12:1+

home of
Simon the leper
Mt 26:6

home of
Simon the leper
Mk 14:3+

of one

Jn 12:3+

A woman
Mt 26:7

A woman
Mk 14:3+


Very Costly
Pure Nard
Jn 12:3

Very Costly
Mt 26:7

Very Costly
Pure Nard
Jn 14:3



Alabaster Vial
Mt 26:7

Alabaster Vial
Mk 14:3+


Jn 12:2+




300 Denarii
Jn 12:5

High Price
Mt 26:9

300 Denarii
Mk 14:5


to poor
Jn 12:5

to poor
Mt 26:8

to poor
Mk 14:5



Why this waste?
Mt 26:8

Mk 14:4+


Judas Iscariot
Jn 12:4-6

Disciples  indignant:
Mt 26:8

Mk 14:4


Jn 12:3+

Poured on
His Head
Mt 26:7

Poured over
His head
Mk 14:3+


Let her
Jn 12:7

Why bother
the woman
Mt 26:10

Let her alone.
Why bother her
Mk 14:6


Poor you have with you always
Jn 12:8

Poor you have
with you
always have
Mt 26:11


Poor you always 
have &
can do them good
Mk 14:6


for burial
Jn 12:7

Me for
Mt 26:12

Done a good 
deed to Jesus
Mk 14:6+



Woman's act 
wherever Gospel  preached
Mt 26:13

Woman's deed be memory wherever Gospel preached
Mk 14:9+

Note that the similarities of the three accounts are highlighted in red. Even many of the differences can be explained. E.g., name of the one anointing named Mary and then referred to as woman is easily resolved. The location of the anointing in Simon the Leper would still fit John's description because he says Jesus went to Bethany but does not specifically say to which home He went. 

Grant Osborne adds "There are two issues related to this account that need to be addressed: (1) harmonizing the Gospel accounts and (2) the chronology of the event....The story in Mt 26:6-13 and Mk 14:3-9 has some interesting differences (the home of Simon the leper, an unnamed woman who breaks the jar and anoints Jesus’ head), but the similarities are far greater, and as the discussion below will show, the differences can be reasonably harmonized. These are the same account, so historically Jesus was anointed twice—first, the one in Luke and second the one reported in the other three Gospels....As to the second issue (CHRONOLOGY), the story in Matthew and Mark occurs after the Triumphal Entry, while the one here in John occurs before that event. However, this is only a problem if we demand that the Gospels follow a strictly chronological pattern. Actually, this is a modern development, and ancient historians did not do so. It has long been realized that the Gospel writers often arranged their material topically, especially the Synoptics (cf. Blomberg 1987). It is generally agreed that John probably has the correct order (he tends to have a more chronological arrangement, so Coakley 1988) and that Matthew and Mark place it where they do in order to contrast the woman’s worshipful act with Judas’s betrayal (cf. Carson, Blomberg 2001, Keener). (See The Gospel of John)

THOSE IN FAVOR OF ONE ANOINTING DESCRIBED IN ALL THREE ACCOUNTS - John MacArthur, Grant Osborne, Edwin Blum (Bible Knowledge Commentary, Tom Constable, J C Ryle, A B Bruce, Rodney A Whitacre (IVP Commentary), Warren Wiersbe, William Cook (Focus on the Bible), NIV Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, ESV Study Bible, J Vernon McGee, C L Blomberg, H. Ridderbos, William MacDonald (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary), 

THOSE OPPOSED -, John Phillips


I will admit I was extremely surprised to find Charles Swindoll also included Luke's account as parallel with John, Matthew and Mark. He is in the minority on that unusual interpretation! See discussion of this interpretation. See discussion of this interpretation.

Broken Things in the Bible

Five broken things in the Bible and the results achieved by them:

1) Broken pitchers (Judges 7:18, 19) and the light shone out
2) A Broken Box (Mark 14:3) and the ointment was poured out
3) Broken Bread (Matt 14:10) and the hungry were fed
4) A Broken Body (1Cor 11:24) and the world was saved
5) A Broken will (Ps 51:17) and a life of fulfillment in Christ
Source unknown

I have been reflecting on the inestimable value of "broken things." Broken pitchers gave ample light for victory (Judges 7:19-21); broken bread was more than enough for all the hungry (Matthew 14:19-21); broken box gave fragrance to all the world (Mark 14:3, 9); and broken body is salvation to all who believe and' receive the Savior (Isaiah 53:56, 12; 1 Corinthians 11:24). And what cannot the Broken One do with our broken plans, projects, and hearts? V. RAYMOND EDMAN

When Mary of Bethany broke the box of precious ointment and poured it on Jesus’ head, it was an act for which no one else saw any occasion; the disciples said it was a waste. But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion, and said that wherever His gospel was preached “this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.” Our Lord is carried beyond Himself with joy when He sees any of us doing what Mary did, not being set on this or that economy, but being abandoned to Him. God spilt the life of His Son that the world might be saved; are we prepared to spill out our lives for Him? “He that believeth in Me out of him shall flow rivers of living water” — hundreds of other lives will be continually refreshed. It is time now to break the life, to cease craving for satisfaction, and to spill the thing out. Our Lord is asking who of us will do it for Him? (Oswald Chambers)

What Are You Looking For?

A woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil. —Mark 14:3

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:1-9

“Stop! There’s a good pair of shoes! Slow down, you just passed a hammer! Look at that jacket in the ditch!” As the car was speeding down the highway at 70 miles an hour, these were the exclamations of a hitchhiker to the driver who had just picked him up. After several hours of similar comments, the driver reached two conclusions:

1. The hitchhiker’s life consisted mainly of things he found by the side of the road.

2. All of us see what we’re looking for. As we go through life, the focus of our eyes reveals the desire of our hearts.

During the week before Jesus was crucified, the chief priests and scribes were looking for any excuse to arrest and kill Him (Mark 14:1). Judas was looking for a convenient way to betray Jesus (v.11). A woman whom we know to be Mary of Bethany was looking for a way to show her love to the Lord (John 12:1-3). And they all found the opportunities they were seeking.

Our Bible reading today calls us to focus on Christ and His great passion that caused Him to die for our sins. Like Mary, may we have hearts that are always looking for opportunities to say to our Savior, “I love You.”  —David McCasland (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

If you'd like to know the love of God the Father,
Come to Him through Jesus Christ, His only Son;
He'll forgive your sins and save your soul forever,
And you'll love forevermore this faithful One. 

We can love Jesus too little, but we can never love Him too much.

Listen and be blessed as you listen to Broken and Spilled out is  a beautiful song by Steve Green

One day a plain village woman
Driven by love for her Lord
Recklessly poured out a valuable essence
Disregarding the scorn
And once it was broken and spilled out
A fragrance filled all the room
Like a pris'ner released from his shackles
Like a spirit set free from the tomb

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of you Jesus
My most precious treasure
Lavished on Thee
Broken and spilled out
And poured at Your feet
In sweet abandon
Let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee

Lord You were God's precious treasure
His loved and His own perfect Son
Sent here to show me
The love of the Father
Just for love it was done
And though You were perfect and holy
You gave up Yourself willingly
You spared no expense for my pardon
You were used up and wasted for me

Broken and spilled out
Just for love of me Jesus
God's most precious treasure
Lavished on me
You were broken and spilled out
And poured at my feet
In sweet abandon Lord
You were spilled out and used up for Me

In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out
And used up for Thee


Mark 14:4  But some were indignantly remarking to one another, "Why has this perfume been wasted?

NET  Mark 14:4 But some who were present indignantly said to one another, "Why this waste of expensive ointment?

NLT  Mark 14:4 Some of those at the table were indignant. "Why waste such expensive perfume?" they asked.

ESV  Mark 14:4 There were some who said to themselves indignantly, "Why was the ointment wasted like that?

NIV  Mark 14:4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume?

GNT  Mark 14:4 ἦσαν δέ τινες ἀγανακτοῦντες πρὸς ἑαυτούς, Εἰς τί ἡ ἀπώλεια αὕτη τοῦ μύρου γέγονεν;

KJV  Mark 14:4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

YLT  Mark 14:4 and there were certain much displeased within themselves, and saying, 'For what hath this waste of the ointment been made?

ASV  Mark 14:4 But there were some that had indignation among themselves, saying, To what purpose hath this waste of the ointment been made?

CSB  Mark 14:4 But some were expressing indignation to one another: "Why has this fragrant oil been wasted?

Related Passages

Matthew 26:8 But the disciples were indignant when they saw this, and said, “Why this waste? 

John 12:4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 


But  (de) marks a striking contrast is attitudes (and actions/words) between Mary and the disciples. 

some were indignantly (aganakteo) remarking to one another - They began to talk among themselves (apparently not overtly which is why Matthew 26:10 has "Jesus, aware of this."). Matthew tells us the some were the disciples! John identified Judas as the originator of the criticism (which should not surprise us). Were indignantly is aganakteo (aroused, angry, displeased) in the present tense picturing their continual indignation, anger and displeasure at Mary's seemingly wasteful actions. They were looking with temporal vision. Mary was looking with eternal vision. Oh, to be more and more like Mary! Amen. 

Brian Bell: Mary’s act of worship brought joy to the heart of Jesus & malice to the heart of Judas. (ED: as well as the other disciples).

Daniel Akin - Led by Judas (John 12:4ff+) and in self-righteous pride they questioned both her motive and her action,

Why has this perfume (muronbeen wasted (apoleia)? - What a sad statement! Precious oil poured on the King of kings and viewed as wasted! Why asks what end it has served, implying that the act was unjustified.

Perfume (ointment)(3464)(muron) is ointment, perfume, sweet-smelling substance made not from animal fats. Apart from a single reference in Revelation 18:13, muron occurs only in the four Gospels (13 times). The Synoptic Gospels record anointings of Jesus’ head by Mary of Bethany. Matthew and Mark clearly link this anointing to Jesus’ upcoming burial (Matthew 26:12; Mark 14:8).Gilbrant adds that "Muron is the juice-like aromatic extract from plants, or perfumed oil. As a cosmetic muron could be translated “perfume.” “Ointment” is perhaps a useful English translation, since muron was often medicinal and at times cultic in significance, being used for anointing (e.g., for burial). Another common use was in the embalming process (cf. Bauer)."

NT uses - Matt. 26:7; Matt. 26:12; Mk. 14:3; Mk. 14:4; Mk. 14:5; Lk. 7:37; Lk. 7:38; Lk. 7:46; Lk. 23:56; Jn. 11:2; Jn. 12:3; Jn. 12:5; Rev. 18:13

CALCULATING VALUE - Efficiency is the relentless taskmaster that drives all our decisions, all our proposals, all parts of our life, said French philosopher and theologian Jacques Ellul. Efficiency (he called it by a special term, la technique), pervades the church as well as the corporation. Everything we do is justified by its calculated contribution to established goals. Thus the disciples were quite modern to protest the "waste" of valuable oil. Jesus alerts us that efficiency is an inadequate governor for at least one crucial encounter: people with God. In worship, let efficiency take its place, but not a primary place. In evangelism, use resources wisely but do not calculate cost-benefits as accountants are trained to do. What appears to be waste may well bring Jesus supreme enjoyment, and that matters most. (Life Application Bible Commentary)

Mark 14:1-9  THE CRITICS

And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?    Mark 14:4

Sooner or later everyone travels the road of criticism. The greater the life, the nobler the endeavor, the more certain is this consequence. The apostle Paul was often unjustly condemned; the disciples were sinfully described as "drunk" at Pentecost; and men even accused our perfect Lord of being demon possessed. In the story related in Mark 14, a woman graciously lavished a very precious box of ointment upon the Savior; yet some were offended and found fault with her. Jesus, however, defended the action, saying, "Let her alone. Why trouble ye her? She bath wrought a good work on me!"

Few people criticize in love, most are vindictive and cruel and act very superior. In fact, it is not very wide of the mark to say, "Criticism is frequently pride in action!" The acid test of Christian character is this: can you take it? can you labor without re-ward and receive unjust censure without bitterness? If so, God will be pleased, and will bless your life with His joy!

To guarantee flawlessness in his publication, a printer hired two proofreaders. However, they did not get along, and were constantly criticizing each other's efforts. In the course of time, one came across some words in a manuscript which spoke of "Tabasco sauce." Never having heard of Tabasco, he supposed the author must have meant tobacco; so he changed the first word. When the second proofreader came to the same phrase and saw "tobacco sauce," he immediately reasoned that such was utterly unthinkable. He therefore proceeded to make a seemingly rational correction by changing the second word. Imagine the consternation of the author and the publisher when the story appeared referring to the use of "tobacco juice" on food—instead of "Tabasco sauce." It goes to show that we do not always know what the other fellow is thinking, and it behooves us not to be over-critical, lest we ourselves be misunderstood.

I find it is a splendid thing,
Just try it and you'll see,
To keep from criticizing folks,
Let each "I" look at "ME"!

 Remember, you can't raise yourself by lowering somebody else!

Mark 14:5  "For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor." And they were scolding her.

NET  Mark 14:5 It could have been sold for more than three hundred silver coins and the money given to the poor!" So they spoke angrily to her.

NLT  Mark 14:5 "It could have been sold for a year's wages and the money given to the poor!" So they scolded her harshly.

ESV  Mark 14:5 For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they scolded her.

NIV  Mark 14:5 It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly.

GNT  Mark 14:5 ἠδύνατο γὰρ τοῦτο τὸ μύρον πραθῆναι ἐπάνω δηναρίων τριακοσίων καὶ δοθῆναι τοῖς πτωχοῖς· καὶ ἐνεβριμῶντο αὐτῇ.

KJV  Mark 14:5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

YLT  Mark 14:5 for this could have been sold for more than three hundred denaries, and given to the poor;' and they were murmuring at her.

ASV  Mark 14:5 For this ointment might have been sold for above three hundred shillings, and given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

CSB  Mark 14:5 For this oil might have been sold for more than 300 denarii and given to the poor." And they began to scold her.

  • denarii: Mt 18:28  Joh 6:7 
  • been given: Joh 12:5,6 13:29 Eph 4:28 
  • they: Ex 16:7,8 De 1:27 Ps 106:25 Mt 20:11 Lu 15:2  Joh 6:43 1Co 10:10 Php 2:14 Jude 1:16 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages

Matthew 26:9 “For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” 

John 12:4+ But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it.


For (gar) - Term of explanation. This one is easy -- it explains their displeasure with Mary's actions. 

This perfume (muronmight have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor (ptochos) - Here the disciples justify their indignation with their justification of its value which could be used for the poor. Concern for the poor, a mark of a pious Jew. John's account shows the pathetic hypocrisy of Judas who was hiding his avarice under the mask of charity. That his character could be so thoroughly flawed after walking with Jesus for three years is frightening! 

Jones remarks, “It is not the concern of the philanthropist you have here, but the rage of a disappointed thief, parading itself as the concern of a philanthropist.”

Edwards: Their condemnation obviously demeans the woman and her gift. In asserting that there could be a better use for the money, however, they demean Jesus as well, whom they regard as unworthy of such extravagance. (The Gospel according to Mark Pillar NTC-Mark)

Hiebert - It represented a whole year’s work for a common laborer (cf. 6:37). Such a sum used up in one short moment they could view only as a waste. The criticism viewed the act only from the monetary standpoint. Judas could readily evaluate its material worth, but he was unable to comprehend the love that prompted the act. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

And they were scolding her -  “They bristled with indignation against her." (Wuest) The idea is that they  murmured against Mary and the verb scolding (embrimaomai) means they were very angry and sternly warned her  in the imperfect tense (over and over - one can almost hear them "snorting" like horses as the precious oil anoints Jesus!). It conveys the idea of anger, harshness, displeasure, and disgust. This same verb is used in another connection of the snorting of horses, not a bad picture of the reaction of these men who should have known better, for they knew He was the Messiah! 

Sproul: The term sharply is a vast understatement in the English. In a bullfight, when the matador taunts the bull, the bull paws the ground and his nostrils flare in anger. That is the image used here. These people were so angry with Mary for wasting the ointment that their nostrils were flaring in their criticism.

Daniel Akin - They continually (imperfect tense = over and over) expressed their anger and displeasure “snorting” at her.

The reference to helping the poor is not as pure in motive as it may initially seem. John 12:4 identifies Judas as the primary spokesman, as well as identifying him as a thief. Jesus' response to this outburst is to praise the woman's loving devotion toward Him in light of His impending death.

Daniel Akin - Several important observations can be made at this point.

1) The disciples not only demeaned the woman, they also demeaned Jesus. To honor Christ in this manner they said was a “waste” (v. 4). They did not believe He was worthy of such a sacrifice of extravagant love.

2) Some are willing to be poor in their possessions in order to be rich in their devotion to Jesus. Others are not. And, it is the latter group that are usually the critics.

3) The world, and sadly many in the church, will never have a problem with moderate, measured devotion to Christ. They will have little or no problem with too many possessions, too much wealth and a pursuit of a comfortable and convenient Christianity. But, walk away from a “real career” in athletics, business, medicine, law or real-estate and you will be marked as foolishness, living a “wasted life.” Walk away from mom and dad and serve the Lord in an inner city in America among the poor and hurting and you will be deemed foolish and impractical. Walk away from family and friends and head out to the mission field among an unreached people group (7,055 as of 5-18-12) taking your small children with you and you will be chided as foolish, radical, even imbalanced in need of serious counseling (and maybe 6 even drugs!) Yes, you may be criticized here but in heaven you have a Master who applauds your love and devotion for Him! Paul puts it all in perspective does he not in Galatians 1:10+, “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a slave of Christ.”

George Whitefield the evangelist of the 1st Great Awakening said, “Oh for a 1000 lives to be spent in service for Christ!” However we must never forget, we only get one!

Scolding (1690)(embrimaomai from en = in or on account of + brimaomai (to snort with anger) meaning: to be moved with anger, to admonish sternly, exhibit irritation or even anger in expressing a harsh reproof, ‘to denounce harshly. It is used of used of the snorting of horses. It is used of a “stern warning” as in Matthew 9:30 where Jesus warned the formerly blind men not to spread the news of their healing. Also spoken of any agitation of the mind as grief, to be greatly moved or agitated (John 11:33, 38).  In the uses in John the Lord was deeply moved doubtless with the combination of circumstances, present and in the immediate future.

Uses in NT - Matt. 9:30; Mk. 1:43; Mk. 14:5; Jn. 11:33; Jn. 11:38 - deeply moved(2), scolding(1), sternly warned(2). Used once in the Septuagint in Da 11:30.

Mark 14:6  But Jesus said, "Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me.

NET  Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a good service for me.

NLT  Mark 14:6 But Jesus replied, "Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?

ESV  Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

NIV  Mark 14:6 "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

GNT  Mark 14:6 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Ἄφετε αὐτήν· τί αὐτῇ κόπους παρέχετε; καλὸν ἔργον ἠργάσατο ἐν ἐμοί.

KJV  Mark 14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

YLT  Mark 14:6 And Jesus said, 'Let her alone; why are ye giving her trouble? a good work she wrought on me;

ASV  Mark 14:6 But Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

CSB  Mark 14:6 Then Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for Me.

  • Let: Job 42:7,8 Isa 54:17 2Co 10:18 
  • good: Mt 26:10 Joh 10:32,33 Ac 9:36 2Co 9:8 Eph 2:10 Col 1:10 2Th 2:17 1Ti 5:10 6:18 2Ti 2:21 3:17 Tit 2:7,14 3:8,14 Heb 10:24 13:21 1Pe 2:12 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages

Matthew 26:10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you bother the woman? For she has done a good deed to Me. 

John 12:4 7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 


Note Matthew has "but Jesus, aware of this" suggesting that they were talking behind His back or in hushed tones. 

Daniel Akin introduces this passage with an interesting comment - In Acts 7:54-60+ we have the record of the stoning of Stephen the first Christian martyr. In vs. 55-56 we read a most remarkable statement where Stephen sees the Lord Jesus “standing at the right hand of God” (stated twice). Our Savior stands to receive his faithful martyred servant into glory. Here in Mark 14:6-9 we see our Lord again standing up for another faithful servant, a woman who has showered Him with a sacrifice of extravagant love only to be scorned and ridiculed by those who should have known better.

But Jesus said, "Let her alone Jesus acted to protect the woman. His words are a peremptory command in the aorist imperative  demanding immediate compliance. He means they must stop their attacks immediately! 

Why do you bother her? -Why do you harass her? Harang her? Give her a hard time? Why indicates that their response was unreasonable. They were causing her needless labor or difficulty. Jesus is challenging the disciples to consider their motives!

She has done a good deed to Me - She has done something wonderful and incredibly important to me as verse 8 makes clear  Jesus now gives His evaluation. Jesus commends her deed.  - not a wasteful work but a wonderful work! Good work is beautiful, in a moral sense: an excellent, morally beautiful deed. Notice the phrase to Me -- the point was that Jesus saw her act of devotion and even as a prophetic act of preparation for His rapidly approaching death and burial! 

Barclay: In Greek there are two words for good. There is agathos which describes a thing which is morally good; and there is kalos which describes a thing which is not only good but lovely. A thing might be agathos, and yet be hard, stern, austere, unattractive. But a thing which is kalos is winsome and lovely, with a certain bloom of charm upon it.

Good (2570)(kalos) describes that which is inherently excellent or intrinsically good, providing some special or superior benefit. Kalos is good with emphasis (as discussed below) on that which is beautiful, handsome, excellent, surpassing, precious, commendable, admirable. In classical Greek kalos was originally used to describe that which outwardly beautiful. Other secular uses of kalos referred to the usefulness of something such as a fair haven, a fair wind or that which was auspicious such as sacrifices. Kalos referred to that which was "morally beautiful" or noble and hence virtue was called "the good" (to kalon). Uses in Mark - Mk. 4:8; Mk. 4:20; Mk. 7:27; Mk. 9:5; Mk. 9:42; Mk. 9:43; Mk. 9:45; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 9:50; Mk. 14:6; Mk. 14:21; 

The disciples judge by appearance; Jesus judges by motive.
-- James Edwards

Hendriksen: Jesus calls what she did “a beautiful thing,” And such it was indeed: unique in its thoughtfulness, regal in its lavishness, and marvelous in its timeliness.

Mary saw the incomparable worth and beauty of Jesus and responded appropriately by anointing His body from head to toe with precious oil. This reminds me of Twila Paris' song. Play it as you ponder with wonder, awe and gratitude the beauty of the body of Christ, given for you and for me for the remission of our sins forever and ever. Amen.... 

How Beautiful

How beautiful the hands that served
the wine and the bread
and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful the feet that walked
the long dusty roads
and the hills to the cross.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.
How beautiful the heart that bled
that took all my sin
and bore it instead.
How beautiful the tender eyes
that chose to forgive
and never despise.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.
And as He laid down His life
we offer this sacrifice
that we will live just as he died:
willing to pay the price
willing to pay the price.
How beautiful the radient Bride
who waits for her Groom
with His light in her eyes.
How beautiful when humble hearts give
the fruit of pure lives
so that others may live.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.
How beautiful the feet that bring
the sound of good news
and the love of the King.
How beautiful the hands that serve
the wine and the bread
and the sons of the earth.
How beautiful
how beautiful
how beautiful is the body of Christ.

Oswald Chambers - Have you ever been carried away for Him?

She hath wrought a good work on Me. Mark 14:6.

If human love does not carry a man beyond himself, it is not love. If love is always discreet, always wise, always sensible and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not love at all. It may be affection, it may be warmth of feeling, but it has not the true nature of love in it.

Have I ever been carried away to do something for God not because it was my duty, nor because it was useful, nor because there was anything in it at all beyond the fact that I love Him? Have I ever realized that I can bring to God things which are of value to Him, or am I mooning round the magnitude of His Redemption whilst there are any number of things I might be doing? Not Divine, colossal things which could be recorded as marvellous, but ordinary, simple human things which will give evidence to God that I am abandoned to Him? Have I ever produced in the heart of the Lord Jesus what Mary of Bethany produced?

There are times when it seems as if God watches to see if we will give Him the abandoned tokens of how genuinely we do love Him. Abandon to God is of more value than personal holiness. Personal holiness focuses the eye on our own whiteness; we are greatly concerned about the way we walk and talk and look, fearful lest we offend Him. Perfect love casts out all that when once we are abandoned to God. We have to get rid of this notion—‘Am I of any use?’ and make up our minds that we are not, and we may be near the truth. It is never a question of being of use, but of being of value to God Himself. When we are abandoned to God, He works through us all the time.

Mark 14:3–9 She Did What She Could - She did what she could. Mark 14:8

When her friends say thoughtless or outrageous things on social media, Charlotte chimes in with gentle but firm dissent. She respects the dignity of everyone, and her words are unfailingly positive. A few years ago she became Facebook friends with a man who harbored anger toward Christians. He appreciated Charlotte’s rare honesty and grace. Over time his hostility melted. Then Charlotte suffered a bad fall. Now housebound, she fretted over what she could do. About that time her Facebook friend died and then this message arrived from his sister: “[Because of your witness] I know he’s now experiencing God’s complete and abiding love for him.” How can you show God's love to others today? During the week in which Christ would be killed, Mary of Bethany anointed Him with expensive perfume (John 12:3; Mark 14:3). Some of those present were appalled, but Jesus applauded her. “She has done a beautiful thing to me,” He said. “She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial” (Mark 14:6–8). “She did what she could.” Christ’s words take the pressure off. Our world is full of broken, hurting people. But we don’t have to worry about what we can’t do. Charlotte did what she could. So can we. The rest is in His capable hands. Lord, help us not to define our self-worth by what we do for You, but by what You have done for us. Show us how we can show Your love to others.

For further study, read Being Jesus Online at

Do thy duty, that is best; leave unto the Lord the rest. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

INSIGHT: Bethany, the location featured in today’s article, was a village on the slopes of the Mount of Olives less than two miles from Jerusalem. Pilgrims traveling from Jericho to Jerusalem, a journey of twenty-four kilometers or about fifteen miles, would pass through Bethany. Three famous siblings resided there: Lazarus, Martha, and Mary (John 11:1–2). Early in Jesus’s ministry, Martha opened her home in Bethany to Him (Luke 10:38). Jesus would stay there whenever he was in Jerusalem to teach or to celebrate the Passover. During the Passion Week, Jesus spent His last few nights—probably Palm Sunday to Wednesday—with the three siblings (Matt. 21:17; Mark 11:11, 19). By Tim Gustafson

Mark 14:3-9 Five Brooms - Do You Give to Jesus Like this Woman?
There was a man in a particular church, who opened a broom closet and found five brand new brooms. He hit the ceiling. He went to the one in charge of buying commodities for the church. And he said, "Whoever authorized the buying of five brand new brooms at one time? We're not even meeting our budget!

That's a waste of money!" And he was very angry. The man couldn't satisfy him, and finally, the man was in to the pastor's office to see the pastor. The pastor tried to pacify him. And the pastor said, "Well, I don't know. Maybe we use a lot of brooms! Maybe there was a sale on brooms. But don't fall out of fellowship over it." But the man never was satisfied, and he left the pastor's office in a huff!

After awhile, the pastor was having coffee with the church treasurer, and the pastor told the church treasurer about this. The church treasurer just smiled. And, "Ah," he said, "Pastor, I can understand that." He said, "That's easy for me to understand why he was so upset." Well, the pastor said, Would you please explain it to me?" And the treasurer said to the pastor, "Well, how would you feel if you saw everything you had given to the church in the past year tied up in five brooms?"

Note the comment by Judas in John 12:4-6 that relates to Mark 14:3-9 and introduces the following illustration...I like the story of the young man whose habit of criticizing backfired on him. One evening, while waiting for a bus, he was standing with a crowd of people looking in the window of a taxidermist shop. In the center of the window was a large owl that attracted the attention of all who passed by. The self-appointed expert began to criticize the job done on it. "If I couldn't do better than that," he said pompously, "I'd find another business. Just look at it. The head is out of proportion, the pose of the body is unnatural, and the feet are pointed in the wrong direction." Just then the owl turned his head and gave the fellow a broad wink. The crowd laughed as the critic slicked away.

Illustration (From a sermon by Adrian Rodgers)  Children were bringing to Sunday School class show and tell items. One boy brought some water, and that illustrated, "I'm the Water of Life." The other brought some flowers, and that illustrated, "Jesus was the Rose of Sharon." And somebody else brought some bread, and "Jesus is the Bread of Life." A little boy brought a banty egg. (I know you know what a banty hen is?) He brought one of those little eggs, and the teacher said, "What does that represent?" The little fellow said, "She hath done what she could." 

Illustration of this woman's love - A famous king, depressed by circumstances in his realm and feeling rejected by many of his subjects, called for his three daughters to comfort and reassure him. After they had talked awhile, he asked how much they loved him.

Two of them answered that they cared for him more than all the gold and silver in the world; but Mary, the youngest, said she loved him like salt. The king wasn't pleased with her answer, for he considered salt to be of very little value. The cook, who overheard the conversation, knew that the child's reply had more significance than the father imagined. She dared not speak to the monarch about the matter, but devised a subtle way to emphasize the true meaning of the young girl's words.

The next morning at breakfast she withheld the salt from everything she served, and the meal was so insipid that the king didn't enjoy it at all. Then he realized the full force of his daughter's remark. She loved him so much that nothing was good without him! With a smile he said, "I understand now, Mary. Your love is the greatest of all!" 

Mark 14:3-9 It’s Beautiful! - Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.” —Mark 14:6

After being away on business, Terry wanted to pick up some small gifts for his children. The clerk at the airport gift shop recommended a number of costly items. “I don’t have that much money with me,” he said. “I need something less expensive.” The clerk tried to make him feel that he was being cheap. But Terry knew his children would be happy with whatever he gave them, because it came from a heart of love. And he was right—they loved the gifts he brought them.

During Jesus’ last visit to the town of Bethany, Mary wanted to show her love for Him (Mark 14:3-9). So she brought “an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard” and anointed Him (v.3). The disciples asked angrily, “Why this waste?” (Matt. 26:8). Jesus told them to stop troubling her, for “she has done a good work for Me” (Mark 14:6). Another translation reads, “She has done a beautiful thing to Me.” Jesus delighted in her gift, for it came from a heart of love. Even anointing Him for burial was beautiful!

What would you like to give to Jesus to show your love? Your time, talent, treasure? It doesn’t matter if it’s costly or inexpensive, whether others understand or criticize. Whatever is given from a heart of love is beautiful to Him.

Nothing I could give You, Father, could repay You for Your sacrifice. But I want to give You what You would think is beautiful. I give You my heart today in thankfulness for Your love. By Anne Cetas 

A healthy heart beats with love for Jesus.

INSIGHT: The account of the woman who anointed Jesus with oil is preceded by the Pharisees’ plot to kill Him (14:1-2) and is followed by Judas agreeing to betray Him (vv. 10-12). The events relating to those who plotted to kill Jesus are given only brief and cursory treatment (two verses each), while the account of the woman who anointed Jesus with perfume is given a full and detailed description (seven verses). Clearly this woman’s actions will be remembered (v. 9).

F B Meyer - Mark 14:6   But Jesus said, Let her alone.

The lovers of Jesus are often misunderstood. Those who judge only by a utilitarian standard refuse to acknowledge the worth of their deeds. You might as well despise the electric light because it makes no register on a gas-meter. But when the voices of criticism and jealousy are highest, Jesus steps in and casts the shield of his love around the trembling, disconcerted soul, saying, Let him alone. So He speaks still:—

To Satan. — The adversary stands near to resist and tempt. As Judas criticised Mary, so the Evil One seems at times to pour a perpetual stream of chilling criticism on all we say and do; or he meets us at every turn with some evil suggestion. But Jesus is on the watch, and He will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able to bear; but when heart and flesh fail, He will step in and say, Let him (or her) alone.

To sorrow. — We must pass through the fire, and be subjected to the lapidary’s wheel; we must drink of His cup, and be baptized with His baptism; we must bear our cross after Him. But He is always on the alert. And whenever the feeble flesh is at an end of its power of endurance, He will step in and say, Let be — it is enough.

To human unkindness. — Some of us are called to suffer most from our fellows; our foes belong to our own household; our brother Cain hates us. It is hard to bear. To have one’s motives misunderstood and maligned; to lose one’s good name; to be an outcast — all this is hard. But God has planted a hedge about us, and none may pass through it, except He permit. Even Satan recognizes this, as we learn from the Book of Job. 

Mark 14:7  "For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me.

NET  Mark 14:7 For you will always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want. But you will not always have me!

NLT  Mark 14:7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.

ESV  Mark 14:7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me.

NIV  Mark 14:7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.

GNT  Mark 14:7 πάντοτε γὰρ τοὺς πτωχοὺς ἔχετε μεθ᾽ ἑαυτῶν καὶ ὅταν θέλητε δύνασθε αὐτοῖς εὖ ποιῆσαι, ἐμὲ δὲ οὐ πάντοτε ἔχετε.

KJV  Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

YLT  Mark 14:7 for the poor always ye have with you, and whenever ye may will ye are able to do them good, but me ye have not always;

ASV  Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor always with you, and whensoever ye will ye can do them good: but me ye have not always.

CSB  Mark 14:7 You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have Me.

  • have: De 15:11 Mt 25:35-45 26:11  Joh 12:7,8 2Co 9:13,14 Phm 1:7 Jas 2:14-16 1Jn 3:16-19 
  • but: Joh 13:33 16:5,28 17:11 Ac 3:21 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages

Matthew 26:11 “For you always have the poor with you; but you do not always have Me. 

John 12:8 “For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.” 


For (gar) - Term of explanation. Jesus gives His vindication for Mary's action, the explanation continuing into verse 8. Christ gives two reasons for His commendation (1) Understand the Limited Window of Opportunity and (2) Understand the Significance of the Anointing. 

You always have the poor (ptochos) with you - This is a fact that history substantiates. In other words we will always have an opportunity to give charity to the poor because they will always be present! 

Hiebert - This fact does not deny that aggressive social action should be taken against poverty. But 1,900 years of history are in accord with the view of McGee: “The presence of the poor is one of the characters of this age. There will be no elimination of poverty until Jesus comes.” (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Paul Apple asks "Did Mary herself understand the significance? Seemed to have more discernment than the disciples who were criticizing her action; [interesting how that has proven to be the case even of many wives of Christian leaders – they excel in discernment] Mary took seriously the prophecies of Jesus about His impending death in Jerusalem." 

And whenever you wish you can do good to them but you do not always have Me. - Note first that Jesus is not expressing indifference to the plight and suffering of the poor. If you really want to help the poor there will be continual opportunities. Mary chose to show her love for Jesus while He was still alive.  "A concern for charity must not be used as a pretext for blaming this woman for using her unique opportunity of showing her devotion to Him." (Hiebert)

Grassmick - Opportunities to help the poor will always be present and the disciples should take advantage of them. But Jesus would not be in their midst much longer and opportunities to show Him love were diminishing rapidly.  (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Daniel Akin - Mk 14:7 has caused some readers real heartburn. They misread the verse supposing Jesus to be somewhat callous and insensitive toward the poor. The poor are always with us in this fallen and broken world and we can and should do good for them. Jesus believed that. Jesus taught that. The issue is between “always” and “not always.” The poor are always there but Jesus would not be. The opportunity to show Him this kind of personal love and affection would soon be gone. Further, and we should not miss this. Jesus is God speaking and the first of the great commandments always trumps the second (cf. Mark 12:30-31). Jesus indeed asserts his priority and preeminence above all others (Col. 1:18). And, this might help. Put these words in the mouth of any other human person and they sound scandalous, self-centered, even narcisstic. Put them in the mouth of the Son of God who “for your sake became poor so that you by his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9) and they make all the sense in the world. Care for the poor, but worship the Savior! True love never calculates the cost. Genuine devotion never considers the investment. It simply and spontaneously acts and does all that it can, 8 disappointed only in the fact that it could not do more! This is exactly what we see in Mary

In every generation there will be people in a state of poverty. No socialist society or governmental program will ever be able to win the war on poverty until Christ returns and sets up His own kingdom on earth. Then, with war and crime banned, and with a productive environment restored, universal prosperity will finally be achieved.

This should not be understood callously. Christ says, in effect, that there will be other opportunities to do good to the poor, but not another opportunity to do what had just been done to Him. 

Mark 14:8  "She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial.

NET  Mark 14:8 She did what she could. She anointed my body beforehand for burial.

NLT  Mark 14:8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.

ESV  Mark 14:8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.

NIV  Mark 14:8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.

GNT  Mark 14:8 ὃ ἔσχεν ἐποίησεν· προέλαβεν μυρίσαι τὸ σῶμά μου εἰς τὸν ἐνταφιασμόν.

KJV  Mark 14:8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.

YLT  Mark 14:8 what she could she did, she anticipated to anoint my body for the embalming.

ASV  Mark 14:8 She hath done what she could; she hath anointed my body beforehand for the burying.

CSB  Mark 14:8 She has done what she could; she has anointed My body in advance for burial.

  • has done 1Ch 28:2,3 29:1-17 2Ch 31:20,21 34:19-33 Ps 110:3 2Co 8:1-3,12 
  • she: Mk 15:42-47 16:1 Lu 23:53-56 24:1-3  Joh 12:7 19:32-42 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages

Matthew 26:12 “For when she poured this perfume on My body, she did it to prepare Me for burial. 

She has done what she could - She held nothing back. Nothing! This declaration by Jesus is found only in Mark's account. This speaks of the opportunity Mary seized and indicates she made effective use of her once in a lifetime opportunity! 

Paul Apple on she has done what she could - Jesus never asks for anything more – how do we evaluate our devotion to Christ against this standard?

  • How about the praise we offer from our lips? How could we be more extravagant in our praise and worship
  • How about the money we donate to His cause? How could we be more extravagant in our giving
  • How about the stewardship of our spiritual gift? How could we be more extravagant in our service for Christ – our evangelism of the lost; our building up of the saints

Hiebert - She saw and embraced the only opportunity that was open to her to serve Him. In the words of Jones: “She spent herself to the uttermost. ‘What she could’: and I confess that I feel a stab at my conscience as I read the little phrase. How many of us can say that?” (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Robertson - Literally, “she took beforehand to anoint my body for the burial.” She anticipated the event. This is Christ’s justification of her noble deed. Matt. 26:12 also speaks of the burial preparation by Mary,

She has anointed My body beforehand for the burial - Mary's act of extravagant love had prophetic and symbolic significance. "That she anointed Him beforehand indicates that she anticipated His speedy death and anointed Him in preparation for it. The burying referred to is not only the entombment but also includes the preparations for burial. She perceived that when the tragedy struck she would be utterly unable to reach Jesus to anoint His body, and so she acted to show her love and sympathy while she could. Her love discerned what the disciples could not see. She had a deeper understanding of His references to His coming death and resurrection than did any of His other followers. This does not mean that she plumbed the significance of His death, but she “had begun to understand something of the mystery of a Messiah who must die.” Mary of Bethany was not among the women who went to the tomb on Sunday morning to anoint the body. Swete points out that “it seems the only anointing which the Lord received was this anticipatory one at Bethany.’" (Hiebert)

D L Moody - I IMAGINE when Mary died, if God had sent an angel to write her epitaph, he couldn’t have done better than to put over her grave what Christ said: “She hath done what she could.”

I would rather have that said over my grave, if it could honestly be said, than to have all the wealth of the Rothschilds. Christ raised a monument to Mary that is more lasting than the monuments raised to Cæsar or Napoleon. Their monuments crumble away, but hers endures. Her name never appeared in print while she was on earth, but to-day it is famous in three hundred and fifty languages.

We may never be great; we may never be known outside our circle of friends; but we may, like Mary, do what we can. May God help each one of us to do what we can! Life will soon be over; it is short at the longest. Let us rise and follow in the footsteps of Mary of Bethany.

Mark 14:9  "Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her."

NET  Mark 14:9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."

NLT  Mark 14:9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman's deed will be remembered and discussed."

ESV  Mark 14:9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

NIV  Mark 14:9 I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

GNT  Mark 14:9 ἀμὴν δὲ λέγω ὑμῖν, ὅπου ἐὰν κηρυχθῇ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον εἰς ὅλον τὸν κόσμον, καὶ ὃ ἐποίησεν αὕτη λαληθήσεται εἰς μνημόσυνον αὐτῆς.

KJV  Mark 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

YLT  Mark 14:9 Verily I say to you, wherever this good news may be proclaimed in the whole world, what also this woman did shall be spoken of -- for a memorial of her.'

ASV  Mark 14:9 And verily I say unto you, Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

CSB  Mark 14:9 I assure you: Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her."

Related Passages

Matthew 26:13 “Truly I say to you, wherever this Gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”


Truly (amen) I say to you - This is another of Jesus' "amen" statements signifying it is important and carries His full authority. In the present context it stresses "the certainty of His unparalleled promise to this woman." Did you ever think of yourself as a "fulfillment" of Jesus' prophecy?  What a legacy for as we read and study this passage today WE are involved in the fulfillment of this prophecy by Jesus!

Truly I say to you in Mark - Mk. 3:28; Mk. 8:12; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:41; Mk. 10:15; Mk. 10:29; Mk. 11:23; Mk. 12:43; Mk. 13:30; Mk. 14:9; Mk. 14:18; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 14:30;

Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world - Here Jesus extends His Commendation throughout the world and down the corridors of time! Notice also that Jesus expected the gospel to permeate the entire globe (cf. Mark 13:27 and Mt. 28:19–20; Acts 1:8).

THOUGHT - Deeds of kings and important rulers and all of the rich and famous are long gone and forgotten; but the simple act of extravagant love and devotion of Mary lives on in testimony to the worthiness of Jesus Christ What will be your (my) legacy? What will you (I) be remembered for? (Paul Apple)

Alexander Maclaren - “The Evangelist (ED: Both Mt 26:13, Mk 14:9) who records that promise does not mention Mary’s name; John, who does mention the name, does not record the promise. It matters little whether our names are remembered, so long as Jesus bears them graven on His heart.”

And so in this first section of Mark 14 we see "the tale of 2 lives that could not stand in greater contrast when it comes to true and unreserved devotion to our Lord: an 2 unnamed woman who gave her very best and a man named Judas who betrayed the Son of God. Of the woman Jesus said, “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mk 14:9). Of the man Judas our Lord said, “It would have been better for that man if he had not been born” (Mk 14:21)." (Akin) 

That which we do for ourselves is forgotten; that which we do for Christ is immortal.

What this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her - "Though two millennia have passed, the testimony of Mary’s sacrificial worship still stands as a perpetual memorial of her love for Christ. Her heartfelt gesture—looking to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ—provides a compelling example of the kind of selfless, extravagant praise that honors the Savior." (MacArthur)

Leon Morris comments that "“There is a rabbinic saying” ‘(The scent of) good oil is diffused from the bed-chamber to the dining-hall while a good name is diffused from one end of the world to the other.'” 

Utley -  Jesus does not forget acts of kindness and devotion. This one is recorded in Scripture, but many others are kept in the heart of God and will be revealed on that great day (cf. Gal. 6:7–9; 1 Tim. 5:25; Rev. 14:13; also Rev 2:1, 19; 3:8).

THOUGHT - Let me ask you a question that I hope you will be brutally honest in answering: “have you in your life as a follower of King Jesus ever made a sacrifice of extravagant love?” Can you recall a time when you did something that really cost you? You actually went without something you really wanted because of a sacrifice of extravagant love for Jesus? The sad fact is we are good at giving Jesus our leftovers and hand-me-downs. I served a church once that’s student building was filled with old, worn, ratty couches. Sweet folks in our church had bought new couches for their homes and so they donated their old, worn couches to the church and in the process got a tax break and felt good that they had done something noble. But, had they really? In the spirit of full discourse, I must confess one of the couches in the youth center had been given by me. It was no longer worthy of being in my house but it was good enough for Jesus.(Daniel Akin)

Broken Vases

The aroma of extravagant love.
So pure. So lovely.
Flowing from the veined alabaster vase
Of Mary’s broken heart
A heart broken against the hard reality
Of her Savior’s imminent death.
Mingled with tears, the perfume became
By some mysterious chemistry of Heaven-

Not diluted, but more concentrated,
Potent enough behind the ears of each century
For the scent to linger to this day.

Doubtless, the fragrance, absorbed by His garment,
As it flowed from His head
Accompanied Christ through the humiliation of His trials,
the indignity of His mocking,
the pain of His beatings,
the inhumanity of His cross.
Through the heavy smell of sweat and blood,
A hint of that fragrance must have arisen
From His garment
Until, at shameful last, the garment was stripped
And gambled away.
And maybe, just maybe, it was that scent
Amid the stench of humanity rabbled around the cross,
That gave the Savior the strength to say:
“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”

And as Mary walked away from the cross,
The same scent probably still lingered in the now-limp hair
She used to dry her Savior’s feet
A reminder of the love that spilled
From His broken alabaster body.
So pure. So lovely.
So truly extravagant.

It was a vase He never regretted breaking.
Nor did she.
-Ken Gire, Jr.

Dwight Edwards -  The characteristics of this devoted servant's ministry are worth noting:

  1. SACRIFICIAL: ". . . having on alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. And she broke the flask . . ." The perfume in this flask was very expensive (5) and may easily have been the equivalent of a life's savings. Mary didn't give the Lord her "left overs") she gave Him her best. He deserves and demands nothing less from us! (Mal 1:6-14).
  2. SELFLESS: ". . . She has done a good work for Me" (6). Her ministry was utterly Christ-oriented and all her efforts were done to draw attention to Him. She didn't serve to bring men's applause to herself, for the only accolades she was really concerned for come from Christ alone. Like John the Baptist, the focus of her life was "Behold the Lamb of God" (John 1:36).
  3. SENSITIVE: "For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. . . . she has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial" (7-8). Mary understood at this point what the disciples did not; that Christ was soon to depart (7) and that He would die physically (9). Her spiritual sensitivity came through the primary passion of her life. ". . . sat at Jesus' feet and heard His word" (Luke 10:39). If she had waited even a few more days, she would have missed her opportunity of service. Yet because of her spiritual sensitivity, she discerned the right work and the right time. As a result, Christ promised that this seemingly small service would be multiplied to global proportions (9).

Immortal Deeds

What this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her. — Mark 14:9

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:1-9

Which of your accomplishments do you think will be most remembered and valued by others?

Sculptor Frank Eliscu might have guessed that his signature work would be the Cascade of Books outside the Library of Congress, or the Presidential Eagle in the White House. But the most coveted piece of his art is a small statue that can be held in one hand—the Heisman Trophy—awarded annually to the most outstanding college football player in the United States.

The trophy was Eliscu’s first commission, completed when he was only 22. “It was not one of my best works of art,” he said, “but it turned out to be like the Statue of Liberty: not beautiful, but it’s dear to people’s hearts.”

Mary of Bethany probably never guessed that she would be remembered for an act initially criticized as wasteful and inappropriate. After she poured a jar of very expensive perfume on Jesus, the Lord silenced the outcry against her by saying, “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (Mk. 14:9).

Our truly immortal deeds will be like hers—simple acts of love for the Lord Jesus, accepted and commended by Him. By:  David C. McCasland (Reprinted by permission from Our Daily Bread Ministries. Please do not repost the full devotional without their permission.)

No service in itself is small,
None great, though earth it fill;
But that is small that seeks its own,
And great that does God's will.

A life lived for God leaves a lasting legacy.

Warren Wiersbe summarizes this story of Mary's anointing Jesus...

There were three consequences to her act of worship.

First, the house was filled with the beautiful fragrance of the ointment (John 12:3; also note 2 Cor. 2:15–16). There is always a “spiritual fragrance” in that home where Jesus Christ is loved and worshiped.

Second, the disciples, led by Judas, criticized Mary for wasting her money! It sounded so pious for Judas to talk about the poor, when in reality he wanted the money for himself! (John 12:4–6) Even in the Upper Room, six days later, the disciples still thought Judas was concerned about helping the poor (John 13:21–30). It is interesting that the word translated “waste” in Mark 14:4 is translated “perdition” in John 17:12 and applied to Judas! Judas criticized Mary for “wasting money,” but he wasted his entire life!

Third, Jesus commended Mary and accepted her gracious gift. He knew the heart of Judas and understood why the other disciples followed his bad example. He also knew Mary’s heart and quickly defended her (Rom. 8:33–39). No matter what others may say about our worship and service, the most important thing is that we please the Lord. The fact that others misunderstand and criticize us should not keep us from showing our love to Christ. Our concern should be His approval alone.

When Mary gave her best at the feet of Jesus, she started a “wave of blessing” that has been going on ever since. She was a blessing to Jesus as she shared her love, and she was a blessing to her home as the fragrance spread. Were it not for Mary, her village, Bethany, would probably have been forgotten. The account of her deed was a blessing to the early church that heard about it and, because of the records in three of the Gospels, Mary has been a blessing to the whole world—and still is! The Lord’s prediction has certainly been fulfilled.

Mary gave her best in faith and love; Judas gave his worst in unbelief and hatred. He solved the problem of how the Jewish leaders could arrest Jesus without causing a riot during the feast. He sold his Master for the price of a slave (see Ex. 21:32), the basest act of treachery in history. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Henry Blackaby - Memorials of Faithfulness

       “I assure you: Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.”—Mark 14:9

We may assume that our expressions of devotion to God are small and insignificant, but in God's eyes they may hold much meaning. Our love and dedication to Christ may even create memorials to God for future generations.

This woman performed a profound act of love for Jesus. She did not do it to impress His disciples or to gain public attention or to gain praise from Jesus. She simply sought to express her love for Jesus. She did nothing spectacular; she performed no miracles; she preached no sermons. Yet Jesus was so moved by her selfless loyalty that He deemed it worthy of remembrance throughout the remainder of history.

We do not know all that God finds most pleasing, nor do we know what acts of our love He may choose to honor through our children and future generations. Abraham could not have known that the day he demonstrated his willingness to sacrifice his only son would be memorialized and would bless many generations who heard of his obedience. David could not have known that his walk with God would please Him so much that David's example would bless generations who followed him.

God can take your faithfulness and begin a spiritual legacy, making it a blessing to others for generations to come. You will never know until eternity all who received a blessing because of your righteous life. That is why it is so important that you daily express your love and devotion to Jesus.


"Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her" MARK 14:9

In Yorkshire, England, during the early 1800's, two sons were born to a family named Taylor. The older one set out to make a name for himself by entering Parliament and gaining public prestige. But the younger son chose to give his life to Christ. He later recalled, "Well do I remember, as in unreserved consecration I put myself, my life, my friends, my all, upon the altar. I felt I. was in the presence of God, entering into covenant with the Almighty" With that commitment, Hudson Taylor turned his face toward China and obscurity. As a result, he is known and honored on every continent as a faithful missionary and the founder of the China Inland Mission (now known as Overseas Missionary Fellowship). For the other son, however, there is no lasting monument. He became known simply as "the brother of Hudson Taylor."

You may ask, "Is everyone who yields his life in devotion to the Lord revered like Hudson Taylor?" I'm afraid not. But regardless of any recognition here on earth, every dedicated believer will one day be rewarded by God Himself. That will he a remembrance without equal. —P R. V


Vance Havner - Do What You Can

She hath done what she could. Mark 14:8.

He had found a little box in the attic. With his crayons he had tried to make it more presentable. Inside he had placed a cut-out Santa Claus and a larger Santa of his own drawing. He had scrawled "Season's Greetings" for a touch of dignity. Then he had wrapped it in a manner all his own, with plenty of seals all over and a big yellow ribbon tied all around.

It wouldn't bring much on sale, but no one could buy it from me, because it was the expression of a little boy's love and, oh, so welcome!

He had done what he could. Which sets me thinking of the woman who anointed Jesus. "She hath done what she could." Do not let not being able to do it better keep you from doing what you can. Bring to the Saviour such as you have, the best you have, all you have. He will receive it. It may seem a poor little thing to others, but if it is the love gift of your heart, it will be precious in His sight.
Do what you can.

Mark 14:10  Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them.

NET  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus into their hands. 

NLT  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests to arrange to betray Jesus to them.

ESV  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.

NIV  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them.

GNT  Mark 14:10 Καὶ Ἰούδας Ἰσκαριὼθ ὁ εἷς τῶν δώδεκα ἀπῆλθεν πρὸς τοὺς ἀρχιερεῖς ἵνα αὐτὸν παραδοῖ αὐτοῖς.

KJV  Mark 14:10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.

YLT  Mark 14:10 And Judas the Iscariot, one of the twelve, went away unto the chief priests that he might deliver him up to them,

ASV  Mark 14:10 And Judas Iscariot, he that was one of the twelve, went away unto the chief priests, that he might deliver him unto them.

CSB  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to hand Him over to them.

NKJ  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him to them.

NRS  Mark 14:10 Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:14  Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 

Luke 22:3-4+  And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. 4 And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. 

John 13:26-26  Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel (into mixture of bitter herbs, vinegar, water, salt, crushed dates, figs, and raisins), He took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. (Judas spurned Christ's final gesture of love!) After the morsel (unleavened bread symbolic of without sin!), Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly (cf Mt 26:50).”


There could hardly be a much greater contrast - Mary's anointing of Jesus versus Judas' betrayal of Jesus!  Mary's selflessness contrasted with Judas' selfishness! 

Edwards explains that "Judas was now totally disenchanted with the Lord's methods and decides to salvage what profit he can from his poor investment of the past three years. Judas makes the supremely tragic choice of silver over the Savior, as multitudes have offer him." The Gospel according to Mark

Daniel Akin - Extravagant acts of love will stand in stark contrast to those of betrayal. Mk 14:10-11 Some people find Jesus useful because of what they think they can get from Him. Others find Jesus beautiful because they get Him. This woman found Jesus beautiful and gave all she had to Him. In contrast Judas found Jesus useful and sought to get all he could for Him.

Grassmick points out that Mark 14:10-11 "complement verses 1–2 and heighten the contrast with verses 3–9." (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve - Isn't it ironic that Judas means something like "praise," and yet you never hear of anyone naming their son Judas! Luke 22:3+ (cf Jn 13:26) gives us a crucial detail writing that "Satan (satanas) entered into Judas." Mark reminds us, “was one of the twelve” (v. 10). Not surprisingly, he is always last in all list of the apostles. He was so close to Jesus and yet he missed Him!

Hiebert - literally, “the one of the twelve.” The use of the definite article with the phrase, found only here in the New Testament, is strange and has caused much discussion. Since “one of the twelve” is a common designation for Judas in the Gospels,22 the article here probably has a connotation of censure, “that notorious one of the twelve.” “His original honor is the special badge of his infamy.” (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Of the twelve (all 4 Gospels = Lk 22:47, Mt 26:14, 47, Mk 14:10, 43, Jn 6:71) - The related phrase ("one of the twelve") is used of only one other disciple, Thomas, called Didymus (Jn 20:24). There were apparently more disciples of Jesus than the inner circle of 12 (cf "seventy other" in Lk 10:1+), so the fact that Judas was in this inner circle giving him close continual contact with Christ makes his treacherous betrayal all the more despicable, unimaginable and inconceivable!  Since Judas was one "of the twelve," he clearly had exposure to light that only a few humans have had (really just the other 11 disciples). To sin against such light is all the more heinous. But even worse is that sin against such light results in a far greater degree of eternal punishment for Judas! (cf Chorazin, et al Lk 10:13-15+, Mt 11:21-24+). Indeed, Jesus declared "The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born." (Mt 26:24) Double woe! 

THOUGHT - The spiritual lesson for us from these verses is: Since it is possible to be religious and yet to be in league with Satan, we must guard against evil religion. Satan uses religion more than any other tool to keep men in his domain of darkness.

Spurgeon - Was it not a sad thing that the betrayer of Christ should be one of the twelve? Yet deeply trying as it must have been to the heart of Christ, there is something useful about even that horrible transaction. It says to all the professing Church of Christ, and it says to us who claim to be Christ’s followers, “Do not think yourselves safe because you are in the visible church; do not imagine that even holding the highest office in the church can prevent you from committing the basest crime. Nay, for here is one of the twelve apostles, yet he betrays his Master. Sometimes, we have found this betrayal to be a source of comfort. I have myself desired, in receiving members into the church, to be very careful if possible only to receive good men and true; yet, though pastors and elders of the church may exercise the strictest watch, some of the worst of men will manage to get in. When that is the case, we say to ourselves, “No new thing has happened to us, for such a sinner as this marred the Church from the very beginning.” Here is Judas, when Christ himself is the Pastor, when the twelve apostles make up the main body of the Church, here is Judas, one of the twelve, ready to betray his Master for the paltry bribe of thirty pieces of silver, just the price of a slave. Yes, we might have been put out of heart in building up the Church of God if it had not been for this sad but truthful narrative concerning Judas and his betrayal of our Lord.

MacArthur: Iscariot means he’s from the village of Kerioth, twenty-three miles south of Jerusalem. He is the only non-Galilean among the Apostles. He joined the group for selfish, proud, materialistic reasons, for goods and glory. And when that Kingdom dream, that dream of goods and glory began to collapse, the uncured malignant cancer in his wretched soul metastasized until it corrupted his brain totally. He wanted out but not without compensation for three wasted years. He wanted a Kingdom, not a cross. . .


Went off to the chief priests in order to (term of purpose) betray (paradidomi) Him to them - Wuest says betray is "our “sell him down the river.” This is just as Jesus had predicted (Mk 9:31+ = "“The Son of Man is to be delivered [paradidomi] into the hands of men...", Mk 10:33+ "the Son of Man will be delivered [paradidomi] to the chief priests and the scribes..."). Notice that Judas takes the initiative to betray Jesus. Yes it was Judas choice (MAN'S RESPONSIBILITY), but the master mind behind this evil deed was the Evil One himself (DEMONIC ACTIVITY). John 13:2+ says "During supper, the devil having already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him." Not only did the Evil One send a "flaming arrow" (Eph 6:16+), John 13:27+ records that later "After the morsel, Satan then entered into him." So Judas was actually "possessed" by Satan and that is when he apparently went off to the religious leaders.Satan operated through Judas, the unregenerate, unbelieving, greedy man. Satan fully possessed Judas. But don't miss this crucial point -- to be sure Judas was influenced by and possessed by the Devil and yet Judas clearly made a choice of his free will to betray Jesus, and for that reason he would be held fully and forever responsible for his personal choice.  

As Edwards says "Judas is thus not a victim of circumstances or a pawn dominated by greater forces. He is a sovereign moral agent who freely chooses evil in “handing Jesus over” (Edwards adds that here we see) "the two essential truths of Jesus’ passion: the freely chosen evil of humanity, and the overarching providence of God. Divine grace uses even human evil for its saving purposes." (The Gospel according to Mark)

If we compare John's version (John 12:1-8+) of Jesus' anointing with the parallel accounts in Matthew 26:6-13 and Mark 14:1-9+, these latter two accounts would strongly support the premise that it was after the "wasting of the perfume" episode that Judas "went off to the chief priests in order to betray Him to them," (Mk 14:10-11+, cf Mt 26:14-16). 

THOUGHT- One other point to make is that while Satan had not yet entered into Judas (Jn 13:27+) to "inspire" him to betray Jesus for money, it is almost certain that Judas' greed here in John 12 opened a crack in the door of his heart for Satan to enter in! Sin is deceitful and none of us can be sure exactly how far or where an initial unconfessed sin will take us (cf Pr 28:13+, Nu 32:23b+). The following little ditty is all too true, so if you are reading this note and think "Never me," then you need to read and heed Paul's command in 1Co 10:12+ "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed (present imperative see our need to depend on the Holy Spirit to obey - blepo - continually keep your eyes wide open!!!) that he does not fall." (See also Deceitfulness of Sin, Are You Entangled? and Backsliding

Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray!
Cost you more than you ever dreamed you would pay!
Keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay!

Judas (2455)(Ioudas) is translated as the tribe Judah (11), the betrayer Judas and other men with this name (32), and the half brother of Jesus, Jude(1). Note that Ioudas is also translated as "good guys" also Judah(11) and Jude(1). The first is the tribe Jesus was from and the second is Jesus' half brother! 

Judas 42v Judah(11), Judas(32), Jude(1). Matt. 1:2; Matt. 1:3; Matt. 2:6; Matt. 10:4; Matt. 13:55; Matt. 26:14; Matt. 26:25; Matt. 26:47; Matt. 27:3; Mk. 3:19; Mk. 6:3; Mk. 14:10; Mk. 14:43; Lk. 1:39; Lk. 3:30; Lk. 3:33; Lk. 6:16; Lk. 22:3; Lk. 22:47; Lk. 22:48; Jn. 6:71; Jn. 12:4; Jn. 13:2; Jn. 13:26; Jn. 13:29; Jn. 14:22; Jn. 18:2; Jn. 18:3; Jn. 18:5; Acts 1:13; Acts 1:16; Acts 1:25; Acts 5:37; Acts 9:11; Acts 15:22; Acts 15:27; Acts 15:32; Heb. 7:14; Heb. 8:8; Jude 1:1; Rev. 5:5; Rev. 7:5

Iscariot (2469)(iskariotes)   The meaning of this word is uncertain but usually taken to refer to a place, the village of Kerioth (Josh 15:25) in southern Judea. There are 11 uses of Iscariot in the NT and most uses are associated with a description of the fact that he was a betrayer of Jesus. Even in this verse, Satan entering him indicates he will soon carry out his devilish deed.  Stein on Iscariot - The latter designation probably means man (Is[h]) from [the town of] Karioth (cariot). This would make Judas a Judean and the only non-Galilean of the group.(NAC) Guzik writes "Others think the name Iscariot is linked to the word sicarius, meaning “assassin” – a connection to the Jewish zealots who carried out underground warfare against the Roman occupiers." (I think this supposition while intriguing is unlikely).

Iscariot - 11x in 11v -  Matt. 10:4; Matt. 26:14; Mk. 3:19; Mk. 14:10; Lk. 6:16; Lk. 22:3; Jn. 6:71; Jn. 12:4; Jn. 13:2; Jn. 13:26; Jn. 14:22

Betray (hand over) (3860paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another, exactly what Judas did to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. Paradidomi is used in legal parlance to describe handing someone into the custody of the police, authorities, etc. To deliver up one to custody, to be judged, condemned, punished, scourged, tormented, put to death.

Paradidomi in Gospels - Matt. 4:12; Matt. 5:25; Matt. 10:4; Matt. 10:17; Matt. 10:19; Matt. 10:21; Matt. 11:27; Matt. 17:22; Matt. 18:34; Matt. 20:18; Matt. 20:19; Matt. 24:9; Matt. 24:10; Matt. 25:14; Matt. 25:20; Matt. 25:22; Matt. 26:2; Matt. 26:15; Matt. 26:16; Matt. 26:21; Matt. 26:23; Matt. 26:24; Matt. 26:25; Matt. 26:45; Matt. 26:46; Matt. 26:48; Matt. 27:2; Matt. 27:3; Matt. 27:4; Matt. 27:18; Matt. 27:26; Mk. 1:14; Mk. 3:19; Mk. 4:29; Mk. 7:13; Mk. 9:31; Mk. 10:33; Mk. 13:9; Mk. 13:11; Mk. 13:12; Mk. 14:10; Mk. 14:11; Mk. 14:18; Mk. 14:21; Mk. 14:41; Mk. 14:42; Mk. 14:44; Mk. 15:1; Mk. 15:10; Mk. 15:15; Lk. 1:2; Lk. 4:6; Lk. 9:44; Lk. 10:22; Lk. 12:58; Lk. 18:32; Lk. 20:20; Lk. 21:12; Lk. 21:16; Lk. 22:4; Lk. 22:6; Lk. 22:21; Lk. 22:22; Lk. 22:48; Lk. 23:25; Lk. 24:7; Lk. 24:20; Jn. 6:64; Jn. 6:71; Jn. 12:4; Jn. 13:2; Jn. 13:11; Jn. 13:21; Jn. 18:2; Jn. 18:5; Jn. 18:30; Jn. 18:35; Jn. 18:36; Jn. 19:11; Jn. 19:16; Jn. 19:30; Jn. 21:20; 

QUESTION - Who was Judas Iscariot?

ANSWER - Judas Iscariot is typically remembered for one thing: his betrayal of Jesus. He was one of the twelve disciples who lived with and followed Jesus for three years. He witnessed Jesus’ ministry, His teaching, and His many miracles. He was the treasurer for the group and used this trusted position to steal from their resources (John 12:6).

Judas was a common name in that era, and there are several other Judases mentioned in the New Testament. One of the other disciples was named Judas (John 14:22), and so was one of Jesus’ own half-brothers (Mark 6:3). To differentiate, John 6:71 and John 13:26 refer to Christ’s betrayer as “Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.”

Scholars have several ideas about the derivation of the surname. One is that Iscariot refers to Kerioth, a region or town in Judea. Another idea is that it refers to the Sicarii, a cadre of assassins among the Jewish rebels.

The possible association with the Sicarii allows for interesting speculation about Judas’ motives for his betrayal, but the fact that he made a conscious choice to betray Jesus (Luke 22:48) remains the same. The surname Iscariot is useful, if for no other reason, in that it leaves no doubt about which Judas is being referred to.

Here are some of the facts we glean from key verses about Judas and his betrayal:

Money was important to Judas. As already mentioned, he was a thief, and, according to Matthew 26:13–15, the chief priests paid him “thirty silver coins” to betray the Lord.

Jesus knew from the very beginning what Judas Iscariot would do. Jesus told His disciples, “Have I not chosen you, the Twelve? Yet one of you is a devil!” (John 6:70). And at the Last Supper, Jesus predicted His betrayal and identified the betrayer: “Jesus answered, ‘It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.’ Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, son of Simon” (John 13:26).

Jesus said that Judas Iscariot was not “clean”; i.e., he had not been born again and was not forgiven of his sins (John 13:10–11). In fact, Judas was empowered to do what he did by the devil himself: “As soon as Judas took the bread [that Jesus had given him], Satan entered into him” (John 13:27).

The other disciples had no clue that Judas Iscariot harbored treacherous thoughts. When Jesus mentioned a betrayer in their midst, the other disciples worried that it was they who would prove disloyal (John 13:22). No one suspected Judas. He was a trusted member of the Twelve. Even when Jesus told Judas, “What you are about to do, do quickly,” (John 13:27), and Judas left the Last Supper, the others at the table simply thought Judas had been sent to buy more food or to give something to charity (verses 28–29).

Judas Iscariot betrayed the Lord with a kiss, perfectly in keeping with his brazen duplicity (Luke 22:47–48). After committing his atrocious act, Judas “was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders” (Matthew 27:3). But we learn that remorse does not equal repentance—rather than make amends or seek forgiveness, “he went away and hanged himself” (Matthew 27:5).

Judas Iscariot fulfilled the prophecy of Psalm 41:9, “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me” (cf. John 13:18). Yet Judas was fully responsible for his actions. Jesus said, “The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born” (Matthew 26:24).

Matthew 27:6–8 reports that the chief priests took the “blood money” from Judas and bought a potter’s field as a place for burying foreigners (thus fulfilling the prophecy of Zechariah 11:12–13). Acts 1:18–19 continues the story of what happened after Judas’ death and gives some additional information. Luke reports, “With the reward he got for his wickedness, Judas bought a field; there he fell headlong, his body burst open and all his intestines spilled out. Everyone in Jerusalem heard about this, so they called that field in their language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.” The additional detail we learn from Luke is that, after Judas hanged himself, his dead body fell into the very field purchased with his ill-gotten gains.

Given the fact of Judas’ close proximity to Jesus during three years of ministry, it is hard to imagine how he could follow through on such a dastardly betrayal. Judas’ story teaches us to guard against small, gradual failings that gain strength and power in our lives and that could open the door to more deadly influences. His story is also a great reminder that appearances can be deceiving. Jesus taught, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:22–23)

Related Resources:

Mark 14:11  They were glad when they heard this, and promised to give him money. And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time.

NET  Mark 14:11 When they heard this, they were delighted and promised to give him money. So Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray him.

NLT  Mark 14:11 They were delighted when they heard why he had come, and they promised to give him money. So he began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.

ESV  Mark 14:11 And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

NIV  Mark 14:11 They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

GNT  Mark 14:11 οἱ δὲ ἀκούσαντες ἐχάρησαν καὶ ἐπηγγείλαντο αὐτῷ ἀργύριον δοῦναι. καὶ ἐζήτει πῶς αὐτὸν εὐκαίρως παραδοῖ.

KJV  Mark 14:11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

YLT  Mark 14:11 and having heard, they were glad, and promised to give him money, and he was seeking how, conveniently, he might deliver him up.

ASV  Mark 14:11 And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently deliver him unto them.

CSB  Mark 14:11 And when they heard this, they were glad and promised to give him silver. So he started looking for a good opportunity to betray Him.

NKJ  Mark 14:11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. So he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.

NRS  Mark 14:11 When they heard it, they were greatly pleased, and promised to give him money. So he began to look for an opportunity to betray him.

NAB  Mark 14:11 When they heard him they were pleased and promised to pay him money. Then he looked for an opportunity to hand him over.

  • they were: Ho 7:3 Lu 22:5 
  • promised: 1Ki 21:20 2Ki 5:26 Pr 1:10-16 28:21,22 Mt 26:15 1Ti 6:10 2Pe 2:14,15 Jude 1:11 
  • he began seeking: Lu 22:5,6 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:15 and said, “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. 16 From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus. 

COMMENT: 500 years prior Zechariah prophesied about "30 pieces of silver" (Zech 11:12NET) "Thirty pieces of silver" was the value placed on the fatal goring of a man's slave by his neighbor's ox (Exodus 21:32+). The value of this divine Servant to His nation was greater than the wealth of all the world, yet its leaders appraised His death as worth only the price of a dead slave.

Utley - The Gospel writers quote chapters 9–14 of Zechariah as a prophetic source or typology in relation to Jesus’ ministry: (1) Matt. 21:4–5 quotes Zech. 9:9; (2) Matt. 24:3 quotes Zech. 12:10; (3) Matt. 26:15 quotes Zech. 11:12–13; (4) Matt. 26:31 quotes Zech. 13:7; (5) Matt. 27:9–10 quotes Zech. 11:12–13.

Luke 22:5-6+ They were glad and agreed to give him money. 6 So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd. 


To the religious leaders Judas' offer was as we say "too good to believe."

Hiebert rightly says "They would never have dared even to make such a proposal to one of the Twelve, yet here one of them was voluntarily offering to betray Jesus into their hands. Their reaction to the traitorous proposal is a further revelation of their character."  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

They were glad when they heard this - When they heard what? Possibly Judas' question in Matthew 26:15 “What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?” Keep in mind that the religious leaders had determined to kill Jesus, but they had not determined to do it during Passover because of the fear of a riot due to His popularity with the people. Here is where we see the mysterious working of the providence and sovereignty of God, Who so orchestrated events that Jesus the Lamb of God would be crucified as the Passover Lamb (Jn 1:29+, 1 Cor 5:7) and not at some later date. As Guzik says "God would use the wicked works of Judas to further His eternal plan. This was the appointed time for Jesus to go to the cross, but before Judas’ treachery the religious leaders did not intend to do it at the time out of a fear of the people."

NET Note - The leaders were delighted when Judas contacted them about betraying Jesus, because it gave them the opportunity they had been looking for, and they could later claim that Jesus had been betrayed by one of his own disciples.

Wuest They were glad. The verb is chairo not agalliao. The first word is more expressive of the inward feeling of joy, the second, of its audible or visible expression. Swete remarks that the proposal of Judas was received by the chief priests with more delight than they cared to show. The burden of finding a way to do away with Jesus so that the Passover crowds would not see, now was definitely on the shoulders of Judas. His position in the inner circle of disciples, gave him an advantage which the chief priests did not have.

They were glad (5463)(chairo) expresses the delight of the devious leaders whose dangerous dilemma was decoded by this defector! This was almost too good to believe and so they were filed with joy, as BDAG says "in a state of happiness and well-being" (O, the deceitfulness of sin to make one feel "happy" even while the noose is being placed around the neck!) Beloved, when you can find joy in your sin, your soul is very sick, especially when that sin is to kill the Son of God! 

THOUGHT -  The things that make you glad reveal your heart. If hearing that you just won the Reader’s Digest Sweepstakes makes you leap for joy, but hearing that the Gospel has just penetrated a previously unreached people group makes you say, “Ho hum,” your heart is not right before God. The things that make God rejoice should make us rejoice. The things that make God grieve, namely sin, should make us grieve. (Steven Cole)

And promised to give him money - They gave Judas 30 pieces of silver, "Blood money" in exchange for the incalculably priceless blood of the Lamb of God, the Redeemer of the world! 

Lenski comments that "Judas would do nothing until he had the money paid down. He intended to run no risks in regard to getting his money later on. The priests were shrewd enough to bind the man by paying him at once; he might otherwise fail them. They ran no risk whatsoever, for they had the power to arrest this man at any time. Judas returned to Jesus with the blood money in his bag." (The Interpretation of St. Luke's Gospel)

And he began seeking how to betray Him at an opportune time - Luke 22:6+ adds that after Judas consented he "began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd." Betray (paradidomi) is a key word in Mark 14 where it is used 7 times. 

Began seeking (same verb used of religious leaders in Mk 14:1+)(2212)(zeteo) making efforts to discover an opening to betray Jesus. The imperfect tense means over and over Judas was watching for a convenient time to betray Jesus. Robertson says "Judas went at his business and stuck to it." Vincent has "He kept seeking: busied himself continuously from that time." "The hunt was on." (Bock)

Robertson - This was the whole point of the offer of Judas. He claimed that he knew enough of the habits of Jesus to enable them to catch him "in the absence of the multitude" (Luke 22:6) without waiting for the Passover to be over, when the crowds would leave. (Word Pictures in the New Testament)

An opportune time in this context is one of the more striking oxymorons recorded in all of human history! A good opportunity for a bad deed! On face value, there is nothing good about Judas' treachery and betrayal of Jesus. Of course the omnipotent, sovereign God will cause it to work together for good (Ro 8:28+, Acts 2:23+), by bringing about the crucifixion of the Lamb of God in perfect fulfillment of the Feast of Passover.

An opportune time (2122)(eukairos from eu = good + kairos = season, opportune time, "window of opportunity") means a favorable opportunity or the right moment, a "good chance." It is interesting that the only other NT use of eukaios is to describe an opportunity for preaching the Word, quite a contrast with looking for an opportunity to kill the Word (Jn 1:1)! Recall that in Luke 4:13+ "when the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time (kairos)," so that now in Judas there was "an opportune time" for attacking Jesus, but this not not with temptation but with torture. 

To betray (hand over) (3860)(paradidomi) means to give over to the power of another and is used 19 times Mk 1:14; Mk. 3:19; Mk 4:29; Mk 7:13; Mk 9:31; Mk 10:33; Mk 13:9; Mk 13:11; Mk 13:12; Mk 14:10; Mk 14:11; Mk 14:18; Mk 14:21; Mk 14:41; Mk 14:42; Mk 14:44; Mk 15:1; Mk 15:10; Mk 15:15

Daniel Akin has chart depicting the striking contrast between Mary and Judas...


A woman of no real standing

A man and one of the apostles

Gave what she could to Jesus

Took what he could get for Jesus

Blessed her Lord

Betrayed his Lord

Loved her Lord

Used his Lord

Did a beautiful thing

Did a terrible thing

Served Him as her Savior

Sold Him like He was his slave

Memorialized forever for her devotion

Memorialized forever for his betrayal

Akin concludes - Oh, how I want to be like Mary. But oh, how often it is that it is Judas who so readily appears when I look in the mirror. Only the gospel of my Savior is sufficient for my sin, sick soul I strongly suspect that were Mary, the unnamed woman of Mark 14, alive today, and we were to interview her and ask her the question, “What is your favorite Christian hymn?”, I strongly suspect she would say, “that’s easy. It was written in 1707 by Issac Watts. Why Charles Wesley reportedly said he would give up all his other hymns to have written this one. Mr. Wesley wrote over 6,000 hymns you know! Some say he wrote over 9,000! Now the hymn written by Mr. Watts: “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.” I love all 4 stanzas, but 1 and 4 are especially meaningful to me!” (Worship as you listen to Kathryn Scott's beautiful version of this timeless hymn)...

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of Glory died
My richest gain I count but loss
And pour contempt on all my pride

Forbid it Lord that I should boast
Save in the death of Christ my God
All the vain things that charm me most
I sacrifice them to His blood

See from His head His hands His feet
Sorrow and love flow mingled down
Did ere such love and sorrow meet
Or thorns compose so rich a crown

Were the whole realm of nature mine
That were an offering far too small
Love so amazing so divine
Demands my soul, my life, my all

Mark 14:12  On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover?"

NET  Mark 14:12 Now on the first day of the feast of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus' disciples said to him, "Where do you want us to prepare for you to eat the Passover?"

NLT  Mark 14:12 On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb is sacrificed, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go to prepare the Passover meal for you?"

ESV  Mark 14:12 And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the Passover lamb, his disciples said to him, "Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?"

NIV  Mark 14:12 On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, when it was customary to sacrifice the Passover lamb, Jesus' disciples asked him, "Where do you want us to go and make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

GNT  Mark 14:12 Καὶ τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν ἀζύμων, ὅτε τὸ πάσχα ἔθυον, λέγουσιν αὐτῷ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, Ποῦ θέλεις ἀπελθόντες ἑτοιμάσωμεν ἵνα φάγῃς τὸ πάσχα;

KJV  Mark 14:12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, his disciples said unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and prepare that thou mayest eat the passover?

YLT  Mark 14:12 And the first day of the unleavened food, when they were killing the passover, his disciples say to him, 'Where wilt thou, that, having gone, we may prepare, that thou mayest eat the passover?'

ASV  Mark 14:12 And on the first day of unleavened bread, when they sacrificed the passover, his disciples say unto him, Where wilt thou that we go and make ready that thou mayest eat the passover?

CSB  Mark 14:12 On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrifice the Passover lamb, His disciples asked Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare the Passover so You may eat it?"

NKJ  Mark 14:12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, "Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?"

NRS  Mark 14:12 On 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?"

  • the first: Ex 12:6,8,18 13:3 Lev 23:5,6 Nu 28:16-18 De 16:1-4 Mt 26:17 Lu 22:7 
  • sacrificed, 1Co 5:7,8 
  • Where: Mt 3:15 Lu 22:8,9 Ga 4:4 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:17 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do You want us to prepare for You to eat the Passover?”

Luke 22:7  Then came the first day of Unleavened Bread on which the Passover lamb had to be sacrificed. 


On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover lamb was being sacrificed - One could be confused here if you did not realize that the the Jews referred to the first day of Unleavened Bread as the Passover. which occurs in the Jewish calendar on the 14 of Nisan. So this day is the Passover, Nisan 14 (Ex 12:6; Lev 23:5, 6) the day when the lambs had to be sacrificed. The actual Feast of Unleavened Bread followed for the next 7 days (Nisan 15-21). 

Constable explains that this first day "would have been Thursday, April 2. Mark could say the Passover was two days away on Wednesday (Mark 14:1) because the Jews ate the Passover lamb between sunset and midnight on the evening of the day they slew the lamb. For the Jews this was two days later since they began each day with sunset. The disciples had to prepare to eat the Passover within Jerusalem (Deut. 16:5–6) that very evening."

Deuteronomy 16:5-6  “You are not allowed to sacrifice the Passover in any of your towns which the LORD your God is giving you; 6 but at the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name (WHICH WOULD LATER BE JERUSALEM), you shall sacrifice the Passover in the evening at sunset, at the time that you came out of Egypt.

Wuest on being sacrificed - The customary imperfect is used, “when they were accustomed to kill the to pascha (το πασχα),” literally “the passing over,” thus, that which enabled God to withhold the judgment of death, thus passing over the homes of the Israelites in Egypt where the blood was sprinkled, thus, finally, the passover. Here the paschal lamb for sacrifice is called to pascha (το πασχα), the passover.

NET Note adds "Generally the feast of Unleavened Bread would refer to Nisan 15 (Friday), but the following reference to the sacrifice of the Passover lamb indicates that Nisan 14 (Thursday) was what Mark had in mind (Nisan = March 27 to April 25). The celebration of the Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted eight days, beginning with the Passover meal. The celebrations were so close together that at times the names of both were used interchangeably." 

Passover (3957)(pascha is the transliteration of the Hebrew word pesach/pesah 06453) which is a masculine noun thought by some writers (Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon) to have its origin from pacach/pasah which apparently means to pass over; to spare (Ex 12:13, 23, 27 - "Jehovah will pass"). Depending on the context, pascha refers to the Passover lamb (Lk 22:7), the Passover meal (Lk 22:8), or the festival of Passover (Lk 22:1). The Passover as used in Lk 22:1 is combined with the Feast of Unleavened Bread by Luke in a metonymy (one word or phrase is substituted for another with which it's closely associated)  writing "the Feast of Unleavened Bread…called the Passover, was approaching." (Lk 22:1)  Rooker adds that "These two ceremonies were apparently combined at the beginning, for the Passover lamb was to be eaten with unleavened bread (Ex 12:8)." (New American Commentary).

Being sacrificed (killed, butchered)(2380)(thuo) means to kill or slaughter for a sacrifice, to offer bloody and nonbloody offerings (Mt 22:4; Lk 15:23; Jn 10:10; Acts 10:13; 1 Cor 5:7). To sacrifice the passover means to kill the paschal lamb as a species of sacrifice (Mk 14:12; Lk 22:7; 1 Cor. 5:7; Ex. 12:21; Deut. 16:2, 4-6). This is the only use of thuo in Mark. 

His disciples said to Him - On Thursday afternoon the disciples take the initiative to broach this subject.

Where do You want us to go and prepare for You to eat the Passover? - They asked "where" not "if" indicating they knew Jesus had celebrated previous Passovers and would desire to celebrate this one. In short, they leave the "where" to Jesus and they would do the preparation. It is interesting that although Judas was the treasurer (John 12:6), Jesus did  not give him the task of purchasing the needed provisions.

McKenna notes, “Treachery shadows the final hours. Jesus must protect Himself by limiting His confidence to two disciples who will know the time and place for the Passover feast.” (Communicator’s Commentary)

Hiebert- deferentially they spoke of Him eating, for He would be the host; but it was assumed that they would eat with Him. It was a family feast, but the disciples accepted that they would eat the Passover with Jesus rather than scatter to their respective families. It speaks of the close relationship between Jesus and His disciples. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

MacArthur: This takes place, as you know, on Thursday night of Passion Week. It is in the Jewish calendar the fourteenth of Nisan, year 30 A.D. And on that Thursday night is the Passover celebration for all of the Galilean Jews. In the Galilee, they celebrated their Passover on Thursday because they mark the Passover day from sunrise to sunrise. The Judean Jews in the south celebrated their Passover on Friday because they marked the Passover day from sunset to sunset. This difference we know from the writings of the Jewish Mishnah which are the official documents concerning the conduct of the Jews, and also from the history of Josephus. That’s important because that allowed our Lord to celebrate the Passover on Thursday night for a lot of critical reasons and still be the Passover on Friday, because they were two authorized and legitimate celebrations. . . Now it is essential that our Lord be the Passover on Friday and die at three o’clock at exactly the time the Judeans were slaughtering the lambs for their Passover, for He is the Passover Lamb and God made the timing perfect because Jesus died exactly at that time on Friday. But it also is crucial that He celebrate the Passover and thus this tradition of one on Thursday and one on Friday fits perfectly in to the purpose and plan of God who is in control, after all, of all of history. The Lord needs to celebrate this final Passover because it is commanded to do that and that allows Him again, as always, to fulfill all righteousness. He also needs to celebrate it in order that He might define it as the end and that He might inaugurate the new memorial that we call Communion and make the transition. It is also critical that He have time, prolonged time, from the very beginning of evening till after midnight to instruct His disciples. And all of that instruction is contained in John chapter 13 through chapter 16. It is a crucial area of biblical instruction and it is capped off by the great High Priestly prayer of our Lord recorded in John 17.

Henry Morris -  The Passover lamb, commemorating the deliverance from Egypt some fifteen centuries earlier, was to be slain and eaten with unleavened bread on the fourteenth day of the first month (Exodus 12:8). The unleavened bread (symbolizing absence of evil) was to be eaten for seven days. The Passover and its supper constituted a representation of Christ, who would shortly become "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29), as "Christ our passover is sacrificed for us" (1 Corinthians 5:7). Apparently, Jesus had already made arrangements with Mark's family to have the supper there, for it was already "furnished and prepared" (Mark 14:15,16).

William Barclay gives us some background details on the annual Passover festival - There were elaborate preparations for the Passover. Roads were repaired; bridges were made safe; wayside tombs were whitewashed lest the pilgrim should fail to see them, and so touch them and become unclean. For a month before, the story and meaning of the Passover was the subject of the teaching of every synagogue. Two days before the Passover there was in every house a ceremonial search for leaven. The householder took a candle and solemnly searched every nook and cranny in silence, and the last particle of leaven was thrown out. Every male Jew, who was of age and who lived within 15 miles of the holy city, was bound by law to attend the Passover. But it was the ambition of every Jew in every part of the world (as it is still) to come to the Passover in Jerusalem at least once in his lifetime. To this day, when Jews keep the Passover in every land they pray that they may keep it next year in Jerusalem. Because of this vast numbers came to Jerusalem at the Passover time. Cestius was governor of Palestine in the time of Nero and Nero tended to belittle the importance of the Jewish faith. To convince Nero of it, Cestius took a census of the lambs slain at one particular Passover. Josephus tells us that the number was 256,500. The law laid it down that the minimum number for a Passover celebration was 10. That means that on this occasion, if these figures are correct, there must have been more that 2,700,000 pilgrims to the Passover. It was in a city crowded like that that the drama of the last days of Jesus was played out.The atmosphere of Passover time was always inflammable. The headquarters of the Roman government was at Caesarea, and normally only a small detachment of troops was stationed at Jerusalem; but for the Passover season many more were drafted in. (Luke 22 Commentary)

Related Resources:

The Question in the Old Testament was...Where is the Lamb?

The Answer in the New Testament is...Behold the Lamb!

The Cry throughout eternity will be...Worthy is the Lamb!

Mark 14:13  And He sent two of His disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him;

NET  Mark 14:13 He sent two of his disciples and told them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.

NLT  Mark 14:13 So Jesus sent two of them into Jerusalem with these instructions: "As you go into the city, a man carrying a pitcher of water will meet you. Follow him.

ESV  Mark 14:13 And he sent two of his disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him,

NIV  Mark 14:13 So he sent two of his disciples, telling them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.

GNT  Mark 14:13 καὶ ἀποστέλλει δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Ὑπάγετε εἰς τὴν πόλιν, καὶ ἀπαντήσει ὑμῖν ἄνθρωπος κεράμιον ὕδατος βαστάζων· ἀκολουθήσατε αὐτῷ

KJV  Mark 14:13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him.

YLT  Mark 14:13 And he sendeth forth two of his disciples, and saith to them, 'Go ye away to the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water, follow him;

ASV  Mark 14:13 And he sendeth two of his disciples, and saith unto them, Go into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him;

CSB  Mark 14:13 So He sent two of His disciples and told them, "Go into the city, and a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him.

NKJ  Mark 14:13 And He sent out two of His disciples and said to them, "Go into the city, and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him.

NRS  Mark 14:13 So 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,

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man, and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”’ 

Luke 22:8-10+ And Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, so that we may eat it.” 9 They said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare it?” 10  And He said to them, “When you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house that he enters. 


Why the "cloak and dagger" approach to finding a place to meet? Judas would not know the room and could not alert the authorities, because Jesus did not even tell Peter the man's name or the location of the evening Passover. In addition, Jesus wanted this special meal of meals to be in a location in which they would not be disturbed. And in the providence of God, Jesus will somehow be able to get to the location without attracting attention of a crowd. This is another implicit miracle! God was in complete control of every detail of this epoch meal, probably the most important meal in all eternity!

And He sent two of His disciples - The Lord's instructions are reminiscent of our Lord’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-6+). Only Luke 22:8+ tells us "Jesus sent Peter and John" (who were also present at His transfiguration and in Gethsemane) As the book of Acts indicates Peter and John became leaders of the Christians in Jerusalem (Acts 3:1-3, 11; 4:13, 19; 8:14). 

Edwards: The effect of both stories is to show Jesus’ knowledge and complete governance of events as his “hour” (Mk 14:35) of death approaches. Jesus is not a tragic hero caught in events beyond his control. There is no hint of desperation, fear, anger, or futility on his part. Jesus does not cower or retreat as plots are hatched against him. He displays, as he has throughout the Gospel, a sovereign freedom and authority to follow a course he has freely chosen in accordance with God’s plan. Judas and others may act against him, but they do not act upon him. (The Gospel according to Mark Pillar NTC-Mark)

And said to them, "Go into the city - So Jesus was outside the city, presumably in Bethany. The Passover had to be prepared at a location within the city of Jerusalem because it could not be eaten outside of the city walls. These instructions remind us of the similar instructions in Mark 11:2-3+

THOUGHT- Where do you want me to go in life and what do you want me to do? He is the Good Shepherd; we are the sheep; Lord is sufficient to Guide us; He has a plan (Paul Apple)

Bock notes that "Tradition dictated that Passover be celebrated in the temple courts (Deut. 16:16; 2 Chron. 35:16–19; Jub. 49.15–16). When pilgrims became too numerous for the temple, the entire city served as a suitable locale (Fitzmyer 1985: 1377)." (Baker Exegetical Commentary - Luke)

and a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water A man Matthew calls "a certain man" (Mt 26:18) but does not mention that he is carrying a pitcher of water. Some have said the situation was now out of Jesus' control, but this verse makes it crystal clear that Jesus was in full control. A man carrying a pitcher of water was not the usual custom and thus was a signal (either pre-arranged by Jesus or the result of a miraculous communication with the man). Normally, only women carried water pots (see Ge 24:11, Jn 4:7), while men carried wineskins, so a man coming up to Peter and John with a pitcher of water would leave no doubt this was the man Jesus had described.

It is interesting that this man came to meet them not the converse. In other words this man had received communication in some way (directly from Jesus previously or by some supernatural means) that Peter and John would be coming into the city to prepare the Passover. And this man would have to find them out of the literally thousands that were walking through the city streets! Sounds a bit like traffic in Austin, Texas! And so it is easy to overlook the miraculous aspect of this rendevous, but it was indeed a miracle that the man found Peter and John as they entered a city packed with pilgrims for the Passover. Not only did he find them, but he recognized them. 

THOUGHT - Pause for a moment and ponder your service for the Lord Jesus. You may be an "eye" or a "hand" (1 Cor 12:15-16), or you may be a "foot," and as such you wonder "Is there really any value in what I am doing for the Lord? Am I really making a contribution? No one even knows my name or what I do." WRONG! The Teacher knows your name and He esteems your value no less then the one who preaches or teaches. No one knew this man's name except God, but that is really all that matters in eternity. Be faithful in whatever He has given you to do. One day He will introduce you to the man who did the woman's job of carrying a pitcher of water and you will both bask in the rewards for being faithful servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! Amen! 

Barnes comments - The direction which Jesus gave his disciples most clearly proves that he was omniscient. Amidst so great a multitude going at that time into the city, it was impossible to know that a particular man would be met a man bearing a pitcher of water-unless Jesus had all knowledge, and was therefore Divine.

Paul Apple adds "Sovereign knowledge – speaks to both Omniscience/Knowledge and Control/Sovereignty Is. 46:9-10 -- defining characteristic of God: “declaring the end from the beginning; and from ancient times things which have not been done, saying ‘My purpose will be established, and I will accomplish all my good pleasure’”

William MacDonald makes a spiritual application - The man here makes a good picture of the Holy Spirit, who leads seeking souls to the place of communion with the Lord. (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Carrying (941)(bastazo) means to bear and is used by Luke to describe bearing a "coffin" (Lk 7:14), bearing a child (Lk 11:27), metaphorically of carrying one's cross (Lk 14:27) and literally of Jesus bearing His cross (Jn 19:17). 

Pitcher (2765)(keramion from keramos = tile from kerannumi = to mix, as mixing clay and water; Latin - testa; English ceramic) is an earthenware or clay vessel which could be a pitcher, jar, jug, and be used for water, oil or wine. Used only here and in Mk 14:13. In Jesus' day women carried water pots on their shoulder. Men carried skins for wine or water. There are 3 uses in the Septuagint - Isa. 5:10; Isa. 30:14, Jer 42:5.

Follow him -  They would not know the house until they had arrived. Presumably after preparing for the Passover, they remained at the house until Jesus arrived later. If they had gone back Judas might have discovered the location. 

Follow (aorist imperative - Don't delay!)(190)(akoloutheo from a = expresses union with, likeness + keleuthos = a road, way) means to walk the same road (Ponder that simple definition dear believer - Am I willing to walk the same road as Jesus? Or in keeping with the context of this verse, am I willing to follow those He places before me as my spiritual leader?) 

Henry Blackaby - When Christ Gives a Command

       So He sent two of His disciples and told them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a water jug will meet you. Follow him.”—Mark 14:13 

The two disciples were given very detailed instructions to go to a certain town and look for a particular man performing a specific task. He would have a large room, furnished and ready to observe the Passover. These instructions might have seemed unusual had it not been their Lord speaking, but the two disciples obeyed and found everything just as Jesus had said. Jesus knew exactly what they would find, and so He guided them specifically. One of the most memorable and precious times the disciples would spend with their Teacher hinged on the obedience of these two.

Obedience to Christ's commands always brings fulfillment. When the Lord gives you instructions, obey immediately. Don't wait until you have figured it all out and everything makes perfect sense to you. Sometimes God will lead you to do things that you will not fully understand until after you have done them. He does not usually reveal all the details of His will when He first speaks to you. Instead, He tells you enough so you can implement what He has said, but He withholds enough information so that you must continue to rely upon His guidance. Your response will affect what God does next in your life. Your obedience may affect how others around you experience Christ as well. If there is any directive God has given you that you have not obeyed, obey that word immediately and watch God's perfect plan unfold in your life.

Mark 14:14  and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is My guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"'

NET  Mark 14:14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?"'

NLT  Mark 14:14 At the house he enters, say to the owner, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?'

ESV  Mark 14:14 and wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'

NIV  Mark 14:14 Say to the owner of the house he enters, 'The Teacher asks: Where is my guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'

GNT  Mark 14:14 καὶ ὅπου ἐὰν εἰσέλθῃ εἴπατε τῷ οἰκοδεσπότῃ ὅτι Ὁ διδάσκαλος λέγει, Ποῦ ἐστιν τὸ κατάλυμά μου ὅπου τὸ πάσχα μετὰ τῶν μαθητῶν μου φάγω;

KJV  Mark 14:14 And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

YLT  Mark 14:14 and wherever he may go in, say ye to the master of the house -- The Teacher saith, Where is the guest-chamber, where the passover, with my disciples, I may eat?

ASV  Mark 14:14 and wheresoever he shall enter in, say to the master of the house, The Teacher saith, Where is my guest-chamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?

CSB  Mark 14:14 Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, 'The Teacher says, "Where is the guest room for Me to eat the Passover with My disciples?" '

NKJ  Mark 14:14 "Wherever he goes in, say to the master of the house,`The Teacher says, "Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?"'

NRS  Mark 14:14 and 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?'

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:18 And He said, “Go into the city to a certain man (LUKE - "THE OWNER OF THE HOUSE") and say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; (CONTRAST ALL THE TIMES HE SAID "MY HOUR HAS NOT YET COME" - BUT NOW IS THE MOMENT) I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples (I.E. "I AM OBLIGATED TO KEEP THE PASSOVER AT YOUR HOUSE...").”  (Sermon

Luke 22:11+ “And you shall say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you, “Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?”’

And wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house - As noted above Jesus does not disclose the owner's name lest Judas hear and alert the Jewish leaders of the location. 

IVP Background Commentary - Anyone with a two-story home, the second of which contained a “large” upper room, would be considered well-to-do. This family presumably resided in the Upper City of Jerusalem, near the temple, rather than the poorer Lower City, downwind of Jerusalem’s sewage.

Hiebert - The conjecture that this was the home of John Mark (cf. Acts 1:13; 12:12) is attractive, but the evidence for it is slender (cf. the young man in Mark 14:51–52). (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

The Teacher says  - There were many teachers in Jerusalem at the time of the Passover, but somehow the owner would know this "Teacher" was a reference to Jesus. Jesus may have pre-arranged this encounter or it may simply be supernatural. Matthew 26:18 adds the detail (not in Luke or Mark) that "The Teacher says, “My time (kairos = is a specific epoch, not just any time in general) is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples.”  What time? The time to eat the Passover and to inaugurate the New Covenant in His blood and/or the time of His sacrificial death as the Lamb of God. 

MacArthur on MY TIME in Mt 26:18 -- "Jesus' statement, "My time is at hand," was perhaps more for the sake of the disciples than the two men whom Peter and John would encounter. Time does not translate chronos, which refers to a general space or succession of time, but rather to kairos, a specific and often predetermined period or moment of time. Jesus' time was also, of course, the Father's time, the divinely appointed time when the Son would offer Himself as the sacrifice for the sins of the world (cf. 1 John 2:2+). Until now that monumental time had not come and could not have come (see John 7:6), but at this particular Passover it could not fail to come, because it was divinely ordained and fixed. That last Passover supper would set in motion the final, irreversible countdown, as it were, for the crucifixion. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew) (Bolding added)

The term "the Teacher" fits with their being disciples and thus also this man most probably being a genuine disciple of Jesus (since he would recognize and/or acknowledge that designation). He could have said "the Lord" but that conveys more of a Master-slave relationship. And in the Upper Room discourse Jesus gives during the Passover celebration, He tells His disciples "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you". (John 15:15). 

Notice that Jesus rightly emphasizes His possession of all that is involved in this unique time in all of eternity - "My time," "My guest room," "My disciples" " My body" (Lk 22:19), "My blood" (Lk 22:20), "My trials," (Lk 22:28), "My Father," (Lk 22:29), "My table in My Kingdom," (Lk 22:30), "Not My will." (Lk 22:42).

Teacher (1320) (didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The Greek has the definite article (to = the) in front of didaskalos, signifying not just any teacher in general, but THE Teacher, in fact the Teacher of teachers! The disciples and even the Scribes and Pharisees called Jesus "Teacher." (Mt 8:19, 9:11, 12:38, 17:24, 19:16, 22:16, 22:24, 22:36, 23:8, 26:18, etc).

Where is My guest room - Notice Jesus repeatedly uses the possessive pronoun "MY" - it is His guest room prepared by God for Him (cf MY GUEST ROOM, MY TIME, MY DISCIPLES). Matthew 26:18 adds they are to say to him, ‘The Teacher says, “My time is near; I am to keep the Passover at your house with My disciples."

THOUGHT - How do we respond in our role as steward when Christ claims to have need of certain of our resources? Our house, car, health, finances, children … Seek first the kingdom of God … (Mt 6:33) Note also the Synergy of God sovereignly preparing the room and yet charging the disciples with human responsibility of preparing the Passover meal (Paul Apple)

Teacher (1320) (didaskalos from didasko = teach to shape will of one being taught by content of what is taught <> cp didaskalía) is one who provides instruction or systematically imparts truth. The Greek has the definite article (to = the) in front of didaskalos, signifying not just any teacher in general, but THE Teacher, in fact the Teacher of teachers! The disciples and even the Scribes and Pharisees called Jesus "Teacher." (Mt 8:19, 9:11, 12:38, 17:24, 19:16, 22:16, 22:24, 22:36, 23:8, 26:18, etc).

Guest room (2646)(kataluma from kata = intensifier + luo = to loose) means literally an unloosing of what was bound and referred to a place to lodge or inn because the ancient travelers on arrival loosened their belts, sandals, and saddles of their animals. There are only 3 NT uses, two referring to a guest room in context of the Passover (Lk 22:11 and  Mark 14:14) and the third in Lk 2:7 referring to an inn.  As a Baby there was "no room in the inn" (Lk 2:7+) for Jesus' parents. By analogy there was was probably not a single "vacancy" in all of Jerusalem during the Passover festival. Traditionally, rooms were made available at essentially no charge to pilgrims coming to the Passover. The only "payment" was the skin of the lamb that had been sacrificed and the vessels used in the feast. But once again, God superintends the details to assure that there would be one room available for Jesus to eat Passover with His disciples and to deliver His great "Upper Room Discourse." Notice Jesus does not say there might be a guest room, but without hesitation He says Peter and John will be shown the room for their Passover meal. So again we see that God is sovereign and in total control of the details. Jesus was not concerned that they might not be able to find a room to meet. He had full faith in His Father's provision. 

In which I may eat the Passover with My disciples - This was the last meal Jesus would eat before His crucifixion and was more than the usual Passover meal, for during the meal Jesus would reveal that He was the Passover Lamb. Note that although this is a Thursday night it is very clear that Jesus ate a meal that Luke refers to as the Passover (Mk 14:12, 14, 16, cf Lk 22:7, 8, 11, 12,). This is important to keep in mind because of the fact that Jesus died the next day as the Passover Lamb. The question of how this could be resolved was dealt with above in a discussion of the Chronology. (See also discussion in MacArthur's sermon - scroll to bottom half)

Paul Apple - Why did Jesus direct his disciples in this roundabout way regarding preparations for the Passover celebration? Wanted to keep the location a secret from Judas – did not want anything to interfere with his institution of the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper – which He would observe just with the believing eleven.

Spurgeon - Observe in this passage an amazing blending of the human and the divine! No mention is made of either as a matter of doctrine, but incidentally our Lord’s divinity and humanity are most fully taught. Here is Christ so poor that he has no room in which to celebrate the most necessary feast of his religion. He has made himself of no reputation, and he has no chamber he can call his own. Yet see the Godhead in him! He sends his messengers to a certain house and tells them to say to the good man of the house, “Where is the guest room?” It all turns out just as he said it would be, and he is welcomed to this man’s best room. Jesus speaks here as did his Father when he said to Israel in ancient times, “Every animal of the forest is mine, the cattle on a thousand hills” (Ps 50:10). All the guest chambers in Jerusalem were at Christ’s disposal. He had but to ask for them, and there they were—all ready for him. Here we see the majesty of his deity, but we also see the humility of his humanity.

James M Boice - Not long ago a friend sent me a card with a picture of a small boy wearing a straw hat and floating on an inner tube on a tranquil country pond. His head was thrown back. He was in perfect peace. The caption read: "Each life needs its own quiet place." The verses we come to next in Matthew 26 (AND HERE IN MARK) are like that. They are a quiet place at the center of the storm that is about to break. The rulers of the people are plotting how they might take Jesus' life. Judas has offered to betray Jesus to them at the earliest possible opportunity

Passover (3957) see note on pascha

C H Spurgeon - Morning and Evening -

“The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?”  —Mark 14:14

Jerusalem at the time of the passover was one great inn; each householder had invited his own friends, but no one had invited the Saviour, and he had no dwelling of his own. It was by his own supernatural power that he found himself an upper room in which to keep the feast. It is so even to this day—Jesus is not received among the sons of men save only where by his supernatural power and grace he makes the heart anew. All doors are open enough to the prince of darkness, but Jesus must clear a way for himself or lodge in the streets. It was through the mysterious power exerted by our Lord that the householder raised no question, but at once cheerfully and joyfully opened his guestchamber. Who he was, and what he was, we do not know, but he readily accepted the honour which the Redeemer proposed to confer upon him. In like manner it is still discovered who are the Lord’s chosen, and who are not; for when the gospel comes to some, they fight against it, and will not have it, but where men receive it, welcoming it, this is a sure indication that there is a secret work going on in the soul, and that God has chosen them unto eternal life. Are you willing, dear reader, to receive Christ? then there is no difficulty in the way; Christ will be your guest; his own power is working with you, making you willing. What an honour to entertain the Son of God! The heaven of heavens cannot contain him, and yet he condescends to find a house within our hearts! We are not worthy that he should come under our roof, but what an unutterable privilege when he condescends to enter! for then he makes a feast, and causes us to feast with him upon royal dainties, we sit at a banquet where the viands are immortal, and give immortality to those who feed thereon. Blessed among the sons of Adam is he who entertains the angels’ Lord.

Mark 14:15  "And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; prepare for us there."

NET  Mark 14:15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."

NLT  Mark 14:15 He will take you upstairs to a large room that is already set up. That is where you should prepare our meal."

ESV  Mark 14:15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us."

NIV  Mark 14:15 He will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."

GNT  Mark 14:15 καὶ αὐτὸς ὑμῖν δείξει ἀνάγαιον μέγα ἐστρωμένον ἕτοιμον· καὶ ἐκεῖ ἑτοιμάσατε ἡμῖν.

KJV  Mark 14:15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.

YLT  Mark 14:15 and he will shew you a large upper room, furnished, prepared -- there make ready for us.'

ASV  Mark 14:15 And he will himself show you a large upper room furnished and ready: and there make ready for us.

CSB  Mark 14:15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there."

NKJ  Mark 14:15 "Then he will show you a large upper room, furnished and prepared; there make ready for us."

NRS  Mark 14:15 He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there."

Related Passages:

Luke 22:12+ “And he will show you a large, furnished upper room; prepare it there.” 


And he himself will show you a large upper room furnished and ready - Notice that Jesus does not divulge location but only that the disciples would be led by this nameless man (presumably a disciple) to the unnamed location. Keep in mind that the actual Upper Room discourse is recorded only in John 13-16. This discourse would have occurred in the context of the events of the Last Supper described in Mark 14:17-26. The typical furnishing would have included a low table (or a couch called a triclinium) and pillows (and possibly carpets) on which to recline. 

Wuest - The intensive pronoun (he himself) is used. He himself will show you. That is, the master of the house will not let this detail to a slave, but will himself personally conduct Peter and John to the room. It was a large room, of sufficient size to accommodate twelve men and the Son of God. It was a room above the ground level, so that our Lord could observe His last Passover with His disciples in private. It was furnished. 

Utley - This was also the location of Jesus’ post-resurrection appearances (cf. Acts 1:12). This room became the Jerusalem headquarters for the disciples.

Barclay on upper room - The better class houses had two rooms. The one room was on the top of the other; and the house looked exactly like a small box placed on top of a large one. The upper room was reached by an outside stair. During the Passover time all lodging in Jerusalem was free. The only pay a host might receive for letting lodgings to the pilgrims was the skin of the lamb which was eaten at the feast (ED: ANOTHER SOURCE SAYS THEY WOULD ALSO GIVE THE HOST THE VESSELS USED IN THE MEAL). A very usual use of an upper room was that it was the place where a Rabbi met with his favourite disciples to talk things over with them and to open his heart to them. Jesus had taken steps to procure such a room.

Furnished (perfect tense)(4766)(stronnuo) means literally to spread (e.g., “to spread the clothes over a bed,” Liddell-Scott). Here it describes a room arranged in a suitable manner for a Seder (Passover) which Marvin Vincent says would be "Strewn with carpets, and with couches properly spread." Stronnuo is used twice in the context of Jesus' "Triumphal Entry" when "Most of the crowd spread their coats in the road, and others were cutting branches from the trees and spreading them in the road." (Mt 21:8, cf Mk 11:8). All NT uses - Mt. 21:8; Mk. 11:8; Mk. 14:15; Lk. 22:12; Acts 9:34. 

The perfect tense indicates "The room had already been furnished and was in a state of readiness. It was furnished with carpets and hall couches around the table properly spread. The room was prepared for the eating of the Passover, speaking of the removal of all leaven, also, possibly of the master of the house sharing his passover lamb with our Lord and His disciples, as the custom was in Israel in the case of small families." (Wuest)

Prepare for us there - Prepare is a command in the aorist imperative indicating they are not to delay, but accomplish this job promptly! This is one of three uses of  "prepare" (hetoimazo) in this chapter (Mark 14:12, Mk 14:15, Mk 14:16)

What is fascinating is the fact that while the disciples are preparing for the Passover feast, God Himself is orchestrating events to prepare His Passover Lamb of God. How? Through the murderous thoughts of the Jewish religious leaders, the interaction of Satan and the betrayal of Judas by word and deed. In short, while they prepare the Passover for Jesus, God is preparing Jesus for them and for all who trust in Him (cf Acts 2:23+). As John wrote "“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29+) Paul looking backwards concurs writing "Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed." (1 Cor 5:7). 

Of course a major part of the preparation was to procure a blemish free lamb which most likely would have been done on Monday, the 10th of Nisan (cf Ex 12:2, 5, 6), for that was the day on which the lamb was to be inspected for blemishes. Then on the day they were to celebrate the Passover meal, they would have to take the lamb to the Temple to be inspected and sacrificed by the priests. Only two men were allowed to bring the lamb (thus Peter and John) because otherwise the courtyard would have become much too crowded given the thousands of lambs that needed to be sacrificed in the small window of time which had been prescribed. According to Josephus the lambs had to be sacrificed between the 9th and the 11th hour which would be from 3 PM to 5 PM (As an aside, just imagine this bloody scene in the Temple with the blood of 1000's of lambs being spilled, and yet even then not being able "to take away sins"-cf Heb 10:4+). The 12th hour would have been sunset after which the Passover would commence. So Peter and John would have to return to the upper room and roast the lamb. In addition they would have to procure the other elements for the feast (click for elements necessary for the Passover Seder). Thus, presumably they would have gone out to purchase the wine, etc, but none of the Gospel accounts give details. In any event, this was clearly no small task given the crowds in the city and the small window of time. Recall that the city was so crowded because the Passover could only be celebrated within the city limits.  While the text does not say, another possibility is that when Peter and John arrived at the furnished room, it was not only furnished with pillows, carpets and table for the meal, but even the necessary ingredients for the meal. Clearly, it was all accomplished in time for God was in total control of this monumental last Passover. All of this preparation and procurement of multiple necessities makes me think of Php 4:19+ "And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." Do you really believe that declaration?

Prepare (2090)(hetoimazo) means to make ready, specifically to make ready beforehand for some purpose, use, or activity. This verb is used 3x in this section - Mk. 1:3; Mk. 10:40; Mk. 14:12; Mk. 14:15; Mk. 14:16;. "Their tasks are to secure a room, get the lamb slain at the temple, pick up bitter herbs, purchase the unleavened bread, and obtain wine for the meal....The future leaders of the apostolic group are here learning to serve." (Bock)

THOUGHT - Even as John the Baptist was to prepare the way for Jesus' incarnation, Peter and John are to prepare the way for His inauguration of the New Covenant. And in a sense all believers today are to "prepare" the way for His Second Coming by proclaiming the Gospel to all people groups on the globe, to "make disciples of of all the nations" (Mt 28:19+). 

NET Note adds that their preparation "required getting a suitable lamb and finding lodging in Jerusalem where the meal could be eaten (ED: GOD HAD TAKEN CARE OF THAT DETAIL). The population of the city swelled during the feast, so lodging could be difficult to find. The Passover was celebrated each year in commemoration of the Israelites' deliverance from Egypt; thus it was a feast celebrating redemption (see Exod 12). The Passover lamb was roasted and eaten after sunset in a family group of at least ten people (m. Pesahim 7.13). People ate the meal while reclining (see the note on table in 14:18). It included, besides the lamb, unleavened bread and bitter herbs as a reminder of Israel's bitter affliction at the hands of the Egyptians. Four cups of wine mixed with water were also used for the meal."

J Ligon Duncan adds "J.I. Packer was asked a few years ago, “Dr. Packer, could you summarize the New Testament in three words?” And he said, “Yes.” You’re not surprised, are you? “Yes,” he said, “Adoption through propitiation.” He said, “We are forgiven and welcomed as children into God's family through the propitiation of Jesus Christ” - through the atoning work of Jesus Christ, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who is our what? Our Passover Lamb." (Sermon)

Duncan goes on to read from a sermon ("Peri Pascha - On the Passover" - here is the text of the sermon - scroll to bottom for quote below) from Melito of Sardis preached in the second century (AD) 

“’I am the One,’ says the Christ, ‘I am the One that destroyed death and triumphed over the enemy and tried down hell and found the strong one and carried off man to the heights of heaven. I am the One,’ says the Christ. Come then, all you families of men who are compounded with sins and get forgiveness of sins from Me, for I am your forgiveness. I am the pascha of salvation. I am the lamb slain for you. I am your ransom. I am you life. I am your light. I am your salvation. I am your resurrection. I am your king. I will raise you up by my right hand. I am leading you up to the heights of heaven. There I will show you the Father from ages past. It is He who made the heaven and the earth and fashioned man in the beginning, who is proclaimed through the Law and the prophets, who was enfleshed upon a virgin, who hung upon a tree, who was buried in the earth and raised from the dead and went up to the heights of heaven, who sits at the Father's right hand, who has the power to save every man through whom the Father did His works from beginning to eternity. He is the Alpha and the Omega. He is the beginning and the end, beginning inexpressible and end incomprehensible. He is the Christ. He is the King. He is Jesus. He is the captain. He is the Lord. He is the One who rose from the dead. He is the One who sits at the Father's right hand. He carries the Father and is carried by the Father. To Him be the glory and power forever. Amen.’”

It is interesting to note that the events preceding the Triumphal Entry parallel the events surrounding the preparation for the Last Supper.

(1) In both Jesus commissioned two disciples (Mark 11:1, Lk 19:29),

(2) In both Jesus had foreknowledge of what they would encounter (Mk 11:2-3, Lk 19:30-31).

(3) In both the response of those encountered by the two disciples is similar (Mk 11:4-6,  See Lk 19:32-34 cf Lk 22:11-12).

THOUGHT - In summary, in both situations, all was exactly as Jesus had said it would be. Beloved, that is always the case. Every promise Jesus makes to us is true and trustworthy (Read 2 Peter 1:4+). And "all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Him. That is why we say "Amen" when we give glory to God through Christ." (2 Cor 1:20)

Jewish commentator Arnold Fruchtenbaum gives a few other details involved in the preparation of the Passover lamb:

1. The disciples had to go with a lamb to the Temple compound where the lamb would be checked to make sure that it was without spot or blemish. 

2. The lamb would be killed at the Temple compound.

3. The blood would be poured into a bowl.

4. At the Temple there would be three long lines of Levites who would pass the bowls from one to another down the lines until it got to the altar, and the blood would be poured out at the base of the altar. This took place from 3 pm to 5 pm.

5. The lamb would be skinned and have it’s entrails removed.

6. Parts of the lamb would be left for the priests, who would bring it upon the altar.

7. The rest of the lamb would be taken home to be roasted for the Passover meal.

Kent Hughes adds some additional details on what was involved in the preparation:

The day of sacrifice was given entirely to festive preparations. A massive assembly of priests (twenty-four divisions instead of the customary single division) arrived at the temple early. Their first duty was to burn all the leaven that had been ceremonially collected by candlelight and spoon the preceding night (M. Pesahim 1–3). By noon all work ceased.  At mid afternoon, 3:00 P.M., the ritual slaughtering began (M. Pesahim 5.1). This was completed in three huge shifts. When the first group entered in and the temple court was filled, the gates of the court were closed. A priest’s shofar played a sustained blast, and the sacrifices began (M. Pesahim 5.5). The pilgrims approached two long rows of priests holding basins of silver and gold. Each Israelite slaughtered his own offering, and the priest caught the blood, which was then tossed at the base of the altar (M. Pesahim 5.5, 6). As the offerer left the temple, the slain lamb and its skin was draped over his shoulder (T.B. Pesahim 6.5b).

That evening the Passover was observed in a home or room reserved for the occasion. The lamb was roasted on a pomegranate spit (M. Pesahim 7.1). Inside, the company dressed in festive white and reclined at tables with the leader at the head. In Jesus’ time the celebration had added elements beyond the Old Testament’s prescriptions. There was a seder (See Seder), a set order of service (M. Pesahim 10.1-9). The celebrants reclined while they ate because they were no longer slaves (cf. Ex 12:11). It was the host’s duty to interpret each of the foods on the table as it related to their deliverance from Egypt. The bitter herbs recalled their bitter slavery. The stewed fruit, by its color and consistency, recalled the misery of making bricks for Pharaoh. The roasted lamb brought to their remembrance the lamb’s blood applied to the doorposts, their eating of the lamb within their house, and the death angel’s passing over them as it destroyed the firstborn of Egypt. The celebration concluded late, but many people returned to the streets to continue celebrating. Others returned to the temple mount to await the reopening of the temple gates at midnight, so they could spend the rest of the evening in worship and prayer (cf. Josephus, Antiquities 18.2.2). (PTW-Luke)

Mark 14:16  The disciples went out and came to the city, and found it just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.

NET  Mark 14:16 So the disciples left, went into the city, and found things just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

NLT  Mark 14:16 So the two disciples went into the city and found everything just as Jesus had said, and they prepared the Passover meal there.

ESV  Mark 14:16 And the disciples set out and went to the city and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

NIV  Mark 14:16 The disciples left, went into the city and found things just as Jesus had told them. So they prepared the Passover.

GNT  Mark 14:16 καὶ ἐξῆλθον οἱ μαθηταὶ καὶ ἦλθον εἰς τὴν πόλιν καὶ εὗρον καθὼς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς καὶ ἡτοίμασαν τὸ πάσχα.

KJV  Mark 14:16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

YLT  Mark 14:16 And his disciples went forth, and came to the city, and found as he said to them, and they made ready the passover.

ASV  Mark 14:16 And the disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

CSB  Mark 14:16 So the disciples went out, entered the city, and found it just as He had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

NKJ  Mark 14:16 So His disciples went out, and came into the city, and found it just as He had said to them; and they prepared the Passover.

NRS  Mark 14:16 So the disciples set out and went to the city, and found everything as he had told them; and they prepared the Passover meal.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:19 The disciples did as Jesus had directed (suntasso = means to place in order together and hence functioned as a command or order, cf Mt 21:6) them; and they prepared the Passover.

Luke 22:13+ And they left and found everything just as He had told them; and they prepared the Passover.


The disciples went out and came to the city, and found (heurisko) it just as He had told them - Peter and John obey Jesus' instructions. Matthew 26:19 emphasizes their unhesitating obedience, doing just "as Jesus had directed them." Nothing was left to chance. All was organized and orderly. As an aside, the word "Seder" in Hebrew means order or sequence. Everything was found just as Jesus had told them. And just as true as that was then, all that He has told His followers will prove truth in the future. 

Robertson on came - Dramatic historical present. It is assumed here that Jesus is observing the passover meal at the regular time and hour, at 6 P.M. at the beginning of the fifteenth (evening of our Thursday, beginning of Jewish Friday). Mark and Matthew note the time as evening and state it as the regular passover meal.

Swete remarks: “The minute explicitness of one who had part in the transaction shows itself here.… the particulars were as the Master foretold—the servant with the pitcher, the master of the house ready to oblige, the large divan-spread upper room. For the second time in that week the Lord had shown a superhuman knowledge of circumstances as yet unrealized.”

Garland - THE UPPER ROOM was, as Barclay aptly describes it, “a smaller box on top of a bigger box.” It was used as a guest room, storeroom, and place of retreat. According to later rabbinic tradition, the sages met their students in upper rooms to teach (m. Sabb. 1:14; b. Menah. 41b; see Acts 1:13; 20:8). (NIV Application Commentary)

And they prepared the Passover - The prepared everything necessary to celebrate the Passover Seder. They obeyed without hesitation. There is no record that Peter and John ever returned to the place where Jesus was staying with the other disciples. Had they returned Judas surely would have pried the "secret location" from Peter and John (who had no reason to suspect him as a traitor) and Judas could have informed the authorities and jeopardized the Passover meal with Jesus.

Daniel Akin - They also would have roasted and prepared the Passover lamb that most clearly marked their deliverance from slavery and redemption out of Egypt. Little did they know that a greater preparation of an even greater Passover was unfolding in their presence as Jesus prepared Himself to be sacrificed as our Passover Lamb (1 Cor. 5:7, Exodus 12:6-11+). John the Baptist had declared when he saw Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29+). Jesus is indeed this Passover Lamb, and He is in complete control of the events leading to His death. The Cross was no surprise that unexpectedly caught Him off guard. No, it was a divine appointment that was scheduled as Peter would write, “before the foundation of the world” (1 Peter 1:20+). Jesus knew down to the last detail what was happening and He joyfully embraced it (Heb. 12:2+). Such confidence in God’s will should inspire us to trust Him even when the road of life may be difficult, painful, even deadly. Our God is in control!

Swete - “Supposing the lamb to have been already slain, and returned to the house, there still remained much to be done; the roasting of the lamb, the provision of the unleavened cakes, the bitter herbs, the four cups of wine, and preparation of the room and the lamps; and in the preparation of the food there were many ritual niceties to be observed.” For instance, there was the making of a paste to resemble the mortar which was used in the laying of bricks in Egypt. The present day Jews make this paste by grinding apples, nuts, raisins, and mixing this with wine.

Prepare (2090) see note on hetoimazo

Passover (3957) see note on pascha

Question:  If Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation, why had He already eaten the Passover meal?

Answer: All four Gospels state that Jesus was crucified on the Day of Preparation (Matthew 27:62; Mark 15:42; Luke 23:54; John 19:14, 31, 42). Mark, Luke, and John all state that the following day was the Sabbath. John’s account uses this wording: “It was the day of Preparation of the Passover” (John 19:14). The question becomes, since Jesus was killed on the Day of Preparation, why had He already observed the Passover with His disciples (Matthew 26:17–29; Mark 14:12–25; Luke 22:7–22; John 13:1–30)?

First, we should discard the theory that the writers of the New Testament made a mistake. Theorizing that all four of the Gospel writers got the chronology wrong stretches credulity to the breaking point. Are we really to believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all forgot what they had written from one chapter to the next? No, there must be a better explanation for why Jesus ate the Passover before the Day of Preparation.

Next, we need to identify what the Day of Preparation was preparing for. Every week, preparations had to be made for the Sabbath—food had to be prepared ahead of time. This led to the “Day of Preparation” becoming the common term for “Friday.” Although many preparations also had to be made for the Passover, there is no record of “Passover Eve” being called the Day of Preparation. The Day of Preparation was always Friday, the day before the Sabbath. Mark 15:42 makes this clear.

How then do we explain John’s statement that Jesus died on “the day of Preparation of the Passover” (John 19:14)? It’s quite possible that John simply meant that this particular Friday fell during Passover week; we could understand his words this way: “It was the day of Preparation, the one that happened to come during the season of Passover.” So, the Day of Preparation was to prepare for the Sabbath, not the Passover.

The Mosaic Law stipulated what day the Passover lamb was to be eaten: Nissan 14 (Numbers 9:2–3). We must assume that Jesus kept the Law and observed Passover at the appointed time (see Galatians 4:4). After the Passover (Thursday) came the Day of Preparation (Friday) on which Jesus was killed. The Sabbath (Saturday) followed, of course, and then the first day of the week (Sunday)—the third day after the crucifixion and the day on which Jesus rose from the dead.

One objection to the above chronology is based on John 18:28, which says, “The Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover.” At first glance, it seems that, whereas Jesus had eaten the Passover the night before, the Jewish leaders had not yet eaten the Passover—they still “wanted to be able to eat” it after Jesus was arrested. To reconcile this verse with the Synoptic narratives, we must remember this: Passover was the first day of the week-long Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast (or Festival) of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) lasted for a full week, from Nissan 15 to Nissan 22. The first day of Unleavened Bread coincided with the day of Passover. Because of the close relation between Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the whole week was sometimes referred to as “Passover.” The two holidays were (and still are) considered a single celebration. This explains John 18:28. The Jewish leaders had already eaten the Passover proper, but there still remained other sacrifices to be made and meals to be eaten. They were unwilling to defile themselves (Pilate’s palace contained leaven) because it would disqualify them from participating in the remainder of the week’s ceremonies (see Leviticus 23:8).

There are other difficulties in pinpointing the exact chronology of Jesus’ arrest, trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. But this seems to be a workable solution:

Thursday – Passover proper. The lamb is killed, and Jesus and His disciples eat the Passover meal in the upper room.

Friday – the Day of Preparation. Jesus is tried and executed (although never convicted). The Jews continue their “Passover” celebrations with the chagigah, offerings made during the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

Saturday – the weekly Sabbath.

Sunday – Resurrection Day. (Source:

Related Resources:

Mark 14:17  When it was evening He came with the twelve.

NET  Mark 14:17 Then, when it was evening, he came to the house with the twelve.

NLT  Mark 14:17 In the evening Jesus arrived with the twelve disciples.

ESV  Mark 14:17 And when it was evening, he came with the twelve.

NIV  Mark 14:17 When evening came, Jesus arrived with the Twelve.

GNT  Mark 14:17 Καὶ ὀψίας γενομένης ἔρχεται μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα.

KJV  Mark 14:17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.

YLT  Mark 14:17 And evening having come, he cometh with the twelve,

ASV  Mark 14:17 And when it was evening he cometh with the twelve.

CSB  Mark 14:17 When evening came, He arrived with the Twelve.

NKJ  Mark 14:17 In the evening He came with the twelve.

NRS  Mark 14:17 When it was evening, he came with the twelve.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:20  Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples. 

Luke 22:14+  When the hour had come, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.

A Famous but Biblically Inaccurate Painting


Notice that the painting based on Da Vinci's original "Last Supper" is not accurate from a Biblical perspective - Jesus and the disciples were not seated at a table but reclining on their left side with right hand free to take the items off of the low table. Note also the light in the windows behind Jesus which is also incorrect for the Passover was to be eaten after the sunset. The point of course is to not get your theology from even the most beautiful paintings in the world but from the beautiful Word of God.

Hiebert - All four Gospels mention Jesus’ announcement of His betrayal during the Passover observance (Matt. 26:21–25; Luke 22:21–23; John 13:21–30). John’s account gives important additional information. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Geddert points out that "Mark does not dwell on the details of the Passover meal (See typical Passover Seder), but rather highlights the betrayal of Jesus by a disciple (Mk 14:17–21) and the contrasting self-giving of Jesus for his disciples (Mk 14:22–26). All this takes place in the evening (opsia, v. 17; cf. 13:35, opse). Mark alludes to the time period from 6:00–9:00 p.m., the first of four night watches. In the parable at the end of Mark 13, the master of the house calls his servants to faithful discipleship in each of the night watches (Mk 13:34–36, RSV). The betrayer’s treachery will be one way disciples can be unfaithful.  (Mark Believers Church Bible Commentary) 

And so most writers agree that it was Thursday evening sometime after sunset (after 6 PM) and Jesus walked with the twelve about 2 miles from Bethany into the chaotic scene in Jerusalem crowded with pilgrims there for the Passover. 

Paul Apple points out that it is difficult to piece together the chronology of all the events that took place this evening – Jesus washing the feet of the disciples - Lesson on humility and servanthood - Upper room discourse - Prayer of John 17. 

When it was evening He came with the twelve - This phrase evening in context signifies after sunset, the beginning of Nisan 15, when the Passover meal had to be eaten and it had to be completed before midnight and only in the city of Jerusalem. Note that fact that Jesus came with the twelve would support the premise that Peter and John had returned to Bethany to tell Jesus that all was prepared for the Passover meal. 

Hiebert on He came - the historical present came vividly takes the reader back to Jesus’ last trip from Bethany to Jerusalem. (see more detailed discussion here) ...It was not to avoid recognition that Jesus made the trip after sunset. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Gilbrant - Since the Jewish day was reckoned from sunset to sunset, the evening marked the beginning of the 15th day of Nisan. The Passover meal was eaten after sunset. It had to be eaten within the walls of Jerusalem. The celebration of the Passover was always a time of great excitement, a night of watching unto the Lord (Exodus 12:42), a time of hope for new deliverance. Jesus came into the city, probably from Bethany, fully aware that before the day was over, He was ordained to accomplish the final Passover. (Complete Biblical Library – Mark)

HCSB Notes When it was evening 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.

Robertson - It is assumed here that Jesus is observing the passover meal at the regular time and hour, at 6 P.M. at the beginning of the fifteenth (evening of our Thursday, beginning of Jewish Friday). Mark and Matthew note the time as evening and state it as the regular passover meal.

Grassmick comments that "Mark abbreviated the events of the meal (cf. Luke 22:14–16, 24–30; John 13:1–20) in order to focus attention on two incidents: (a) Jesus’ announcement of His betrayal as they dipped bread and bitter herbs into a bowl of fruit sauce together (Mark 14:18–21), and (b) His new interpretation of the bread and wine just after the meal (Mk 14:22–25). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Bob Utley - The Jewish day begins at twilight (cf. Gen. 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31). This was the Passover meal because usually Jewish evening meals were in late afternoon. Only the Passover meal was eaten after 6:00 P.M., which would be the 15th of Nisan.

Evening (3798)(opsios from opsed = long after, late, after the close of day) is a noun meaning late. Louw-Nida - pertaining to a point near the end of a day (normally after sunset but before night). It is also possible to understand ὀψέ in Mk 11:19 as indicating a period of time, namely ‘evening’."  Friberg says opsios was used  (1) adjectivally, as a time of day, either before or just after sundown and thus late (Mk 11.11) (2) substantivally he opsia (hora) evening; predominately in the phrase opsias genomenes when evening came, when it was late. BDAG - (1). as adjective pertaining. to a point in time that is relatively later than another point of time =  late,- since it was already late.= Mk 11:11 (2). In our literature mostly substantivally = the period between late afternoon and darkness or evening.

Gilbrant on opsios - The term denotes both the time of “lengthening shadows” before sunset (Proverbs 7:9; Jeremiah 6:4) and the time between sunset and total darkness. The New Testament writers also used the term for both periods, with the context often giving some indication of the time intended. Note, for example, Mark 1:32: “And at even, when the sun did set” and John 6:16,17: “When even was now come, his disciples went down unto the sea....And it was now dark.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Zodhiates on opsios-  Late (Mark 11:11, meaning it being now late evening). Used with the fem. definite article (hē), hē opsía, implying hṓra  or hour, substantivally it means late evening. The Jews reckoned two evenings, the first from the ninth hour or about 3:00 p.m. until sunset, the other from sunset onward (cf. Mt. 14:15, 23).The Passover lamb was to be killed and the evening sacrifice offered, denoted strictly the time of sunset, as is expressly said in Dt. 16:6 (cf. Ex. 12:6; 29:39, 41; Lev. 23:5). But in the practice of the Jews, this was reckoned the early evening from the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m. onward (cf. Acts 3:1). In the NT, hē opsía, as a noun, appears to denote the early evening (Mt 8:16; 14:15; 27:57; Mark 4:35; 15:42; and the latter in Matt. 14:23 [cf. Mt 14:15]; Mt 16:2; 20:8; 26:20; Mark 1:32; 6:47; 14:17; John 6:16; 20:19).

Opsios uses 14x in NT - Mt 8:16; Mt 14:15; Mt 14:23; Mt 16:2; Mt 20:8; Mt 26:20; Mt. 27:57; Mk. 1:32; Mk. 4:35; Mk. 6:47; Mk. 14:17; Mk. 15:42; Jn. 6:16; Jn. 20:19



After Sundown

Last Supper
Prayer in Garden
Betrayal and arrest



Hearing before Annas
Trial before Caiaphas
Peter's denial


Early Morning

Sanhedrin completes Deliberations
Jesus Sent to Pilate
Hearing Before Pilate
Jesus Sent to Herod
Return to Pilate

Late Morning/Noon

Jesus Nailed to Cross


Jesus Dies

Near Sundown

Jesus Buried

Mark 14:18  As they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said, "Truly I say to you that one of you will betray Me--one who is eating with Me."

NLT  Mark 14:18 As they were at the table eating, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me here will betray me."

ESV  Mark 14:18 And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me."

NIV  Mark 14:18 While they were reclining at the table eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me--one who is eating with me."

GNT  Mark 14:18 καὶ ἀνακειμένων αὐτῶν καὶ ἐσθιόντων ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν, Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι εἷς ἐξ ὑμῶν παραδώσει με ὁ ἐσθίων μετ᾽ ἐμοῦ.

KJV  Mark 14:18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

YLT  Mark 14:18 and as they are reclining, and eating, Jesus said, 'Verily I say to you -- one of you, who is eating with me -- shall deliver me up.'

ASV  Mark 14:18 And as they sat and were eating, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you shall betray me, even he that eateth with me.

CSB  Mark 14:18 While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, "I assure you: One of you will betray Me-- one who is eating with Me!"

NKJ  Mark 14:18 Now as they sat and ate, Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, one of you who eats with Me will betray Me."

NRS  Mark 14:18 And 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."

  • as: Mt 26:21 
  • truly: Mk 14:9,25 3:28 6:11 8:12 9:1,41 10:15,29 Mt 5:18 6:2,5,16 Lu 4:24 Lu 11:51  Joh 1:51 3:3,5,11 5:19,24,25 6:26,32,47 13:38 21:18 
  • One: Ps 41:9 55:13,14 Joh 6:70 13:21 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:20-25  Now when evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the twelve disciples.  21 As they were eating, He said, “Truly (AMEN) I say to you that one of you will betray Me.”

Luke 22:21+ “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 

John 13:21 When Jesus had said this, He became troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Truly, truly, (AMEN, AMEN) I say to you, that one of you will betray Me.” 

Click picture to enlarge
Click here for further explanation
Reclining At the Last Supper


Why does He tell them in advance? So they would understand that this betrayal did not catch Jesus by surprise.

THOUGHT - Don’t be surprised if as disciples you experience some level of betrayal in your Christian experience from even some you consider as close associates! I did not understand this principle in my early years as a believer and as a result I was absolutely blindsided by a personal attack (blatantly false allegations) from a man I had repeatedly prayed with and blessed in a number of ways. It was a crisis moment in my faith and caused me to seriously consider backing away from leadership and utilizing the gift of teaching God had given me. So to reiterate, do not be surprised if this happens to you, especially if you are serious about your faith and seeking to fight the good fight of faith and press on toward the goal. You will likely encounters enemies who will try to get you to take a "detour." 

Gilbrant - The Synoptics do not record some of the events of the evening. John (John 13-16) tells us that prior to Jesus' announcement of betrayal, He washed the disciples' feet. He gave the discourse on the Vine and the branches, and He told them much about the coming of the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). He also prayed for them and for all who would believe on Him through their ministry and on to the end of the age. (Complete Biblical Library – Mark)

The picture above with the disciples reclining on their left elbow with their heads near the low table and feet farthest away is likely what the scene looked like at this last Passover, aka the Last Supper. See related discussion of a triclinium, including a picture of the style of dining table used in ancient Rome. This posture was practiced in the Passover meal by the Jews to symbolize that they were now a free people. It was also the posture at other special meals (cf Lk 11:37+, Lk 14:10+, Lk 17:7+). The fact that they reclined indicates that this is a long meal, quite different then the original Passover celebration which was eaten in haste as the Jews prepared to flee Egypt (Ex 12:11+). As discussed here the traditional Passover Seder had several stages. 

None of the Gospel writers describe Jesus' trek into the city to celebrate the Passover. What is notable is that Jesus and the disciples were able to enter the city and travel to the upper room without being noticed (at least nothing recorded in Scripture)! Was this made possible supernaturally? Keep in mind His  triumphal entry was in front of thousands and He had been teaching daily in the Temple (Lk 19:47-48+). How could Jesus possibly walk through the city without being recognized and causing considerable commotion? This is one of the many questions that will not be answered until we are with Him! In the first Passover meal God gave Israel instructions ‘Now you shall eat it in this manner: with your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste–it is the LORD’S Passover." (Ex 12:11+) So even though this was Jesus' last Passover meal, it would be a time to be savored with His twelve disciples. 

 As they were reclining at the table and eating  - As shown in the diagram above, reclining was the posture for partaking of the meal. The place of honor would have been on the center couch.

Osborne - For feasts, the Jews ate in the Roman manner, with triclinia, couches holding three people each, in a U-pattern around a central table. They rested on their left elbow, with their right hand taking the food. (What the Text Teaches - Mark)

Geddert - Reclining at table is part of the Passover reenactment, for the meal celebrates Israel’s freedom, and only free people have the luxury of reclining at table (cf. Ex 12:11+, still in slavery). Other features of the meal receive scant or no mention. Bitter herbs, sauces, unleavened bread, four cups of wine, and the Passover lamb—all symbolize important features of Israel’s experience in Egypt and God’s great act of deliverance. Mark’s concern is to highlight the treachery of the betrayer. By doing so in the context of a covenant meal, he pictures the deed in all its stark horror. (Ibid) 

Reclining (345)(anakeimai from aná = an emphatic + keímai = to lie down. Friberg - "1) generally lie, recline (MK 5.40); (2) predominately in the NT of being at a table, where in the Roman style reclining couches were used " It actually carries the more restrictive sense of “to recline at table.” Thus when Mary anointed Jesus’ head with ointment, "He reclined (at table)" (Mt 26:7).

Zodhiates - To lie as a dead person (Mark 5:40). To lie down, recline, which was the posture used in eating at a table by the Jews, Greeks, and Romans (Matt. 9:10; 26:7, 20; Mark 14:18; 16:14; John 13:23, 28). In Luke 7:37, we have the Lord reclining at meat in the Pharisee’s house with His face toward the table and His feet toward the outside on the couch. In John 13:23, the Lord’s last supper, one of His disciples was reclining on Jesus bosom. In Luke 22:27, the word is used as a part. noun meaning the persons lying at table, hence guests (Matt. 22:10, 11; John 6:11).

Gilbrant - in classical Greek anakeimai has four chief definitions: “to be dedicated” (as an offering), “to rest upon” (emotionally, financially, etc.), “to depend,” and finally “to recline at table” (Liddell-Scott).

Anakeimai 14x in NT  - Matt. 9:10; Matt. 22:10; Matt. 22:11; Matt. 26:7; Matt. 26:20; Mk. 6:26; Mk. 14:18; Mk. 16:14; Lk. 22:27; Jn. 6:11; Jn. 12:2; Jn. 13:23; Jn. 13:28. Not found in Septuagint. 

Jesus said, "Truly I say to you - Truly is amen which signifies strong affirmation of what would follow, which in this case was necessary as the news would be so shocking to eleven of the twelve 

Truly I say to you - These "amen" sayings are found only in the Gospels and are a key saying in Mark 14 occuring 4 times - Mk. 3:28; Mk. 8:12; Mk. 9:1; Mk. 9:41; Mk. 10:15; Mk. 10:29; Mk. 11:23; Mk. 12:43; Mk. 13:30; Mk. 14:9; Mk. 14:18; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 14:30

That one of you will betray Me--one who is eating with Me - While Jesus was not surprised by the betrayal for He "knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe and who it was that would betray Him," (Jn 6:64), still He was undoubtedly heartbroken and disappointed, for this was a trusted friend! As they were eating Jesus startled the twelve with the announcement that one of them would be His betrayer. While this would seem unthinkable that one of His own could actually hand Him over to His enemies, this was the tragic truth. They knew He had never spoken anything but truth to them. This prophecy would be a fulfillment of the OT prophecy in Ps 41:9+ (quoted in John 13:18) which stated that "Even my close friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me."  While Mark does not include this quotation, he implies its content when Jesus says that the betrayer is one who is eating with Me. As Geddert says "The betrayer is breaking a bond of fidelity, celebrated in a communal meal." 

Will betray (hand over) (3860)(paradidomi from para = alongside, beside, to the side of, over to + didomi = to give) conveys the basic meaning of to give over from one's hand to someone or something, especially to give over to the power of another. Paradidomi was often used to describe criminals being arrested or prisoners being delivered to punishment which is interesting in view of the fact that Pilate released a guilty criminal (Barabbus) and delivered over the sinless Son of Man to the Cross! Paradidomi is a key verb in chapter 14 = Mk. 14:10; Mk. 14:11; Mk. 14:18; Mk. 14:21; Mk. 14:41; Mk. 14:42; Mk. 14:44; 

The Psalmist alludes to Judas' unimaginable, heinous betrayal of Jesus writing

Even my close friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. (Ps 41:9)

As alluded to above, Jesus quoted from this Psalm in John 13:18 “I do not speak of all of you. I know the ones I have chosen; but it is that the Scripture may be fulfilled, ‘HE WHO EATS MY BREAD HAS LIFTED UP HIS HEEL AGAINST ME.’ ("kicked Me when I was down")

Spurgeon - This was Ahithophel (cf 2 Sa 15:31) to David, and Iscariot with our Lord. Judas was an apostle, admitted to the privacy of the Great Teacher, hearing his secret thoughts, and, as it were, allowed to read His very heart. "Et tu, Brute?" said the expiring Caesar. The kiss of the traitor wounded our Lord's heart as much as the nail wounded his hand. In whom I trusted. Judas was the treasurer of the apostolic college. Where we place great confidence an unkind act is the more severely felt. Which did eat of my bread. Not only as a guest but as a dependant, a pensioner at my board. Judas dipped in the same dish with his Lord, and hence the more accursed was his treachery in his selling his Master for a slave's price. Hath lifted up his heel against me. Not merely turned his back on me, but left me with a heavy kick such as a vicious horse might give. Hard is it to be spurned in our need by those who formerly fed at our table. It is noteworthy that the Redeemer applied only the last words of this verse to Judas, perhaps because, knowing his duplicity, he had never made a familiar friend of him in the fullest sense, and had not placed implicit trust in him. Infernal malice so planned it that every circumstance in Jesus' death should add wormwood to it; and the betrayal was one of the bitterest drops of gall. We are indeed, wretched when our quondam friend becomes our relentless foe, when confidence is betrayed, when all the rites of hospitality are perverted, and ingratitude is the only return for kindness; yet in so deplorable a case we may cast ourselves upon the faithfulness of God, who, having, delivered our Covenant Head, is in verity engaged to be the very present help of all for whom that covenant was made.

Brian Bell (Illustration) - The Portia (Por-sha) Spider: a jumping spider that uses deception and mimicry to catch and eat other spiders. It uses camouflage or it shows a kind of behavioral mimicry: It imitates something its intended victim finds harmless or even attractive. (i.e. it crawls on a spider's web, then plucks the web to imitate a captured insect) It varies its web signals to suit its specific victim. If it encounters a new spider species, it tries different signals rather randomly. (It was once observed to perform vibratory behavior for 3 days until the victim decided to investigate) That seems to be similar to our enemy the devil who seeks to rob, destroy, or sift us like wheat! Talk about ruining a good meal! (Lk 22:21) THE BITE OF BETRAYAL! (21-23) (21) In the East the worst breach of Friendship is for one to eat another’s bread & secretly betray him. (Gospel Light ; George M. Lamsa; pg.300.) To eat bread is a token of loyalty, love, & devotion. His hand is on the table - is an Aramaic colloquialism, which means, “he is eating my bread & yet he is plotting against me.”

Question: What happened in the upper room?

Answer: The events that occurred in the “upper room,” also known as the “Cenacle,” are described in Matthew 26:1–29, Mark 14:12–25, Luke 22:7–20, and John 13:1–38. During these last hours that Jesus spent with His beloved friends, He ate with them, instituted the New Covenant in His blood, gave them last-minute instructions and encouragement, and prayed His “high priestly prayer” over them. Then He went out to face the sorrow, betrayal, rejection, and death for which He had come into the world.

This poignant last meeting with His disciples, whom He loved, begins with an object lesson from Jesus. The disciples had been arguing about who among them was the greatest (Luke 22:24), displaying a distinctly ungodly perspective. Jesus quietly rose and began to wash their feet, a task normally performed by the lowest, most menial slave. By this simple act, Jesus reminded them that His followers are those who serve one another, not those who expect to be served. He went on to explain that, unless the Lamb of God cleanses a person’s sin, that person will never be clean: “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me” (John 13:8).

During the Last Supper, Jesus also identifies the traitor, Judas, who would betray Him to the authorities and bring about His arrest. It is indicative of the disciples’ weak faith that each of them considered the possibility that he might be the traitor. But Jesus confirmed that it was none other than Judas, whom He instructed to leave and do quickly what he had to do.

After Judas’s departure, Jesus instituted the New Covenant in His blood, a new command that those who follow Him are to love one another and live by the power of the Holy Spirit. We remember this act each time we observe the Christian ordinance of communion, celebrating Christ’s body broken for us and His blood shed for us. After this, Jesus made His first prediction of Peter’s coming denial (Luke 22:31-38).

The apostle John gives us very little information about the events of the evening in the upper room. He does tell us that Jesus prayed over the disciples in what is called His “high priestly prayer” in John 17 because the following chapter begins by saying that after He had spoken those words, He and the disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane, where He was betrayed. The prayer of Jesus for the disciples is the culmination of His dealings with them and is a poignant reminder of His deep love and concern for them. Knowing that He would soon be leaving them, He committed them to the care of His Father, asking that they may be one and asking that the Father keep them in Jesus’ name (verse 11). He asks His Father to keep them from the evil one (verse 15) and to sanctify them by the truth, which is His Word (verse 17). He applies this same prayer to believers in all ages, saying, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word” (verse 20).

Many of the events of the upper room echo down to us today. We live under the New Covenant instituted at that time, we observe the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of that night (1 Corinthians 11:23–26), and we live under the blessing of His prayer for all those who love and follow Him. (Source: What happened in the upper room?)

Henry Blackaby - The Unthinkable

       While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me—one who is eating with Me!”—Mark 14:18 

Surely I would never betray the Lord! Each disciple earnestly pled his loyalty to Christ. As they reclined together in the comfort and security of the upper room, in the presence of their Lord, the disciples could not imagine themselves ever wavering in their loyalty to Christ. Yet Jesus looked at them and said, “One of you who eats with Me will betray Me!” How was it possible to share such an intimate and profound moment with the Savior and then rush so quickly toward betrayal and spiritual failure?

During the intense pressures of Gethsemane and the cross, the disciples did things they never thought they would do. They had no idea how cruel and hateful the world around them would be to their Lord. Jesus had cautioned them that the world would hate them because it hated Him (John 15:18–21; 16:33). But only Jesus knew the full extent of the temptation they would face. In the pressure of the moment the heart does surprising things. Scripture had predicted Judas would betray Jesus, despite having walked with Him for over three years. But Peter, too, would deny Him, and all would forsake Him.

How quickly the surroundings of your life can shift from the security and tranquility of an upper room to the harsh reality of Gethsemane and the cross. Guard your heart. Listen now to the Lord's gentle warning: the failure that was possible with His first disciples is also possible with you. You, too, are capable of forsaking Jesus, just as the first disciples did. If Jesus is warning you of an area in your life in which you could fail Him, heed His words today!

Mark 14:19  They began to be grieved and to say to Him one by one, "Surely not I?"

NET  Mark 14:19 They were distressed, and one by one said to him, "Surely not I?"

NLT  Mark 14:19 Greatly distressed, each one asked in turn, "Am I the one?"

ESV  Mark 14:19 They began to be sorrowful and to say to him one after another, "Is it I?"

NIV  Mark 14:19 They were saddened, and one by one they said to him, "Surely not I?"

GNT  Mark 14:19 ἤρξαντο λυπεῖσθαι καὶ λέγειν αὐτῷ εἷς κατὰ εἷς, Μήτι ἐγώ;

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:22 Being deeply grieved, they each one began to say to Him, “Surely not I, Lord?” 

Luke 22:22-23+ “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” 23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing. 

John 13:22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 


They began to be grieved (lupeo) and to say to Him one by one - Grieved (lupeo) is in the present tense describing their grief continuing as the meal went on. One wonders what this shocking news would have done to their appetites! In a sense this was a merciful call to Judas Iscariot to come to his senses and repent of his evil plans. 

Surely not I? - This expects a negative answer to the question. So Judas would have said "Surely not I?" when he knew he was the one! So even Judas would be forced to lie to Jesus, for he had already made up his mind (John 12:4-6). This shows how one sin cascades into another and another! 

Hiebert - Aware of their own weakness, they expressed a feeling of uncertainty about themselves; yet none of the eleven knew of anything in himself that could lead him to such a deed of treachery. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

In Matthew 26:25 "Judas, who was betraying (present tense = in the process of betraying) Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?” Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself.”

Daniel Akin - In a painful sense the answer to the question...“Is it I?” requires an answer of “yes” from each and every one of us. Yes, Judas betrayed Jesus, but by morning all the disciples would betray Him. Judas betrayed Him for greed (Mk 14:10-11), but the rest would betray Him from weakness (Mk 14:37-42), fear (14:50-52) and cowardice (14:66-72). But what about you? What about me? James Edwards hits us right between 6 the eyes when he writes, “Surely not I?” How that protest echoes down the centuries” (p. 424). We are all a Judas because each and every sin against Jesus is an act of betrayal, and a personal one at that. And yet this is where the grace of the gospel shines so bright, clean and pure. Even those who betray this great King and glorious Savior can experience immediate and complete forgiveness through simple repentance and confession of sin (1 John 1:9). Godly repentance will grieve, even weep, over the terrible thing it has done. But then it flees to Jesus who took that very sin on Himself at the cross. In grace God forgives. And, He provides the strength to move forward in the “family of the forgiven.” What a great family that is! If only Judas had turned from his sin.

Grassmick - One by one (even Judas; cf. Matt. 26:25) they sought to clear themselves. The form of their question in Greek (lit., “It is not I, is it?”) expects a reassuring negative answer from Jesus. But He declined to name the offender to the group. (The identification in Mt. 26:25 was doubtless made only to Judas.) (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - Aware of their own weakness, they expressed a feeling of uncertainty about themselves; yet none of the eleven knew of anything in himself that could lead him to such a deed of treachery....Mark’s account does not identify the betrayer personally. According to Matthew, when Judas also asked, “Is it I, Rabbi?” Jesus replied, apparently in a low voice, that he was the one (26:25). John’s account makes it clear that none of the other disciples besides John heard when Jesus made the identification . . . It is commonly accepted that Judas left before the institution of the Lord’s Supper. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Robertson - To this day the Arabs will not violate hospitality by mistreating one who breaks bread with them in the tent.

Garland - Jesus serves as host, and the scene begins with his grave announcement that one of them will betray him, “one who is eating with me” (Mk 14:18). All the disciples ask him one by one, “Surely not I?” (Mk 14:19). This translation captures the force of the Greek meti, which expects a negative answer: “It is not I, is it?” (see Mk 4:21). Jesus reassures no one but gives only an ambiguous response to their questioning that essentially repeats his first declaration: “It is one of the Twelve … one who dips bread into the bowl with me” (14:20). This statement adds no new information but reiterates that the betrayer has infiltrated their midst and is eating with him. (Ibid)

Grieved (distressed, sorrowed) (3076)(lupeo from lupe = sorrow) signifies pain, of body or mind and means to cause one to experience severe mental or emotional distress or physical pain which may be accompanied by sadness, sorrow or grief. The King James' translation of lupeo as heaviness parallels our colloquial sayings like -- "It weighs heavy on my soul" or "My soul is weighed down with affliction." or "My soul is so burdened." Uses in Mark - Mk. 10:22; Mk. 14:19

Mark 14:20  And He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl.

NET  Mark 14:20 He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who dips his hand with me into the bowl.

NLT  Mark 14:20 He replied, "It is one of you twelve who is eating from this bowl with me.

ESV  Mark 14:20 He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.

NIV  Mark 14:20 "It is one of the Twelve," he replied, "one who dips bread into the bowl with me.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:23 And He answered, “He who dipped his hand with Me in the bowl is the one who will betray Me. 

Luke 22:21+ “But behold, the hand of the one betraying Me is with Mine on the table. 


John's account fills in the details of this fateful feeding of a false disciple - 

John 13:22 The disciples began looking at one another, at a loss to know of which one He was speaking. 23 There was reclining on Jesus’ bosom one of His disciples, whom Jesus loved. 24 So Simon Peter *gestured to him, and said to him, “Tell us who it is of whom He is speaking.” 25 He, leaning back thus on Jesus’ bosom, said to Him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.” So when He had dipped the morsel, He *took and gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. 27 After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, “What you do, do quickly.” 28 Now no one of those reclining at the table knew for what purpose He had said this to him. 29 For some were supposing, because Judas had the money box, that Jesus was saying to him, “Buy the things we have need of for the feast”; or else, that he should give something to the poor. 30 So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night (DEVIL POSSESSED JUDAS FILLED WITH SPIRITUAL DARKNESS GOES INTO THE PHYSICAL DARKNESS). (John 13:26-30)

And He said to them, "It is one of the twelve, one who dips with Me in the bowl - Jesus repeats the fact that one of the twelve is the betrayer.  It is one of the twelve is only found in Mark's account. They all dipped their hands, having no knives, forks, or spoons. Luke 21:21+ adds behold to call their attention to His statement. Ponder this thought a moment (and compare John's account - "Jesus then answered, “That is the one for whom I shall dip the morsel and give it to him.”). What does this imply about where Judas was located in relation to Jesus? Clearly he had to be very near Jesus, for Jesus to dip a morsel and give it to Judas (assuming He did not stand up and move around the table). Meals were considered times of intimate fellowship and here Jesus feeding the morsel to Judas serves to highlight his terrible treachery.

NET Note adds that "The point of Jesus' comment here is not to identify the specific individual per se, but to indicate that it is one who was close to him - somebody whom no one would suspect. " 

Grassmick on one who dips with Me in the bowl - His announcement emphasized the treachery of the betrayal and also gave the betrayer an opportunity to repent. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert on one who dips - this does not identify the traitor but implies his nearness to Jesus. The dish, or bowl, apparently denotes the side dish which would be used together by only three or four at a table. It contained the sauce of dried fruits, spices, and vinegar, into which pieces of the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs were dipped. The present middle participle, “the one dipping for himself,” pictures the traitor as repeatedly during the meal dipping into the same dish with Jesus. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Robertson says "This was a bolt from the blue for all except Judas and he was startled to know that Jesus understood his treacherous bargain. The sign that Jesus gave, the one dipping in the dish with me (ho embaptomenos met’ emou eis to trublion), escaped the notice of all. Jesus gave the sop to Judas who understood perfectly that Jesus knew his purpose. It is plain that Judas was not recognized by the rest as indicated by what Jesus has said. This language means that one of those who had eaten bread with him had violated the rights of hospitality by betraying him. The Arabs today are punctilious on this point. Eating one’s bread ties your hands and compels friendship."

Hiebert -  His reply emphatically restated the charge that the traitor was present, but it did not identify him. It permitted Judas to make a voluntary confession.....Previously He had told them in general terms He “would be delivered up” to His enemies; now He announces His betrayal by someone in the room. The added characterization, he that eateth with me, is peculiar to Mark, although Luke preserves the thought (Lk 22:21+). It is not a specific identification, since it applied to all of them. It was a reminder of Psalm 41:9 (the treachery of Ahithophel) and brings out the enormity of the crime. It added to the horror of the betrayal, since to Orientals to eat bread with a man absolutely precludes hostile action against him. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Mark 14:21  "For the Son of Man is to go just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born."

NET  Mark 14:21 For the Son of Man will go as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would be better for him if he had never been born."

NLT  Mark 14:21 For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!"

ESV  Mark 14:21 For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born."

NIV  Mark 14:21 The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born."

  • go: Mk 14:49 Ge 3:15 Ps 22:1-31 69:1-36 Isa 52:14 53:1-12 Da 9:24,26 Zec 13:7 Mt 26:24,54,56 Lu 22:22 24:26,27,44 Joh 19:28,36,37 Ac 2:23 4:27 13:27-29 
  • but: Ps 55:15 109:6-20 Mt 18:7 27:3-5 Ac 1:16-20,25 
  • good: Mt 18:6,7 26:24,25 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:24“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” 25 And Judas, who was betraying Him, said, “Surely it is not I, Rabbi?Jesus *said to him, “You have said it yourself.

Luke 22:22+ “For indeed, the Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” 23 And they began to discuss among themselves which one of them it might be who was going to do this thing.


For - Term of explanation. Jesus explains why this is to happen.

the Son of Man  (Da. 7:13-14+) is to go just as it is written of Him - To go is a euphemistic way of saying to go to the Cross, to be crucified. Jesus knew this betrayal would happen just as it had been prophesied. This was part of the prophetic plan that would accomplish redemption. The sovereign God had declared that His Son must die as recorded in Isaiah 53:10-11+ "But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.  11 As a result of the anguish of His soul, He will see it and be satisfied; By His knowledge the Righteous One, My Servant, will justify the many, As He will bear their iniquities." Christ’s sacrifice was not an afterthought in the mind of God. Revelation 13:8KJV+ describes "the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," 

it is written - Written is grapho in the perfect tense indicating it was written at a point of time in the past (when Zechariah penned his prophecy) and it remains written, for as Jesus Himself said ""Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Mk 13:31)

James Edwards  “Jesus is not a tragic hero caught in events beyond his control. There is no hint of desperation, fear, anger, or futility on his part. Jesus does not cower or retreat as plots are hatched against him. He displays, as he has throughout the Gospel, a sovereign freedom and authority to follow a course he has freely chosen in accordance with God’s plan” (Pillar NTC-Mark)

Hiebert - Jesus was not announcing His betrayal as a helpless victim. He accepted His coming suffering as the Son of man in fulfillment of Scripture, but that did not relieve the betrayer of his awful guilt. The statement confirms that Jesus identified his role as the Son of man with the suffering Servant of the Old Testament (cf. Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:33), a challenging claim since the Old Testament does not directly ascribe suffering to the Son of man. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Daniel Akin - Observe: (1) Jesus, as Daniel’s “Son of Man” (Dan 7:13-14), was predestined to be betrayed and crucified. Once again Jesus weds Daniel’s apocalyptic figure to Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant” (Isa 52:13-53:12; also Ps 22). (2) The one betraying the Lord Jesus was pitied in spite of his unconscionable deed (“woe to that man”). Jesus loved and cared even for Judas. (3) The future judgment for Judas will be so terrible it would have been better “if he had not been born.” Again, we see the truth that “revelation brings responsibility.” (4) Even though Judas’ betrayal was ordained according to God’s plan, he is morally responsible for his freewill action. Jesus will be betrayed and crucified according to God’s predetermined will, but this in no way relieved Judas of his responsibility and guilt. In a divine mystery we will never completely comprehend in this life, we embrace the truth and tension that divine sovereignty never cancels out human freedom and moral responsibility. Both are true. We affirm them both. (Exalting Jesus - Mark)

but - Term of contrast. Yes Jesus would be betrayed and would go to the Cross this but presents the contrasting future fate of the betrayer. 

Woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! - This woe contrasts sharply with Jesus’ promise in Mark 14:9. To eat with the Son of Man and then betray Him was the height of treachery (willful betrayal of fidelity, confidence, trust). Jesus use of a woe is not to utter a curse on Judas but a word of impending disaster to the betrayer.  Woe is an emotional cry like exclaiming, "Alas, how horrible it will be!"  Swete adds woe “reveals a misery which Love itself could not prevent.” Betrayed is in the present tense picturing the betrayal as having begun and in progress. While this betrayal was part of God's prophetic plan (Ps 41:9 where David laments that his trusted friend Ahithophel 2 Sa 16:15–17:23; 1 Chr. 27:33), the betrayer would still be held humanly responsible for his betrayal. Cranfield adds “The fact that God turns the wrath of man to his praise does not excuse the wrath of man." 

Jesus' use of Son of Man reminds us of His higher purpose in Mark 10:45 where He declared "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Constable - Jesus explained that His betrayal was part of divine purpose that the Old Testament had predicted (e.g., Ps. 22; Isa. 53). Nevertheless the betrayer would bear the responsibility for his deed and would pay a severe penalty. “The fact that God turns the wrath of man to his praise does not excuse the wrath of man.” (Cranfield)  The seriousness of Judas’ act was in direct proportion to the innocence of the person he betrayed (cf. v. 9). “By whom the Son of Man is betrayed” (NASB) views Judas as Satan’s instrument.

Sproul: It is not as though God in His sovereignty coerced Judas to carry out the evil act of betraying Jesus. Rather, the sovereign God worked His will in and through the choices of His creatures. Judas did exactly what Judas wanted to do, but God brought good out of evil, redemption out of treachery.

Barton adds that "Whatever Judas thought, Satan assumed that Jesus’ death would end Jesus’ mission and thwart God’s plan. Like Judas, Satan did not know that Jesus’ death and resurrection were the most important parts of God’s plan all along. John records that upon this pronouncement, Jesus told Judas to “hurry. Do it now” (John 13:27). Then Judas went out into the night. He was not present for the remaining words Jesus spoke." (LAC)

Woe (How dreadful!)(3759)(ouai click and select "Phonetics" to hear "ouai" pronounced) (ouai pronounced "oo-ah'ee," an eerie, ominous foreboding sound some say is like the cry of an eagle) is an onomatopoeic word (an imitation of the sound) which serves as an interjection expressing a cry of intense distress, displeasure or horror. It may convey a warning of impending disaster to the hearers.  Ouai is an interjection of grief, pain, lament, threat, doom or indignation. Ouai is an an expression of pain and pity for the misfortune that awaits someone in a certain condition. Ouai is often an announcement of disaster to come. Woe warns of danger and the nearness of judgment. In a sense "to bless" or "blessing" stands in opposition to woe. In Mark only here and Mark 13:17

Betrayed (handed over) (3860) see note on paradidomi 

It would have been good for that man if he had not been born - This is a frightening statement! If Judas had an ounce of conscience left, surely this would have shocked him into reality, but this stern warning had no impact on his hardened heart. Jesus point is clear that because Judas had received so much spiritual truth (probably the most any human has ever received), to reject the truth and reject Jesus would result in a commensurate condemnation far greater than most other people who refuse Christ's offer of forgiveness. Jesus' statement emphasizes the depth and severity of Judas' punishment because of his greater spiritual light. 

THOUGHT - Perhaps you are a skeptic who does not believe that Jesus died for your sins and you are reading this out of curiosity. If that is the case obviously my prayer would  be that God's Spirit uses these words, specifically His Words of Truth, to open your heart to receive the Word implanted which is able to save your soul and that you would repent and believe the Gospel. But if you are reading and continually rejecting words of truth, you need to understand that the more light your receive and reject, the greater will be your punishment in Hell. This is one reason I stop sharing the truth of Christ with individuals who scoff and ridicule Jesus and His sacrifice for sins on the Cross. I do not want that person to suffer even greater degrees of punishment! 

Daniel Hill - The same thing that was said of Judas can be said of anyone who dies without Christ, without hope, and without eternal life. The eternal cries of the unbeliever in hell will forever echo this statement - had I never even been born.

ILLUSTRATION - Harry Ironside during his ministry to the Indians of Northern Arizona once asked a man if he knew what the conscience was:  The man replied that he did, it was like a three cornered stone in his heart.  When he was doing what he knew was right the stone was still.  But when he did what he knew was wrong the stone turned and the corners hurt very much.  But if I keep doing wrong the corners wear smooth and it doesn’t hurt anymore. The corners of their conscience worn smooth - it no longer hurt him to hurt Jesus! That's a dangerous place to be! 

Related Resource:

Norman Geisler -  

MARK 14:21—Does Jesus’ statement about how it would have been better if Judas had never been born support the annihilationist’s view?

MISINTERPRETATION: Jesus said of Judas, who was sent to perdition, that “it would be better for him if he had not been born” (Mark 14:21 NIV). But before one is conceived one does not exist. Thus, annihilationists argue that if hell will be like the prebirth condition, it must be a state of nonexistence. Annihilationism must therefore be true. Is this a proper conclusion?

CORRECTING THE MISINTERPRETATION: Jesus is not comparing Judas’s perdition to his non-existence before birth. This hyperbolic figure of speech indicates the severity of his punishment, not the superiority of nonbeing over being. Further, nothing cannot be better than something, since they have nothing in common to compare them. So nonbeing cannot be actually better than being. It is a category mistake to assume they can.

In a parallel condemnation on the Pharisees, Jesus said Sodom and Gomorrah would have repented had they seen his miracles (Matt. 11:20–24). This does not mean that they actually would have repented (or God would surely have shown them these miracles—2 Peter 3:9). It is simply a powerful figure of speech indicating that their sin was so great that “it would be more tolerable” (Matt. 11:24) in the day of judgment for Sodom than for them. So even in this phrase about Judas there is no proof of annihilation of the wicked.

The Bible makes clear references to the lost being in conscious torment and punishment after their death. Jesus said it is a place “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12; cf. 22:13; 24:51; 25:30). But those who are not conscious do not weep. See Matthew 25:46.

Mark 14:22  While they were eating, He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is My body."

NET  Mark 14:22 While they were eating, he took bread, and after giving thanks he broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it. This is my body."

NLT  Mark 14:22 As they were eating, Jesus took some bread and blessed it. Then he broke it in pieces and gave it to the disciples, saying, "Take it, for this is my body."

ESV  Mark 14:22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."

NIV  Mark 14:22 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body."

GNT  Mark 14:22 Καὶ ἐσθιόντων αὐτῶν λαβὼν ἄρτον εὐλογήσας ἔκλασεν καὶ ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς καὶ εἶπεν, Λάβετε, τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ σῶμά μου.

KJV  Mark 14:22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

YLT  Mark 14:22 And as they are eating, Jesus having taken bread, having blessed, brake, and gave to them, and said, 'Take, eat; this is my body.'

ASV  Mark 14:22 And as they were eating, he took bread, and when he had blessed, he brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take ye: this is my body.

CSB  Mark 14:22 As they were eating, He took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is My body."

NKJ  Mark 14:22 And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."

NRS  Mark 14:22 While 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."

  • while: Mt 26:26-29 Lu 22:19,20 1Co 10:16,17 11:23-29 
  • a blessing: Mk 6:41 Lu 24:30 Joh 6:23 
  • take: Joh 6:48-58 
  • this: Ex 12:11; Da 7:24; Mt 13:38, 39; Lu 8:9; 15:26; 18:36; Joh 7:36; 10:6; Ac 10:17; Rev 1:20; 5:6, 8; 11:4; 17:12, 18; 19:8 Mk 14:24 Ge 41:26 Zec 5:7 Lu 22:20 1Co 10:4 Ga 4:25 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:26-30 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take (aorist imperative), eat (aorist imperative); this is My body.”

Luke 22:19+ And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.

COMMENT: "DO" IS present imperative which is a command for disciples to continue to do this and remember Jesus until we see Him face to face! 

THOUGHT - Brian Bell addresses what we are to remember...

  • Remember the Lord Jesus – that you might follow Him.
  • Remember His death, its fact, its meaning –so you don’t forget Him during His absence.
  • Remember Him in sickness – that you might have patience.
  • Remember Him in persecution – that you might have gentleness.
  • Remember Him in your service – that you remember His burning zeal in His.
  • Remember Him in times of solitude – as you remember His midnight prayers.
  • Remember to share your faith – as He shared His lion-like declarations of the gospel.
  • Remember Him so He becomes our pattern – that we might be the reproduction of Himself, (cf Walking Like Jesus Walked!) & thus become the best memorial of Him! (Adapted from “The Best of Spurgeon”)

1 Corinthians 11:23-26+ For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do (present imperative) this in remembrance of Me.” 

John's Gospel contains no parallel account of the Lord's Supper as found in all three synoptic Gospels. John does have this note on an event that occurred during the Passover feast prior to the institution of the New Covenant...

John 13:30-31  So after receiving the morsel he went out immediately; and it was night.  31 Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus *said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him;

Reclining At the Last Supper


Jesus institutes what has been called “the Last Supper,” “the Lord’s Supper,” “the Eucharist” (meaning “thanksgiving”), “Communion” and “the Lord’s Table.”

Daniel Akin comments we could also call it "“the First Supper” as it inaugurates the “New Covenant” (Jer. 31:31-34; Luke 22:20) which God made with us through the Lord Jesus, the true Passover Lamb who had been sacrificed for us (1 Cor. 5:7). His death made possible a new and greater 7 Exodus (see Luke 9:31) as we are delivered and set free from our bondage and slavery to sin.

John MacArthur - After Judas left (John 13:30–31), and only the faithful eleven remained, Jesus transformed the Passover into the Lord’s Table (also called the Lord’s Supper or Communion) and thereby signaled the transition from the old covenant to the new. Jesus’ words recorded in this passage marked the end of all Old Testament ceremonies, sacrifices and rituals (cf. Mark 15:38). All of the symbols of the old covenant pointed to Christ

Grassmick - Before this meal was eaten in Jewish homes the head of the house explained its meaning regarding Israel’s deliverance from slavery in Egypt. As host, Jesus probably did so to prepare His disciples for a new understanding of the bread and wine. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Daniel Akin - Thomas à Kempis said, “He who would learn to serve must first learn to think little of himself. This is the highest and most profitable lesson…” (quoted in Bonhoeffer, Life Together, 1954, 94). Jesus has already served His disciples on their last night together by washing their feet (John 13:1-20). Now He serves them again as He institutes what we call “the Last Supper.”

While they were eating Eating is in the present tense, so the meal was still in progress. While the Lord and His disciples were still partaking of the Passover feast, He instituted what we know as the Lord’s Supper.

Hiebert comments on while they were eating noting that "as in verse 18, this remark again indicates a general time setting for this second memorable event in the upper room that night. In instituting the Lord’s Supper, Jesus utilized the things on the table from the Passover meal. The table was not cleared to indicate a new start. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

He took some bread, and after a blessing He broke it, and gave it to them -  NRSV says Jesus blesses the bread, but this is not in the text. Jews explicitly blessed God for the food, rather than blessing the food.  The Scripture is clear that not a bone of Jesus body was broken (Jn 19:36). The breaking of bread was simply a way it could then be easily distributed to all who were present at the meal.  Luke 22:19 adds "do this in remembrance of Me."

MacArthur - The breaking of the bread did not signify the nature of His death, since none of His bones were broken during His execution (John 19:36; cf. Ex. 12:46; Ps. 34:20). Rather, the fact that the disciples were each given a piece of the same loaf symbolized their unity in Christ (cf. 1 Cor. 12:12–27). According to the parallel passage in Luke 22:19, Jesus added, “given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (cf. 1 Cor. 11:24). Those words indicate that the Lord intended His table to be observed by His followers as a perpetual memorial of His death. (MNTC-Mark)

Swete - “The words would have recalled those spoken at the supper at Bethany six days before (14:8), and perhaps also the teaching at Capernaum just before the previous Passover (John 6:48). The bread which is now given is identified with the Body of His Flesh (Col. 1:22); to eat it is to partake in the Great Sacrifice.”

Barton - His words “this is my body” symbolize the spiritual nourishment believers obtain from a personal relationship with the Savior.

Blessing) (2127)(eulogeo from eu = good + lógos = word) means speak good or well. To ask for bestowal of special favor, esp. of calling down God’s gracious power, bless. 

Broke (2806)(klao) break, break off, break in pieces; in the NT used only of the breaking of bread, referring to eating a meal = Paul on the ship to Rome (Acts 27:35). Similarly in Acts 2:46 klao is used as a  metonymy meaning to share a meal, since by Jewish custom the head of household at ordinary family meals would give thanks, broke the bread, and distributed it to those at the table with him. Some interpret Acts 2:46 as a celebration the Lord's Supper with their meals. The first use of klao by Jesus was in feeding the multitudes (Mt 14:19, 15:36, Mk 8:6, 19). Matthew and Mark use klao in context of Jesus' institution of the Lord's Supper (Mt 26:26, Mk 14:22) and Paul's celebration of the Lord's Supper (1 Cor 11:24). Luke uses klao of the Lord's Supper writing "On the first day of the week (Sunday), when we were gathered together to break bread.... (Acts 20:7,11+). There is one use in the Septuagint in Jer 16:7 of breaking bread, because the custom in Old Testament times was to break bread with the hands rather than cut it with a knife. Uses in Mark - Mk. 8:6; Mk. 8:19; Mk. 14:22

"Take (aorist imperative) it; this is My body." - This refers to the piece of broken (unleavened) bread. Jesus was holding and breaking a piece of (probably matzoh) bread. Is Jesus a piece of bread? Of course not! This is a powerful metaphor, a figure of speech which Jesus never meant it to be interpreted literally. To do so is to discard all rules of Biblical hermeneutics. Jesus is no more a piece of bread than He is a literal door (Jn 10:9) or a literal vine (Jn 15:5). If you have been taught to interpret the bread literally as Jesus' body, you do well to study the concept of a metaphor and ask the Spirit of truth to guide you into all truth (Jn 16:13), truth that He teaches, not "truth" that I or any other human teaches!

Grassmick - Jesus spoke of literal things—the bread, wine, His physical body (sōma), and blood—but the relationship between them was expressed figuratively (cf. John 7:35; 8:12; 10:7, 9). The verb “is” means “represents.” Jesus was physically present as He spoke these words, so the disciples did not literally eat His body or drink His blood, something abhorrent to Jews anyway (cf. Lev. 3:17; 7:26–27; 17:10–14). This shows the impropriety of the Roman Catholic view of the eucharist (transubstantiation), that the bread and wine are changed into Christ’s body and blood. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - When Jesus said, “This is my body,” it seems obvious that the disciples would not understand Him to mean that what He asked them to take was actually His literal body. As men familiar with figurative language, they would readily understand Him in a nonliteral sense. He had repeatedly used figurative language, such as “I am the door” (John 10:7); “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy” (Luke 12:1). Clearly, His statement here is representative. In the original, bread is masculine, but this is neuter, meaning this broken thing which represents My body. “The bread which had been given them, after being broken, stood symbolically for His body, or rather the sacrificial giving of Himself for them.” (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Wuest on this is My body - Of course, we must understand these words like others of the same nature which Jesus uttered. He said, “I am the door of the sheep” (John 10:7). He did not mean that He was the literal, actual door or gate of the sheep fold, but that He as Saviour constituted the way whereby a sinner could enter into salvation. Just as the actual sheep gate pictured, illustrated, symbolized our Lord in His position and work as Saviour, so the bread symbolized Him as the spiritual nourishment upon which a sinner may feed and have eternal life.

Utley-  John 6:22ff and 1 Cor. 10:16 show the strong theological imagery of this ritual. Jesus’ words about His body and blood would have shocked these Jews. Cannibalism and the consumption of blood would be violations of Lev. 11. These statements are obviously symbolic, but still startling.

It is fascinating (? coincidence) that by rabbinic decree, matzah bread must be striped, pierced, and burned in such a way as to appear bruised. Woe! Is this likeness just a random coincidence? Dear believer in Messiah, what do you think?

Barton - Just as the Passover celebrated deliverance from slavery in Egypt, so the Lord’s Supper celebrates deliverance from sin by Christ’s death. (Life Application Commentary)

Kevin Williams - At a Passover Seder, which later became known by His followers as “the table of Communion,” Jesus held up the elements of wine and matzah and applied them to Himself. During the meal He broke unleavened bread with His disciples, and then held that broken matzah in His hands, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me” (Lk. 22:19). Then after the meal He held up a cup of wine and with the same force of personal application to Himself, said, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). They were claims that were outrageous and blasphemous if they were not true. But they were true, and they help to explain why the feast of Passover would go through such a profound transition in the years ahead. For those Jewish people who have not yet believed in Jesus, the broken matzah, or unleavened bread, continues to be a part of the Passover meal; yet it is shrouded in mystery. This mystery, a puzzle on which the Jewish sages cannot reach consensus, need not be a mystery to those who believe in Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus claimed that He had come to fulfill the meaning of the Passover sacrifice....When Jesus said of the unleavened bread, “Take, eat; this is My body,” He was not instituting an empty ritual. He was identifying Himself personally with both the matzah and the Passover lamb, bringing to mind the words of the prophet Isaiah:  

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not His mouth (Isaiah 53:4-7+).  

William MacDonald - The question is often raised whether we should use leavened or unleavened bread, fermented or unfermented wine for the Lord's Supper. There is little doubt that the Lord used unleavened bread and fermented wine (all wine in those days was fermented). Those who argue that leavened bread spoils the type (leaven is a picture of sin) should realize that the same is true of fermentation. It is a tragedy when we become so occupied with the elements that we fail to see the Lord Himself. Paul emphasized that it is the spiritual meaning of the bread, not the bread itself that counts. "For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore, let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor. 5:7, 8). It is not the leaven in the bread that matters, but the leaven in our lives! (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Related Resources:

Question: What did Jesus mean when He said, “This is my body, broken for you”?

MY COMMENT -  Only the KJV has the wording “This is my body, broken for you.” This is not the best translation because Jesus' body WAS NOT BROKEN. Had it been broken His death would have failed to fulfill prophecy!  David predicted "He keeps all his bones, Not one of them is broken." (Ps 34:20+) Again David wrote "all my bones are out of joint" (Ps 22:14+) John records "For these things came to pass to fulfill the Scripture, “NOT A BONE OF HIM SHALL BE BROKEN.” (John 19:36)

Answer: During the Last Supper when Jesus and His disciples were eating a Passover meal together the night of His betrayal, Jesus took bread and said, “This is my body, broken for you.” The statement is recorded four times in the New Testament:

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins’” (Matthew 26:26–28).

“While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, ‘Take it; this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. ‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,’ he said to them” (Mark 14:22–24).

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you’” (Luke 22:19–20).

“The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me’” (1 Corinthians 11:24–26).

Jesus’ statement This is my body is the primary basis for the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, which teaches that the body of Christ is actually present in the element of the bread. However, interpreting Jesus’ words in this passage literally is an error. When He called the bread His body, Jesus was physically present with His disciples, His body unbroken. How could He have been offering His broken body to His disciples the night before He died? Jesus often spoke in metaphors, calling Himself the door, the shepherd, the vine, etc. He was speaking metaphorically on this occasion, as well.

Additionally, the context of the Passover meal is thoroughly symbolic. Almost every element of the meal stood for (or “was”) something else. Jesus took two of those elements and infused them with a new symbolic meaning as He was the fulfillment of everything that Passover stood for. From then on, whenever Jewish believers observed a Passover meal, they would think of the new meaning that Jesus had given to the bread and the final cup. And Gentile believers, who had never been partakers of a Passover meal, would observe the “Lord’s Supper” as part of a “love feast” that the whole church ate together (1 Corinthians 11). Later, the Lord’s Supper (also called communion or the Eucharist) became a separate ceremony all by itself.

Further evidence that Jesus was speaking symbolically is found in John, the only gospel that does not record Jesus’ statement This is my body. In John 6:53–58+, Jesus says to a multitude,

“Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

When Jesus spoke of eating His flesh in John 6, He had already given the crowd an indication that He was has speaking figuratively. Earlier, in John 6:32–35+, Jesus had called Himself bread, comparing Himself with the manna in the wilderness:

“‘Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.’ ‘Sir,’ they said, ‘always give us this bread.’ Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”

As if to clear up any misunderstanding, Jesus then distinguishes the physical from the spiritual:

“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:63ESV).

When Jesus spoke of His “broken” body at the Last Supper, He was referring to His sacrifice on the cross. His body was broken, and His blood was shed. According to John 6:35, one can “eat” Jesus’ broken body by “coming” to Him and “drink” His blood by believing in Him. Jesus also emphasizes faith (which the eating only symbolizes) in John 6:36, 40, and 47.

Again, the whole context of the Last Supper is symbolic. We do not partake of Jesus by physically eating His body. “The flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63). Rather, we partake of Jesus by coming to Him in faith, trusting that His broken body (and shed blood) is sufficient to pay for our sins. The elements of bread and wine commemorate His broken body and shed blood, and when we eat them, we affirm our faith and fellowship in Christ. (Source:

Mark 14:23  And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

NET  Mark 14:23 And after taking the cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

NLT  Mark 14:23 And he took a cup of wine and gave thanks to God for it. He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

ESV  Mark 14:23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.

NIV  Mark 14:23 Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

GNT  Mark 14:23 καὶ λαβὼν ποτήριον εὐχαριστήσας ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς, καὶ ἔπιον ἐξ αὐτοῦ πάντες.

KJV  Mark 14:23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.

YLT  Mark 14:23 And having taken the cup, having given thanks, he gave to them, and they drank of it -- all;

ASV  Mark 14:23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave to them: and they all drank of it.

CSB  Mark 14:23 Then He took a cup, and after giving thanks, He gave it to them, and so they all drank from it.

NKJ  Mark 14:23 Then He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

NRS  Mark 14:23 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it.

NAB  Mark 14:23 Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.

NJB  Mark 14:23 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them, and all drank from it,

Related Passages:  Note that the institution of the Lord’s Supper has been handed down to us in four forms

Matthew 26:26-29 While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” 27 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; 28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 29“But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 

Luke 22:15-20+  And He said to them, “I have earnestly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16  for I say to you, I shall never again eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.” 17 And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He said, “Take this and share it among yourselves; 18for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 19 And when He had taken some bread and given thanks, He broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

NET Note - Only Luke mentions two cups at this meal; the other synoptic gospels (Matt 26:27-28, Mark 14:23-24) mention only one. This is the first of the two. It probably refers to the first cup in the traditional Passover meal, which today has four cups (although it is debated whether the fourth cup was used in the 1st century). 

1 Cor 11:23-25+ - For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.”

And when He had taken a cup and given thanks (eucharisteo) - This would have been the third cup of the Passover meal. The bread symbolized Jesus' body and the cup symbolized Jesus' blood. “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Grassmick - Assuming Jesus followed the established Passover ritual this was the third of four prescribed cups of wine (“the cup of thanksgiving”; cf. 1 Cor. 10:16) which concluded the main portion of the meal. Presumably He did not drink the fourth cup, the cup of consummation. Its significance still lies in the future when Jesus and His followers will be together again in His kingdom (Luke 22:29–30; Mark 14:25). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Daniel Akin - The Passover meal...included four points at which the presider, holding a glass of wine, got up and explained the Feast’s meaning. The four cups of wine represented the four promises made by God in Exodus 6:6-7. These promises were for rescue from Egypt, for freedom from slavery, for redemption by God’s power, and for a renewed relationship with God. The third cup came at a point when the meal was almost completely eaten. This third cup, I believe, is the one alluded to by Mark in verses 25-26.

Brian Bell - The Cup! The Passover requires 4 cups of wine (2 before the meal and 2 after) The cup of Sanctification; The cup of Instruction; The cup of Redemption; The cup of Praise. [Taken from Ex.6:6,7] The cup of wine that would have been raised during the meal that is now remembered when one commemorates “the Lord’s Supper” was the cup of redemption. This was when Jesus established the New Covenant in His own blood. It’s a New Covenant(20) – Sacred binding contract. (Jer 31:31-34+)...In My blood (20) - Biblical covenants were always ratified by shed blood. After the cup of redemption, which commemorates God’s redemption of His people, comes the cup of praise. The cup of praise is the cup of wine that Jesus refused to drink from until the coming of His Father’s Kingdom! (see Lk 22:30) (Reference)

Wuest - Paul identifies the cup with that which followed the meal. “The Talmud prescribed four cups at the Paschal feast. The third was known as the cup of blessing, and it has been usual to regard this as the Cup of the Eucharist” (Swete).

He gave it to them, and they all drank from it - One cup was passed around the table.

"That they all drank from it demonstrates that Jesus intended all believers to participate in both elements of the Lord’s Supper (cf. 1 Cor. 10:16, 21; 11:28)." (MacArthur)

Given thanks (2168) (eucharisteo) is a word that at its very core (eu = good + charis = grace) means to acknowledge how good grace is!  This Greek word gives us our English Eucharist. Note that the Lord’s Supper and baptism are the only two "sacraments" that Jesus instituted for the Church (some denominations have added others but they are not prescribed in the Bible) and is also known as “Communion," "Holy Communion,” or “The Eucharist” 

    A.      Prayer
    B.      Cup of wine
    C.      Hand washing by host and passing of basin to all
    D.      Dip of bitter herbs and sauce
    E.      Lamb and main meal
    F.      Prayer and second dip of bitter herbs and sauce
    G.      Second cup of wine with question-and-answer time for children (cf. Exod. 12:26–27)
    H.      Singing of the first part of Hallel Psalm 113–114 and prayer
    I.      Master of ceremony makes sop for each one after washing his hands
    J.      All eat until filled; finish with a piece of lamb
    K.      Third cup of wine after washing hands
    L.      Singing second part of Hallel Psalm 115–118
    M.      Fourth cup of wine

  Many believe that the institution of the Lord’s Supper occurred at “K.”

Kevin Williams explains the four cups of wine - During a typical Passover Seder, four cups are shared, each with its own significant picture in the ritual. The first cup is called the “cup of sanctification,” which sets the feast apart from any commonplace meal. The second cup is the “cup of plagues,” remembering the calamities visited upon the Egyptians. The third cup is called the “cup of redemption,” recognizing and memorializing the Hebrews’ release from captivity. The fourth cup is called the “cup of praise,” during which the family recites Psalms 113–118, traditionally considered the praise Psalms. Our attention here is on the third cup, the “cup of redemption,” the “Kiddush  cup,” which in the modern Seder comes after the eating of the afikomen. Because of the ritualistic order of the meal and the rich significance of this observance, some Christian theologians believe that this is the cup Jesus lifted, blessed, and declared, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mt 26:28) A cup of red wine is symbolic of blood in Jewish tradition, which is significant in our story. In the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible) and throughout the ancient world, covenants were sealed and confirmed with blood. This is no less true in the Gospels. Symbolically with the cup and literally through His blood shed at the crucifixion, the Messiah proclaimed the beginnings of a new covenant predicted by the Jewish prophet Jeremiah:(Jer. 31:31-34+).  (For much more discussion of the Seder click "A Summary of a Typical Jewish Passover Seder.")

Mark 14:24  And He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

NET  Mark 14:24 He said to them, "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, that is poured out for many.

NLT  Mark 14:24 And he said to them, "This is my blood, which confirms the covenant between God and his people. It is poured out as a sacrifice for many.

ESV  Mark 14:24 And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

NIV  Mark 14:24 "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

GNT  Mark 14:24 καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τοῦτό ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ ἐκχυννόμενον ὑπὲρ πολλῶν.

KJV  Mark 14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

YLT  Mark 14:24 and he said to them, 'This is my blood of the new covenant, which for many is being poured out;

ASV  Mark 14:24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

CSB  Mark 14:24 He said to them, "This is My blood that establishes the covenant; it is shed for many.

NKJ  Mark 14:24 And He said to them, "This is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many.

NRS  Mark 14:24 He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:28 for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. 

Luke 22:20+  And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

COMMENT For you - This alludes to substitutionary atonement, in essence saying that Jesus died once for all time in our place, on our behalf, for our sake, so that we might live forever in Him and for Him! 

1 Corinthians 11:25+ In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 


Paul Apple - In this key passage as we transition from the celebration of the Passover Feast to the institution of the Lord’s Supper, we are moving from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. This is a watershed moment in human history. We are looking at the events on the Thursday evening before the Friday crucifixion of Jesus Christ – the central event to which all of the types and prophecies of the Old Testament pointed. Christianity is all about the Person of Jesus Christ. And Christianity is all about the Cross of Christ.

And He said to them, "This is My blood of the covenant - My blood like the bread is clearly a metaphor and is not to be taken literally. It was symbolic of His blood which would be spilled the next day to "cut the covenant," the New Covenant in His blood. Blood was necessary for a covenant to be established. Jesus said the covenant refers to the "new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." (Lk 22:20+, cf 1 Cor. 11:25+) So the Old Covenant was ratified with animal blood, but the New Covenant was ratified with the "precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."  (1 Peter 1:19+)  

Grassmick - Just as sacrificial blood ratified the Old (Mosaic) Covenant at Sinai (cf. Ex. 24:6–8+), so Jesus’ blood shed at Golgotha inaugurated the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31–34). This promises forgiveness of sins and fellowship with God through the indwelling Spirit to those who come to God by faith in Jesus. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - As sacrificial blood established the Mosaic covenant (Ex 24:8+; Lev. 17:11+), so His blood established the new covenant (Jer. 31:31–34+). God’s covenant with Israel was no voluntary agreement between two equals; it was initiated by Jehovah, and He set its terms, while Israel voluntarily agreed to obey its stipulations. Likewise the new covenant was a divine work, its nature and conditions stipulated by God and offered to men on the basis of faith. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Don Fortner: The Lord’s Supper is not a sacrament, a means by which we obtain grace. It is an ordinance by which we celebrate grace bestowed upon us through the precious blood of Christ.

Blood (see Lev 17:11+) was the element necessary to ratify both the Old and the New Covenant, the Old with blood of sacrificial animals, the New with blood of the Lamb of God. Moses describes the ratification of the Old Covenant

So Moses took the blood and sprinkled it on the people, and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant, (berit/berith/beriyth) which the LORD has made ("cut" - karath) with you in accordance with all these words.” (Ex 24:8+)

Riddle observes, “Hence as the old covenant forbade the drinking of blood, it could not be commanded here in a literal sense.”

MacDonald - The Jewish people were forbidden to eat blood, and the disciples knew therefore that He was not speaking of literal blood, but of that which typified His blood. (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Covenant (1242)(diatheke from diatithemi = set out in order, dispose in a certain order <> from dia = two + tithemi = to place pictures that which is placed between two. Thus, a covenant is something placed between two = thus an arrangement between two parties) literally conveys the idea of a testament, as in one's last will and testament. A covenant is an agreement between two parties that binds them together and conveys the associated ideas of very close fellowship (even oneness and identity as for example in the marriage covenant where two mystically become one flesh -- see Covenant: As It Relates to Marriage and The Oneness of Covenant) Most of the NT uses of diatheke refer to God's declaration of His will concerning His self-commitment, promises, and conditions by which he entered into relationship with man. Remember that there were 3 unconditional covenants in the Old Testament, the Abrahamic (which is the basis on which we are saved today), the Palestinian and the Davidic covenants. The question might arise as to how or on what grounds will God fulfill the Abrahamic and Davidic covenant? See Abrahamic vs Old vs New.

Covenant has profound implications and is the most solemn, binding, intimate contract known in the Bible. Covenant was considered a binding agreement among the ancients, and so was not entered into lightly. After pieces of the sacrificial animal were laid opposite one another, the individuals who were cutting covenant would walk between the flesh. This walk represented the so-called  a Walk Into Death indicating their commitment to die to independent living and to ever after live for their covenant partner and to fulfill the stipulations of their covenant (See this practice in Jer 34:8ff, esp Jer 34:18-19). Furthermore, this  Walk Into Death was a testimony by each covenant partner that if either broke the covenant God would take their life, even as had been done to the sacrificial animal. In short, we see the gravity of entering into and then breaking covenant. Covenant was a pledge to death. A pledge cut in  blood. In covenant the shedding of blood demonstrated as nothing else could the intensity of the commitment. By cutting covenant the two parties were bound for life. Thus the shedding of blood in the cutting of covenant established the gravity and binding nature of this transaction. Both the Old and the New Covenants were inaugurated with blood. The practice of cutting covenant is found throughout history with traces or remnants of covenant truth in every quarter of the globe. (See Introduction to Covenant and Summary of Major Biblical Covenants)

Related Resources:

Richards - In Old Testament times a covenant was a binding legal agreement, whose nature was determined by the parties involved. Between two businessmen it was a contract. Between nations it was a treaty. Between ruler and people it was a constitution. But between God and human beings, the basic force of “covenant” is a commitment. God’s ancient covenant with Abraham is marked by His statement of what “I will” do. God’s temporary covenant with Israel established through Moses, the Law, specified what God would do if Israel obeyed—or disobeyed. The “New Covenant” Jesus spoke of at the Last Supper, instituted at His death and sealed by His own shed blood, is God’s commitment to forgive the sins of those who believe in His Son, and to transform their character from within (cf. Jer. 31:31–34; Heb. 10:16–18). (The 365 Day Devotional Commentary)

The cup of wine poured out symbolizes the His blood which is the basis for the establishment of the New Covenant. This covenant while "new" was actually promised to Israel in the Old Testament, at a time just before God's wrath fell on Judah, Jerusalem and the Temple, which were defeated and decimated by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar. In this hopeless setting, God in His matchless grace, gave that nation of Israel a "blessed hope." This promises is given in the section of Jeremiah 30-33 which is often referred to as the "Book of Consolation." How good is our God, who in the midst of deserved wrath, remembers undeserved mercy! You've experienced this wondrous gift, have you not? Every sin we commit deserves eternal punishment, but in Christ God's mercies are new every morning! And so in in this section of Jeremiah, God gives the incredible promise...

Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (NOTE WELL - THIS IS NOT GIVEN TO THE "CHURCH" - NOWHERE IS THE CHURCH EVER CALLED "THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL AND THE HOUSE OF JUDAH!), 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt (OLD COVENANT - CONDITIONAL MOSAIC COVENANT), My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34+). 

Matthew adds another truth about the blood of the covenant - "And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. (Mt 26:27-28) 

Oh, precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Christ's sacrifice is exactly what God desired and our sin required

Kent Hughes - By calling the cup "the new covenant in my blood," Jesus was intentionally contrasting his atoning work (the shedding of his blood) with the Old Covenant's ocean of blood. (Ibid)

We see this truth explained by the writer of Hebrews 

Hebrews 9:16-20  For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death (SHEDDING OF BLOOD IS IMPLIED) of the one who made it. 17 For a covenant is valid only when men are dead, for it is never in force while the one who made it lives. 18 Therefore even the first covenant (MOSAIC COVENANT) was not inaugurated without blood. 19 For when every commandment had been spoken by Moses to all the people according to the Law, he took the blood of the calves and the goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20 saying, “THIS IS THE BLOOD OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD COMMANDED YOU.”

MacArthur - On the cross, the Lord Jesus died as the perfect substitute, bearing the guilt of all who were chosen to believe in Him (2 Cor. 5:21). He endured the penalty of God’s wrath, satisfied divine justice, and ratified the new covenant of forgiveness and salvation (Jer. 31:34). Jesus’ death constituted final payment, so that there is no longer a need for ongoing animal sacrifices (cf. Heb. 10:4–12). That was clearly demonstrated by the tearing of the veil at the entrance of the Holy of Holies (Matt. 27:51), and the promise of the Lord regarding the complete destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 (cf. Mark 13:1–3).

Which is poured out for many - Jesus' blood must be poured out to ratify the new covenant. The idea of poured out implies a violent outpouring as did in fact occur on the Cross. For many speaks of the millions and millions of souls who have placed their faith in Christ and His fully atoning blood shed on Calvary 2000 years ago. The preposition "for" is the Greek word huper. which can be translated in behalf of, for the sake of, instead of, in the place of, as substitute for. Can you see the profound truth found in this one small preposition huper in this context? It clearly speaks of the substitutionary aspect of Lord’s death, His death in our place. His death bearing our sins on Himself (2 Cor 5:21+, 1 Peter 2:24+) In short huper in this passage depicts substitutionary atonement. It "implies the vicarious nature of His death....The blood of the suffering Servant of God (Isa. 53:11–12+) was shed for many for “remission of sins” (Matt. 26:28)." (Hiebert) (See substitutionary atonement).

Utley on many - The term “many” does not refer to a limited group, but is a Hebraic (or Semitic) metaphor for “all who would respond.” This can be seen in the parallelism of Rom. 5:18 and 5:19 as well as Isa. 53:6 “all” compared with 53:11–12, “many.”

Poured out (1632)(ekcheo from ek = out + chéo = pour) means literally to flow out, to gush forth or to pour out. The inherent idea is to cause something to be emitted in quantity. "The words “is shed” (poured out) are present tense, curative action, “which is being shed,” our Lord looking upon His sacrifice on the Cross as imminent and regarded as already present." (Wuest)

Related Resources:




Ex 12:1-2+ The Passover marked a new year and a new beginning for Israel.

Every believer is a new creation in Christ "Old things passed away; behold, new things have come." (2 Cor 5:17+)

Ex 12:5+ A male lamb in its first year was taken into the home on the 10th of Nisan and was inspected for blemishes or defects before it was sacrificed on the 14th of Nisan.

Christ was closely inspected by:

The priests  (Lk 20:1-26+), Sadducees  (Lk 20:27-38+) and Scribes  (Lk 20:39-21:4+)

Pilate (Mt 27:11-26; Lk 23:1-6, 13-25+; Jn 18:28-19:16)

Herod (Lk 23:8-12+)

Annas (Jn 18:12-13, 19-24)

Caiaphas (Mt 26:57)

They could find no fault for He was "a lamb unblemished and spotless" (1 Pe 1:19+).

Ex 12:6+ The "whole community" of God's people was required to participate in the sacrifice.

Receiving and believing in Christ's sacrifice is required for all who desire to participate in God's Kingdom (Ro 3:21-26+).

Ex 12:7, 23+ The blood of the lamb was applied to "the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it" and "the LORD will pass over the door" marked with blood.

Christ shed His blood to deliver sinners. One needs to be covered by the blood to be delivered from condemnation (Ro 3:25+; Ro 5:9+, Ro 8:1+). The Lamb of God takes away the sins of the world (Jn 1:29+).

Ex 12:14+ The Passover was to be kept as a permanent memorial.

The Lord's Supper is to be done frequently "in remembrance of" Christ (Lk 22:19+).

Ex 12:46+ God commanded Israel not "to break any bone of" the lamb.

Roman soldiers came to break Jesus' legs, but He was already dead, so no bones were broken (Jn 19:32-33).

Adapted from Christ in the Passover - Benjamin Galan

Mark 14:25  "Truly I say to 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."

NET  Mark 14:25 I tell you the truth, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

NLT  Mark 14:25 I tell you the truth, I will not drink wine again until the day I drink it new in the Kingdom of God."

ESV  Mark 14:25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

NIV  Mark 14:25 "I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew in the kingdom of God."

GNT  Mark 14:25 ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ πίω ἐκ τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ὅταν αὐτὸ πίνω καινὸν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

KJV  Mark 14:25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

YLT  Mark 14:25 verily I say to you, that no more may I drink of the produce of the vine till that day when I may drink it new in the reign of God.'

ASV  Mark 14:25 Verily I say unto you, I shall no more drink of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

CSB  Mark 14:25 I assure you: I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it in a new way in the kingdom of God."

NKJ  Mark 14:25 "Assuredly, I say to you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God."

NRS  Mark 14:25 Truly 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."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:29 “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” 

Luke 22:18+ for I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine from now on until the kingdom of God comes.” 


Truly (amen) I say to you - This is another "amen" statement by Jesus which adds authority and affirmation to what follows. Hiebert adds this seals "the authoritative nature of this important pronouncement." (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God - The word never is the strong double negative (ou me) indicating absolutely never (...UNTIL). This should have give the 11 disciples great assurance that Jesus would indeed establish His literal Kingdom and in that Kingdom they would drink wine. This is not clearly an allusion to the Millennial Kingdom to which the disciples eagerly looked forward (see Isaiah 25:6). They still did not understand that there had to be an now over 2000 year pause for the Church Age, but that after this age the Kingdom would come.  The fruit of the vine means wine.

Daniel Akin has an interesting comment - In v. 25 Jesus brought things to a close by refusing to drink the 4th and final cup (read v. 25). Why? Because it is the cup of consummation and life in the promised land of God. For that cup He would wait. First, He must drink to the last drop the cup of God’s wrath and justice. Apart from it, no cup of blessing would be possible.

Grassmick agrees with Akin writing "Assuming Jesus followed the established Passover ritual this was the third of four prescribed cups of wine (“the cup of thanksgiving”; cf. 1 Cor. 10:16) which concluded the main portion of the meal. Presumably He did not drink the fourth cup, the cup of consummation. Its significance still lies in the future when Jesus and His followers will be together again in His kingdom (Luke 22:29–30; see comments on Mark 14:25)." (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Grant Osborne - As an amēn saying (cf. Mk 3:28; 14:9, 18), Jesus’ words here give special emphasis to this fourth cup (see Mk 14:23), which concluded the meal. The vow of abstinence resembles a Nazirite vow (Nu. 6:1–21, a vow of dedication to Yahweh). Jesus is also saying that he will never again drink wine on this earth, showing his “resolute will” to accept his Father’s will: his vicarious death was “irrevocable.” drink it new in the kingdom of God. This fourth cup was the cup of consummation, and the point is that God’s plan will not be finished until Christ returns and “the kingdom of my Father” has arrived in fullness. The “drink it new” anticipates the messianic banquet in Revelation 19:6–8 (cf. Isa. 25:6–9; 1 En. 62:13–16; 2 Bar. 29:5–8). This refers both to the “new wine” of the “new kingdom” and, adverbially, to Jesus drinking it “anew” at the end of the age.7 Our own eucharistic celebration likewise looks ahead to this eschatological banquet. (Mark - Teach the Text)

William Lane - Jesus had used the third cup, associated with the promise of redemption, to refer to his atoning death on behalf of the elect community. The cup which he refused was the cup of consummation, associated with the promise that God will take his people to be with him. This is the cup which Jesus will drink with his own in the messianic banquet which inaugurates the saving age to come. The cup of redemption (verse 24), strengthened by the vow of abstinence (verse 25), constitutes the solemn pledge that the fourth cup will be extended and the unfinished meal completed in the consummation, when Messiah eats with redeemed sinners in the Kingdom of God (cf. Lk. 14:15; Rev. 3:20f.; 19:6–9). (NICNT-Mark)

Walter Wessel - The third cup, the “cup of blessing” used by Jesus in the words of institution, is thus associated with redemption (Ex 6:6); but the fourth cup corresponds to the promise “I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God” (Ex 6:7; cf. Daube, New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism, 330–31; Lane, Mark, 508–9). Thus Jesus is simultaneously pledging that he will drink the “bitter cup” immediately ahead of him and vowing not to drink the cup of consummation, the cup that promises the divine presence, until the kingdom in all its fullness has been ushered in. Then he will drink the cup with his people. This is a veiled farewell and implies a sustained absence (see comments at Mt 24:14; 25:5, 19). The Lord’s Supper, therefore, points both to the past and to the future, both to Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary and to the messianic banquet. (EBC - Matthew)

Marvin Wilson - Whatever chronology of the Last Supper one adopts, it seems clear that Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper by associating it with the third cup of wine, which came after the Passover meal was eaten (cf. 1 Cor. 11:25). It was known as the “cup of redemption,” which rabbinic tradition linked to the third of the fourfold promise of redemption in Exodus 6:6–7+, “I will redeem you.” Jesus associated this cup of wine with his atoning death in saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you” (Luke 22:20+; cf. 1 Cor. 11:25). He refused, however, to drink the fourth cup (Mark 14:25+; cf. Mishnah, Pesahim 10:7), referred to as the “cup of consummation” (cf. Exod. 6:7+) based on the promise that God will take His own people to be with Him. The unfinished meal of Jesus was a pledge that redemption would be consummated at that future messianic banquet when He takes the cup and “drinks it anew in the kingdom of God” (Mark 14:25; cf. Matt. 26:29; Rev. 3:20; Rev 19:6–9). The Lord’s Supper concluded with the singing of a hymn (Matt. 26:30; Mark 14:26), doubtless the second half of the Hallel (Psalm 115–118+). (Our Father Abraham - Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith)

Hiebert Until that day looks forward to the future eschatological day when the kingdom will be established in all its glory. That, better, “When” or “whenever,” leaves the time undetermined but assumes the coming reality. Drink … in the kingdom metaphorically describes the kingdom in terms of a messianic banquet. The present tense drink indicates that the feast will not be a single event but a continuing feast. New (kainosdenotes that the wine will be new in quality, pointing to the spiritual character of that feast. I drink it assumes that He will be the host at that banquet. It reflects His messianic consciousness. Thus on the basis of His impending self-sacrifice on the cross, Jesus confidently announced His messianic triumph in the eschatological kingdom. Even so the believer, united by faith with the risen Christ, can face the present with its risks and sufferings in the assurance of sharing that coming glory. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

The key word is "until" which is an expression of time that means something will continue to happen up to a point and then it will not happen. In this context until is used with a negative (never = literally a strong double negative in Greek, ou me, absolutely never) to emphasize the moment in time after which the rest of your statement becomes true. In other words the glorious truth is that in the coming Kingdom of God which Messiah sets up when He returns as Victorious King of kings, all believers will join with Him in celebration of this feast. While this could represent only the marriage supper of the Lamb, some believe it will be a continual feast throughout eternity. We will have to wait and see! (Rev 19:9+) (See Marriage of the Lamb) Of course those commentaries that do not accept a Messianic earthly Kingdom (i.e., amillennialists) interpret Jesus as speaking of a heavenly kingdom. I sometimes wonder what the amillennialist do with passages like Ezekiel 45:21 which clearly states "In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the Passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten." Ezekiel 40-48 describes the time of the Millennium thus the Passover will be celebrated in the Millennial Kingdom.

New (2537)(kainos)  is an adjective which refers to that which is new kind (unprecedented, novel, uncommon, unheard of). It relates to being not previously present. Uses in Mark -  Mk. 1:27; Mk. 2:21; Mk. 2:22; Mk. 14:25; Mk. 16:17;

Mark 14:26  After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

NET  Mark 14:26 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

NLT  Mark 14:26 Then they sang a hymn and went out to the Mount of Olives.

ESV  Mark 14:26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

NIV  Mark 14:26 When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

GNT  Mark 14:26 Καὶ ὑμνήσαντες ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν.

KJV  Mark 14:26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

YLT  Mark 14:26 And having sung an hymn, they went forth to the mount of the Olives,

ASV  Mark 14:26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out unto the mount of Olives.

CSB  Mark 14:26 After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

NKJ  Mark 14:26 And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

NRS  Mark 14:26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

  • After singing: Ps 47:6,7 Ac 16:25 1Co 14:15 Eph 5:18-20 Col 3:16 Jas 5:13 Rev 5:9 
  • hymn: probably Ps 113-118, which the Jews term the great Hallel, or praise, and always sing at the paschal festivity. they went. Mt 26:30 Lu 22:39 Jdg 18:1-4 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:30 After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 


After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives - So they would leave the city of Jerusalem, go down the Kidron Valley (John 18:1) and up the slope to the Mount of Olives. This would be the last time Jesus would leave the city voluntarily until He was crucified outside the city (Heb 13:12). Presumably one day at the future celebration we may get to hear the voice of our Lord Jesus Christ singing! 

Hiebert - Jesus’ warning to Peter concerning his denials is recorded in all four Gospels (Matt. 26:31–35; Luke 22:31–34; John 13:36–38). Mark and Matthew agree in placing the warning on the way to Gethsemane, but Luke and John record the warning as given in the upper room. It is often assumed that all four Gospels record the same occurrence and that a slight displacement occurs in two of them. It seems best to accept the view that two different warnings were given, one before and one after they left the upper room. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Swete says of their going to the Mount of Olives; “The nightly departure for the Mount of Olives; The nightly departure for the Mount had become habitual, and the Eleven felt no surprise when they were summoned to leave the guest chamber: no provision had been made for spending the night in Jerusalem.”

Grassmick - The Hallel (praise) Psalms were sung or chanted antiphonally in connection with the Passover—the first two (Pss. 113–114) before the meal, the remaining four (Pss. 115–118) after it to conclude the evening observance. Such verses as Psalm 118:6–7, 17–18, 22–24 gain added significance on Jesus’ lips just before His suffering and death. Since their conversation after the meal included Jesus’ (upper room) discourse and prayer (John 13:31–17:26), it was probably near midnight when He and the Eleven (minus Judas) finally left the Upper Room and the city. They crossed the Kidron Valley (cf. John 18:1) to the western slopes of the Mount of Olives (cf. Mark 11:1a) where Gethsemane was located (Mk 14:32). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Akin - Jesus drank the cup of God’s wrath that we might drink the cup of salvation (cf. Ps. 116:13). Jesus submitted himself in the Garden of Gethsemane that He might save sinners on the cross.

Utley on singing a hymn - This was probably part of the Hallel Psalms (i.e. Ps. 113–118, cf. Matt. 26:30), which was the last part of the Passover ritual. These psalms were expressions of joy and gratitude for YHWH’s redemption. They are recited or chanted in whole, or in part, at all major feast days, except the Day of Atonement. Psalms 113–114 are chanted early in the Passover meal and 115–118 towards the end of the meal.

Singing (5214)(humneo from húmnos = hymn; English = hymn) means to celebrate or praise with a hymn, to sing a song of praise.

Henry Blackaby - Praise before Victory

       After singing psalms, they went out to the Mount of Olives.—Mark 14:26 

Praise is greatly honoring to God! In the Old Testament account of King Jehoshaphat, God's people faced a seemingly insurmountable enemy who was determined to destroy them. Yet God assured them that they would “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord” (2 Chron. 20:17). The people of Judah believed God. Their army was led by singers, offering praises to the Lord for their promised victory, and the victory came. When King David led the procession bringing the ark of the covenant into Jerusalem, he praised God with all of his strength (2 Sam. 6:12–23). David's praise was pleasing to God, and God's powerful presence remained in David's kingdom to give him victory against every enemy.

Jesus was about to go to Gethsemane and to the cross, where God's greatest victory would be accomplished. He led His disciples to sing a hymn. The disciples were all about to fail Him, and Jesus was about to be cruelly executed, yet Jesus insisted that they praise God. Their praise looked beyond the cross to God's ultimate victory. Praise is rooted not in circumstances of the moment but in the nature and trustworthiness of God.

You ought to rejoice when God asks you to proceed in the work of His kingdom because you know the victory is already secured. Don't focus on the problems and failures of others. Focus on God's assurance of victory. If you have trouble praising God with a song in your heart as you serve Him, it may be that your focus is not on God, but on your circumstances.

Mark 14:27  And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, because it is written, 'I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.'

NET  Mark 14:27 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'

NLT  Mark 14:27 On the way, Jesus told them, "All of you will desert me. For the Scriptures say, 'God will strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'

ESV  Mark 14:27 And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away, for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'

NIV  Mark 14:27 "You will all fall away," Jesus told them, "for it is written: " 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'

GNT  Mark 14:27 Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς ὅτι Πάντες σκανδαλισθήσεσθε, ὅτι γέγραπται, Πατάξω τὸν ποιμένα, καὶ τὰ πρόβατα διασκορπισθήσονται.

KJV  Mark 14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

YLT  Mark 14:27 and Jesus saith to them -- 'All ye shall be stumbled at me this night, because it hath been written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad,

ASV  Mark 14:27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered abroad.

CSB  Mark 14:27 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will run away, because it is written: I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.

NKJ  Mark 14:27 Then Jesus said to them, "All of you will be made to stumble because of Me this night, for it is written:`I will strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered.'

NRS  Mark 14:27 And Jesus said to them, "You will all become deserters; for it is written, 'I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.'

Related Passages: 

Matthew 26:31 Then Jesus *said to them, “You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.’ 

Luke 22:31+ Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; 

John 13:36-38  Simon Peter said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 

Zechariah 13:7+   “Awake, O sword, against My (FATHER IS SPEAKING OF HIS SON THE) Shepherd (THE GOOD SHEPHERD OF Zech 11:4-14), And against the man, My Associate,” Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. 

COMMENT: Zechariah's prophecy has had a double fulfillment. When Jesus was crucified, not only were the disciples scattered, but within 40 years the entire nation of Israel was scattered after the Romans sacked Jerusalem and the Temple. It would not be until May, 1948 that their scattering would be divinely, supernaturally reversed with the creation of the sovereign nation of Israel. Beloved, if you think God is finished with Israel (aka replacement theology / supersessionism), then can I respectfully and kindly say, you are believing a lie from the father of lies, the devil (Jn 8:44), who hates Israel and wants to see it destroyed so that Jesus does not have a nation to come back to save (read Zech 12:1-14+, Zech 14:1-21+). Just look at a map of the Middle East to be reminded that God has a final solution (not like the Nazi's final solution but a good solution) for His chosen people, the Jews! As Ripley used to say "Believe it or not!" 


Scandalize means to offend the moral sensibilities. Hiebert emphasizes that "The verb skandalizo, which has the basic idea of being caught in a trap (cf. Mk 4:17), does not mean that the disciples would feel offense at Jesus personally but that they would be caught and overwhelmed by what would happen to Him that very night. It would stagger their faith and shake their confidence in Him as the Messiah. It would challenge their loyalty to Him.

And Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away - Only in Matthew 26:31 does Jesus gives the timing “You will all fall away because of Me this night." So Jesus predicts not only their falling away but the specific timing once again evidence of His deity and omniscience. When He said ALL, One can only imagine their reaction! First Jesus says one will betray Him and now He shocks them with the news that all the rest will desert Him! This will be a Passover Meal they will never forget! This prophecy would once again substantiate that Jesus is God, that He is omniscient and that He has perfect foreknowledge, for this prophecy would prove true within only a few hours! 

Will fall away (be offended, be made to stumble) (4624)(skandalizo from skandalon= a trap = put a snare or stumbling block in way; English = scandalize = to offend the moral sense of) means to put a snare (in the way), hence to cause to stumble, to give offense. Skandalizo is derived from skandalon which refers to stick in a trap on which the bait is placed and which springs up and shuts the trap at the touch of the careless, unwary animal. It follows that the idea is to put a stumbling block or impediment in one's way, upon which another may trip and fall and in the present context to fall away from Jesus, so that in essence by their actions all 11 "deny" allegiance to Jesus. Uses in Mark -  Mk. 4:17; Mk. 6:3; Mk. 9:42; Mk. 9:43; Mk. 9:45; Mk. 9:47; Mk. 14:27; Mk. 14:29; 

Because - Term of explanation. Jesus explains why His disciples must be scattered. The short answer is to fulfill Zechariah's prophecy.

it is written - Written is grapho in the perfect tense indicating it was written at a point of time in the past (when Zechariah penned his prophecy) and it remains written, for as Jesus Himself said "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away." (Mk 13:31+)

The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.
-- Isaiah 40:8

I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED - Don't miss that the One Who made this prophetic pronouncement to strike down (patasso) the Shepherd via a violent death is none other than God the Father! "The Shepherd would not be smitten contrary to divine providence." (Hiebert) Jesus is quoting Zechariah 13:7+ and depicts Himself as the Shepherd and the disciples as the sheep. So approximately 500 years before this event would transpire God saw it would happen!  

Grassmick - The interpretive change from the command “Strike” (Zech. 13:7) to the assertion “I will strike” suggests that Jesus viewed Himself as God’s suffering Servant (cf. Isa. 53: esp. Isa. 53:4–6+). (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - the unexpected smiting of their Shepherd will leave the sheep utterly bewildered, scattering them in all directions. That Scripture was a forewarning to the disciples. (ED: But in this case forewarned did not lead to them being forearmed!) (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

THOUGHT - While this prophecy is sad to read, the fact that it would be fulfilled to the letter should serve to encourage not only the disciples (after the fact, after they return to Jesus) but every disciple of every age. God's Word is sure and if 80 per cent of His prophecies in the past have been perfectly fulfilled, the 20 per cent of prophecies remaining will be perfectly fulfilled! The Shepherd Who is struck down by His enemies will Himself strike down His enemies for  "from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down (same verb patasso) the nations." (Rev 19:15+)

Strike down (3960)(patasso) means to strike or hit whether violently or lightly. In the present context it speaks of a violent blow intended to kill (cf Acts 7:24, Mt 26:31, Mk 14:27, Acts 12:23 Ex. 21:12, 18; Ex 12:23 = smite the Egyptians on Passover). It is interesting that potasso describes Moses striking down and killing the Egyptian,and  is  used in the Septuagint to describe Moses striking the Nile (Ex 7:20, 25) and it turned to blood. Potasso is used in a more figuratively sense in describing striking or smiting with disease, evil, judgment, etc (Rev. 11:6 = strike the earth with plague; Ge 19:11 = angels struck the men with blindness; Nu 14:12 = smite them with pestilence ; Mal. 4:6 = smite the land with a curse).

The same word patasso is used off Peter striking Malchus, the slave of the high priest, and cutting off his ear (Mt 26:51, cf Lk 22:49, 50). While the role of the Shepherd was to protect the flock, when Jesus died that would seem unlikely to the disciples (sheep) and so they scatter from the "wolves." But as they say, the disciples have not seen the end of the story (see next passage). 

Shepherd (4166)(poimen A T Robertson says poimen is from a root meaning to protect; verb poimaino = to shepherd) literally describes one who herds, feeds, and tends a flock.  The main responsibility of the shepherd was to keep the flock intact, to protect and to provide for the sheep. Poimen describes one who assumes leadership or guardianship over a group of believers. This  title is applied to Jesus here and in in several passages (Mt 26:31, Jn 10:11, 14, 16, Heb 13:30 1Pe 2:25). A shepherd is one who carries out oversight, protecting, leading, encouraging, discipling, guarding, guiding and feeding ("feed and lead"). English dictionaries say that "to shepherd" means to guide, direct or guard in the manner of a shepherd.

Sheep (4263)(probaton from probaíno = to go before, walk ahead) is literally something that walks forward (a quadruped) and in context refers to a sheep. One of the most famous uses of probaton in the Septuagint is found in Isaiah 53:6-7+ describing both us and our Lord - "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth. "

Scattered (1287)(diaskorpizo from dia = intensifies or denotes separation + skorpízō = to dissipate) means to scatter abroad or disperse. It is used of chaff being scattered to the wind on the threshing floor, meaning to winnow (Mt 25:24, 26). Metaphorically it means to dissipate, squander (Luke 15:13; 16:1). All 8 NT uses - Matt. 25:24; Matt. 25:26; Matt. 26:31; Mk. 14:27; Lk. 1:51; Lk. 15:13; Lk. 16:1; Jn. 11:52; Acts 5:37 Mattoon says "to winnow, like a person that separates the grain from the chaff by throwing it up high into the air and letting the wind blow away the chaff." This is the way the prodigal son handled his resources. He was throwing away his substance." (Ibid)

Spurgeon - He is not the great Shepherd when He dies; He is the good Shepherd. He is the great Shepherd when He is brought again from the dead. In resurrection you perceive His greatness. He lies in the grave slumbering; He is the good Shepherd then, having laid down His life for the sheep. Life appears again in Him, the stone is rolled away, the watchmen are seized with terror, and He comes out the risen one, no more the dying—now He is the great Shepherd. In the covenant we are the sheep; the Lord Jesus is the Shepherd. You cannot make a covenant with sheep—they have not the ability to covenant. But you can make a covenant with the Shepherd for them, and so, glory be to God, though we had gone astray like lost sheep, we belonged to Jesus. He made a covenant on our behalf, and stood for us before the living God. It is very beautiful to trace the shepherds through the Old Testament, and to see Christ as Abel, the witnessing shepherd, pouring out the blood that cried from the ground; as Abraham, the separating shepherd, leading out his flock into the strange country where they dwelt alone; as Isaac, the quiet shepherd, digging wells for his flock, and feeding them in peace in the midst of the enemies; as Jacob, the shepherd who is surety for the sheep, who earns them all by long toils and weariness, separates them, and walks in the midst of them to Canaan, preserving them by his own lone midnight prayers. There, too, we see our Lord as Joseph, the shepherd who is head over Egypt for the sake of Israel, of whom his dying father said, “From there is the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel” (Gen 49:24). Head over all things for His church, the King who governs all the world for the sake of His elect, the great Shepherd of the sheep, who for their sakes has all power committed unto His hands. Then follows Moses, the chosen shepherd, who led his people through the wilderness up to the promised land, feeding them with manna and giving them drink from the smitten rock—what a wide theme for reflection here! And then there is David, the type of Jesus, reigning in the covenanted inheritance over his own people as a glorious king in the midst of them all. All these together enable us to see the varied glories of “that great Shepherd of the sheep.”

Henry Blackaby - Facing Failure
       Then Jesus said to them, “All of you will run away, because it is written:
       I will strike the shepherd,
       and the sheep will be scattered.”—Mark 14:27 

As you follow Jesus you will face moments of great distress. At times it will seem that events conspire to cause you to stumble in your relationship with Him. You do not initiate them, but they arise from opposition or the intensity of your circumstances. Nevertheless, failure is the end result. The disciples faced such fierce opposition to their Lord that they all failed Him on the night Jesus was crucified.

Peter boasted that he was incapable of forsaking Jesus (Mark 14:29–31). Yet Jesus assured the disciples even before their failure that it was inevitable. The Scriptures had prophesied it. God always knew the disciples would fail His Son; He wasn't caught by surprise. He had made provision for their shortcomings, knowing He would eventually develop them into apostles who would fearlessly preach the gospel, perform miracles, and teach others. Later, when the risen Christ encountered Peter on the seashore, He did not ask Peter for a confession of his sin, but a confession of his love (John 21:15–17).

You may fear that your failure has caught God by surprise. Perhaps you promised, like Peter, to stand with the Lord, but you failed. God was just as aware that you would fail Him as He was with the original disciples. He has made provision to respond every time you stumble. Don't think that somehow your failures are bigger or more complex than any God has dealt with. If you are facing challenges that seem overwhelming, don't be discouraged. God has already foreseen them and prepared for them (1 Cor. 10:13).

Allen Ross - Zechariah 13:7  “Strike the Shepherd”

In an extended oracle that runs from chapter 12:10 through chapter 13:9, the prophet foretells Israel’s complete deliverance from sin.  In this section we have such famous verses as “I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication.  They will look on me whom they have pierced,” and “on that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity.”  There is some debate as to the exact time of the fulfillment of these two prophecies, but they seem to be linked to the fulfillment of the New Covenant promises to Israel, and therefore will have their complete fulfillment at the second coming, and in those of the house of Israel who are alive at the time: they will look to the Messiah in faith and be saved (see Romans 11:26).
But as part of this oracle we have these words:

Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
against the man who is close to me!”
declares the LORD of hosts.
Strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered,
and I will turn my hand against the little ones.

In the poem (13:7-9) the prophet looks back to the time when Israel would be scattered because of her rejection of the true Messianic Shepherd.  The prophets of Israel often provide very vivid details of the suffering and death of Messiah, as well as the glorious reign of Messiah, but do not detail the sequence of events or the exact chronology. 

The little poem is starling.  It begins with an apostrophe, a turning to address the sword, an instrument of death.  The word “sword” as an instrument of death also appears in Psalm 22:20.  So here death is announced against one whom the LORD calls “my shepherd.”  This is the royal Good Shepherd, the true Shepherd of Zechariah 11:4-14, in contrast with the foolish and worthless shepherd of Zechariah 11:15-17.

God also describes this shepherd as “one who is close to me.”  The term is literally “who stands next to me.”  It is used in Leviticus 6:2 and 18:20 to describe a near neighbor.  Accordingly, this Shepherd dwells side by side with the LORD, His equal.  The expression leads to more precise revelations in the Bible, such as “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and “Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9).  John 10 is the passage, by the way, in which Jesus declares that he is the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep.

In verse 7 this Good Shepherd will be struck (in 11:17 it was the worthless shepherd who was destroyed), and the striking will leave him pierced (12:10).  Here, the one who “wields the sword” is God himself; “awake” is the feminine imperative referring to the sword, and “strike” is the masculine imperative agreeing with God.  So in Zechariah, Messiah is put to death by the people according to 12:10-14, and by God according to 13:7 (see Isaiah 53:10 and Acts 2:23).

When the Shepherd is struck, the sheep are scattered.  The full meaning of this would be the scattering of Israel because of their rejection of Messiah, that scattering being part of the curse pronounced for disobedience to the covenant (see Deut. 28:64; 29:24-25).  God gives up the nation to the misery and confusion of a flock without a shepherd.  So the flock that is scattered in consequence of the death of the Messiah is the covenant nation, ethnic Israel. 

The passage is quoted in the New Testament by Jesus (Matt. 26:31; Mark 14:27) and applied to the scattering of the disciples (Matt. 26:56; Mark 14:50); they are probably intended to be a picture, or a type, of the Diaspora that began in 70 A.D. with the destruction of the Temple. 
The reference to “the little ones” is probably a reference to the remnant (13:8,9; see Isa. 6:13; 66:22-24).  With this the poem concludes with the reiteration that the final stage in the program of the New Covenant is yet to be played out, the refining of Israel so that they will become the people of God. The remnant will survive and enter the Messianic kingdom when the king again appears.

At this holy season when we commemorate the Last Supper on Thursday evening, the agony in the garden in that night, the death of the Savior on Good Friday, we must remember that this is a work of God, first and foremost, to bring about the cleansing from sin, both for the Israel and the Gentiles.  But God’s dealings with Israel involve a scattering of the sheep first, during a time in which we, the Gentiles, are grafted in to the covenant (Romans 11:11-24).   We should not boast, but rather should praise God that a fountain has also been opened to us, so that we could receive the grace of God. 

Mark 14:28  "But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee."

Related Passages: 

Matthew 26:32 “But after I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”


Jesus consoles the eleven with the promise that after His resurrection He would go before them to Galilee which was also an indication that they would not lose their lives and that they would be restored after their failure.

THOUGHT - This is a promise we all need to ponder for we all have failed Jesus many, many times, for the "LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."  (Lam 3:22-23)

But - Term of contrast. This is a strong contrast. Dead in the previous passage but alive in this passage. Defection in the previous passage, but reunion in this passage. Lapse in loyalty versus restoration of relationship. This critical contrast in essence gives us the firm foundation stone for our redemption. He died, but He rose. One could almost say it is the "Gospel" in a word. 

After - This expression of time means at a later or a time subsequent, but does not specify how much later in this context. In any event after is one of the most important expressions of time the disciples would ever hear! (explained below) 

Hiebert - Jesus seldom spoke of His coming death without also speaking of His resurrection (Mark 8:31; 9:31; 10:34). But these references to His resurrection, never enlarged upon, seemingly made little impression on the minds of the disciples. Jesus had repeatedly told them that He would be raised up on the third day, but now His after looks beyond that crucial event to what it will mean for Him and them. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

I have been raised, I will go ahead of you to Galilee - Mt 26:16 says it is a specific mountain in Galilee. Like a Shepherd, struck down, but raised up and now go ahead of and regathers His "sheep." Notice there are 3 predictions in Jesus' declaration. The most obvious is that Jesus will be raised from the dead. The second is that the disciples will survive Jesus arrest, trial and crucifixion. The third is that the disciples will be restored to fellowship after failure and will be united again with their Master in Galilee, the homeland for all 11 disciples.

Matthew records a reunion - But the eleven disciples proceeded to Galilee, to the mountain which Jesus had designated. 17 When they saw Him, they worshiped Him; but some were doubtful. 18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make discipless (matheteuo in the aorist imperative) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matt. 28:16-20)

Raised (1453)(egeiro) means to rise (stand up) from a sitting or lying position (Mt 8:26, 9:5), to awaken from sleep (Mt 8:25), figuratively to "awaken" from death (rise up). Egeiro was used literally also to raise up or lift up a person either sitting or lying down. Figuratively egeiro was used to "raise up" a person from illness, thus restoring them to health. Figuratively as used in Romans 4:24, egeiro describes the bringing back of Jesus from the dead and thus raising Him or causing Him to rise. The idea of wake up from death is conveyed by egeiro because sleep was used as metaphor of death for believers (there is however no "soul sleep"). To raise up to a position as was David in Acts 13:22 (referring to his "promotion" to king).  In the NT egeiro is found 141 times. Of these, 73, or slightly more than half, refer to the resurrection of the dead. Of these 73, again, some 48, or about two-thirds, refer to the resurrection of Jesus. There are other references in the NT to the resurrec­tion of Jesus, but about 50 places use this word. Egeiro is used a total of 38x with reference to the resurrection = Ro 4:24, 25; 6:4, 9; 7:4; 8:11 (2x), Ro 8:34; 10:9; 13:11; 1Cor 6:14; 15:4, 12, 13, 14, 15 (2x), 1Cor 15:16 (2x), 1Cor 15:17, 20, 29, 32, 35, 42, 43 (2x), 1Cor 15:52; 2Cor 1:9; 4:14 (2x); 5:15; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; 5:14; Col 2:12; 1Th 1:10; 2Ti 2:8. Egeiro is the verb Paul characteristically used when speaking of Jesus being raised from the dead (although his favorite noun for "resurrection" was anastasis). Egeiro is used 19x in the "Resurrection Chapter" 1Corinthians 15 and Paul uses the perfect tense when referring to Christ's resurrection (1Cor 15:4, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17, 29) which describes a past completed action with continuing effect. In short it speaks of the permanent effect of Christ's resurrection! For example the Risen Lord tells John "(I am - Rev 1:17) the living One; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades." (Rev 1:18) "Closer study shows that egeirō, especially in the passive, is used predominantly for what happened at Easter, [that is,] the wakening of the Crucified to life, while anistemi and anastasis refer more especially to the recall to life of people during the earthly ministry of Jesus and to the eschatological and universal resurrection.” (NIDNTT)

Go ahead(4254proago from pro = before + ago = go) means to go before. Transitively (BDAG = to take or lead from one position to another by taking charge) = to lead forward, lead or bring out (Ac 12:6; 16:30; 17:5; 25:26)  Intransitively (BDAG =  to move ahead or in front of) = to go before, lead the way, precede either (a) in space Mt 2:9; Mk 11:9; walk ahead of Mk 10:32 or (b) in time go or come before (Mt 14:22; Mk 6:45; 14:28; 1 Ti 1:18; 5:24; Heb 7:18; get in before Mt 21:31)

Henry Blackaby - Your Lord Precedes You

       “But after I have been resurrected, I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”—Mark 14:28

God never sends you into a situation alone. He always goes before His children, as He did with the children of Israel when He led them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. You do not serve as His advance troops in a foreign and hostile situation. He always precedes you in any situation you encounter. God is never caught by surprise by your experience; He has already been there. He is prepared to meet every need because He has gone before you and knows exactly what you will need for your pilgrimage (Deut. 31:8).

Not only does God go before you, but He also stands beside you and behind you, to provide protection and comfort (Ps. 139:7–12). Jesus knew His disciples would be totally bewildered by His crucifixion, so He assured them in advance that no matter what happened, no matter where they went, they could go in confidence that He had already gone before them. Paul, too, experienced this assurance (Acts 18:9; 23:11). In the most bewildering circumstances, his Lord was there!

If you are going through a difficult or confusing time, know that your Lord has gone before you and He is present with you. He is fully aware of what you are facing, and He is actively responding to your need. There is nowhere you can go that you will not find Christ waiting for you to join Him. Even when you face death, you can be assured that He has gone before you in triumph. As a child of God, rest in the knowledge that your Savior preceded you, and He will walk with you through each experience of your life.

Mark 14:29  But Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not."

Related Passages: 

Matthew 26:33 But Peter said to Him, “Even though all may fall away because of You, I will never fall away.” 

Luke 22:33+ But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 

John 13:36 Simon Peter *said to Him, “Lord, where are You going?” Jesus answered, “Where I go, you cannot follow Me now; but you will follow later.” 37 Peter *said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 


Bravado is a show of bravery or defiance, often in order to make a false impression or mislead someone. It is an an ostentatious display of courage.

But - Term of contrast. Open mouth, insert foot Peter! 

Peter said to Him, "Even though all may fall away, yet I will not." -  John adds "“Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.”  (Jn 13:37) Luke 22:33+ adds his declaration of allegiance “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” Peter makes a seemingly bold declaration of allegiance and ends it with the literal words "not I" where "not" is ouk which signifies absolute negation. He is saying in effect there is no possible way this will happen to him. 

Hiebert - Although there was genuine love for Christ behind his protest, it revealed his sad ignorance of his own weakness. With his boast, Peter arrogantly elevated himself above the other disciples.“This is one of the most unfavorable specimens on record of the dark or weak side of this great apostle’s character, because it exhibits, not mere self-sufficiency and overweening self-reliance, but an arrogant estimate of his own strength in comparison with others, particularly with his brethren and associates in the apostolic office.” Jesus seems to make reference to this claim in John 21:15, “Lovest thou me more than these?” (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Fall away (stumble; take offense) (4624)(skandalizo

Chambers - Peter did not wait on God, he forecast in his mind where the test would come, and the test came where he did not expect it. “I will lay down my life for Thy sake.” Peter’s declaration was honest but ignorant. “Jesus answered him…The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied Me thrice.” This was said with a deeper knowledge of Peter than Peter had of himself. He could not follow Jesus because he did not know himself, of what he was capable. Natural devotion may be all very well to attract us to Jesus, to make us feel His fascination, but it will never make us disciples. Natural devotion will always deny Jesus somewhere or other.

 “Never run before God’s guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Whenever there is doubt—don’t.”
-- Oswald Chambers

Rod Mattoon - Peter would deny the Lord before the cock would crow. The Jewish people in that day divided the night into four parts:

  • * Evening, from six to nine
  • * Midnight, nine to twelve
  • * The Cock crow, twelve to three
  • * The Morning, three to six.

The third period gained its name from the fact that roosters began to crow about the end of that period and continued to crow periodically until after daybreak. By the time Jesus and the disciples reached the Mount of Olives it was probably near midnight. Jesus was therefore predicting that, within a very few hours, Peter would desert the Lord and then deny Him three times—before three in the morning, when a cock would normally begin to crow. There would be denial before dawn and failure before first light. In future verses, we find this is what happened. His pride led to his fall. It will destroy you, too, if you are not careful.

IMPULSIVE - There was nothing either of the nature of impulse or of cold-bloodedness about Our Lord, but only a calm strength that never got into panic. Most of us develop our Christianity along the line of our temperament, not along the line of God. Impulse is a trait in natural life, but Our Lord always ignores it, because it hinders the development of the life of a disciple. Watch how the Spirit of God checks impulse, His checks bring a rush of self-conscious foolishness which makes us instantly want to vindicate ourselves. Impulse is all right in a child, but it is disastrous in a man or woman; an impulsive man is always a petted man. Impulse has to be trained into intuition by discipline.

Discipleship is built entirely on the supernatural grace of God. Walking on the water is easy to impulsive pluck, but walking on dry land as a disciple of Jesus Christ is a different thing. Peter walked on the water to go to Jesus, but he followed Him afar off on the land. We do not need the grace of God to stand crises, human nature and pride are sufficient, we can face the strain magnificently; but it does require the supernatural grace of God to live twenty-four hours in every day as a saint, to go through drudgery as a disciple, to live an ordinary, unobserved, ignored existence as a disciple of Jesus. It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes. (Chambers)

The two paragraphs today both teach us about how God removes our impulsiveness. First, He “checks” our impulsiveness, which at first makes us feel foolish and defensive but in the end turns our impulsiveness into intuition. Second, He gives us drudgery and then gives us His supernatural grace to get us through.

Has God disciplined the impulsiveness out of you yet? Or are you still following at a distance, as Peter did in Mark 14:54? Ask God for Jesus’ calm strength so you can overcome drudgery and be His disciple!

Did the Holy Spirit point out your impulsiveness? How did you feel? Did you change?
Are you spoiled? Who knows your spoiled side? How would they say to fix this side?
Finish this prayer: “God, I need your grace to get through the next twenty-four hours. For me, the ‘dry land’ of drudgery is . . .”(Jed Macosko)


And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee. Take away this cup from Me; neverthe¬less, not what I will, but what Thou wilt. Mark 14:36

Years ago a minister was called to the home of a widow whose teenage daughter was the apple of her eye. She told the preacher that at the age of 3 the girl had been very ill, and the doctors said she would die. The mother admitted that she had accused God of cruelty and had prayed that He spare her daughter. She told Him she could never trust Him again if He did not do as she asked. God granted her request, in spite of what the doctors had said. For the next 13 years, she was her mother's pride and joy. But then she began to associate with bad companions. At the age of 17 she got into real trouble and broke her mother's heart. The tragic end of the story was told to the minister by that weeping woman when he arrived at her home that day. "My Janie is dead! She took her own life last night, and I found her in her room this morning." After several minutes of convulsive sobbing, she concluded, "0 Pastor, how I wish God had taken her when she was 3 years old! How I wish I had yielded to God's will and not insisted on having my own way!"

For ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. James 4:15+

When John Henry Jowett was a young man, he was so intent on pursuing a law career that he didn't consult the Lord about his vocation. One day he met a former Sunday school teacher, who asked him what he was going to do with his many talents. Jowett replied that he was studying to be a lawyer. Disappointed, his friend said, "I've prayed for years that you'd go into the ministry." This startled the brilliant young student and set him to thinking. Later Jowett wrote, "I then sought God's will in prayer and reverently obeyed His call. Now, after 35 years in His service, I can say that I've never regretted my choice."

For Further Study: Matthew 12:50; John 6:38-40; Romans 12:1,2; Hebrews 13:20,21; James 4:13-17.

PETER’ S FALL MARK 14 Downward steps—James Smith in Handfuls of Purpose

  1. Self-confidence, Mark 14:29.
  2. Proud Boasting, Mark 14:31.
  3. Unwatchfulness, Mark 14:37.
  4. Cowardliness,Mark 14:50–54.
  5. Ungodly Company, Mark 14:54.
  6. Denying the Lord Mark 14:71.
  7. Weeping, Mark 14:72.

    “Speak gently to an erring one,
    E’en if a deed of shame be done;
    We see the deed and instant blame,
    But not how hard it is to tame
    A heart of sin that has not died,
    A rebel will unsanctified.”

Backsliding is a process (See article on Backsliding). Eve first saw, then desired, then took, then eat before she gave to Adam. Falling away out of the company and fellowship of Christ is the result of an inward disease preying upon the vitals of our spiritual being. That disease is self-will. Let us follow Peter in his downgrade march step by step. There was—

1. Self-confidence. Peter said, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I” (v. 29). The “I” here is very self-assertive, comparing himself with the others he believes himself more trustworthy than any. Yet it was written that “He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool” (Prov. 28:26). “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:12).

2. Proud boasting. “If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise” (v. 31). So said they all, but Peter spoke vehemently. Peter was as yet unbelieving and ignorant of his own weakness. Had not the Lord said unto him, “Whither I go ye cannot follow Me now?” (John 13:36). All self-boasting is a contradiction to His Word.

3. Unwatchfulness. He said unto Peter, “Simon, sleepest thou?” (v. 37). Pride and self-confidence are sure to lead to unwatchfulness. It is the consciously weak ones who lean hard. Sleepy souls are easily tempted (v. 38). By his sleep he became insensible to the sufferings of Christ. The next step down is—

4. Ashamedness. “Peter followed Him afar off” (v. 54). Jesus is not so popular now with the multitude. Peter follows; but far enough off as not to be identified with Him. A professing Christian is indeed afar off when he is ashamed of Him and His Word. At this stage the Word of God is neglected, prayer given up, and the company of those who testify for Christ forsaken.

5. Worldliness. “Peter sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire” (v. 54). Having fallen out of company with Christ, he now finds his company among those who know him not, and warms himself at the enemy’s fire. While the prodigal was spending his all in the far country he was just seeking to warm himself with the coals of the enemy’s fire. This is what the backslider is doing in seeking to find pleasure and comfort in the ways and things of the ungodly. A Christian must be cold indeed when he turns to the crackling thorns of worldly delights for heart warmth.

6. Denial. While he was warming himself he was charged with having been with Jesus. But he denied, saying, “I know not” (vs. 67, 68). When a man has gone the length of finding warmth among the Lord’s enemies we are prepared for the next sad step—denial. This is often done, if not by lip yet by wicked works. The Lord has uttered a solemn warning to such in Matthew 10:33.

7. Recklessness. “He began to curse and to swear saying, I know not this Man” (v. 71). He had said, “Though all shall be offended, yet will not I,” yet he becomes more easily offended than any, and now staggers into the ditch of open profanity. If a backslider be not restored before he goes the length of shameless lip denial the likelihood is that he will soon be found in the ranks of the reckless, the drunken, or some other open sin.
8. Repentance. Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, and when he thought thereon he wept (v. 72). The Lord had not prayed for Judas that his faith fail not, and he went out and hanged himself. It was when the prodigal son thought of his father’s house that he said, “I will arise and go to my father.” It is usually by some word of Christ that the backslider is brought to think of his ways, and to weep the bitter tears of repentance.

From the chart below we can make several observations regarding the timing of the events at the Last Supper which was described in the Synoptic Gospels but not in John's Gospel. First, note that the betrayal is announced in all 4 Gospel accounts. Second, note that both Matthew and Mark place Jesus' announcement of a betrayer in their midst before His institution of the Lord's Supper. Luke places the disclosure of the betrayer after the institution of the Lord's Supper. Third, note that Luke's account has three discussions not in Matthew or Mark. Finally, John's Gospel makes no specific mention of the institution of the Lord's Supper, but includes the upper room discourse not present in any of the synoptic Gospels. As discussed below, most commentaries feel that Judas left the Passover meal before the Lord instituted the Lord's supper and before He gave them the important teaching in John 13-16. Stated another way according to Matthew and Mark, the betrayal announcement came between the two suppers and so is considered to be chronologically out of place in Luke. Thus the chronology of these events can be somewhat confusing if one relies solely on Luke's account which discusses the betrayal after the institution of the Lord's Supper. Clearly, it is almost unthinkable that Judas would have shared in the precious truth of the Lord's Supper, which restricted to those who are genuine believers in Jesus. To be given the morsel by the host during  the Passover meal was to be singled out for special honor and so Jesus gave Judas a chance when He bestowed  this honor on Judas by dipping a morsel of bread and giving it to him. (John 13:26)



Matthew 26:21-25

Betrayal Announced

Matthew 26:26-29

Lord's Supper Instituted


Mark 14:18-21

Betrayal Announced

Mark 14:22-25

Lord's Supper Instituted


Luke 22:19-20

Lord's Supper Instituted

Luke 22:21-23

Betrayal Announced

Luke 22:24-30

Disciples Argue over Who is Greatest
NOT IN Matthew or Mark

Luke 22:31-35

Jesus' Prophecy of Peter's Denial
NOT IN Matthew or Mark

Luke 22:36-38

Jesus Talks of Swords
NOT IN Matthew or Mark

John 13:1-16

Jesus' Example Washing Feet 

John 13:17-30

Betrayal Announced
More Detail than Synoptic Gospels

John 13-16

of Lord's Supper

Mark 14:30  And Jesus said to him, "Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times."

Related Passages: 

Matthew 26:34 Jesus said to him, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times.” 35 Peter *said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.

Luke 22:34+ And He said, “I say to you, Peter, the   rooster will not crow today until you have denied three times that you know Me.” 

John 13:38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.


Luke's version gives us some background not found in Mark. Before predicting Peter's denial Jesus had declared to him "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded [permission] (exaiteo) to sift (exaiteo) you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Lk 22:31-32+)

And Jesus said to him, "Truly (amen ) I say to you - This is the fourth and last "amen" statement in Mark 14 (Mk 14:9, 18, 25, 30), which Jesus uses to add a note of solemnity and authority to the "Petrine Prophecy" He is about to declare, once again showing His divine omniscience not only regarding Peter's heart but the rooster's crows! 

That this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times." - Jesus in essence calls Peter's declaration a lie! Jesus predicts Peter's denial and even gives the timing of His denial! Peter's failure would happen in the next few hours, before the night was over, because roosters typically crow at dawn's first light. Fitzmyer catches the sense of the prophecy – Peter’s ‘triple denial will come so quickly that a cock will not even be able to crow twice.' Play compilation of rooster's crowing (far more than 3 times). Notice that while all 11 would desert Jesus, Jesus makes it clear that Peter will not only desert Him but also deny Him! Jesus did not use the usual verb for deny (arneomai), but chose a very strong verb (aparneomai) that signifies utter and complete denial! All 4 Gospels record the fulfillment of Jesus "Petrine Prophecy." .

Yes Peter would deny Jesus but He would return (Read Acts 2:1-4, 14-41+). This event serves as living proof of the indestructible power of the saving faith that God graciously grants to His children! God is able to keep saved those He saves!

J C Ryle on the improbability of Peter's denial - This, be it remembered, was a very remarkable prediction, and a striking evidence of our Lord’s foreknewledge. That Peter should deny his Master at all, that he should actually deny Him that very night after receiving the Lord’s Supper,—that he should deny Him alter plain warnings, and after strong protestations that he would rather die,—and that he should deny his Master three times,—were all most improbable events. Yet they all took place!

Deny (533)(aparneomai from apó = from + arneomai = to deny, refuse) means to deny, to refuse to recognize or acknowledge. It is a strengthened form of arneomai and thus mean to deny utterly (to completely deny) as used in this context of Peter denying any connection with Jesus (Mt 26:34, 35, 75, Mk 14:30, 31, 72, Lk 22:34, 22:62).

THOUGHT- What is amazing is Peter knew this prophecy about his denial and yet was unable to keep it from being fulfilled! You would have thought after the first denial, Peter would have recalled the prophecy and been alert for two more denials. Clearly Peter's fear of men kicked into gear and stimulated a fleshly response. In one sense, we should not be surprised at Peter's denial. We have all had situations where we knew the truth and yet failed to act on the truth, instead acting in a fleshly manner. 

Related Resources:

Illustration - A shipwrecked man managed to reach an uninhabited island. There, to protect himself against the elements and to safeguard the few possessions he had salvaged, he painstakingly built a little hut from which he constantly and prayerfully scanned the horizon for the approach of a ship. Returning one evening after a search for food, he was terrified to find the hut completely enveloped in flames. Yet by divine mercy this hard affliction was changed into a mighty advantage. Early the following morning he awoke to find a ship anchored off the island. When the captain stepped ashore, he explained, "We saw your smoke signal and came." Everything the marooned man owned had to be destroyed before he could be rescued. The trials and adversities of life are never pleasant, but it in them that we learn the secrets of dependence, of grace, of hope and of His presence. None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and molds us into His image. Just as metal is placed in a furnace and heated to a white hot state so the dross can be removed, God allows us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives. Of course, the most difficult of the adversities we face is that which comes from sin and the attack of the devil. When we are forced to enter that furnace, the potential for pain is greatest....This passage lets us know that we do not have to fail in the attacks of life. We do not have to crawl away in defeat, never to be heard from again. I want to show you that anyone can endure the trials, tests and adversities of life. I want to show you that even if you have failed, you can still rise from the ashes and salvage what Satan has attempted to destroy. I want to share, from this passage, some Help For Sifted Saints.  (Alan Carr)

Rod Mattoon The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy records a true story that illustrates the destructiveness of overconfidence and pride. During a 1923 training exercise, a naval destroyer called the USS Delphy led a flotilla of seven vessels down the California coast. The USS Delphy was captained by Lieutenant Commander Donald T. Hunter, an experienced navigator and instructor at the Naval Academy.

Without warning, about halfway on their training mission, a thick blanket of fog descended on the ships like a thick white veil. Hunter said it looked like pea soup and it prevented him from getting an accurate evaluation of his location. Contrary to Hunter's calculations, the lead ship was headed right into Devil's Jaw, which was a series of rocky outcroppings that were a scant two miles off the California coast near Santa Barbara. The dangerous area didn't stop Hunter from plowing ahead. This was not surprising, for Hunter was known for his self-confident decisiveness and what others called his "magic infallibility" to guide his ship.

Traveling at 20 knots (23 mph), suddenly the USS Delphy smashed broadside into the rocky Point Arguello shoreline. The force of the massive collision of welded steel and jagged rock split the hull of the USS Delphy in half. One by one, the other destroyers followed the Delphy's lead and smashed into the rocks. Twenty-three naval men died.

The accident resulted in the loss of all seven ships. It still stands as one of the worst peacetime naval disasters in history. Why? Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before the fall. Our pride leads to a forecast for failure.

The Rooster’s Crow  - Robert Morgan

I’ve often thought of Peter when noticing how easily men cry in my office. In my experience, more men than women have broken down during counseling sessions, and often because of guilt. The husband who ruined his marriage. The father whose temper drove away his son. The alcoholic who relapsed.

When the eyes of Jesus scorch a man, when he hears the rooster’s crow and weeps bitterly, determined to change, he is then at last beyond regret, beyond remorse, to a level of sorrow called repentance. Two biblical characters, I’ve found, offer the best advice to men at such junctions.

Peter teaches God-forgiveness. Though Peter denied Jesus three times, the Lord appeared to him privately following the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:5), with a view of restoring him (Luke 22:32). We have no record of the details of that meeting, but Peter undoubtedly confessed his sin in utter self-contempt and contrition; and there he vividly learned the power of the “precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). Later by the sea, Jesus drew a three-fold affirmation of love from his wounded disciple (John 21:15–19, and the spiritual restoration was deepened.

But another layer of healing is necessary, for it is often easier to be forgiven by God than to forgive oneself. Here, the Old Testament hero Joseph helps us. Just as Jesus was betrayed by Peter, Joseph was betrayed by his own brothers who sold him into slavery. But years later, he said to them: “Do not be grieved or angry with yourselves because you sold me here; for God sent me before you to preserve life” (Genesis 45:5). In other words, “I’ve forgiven you. Now stop beating yourselves up over this. Don’t wallow in it any longer. Put it behind you, for God, who overrules all, has used even this sin for good.”

Our faults and failures are damning matters; but when we kneel before the risen Christ, confessing our sins, His blood forgives us thoroughly; and we rise from our knees to forgive ourselves and to get on with the Master’s business.

When Critics Ask - Norman Geisler - MATTHEW 26:34 (cf. Mark 14:30)—When Peter denied Christ, did the rooster crow once or twice?

PROBLEM: Matthew and John (13:38) say before the rooster crows once, Peter will have denied the Lord three times. But Mark affirms that before the rooster crows twice Peter will deny Christ three times. Which account is right?

SOLUTION: There is no contradiction between the two accounts because, given the correctness of the text, Matthew and John do not expressly state how many times the rooster will crow. They simply say Peter will deny Christ three times “before the rooster crows,” but they do not say how many times it will crow. Mark may simply be more specific, affirming exactly how many times the rooster would crow.
  It is also possible that different accounts are due to an early copyist error in Mark, that resulted in the insertion of “two” in early manuscripts (at Mark 14:30 and 72). This would explain why some important manuscripts of Mark mention only one crowing, just like Matthew and John, and why “two” appears at different places in some manuscripts.

Mark 14:31  But Peter kept saying insistently, "Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!" And they all were saying the same thing also.

  • kept saying: 2Ki 8:13 Job 40:4,5 Ps 30:6 Pr 16:18 18:24 29:23 Jer 10:23 Jer 17:9 
  • saying the same thing: Ex 19:8 De 5:27-29 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages: 

Matthew 26:35 Peter *said to Him, “Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You.” All the disciples said the same thing too.

Luke 22:33+ But he said to Him, “Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” 

John 13:37 Peter *said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” 


But - Term of contrast. What a contrast it is! Peter denies that he will deny Jesus! 

Peter kept saying insistently -Kept saying is in the imperfect tense picturing Peter as repeatedly saying something like "Not me Lord. I would never deny You. No not me!" Insistently (ekperissos) means excessively, vehemently, emphatically. It gives us a vivid picture of Peter going beyond normal limits to rule out that he would ever deny Jesus. What do they say? Talk is cheap. Put your actions where your mouth is! Peter would be unable to back up his words when the fire of affliction began to burn hotter and closer! 

THOUGHT - Here we see the first stage of Peter's failure - SELF CONFIDENCE. He felt he was too loyal and too strong to deny his Lord. Yet the human heart is "deceitful above al1 things and desperately wicked" (Jer 17:9), and is a most faithless bedfellow. Never are we in greater danger of falling than when we are confident in our ability to stand (1 Cor 10:12). That is why we must ever cultivate a spirit of desperate dependence upon the power of God for everyday living (John 15:4-5). (Dwight Edwards)

Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You! - Not only did Jesus' prophecy of Peter's triple denial not damper his enthusiasm, it only fueled Peter's bravado so that now he not only will not deny Jesus, he will die for Jesus! Will not is a strong double negative (ou me - absolutely will not!) That sounds like he is very committed but he will soon be tested. Luke 22:33+ has "Lord, with You I am ready to go both to prison and to death!” he brazenly manifest his typical overconfident bravado (swaggering show of courage). Peter was sincere but would prove sincerely wrong. Peter underestimated the weakness of his flesh (something we all frequently do when tempted).

Hiebert - Peter’s IF implies expectancy. He is willing to admit that his joint death with Jesus may be necessary. But he will not allow the fear of death to induce him to deny Jesus. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Plummer writes that "in his vehemence he does not see that he is charging Christ with uttering false predictions!"

J C Ryle - This profession was the language of a self-confident, inexperienced disciple who had not yet found out the weakness of his own faith, and the deceitfulness of his own heart. Men little know what they will do, till the time of temptation actually comes. “Is thy servant a dog,” said Hazael, “that he should do this great thing?” (2 Kings 8:13.)

THOUGHT - I have heard saints say "I am never tempted to _____ sin." While I am glad they can say that, they need to be aware that the only reason they have been able to resist that sin is because of God's provision of His Spirit and His grace and not their self-energized self-control! It is a dangerous thing in Christianity to say "I would never commit that sin." Beloved, as Peter would soon prove, when God removes His hedge of protection and gives our depraved sin nature full sway, we are capable of virtually any sin, whether "respectable" or "heinous!" Including even denying our Lord Jesus Christ! Simon should have prayed Ps 139:23, 24+, a good prayer for all disciples to pray from time to time because sin is so deceitful we may not even be aware of it! 

And they all were saying the same thing also - All 10 give their hearty "Amen" to Peter's firm denial of defection. While Jesus did not predict the other 10 would deny Him three times, He had predicted they would be scattered. Saying (lego) is in the imperfect tense which pictures them over and over denying they would depart and affirming they would remain loyal until "death do us part!" It is interesting that all 11 by saying they would remain loyal in effect implied Jesus had finally pronounced an inaccurate prophecy! But in only a few hours Jesus' prophecy was proven to absolutely "spot on." (See Mk 14:50, Mark 14:72). 

THOUGHT - Although we would all like to think we are different, the truth is we are all a lot like Peter and the rest of the disciples. We would have denied and departed rather than risk death! We all make all types of claims and promises to God but we cannot keep – “I will follow Christ anywhere!” I will never commit that sin again Lord, I promise! Look at God’s covenant people in OT times pledging to keep all of God’s laws – how did that turn out?

John MacArthur - Since Peter had witnessed firsthand countless examples of Christ’s limitless power, he was sure he could withstand anything, as long as Jesus was there. That confidence was revealed a few hours later in Gethsemane, when he fearlessly took on the force sent to arrest Jesus. Confident in his Lord’s power to rescue him, Peter evidently intended to hack his way through the entire detachment, if necessary, beginning with the high priest’s slave (Lk 22:50+).Shortly afterward, however, away from Christ’s presence in the high priest’s courtyard, Peter would cringe in cowardly fear and deny his Lord (Luke 22:54-62) (Ibid)

Warren Wiersbe - Peter's self-confident boasting is a warning to us that none of us really knows his own heart (Jer. 17:9) and that we can fail in the point of our greatest strength. Abraham's greatest strength was his faith, and yet his faith failed him when he went down to Egypt and lied about Sarah (Ge 12:10-13:4). Moses' strength was in his meekness (Nu 12:3), yet he lost his temper, spoke rashly with his lips, and was not allowed to enter Canaan (Nu 20). Peter was a brave man, but his courage failed him and he denied his Lord three times. "Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall" (1 Cor 10:12, NKJV). (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Guzik - Relying on how you feel at the moment is not a stable foundation. Peter felt brave at the moment, but would soon be intimidated before a humble servant girl, and deny to her that he even knew Jesus.ii. “It is sometimes easier to bear a great load for Christ than a small one. Some of us could be martyrs at the stake more easily that confessors among sneering neighbors.” (Maclaren)

Jon Courson - Did Peter’s faith fail? No. He believed in the Lord, even though he ended up denying the Lord. Nor did his love fail. What failed? His hope. When he saw Jesus being led away in ropes, being brought to Caiaphas, his hope was lost. Maybe you’re in Peter’s sandals. You believe in the Lord. You have a definite love for the Lord. But your hope has been diminished because you can’t figure out how what’s happening to you could possibly work for good. (ILLUSTRATIONA number of years ago, a study was done on Norwegian wharf rats. After being thrown in the open water, one group paddled for about three and a half minutes before drowning. A second group was thrown in, but plucked out right before they drowned. The next day, when the rats were thrown back into the water, scientists were astounded to find them able to tread water for forty-five minutes or more—evidently because they were hoping they would be rescued as they were the previous day.  The same is true with us. If we don’t have hope that we’ll be rescued, we sink. But if we have hope that a rescue is coming, we can tread water through the hard times. I don’t think it is at all coincidental that the doctrine of the Rapture is called the blessed hope (Titus 2:13) because, although sometimes we feel we’re in a rat race and going under quickly, we know today could be the glorious day of the Lord’s return.


  • "Peter replied,... 'I am ready.'" Well, he was not.
  • God's command is "Be ready" (Matt. 24:44).
  • The believer's prayer should be "Make me ready." Ps. 119:36.

Rod Mattoon - Overconfidence says.....

* I don't need to pray about it. (If Joshua had prayed, he would have realized there was a problem in the camp.)

* I don't need to read the Bible each day or study God's Word.

* I don't need God's help.

* I don't need godly counsel.

* I'll do it my way. I don't need anyone's help or advice.

* I don't need my husband, my wife, or my parents.

* I don't need to give 100% or do my best. I'll just get by!

Mark 14:32  They came to a place named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, "Sit here until I have prayed."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:36 Then Jesus *came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and *said to His disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 

Luke 22:39+ And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him.

John 18:1-2  When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples. 2 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.


I think Daniel Akin is "spot on" when he says "These verses constitute sacred, holy ground. We will never know the depths of agony and pain our Savior endured that night alone for love of sinners like us." And that thought makes grace even that much more amazing! 

Paul AppleHistorical present tense used 9 times in this paragraph (Mark 14:32-34) – inserts the readers into the narrative Maybe a little before midnight – He will be hanging on the cross in about 12 hours

James Edwards -  According to Mark, the decision to submit to the Father’s will causes Jesus greater internal suffering than the physical crucifixion on Golgotha. The cross (8:34) is a matter of the heart before it is a matter of the hand, a matter of the will before it is an empirical reality. (The Gospel according to Mark Pillar NTC Mark)

They came (historical present - "coming") to a place named Gethsemane - Hiebert note that "the historical present, graphically carries the reader back to the scene. (The historical-present tense occurs nine times in this paragraph.)" Gethsemane means "oil press" or "olive press" was apropos name considering the fact that Jesus would be pressed hard by thoughts of the impending crucifixion. We don't know exactly what time of the night it was, but very likely it was close to midnight. The Jewish regulations called for the Passover meal to be consumed before midnight. It would have taken them some time to leave the city and make their way up the Mount.

Guzik on Gethsemane - It was a place where olives from the neighborhood were crushed for their oil. So too, the Son of God would be crushed here.

The modern location of this garden is uncertain so that "Today there is a Latin (Roman Catholic), Armenian, Greek Orthodox, and Russian Orthodox Gethsemane.” (Brooks)

Wiersbe asks "But why a Garden? Human history began in a Garden (Gen. 2:7-25) and so did human sin (Gen. 3). For the redeemed, the whole story will climax in a "garden city" where there will be no sin (Rev. 21:1-22:7). But between the Garden where man failed and the Garden where God reigns is Gethsemane, the Garden where Jesus accepted the cup from the Father's hand." (Bible Exposition Commentary)

William Barclay on the Garden of Gethsemane - The space within Jerusalem was so limited that there was no room for gardens. Many well-to-do people, therefore, had private gardens out on the Mount of Olives. Some wealthy friend had given Jesus the privilege of using such a garden, and it was there that Jesus went to fight his lonely battle.

And He said to His disciples (mathetes) - He is addressing Peter, James and John (the latter being the two sons of Zebedee) who accompanied Jesus into the actual olive grove. The other 8 disciples apparently remained at the entrance or gate leading into the garden. As MacArthur says "It is likely that the garden was fenced or walled and had an entrance, perhaps even a gate."

James Edwards - All three have earlier crowed of their mettle (Peter, 14:29–31; James and John, 10:38–39; 14:31); they should be exactly the companions Jesus needs in the crisis before him.  (The Gospel according to Markv Pillar NTC Mark)

Grassmick - Though Satan is not mentioned directly, he was no doubt present, giving the event the character of a temptation scene (cf. 1:12–13). The Synoptics give five renderings of Jesus’ prayer, all similar but with minor variations. Jesus probably repeated the same request in different ways (cf. 14:37, 39). (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Sit here until I have prayed - Sit is a command in the aorist imperative calling for immediate attention/obedience! Notice that Jesus did not command them "Sleep here," but "Sit here!" Sadly, they proceeded to disobey His clear command and were soon asleep (and how one could fall asleep in light of several incredible declarations by Jesus at the Last Supper is almost incomprehensible). 

Pray (4336)(proseuchomai) is used only of prayer directed consciously to God, with a definite aim. Notice this verb has the prefixed preposition pros which means towards and adds the idea of definiteness of one's focus, a conscious direction of one’s prayer as directed to God, and a consciousness on the part of the one praying, of God’s presence and attention to our pleas. Uses in Mark- note 4x in Mark 14 = a key word in this chapter!  Mk. 1:35; Mk. 6:46; Mk. 11:24; Mk. 11:25; Mk. 12:40; Mk. 13:18; Mk. 14:32; Mk. 14:35; Mk. 14:38; Mk. 14:39

“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.” Mark 14:32

  1.      Gethsemane—The Crossroad of Prayer
  2.      Gethsemane—The Crossroad of Betrayal
  3.      Gethsemane—The Crossroad of God’s Will

Spurgeon - My Sermon Notes -   Mark 14:32—“And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane.”

Our Lord left the table of happy fellowship, and passed over the brook Kedron, so associated with the sorrows of David. 2 Sam. 15:23.
He then entered into the garden, named Gethsemane, not to hide himself from death, but to prepare for it by a season of special prayer.
Gethsemane was our Lord’s place of secret prayer. John 18:1, 2.
If he resorted to his closet in the hour of trial, we need to do so far more.
In his solitary supplication he was oppressed with a great grief, and overwhelmed with a terrible anguish.
It was a killing change from the cheerful communion of the Supper to the lone agony of the garden.
Let us think with great solemnity of the olive garden where the Saviour sweat as it were great drops of blood.

            1.      Showed his serenity of mind, and his courage.
         He goes to his usual place of secret prayer.
         He goes there though Judas knew the place.
            2.      Manifested his wisdom.
         Holy memories there aided his faith.
         Deep solitude was suitable for his prayers and cries.
         Congenial gloom fitted his exceeding sorrow.
            3.      Bequeathed us lessons.
         In a garden, Paradise was lost and won.
         In Gethsemane, the olive-press, our Lord himself was crushed.
         In our griefs, let us retreat to our God in secret.
         In our special prayers, let us not be ashamed to let them be known to our choicer friends, for Jesus took his disciples with him to his secret devotions in Gethsemane.

Every item is worthy of attention and imitation.
            1.      He took all due precautions for others.
         He would not have his disciples surprised, and therefore bade them watch. So should we care for others in our own extremity. The intensity of his intercourse with God did not cause him to forget one of his companions.
            2.      He solicited the sympathy of friends.
         We may not despise this; though, like our Lord, we shall prove the feebleness of it, and cry, “Could ye not watch with me?”
            3.      He prayed and wrestled with God.
         In lowliest posture and manner. See verse 35.
         In piteous repetition of his cry. See verses 36 and 39.
         In awful agony of spirit even to a bloody sweat. Luke 22:44.
         In full and true submission. Matt. 26:42, 44.
            4.      He again and again sought human sympathy, but made excuse for his friends when they failed him. See verse 38. We ought not to be soured in spirit even when we are bitterly disappointed.
            5.      He returned to his God, and poured out his soul in strong crying and tears, until he was heard in that he feared. Heb. 5:7.

            1.      Behold his perfect resignation. He struggles with “if it be possible,” but conquers with “not what I will, but what thou wilt.” He is our example of patience.
            2.      Rejoice in his strong resolve. He had undertaken, and would go through with it. Luke 9:51; 12:50.
            3.      Mark the angelic service rendered. The blood-bestained Sufferer has still all heaven at his call. Matt. 26:53.
            4.      Remember his majestic bearing towards his enemies.
         He meets them bravely. Matt. 26:55.
         He makes them fall. John 18:6.
         He yields himself, but not to force. John 18:8.
         He goes to the cross, and transforms it to a throne.

We, too, may expect our minor Gethsemane.
We shall not be there without a Friend, for he is with us.
We shall conquer by his might, and in his manner.


The late Rev. W. H. Krause, of Dublin, was visiting a lady in a depressed state, “weak, oh, so weak!” She told him that she had been very much troubled in mind that day, because in meditation and prayer she had found it impossible to govern her thoughts, and kept merely going over the same things again and again. “Well, my dear friend,” was his prompt reply, “there is provision in the gospel for that too. Our Lord Jesus Christ, when his soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death, three times prayed, and spoke the same words.” This seasonable application of Scripture was a source of great comfort to her.

      Gethsemane, the olive-press!
      (And why so called let Christians guess.)
      Fit name, fit place, where vengeance strove,
      And griped and grappled hard with love.
Joseph Hart.

“My will, not thine, be done,” turned Paradise into a desert. “Thy will, not mine, be done,” turned the desert into Paradise, and made Gethsemane the gate of heaven.—E. ae Pressensé.

An inscription in a garden in Wales runs thus:—

      “In a garden the first of our race was deceived,
      In a garden the promise of grace he received,
      In a garden was Jesus betrayed to his doom,
      In a garden his body was laid in the tomb.”

There will be no Christian but what will have a Gethsemane, but every praying Christian will find that there is no Gethsemane without its angel.—Thomas Binney.

      The Father heard; and angels, there,
      Sustained the Son of God in prayer,
         In sad Gethsemane;
      He drank the dreadful cup of pain—
      Then rose to life and joy again.

      When storms of sorrow round us sweep,
      And scenes of anguish make us weep;
         To sad Gethsemane
      We’ll look, and see the Saviour there,
      And humbly bow, like Him, in prayer.
S. F. Smith.

“And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.”—What! The Son of God receives help from an angel, who is but his creature? Yes. And we learn thereby to expect help and comfort from simple persons and common things, when God pleases. All strength and comfort come from God, but he makes creatures his ministers to bring it. We should thank both them and him.—Practical Reflections on every verse of the Holy Gospels, by a Clergyman.

There is something in an olive-garden, on a hill-side, which makes it most suitable for prayer and meditation. The shade is solemn, the terraces divide better than distance, the ground is suitable for kneeling upon, and the surroundings are all in accord with holy thoughts. I can hardly tell why it is, but often as I have sat in an olive-garden, I have never been without the sense that it was the place and the hour of prayer—C. H. S.

My Father Is with Me

You will be scattered, each to his own, and will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me. —

John 16:32

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:32-50

A friend struggling with loneliness posted these words on her Facebook page: “It’s not that I feel alone because I have no friends. I have lots of friends. I know that I have people who can hold me and reassure me and talk to me and care for me and think of me. But they can’t be with me all the time—for all time.”

Jesus understands that kind of loneliness. I imagine that during His earthly ministry He saw loneliness in the eyes of lepers and heard it in the voices of the blind. But above all, He must have experienced it when His close friends deserted Him (Mark 14:50).

However, as He foretold the disciples’ desertion, He also confessed His unshaken confidence in His Father’s presence. He said to His disciples: “[You] will leave Me alone. And yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me” (John 16:32). Shortly after Jesus said these words, He took up the cross for us. He made it possible for you and me to have a restored relationship with God and to be a member of His family.

Being humans, we will all experience times of loneliness. But Jesus helps us understand that we always have the presence of the Father with us. God is omnipresent and eternal. Only He can be with us all the time, for all time. By:  Poh Fang Chia (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your promise that You will never leave me or forsake me. When I feel lonely, help me to remember You are always with me.

If you know Jesus, you’ll never walk alone.

Does God Care?

[Jesus] began to be troubled and deeply distressed. Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death.” —Mark 14:33-34

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:32-42

One dreadful year, three of my friends died in quick succession. My experience of the first two deaths did nothing to prepare me for the third. I could do little but cry.

I find it strangely comforting that when Jesus faced pain, He responded much as I do. It comforts me that He cried when His friend Lazarus died (John 11:32-36). That gives a startling clue into how God must have felt about my friends, whom He also loved.

And in the garden the night before His crucifixion, Jesus did not pray, “Oh, Lord, I am so grateful that You have chosen Me to suffer on Your behalf.” No, He experienced sorrow, fear, abandonment, even desperation. Hebrews tells us that Jesus appealed with “vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death” (5:7). But He was not saved from death.

Is it too much to say that Jesus Himself asked the question that haunts us: Does God care? What else can be the meaning of His quotation from that dark psalm: “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Ps. 22:1; Mark 15:34).

Jesus endured in His pain because He knew that His Father is a God of love who can be trusted regardless of how things appear to be. He demonstrated faith that the ultimate answer to the question Does God care? is a resounding Yes! By:  Philip Yancey  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The aching void, the loneliness, And all the thornclad way, To Thee I turn with faith undimmed And ’mid the darkness pray. —O. J. Smith

When we know that God’s hand is in everything, we can leave everything in God’s hand.

Selfless Love

Love suffers long and is kind; love . . . does not seek its own. —1 Corinthians 13:4-5

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:32-42

I don’t like to fish. So I was less than enthusiastic when my son Dan, about 12 at the time, asked me to take him fishing. We woke up early and got out on the lake just before dawn. Dan was excited, but when 10 long minutes passed without a bite I was already bored. So I rearranged a few life preservers, got comfortable, and promptly fell asleep. A little while later we returned home, even though the morning was still young. Needless to say, Dan was disappointed—and I felt guilty!

Peter, James, and John disappointed Jesus when they fell asleep instead of exerting themselves to pray with Him in His hour of great soul agony. Although He showed that He understood their weariness after a long, emotionally draining day, His grief is clearly evident in His words, “Are you still sleeping and resting?” (Mk. 14:41).

By our thoughtlessness and selfishness we often wound family members and close friends. I know a man who hurt his wife deeply when he went hunting with some buddies instead of staying home to comfort her after a miscarriage.

Let’s avoid wounding those we love. Always keep in mind Paul’s words, “Love suffers long and is kind; love . . . does not seek its own” (1 Cor. 13:4-5). By:  Herbert Vander Lugt   (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Our selfish ways can make us blind
So we won't see another's needs;
But when God's love is in our hearts,
We'll act with kind and selfless deeds.

A selfish heart loves for what it can get; a Christlike heart loves for what it can give.

The following chart is from Rod Mattoon - Man was created in the Garden of Eden. In Genesis chapter two, we find a garden of tragedy where the seeds of death were planted. The events that took place in Eden led to the events in Gethsemane, which is the garden of testing where death stalked our Savior and beat at His door.

The Garden of Eden The Garden of Gethsemane

All was delightful.

All was dreadful & despicable.

Adam parleyed with Satan.

The Last Adam, Jesus, prays with the Father.

Adam disobeyed and sinned.

The Savior suffered and obeyed.

Adam is conquered by sin.

Jesus conquered His own will.

Adam took fruit from Eve's hand.

Christ took the cup from His Father's hand.

God sought for Adam.

The Last Adam sought God His Father.

The Self-indulgence of Adam ruined us.

The agonies of the Second Adam restored us.

Adam's attitude, "My will be done."

Jesus' attitude was, "Thy will be done."

Mark 14:33  And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be grieved and distressed.

Luke 22:44+ And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground.

SPURGEON: Do we not perceive how intense must have been the wrestling through which he passed, and will we not hear its voice to us? “Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Heb 12:4. Behold the great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, and sweat even to blood rather than yield to the great tempter of your souls. 


And He took (historical present - "taking") with Him Peter and James and John - Matthew 26:37 identifies the disciples as "Peter and the two sons of Zebedee." Took along (or more literally "taking along") is the verb paralambano which has the prefix "para-" which means by His side and would have been a mark of special favor and privilege. The other 8 would remain on the Mount of Olives and presumably would serve as a sort of outer guard to watch by the gate of the garden for the coming of Judas while the three would be able to share the agony of soul already upon Jesus so as at least to give him some human compassion and sympathy.. These three had been with Jesus at the resurrection of Jairus' daughter (Mk 5:37) and later were with Him on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mk 9:2+) at the height of His glory and now they are with Him in depths of His agony on the Mount of Olives, in the Garden. 

Cranfield writes that “the effect of his taking them with him is actually to make more inescapably clear the fact of his aloneness.” (ED: Espeically in light of their repeated falling asleep).

Luke 22:44+ describes Jesus as "being in agony" the noun agony being agonia (from agón = contest) which gives prominence to the pain and labor of the conflict, in this case surely a spiritual conflict as Satan pressed Jesus harder than ever. Agonia was used to refer to the trembling excitement and anxiety produced by fear or tension before a wrestling match or a fight. 

John makes no mention of the agony - "When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden, in which He entered with His disciples." (John 18:1).

Hiebert - As Jesus walked farther into the garden with the three, a strong agitation swept over Him, visible to them before He spoke. Mark used strong terms to describe His feelings.....Jesus had long foreseen His coming death, but now that the shadow of the actual cross fell upon Him He felt the shuddering horror of the terrible ordeal. “The cause of Jesus’ soretrouble was not physical fear, but the pressure upon His sinless soul of the sin of the world, together with His knowledge of what bearing it involved.” It came with stunning effect. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

And began to be very distressed and troubled - Both Mark's verbs (very distressed and troubled) are in the present tense depicting these reactions/emotions as continually present in Jesus. Mt 26:37 has "to be grieved (lupeo) and distressed (ademoneo)" where the verb lupeo describes a feeling of deep emotional or physical pain or distress, a sense of heaviness, grife or sorrow. 

Very distressed (1568)(ekthambeo from ek = out + thambos =  amazement) means to be quite astonished, greatly amazed, moved to a relatively intense emotional state because of something causing great surprise or perplexity, be very excited. In Mark 14:33 is means be distressed, greatly disturbed, describing Jesus’ deep distress at Gethsemane. In Mk 16:5 it means be frightened or alarmed at seeing sitting in Jesus' empty tomb. Uses 4x all in Mark - Mk. 9:15; Mk. 14:33; Mk. 16:5; Mk. 16:6 and not in Septuagint. 

Troubled ("excessively concerned")  (85) (ademoneo from a derivative of adeo = to be sated to loathing) means to be distressed, deeply troubled or distressed, this intense discomfort being quite plain. Be sorely troubled. Be upset. Be dismayed. Be in anguish. The present tense indicates this was a lingering distress. Ademoneo describes the heavy state of restlessness that results from a time of turmoil or great trauma. 

Robertson - Now Jesus himself feels amazement (ekthambeo) as he directly faces the struggle in the Garden of Gethsemane. He wins the victory over himself in Gethsemane and then he can endure the loss, despising the shame. For the moment he is rather amazed and homesick for heaven. “Long as He had foreseen the Passion, when it came clearly into view its terror exceeded His anticipations” (Swete). “He learned from what he suffered,” (Heb. 5:8) and this new experience enriched the human soul of Jesus.

Mark 14:34  And He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; Remain here and keep watch."

NET  Mark 14:34 He said to them, "My soul is deeply grieved, even to the point of death. Remain here and stay alert."

NLT  Mark 14:34 He told them, "My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

ESV  Mark 14:34 And he said to them, "My soul is very sorrowful, even to death. Remain here and watch."

NIV  Mark 14:34 "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death," he said to them. "Stay here and keep watch."

GNT  Mark 14:34 καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Περίλυπός ἐστιν ἡ ψυχή μου ἕως θανάτου· μείνατε ὧδε καὶ γρηγορεῖτε.

KJV  Mark 14:34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

YLT  Mark 14:34 and he saith to them, 'Exceeding sorrowful is my soul -- to death; remain here, and watch.'

ASV  Mark 14:34 And he saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death: abide ye here, and watch.

CSB  Mark 14:34 Then He said to them, "My soul is swallowed up in sorrow-- to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake."

NKJ  Mark 14:34 Then He said to them, "My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch."

NRS  Mark 14:34 And he said to them, "I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake."

NAB  Mark 14:34 Then he said to them, "My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:38 Then He *said to them, “My soul is deeply grieved, to the point of death; remain here and keep watch with Me.” 

Hebrews 5:7-8+ In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered.


And He said to them, "My soul (psuche - "inner self-conscious life" - Grassmick) is deeply grieved to the point of death (thanatos) - To the point of death describes accurately the depth of His grief, so deep and profound that as one writer said "it threatened to crush out His life."This description ultimately defies human comprehension! 

Guzik - Jesus knew what the Father’s will was; yet He still endured this agony. It was because Jesus was to be a sacrifice for sins, and He wasn’t an unknowing sacrificial animal. Nor was He a victim of circumstances. He resolved willingly to lay down His life.  It was not so much the horror of physical torture that affected Jesus so, but it was the spiritual horror of the cross—of being made sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Ironside - His holy soul shrank from the awfulness of being made sin upon the tree. It was not death, but the divine anger against sin, the imputation to Him of all our iniquities that filled His soul with horror. There was no conflict of wills.” 

James Edwards - “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death echoes the haunting lament of the downcast and dejected soul of Ps 42:6, 12 and Ps 43:5.” And yet, “Nothing in all the Bible compares to Jesus’ agony and anguish in Gethsemane – neither the laments of the Psalms, nor the broken heart of Abraham as he prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac (Ge 22:5), nor David’s grief at the death of his son Absalom (2 Sa. 18:33). Lk 22:44+ even speaks of Jesus’ “sweat falling to the ground like drops of blood....The suffering of Gethsemane left an indelible imprint on the early church (Heb 5:7).” (The Gospel according to Mark Pillar NTC-Mark).

Deeply grieved (very sad) (4036)(perilupos from peri = about + lupe = sorrow, cf study on lupeo) describes one's emotional state as very sad, exceedingly sorrowful, deeply distressed/grieved, or characterized by affliction beyond measure. Used 4x in NT - Mt. 26:38; Mk. 6:26; Mk. 14:34; Lk. 18:23+ = described the deep despair of the rich young ruler.


Remain here and keep watch - Remain is a command in the aorist imperative calling for immediate obedience due to the urgency of the moment. So in one sense they obeyed because they remained there, but the sad part is they the remained asleep (Mk 14:37, 40, 41)! The verb is meno which means to abide with someone. Jesus is calling for these men to "abide" with Him in His time of great agony. We might say  today "Sit tight!" Does this not give us a sense of Jesus' perfect humanity? Keep watch is a command in the present imperative calling for them to continually be on the alert and to maintain an attitude of vigilance. It is interesting to notice that the second verb Jesus chose (gregoreuo) is derived from the verb egeiro which means to wake up, stay awake. Thus the verb gregoreuo is used of mental alertness, the condition of the mind opposite to that which characterizes one mind in sleep. And what did the trio do? They fell asleep three times instead of staying awake and alert. Why would they need to Keep watch? Remember that Judas had departed into the night and Jesus knew he was going to betray Him. The disciples were charged with the duty of keeping watch for the traitor Judas and his evil entourage who would be on their way to arrest Jesus. It is interesting that Jesus did not ask them to pray for Him.

Remain (abide continue, endure, stay) (3306)(meno) in simple terms means to remain in the same place or position over a period of time. It means to reside, stay, live, lodge, tarry or dwell. Menō describes something that remains where it is, continues in a fixed state, or endures. It is worthy noting that the disciples had just heard Jesus repeatedly use "meno" in His upper room discourse in John 13-16 (Jesus used meno 15 times in 10 verses - Jn. 14:10; Jn. 14:17; Jn. 14:25; Jn. 15:4; Jn. 15:5; Jn. 15:6; Jn. 15:7; Jn. 15:9; Jn. 15:10; Jn. 15:16). It follows that their ears should have "peaked up" when He gave them the command to "ABIDE!" 

Keep watch (1127)(gregoreuo from egeiro = to arise, arouse, used 38x of resurrection of Jesus!, e.g. Ro 4:24, 25+) means to be watchful or to refrain from physical sleep. Later gregoreuo came to used in the moral and religious sphere and was used to call for one to be on the alert, in a constant state of readiness and vigilant (alertly watchful especially to avoid danger this word suggesting intense, unremitting, wary watchfulness; keenly alert to or heedful of trouble or danger as others are sleeping or unsuspicious). We are to be be watchful and ready to respond to external influences, focused, alert for the winds of temptation or overt attacks of evil. We are to remained alert lest we be deceived by the devil the deceiver or sin which is deceitful (Heb 3:13). Uses in Mark - Mk. 13:34; Mk. 13:35; Mk. 13:37; Mk. 14:34; Mk. 14:37; Mk. 14:38

Henry Blackaby - A Soul Distressed

       He began to be deeply distressed and horrified.
       Then He said to them, “My soul is swallowed up in sorrow—to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake.”—Mark 14:33b–34

Who can know the depth and intensity of the heart of God? No one could measure His sorrow over an unrepentant sinner or His joy over a spiritual rebel who relinquishes everything to Him. We can begin to understand what is on the heart of God only when He shares His heart with us (Amos 3:7).

Are you aware of the fervent emotions in the soul of your Lord, as He carries the weight of the world? The disciples were unaware of the deep anguish in the heart of Jesus. Yet, He willingly shared His heart with them. The disciples often seemed disoriented to what Jesus was feeling. When He took delight in young children, His disciples attempted to chase them away (Luke 18:15–16). When Jesus had compassion for a woman living in sin, they acted confused (John 4:27). While Jesus wept at the hopelessness of those facing death, His closest friends grieved as if Jesus had no power to raise the dead (John 11:1–44).

You can choose to be alert to the heart of God. As you seek to understand what God is feeling, He may share with you the intensity of His heart. When you are around other people, God may sensitize you to the love He feels for them. When you see others suffering, you may feel the compassion Jesus feels. When sinners return to God in repentance, you may share the Father's joy. You will react to evil the way Jesus reacts. If you will remain alert in prayer, Jesus will share His heart with you.

Warren Wiersbe - Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.” MARK 14:34

Tour guides in Jerusalem may show you three different sites on the Mount of Olives where Jesus met with his disciples. Which one, if any, is the genuine one? That is not important. We are not interested in geography but theology. A better question is: What was Jesus doing there and what does it mean to the church today? Three images in the text help to answer those questions.

The first image is that of a garden. Jesus was on his way to Calvary to die for the sins of the world, and sin first entered the human race in a garden (Gen. 3). God had provided our first parents with everything they needed for life and happiness; all they had to do was obey his will. But the first Adam disobeyed God and plunged the human race into sin and death, while the last Adam, Jesus Christ, was “obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:8; 1 Cor. 15:45). Jesus was buried in a tomb in a garden, not far from where he died (John 19:41–42).
But the garden where he prayed was called “Gethsemane,” which means “olive press,” and that speaks of suffering. “My heart is breaking, it almost kills me,” reads the Charles B. Williams translation of Mark 14:34. Heaven is a “garden city,” but had Jesus not experienced Gethsemane and Calvary, we would have no access to heaven.

This leads us to the second image—the cup. In Scripture, drinking from a cup means accepting what has been ordained for you. Sometimes it is a cup of blessing and other times a cup of sorrow or even judgment. The cup the Father prepared was for Jesus a cup of agony, but for those who have trusted him, a cup of salvation and blessing. Jesus prayed that, if it were possible, the Father would remove the cup from him, but he added “nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). No matter what was in the cup, it was mixed by the Father and Jesus willingly drank it. He knew that the prophet Isaiah had predicted the sorrows of his life and death: “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3). Jesus did experience joy (Luke 10:21), but his life was predominantly one of pain and sorrow, especially during his arrest and his six hours on the cross. He not only experienced sorrows but he carried our sorrows to the cross. “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” (Isa. 53:4). Any cup that we must drink he has already drunk, and can give us the grace we need to go from suffering to glory and from the cross to the crown. “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). We are those who are “sorrowful, yet always rejoicing” (2 Cor. 6:10).

The third image is sleep. Jesus took Peter, James, and John with him to the place of prayer, but instead of encouraging him in his trials, they went to sleep! Sleep in Scripture is one picture of spiritual lethargy. “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thess. 5:6). “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep” (Rom. 13:11). There is a desperate need for spiritual vigor and alertness in the church today. We lack the excitement and enablement of the early church; we need to be filled with the Spirit and to focus on “prayer and . . . the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Jesus is interceding for us in heaven while we are sleeping here on earth. It’s one thing to have spiritual rest and quite something else to suffer from spiritual lethargy.

Watch therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming—in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning—lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Mark 14:35  And He went a little beyond them, and fell to the ground and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 

Luke 22:41-42+ And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, 42 saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 43 Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground. 


And He went a little (mikros = small) beyond them - Luke 22:41+ says "about a stone’s throw" and even though it was dark, it is likely they would have been able to witness the agonizing prayers of Jesus, first falling on His knees and then His entire body falling prostrate and then offering "up both prayers and supplications with loud crying (krauge = cry out with a loud  voice ) and tears to the One able to save Him from death" (Heb 5:7+). What is even more amazing is not only could they likely see Jesus in agony, they could hear Him crying loudly in agony and despite this these three fell asleep!

Hiebert agrees that ". Hebrews 5:7+ records that His words of prayer were uttered with “strong crying and tears,” hence were entirely audible to the three....In facing His struggle, He separated Himself from the three, knowing He must tread the winepress alone (Isa. 63:3)." (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)v

And fell to the ground - Luke 22:41+ says that first "He knelt down' and Matthew 26:39 adds that then He "fell on His face." Why is this detail significant? The most common position for praying in Jesus' day was the standing position, but the gravity in Gethsemane drove the Lord to His knees in Luke's account and eventually to His face on the ground in Matthew's account!

Hiebert Fell is imperfect tense, describing the prostration as a process. First He “kneeled down” (Luke 22:41+), then sank to the ground “on his face” (Matt. 26:39). The view of Wuest that Jesus “repeatedly” fell to the ground is improbable.  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

And began to pray - Mark records 2 other times Jesus went to pray alone (Mk 1:35+, Mk 6:46+) and this one is the third and last. He prayed this same prayer a second time (Mk 14:36) and Matthew records He prayed the same request a third time (Mt 26:44).  Pray is proseuchomai the verb used for prayer to God and the imperfect tense signifies over and over, again and again. Or to say it another way, this tense of repetition suggests that the Scripture records only a portion of what Jesus actually prayed to His Heavenly Father. Even His very act of praying once again should His full humanity as He gives us a perfect example to imitate when we find ourselves in a "Gethsemane- like" moment. 

Utley - From Matt. 26:39, 42 and 44 and Mark 14:39 and 41 we learn that Jesus prayed this same prayer three times, which was a Jewish way of showing intensity.

Hiebert - Luke mentions only one prayer session; Mark notes two, implying a third; Matthew explicitly indicates three prayer sessions. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

And when Jesus began to pray this was not just a soft whisper as for the writer of Hebrews tells us that...

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. 8 Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. 9 And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation (Hebrews 5:7-9+)

Pray (4336) see note on proseuchomai 

That if it were possible, the hour might pass Him by (parerchomai- If it were possible means if it were in accordance with God's will. Since God could do anything, in one sense it was possible, but it was not the will of the Father. The hour had been long anticipated by our Lord and now had arrived. As I am writing there is a Category 4 Hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico and we are all a bit on edge as we await its arrival. Jesus is now in the "eye of the hurricane" so to speak. It seems calm in the eye but the storm is swirling in His being and will soon take on epic proportions when He is arrested. "The full impact of His death and its spiritual consequences struck Jesus and He staggered under its weight. The prospect of alienation from His Father horrified Him." (Grassmick)

Possible is dunatos which pertains to having the ability to perform some function (Lu 14:31 Titus 1:9) Being in a position to, be able, be capable- able to do something (Lu 14.31) 

Hiebert The hour, a familiar Johannine expression (John 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 17:1), means the divinely appointed time of His sacrificial death (cf. Mark 14:41). The hour had been long anticipated; but now that it was upon Him, as a real man He naturally shrank from it. His petition was that if there were a possibility for Him to complete His messianic mission without that sacrificial death, He desired that. His if assumes that if there were such a possibility, the Father would let the hour pass away from Him. “His expressed desire to escape is to be strictly understood as a necessary incident of his humanity, and also as a part of his vicarious suffering.” (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

John 7:30  So they were seeking to seize Him; and no man laid his hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.

John 8:20 These words He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come. 

John 12:23 And Jesus *answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.

John 12:27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.

John 13:1 Now before the Feast of the Passover, Jesus knowing that His hour had come that He would depart out of this world to the Father, having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.

John 17:1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,

Mark 14:41  And He *came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

Utley on hour - The term “hour” is used in several different ways in the Gospels, as (1) a time reference (cf. Matt. 8:13; Luke 7:21; John 11:9); (2) a metaphor for a time of testing and trial (cf. Matt. 10:19; Mark 13:11; Luke 12:12); (3) a metaphor for Jesus beginning His ministry (cf. John 2:4; 4:23); (4) a metaphor for the day of judgment (i.e. Second Coming, cf. Matt. 24:36, 44; 25:13; Mark 13:32; John 5:25, 28); and (5) a metaphor for Jesus’ passion (cf. Matt. 26:45; Mark 14:35, 41; John 7:30; 8:20; 12:23, 27; 13:1; 16:32; 17:1).

John repeatedly records Jesus' determination to do the will of His Father...

(Jn 4:34) Jesus *said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.

(Jn 5:30) “I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me

(6:38) “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.

Later in John Jesus in allusion to the Cross declared 

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit..... 27 “Now My soul has become troubled; and what shall I say, ‘Father, save Me from this hour’? But for this purpose I came to this hour.....32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” (Jn 12:24, 27, 32)

Later in John's Gospel (after the agonizing prayer in Gethsemane) after Peter had cut off an ear (Jn 18:10), Jesus reiterated His full submission to the Father's will 

So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?” (Jn 18:11)

And so Jesus drank of the cup of man's sin and God's wrath, Paul writing...

He (THE FATHER) made Him (JESUS) Who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.(2 Cor 5:21+)

Some writers have suggested that Jesus' agony in the Garden was part of His atoning work (I do not agree with that premise). MacDonald does "not believe that Christ's sufferings in the garden were part of His atoning work. The work of redemption was accomplished during the three hours of darkness on the Cross. But Gethsemane was in anticipation of Calvary. There the very thought of contact with our sins caused the Lord Jesus the keenest suffering." (BORROW Believer's Bible Commentary

Rod Mattoon - Beloved, we need to spend time in our Gethsemane. I am talking about those times when we get with the Lord and pour out our heart to Him. Unfortunately, many Christians are spiritually asleep and they are unprepared for testing and temptation in the world. Praying helps us to be alert to what is happening around us and prepared for trials, temptations, and opportunities to be a blessing to others. Jesus told the disciples to "rise" or "wake up." In fact, it is the word for "resurrection." Many Christians need a resurrection of service, dedication, and commitment to Christ. (Mattoon's Treasures)

J C Ryle - this passage, an example of what believers ought to do in time of trouble. The great Head of the Church Himself supplies the pattern. We are told that when He came to the Mount of Olives, the night before He was crucified, “He kneeled down and prayed.”

It is a striking fact, that both the Old and New Testaments give one and the same receipt for bearing trouble. What says the book of Psalms? “Call upon me in the time of trouble: I will deliver thee.” (Psalm 50:15.) What says the apostle James? “Is any afflicted? let him pray.” (James 5:13.) Prayer is the receipt which Jacob used, when he feared his brother Esau.—Prayer is the receipt which Job used when property and children were suddenly taken from him. Prayer is the receipt which Hezekiah used when Sennacherib’s threatening letter arrived. And prayer is the receipt which the Son of God Himself was not ashamed to use in the days of His flesh. In the hour of His mysterious agony He “prayed.”

Let us take care that we use our Master’s remedy, if we want comfort in affliction. Whatever other means of relief we use, let us pray. The first Friend we should turn to ought to be God. The first message we should send ought to be to the throne of grace. No depression of spirits must prevent us. No crushing weight of sorrow must make us dumb. It is a prime device of Satan, to supply the afflicted man with false reasons for keeping silence before God. Let us beware of the temptation to brood sullenly over our wounds. If we can say nothing else, we can say, “I am oppressed: undertake for me.” (Isa 38:14.)

Henry Blackaby - Going Farther with God

       Then He went a little farther, fell to the ground, and began to pray that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.—Mark 14:35 

Some Christians are satisfied to have only a surface relationship with Christ. Others desire to share the holiest moments with Him. On the night Jesus spent in sacred prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the people responded to Him in various ways. There were those who were so indifferent to Jesus that they were unaware He was even in the garden. Then there was Judas, who knew where Jesus was but was too busy with his own schemes to join Him. The rest of the disciples joined Jesus in the garden, but they were distracted by sleep. Jesus told them the urgency of the hour, but they did not comprehend it. There was the inner circle of disciples, Peter, James, and John. They initially prayed with Jesus, yet even they could not grasp the significance of the moment. Ultimately, Jesus prayed alone. He went farther than His disciples and prayed longer. At the greatest moment of intercession in human history, there was no one willing to go with Jesus and watch with Him.

Throughout history God has looked for those willing to yield everything to Him and His desire to redeem a world. At times God has marveled that no one was willing to go with Him (Isa. 63:5; 59:16). The prophets seemed to grasp more than the common people, for while society carried on as though nothing were wrong the prophets agonized and wept over what they knew God was preparing to do.

God is calling you to go deeper in your prayer life with Him. If you are willing to be the person Jesus can take with Him into the most sacred moments, you will experience things only the angels shared with Jesus in the garden that night.

Mark 14:36  And He was saying, "Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will."

  • Abba: Mt 6:9 Ro 8:15,16 Ga 4:6 
  • all: Mk 10:27 Ge 18:14 Jer 32:27 2Ti 2:13 Tit 1:2 Heb 5:7 6:18 
  • remove: Lu 22:41,42 
  • yet not what I will: Ps 40:8 Joh 4:34 5:30 6:38,39 12:27 18:11 Php 2:8 Heb 5:7,8 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Play song Abba Father

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:39 And He went a little beyond them, and fell on His face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will.” 

Luke 22:42+ saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” 

Christ in Gethsemane
Heinrich Hofmann, 1886


Note - In the famous painting entitled “The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane,” in which the artist, Heinrich Hofmann, depicts Jesus on His knees in prayer with His hands clasped and stretched out before Him. The darkness of the painting is broken only by a halo of light around Jesus’ head and a heavenly light above. Interestingly, Hofmann chose not to paint the garden. It almost looks like Jesus is in a desert instead. In this way Hofmann captured something of the agony that Jesus endured during this long night of prayer.

And He was saying, "Abba! Father! - Abba is transliterated as Abba into English from the corresponding Aramaic word which was used in the everyday language of families as a term addressing one's father.

Hiebert “Abba, Father”—the bilingual form of address, used only here in the Gospels, stresses His filial consciousness even in His agony. He knew God was His Father even when He was being offered the bitter cup. Abba is Aramaic, while Father is the Greek equivalent. Abba was an everyday Jewish family term, used in the intimacy of the family. Among the Jews, it was seldom used with reference to God and then always with modifiers which denoted the distance between man and God. The Gospel writers never employ the term Abba in recording the teaching of Jesus concerning the Father, but the Aramaic term was apparently regularly used by Him in His teaching. His use of the term, which may mean “my father” or “our father,” thus conveyed a sense of intimacy in relation to God. His use of it for God may well have seemed somewhat disrespectful to His hearers, but it served to suggest a closeness with God which was something new to Judaism. The double title Abba, Father occurs only three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), always in the salutation in prayer to God. Mark’s employment of the double title here in the prayer of Jesus has been differently explained. Some regard it as Mark’s interpretative addition for the benefit of his Greek readers. But Mark gives no indication, as elsewhere, that he was adding a translation. Others hold that the double title was part of the original prayer as used by Jesus; it was preserved in the preaching of Peter as part of his vivid recollection of the scene. Since Jesus was bilingual, in His deep emotion He may well have felt impelled to use both terms. This seems probable. Still others think that Mark’s double designation was derived from the common usage of the bilingual Palestinian congregations. Paul’s employment of the double title in his epistles makes it clear that the double title had passed into common use among the Greek-speaking churches. It had apparently become a quasi-liturgical formula in addressing God. It probably came into common usage in the churches because Jesus had used it and because it denoted a new intimacy with God which Jesus had revealed and which had become a vital reality in the lives of His followers. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Abba (Aramaic for "father") (3962)(0005 - click to listen to pronunciation accentuating second syllable) (Abba) is transliterated as Abba into English from the corresponding Aramaic word which was used in the everyday language of families as a term addressing one's father. Children, as well as adult sons and daughters, used Abba when speaking to their fathers. And so Abba conveys a warm, intimate sense just as with our expression "Dear father." Abba emphasizes the warm, intimate and very personal relationship which exists between the believer and God. In Abba filial tenderness, trust and love find their combined expression.

William Barclay - There is a world of loveliness in this word Abba, which to our western ears is altogether hidden, unless we know the facts about it. Joachim Jeremias, in his book The Parables of Jesus, writes thus: "Jesus' use of the word Abba in addressing God is unparalleled in the whole of Jewish literature. The explanation of this fact is to be found in the statement of the fathers Chrysostom, Theodore, and Theodoret that Abba, (as jaba is still used today in Arabic) was the word used by a young child to its father; it was an everyday family word, which no one had ventured to use in addressing God. Jesus did. He spoke to His heavenly Father in as childlike, trustful, and intimate a way as a little child to its father." We know how our children speak to us and what they call us who are fathers. That is the way in which Jesus spoke to God. Even when he did not fully understand, even when his one conviction was that God was urging him to a cross, he called Abba, as might a little child. Here indeed is trust, a trust which we must also have in that God whom Jesus taught us to know as Father.

THOUGHT - Spurgeon - Oh, blessed, blessed state of heart to feel that now we are born into the family of God, and that the choice word which no slave might ever pronounce may now be pronounced by us, “Abba”! It is a child’s word, such as a little child utters when first he opens his mouth to speak, and it rune the same both backwards and forwards,-AB-BA. Oh to have a childlike spirit that, in whatever state of heart I am, I may still be able to say, in the accents even of spiritual infancy, “Abba, Father”!

All things are possible for You - This statement is found only in Mark's account. 

MacArthur - As the Lord articulated, nothing is outside of the power, privilege, and prerogative of God to do. Yet, Jesus also knew that God never acts contrary to His character, purpose, or Word. Clearly, He was not asking the Father to violate His redemptive plan or go back on His promises. Instead, Christ’s petition was an inquiry into whether or not redemption might be accomplished through some other means. Jesus’ request was not a sign of weakness, but the utterly expected response of one whose pure, sinless character necessarily and severely recoiled at the thought of bearing man’s sin and guilt, and suffering God’s wrathful judgment. If He had not reacted that way, it would raise questions about His absolute holiness, (MNTC-Mark)

Remove this cup from Me  Here this cup is the equivalent the hour in Mk 14:35 and is of course figurative, symbolizing the "cup" of spiritual suffering as He bore the sins of the world and the mysterious separation of the eternal fellowship that sin would produce with His Father.  He was not asking for the physical suffering to be removed. Ultimately the cup speaks of God's holy, righteous wrath against sin. Jesus was holy and so He recoils at the thought of the reality that He Who knew no sin would be made sin on our behalf. But He did it for the joy set before Him which includes the fact that sinners might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21+). 

Guzik - Jesus wasn’t asking for permission to let humanity perish in hell; He was asking the Father, “If there is any other possible way to save humanity other than the agony which awaits Me at the cross—let it be.” Yet there was no other way, so Jesus went to the cross.. This prayer of Jesus eliminates any other way of salvation. If there is another way, His death was not necessary and His prayer was not answered.

Henry Blackaby - If you want to learn how to pray, use Jesus as your model. Jesus did not always receive what He asked for, but His prayers were always heard and always answered (Mark 14:36; Heb. 5:7). If you do not sense the Holy Spirit's power in your life, you may not be spending adequate time in prayer. Perhaps you are pursuing your own agenda rather than seeking the Father's will. You may have abandoned the place of prayer before God's answer came. If you will commit yourself to spend sustained time in prayer, asking for God's kingdom on earth, God will work in your life just as He did in the lives of Jesus and His disciples.

MacArthur on the cup - In the Old Testament, the cup was often used as a metaphor for the wrath of God (cf. Pss. 11:6; 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15–17; 49:12; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:31–33; Hab. 2:16; Zech. 12:2). On the cross, Jesus would drink the cup of divine wrath against sin (John 18:11).(MNTC-Mark)

Constable on cup - Jesus referred to the Cross as the “hour” and the “cup.” The first expression includes everything involved in the Cross (cf. John 7:30; 8:20; et al.). The “cup” figuratively particularized God’s judgment in the Cross (cf. 10:38–39). 

Guzik - Repeatedly in the Old Testament, the cup is a powerful picture of the wrath and judgment of God (Psalm 75:8, Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15). Matthew 20:22–23 speaks of a cup that the followers of Jesus must also drink.

Matthew 20:22-23  But Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink?” They *said to Him, “We are able.” 23He *said to them, “My cup you shall drink; but to sit on My right and on My left, this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.” 

Spurgeon - “In any case, our cup can never be as deep or as bitter as was his, and there were in his cup some ingredients that never will be found in ours. The bitterness of sin was there, but he has taken that away for all who believe in him. His Father’s wrath was there, but he drank that all up, and left not a single dreg for any one of his people.” 

Utley on this cup - This was an OT metaphor for one’s destiny (cf. Ps. 16:5; 23:5; Jer. 51:2; Matt. 20:22). It was usually used in a judgmental (i.e. negative) sense (cf. Ps. 11:6; 75:8; Isa. 51:17, 22; Jer. 25:15–16, 27–28; 49:12; Lam. 4:21; Ezek. 23:31–33; Hab. 2:16).

Yet - Term of contrast. This is a critical contrast, for it contrast Jesus' request for removal with His greatest desire to do the will of His Father. 

Not what I (emphatic) will, but what You (emphatic) will - This is the crux of this prayer. The Father's will. That was Jesus' greatest desire. It should be the greatest desire of all His disciples as they seek to imitate Him and walk in His steps. 

The one misery of man is self-will, the one secret of blessedness is the conquest over our own wills.

THOUGHT - The hardest prayer we can pray is “not my will, but Your will.” Learning to submit to God is a lifelong process. It’s easy to think we’re submissive and obedient to God’s will when circumstances are favorable. But when hard times come into our lives and we’re forced to set aside our own dreams and to trust God, it gets much harder. As we contemplate the price that Jesus paid for us on the Cross, He becomes our constant reminder of a will fully submitted to the Father.

Guzik - Jesus came to a point of decision in Gethsemane. It wasn’t that He had not decided nor consented before, but now He came upon a unique point of decision. He drank the cup at Calvary, but He decided once for all to drink it at Gethsemane. The struggle of the cross was won at the Garden of Gethsemane.

MacArthur - Submission to the Father’s will had characterized Jesus’ entire life and ministry (cf. John 4:34; 5:30; 6:38–40; 12:49; 14:31; 17:8); it would also characterize Him in death. Ultimately knowing that the cross was essential to the redemptive purposes of God (cf. Mark 8:31; 9:31–34; Luke 9:22, 44; John 12:32), Jesus surrendered Himself entirely to the Father, willingly “becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:8). (MNTC-Mark)

Robertson - We see the humanity of Jesus in its fulness both in the Temptations and in Gethsemane, but without sin each time. And this was the severest of all the temptations, to draw back from the Cross. The victory over self brought surrender to the Father’s will.

Grassmick - Jesus’ human will was distinct from but never in opposition to the Father’s will (cf. John 5:30; 6:38). So He acknowledged that the answer to His request was not governed by what He desired but by what the Father willed. God’s will entailed His sacrificial death (cf. Mark 8:31) so He resolutely submitted Himself to it. His deep distress passed from Him but “the hour” did not (cf. 14:41b). (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Constable - Jesus’ human will was distinct from the Father’s will but never opposed to it.....Jesus’ submission to His Father here recalls Genesis 22:7 where Isaac addressed his father Abraham in a very similar situation quite near this place.

Stedman: Hebrews tells us, "For we have not a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sinning," (Hebrews 4:15RSV). If he had never felt that divergence of will, that unwillingness to do what he ought to do because the Father wanted it, he could never have sympathized with me, because in my weakness I am frequently unwilling -- and so are you. Jesus did not want to do what the Father wanted him to do. He had to compel himself to go on. And he did it by casting himself anew upon his Father's enabling strength. That is what his prayers in Gethsemane mean. There is much of mystery here. I can go no further into it than that. But yet I see tremendous help here for those of us who struggle with the will of God.

Related Resource:

Mark 14:36 - DOTTED LINE Not what I will, but what thou wilt. Mark 14:36. We draw up our little programs and ask God to sign on the dotted line, to endorse, and to bless our plans. We arrange meetings and set up the order of service, then in a set prayer we ask God to set His approval on everything. Should we not rather ask God to set up the program, plan the proceedings, while we sign on the dotted line? True, we must plan ahead, but do we ask God for the plan? We wait until the structure is finished, then "dedicate" it, invoking the divine blessing. Did we begin it by asking God for the blueprints? (Vance Havner)

Years ago a minister was called to the home of a widow whose teenage daughter was the apple of her eye. She told the preacher that at the age of 3 the girl had been very ill, and the doctors said she would die. The mother admitted that she had accused God of cruelty and had prayed that He spare her daughter. She told Him she could never trust Him again if He did not do as she asked. God granted her request, in spite of what the doctors had said. For the next 13 years, she was her mother's pride and joy. But then she began to associate with bad companions. At the age of 17 she got into real trouble and broke her mother's heart. The tragic end of the story was told to the minister by that weeping woman when he arrived at her home that day. "My Janie is dead! She took her own life last night, and I found her in her room this morning." After several minutes of convulsive sobbing, she concluded, "0 Pastor, how I wish God had taken her when she was 3 years old! How I wish I had yielded to God's will and not insisted on having my own way!"

ILLUSTRATION - A woman invited several guests to dinner. At the table, she asked her daughter to pray. “I don't know what to say,” the child complained. The mother encouraged her, “Just say what you hear Mommy say.” The girl bowed her head and prayed, “Dear Lord, why on earth did I invite all these people to dinner!” Every child looks for models of how to act and speak; unfortunately, not every model is a good one!

Allen Ross - ’Abba’ "Father"

        This Aramaic word ’Abba’, "Father," has always been a significant word in the spiritual life of believers. It was used in the Old Testament to describe the spiritual relationship between believers and God; but it became more pronounced in the New Testament in the light of Jesus’ instructions on prayer and the apostolic teachings. But today there is little clear understanding of what the description means; moreover, it is being defined and used in a way that was not intended. The word, then, calls for closer scrutiny.
The Origin and Meaning of the Word

        ’Abba’ is clearly cognate with the Hebrew word ’ab (pronounced ’ahv), "Father." More specifically, it would be cognate to the Hebrew word with the definite article, ha’ab ("the Father"), because the ending -a’ on the Aramaic makes it a determined or definite noun. Hence, the translation could be "the Father" or "my Father" of just "Father."

        A number of years ago the reliable scholar Joachim Jeremias explained that the word had a very familiar and intimate tone to it; he said it was the kind of term that a child would use within the family. From this general statement others have taken the emphasis on intimacy and carried it much further, teaching that ’abba’ means "Daddy," an idea that Jeremias never included. This has become popular today--but is it correct? Would people in the first century have thought of that when they heard it? The answer is clearly "no," as the evidence shows (see further James Barr, "‘ABBA’ ISN’T ‘DADDY’ [Journal of Theological Studies 1988]; Geza Vermes, Jesus in the World of Judaism [1983], pp. 41, 2). Their arguments and several other observations are important to the clarification of this understanding.

        First, we have to consider the several explanations given for the origins of the form. The first explanation, mentioned above, is the most likely, that the word is the Aramaic word with the determinative ending; it would mean "Father" in the emphatic state, that is, "the Father," and this determinative in turn took on the functions of pronouns, "My Father." A second explanation is that the word as it stands is a vocative and has nothing to do with the emphatic state or determinative ending; it is a word derived from children’s speech. A third explanation, closely related to the second, is that it started with a babbling sound. (If this were true it should have the English analogue "Da-da," not "Daddy").

        We cannot say for certain that the word itself, ’ab, is Aramaic or Hebrew; for that distinction we rely on the suffixed ending and its meaning. In view of that the word ’abba’ is Aramaic. But whether it is Hebrew or Aramaic the question of its meaning remains the same, for it is still the word for "father." However, some folks argue that if it was Aramaic, it was from the later developed colloquial use of the language, the common language in the days of Jesus, and not the more formal or higher liturgical style of Hebrew.1 And yet Mishnaic Hebrew, the language of the great teachers recorded in the Mishnah, was popular Hebrew. So we have the same result.

        Moreover, the general conclusion that it is probably Aramaic because it ends with -a’ (the letter ’alef after the vowel a) is not completely compelling either, because we do not know if the spoken word did end with this letter. Both the ending a + the letter alef and a + the letter hsound exactly the same; and from the spelling of our word in the Greek New Testament we could not tell what the spelling of the Semitic word would have been for sure. In other texts like Neofiti the spelling with the letter h (he’) also appears. And Hebrew personal names in the Old Testament like ‘Ezra’ also end with the long vowel a with the letter ’alef. All of this to say that the spelling of the word in the New Testament does not compel us to assume it was Aramaic, or that it was a later development in Semitic languages for homely speech. It probably is Aramaic, even though we cannot be completely sure of that; but even if it was Aramaic, it is clear that the form and its use existed at an earlier time than the New Testament.2

        Next, we have to consider the extended theory that the word developed from the "babbling" of a child. We may say at the outset that there is no evidence at all for this, in any of the languages. In fact it is clear that "father" (especially with the rendering pater in the New Testament) had a social value in the cultures, and was connected with religion and mythology; its aspect of solemnity caused people to use more familiar words in its place. Besides, are we to believe that children babbled pa or ma in their talk, and that up to the Gospel times there were no words for father or mother? In fact, it is the adult who "hears into" these sounds and creates the baby-language that they consider is fitting (D. Abercrombie,Elements of General Phonetics). That infants of Aramaic-speaking families should have babbled in forms that have such close morphological analogies with the grammar of their parents’ language is unlikely. The theory of infant babbling as the explanation of the origin is nonsensical.

       But finally, what about the translation "Daddy"? In more general terms, what evidence do we have for the interpretation of this expression? First, the words "father" and "mother" as used by children are the same words as those used by adults. Even if one could argue that ’abba’originated with children, by Jesus’ time it was the word of adults just as much.

        Second, the Jewish Talmud itself talks about the child learning to say ’abba’ and ’imma’ (B. Ber. 40a). The words the child was to learn are the normal words of the language--correct and grammatical adult language. The word did not have one sense of "daddy" when children said it, and another for "father" when adults said it.

       Third, the Targums, which translate the Hebrew Bible into Aramaic, use ’abba’ where the Hebrew has "father" or "my father." A survey of those uses is sufficient to show that they occur in contexts that are adult, serious, and religiously solemn. One would be trivializing the text to translate, say, Genesis 22:7 as, "And Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, ‘Dad’"; or for Genesis 31:42 to say, "The God of my Daddy, the God of Abraham . . . ." One must also remember that in many of these uses the speaker is over 100 years old! No further comment is needed here.

        Fourth, the Greek word used in the New Testament to translate our word is always the normal word pater, and never a diminutive such aspapas, pappas, or pappias, all of which existed at the time. Words that expressed "daddy" were available, but they are not found in biblical Greek--because they were not suitable for biblical style. They used ’abba’ because it meant "father" and not "daddy."

       So, in the first part of this study, then, we may conclude that ’abba’ does not mean "Daddy," but "Father." Now we must consider the significance of referring to God as "Father."
The Significance of Calling God "Father"

        Since the word was used in the Bible as a critical part of the faith, we need to look more closely at the usage to determine the significance. Whenever Jesus used the word to refer to God, it was "the Father" or "my Father"; but he taught others to say "our Father." This specification singled the word out as a highly significant term for theology. In the three places in the New Testament where "‘Abba’, Father" occurs (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6) the Greek has the nominative with the article: abba, ho pater. The consistency of this indicates that it was a literal rendering of the idea in the original, and that it understood the noun to be in the emphatic state and to mean either "the Father" or "Father" specifically. It also had the vocative function, "father" (as "O Father").3

        What, then, does the term "Father" for God mean for use? First, to call God Father is to speak of him as the absolutely sovereign God ofcreation. Even in the pagan pantheons the highest God is called "the father of the gods," not to indicate that he procreated them all, but that he was sovereign among the gods. But in the Bible since Yahweh God created everything by himself, he alone is sovereign; and what he created he governs. There are no other gods; he has no rivals. Thus "Father" is a high title indeed. And no other designation would do what this metaphor does to reveal God as the Sovereign Creator.4

       Second, to call God "Father" is to use covenant language. In all of God’s covenants, the people are "sons" or "children" by their adoption into the covenant. Even in the secular world this was so; one of Israel’s kings became a "son" of Pul (Tiglathpileser) when he became his vassal. But in the biblical covenants we find this most clearly expressed. In Exodus 4:22, 23 Israel is called God’s son because Israel has a covenant with God (the Abrahamic Covenant was in place, and the Sinaitic Covenant was about to be built on it). Playing on the word "son," God told Pharaoh through Moses to let his son (Israel) go, or he would kill Pharaoh’s son. Later, Hosea repeats this usage when he records how God called his son out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1).5 Israel was God’s "son."

        In 2 Samuel 7:13, 14 we have the use of the word "son" for the king of Israel. This chapter is the Davidic Covenant. And in that covenant God will be a father to the king, and the king will be his son. Thus, when the king was coronated, he woul publicly declare by what right he ruled by quoting this covenant: "The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you’" (Ps. 2:7). Every anointed son of David could claim this title, "God’s Son." Thus, even Peter could easily say, "You are the Son of God," not knowing entirely what he said. For the words of the psalm again find their fullest meaning in Christ Jesus who would be more than an anointed king. He is the eternal Son of God, fully divine as well as fully human. In fact, Isaiah anticipated this in his oracle of the names of the coming king (Isa. 9:5,6) by reversing the wording of the Davidic Covenant, making the promised Son the Father. That would be confusing to people until Jesus declared that He and the Father were one and the same (John 10:30).

       But the point is that the human recipient of the Davidic Covenant was normally called God’s son, and God was his Father.

        Likewise in the New Covenant this same language of Father and son is used. We who have come to faith in the Lord Jesus Christ have been given the right to be called the sons of God (John 1:12, 13), sons by adoption (Rom. 8:15, 16). And so the Spirit of God prompts us to say,’Abba’, Father, because we are members of the New Covenant. That is why Jesus taught us to pray, saying, "Our Father, who art in heaven."6

        Third, for us to call God "Father" is indeed to acknowledge a close personal relationship with him; it is after all a family term. It is fair to say that in Jesus’ time the word was colloquial but respectful, even in human families; but it was not a childish expression like "daddy."7 To call God "Father" is to affirm that we have been born into the family of God, that we are joint heirs with Christ, that we belong to him forever and will dwell with him. But he is still the sovereign and holy Lord God; and the significance of the word "Father" is one of a reverent, respectful and solemn adult address of God.


1. It should be noted in passing that we assume that the common language of the people in Jesus’ day was Aramaic. That is probably a safe assumption, but there is more and more evidence that Hebrew was spoken as well.

2. Matthew Black in An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts does not address these issues at all, so that may indicate he did not think it clearly Aramaic.

3. As a related issue the prayer in the garden in the synoptic Gospels has been recorded in three different ways: Mark has abba ho pater,Matthew has pater mou, and Luke has simply pater. Mark supplies the Semitic word (here a vocative in the prayer) and translates it; the others simply translate it, both in legitimate ways. Nevertheless, modern critical scholarship seeks to determine which was the original and how the changes were made; but there is no evidence to argue this way.

4. The word "goddess" does not exist in the Hebrew Bible. And in the ancient pantheons, the goddess is usually the consort of one of the high gods, but not absolutely sovereign. The Bible uses many feminine epithets and descriptions for God, but not feminine titles, because that would have conveyed the wrong idea in its culture.

5. Matthew cites the verse from Hosea to apply to the return of the infant Jesus from Egypt with Mary and Joseph. In the Gospels Jesus becomes the true Israel. And so the words of Hosea, originally referring to Israel, have their fullest meaning when applied to Jesus’ coming out of Egypt.

6. The qualification is critical to our thinking--he is our heavenly Father. He is not a father who is called God; he is God who is called a father. For those who have experienced troubled relations here on earth, the prayer is a reminder that God is not like human fathers--he is perfect.

7. We have to try to preserve the appropriate tone and meaning for the biblical language because it does describe God. We want a balance between the emphasis on the personal relationship and the great significance. It is a constant struggle to prevent the trivializing of the text with modern ideas, like the new translation that has the voice at the baptism of Jesus saying, "That’s my boy!"

8. I am not here concerned with how believers address God in their devotional lives, or how they contemplate their relationship with the heavenly Father. My point is that we cannot tell folks that the word means "Daddy."

Better Than Looking Good

Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will. —Mark 14:36

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:27-42

In today’s society, two popular factors, the “feel-good factor” and the “look-good factor,” are being confused with success. Anyone not feeling or looking good is often regarded as mediocre—even a failure.

The church can easily fall into this trap, all in the name of longing to have a good testimony for the Lord. A deeper look at Christ’s own testimony will set us straight.

In Mark 14:27-42, Jesus was nearing His atoning death at Calvary. As Jesus fought and won the battle of the will, Luke said that “His sweat became like great drops of blood” (22:44). In all this, and the terrible agony of the crucifixion that followed, Jesus neither felt good nor looked good. Rather, He was good and did good by choosing His Father’s will and fulfilling it. His anguished obedience was later followed by joyful resurrection.

Has your heavenly Father entrusted you with an agonizing situation in which it’s unrealistic to feel good or look good? Don’t despair! He values what you are and what you do as you die to self and embrace His will. Jesus knows that this often feels and looks messy. The truth is, it honors God and eventually leads to victory and joy. What greater testimony than this? By:  Joanie Yoder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Jesus has called me to be at my best,
Living for Him when at work or at play;
He knows my heart, and in that I can rest—
Why should I worry what others may say?

God brings beauty out of ugly situations.

Mark 14:37  And He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?

  • found them: Mk 14:40,41 Lu 9:31,32 22:45,46 
  • Simon: Mk 14:29-31 2Sa 16:17 Jon 1:6 Mt 25:5 26:40 1Th 5:6-8 
  • couldt: Jer 12:5 Heb 12:3 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:40 And He *came to the disciples and *found them sleeping, and *said to Peter, “So, you men could not keep watch with Me for one hour? 

Luke 22:45+ When He rose from prayer, He came to the disciples and found them sleeping from sorrow, 46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”


As their subsequent response to Jesus' arrest will demonstrate, their sleeping instead of praying left their hearts unprepared for the test they would soon face. 

And He came and found them sleeping (katheudo), and said to Peter, "Simon, are you asleep? - Note that while all three were asleep, Jesus singles out Peter for His question. "The use of "Simon" here, for the first time since 3:16, should have reminded Peter of the meaning of the name Jesus had given him. He was not acting like a stone (petros), but rather like a reed shaken by the wind." (Gilbrant) Luke explained that the reason for their weariness was compounded by sorrow and despair (Luke 22:45+). Why Peter? For one thing as most writers think Mark received most of his material for writing the gospel directly from Peter.

Hiebert adds another reason that "Peter was singled out for the rebuke because that very night Peter had singled himself out as the one most confident of his own sufficiency. The question, “Simon, sleepest thou?” is full of pained reproach. This is the first use of the name Simon in Mark since 3:16. The use of his old name here apparently was intended to remind Peter that he was not living up to the meaning of his new name. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Thompson: He calls Peter “Simon,” which is a subtle rebuke because that was his pre-conversion name (Mark 1:16, 29, 36; 3:16). He was not acting like a solid rock (Petros), but like his old self.

Could (ischuo) you not keep watch (gregoreuo) for one hour? - This passage suggests that Jesus prayed for an extended period, which is attested by the fact that He returned three times to find sleeping saints.

Regarding their sleeping, one is reminded of the exhortation in Hebrews 12:3+

For consider Him (THIS IS THE KEY THOUGHT FOR MEDITATION) Who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that (term of purpose) you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Guzik writes that "Peter must have been a bit startled to hear Jesus call him Simon. This was the old sleeping Simon, not the new man Peter. Peter was ready to resist any attack, except the attack of the Sandman....Jesus found victory at the cross by succeeding in the struggle in Gethsemane. Peter—just like us—failed in later temptation because he failed to watch and pray. The spiritual battle is often won or lost before the crisis comes.

Barton - He had told them to stay and keep watch (14:34), but instead of showing support for Jesus by remaining awake with him and praying themselves for strength in the coming hours, they had fallen asleep, “exhausted from sorrow” (Luke 22:45NIV). Also, the hour was very late, perhaps after midnight. (LAC)

Swete has this note: “The Lord rises again, and returning to the three, finds that His warning (v. 34) has been in vain; all are asleep. Luke explains their sleep as resulting from the exhaustion produced by their deepening realization of the Passion (compare v. 19, John 16:20). Peter is addressed as the first of the three; but the rebuke is partly personal, as Mark at least is aware. Mark has not used the personal name ‘Simon’ since Peter’s call to the Apostolate (3:16), and its appearance here is certainly suggestive; compare John 21:15, Simon, son of Jonas, where the reference to natural, perhaps hereditary, character is still more plainly emphasized. For the time he is ‘Peter’ no more; the new character which he owes to association with Jesus is in abeyance. He who was ready to die with the Master (v. 31) has been proved not to possess the strength of will requisite for resisting sleep during the third part of a single watch.”

Peter wasn’t the only sleeper. James and John were sleeping, too. Should Peter feel singled out for blame? Yes, he was. Peter was supposed to be the leader of his group. He professed his loyalty, and he knew that leadership required extra responsibility. Peter should have kept the others awake, along with himself.
Yet aren’t we like Peter? How difficult is it for us to pray for one hour when we’re worried and exhausted, when our energy and motivation are at low levels?
We must be leaders who are watchful, who remain prepared for the Lord’s work. We must learn leadership skills from teachers who see our potential and work hard to build our character. When Jesus singles you out for a special responsibility, he wants you to grow into a leader. Stay awake; step up; follow Christ. (LAC)

Illustration: Finding strength through prayer: at the great cathedral at Worms, Germany, along the Rhine River. . . all the powers of Europe were assembled in that place: the Roman emperor, in all his robes and dignity; the papal delegates, the bishops and archbishops of all the Catholic realms of Europe. It was the most imposing array of power possible on the face of the earth of that day, all gathered in that great cathedral against one lone man, Dr. Martin Luther, on trial for his life. The account tells us that the night before, someone overheard Martin Luther praying and wrote down the words of his prayer. It was a long, rambling, disconnected prayer of a soul in deep distress and fear, crying out to God for help, casting himself anew, again and again, upon the strength of God and reminding himself that there is no source of hope or help except God. All his reliance upon the princes of the German state disappeared. Martin Luther cast himself in naked helplessness upon the grace and sustaining strength of God. I am sure that is why, at that very moment, he received strength to stand and say, "Unless someone can show me from these books and from Holy Scripture the error in my thinking, I will not and cannot recant. Here I stand. I can do no other, God help me!" And though he was condemned as an heretic, it was then that the torts of the Reformation began to spread throughout all of Europe. Nothing could stop the shining forth of the light. (Stedman)

Mark 14:38  "Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak."

  • Keep watching: Mk 14:34 Mt 24:42 25:13 26:41 Lu 21:36 22:40,46 1Co 16:13 1Pe 5:8 Rev 3:2,3,10 
  • The spirit: Ro 7:18-25 Ga 5:17 Php 2:12 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:41 “Keep watching and praying that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  

Luke 22:40, 46+ When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”...46 and said to them, “Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not enter into temptation.”


Keep watching and praying that you may not come into temptation (peirasmos- Jesus gives the Peter, James and John 2 commands, both in the present imperative (both plural = for all 3 disciples) calling for them to keep on watching and keep on praying. On one level the meaning of Keep watching is literal, conveying the idea that the disciples were simply to refrain from sleeping. On a deeper level the idea is for the disciples to remain alert, watchful, ready to meet the danger and be quick to perceive and act. Jesus told them to pray for themselves. He knew they were about to be more severely tested than ever before.

Hiebert - In Mark 14:34, Jesus urged their watchfulness in connection with His own sorrow; now they need it for their own safety. Watching and praying will enable them to resist the fierce temptation that will assail them. Outward circumstances will test their confidence in Him as Messiah; their attitude of alertness and prayer will enable them to escape a damaging entrance into the temptation of believing that He is not the Messiah. That temptation they can escape through active compliance with His exhortation. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Adam Clarke makes the point that if the disciples (and applicable to all saints) could not "endure a little fatigue when there is no suffering, how will they do when the temptation, the great trial of their faith and courage, comes? Watch—that ye be not taken unawares; and pray—that when it comes ye may be enabled to bear it." 

In short, the order is important - (1) Watch (2) Pray. The commands to watch and pray precede the warning about temptation. In other words, don't wait until the temptation comes to begin to watch and pray. Watch and pray before the temptation comes! Then you are ready to deal with the temptation and much more likely to come through the testing time victoriously.

Jesus gave us one of the best "preventative" prayers to pray when He instructed His disciples to pray…

"Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from (Greek preposition = apo = marker of dissociation, put distance between, away from) evil" (Matthew 6:13+).

Comment: The idea is "Lord, don't lead me into a time of testing that I will not be able to resist." Deliver (rhuomai)is in the form of a command, (aorist imperative) an urgent cry for God to rescue us out of evil. Beloved, this whole world lies in the power of the evil one (Satan, 1Jn 5:19+) and therefore as we begin our days and our interactions with the world, this is a great prayer to start the day! Remember God's promise when we pray according to His will (1 Jn 5:14, 15+), which should further encourage us to pray Mt 6:13 on a regular basis. Always beware however of the "weakness of the flesh" to turn spiritual disciplines into "religious works", so that we begin to pray this prayer almost like a "good luck charm" or "mantra."

Gilbrant - To be tempted is not sinning in itself. Peirasmos can be used of an inclination to evil when a person is "drawn away of his own lust" (James 1:14). It can also indicate a legitimate test as when our Lord was tested by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11+). Regardless of their prayers, the test would come; the purpose of their praying would be that they would not "enter into temptation" in the sense of being overcome by it. There was still time for them to receive spiritual help that would enable them to stand the test successfully.  The spirit" may be the Holy Spirit, but it probably means the human spirit. He recognized that in their spirits they desired to be faithful, but their flesh was no match for the tempter. "The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak" was not an excuse for their failure. Jesus made them aware of this so they would be motivated to pray. Some commentators have made this merely a contrast of body and mind; this is not an adequate equivalence. It is more scriptural to see the spirit of man as that which is directly dependent on the Spirit of God, the means of communication with God. The "flesh" denotes their frail sinful nature expressing itself in attitudes contrary to the will of God. Obviously it is always opposed to the Holy Spirit. It also always acts in opposition to the spirit of the believer (Galatians 5:17+; Romans 8:9ff.). (Complete Biblical Library – Mark)

Jesus' double command pictures watchfulness and prayer as if they were two sentinels or soldiers on duty at their guard post constantly watching over the entrance of our heart (Pr 4:23+), alerting us to sneak attacks, continually guarding against the subtle, often sudden approach of danger and giving us forewarning of that danger. The implication is clear that temptation lurks about, waiting for our unguarded moments and then attacks. God warned Cain…

If you do well, will not your countenance be lifted up? (context = Ge 4:5,6) And if you do not do well, Sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it. (Ge 4:7)

THOUGHT - Beloved of God, our mortal enemy Sin is ever crouching, ready to pouch, ready to send arrows of temptation which "desire" to destroy our witness, our credibility, even our very life (see what happened because Cain refused to stay alert and instead letting sin pounce on him - Ge 4:8) Now where did Cain stumble? His pride, right? What did he refuse to do? Didn't he refuse to humble himself? The moment we stake our "turf" and say "I'll take care of this my way God", is the moment we call down upon ourselves a veritable "holy war". Look at the results of proud flesh whether it be Cain, Peter, et al. God opposes ("stiff arms") the man or woman who refuses to humble themselves (cp 1 Pet 5:5+, Jas 4:6+). Jesus is laying out for His disciples His "strategy" for victory over temptation - keep watching, keep praying. If we refuse to humble ourselves and obey His commands to watch and pray, we are setting ourselves up for a fall. Why? Because God always opposes the proud heart (in James 4:6 the verb anthistemi is in the present tense [continually] which means God continually sets Himself against pride even as opposing armies would arrange themselves against one another in battle).

How can a disciple of Jesus stand firm in the hour of testing and not fall into temptation?" The disciples, and specifically Peter, thought that in the own strength, the strength of their flesh, they would never fall away from their Lord. Jesus however knew their flesh and knew the results that would occur in their "hour of testing (temptation)". Peter filled with bravado and a great deal of "self", first failed the "Malchus test", cutting off the ear of the slave of the Jewish high priest (Jn 18:10). Shortly thereafter Peter steadfastly denied His Lord three times (Jn 18:25, 26, 27). Jesus knew what was coming and He was preparing them to understand that in their own strength they could never stand with Him and against His enemies (the world, the flesh and the devil). He was calling them to understand what it meant to die to self (Mk 8:34), and to learn to continually depend on the provision He would send after His ascension. Ultimately this warning of coming temptation was part of His preparing them for their Helper, the Holy Spirit (see Jn 7:38, 39, 14:16, 17, Lk 3:16). He wanted them to learn the lesson that ultimately they in their humanness ("flesh") could never stand against their adversaries, but that only "clothed with power from on high" (Lk 24:49, Acts 2:4, 4:8, 4:31, 9:17, 13:9, 13:52) could they be more than conquerors in Christ (Ro 8:37KJV). And so in His parting words the resurrected Savior reminded the disciples (and us today) of their (our) great need for spiritual power promising that "you shall receive power (dunamis = inherent power to accomplish a task, "supernatural power for a supernatural life") when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses (Greek = martus = gives us our English "martyr", something that most of them literally became!) both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8)

THOUGHT - Are you trying to fend off temptation from the world, the flesh and the devil in your own strength (your weak "flesh") or are you learning the "secret" that the disciples and apostles had to learn -- of continual dependence on the Holy Spirit, Who gives us both the will and the power (Php 2:13+) to keep watching and keep praying?

Puritan John Owen explains that keeping watch means "as much as to be on our guard, to take heed, to consider all ways and means whereby an enemy may approach to us… (this watchfulness requires) a universal carefulness and diligence, exercising itself in and by all ways and means prescribed by God, over our hearts and ways, the baits and methods of Satan, the occasions and advantages of sin in the world, that we be not entangled, is that which in this word is pressed on us.

Keep watching (1127) (gregoreuo from egeiro = to arise, arouse) pictures a sleeping man rousing himself from slumber and so means to refrain from sleep and by default to be awake, alert, and watchful. A secular use of gregoreuo described a person carefully crossing a river while stepping on slippery stones. If they did not pay strict attention to their steps, they would end up in the water (compare "enter into temptation"). Gregoreuo is in the present imperative, which is a charge to continually stay awake! Jesus is saying that it is imperative that His disciples (and by application this includes us today) not become indolent and lazy and let down our guard or we will become easy prey for our inveterate, intractable enemies - the world, the flesh and the devil. The internal and external forces that come against us demand us to be alert and vigilant. Jesus is calling His disciples to be on the alert, maintaining a constant state of vigilance (vigilance suggests intense, unremitting, wary watchfulness; keenly alert to or heedful of trouble or danger as others are sleeping or unsuspicious).

Gregoreuo - 22x - alert, 10; awake, 1; keep, 1; keep watch, 4; keep watching, 1; keeping alert, 1; stay on the alert, 1; stays awake, 1; wake, 2 Mt. 24:42, 43; 25:13; 26:38, 40, 41; Mk. 13:34, 35, 37; 14:34, 37, 38; Lk. 12:37; Acts 20:31; 1 Co. 16:13; Col. 4:2; 1Th 5:6, 10; 1Pe 5:8; Re 3:2, 3; 16:15 Note that most of the 22 uses of gregoreuo are in the latter part of Gospels in the context of Jesus' soon to come crucifixion and repeated exhortations to His disciples to be on the alert for His future return. For example, Jesus concluded the parable of the 10 virgins with the warning

Be on the alert (gregoreuo - also a present imperative) then, for you do not know the day nor the hour. (Mt 25:13)

Comment: If we as believers today really believed (and therefore really heeded = belief dictates behavior, creed influences conduct) this command to continually be on "high alert" for the return of our Lord (Second Coming), what effect might it have on our daily conduct and our prayer life? (see 1Jn 3:2+, 1Jn 3:3+)

Gregoreuo is used three times in Mark 13 (Mk. 13:34, 35, 37+) which closes with an exhortation to watchfulness in view of the Lord’s Return. Jesus' addressing His disciples, Peter and James and John and Andrew, on the Mount of Olives tells them a parable of the doorkeeper, declaring that

It is like a man, away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert (gregoreuo). Therefore, be on the alert (gregoreuo)-- for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrowing, or in the morning-- lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert (gregoreuo)!' (Mk 13:34-37+)

Vincent comments on the significance of Jesus' using the illustration of an awake, alert doorkeeper in this parable writing that "In the temple, during the night, the captain of the temple made his rounds, and the guards had to rise at his approach and salute him in a particular manner. Any guard (doorkeeper) found asleep on duty was beaten, or his garments were set on fire." (Greek Word Studies) Comment: I wonder how that would effect the efficacy and frequency of our prayer life if we had such a potential punishment looming over us!?

Charles Simeon writes that "Unwatchfulness, even in a victorious army, exposes it to defeat. Therefore much more must our unwatchfulness subject us to the power of our subtle enemy. Peter had experienced its baneful effects. He had been warned of Satan’s intention to assault him (Lk 22:31). He had been commanded to pray lest he should fall by the temptation (Lk 22:40); but he slept when he should have been praying (Lk 22:45, 46). He stands in this respect, like Lot’s wife (Lk 17:32, Ge 19:26), a monument to future generations; but vigilance on our part will counteract the designs of Satan. The armed Christian, watching unto prayer, must be victorious (Ep 6:18-note).. (1Peter 5:8, 9 The Means of Defeating Satan's Malice)

Alertness is required because our enemy rarely shows himself for who he is. He almost always masks himself as a religious personality, almost always endeavoring somehow in some way to be able to approach you subtly so that you can't recognize the reality of who he is. So you need to "be on the alert"!

Spurgeon reflects on the oft overlooked value of temptation so that we can truly live out Jas 1:2+…There is no temptation in the world which is so bad as not being tempted at all, for to be tempted will tend to keep us awake. Whereas, being without temptation, flesh and blood are weak. Though the spirit may be willing, yet we may be found falling into slumber. Children do not run away from their father’s side when big dogs bark at them. The howlings of the devil may tend to drive us nearer to Christ, may teach us our own weakness, may keep us upon our own watch tower, and be made the means of preservation from other ills. (Spurgeon, C. H. Satan, A Defeated Foe)

THOUGHT - Mark it down that the Christian who is not alert to the enemy's attack is in for trouble. Don't misunderstand… we are not to look for a demon behind every bush. We are simply called to a continual state of spiritual alertness.

J R Miller sounds a good word of caution reminding us that "We are not at all times equally strong. There are days with all of us when we throw off temptation with almost no effort. But none of us are so every day. There are hours with the strongest of us—when we are weak. These are the times of peril for us, and our adversary is watching for them. In your weak hours keep a double guard, therefore, against temptation. Keep out of its way. Throw yourself with mighty faith on Him who was tempted in all points as we are (He 4:15+), and knows therefore how to deliver us when we are tempted (2Pe 2:9+, cp He 2:18+). In time of special weakness—run to Christ for shelter!

Phil Newton summarizes Jesus' first command to be continually alert writing that "in watchfulness, we recognize our propensity to fall into sin given the opportunity, and thus seek to avoid such occasions or to use every means to withstand in such times. We also see that the Adversary takes advantage of us wherever he can, so we seek to "not give the devil an opportunity," as Paul exhorted (Ep 4:26, 27+). Rather than naivety, as we with the disciples, thinking that they surely could not fall into sin, we keep our minds sensitive to anything that would draw us away from devotion to Christ or faithfulness to Him (Ed: how to run with endurance = He 12:2+, He 12:3, 4+). With this in mind, borrowing from Owen, let me point out four ways that we can be watchful [131ff.]. (See also Chapters from John Owen's work on temptation)

(1) Know your own heart and natural leanings toward sin. Many of Satan's devices fall along the lines of our natural areas of weaknesses and lusts. Guard those areas of your life and give no room for the devil's devices [131-132]

(2) Avoid the snares of your natural leanings by staying away from the things that lure us into sin. "Seeing we have so little power over our hearts when once they meet with suitable provocations," wrote Owen, "we are to keep them asunder (apart from each other in position), as a man would do fire and the combustible parts of the house wherein he dwells" [133].

(3) "Be sure to lay in provision in store against the approaching of any temptation." The greatest treasure against temptation is found in the gospel.

"Gospel provisions will do this work;
that is, keep the heart full
of a sense of the love of God in Christ" 

While the provision found in the law are helpful in that they restrain us, it is a mind fixed on what God in Christ has done for you, what Christ has tasted on your behalf, that keeps you resilient against temptation.

(4) Put in the following safeguards.

(a) Discover the reality of temptation early so that you can engage it quickly before it gets the foot in the door.

(b) Consider the aim of temptation is to utterly ruin you, so hate it and its aim.

(c) Meet temptation with thoughts of faith concerning Christ crucified for you. The shield of faith focuses upon Christ crucified, His love, and suffering for sin.

(d) Go to God in prayer, as the second sentinel; plead for a speedy deliverance through Christ; call upon Christ to give you aid even as He resisted temptation; look to the Lord as the One promising deliverance [135-137].

Christ gave us the example. Now, let us learn from His command to watch and pray so that we may not enter into the snare of temptation. (The Son Drinks the Cup - excellent exposition)

Thomas Watson… has some pithy words of warning…

"Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry!" Lk 12:19 A Christian must deny his ease. "Ease slays the simple." The flesh is prone to sloth and softness. It is loath to take pains for heaven. Weeds and vermin grow in untilled ground; and all vices grow in an idle, untilled heart.

How can they expect to reap a harvest of glory—who never sowed any seed? Is Satan so busy in his diocese, 1Pe 5:8, and are Christians idle? Are they like the lilies—which neither toil, nor spin? O deny your ease! We must force our way to paradise.

God puts no difference between the slothful servant and the wicked servant, "You wicked and lazy servant!" Mt 25:26.

Those slothful people in Eturia, who like drones enter into the hive and consumed the honey, were expelled from others and condemned to exile. Such as idle away the day of grace and fold their hands to sleep when they should be working out salvation (Php 2:12)—God will condemn to a perpetual exile in hell. Let us shake off sloth—as Paul did the viper!

Paul like a general keenly aware of the real spiritual war surrounding every saint, uses four Greek military terms to issue a staccato command (all in the imperative mood) to the church at Corinth (and the churches of every age) and all in the present tense (continuously) calling for each to be the habitual practice for the rest of our lives! (Note: "be on the alert" = gregoreuo) All saints are to be on guard at all times. They are not to give up an inch of vital territory. They are to behave with true courage.

Be on the alert
Stand firm
in the faith
Act like men
Be strong

(1Co 16:13)

Charles Simeon reminds us of our need for constant vigilance and exertion writing that "The old principle (flesh), as has been observed, still remains within us: and, if we be not constantly on our guard, it will regain its former ascendency over us. A stronger army, if the sentinels fall asleep, may be surprised and vanquished by troops that are far inferior: and we too, notwithstanding the power given us by the indwelling Spirit, shall surely be overcome, if we be not constantly on our watch-tower. We must be prepared to meet our adversary at his first approach. Our blessed Lord says, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation:” and the sad consequences of sleeping on our post may be seen in the Disciples, when they failed to observe this important admonition (Mt. 26:41, 43, 56). Corruption will often put on the appearance of virtue, and Satan assume the garb of an angel of light (2Co 11:14): but if we be on our guard, we shall detect his devices; and “if we resist him manfully, he will flee from us (Jas 4:7-note).” (Gal 5:16 -WALKING IN THE SPIRIT, A PRESERVATIVE FROM SIN)

Charles Simeon - What need have we to be ever on our guard! Perhaps at this moment Satan may be desiring to sift us. And what if God should give us up into his hands? (Ed: Think of Peter in the Garden with Jesus but soon to by "sifted" by the enemy to the point that he would deny His Lord 3 times! Lk 22:31, 32) If allowed to exert his strength, he could soon dissipate whatever is good in us; nor should our past zeal in God’s service remove our apprehensions; that would rather provoke Satan to more activity against us. Let us then “not be high-minded, but fear. (Ro 11:20-note)” Let us follow the salutary advice which our Lord has given us (Mt 26:41) Let us plead with fervor those important petitions (Mt 6:13-note)— At the same time let us “put on the whole armour of God,” and prepare, as God has taught us, for the assaults of our enemy (Ep 6:13-note, Ep 6:14, 15-note, Ep 6:16, 17-note, Ep 6:18-note). (Horae Homileticae Vol. 13: Luke XVII to John XII (105). London. HE MEANS OF SECURITY FROM SATAN’S MALICE - Luke 22:31, 32.)


Keep...Praying (4336) (proseuchomai from pros = toward, facing, before [idea of definiteness and directness in prayer with the consciousness on the part of the one praying that he is talking face to face with God] + euchomai = originally to speak out, utter aloud, express a wish, then to pray or to vow. Greek technical term for invoking a deity) in the NT is always used of prayer addressed to God (to Him as the object of faith and the One who will answer one’s prayer) and means to speak consciously (with or without vocalization) to Him, with a definite aim (See study of noun proseuche). Proseuchomai encompasses all the aspects of prayer -- submission, confession, petition, supplication (may concern one's own need), intercession (concerned with the needs of others), praise, and thanksgiving. Vine says that proseuchomai carries with it a notion of worship (but see the Greek word for worship = proskuneo) which is not present in the other words for prayer (eg, aiteo, deomai, both of which involve spoken supplication)


Wiersbe comments on watch and pray noting it is like saying "Pray with your eyes open"… The familiar phrase "watch and pray" goes back to when Nehemiah was leading the people in rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and restoring the gates. The enemy did not want the holy city to be rebuilt, so they used fear, deceit, and every kind of ruse to hinder the work. What was Nehemiah's defense? "Nevertheless we made our prayer to our God, and because of them [the enemy] we set a watch against them day and night" (Neh. 4:9NKJV). Jesus (Mt 26:41; Mk 13:33), Paul (Col 4:2), and Peter (1Pe 4:7) commanded God's people to "watch and pray," to be on guard and pray with intelligence and alertness. We are soldiers in a battle and we dare not go to sleep while on duty. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

J C Ryle adds "Prayer the Best Remedy in Time of Trouble - First, let us learn that prayer is the best practical remedy that we can use in time of trouble. We see that Christ himself prayed when his soul was sorrowful: all true Christians ought to do the same.Trouble is a cup that all must drink in this world of sin: we are “;born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7); we cannot avoid it. Of all creatures, none is so vulnerable as mankind: our bodies, our minds, our families, our business, our friends, are all so many doors through which trial will come in. The holiest saints can claim no exemption from it: like their Master, they are often people of sorrow.But what is the first thing to be done in time of trouble? We must pray. Like Job, we must fall down and worship (Job 1:20); like Hezekiah, we must spread it out before the Lord (2 Kings 19:14). The first person we must turn to for help must be our God. We must tell our Father in heaven all our sorrow; we must believe confidently that nothing is too trivial or minute to be laid before him, so long as we do it with entire submission to his will. It is the mark of faith to keep nothing back from our best Friend: so doing, we may be sure we shall have an answer. “If it is possible” (verse 39), and the thing we ask is for God’s glory, it will be done: the thorn in the flesh will either be removed, or grace to endure it will be given to us, as it was to St. Paul (2 Corinthians 12:9). May we all store up this lesson against the day of need. It is a true saying that “prayers are the leeches of care.”

Solomon gives us some wisom about not coming into temptation:

Do not enter the path of the wicked (cp Ps 1:1+), and do not proceed in the way of evil men. Avoid (command) it, do not pass by it. Turn away (command) from it and pass on (command). (Pr 4:14, 15)

Comment: And so in the present passage, the Lord Jesus instructs us that one way not to "enter the path of the wicked" is by continually watching and praying!

Temptation (3986) (peirasmos from peirazo = to make trial of, try, tempt, prove in either a good or bad sense) describes first the idea of putting to the test and then refers to the tests that come in order to discover a person’s nature or the quality of some thing. Think of yourself as a tube of "spiritual toothpaste". Pressure brings out what's really on the inside! The context determines whether the intended purpose of the "temptation" is for good or for evil. We see this distinction in James chapter 1 where the first use of peirasmos refers to "trials for good" (as in 1Pe 1:6)…

Consider it (aorist imperative ~ do it now once and for all!) all (wholly) joy ("whole joy", unmixed joy, without admixture of sorrow, not just "some joy" along with much grief! How is this possible? The Spirit produces His joy in you - Ga 5:22+), my brethren, when (implies temptations are to be expected) you encounter (fall into the midst of so as to be totally surrounded by) various (poikilos - all "shapes and sizes" of) trials (peirasmos), knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. (Jas 1:2,3).

From this passage we can see that God sends or allows tests (peirasmos) to increase the strength and quality of our faith and to demonstrate its validity. Every trial becomes a test of faith designed to strengthen the believer's faith, but if the believer fails the test by wrongly responding, then that test becomes a temptation or a solicitation to evil.

Later James uses the related verb peirazo explaining that no one should "say when he is tempted (peirazo), “I am being tempted (peirazo) by God”; for God cannot be tempted (apeirastos from a = without + peirazo = tempt > incapable of being tempted) by evil, and He Himself does not tempt (peirazo) anyone." (Jas 1:13+)

To summarize, if a believer responds to a peirasmos in faith (which in the context of Mt 26:41 = watching and praying prior to the peirasmos), he successfully endures a trial (and we call it just that -- a "trial" and not a "temptation") but if he falls into it, doubts God and disobeys, the trial becomes a "temptation" which can lead to sin. God allows "peirasmos" into our life not to make us sin but to make us more like the Savior. Not so with Satan as his encounter with our Lord illustrates.

Matthew records that "Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted (peirazo- the verbal root of peirasmos) by the devil. (Mt 4:1+)

The temptation of Jesus was morally neutral -- there was nothing inherently evil in offering Jesus bread (Mt 4:2, 3, 4+). The context however allows us to determine that the purpose of the testing was clearly for evil not good. Satan, the Evil one himself, used the "neutral" peirasmos in an attempt to induce Jesus to commit a sin. When peirasmos is used in a passage in which the context indicates it has to do with inducing one to sin, most modern Bible versions translate it as "temptation".

To reiterate, when God is the agent, peirasmos is for the purpose of proving us, never for the purpose of causing us to fall. If it is the devil who tempts us even though it is the same Greek word, his nefarious purpose is to trip us up.

In a sermon titled Faith Tested and Crowned (Ge 22:1-14) Alexander Maclaren distinguished between being tempted and being tried or tested. He said that temptation

conveys the idea of appealing to the worst part of man, with the wish that he may yield and do the wrong. The latter (trial) means an appeal to the better part of man, with the desire that he should stand.

Temptation says, 'Do this pleasant thing; do not be hindered by the fact that it is wrong.'

Trial or proving says, 'Do this right and noble thing; do not be hindered by the fact that it is painful.'

In sum, peirasmos refers to all the trials, testing, temptations that go into furnishing a test of one's character.

As J C Ryle said "Trials are intended to make us think, to wean us from the world, to send us to the Bible, to drive us to our knees."

J. C. Ryle exhorts us to "settle it firmly in our minds that there is a meaning, a needs-be and a message from God in every sorrow that falls upon us… There are no lessons so useful as those learned in the school of affliction… (and be encouraged for) The tools that the great Architect intends to use much are often kept long in the fire, to temper them and fit them for work."

Comment: The point is that testing will come, even as it did to Peter who cut off Malchus' ear and then proceeded to deny his Lord three times. The tests for Peter demonstrated his inability to withstand temptation in his own human strength. The tests always show us our insufficiency and inadequacy to live the "Christ life" and our desperate, constant need for God's grace and empowering presence in the Spirit of Christ.

We cannot resist temptation
in the weakness of our flesh.
God never said we could!
But He can and
He always said He would!

By God's Spirit, He can enable us to resist the temptation in His strength (Zech 4:6). When the tests/temptations come, may God's Spirit helps us to recognize them, to humble ourselves, to surrender to His will, to experience His all sufficient powerful transformative grace and to believe His promise that the Tempter must flee. One caution - we are not advocating that the believer take a passive role in fighting temptation as suggested by the false teaching "Let go, let God." The phrase is more accurately stated "Let God, let's go!" In other words, in reliance on God's Spirit, we take the necessary action to fight the temptation. For more discussion of this critically important truth in our battle for progressive sanctification see "Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible" (100/100)


Spurgeon's words on the value of trials/temptations in his personal life should encourage all of us to recognize and receive similar testing/tempting times in our lives as for our good and for God's glory. Spurgeon explains…

I am afraid that all the grace that I have got out of my comfortable and easy times and happy hours might almost lie on a penny. But the good that I have received from my sorrows, and pains, and griefs, is altogether incalculable. What do I not owe to the crucible and the furnace, the bellows that have blown up the coals, and the hand which has thrust me into the heat?… I bear my witness that the worst days I have ever had have turned out to be my best days… I can bear my personal testimony that the best piece of furniture that I ever had in the house was a cross. I do not mean a material cross; I mean the cross of affliction and trouble (cp Mk 8:34)… In shunning a trial we are seeking to avoid a blessing.

When God gives a burden, He always gives the grace to bear it.

Charles Simeon (commenting on praying Mt 6:13) wisely alerts us to the fact that "Temptations present themselves to us on every side. Every thing that is agreeable to our senses or flattering to our minds, has a tendency to draw us from God. Even the things which are the most innocent when moderately enjoyed, often become snares to us. Our food, our raiment, our comforts of every kind, and even our dearest relatives, are apt to engross our affections too much, and to become the objects of an idolatrous regard — The cares and troubles of life also are frequently sources of unbelieving anxiety, or murmuring discontent… —To these temptations incalculable force is given by the corruptions of our own hearts ("fallen flesh nature" inherited from Adam). We are of our own selves prone to evil (Jas 1:14-note). The heart is ready to catch fire from every spark; and all the appetites and passions are quickly brought into activity in the service of sin (Jas 1:15-note). In vain does reason remonstrate (present strong reasons against an act) with us: “the law of sin that is in our members, wars against the law of our minds, and brings us into captivity: (Ro 7:23KJV-note)” yea, even when the spiritual principle lusts and strives against the corruptions of the flesh, so strong is the corrupt principle within us, we cannot do the things that we would. (Gal 5:17KJV-note) Well therefore may we pray to be kept from their power! (Read the full sermon - Simeon, C. Horae Homileticae Vol. 11: Matthew. Page 199)

John Macarthur has an excellent illustration of the purpose of trials (temptations) - To test the genuineness of a diamond, jewelers often place it in clear water, which causes a real diamond to sparkle with special brilliance. An imitation stone, on the other hand, will have almost no sparkle at all. When the two are placed side by side, even an untrained eye can easily tell the difference. In a similar way, even the world can often notice the marked differences between genuine Christians and those who merely profess faith in Christ. As with jewels, there is a noticeable difference in radiance, especially when people are undergoing difficult times. Many people have great confidence in their faith until it is severely tested by hardships and disappointments. How a person handles trouble will reveal whether his faith is living or dead, genuine or imitation, saving or non-saving. (Macarthur J. James. 1998. Moody)\

ILLUSTRATION - THE Steinway piano has been preferred by keyboard masters such as Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Cliburn, and Liszt— and for good reason. It is a skillfully crafted instrument that produces phenomenal sound.

Steinway pianos are built today the same way they were 140 years ago when Henry Steinway started his business. Two hundred craftsmen and 12,000 parts are required to produce one of these magnificent instruments. Most crucial is the rim-bending process in which eighteen layers of maple are bent around an iron press to create the shape of a Steinway grand. Five coats of lacquer are applied and hand rubbed to give the piano its outer glow. The instrument then goes to the Pounder Room, where each key is tested 10,000 times to ensure quality and durability.

Followers of Christ are also being "handcrafted." We are pressed and formed and shaped to make us more like Him. We are polished, sometimes in the rubbing of affliction, until we "glow." We are tested in the laboratory of everyday human experience. The process is not always pleasant, but we can persevere with hope, knowing that our lives will increasingly reflect the beauty of holiness to the eternal praise of God.—D C Egner

In Mt 14:38 clearly Jesus knew that trials were coming in not just His life (The Cross) but in the lives of His disciples. God could have prevented the trials in the lives of the disciples but He did not. In the context of the growth and development of the lives of the disciples, these trials were part of the "school of affliction" through which they (and we) must "matriculate".

John MacArthur has compiled the following list for modern day disciples to help us recognize and understand at least to some degree why we experience trials and tests (which become temptations to sin if we attempt to handle them in the weakness of our flesh). The purposes for trials include…

(1) To test the strength of our faith (e.g., Ex 16:4, 2Chr 32:31)

(2) To humble us (2Cor 12:7, cp Dt 8:1,2,3, 16)

(3) To wean us from our dependence on worldly things (Moses allowed to spend 40 years as a shepherd after 40 years as an Egyptian prince, Ex 2:11-25)

(4) to call us to eternal and heavenly hope (Php 1:23, 24, 2Co 4:16, 17, 18)

(5) To reveal what we really love (cf Ge 22:1-12 re Abraham's willingness to sacrifice Isaac, cp Ex 16:4) and will obey Him (Dt 13:3, Jdg 2:21,22, 3:1,4) (Love God ~ obey God = )

(6) To teach us to value God's blessings (cf Ps 63:3, 4, 5, 6, 7)

(7) To develop enduring strength for greater usefulness (2Co 12:10)

(8) To enable us to better help others in their trials (cf Satan's sifting of Simon Peter Lk 22:31, 32).

(9) To engender a holy fear of God so that we might not sin (Ex 20:20)

(Note: The original list has been modified slightly)


(1). Prove our faith genuine - so when a believer comes through a trial still trusting the Lord, he is assured that his faith is genuine

(2). Are only for a little while (cf 1Pe 5:10+, Ro 8:18+, 2Co 4:18+, Heb 12:11+ "for the moment")

(3). Are necessary to our growth in Christ -- thus trials in a believer's life are purposeful (cf Ro 8:28+; Ro 8:29-+)

(4). Will cause grief & sorrow so we must not think they are not of any benefit just because we grieve (cf He 12:11+ "All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful")

(5). Are multicolored, of various "sizes, shapes and colors" (Jas 1:2+) but in (1Pe 4:10+ "manifold" = poikilos) Peter says God provides multicolored grace for multicolored trials! There is sufficient grace (2Cor 12:9+) to match every trial and there is no trial without sufficient grace.

(6). Ultimately will bring praise, glory and honor to God. There is great comfort for suffering saints in knowing that their sufferings are neither purposeless nor fruitless. On the other hand, the sufferings of the ungodly are only a foretaste of the pangs they will endure forever.

(7). Will not be fully understood as to their eternal significance until the revelation of Jesus Christ (1Cor 13:12, 1Jn 3:2+, Ro 8:18+)

The Spirit (pneuma) is willing - Spirit has the basic meaning of breath or air (cp our English words "pneumatic", "pneumonia") refers to the vital spirit or life, the principle of life residing in man, that part of man that can live independently of the body (Mt 27:50; Ac 7:59, Lk 8:55).

MacArthur - If they were to overcome the weakness of their unredeemed flesh, they desperately needed to rely on divine power. The disciples undoubtedly wanted to stay alert. They likewise desired to remain loyal to Christ, insisting that they would never abandon Him (cf. vv. 27–31). Yet, even though they had good intentions, in both cases they succumbed to the flesh (cf. Rom. 7:15–23).

Robertson writes that "Spirit (pneuma) here is the moral life (intellect, emotions) as opposed to the flesh (cf. Is 31:3; Ro 7:25).

Barnes explains that "The spirit indeed is willing, etc. The mind, the disposition is ready, and disposed to bear these trials; but the flesh, the natural feelings, through the fear of danger, is weak, and will be likely to lead you astray when the trial comes. Though you may have strong faith, and believe now that you will not deny me, yet human nature is weak, shrinks at trials, and you should, therefore seek strength from on high. This was not intended for an apology for their sleeping, but to excite them, notwithstanding He knew that they loved Him, to be on guard, lest the weakness of human nature should be insufficient to sustain them in the hour of their temptation.

Wuest says the human spirit as that part of man which gives him God-consciousness. He goes on to make an interesting (a bit difficult to understand) distinction that the spirit is "the higher life-principle in man by which the human reason, viewed on its moral side—the organ of moral thinking and knowing is informed… With the physical body, man has world-consciousness, with the soul he has self-consciousness, and with the spirit he has God-consciousness. With the spirit, man has to do with the things of God. He worships God by means of his human spirit, that is, (when regenerated) when that spirit is energized by the Holy Spirit. He serves God in the same way. The present body is so constituted that it is the efficient organ of the soul. The future physical body will be so adjusted that it will be the efficient organ of the spirit.In this present life most of our time and activity has to do with the things of time and space, making a living, with the creative arts, with recreation, with the material world. The human spirit, however, should be the determining factor as to the character of the soul life. Yet it is in active use but a small part of the time, when we worship God, study the Bible, pray, serve God in some distinctive service in which we are giving out the Word of God to those who do not know Him. But in the future life, conditions will be changed. Then the soul-life as we know it now, will be a thing of the past. We will be occupied entirely with God and His worship and service. Our bodies will then be adjusted to the new life. They will be changed so that they will be efficient instruments of the human spirit. Just what the nature of this change will be, the Bible does not say.

Willing (4289)(prothumos from pró = before + thumós = passion) denotes a willingness, a predisposition, a readiness, or an inclination. It means to be eager (and prompt) to be of service. Prothumos is a strong word. It means something like "ready, willing and able." It also can include the idea of passionate.Have you ever said "I'm never going to do ______ again!" And then before the day is out you've committed that sin not once but several times. Our being willing or in a sense attempting to "will a victory" over temptation won't happen. Why? Because of where we are placing our confidence! If it's the flesh than we will get a "fleshly" defense and Jesus says it is a weak defense against temptation. Peter was willing. His flesh was weak. We know the results. We are all like Peter until we learn to depend on the Holy Spirit Who Paul teaches actually gives us the desire, the will and the "want to" to fight off temptation successfully (Php 2:13+, Php 2:13NLT).

Won't Empower
To Overpower!

English dictionaries define "willpower" as "energetic determination" or "the ability to control oneself and determine one’s actions". In short, Jesus in essence declares "will power" won't empower the flesh so that it can overpower temptation! It might work for a while, but eventually the temptation will overwhelm the human will, because in and of itself, without the enablement of the Spirit, it is weak and will fail to keep one from falling into temptation.


But the flesh is weak - Here is the striking and critical contrast we must never lose sight of! How weak is flesh? Not even strong enough to stay awake for one hour with the Lord of the Universe Who is in agony! And if it can't even fight off this "temptation" to fall asleep, how is it going to fight off the greater spiritual tests?

Warren Wiersbe makes an important distinction regarding the ability of the flesh noting that "The flesh is weak when it comes to doing spiritual things (Mt 26:41), but it is very strong when it comes to practicing religious rules and regulations. Somehow, adhering to the religious routine inflates the ego and makes a person content in his self-righteousness. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Flesh (4561)(sarx) is used 147 times in the NT and a simple definition is difficult because sarx has many nuances (e.g., some Greek lexicons list up to 11 definitions for sarx!). The diligent disciple must carefully observe the context of each use of sarx in order to accurately discern which nuance is intended. The range of meaning extends from the physical flesh (both human and animal), to the human body, to the entire person, and even to all humankind! To keep this relatively simple there are 2 basic definitions of sarx, the first being the physical body ("flesh and blood"). The other main meaning of sarx is flesh in its moral, ethical sense. Flesh in this sense denotes fallen human nature apart from divine influence and even opposed to God and godliness. Flesh manifests "self" (remove the "h" and read "flesh" backwards > "self"! Note the middle letter of "sin" = the "big I" -- sIn!). The expression of the "anti-God energized" flesh is through the instrument of the physical body ("flesh and blood"), which is itself morally neutral but is the instrument of either righteousness or unrighteousness (cf Ro 6:12-note). In sum, flesh refers to man’s unredeemed humanness, acting apart from God and the Spirit of Christ, and in total subjection to the power of sin.

Weak (sick, helpless) (772)(asthenes from a = without + sthénos = strength, bodily vigor) (Related verb = astheneo-note concentration of asthenes/astheneo in the epistles to the Corinthians - almost 50% of NT uses) is literally without strength or bodily vigor. Asthenes describes one's state of limited capacity to do or be something and is used literally of physical weakness (most of these uses in the Gospels) and figuratively of weakness in the spiritual arena (weak flesh, weak conscience, weak religious system or commandment [Gal 4:9, He 7:18-note], etc) and thus powerlessness to produce results. In other words, when used in the moral sense as in Mark 14:38, asthenes denotes the disciples' (and our) inability and/or feebleness with regard to handling of temptations. Simply put, we cannot do it in our own inherent, intrinsic, natural "strength".

Constable comments that "The contrast between the flesh and the spirit is not between the sinful human nature and the Holy Spirit (as in Gal 5:17) but between man’s volitional strength and his physical weakness (cf. Mt 26:35). We often want to do the right thing but find that we need supernatural assistance to accomplish it (cf. Ro 7:15-25).

While I would agree that clearly the "spirit" in this context is not the Holy Spirit and therefore the clash between Spirit and flesh of Galatian 5:17 is not in view, I think the flesh is still referring to the "fallen flesh" because what else makes a man or woman morally "weak"? To be sure the disciples were undoubtedly physically "weak" (in that sense their "bodies of flesh and blood" were weak) but Jesus is clearly speaking not just of physical issues but of moral/ethical issues (prayer, temptation, falling spiritually). Keep in mind that all men have inherited the "sin virus" from Adam (Ro 5:12-note) and therefore are "contaminated" by Sin so that everything (exclamation point!) we do before we are born again, is tainted by the effects of the fall (and thus the effects of the "flesh"). In the context of Matthew 26 we have somewhat of a unique situation, in which the disciples clearly had believed in Jesus (cp Mt 16:16, 20) and yet they did not yet have the indwelling Holy Spirit (Jn 7:39), Who gives believers the desire and power necessary to live the Christian life (cp Acts 1:8, Ro 8:13-note, 1Co 15:10) and specifically in context, the desire and power to "watch and pray".

Hiebert adds "Some (like Constable above) hold that spirit and flesh here have a non-theological meaning and that the reference is simply to their mind or inner desire and the weary physical body which frustrates their desire. More probably, the two terms have their usual ethical significance. Their higher spiritual nature, already quickened by the Spirit of God, was eager to be loyal to Him, but the flesh, the old nature, was weak and opposed to the desire of the spirit. By calling them to watch and pray, Jesus sought to arouse their higher nature to full activity so that they will not yield to the flesh." (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

James Montgomery Boice expounds on "The Weakness of Our Flesh" asking first…

Did Jesus need to pray?

In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. (He 5:7-note, see Mt 26:39, 40)

He obviously did, and he was the sinless Son of God. He was the Rock of Ages, an unshakable pillar of strength compared to those around him. But if he needed to pray, how much more do we who are weak and sinful and ignorant and usually oblivious to the temptations that surround us every day?

"The flesh is weak," Jesus said. But not only weak. It is a pit of corruption and rebellion too. The New International Version translates the Greek word sarx ("flesh") as "body" in verse 41, but that greatly weakens the word in my opinion.

In the New Testament, flesh usually means "mere flesh," that is, the whole person as he or she is apart from the regenerating and purifying Spirit of God. Flesh stands for "man the sinner," and man the sinner is more than physically weak. He is corrupt, sinful, and rebellious in his soul.

What is the solution? It is staring us in the face. "Watch and pray," said Jesus. Why? Because apart from prayer we will certainly "fall into temptation" (Mt 26:41). The only way we can stand is in the power of Jesus, Who was Himself able to stand and Who intercedes for us to enable us to stand (Heb 7:25-note, Ro 8:34-note, cp the Spirit also interceding for us - Ro 8:27-note), even as we pray.

Peter thought he was strong. When Jesus spoke of his impending death, indicating that the disciples would forsake him and scatter, Peter protested. Although that might be true for the others, it would not be true for him since he was willing not only to suffer but even to die for Jesus' sake. Peter meant it. He loved the Lord. He thought he could stand by him. But Peter was weak in the flesh, and he was not able even to keep awake long enough to pray.

Peter also fell into temptation, and he would have fallen away utterly if Jesus had not prayed for him that his faith might be strengthened. Jesus said, "I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith might not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32).

John H. Gerstner suggested at one of the Philadelphia Conferences on Reformation Theology that it must have been Peter who composed the song found in some of today's hymnbooks. It has the recurring chorus line, "Lord, we are able." That is what Peter sang before his fall. But Gerstner suggested that after Peter had fallen and been restored by Jesus, he rewrote his self-confident hymn to read, "Lord, we are not able." Peter was not able, and neither are we. In the flesh we will fall, but we can stand in Christ if we come to Him and pray, seeking the strength He makes available. So pray. If you have trouble praying, remember that Jesus prayed and that he is praying for you right now. (An Expositional Commentary – The Gospel of Matthew, Vol 2: The Triumph of the King).

Alexander Maclaren comments on this section…

Note the sad and gentle remonstrance with the drowsy three (Mt 26:40)… May we not see in Christ’s remonstrance a word for all? For us, too, the task of keeping awake in the enchanted ground is light, measured against His, and the time is short, and we have Him to keep us company in the watch, and every motive of grateful love should make it easy; but, alas, how many of us sleep a drugged and heavy slumber!

The gentle remonstrance soon passes over into counsel as gentle (Mt 26:41).

Watchfulness and prayer
are inseparable…

The one discerns dangers,
the other arms against them.

Watchfulness keeps us prayerful, and
prayerfulness keeps us watchful.

To watch without praying is presumption,
to pray without watching is hypocrisy.

The eye that sees clearly the facts of life will turn upwards from its scanning of the snares and traps, and will not look in vain.

These two are the indispensable conditions of victorious encountering of temptation.

Fortified by them, we shall not ‘enter into’ it, though we encounter it. The outward trial will remain, but its power to lead us astray will vanish. It will still be danger or sorrow, but it will not be temptation; and we shall pass through it, as a sunbeam through foul air, untainted, and keeping heaven’s radiance. That is a lesson for a wider circle than the sleepy three (Ed: I.e., all of us).


It is followed by words which would need a volume to expound in all their depth and width of application, but which are primarily a reason for the preceding counsel, as well as a loving apology for the disciples’ sleep. Christ is always glad to give us credit for even imperfect good; His eye, which sees deeper than ours, sees more lovingly, and is not hindered from marking the willing spirit by recognizing weak flesh. But these words are not to be made a pillow for indolent acquiescence in the limitations which the flesh imposes on the spirit. He may take merciful count of these, and so may we, in judging others, but it is fatal to plead them at the bar of our own consciences. Rather they should be a spur to our watchfulness and to our prayer.

We need these because the flesh is weak,
still more because,
in its weakness toward good, it is strong to evil.

Such exercise (watching and praying) will give governing power to the spirit, and enable it to impose its will on the reluctant flesh. (Ed: Note that Maclaren now speaks of the regenerate nature which is an application but is not exactly the condition of the disciples for they lacked the Holy Spirit at that time) If we watch and pray, the conflict between these two elements in the renewed nature will tend to unity and peace by the supremacy of the spirit; if we do not, it will tend to cease by the unquestioned tyranny of the flesh (Ed: Here Maclaren is speaking of Gal 5:16, Gal 5:17). In one or other direction our lives are tending. (GETHSEMANE, THE OIL-PRESS)

Spurgeon offers us wise counsel regarding temptations stating that "If you are successful in business or successful in holy work, then Satan will tempt you. If you are not successful and have had a bad time, then Satan will tempt you. When you have a heavy load to carry, he will tempt you. When that load is taken off, then he will tempt you worse that ever. He will tempt you when you have obtained some blessing that you have been thinking was such a great boon. For example, in the wilderness, when they cried for meat and insisted that they must have it, God gave them their heart’s desire, but sent leanness into their souls. Just as you have secured the thing that you are seeking, then comes a temptation. To all of which I say, “Watch.” “What I say unto you, I say unto all,” said Christ, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation” (Matthew 26:41). And by the conflict and the victory of your Master, go into the conflict bravely, expecting to conquer by faith in Him, even as He overcame. (Satan, A Defeated Foe)

To summarize, a Christian has an old nature, the flesh, from his physical birth and a new nature from his spiritual birth. The New Testament contrasts these two natures and gives them various names which are more or less synonymous…


our old man (Ro 6:6+)

the new man (Col 3:10+)

the flesh (Gal. 5:24+)

the Spirit (Gal 5:17+)

corruptible seed (1Pe 1:23+)

“God’s seed” (1Jn 3:9+)

Dearly beloved of God, be ever aware of the deceitfulness of sin's desire (Heb 3:13+) to use our unredeemed flesh to cause us to try to fend off temptations!

As Spurgeon rightly reminds us…Corruptions may slumber, but godliness must watch.So long as we live, the corruptions of the old nature will be ready to rise in rebellion, and they must be held down by divine grace working in us continual care. Quaint Berridge wisely says:—

And if the monsters round thy head
Lay harmless down, like sheep,
Yet never once surmise them dead,
They have but dropped asleep.

Wiersbe (in his commentary on 1Jn 2:15) explains that…The lust of the flesh includes anything that appeals to man's fallen nature. "The flesh" does not mean "the body." Rather, it refers to the basic nature of unregenerate man that makes him blind to spiritual truth (1Co 2:14)… God has given man certain desires, and these desires are good. Hunger, thirst, weariness, and sex are not at all evil in themselves. There is nothing wrong about eating, drinking, sleeping, or begetting children. But when the flesh nature controls them, they become sinful "lusts." Hunger is not evil, but gluttony is sinful. Thirst is not evil, but drunkenness is a sin. Sleep is a gift of God, but laziness is shameful. Sex is God's precious gift when used rightly; but when used wrongly, it becomes immorality. Now you can see how the world operates. It appeals to the normal appetites and tempts us to satisfy them in forbidden ways. In today's world we are surrounded by all kinds of allurements that appeal to our lower nature—and "the flesh is weak" (Matt. 26:41). If a Christian yields to it, he will get involved in the "works of the flesh" (Gal. 5:19, 20, 21 gives us the ugly list). It is important that a believer remember what God says about his old nature, the flesh. Everything God says about the flesh is negative. In the flesh there is no good thing (Ro 7:18). The flesh profits nothing (Jn 6:63). A Christian is to put no confidence in the flesh (Php 3:3). He is to make no provision for the flesh (Ro 13:14). A person who lives for the flesh is living a negative life.  (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Phil Newton explains that Jesus presents a radical contrast between "the dignified desires of the human will ("the spirit") and the inherent physical weakness of the man ("the flesh") [Cleon Rogers, 60]. As we considered in the previous study (Mt 26:31-35), the disciples failed to realize their own inherent weakness, but gullibly thought they were capable of achieving lofty goals in their own strength. Even in His humanity, though sinless, Jesus faced normal human weaknesses (Ed: But clearly His "weaknesses" were not contaminated by the "fallen flesh"). He had to eat, sleep, and rest. We find Him hungry, tired, and asleep. Now the feelings of sorrow, grief, and distress weigh upon Him physically and emotionally. When He told the disciples "the flesh is weak," He understood that weakness of the physical frame under the duress of sorrow and anguish. Yet in every way, Jesus Christ displayed strength as He depended upon the Father. He watched and prayed as one that would have felt much more intensity from sin and temptation than any of us, setting an example for us to do the same. Those mired in sin scarcely feel temptation. It is those that resist it, who seek to walk in holiness and purity that understand the intensity of temptation. So, Jesus Christ gave us two sentinels that guarded His earthly life in the face of temptation. (The Son Drinks the Cup - excellent exposition)

A Fatal Moment - Henry Blackaby

       “Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”—Mark 14:38 

At times your spirit must demand supremacy over your flesh. Your spirit will know what your Lord wants you to do, but your flesh will cry out for its own fulfillment. There are times when sleep must be denied, even when you are exhausted, because it would be disastrous for you to rest at such a time. When the Lord commands you to “watch and pray,” it is crucial that you obey.

As Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He knew that the pinnacle of His ministry was quickly approaching. He was aware that the legions of hell were marshaling their forces to defeat Him. If there were ever a critical time for His closest friends to be undergirding Him in prayer, this was it. Jesus told them that He was deeply distressed, even to the point of death. Surely they could have sensed the intensity in His voice and the urgency of His demeanor, and surely they could have found the strength to obey His request. Yet He found them asleep. No excuses. They had fallen asleep at the most pivotal moment in human history, not once but three times!

Jesus asks you to join Him in what He is doing. He may ask you to watch and pray for an hour. You may have to deny your physical needs and desires in order to pray with Him. You may have to leave the comfort of your bed or your home. You may even have to sacrifice your safety in order to be where Jesus is. Seek to bring every physical desire under the control of the Holy Spirit so that nothing will impede your accomplishing what Jesus asks of you.

J C Ryle on the practical application in the lives of believers…Christians Must Watch and Pray Against Weakness

Let us learn that there is great weakness even in true disciples of Christ, and that they need to watch and pray against it. We see Peter, James and John, those three chosen apostles, sleeping. We find our Lord addressing them in these solemn words: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak” 

There is a double nature in all believers. Converted, renewed, sanctified as they are, they still carry about with them a mass of indwelling corruption, a body of sin (Ed: What I am referring to as the "fallen flesh"). Paul speaks of this, when he says,

“I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind” (Ro 7:21, 22, 23-note).

… But does our Lord excuse this weakness of his disciples? Far from it: those who draw this conclusion mistake His meaning. He uses that very weakness as an argument for watchfulness and prayer;

He teaches us that the very fact that we are hedged about with weakness should stir us up continually to “watch and pray.”

If we know anything of true religion, let us never forget this lesson. If we desire a strong walk with God and not to fall like David or Peter, let us never forget to watch and pray. Let us live like men in enemy territory (cp "aliens and strangers" 1Pe 2:11-note), and be always on our guard. We cannot walk too carefully; we cannot be too jealous over our souls (cp Jas 4:5). The world is very ensnaring; the devil is very busy. Let our Lord’s words ring in our ears daily, like a trumpet. Our spirits may sometimes be very willing; but our bodies are also very weak. Then let us always watch and always pray.

John Calvin makes an interesting point noting that…

As the disciples were unmoved by their Master’s danger, their attention is directed to themselves, that a conviction of their own danger may arouse them. Christ therefore threatens that, if they do not watch and pray, they may be soon overwhelmed by temptation. As if he had said, “Though you take no concern about Me, do not fail, at least, to think of yourselves; for your own interests are involved in it, and if you do not take care, temptation will immediately swallow you up.” For to enter into temptation means to yield to it.

And let us observe, that the manner of resistance which is here enjoined is, not to draw courage from reliance on our own strength and perseverance, but, on the contrary, from a conviction of our weakness, to ask arms and strength from the Lord. Our watching, therefore, will be of no avail without prayer.

The spirit indeed is willing. That he may not terrify and discourage His disciples, He gently reproves their slothfulness, and adds consolation and good ground of hope. And, first, He reminds them, that though they are earnestly desirous to do what is right, still they must contend with the weakness of the flesh, and, therefore, that prayer is never unnecessary. We see, then, that he gives them the praise of willingness, in order that their weakness may not throw them into despair, and yet urges them to prayer, because they are not sufficiently endued with the power of the Spirit (Ed comment: And I think this realization was to prepare them for the receipt of the Holy Spirit).

Wherefore, this admonition relates properly to believers (Ed: In other words here is the practical application), who, being regenerated by the Spirit of God, are desirous to do what is right, but still labor under the weakness of the flesh; for though the grace of the Spirit is vigorous in them, they are weak according to the flesh. And though the disciples alone have their weakness here pointed out to them, yet, since what Christ says of them applies equally to all, we ought to draw from it a general rule, that it is our duty to keep diligent watch by praying… there is no reason why we should tremble with excessive anxiety; for an undoubted remedy is held out to us… for Christ promises that all who, being earnest in prayer, shall perseveringly oppose the slothfulness of the flesh, will be victorious.

My Achilles Heel - Nobody is temptation-proof. Even mature Christians have weaknesses in their spiritual armor that make them vulnerable to a wounding attack by the enemy of their souls. Our pride can provide the very opening needed for the sharp thrust of a satanic dart. So can the love of money, a quick temper, a critical tongue, or chronic impatience.

What, after all, is temptation? It’s any enticement to think, say, or do something contrary to God’s holy will. It may be a weak impulse or a powerful urge. It’s anything that’s against what God approves or desires for us.

The ancient Greeks told a story of a warrior named Achilles. His mother had been warned that he would die of a wound, so she dipped him as an infant in the river Styx. That was supposed to make him invincible. But she held him by one heel which the protective waters didn’t cover. And it was through that heel that he received his fatal wound.

Each of us must ask: What is my Achilles heel? We need to know our weaknesses, where we could easily be wounded spiritually. Then, as we rely on the Lord for His help, we will be protected from “the fiery darts of the wicked one” (Ephesians 6:16). --Vernon C. Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole. —Wesley

Our greatest weakness
may be our failure to ask for God's strength.

Thomas a Brakel (Christian's Reasonable Service) gives some excellent final instructions on how to conduct ourselves in warfare…Endeavor to conduct yourself well, however, and to engage in this task properly. “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (2Ti 2:5).

First, arm yourself therefore from head to toe.

Paul teaches us what these weapons are. “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit” (Ep 6:13-18).

Secondly, in this warfare be on your guard against:

(1) Carelessness.

Do not imagine that you already have overcome when you have a good intention. Such intentions easily lose their vigor. Do not imagine that the enemy has already disappeared, for he lies in wait for you. Therefore, “Be sober, be vigilant” (1 Pet. 5:8).

(2) Despondency.

When the enemies are too strong for you, the warfare too heavy, and God is distant, do not give up courage, for that is as much as casting away your weapons and holding forth to the enemy (from whom no grace is to be expected anyhow) your defenseless hands. Therefore in reliance upon the strength and infallible promises of God, “Be strong and of a good courage” (Josh 1:6).

(3) Pride and boasting in your own strength.

Remember Peter who said, “Yet will I never be offended” (Matthew 26:33); “Yet will I not deny Thee” (Mt 26:35). Then the defeat is imminent. Therefore, “Be not high minded, but fear” (Ro 11:20).

Thirdly, in this warfare:

(1) Exercise caution, and do not go beyond the boundaries of your calling.

Do not engage in things which are beyond your reach and beyond your competence. Do not hastily and with impulsive passion engage yourself. Do not imagine by yourself that you have enough wisdom, but always first seek the counsel of the Lord—however insignificant the matter or circumstance may be. A maid was strong enough to cast Peter down. In special cases seek the counsel of the godly. “He that hearkens to counsel is wise” (Pr 12:15); “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise” (Ep 5:15).

(2) Flee from those opportunities from which you are permitted to flee, and especially those by which you have frequently been entrapped.

He already makes good progress who, in order to avoid sin, avoids the opportunities for sin, and does not engage in a specific endeavor unless called to do so.

(3) Be especially opposed to the sin which you are most inclined to commit, toward which your nature is most inclined, and which is related to your calling.

Carefully guard against the initial manifestations, for then it is easiest to resist it. Smother the children in the cradle, catch the little foxes, and remove the dead fly which can cause the most eminent substance to stink.

(4) Always take refuge to Christ, for He is a sun and a shield (Ps. 84:11).

As you permit your heart to wander away from Him, the arrow of the enemy will immediately hit you. Emulate David in this respect: “Deliver me, O LORD, from mine enemies: I flee unto Thee to hide me” (Ps. 143:9).

(5) Be continually engaged in prayer, for all your strength must come from the Lord—and God, when He is to do something, wants to be inquired of.

Mark 14:32–50 Could you not keep watch for one hour?
Matthew 28:16–20 

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. Mark 14:38

The Gospels record over three hundred questions that Jesus asked—we’ve only covered about 10 percent of them this month! We’ve studied questions that reveal Jesus’ identity as the Messiah, the Son of God. We’ve seen His questions transform lives. Jesus asked rhetorical questions, and posed questions that demanded an answer to reveal something about the hearts of His listeners. And today we’ll study our final question this month that challenges us to embrace the call to discipleship.

In some ways this is a difficult passage to read. Our Savior took Peter, James, and John with Him into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. He was “deeply distressed and troubled … overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (Mark 14:33–34). But surely His closest friends will be there for Him at a time like this, right? Of course we know the answer. The disciples repeatedly fall asleep.

Then it gets worse. The religious leaders arrive with an armed crowd to arrest Jesus. All the disciples, from converted tax collector to rough fishermen to political activist, all abandon Him. “Then everyone deserted Him and fled” (Mark 14:50).

As readers, we should identify with the disciples. We know our own failures and imperfections. We know all the times that we have wilted in the face of opposition instead of standing firm for Jesus. We know that so often we cannot keep watch for one hour.

Thankfully, this is not the end of the story. Jesus restores His terrified followers to fellowship. He promises the presence of the Holy Spirit. And He charges them with the Great Commission, the call to extend the offer of discipleship to all people around the world (Matt. 28:19–20). Will we share this good news?

Apply the Word
Have you felt like a spiritual failure? Your story is not over! God can transform a life that looks like a disappointment into a powerful testimony. Jesus calls you to follow Him and declare the good news of forgiveness through His work of salvation. Commit today to “watch and pray” so that you will be empowered to choose Jesus over the temptations offered by this world.!

Related Resources:

Mark 14:39  Again He went away and prayed, saying the same words.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:42 He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, Your will be done.” 


Notice that Jesus confirms His command to the disciple's to pray by going off again to pray. He gives them the perfect example and yet they still fall asleep. 

Again He went away and prayed (proseuchomai), saying the same words - This was His second time to pray. What words? The words of the request of Mark 14:36. And as noted above Matthew recorded an identical third request (Mt 26:44).

Hiebert - from the sleeping disciples, who had failed Him, Jesus turned back to the Father who was His only stay in that dread hour. Perhaps their lethargy intensified His feeling of anguish. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Guzik - Jesus repeated the prayer outlined in Mark 14:34–36. Some say it is unspiritual, or reflects a lack of faith, to repeat prayers, yet we could never accuse Jesus of being unspiritual or of lacking faith.

Gilbrant - His going again and praying the same words was not "vain repetition" such as He had forbidden (Matthew 6:7). Repetition is vain only when it is offered as a means of merit without proper spiritual hunger. Jesus was at the very juncture of the eternal plan of the Triune God. He was determined to do the will of the Father (Hebrews 10:7, 9); yet the One who knew no sin recoiled against becoming the Sin Offering, having all sin of all time imputed to Him, even if only temporarily (2 Corinthians 5:21). The two desires created a tension within Him that demanded three sessions of prayer. (Complete Biblical Library – Mark)

Mark 14:40  And again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.

  • they did not know: Mk 9:33,34 Ge 44:16 Ro 3:19 

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:43 Again He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. 


And again He came and found them sleeping - After His second time of prayer to His Father, He again found them asleep. 

For -(gar) - Term of explanation. Explains why they kept falling asleep. 

Their eyes were very heavy - Very heavy is katabaruno used only here in the Scriptures and in the present tense depicts their eyes (eyelids) and continually weighed down. We all know that feeling when we are driving late at night and catch ourselves nodding off because our eyelids feel weighed down and easily fall shut. They were so drowsy, they could not keep their eyes open. In fairness, they had experienced an unusually busy, emotion filled day and it was now probably around midnight. 

NET Note - “because their eyes were weighed down,” an idiom for becoming extremely or excessively sleepy

Wuest - At the time of the Transfiguration, these three had experienced the same over-powering drowsiness, and the same inability to give expression to their thoughts. In the case of the Transfiguration experience, their drowsiness and stupidity was the result of fear, and here, the result of grief (ED: AND PHYSICAL FATIGUE).

and they did not know what to answer Him - They may have felt embarrassed because they were guilty and knew it and so did not even make an attempt to give Jesus an excuse for what was inexcusable in this crucial hour. 

Gilbrant suggests that "Even though they had been up all night, the events should have made them wide awake." (Ibid)

Barton - The three of them had reacted the same way at Jesus’ transfiguration. During Jesus’ time of prayer beforehand, they also had fallen asleep (Luke 9:32+) and had been unable to express themselves appropriately to Jesus (Mark 9:6+). At that time they had been filled with fear; here in the garden, they were filled with grief.

Robertson on did not know what to answer Him -  Found only in Mark and reminds one of the like embarrassment of these same three disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9:6+). On both occasions weakness of the flesh prevented their real sympathy with Jesus in his highest and deepest experiences. “Both their shame and their drowsiness would make them dumb” (Gould).

LAC has an interesting application - NO PRAYER, NO SHARE
Perhaps disgusted, at least disappointed, Jesus left the slumbering disciples who could not stay awake. This pictures what happens when Christians and their churches fail to pray.
Where no one prays, Jesus, as it were, walks away. The church without prayer functions as little more than a vacant structure. The person without prayer is going it alone, in a stupor, in a slumber, not really alive.
To have a share of the Savior’s life and power, we must do what links our hearts to his: pray.

Mark 14:41  And He came the third time, and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.

  • Sleeping: Mk 7:9 Jdg 10:14 1Ki 18:27 22:15 2Ki 3:13 Ec 11:9 Eze 20:39 Mt 26:45,46 
  • the hour: Joh 7:30 8:20 12:23,27 13:1 17:1 
  • the Son: Mk 14:10,18 9:31 10:33,34 Mt 26:2  Joh 13:2 Ac 7:52 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:44 And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more. 45 Then He *came to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Behold, the hour is at hand and the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 


And He came the third time - Only Matthew 26:44 tells us "And He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more." So after He had prayed the third and final time, His soul was fortified by the fellowship with the Father and the Spirit, and He returns to move on to the next "Act" of this great drama of redemption. 

Maclear writes, “The Temptation of the Garden divides itself, like that of the Wilderness, into three acts, following close one on another.” (The Gospel According to St. Mark, Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges)

MacArthur - Jesus then returned to pray a third time (cf. Matt. 26:44). Like the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:8, who prayed three times for the thorn in the flesh to be removed, the Lord Jesus besought His Father three times to remove the cup of suffering. After the third wave of temptation ended, the submissive Son of God emerged triumphant from the battle, fully settled in His resolve to trust Himself to the Father’s will. The tempter had been vanquished, and Jesus remained in perfect step with His heavenly Father. When the Lord defeated Satan in the wilderness, God sent angels to minister to Him (Matt. 4:11); an angel from heaven was similarly dispatched on this occa  sion (Luke 22:43). Now that His final temptation was over, Jesus was ready to endure the cross.

And said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? - While Jesus was "wrestling", the disciples were resting at a time when this drama was reaching a crescendo! Note that this passage in Greek can be translated  "Sleep on, and get your rest" and thus can be a command, an exclamation, or a question. Hiebert notes that "If the words are a command, they apparently have a tone of sorrowful irony. In vain did He ask them to watch and pray; now let them continue to sleep....Many interpreters prefer the punctuation as a question."  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Resting (present tense) (373)(anapauo from ana = again, back, or even as intensifying the meaning of the verb + pauo = to cease or give rest) means to rest or take a rest in a physical sense or also means to cause to rest, to calm, to give "inner" rest, to comfort or to refresh. TDNT = “To cause to cease”; b. “to give rest,” “refresh”; c. “to rest”; d. “to remain at rest”; e. “to rest on.” Used earlier in Mark 6:31+ when Jesus said to the disciples “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

It is enough - This is found only in Mark's account and Cranfield lists 8 different interpretations! Most likely this short exclamation by Jesus signaled to the 3 sleepy saints, they had slept sufficiently. Like Sherlock Holmes would say "The games afoot!" 

Friberg on the verb enough (apecho) -- "it in is enough is possibly Jesus' assertion that his atoning work is at the point of completion the account is closed (cf. JN 19.30 ); or it may be a rebuke to his disciples that is enough, i.e. stop sleeping." 

Guzik on It is enough! We should not think that Jesus was angry or irritated because His disciples did not help Him. He wanted the disciples to help Him and stand in prayer, not for His own sake, but for their own benefit. Jesus could stand alone against the trial of the cross, but they, being without prayer, would not.

Jesus' Messianic ministry has reached its climax.

The hour has come - As the drama of redemption crescendos toward the climax of the Cross, Jesus knows the moment of His betrayal is at hand and He is fully prepared after His communion with His Father. 

Barton - The disciples had missed great opportunity to talk to the Father, and there would be no more time to do so, for Jesus’ hour had come. Thus Jesus did not again tell them to pray. Jesus had spent the last few hours dealing with the Father, wrestling with him, and humbly submitting to him. Now he was prepared to face his betrayer and the sinners who were coming to arrest him. (LAC)

Robertson - Time for action has now come. They have missed their chance for sympathy with Jesus. He has now won the victory without their aid. “The Master’s time of weakness is past; He is prepared to face the worst” (Bruce). Jesus had foreseen his “hour” for long and now he faces it bravely.

Behold (see note below) - As noted this always seeks to draw attention to what follows, in this case the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy that He would be betrayed. 

the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners - The Son of Man is betrayed ties into the three predictions of his death (Mark 8:31+; Mark 9:31+; Mark 10:33–34+). Betrayed is in the present tense depicting the action as in progress (Judas is on his way to the Garden). The phrase into the hands depicts into their power and their authority. The word sinners in this context probably referred to the the wicked Sanhedrin members who will be His judges and to the Romans who were participating in the arrest, mockery, and death of Jesus.

Being betrayed (handed over) (3860) see note on paradidomi 

Kent Hughes - Jesus, who so steeled himself in prayer while asking that the “hour might pass from him,” accepted it, saying, “The hour has come,” and went out to drink the cup and win the greatest victory ever won. The disciples all failed, and significantly Peter, who fell asleep three times, went on to deny his Lord by that same number—hardly a poetic coincidence! But all was not lost. Their scandal was to become their salvation because in the years to come all came to steel their lives in prayer. Peter and James died martyrs’ deaths, and John was a man of steel who endured to the end. The lessons are here if we wish to see them. (Preaching the Word - Mark)

A. J. Gordon - Never did that sacred opportunity to watch with Christ return to His disciples. Lost then, it was lost forever. And now when Jesus is still beholding the travail of His soul in the redemption of the world, if you fail to be with Him watching for souls as they that must give account, remember that the opportunity will never return. “Watch, therefore,” says your Lord, “lest coming suddenly, he may find you sleeping.”

Henry Blackaby - Too Late!

       Then He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The time has come. Look, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.”—Mark 14:41a 

“It is enough!” How these words from the Master stung the disciples! They were given the opportunity to share a sacred moment with Jesus. They failed Him. This time, not even Peter had an answer for Jesus.

Jesus forgave them, and they went on to experience God working powerfully through their lives, but that unique moment with their Lord was lost. The angels had comforted the Savior on that lonely night as He prepared for the cross, not the disciples. Scripture indicates that the disciples later became diligent in prayer, but the memory of that night would remain with them for the rest of their lives.

Like the disciples, you receive unique opportunities to serve your Lord. There are times when Jesus will ask you to join Him as He is at work in the life of your friend, family, or coworker. If you are preoccupied with your own needs, you will miss the blessing of sharing in His divine activity.

God is gracious; He forgives, and He provides other opportunities. He will even use our failings to bring about good, but it is critical that we respond in obedience to every prompting from God. God does not need our obedience; He has legions of angels prepared to do His bidding when we fail Him. The loss is ours as we miss what God wants to do in our lives.

Respond immediately when God speaks to you. His will for you is perfect, and it leads to abundant life.

James Stalker - The Life of Christ - THE ARREST

OUR study of the closing scenes of the life of our Lord begins at the point where He fell into the hands of the representatives of justice; and this took place at the gate of Gethsemane and at the midnight hour.
On the eastern side of Jerusalem, the ground slopes downwards to the bed of the Brook Kedron; and on the further side of the stream rises the Mount of Olives. The side of the hill was laid out in gardens or orchards belonging to the inhabitants of the city; and Gethsemane was one of these. There is no probability that the enclosure now pointed out to pilgrims at the foot of the hill is the actual spot, or that the six aged olive trees which it contains are those to the silent shadows of which the Saviour used to resort; but the scene cannot have been far away, and the piety which lingers with awe in the traditional site cannot be much mistaken.
The agony in Gethsemane was just over, when “lo,” as St. Matthew says, “Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude.” They had come down from the eastern gate of the city and were approaching the entrance to the garden. It was full moon, and the black mass was easily visible, moving along the dusty road.
The arrest of Christ was not made by two or three common officers of justice. The “great multitude” has to be taken literally, but not in the sense of a disorderly crowd. As it was at the instance of the ecclesiastical authorities that the apprehension took place, their servants—the Levitical police of the temple—were to the front. But, as Jesus had at least eleven resolute men with Him, and these might rouse incalculable numbers of His adherents on the way to the city, it had been considered judicious to ask from the Roman governor a division of soldiers, which, at the time of the Passover, was located in the fortress of Antonia, overlooking the temple, to intervene in any emergency. And some of the members of the Sanhedrim had even come themselves, so eager were they to see that the design should not miscarry. This composite force was armed with swords and staves—the former weapon belonging perhaps to the Roman soldiers and the latter to the temple police—and they carried lanterns and torches, probably because they expected to have to hunt for Jesus and His followers in the recesses of His retreat. Altogether it was a formidable body: they were determined to make assurance doubly sure.


The leader of them was Judas. Of the general character of this man, and the nature of his crime, enough will be said later; but here we must note that there were special aggravations in his mode of carrying out his purpose.
He profaned the Passover. The better day, says the proverb, the better deed. But, if a deed is evil, it is the worse if it is done on a sacred day. The Passover was the most sacred season of the entire year; and this very evening was the most sacred of the Passover week. It was as if a crime should in Scotland be committed by a member of the Church on the night of a Communion Sabbath, or in England on Christmas Day.
He invaded the sanctuary of his Master’s devotions. Gethsemane was a favourite resort of Jesus; Judas had been there with Him, and he knew well for what purpose He frequented it. But the respect due to a place of prayer did not deter him; on the contrary, he took advantage of his Master’s well-known habit.
But the crowning profanation, for which humanity will never forgive him, was the sign by which he had agreed to make his Master known to His enemies. It is probable that he came on in front, as if he did not belong to the band behind; and, hurrying towards Jesus, as if to apprise Him of His danger and condole with Him on so sad a misfortune as His apprehension, he flung himself on His neck, sobbing, “Master, Master!” and not only did he kiss Him, but he did so repeatedly or fervently: so the word signifies. As long as there is true, pure love in the world, this act will be hated and despised by everyone who has ever given or received this token of affection. It was a sin against the human heart and all its charities. But none can feel its horror as it must have been felt by Jesus. That night and the next day His face was marred in many ways: it was furrowed by the bloody sweat; it was bruised with blows; they spat upon it; it was rent with thorns: but nothing went so close to His heart as the profanation of this kiss. As another said, who had been similarly treated: “It was not an enemy that reproached me, then I could have borne it; neither was it he that hated me that did magnify himself against me, then I would have hid myself from him; but it was thou, a man mine equal, my guide and mine acquaintance; we took sweet counsel together, and walked to the house of God in company.” Before the kiss was given, Jesus still received him with the old name of Friend; but, after being stung with it, He could not keep back the annihilating question, “Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?”
The kiss was the sign of discipleship. In the East, students used to kiss their rabbis; and in all likelihood this custom prevailed between Christ and His disciples. When we become His disciples, we may be said to kiss Him; and every time we renew the pledge of our loyalty we may be said to repeat this act. We do so especially in the Lord’s Supper. In our baptism He may be said to take us up in His arms and kiss us; in the other sacrament we obtain the opportunity of returning this mark of affection.


Probably Judas, being ahead of the band he was leading, went somewhat into the shadows of the garden to reach Jesus; and no doubt it was expected that Jesus would try to get away. But, instead of doing so, He shook Himself free from Judas and, coming forward at once into the moonlight, demanded, “Whom seek ye?”
At this they were so startled that they reeled back and, stepping one on another, fell to the ground.
Similar incidents are related of famous men. The Roman Marius, for instance, was in prison at Minturnæ when Sylla sent orders that he should be put to death. A Gaulish slave was sent to dispatch him; but, at the sight of the man who had shaken the world, and who cried out, “Fellow, darest thou to slay Caius Marius?” the soldier threw down his weapon and fled.
There are many indications scattered through the Gospels that, especially in moments of high emotion, there was something extraordinarily subduing in the aspect and voice of Christ. On the occasion, for example, when He cleared the temple, the hardened profaners of the place, though numerous and powerful, fled in terror before Him. And the striking notice of Him as He was going up to Jerusalem for the last time will be remembered: “Jesus went before them, and they were amazed; and, as they followed, they were afraid.”
On this occasion the emotion of Gethsemane was upon Him—the rapt sense of victory and of a mind steeled to go through with its purpose—and perhaps there remained on His face some traces of the Agony, which scared the onlookers. It is not necessary to suppose that there was anything preternatural, though part of the terror of His captors may have been the dread lest He should destroy them by a miracle. Evidently Judas was afraid of something of this kind when he said, “Take Him and lead Him away safely.”
The truth is, they were caught, instead of catching Him. It was a mean, treacherous errand they were on. They were employing a traitor as their guide. They expected to come upon Christ, perhaps when He was asleep, in silence and by stealth; or, if He were awake, they thought that they would have to pursue Him into a lurking-place, where they would find Him trembling and at bay. They were to surprise Him, but, when He came forth fearless, rapt and interrogative, He surprised them, and compelled them to take an altogether unexpected attitude. He brought all above board and put them to shame.
How ridiculous now looked their cumbrous preparations—all these soldiers, the swords and staves, the torches and lanterns, now burning pale in the clear moonlight. Jesus made them feel it. He made them feel what manner of spirit they were of, and how utterly they had mistaken His views and spirit. “Whom seek ye?” He asked them again, to compel them to see that they were not taking Him, but that He was giving Himself up. He was completely master of the situation. Singling out the Sanhedrists, who probably at that moment would rather have kept in the background, He demanded, pointing to their excessive preparations, “Be ye come out as against a thief, with swords and staves? When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against Me.” He, a solitary man, though He knew how many were against Him, had not been afraid: He taught daily in the temple—in the most public place, at the most public hour. But they, numerous and powerful as they were, yet were afraid, and so they had chosen the midnight hour for their nefarious purpose. “This is your hour,” He said, “and the power of darkness.” This midnight hour is your hour, because ye are sons of night, and the power ye wield against Me is the power of darkness.
So spake the Lion of the tribe of Judah! So will He speak on that day when all His enemies shall be put under His feet. “Kiss the son, lest He be angry, and ye perish from the way when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him.”


We cannot recall to mind too often that it was the victory in the Garden that accounted for this triumph outside the gate. The irresistible dignity and strength here displayed were gained by watching and prayer.
This, however, is made still more impressively clear by the fate of those who did not watch and pray. On them everything came as a blinding and bewildering surprise. They were aroused out of profound slumber, and came stumbling forward hardly yet awake. When hands were laid on Jesus, one of the disciples cried, “Shall were smite with the sword?” And, without waiting for an answer, he struck. But what a ridiculous blow! How like a man half-awake! Instead of the head, he only smote the ear. This blow would have been dearly paid for had not Jesus, with perfect presence of mind, interposed between Peter and the swords which were being drawn to cut him down. “Suffer ye thus far,” He said, keeping the soldiers back; and, touching the ear, He healed it, and saved His poor disciple.
Surely it was even with a smile that Jesus said to Peter, “Put up again thy sword into his place; for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” Inside the scabbard, not outside, was the sword’s place; it was out of place in this cause; and those who wield the sword without just reason, and without receiving the orders of competent authority, are themselves liable to give life for life.
But it was with the high-strung eloquence with which He had spoken to His enemies that Jesus further showed Peter how inconsistent was his act. It was inconsistent with his Master’s dignity; “For,” said He, “if I ask My Father, He would presently give Me more than twelve legions of angels;” and what against such a force were this miscellaneous band, numbering at the most the tenth part of a legion of men? It was inconsistent with Scripture: “How then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” It was inconsistent with His own purpose and His Father’s will: “The cup which My Father hath given Me, shall I not drink it?”
Poor Peter! On this occasion he was thoroughly like himself. There was a kind of rightness and nobleness in what he did; but it was in the wrong place. If he had only been as prompt inside Gethsemane to do what he was bidden as outside it to do what he was not bidden! How much better if he could have drawn the spiritual sword and cut off the ear which was to be betrayed by a maid-servant’s taunt! Peter’s conduct on this occasion, as often on other occasions, showed how poor a guide enthusiasm is when it is not informed with the mind and spirit of Christ.


Perhaps it was by the recollection of how deeply he had vowed to stick by Christ, even if he should have to die with Him, that Peter was pricked on to do something. The others, however, had said the same thing. Did they remember it now? It is to be feared, not: the apparition of mortal danger drove everything out of their minds but the instinct of self-preservation. Sometimes, in cases of severe illness, especially of mental disease, the curious effect may be observed—that a face into which years of culture have slowly wrought the stamp of refinement and dignity entirely loses this, and reverts to the original peasant type. So the fright of their Master’s arrest, coming so suddenly on the prayerless and unprepared disciples, undid, for the time, what their years of intercourse with Him had effected; and they sank back into Galilean fishermen again. This was really what they were from the arrest to the resurrection.
Here again their conduct is in absolute contrast with their Master’s. As a mother bird, when her brood is assailed, goes forward to meet the enemy, or as a good shepherd stands forth between his flock and danger, so Jesus, when His captors drew nigh, threw Himself between them and His followers. It was partly with this in view that He went so boldly out and concentrated attention on Himself by the challenge, “Whom seek ye?” When they replied, “Jesus of Nazareth,” He said, “I am He: if therefore ye seek Me, let these go their way.” And the fright into which they were thrown made them forget His followers in their anxiety to secure Himself.
This was as He intended. St. John, in narrating it, makes the curious remark, that this was done that the saying might be fulfilled which He spake, “Of them which Thou gavest Me have I lost none.” This saying occurs in His great intercessory prayer, offered at the first Communion table; but in its original place it evidently means that He had lost none of them in a spiritual sense, whereas here it seems to have only the sense of losing any of them by the swords of the soldiers or by the cross, if they had been arrested with Him. But a deep hint underlies this surface meaning. St. John suggests that, if any of them had been taken along with Him, the likelihood is that they would have been unequal to the crisis: they would have denied Him, and so, in the sadder sense, would have been lost.
Jesus, knowing too well that this was the state of the case, made for them a way of escape, and “they all forsook Him and fled.” It was perhaps as well, for they might have done worse. Yet what an anticlimax to the asseveration which everyone of them had made that very evening, “If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise!” I have sometimes thought what an honour it would have been to Christianity, what a golden leaf in the history of human nature, had one or two of them—say, the brothers James and John—been strong enough to go with Him to prison and to death. We should, indeed, have missed St. John’s writings in that case—his Revelation, Gospel and Epistles. But what a revelation that would have been, what a gospel, what a living epistle!
It was not, however, to be. Jesus had to go unaccompanied: “I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with Me.” So they “bound Him and led Him away.”

Mark 14:42  "Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!"

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:46 “Get up, let us be going; behold, the one who betrays Me is at hand!"


Get up, let us be going - The command to get up indicates the disciples were still on the ground where they had been sleeping. Finally they rise to meet Jesus' betrayer, One of the party having been strengthened by prayer but the others totally unprepared because of sleep they had failed to keep watching and praying.

Behold is idou in the middle voice means "you yourself look, see, perceive!" The aorist imperative is a command emphasizing "Do it now! Don't delay!" Spurgeon reminds us that "Behold is a word of wonder; it is intended to excite admiration. Wherever you see it hung out in Scripture, it is like an ancient sign-board, signifying that there are rich wares within, or like the hands which solid readers have observed in the margin of the older Puritanic books, drawing attention to something particularly worthy of observation." I would add, behold is like a divine highlighter, a divine underlining of an especially striking or important text. It says in effect "Listen up, all ye who would be wise in the ways of Jehovah!"

MacArthur - Having entrusted Himself to “the One able to save Him from death” (Heb. 5:7) and raise Him from the grave (Rom. 1:3–4; 6:4), the Lord exhibited no fear in the face of death. The cup of divine wrath was in His hand, but He was no longer trembling. Drops of blood, sweat, and tears were still visible on His brow when He issued the triumphant command to go out and meet the enemy. Instead of running away from the cross, Jesus moved toward it with settled confidence. His death at Calvary constituted His ultimate act of submission to the will of His Father (cf. Phil. 2:8; Heb. 12:2).

Spurgeon - No clarion blast, nor firing of cannon, nor waving of flags, nor acclamation of the multitudes ever announced such a victory as our Lord achieved in Gethsemane. He there won the victory over all the griefs that were upon him, and all the griefs that were soon to roll over him, like huge Atlantic billows. He there won the victory over death, and over even the wrath of God which he was about to endure to the utmost for his people’s sake. There is true courage, there is the highest heroism, there is the declaration of the invincible Conqueror in that cry, “Not as I will, but as thou wilt.” With Christ’s perfect resignation, there was also his strong resolve. He had undertaken the work of his people’s redemption, and he would go through with it until he could triumphantly say from the cross, “It is finished.”

The one who betrays Me is at hand! - Presumably Peter, James and John still did not know for certain who the betrayer was, but that would soon change. The one of course refers to Judas. Betrays is in present tense indicating the betrayal was in progress. At hand is in the perfect tense the same form used by John the Baptist of the coming of the kingdom of heaven (Mk 1:15+). Jesus knew there near because they were a "crowd" and in the middle of the night would have had lanterns flickering. Furthermore they were very near because the next verse says even while Jesus was speaking these words the crowd approached. John 18:4 indicates that it was not just the tramping of their footsteps and flickering of their lanterns and torches which alerted Him, but it was His "supernatural sense," for "Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?”" 

At hand (approaching, drawing near) (1448)(eggizo) means to approach, draw closer to in space and/or time. Uses in Mark - Mk. 1:15; Mk. 11:1; Mk. 14:42;

Related Resource:

SEMPER PARATUS “Always Prepared.” The motto of the U.S. Coast Guard rings true about spiritual life, and this scene illustrates the difference between prayer and preparation on the one hand and no prayer and disoriented bewilderment on the other. As Jesus moved forward to meet his adversaries, the disciples, alarmed into wakefulness, disintegrated before the posse. Do you want that semper paratus attitude? Pray, live close to Jesus your Savior, and there find the courage to meet your life standing up, awake and alert. (LAC)

Mark 14:43  Immediately while He was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs, who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:47  While He was still speaking, behold, Judas, one of the twelve, came up accompanied by a large crowd with swords and clubs, who came from the chief priests and elders of the people.

Luke 22:47 While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 

John 18:2 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. 3 Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 


MacArthur has an excellent summary of these last events in the life of Jesus Christ - The arrest of the Lord Jesus set into motion a rapid-fire series of events that culminated in His crucifixion later that same day. In a matter of mere hours, Jesus would stand trial before multiple magistrates, including the Jewish Sanhedrin (Mark 14:53–65; cf. Luke 22:66–71; John 18:13–27), the Roman governor Pilate (Mark 15:1–15; cf. John 18:29–19:16), and Herod Antipas, the tetrarch of Galilee (Luke 23:6–12). After being sentenced to death, He would be tortured by Roman soldiers (Mark 15:16–19), paraded through the streets to Golgotha (15:20–23), then executed by being nailed to a wooden cross (15:24–37). By about 3:00 that afternoon, the Man of Sorrows would be dead, having completed His atoning work as the one true and sufficient Passover Lamb (Isa. 53:10–12; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:44–46; John 19:30).

Immediately while He was still speaking - This description suggests that it is as if not one precious second was wasted in this divine drama. The clock had struck twelve (so to speak) and the hour had come for the divinely predetermined plan (Acts 2:23+) to move swiftly to the consummation of Christ on the Cross. 

Judas, one of the twelve came up accompanied by a crowd with swords and clubs - This is a veritable small army sent to arrest Jesus! Matthew 26:47 says it was "a large cord."  Note that the phrase one of the twelve is used to emphasize the betrayal by one in Jesus' inner circle. These are the “temple police,” who were accompanied by Roman soldiers (cf. John 18:3, 12). "Swords, “small swords,” were the regular hand weapons of the Roman soldiers, while the staves, “objects made of wood,” clubs, were the regular weapons of the temple police." (Hiebert)

Vincent One of the twelve. Repeated in all three evangelists, in the narratives both of the betrayal and of the arrest. By the time Matthew’s Gospel was written, the phrase had become a stereotyped designation of the traitor, like he that betrayed him.

Hiebert One of the twelve - It serves to deepen the sense of horror that one of the twelve was the actual agent in the arrest of Jesus and underlines the exact fulfillment of Jesus’ announcement in verses 18–20. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Daniel Hill - Now i want to draw just a simple principle from this:  When you have to start going to great lengths to cover yourself and what you do, just maybe something might be wrong! Maybe the difficulty you might have in pulling something off is God's way of slowing you down so you can think and think doctrine.

Who were from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders - Note that these three groups are representative of the three sections that composed the Sanhedrin. John 18:3 adds that part of the "crowd" was the "Roman cohort" which would have been comprised of from 300 to as many as 600 soldiers!  Luke 22:52 also mentions the presence of some Sanhedrin members.

Vincent - The Sanhedrin had neither soldiery nor a regularly-armed band at command. In John 18:3, Judas receives a cohort of soldiers and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. Part of the band would consist of this regularly-armed cohort, and the rest of a crowd armed with cudgels, and embracing some of the servants of conspicuous men in the Sanhedrin.

Constable: Part of the crowd consisted of Jewish temple police (Luke 22:52) and Roman soldiers (John 18:12). The police carried clubs and the soldiers had short swords.

William Lane says chief priests "included former holders of the high priestly office, … the commander of the Temple Guard, the steward of the Temple, and the three Temple treasurers. The “elders” represented the most influential lay families in Jerusalem, and seem to have been primarily wealthy landowners. The chief priests and the elders constituted the old ruling class in Jerusalem, with Sadducean leanings, who still held the balance of power in the Sanhedrin. The third group, the representatives of the scribes, consisted primarily of lawyers drawn from the middle classes who tended to be Pharisaic in their convictions. (NICNT-Mark)

MARK 14:43-72 "Rise Up, O Men of God" - Selwyn Hughes

"I am," said Jesus, "and all of you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven."—MARK 14:62

Although the fullness of God's kingdom is yet to come, there is a sense in which the King is reigning now, and we can say with the utmost certainty, "Our God reigns!" (Take a respite from your busy day and worship Him - Play and worship the Living God Who reigns forever and ever. Amen)

A lady once wrote to me indicating her intention to withdraw from life and await the day when God would finally establish His kingdom in power and glory on the earth. I replied with a parody of a hymn that apparently got her thinking. She wrote back in a few weeks and said, "You were right. I was waiting for God, but now I realize He is waiting for me." She ended her letter with the words of the hymn: (Play this hymn or here)

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things;
Give heart and soul and mind and strength
To serve the King of kings.

This must indicate our line of action. Yes, of course, the final ushering in of God's kingdom is yet to take place, but that does not mean that He is taking a backseat in the world's affairs. God wants to reign through us!

We need not wait for the day when spectacularly the great God of the universe demonstrates His imperial power. As He sounds forth a rallying cry, even through these pages, respond to Him, I urge you, with a fresh consecration of purpose, and dedicate yourself to letting Him reign through you.

Prayer God, I give myself wholly to You, not only just to live in me, but to reign through me. I gladly submit my whole being to You today. Live and reign in me. For Jesus' sake. Amen.


Allen Ross - Proverbs 27:6  “Reproof, Its Value” Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.

The message of this proverb is that reproof given in love is superior to insincere expressions of affection.  The lines are in antithetical parallelism, contrasting the faithful (ne’emanim) wounds of a friend (’oheb) with the profuse kisses of an enemy (sone’). 

The NIV translated the first line “wounds from a friend can be trusted.”  These wounds, no doubt verbal wounds, are “faithful” because they are meant to correct or to improve (see 25:12; Deut. 7:9; Job 12:20).  There is no false flattery here--a good friend gives an honest response or a constructive criticism because there is concern for the well-being of the person.  The friendship is strong enough so that the friends know that the other person is not trying to hurt or destroy, but to help.

But an enemy’s kisses are deceptive (consider the kiss of Judas in Mark 14:43-45).  In spite of their profusion (for this word the versions have a variety of translations, including “confused, fraudulent, bad”), the “kisses,” that is, the outward expressions of professions of affection, mean nothing.  It is all show.  One can usually see through this false display of affection, for there is nothing behind it that remotely resembles true affection. But some people thrive on this kind of false flattery because they cannot handle the truth.

The proverb is simply making a comparison between the genuine way that friends function and the false display of friendship.  The mature person would much rather have a true friend who “told it like it was” than a number of people who pretend to be friends. The goal is to cultivate a good friendships like this, ones in which the people care enough to be honest, even when it is painful to hear.  But these are the kinds of friendships that last.

Mark 14:44  Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, "Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him and lead Him away under guard."

NET  Mark 14:44 (Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him and lead him away under guard.")

NLT  Mark 14:44 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: "You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard."

ESV  Mark 14:44 Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard."

NIV  Mark 14:44 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard."

  • had given them a signal: Ex 12:13 Jos 2:12 Php 1:28 2Th 3:17 
  • Whoever: 2Sa 20:9,10 Ps 55:20,21 Pr 27:6 Mt 26:48-50 
  • and lead: 1Sa 23:22,23 Ac 16:23 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Serpentine means resembling a serpent and thus speaks of slyness and subtlety. A "Serpent of Old" possessed man inflicted a fatal "kiss" on the perfect Man in a garden setting. The Serpent of Old killed Adam in the Garden of Eden, but here served to expedite the killing of the Son of Man, so that spiritually dead sons of men might live forever in the garden of Paradise! Glory! Hallelujah! (See also Seditious). 

Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal - Was betraying (historical present tense) is the idea of handing over, in this case Judas handing over Jesus to the authorities. In the parallel account in Mt 26:48 the word used is sign (semeion) but Mark uses a word found only here in the Bible. Signal is sussemon (sun = together + semaino from sema = sign,mark) is literally a "sign together," thus a sign in common, a preconcerted signal or token which they had agreed upon before they came to seize Jesus. It was a common word for a concerted signal according to agreement. It was a nonverbal action or gesture (a kiss) which "encoded" the message that this is the Man, the Son of Man! 

NET Note says "This remark is parenthetical  (see NET rendering above) within the narrative and has thus been placed in parentheses.

Was betraying (handed over) (3860) see note on paradidomi 

Saying "Whomever I kiss, He is the one - Judas explains the non-verbal signal. (See Kiss of Judas and note below

MacArthur - Of the various ways in which a kiss might be delivered (such as on the feet, the hand, or the hem of the garment), Judas chose to kiss Jesus on the cheek—an act that symbolized close friendship and mutual affection. The fact that Judas betrayed the Lord through an action that normally expressed devotion and love reveals the despicable depths of his hypocrisy and treachery.

NET Note - Judas’ act of betrayal when he kissed Jesus is especially sinister when it is realized that it was common in the culture of the times for a disciple to kiss his master when greeting him.

Seize Him and lead Him away under guard." - This was not an arrest by Roman soldiers under Roman law, but an arrest by the religious leaders. This detail is only in Mark. Look who gives the order! The betrayer himself! Seize Him is a command (aorist imperative - do not hesitate, it is urgent) to arrest Him and take Him into their possession or custody. The irony of Judas' order is amazing, for the verb krateo means to be strong or possess power and here these men are told to seize the Omnipotent Creator of the Universe (realizing of course He has emptied Himself of His divine prerogatives)! Lead away is also a command in the  present imperative, so "keep on leading" Him (as if Jesus would attempt to escape!) "Judas wished no slip to occur." (Robertson) This sacrificial Lamb would not resist arrest for  He had come to earth "to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45+, 1 Cor 5:7, Jn 1:29+)

Isaiah had prophesied of this Lamb Who would be led away writing "He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.  By oppression and judgment He was taken away; And as for His generation, who considered That He was cut off out of the land of the living For the transgression of my people, to whom the stroke was due?" (Isaiah 53:7-8+)

Seize (2902)(krateo from kratos = strength) has basic meaning be strong or possess power and thus means to take hold of, grasp, hold fast. Krateo is used most often in the sense of “take hold of forcibly” as when Pharisees wanted to “take hold of” Jesus  (Mt 21:46; Mark 12:12). Uses of krateo in Mark (note 5 uses in chapter 14) - Mk. 1:31; Mk. 3:21; Mk. 5:41; Mk. 6:17; Mk. 7:3; Mk. 7:4; Mk. 7:8; Mk. 9:10; Mk. 9:27; Mk. 12:12; Mk. 14:1; Mk. 14:44; Mk. 14:46; Mk. 14:49; Mk. 14:51

TWO-FACED No words convey their normal meaning if we hide our intentions. A greeting, a handshake, a promise, a kiss—each means whatever the heart means. And sometimes the heart deceives. Masking a deceitful heart behind common everyday “happy talk” is both draining and destructive. Eventually it catches up to you. It is better for you to be “up front,” tell the truth, and take the consequences. Judas turned against the Lord, then hid his evil intentions behind a common greeting. Inside, his heart cracked, and his life was ruined. (LAC)

Mark 14:45  After coming, Judas immediately went to Him, saying, "Rabbi!" and kissed Him.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:48 Now he who was betraying Him gave them a sign, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize Him.” 49 Immediately Judas went to Jesus and said, “Hail, Rabbi!” and kissed Him. 

Luke 22:47+ While He was still speaking, behold, a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was preceding them; and he approached Jesus to kiss Him. 

A Judas Kiss


You may have heard stories about the 'Judas kiss' being used among old-style 'Mafia' crime families. If one of them was suspected of being a police informer, his loyalty would be tested. If he passed, he would be welcomed back. But if he failed, he would be confronted and condemned. The spokesman would kiss the betrayer on both cheeks, signifying that the 'Mafia' family had turned against him. It became known as the 'kiss of death.'

After coming, Judas immediately (euthus) went to Him, saying, "Rabbi!" and kissed Him - Luke 22:48+ says that as Judas was about to kiss Jesus, Jesus asked him “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” Notice Judas shows no hesitation in his betrayal. And Jesus readily surrenders even with words of kindness Matthew 26:50 recording that Jesus said “Friend (hetairos - one associated with another, companion), do what you have come for." Remember the Devil had entered into him. This is a bizarre irony to put it mildly - an unholy Satan possessed man kissing the Holy One of Israel! Judas even has the gall to call Jesus Rabbi! (Mt 26:49 has "Hail, Rabbi" where "hail" is chairo in the imperative which implies a wish for well-being! Woe!) These verses are difficult to read because the picture is so utterly despicable! Then after allowing Judas to kiss Him, Jesus simply said to Judas “Do what you have come for” (Mt 26:50).

MacArthur on kissed him - The Greek word kataphileō (kissed) is an intensified verb meaning to show continual affection or to kiss fervently (cf. Luke 7:38, 45; 15:20; Acts 20:37). The implication is that Judas prolonged his dramatic show of false affection for Jesus, making it last long enough for the soldiers to identify their target.

The verb went is the Greek verb proserchomai which means literally to come facing toward another. Can you imagine this moment? Surely the gentle eyes of Jesus peered directly into the evil eyes of Judas. So as Judas beheld the One Who is truth, it was as if here Truth was giving Judas one more opportunity to come to his senses, repent and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (cf 2 Ti 2:25-26+) Judas should have walked up to Him and fallen at His feet, for this same verb is used of drawing near to God in an act of worship (cf Heb 4:16+, Heb 7:25+, Heb 10:22+, 1 Peter 2:4+)

Vincent on kissed (kataphileo) - "The compound verb has the force of an emphatic, ostentatious salute. Meyer says embraced and kissed. The same word is used of the tender caressing of the Lord’s feet by the woman in

Hiebert: kissed him fervently – apparently, the kiss was prolonged with a show of affection so that those with him would have ample time to note Jesus’ identity. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Akin - The kiss of Judas is where we get the phrase “the kiss of death.” The word for “kiss” means that he kissed Jesus lavishly and passionately. His overt affection of betrayal would enable the blood-thirsty mob to clearly identify the one they came to arrest. Judas made sure Jesus was a “marked man.”

Rabbi (4461)(rhabbi from Hebrew rab 07227 = >400x in OT - great one, master, chief) means my master (most common rendering in KJV) or my teacher. It was an respectful title of honor by which one would address a teacher who was recognized for their expertise in the Mosaic Law or Scriptures. Jesus' disciples repeatedly address Him as Rabbi (Jn. 4:31; Jn. 6:25; Jn. 9:2; Jn. 11:8) The suffix -bi signified "my master" "and was a title of respect by which teachers were addressed. 

Kissed (2705)(kataphileo from kata = intensifies verb + phileo = to love, kiss, cp philos = loved, dear, friend) means to kiss fervently, eagerly . Liddell Scott says "to kiss tenderly, to caress, Xen." Vine comments "the stronger force of this verb (phileo) has been called in question, but the change from phileo to Kataphileo in Matt. 26:49 and Mark 14:45 can scarcely be without significance, and the act of the traitor was almost certainly more demonstrative than the simple kiss of salutation. So with the kiss of genuine devotion, Luke 7:38, 45; 15:20; Acts 20:37, in each of which this verb is used." All 6 NT uses - Matt. 26:49; Mk. 14:45; Lk. 7:38; Lk. 7:45; Lk. 15:20; Acts 20:37

This is the last we hear of Judas in the Gospel of Mark but Matthew fills in the subsequent details...

Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” 5 And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself. (Matt. 27:3–5, see also Acts 1:18-19+)

MacArthur adds this commentary on Judas - Though he died in a gruesome fashion, Judas’s suicide was only the beginning of his torments—since he entered into eternity as an unrepentant enemy of the Son of God (cf. Mark 14:21). As the disciple who betrayed the Messiah, Judas is the epitome of wasted opportunity and squandered privilege in all of human history. His deplorable betrayal, botched suicide, and horrifying entrance into eternal punishment stand as a sober warning to all who would trample underfoot the Son of God (Heb. 10:29).

Question -  What is the significance of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss?

Answer: Judas Iscariot was one of the original twelve disciples who followed and were taught by Jesus. Being in Jesus’ “inner circle,” Judas had a closer relationship to Jesus than most people during His ministry. Judas betrayed the Lord to the Jewish authorities. The pre-arranged signal was that the person Judas kissed was to be arrested and taken away (Mark 14:44). In this way the Son of Man was betrayed with a kiss (Luke 22:48).

In the culture of first-century Israel, a kiss was not always a romantic expression of love; rather, a kiss on the cheek was a common greeting, a sign of deep respect, honor, and brotherly love (see Luke 7:45; Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1 Thessalonians 5:26; 1 Peter 5:14). For a student who had great respect for his teacher, a kiss fell well within the healthy expression of honor.

What really stands out in the mode of Judas’s betrayal is that Judas used such an intimate expression of love and respect to betray Jesus. Judas’s actions were hypocritical in the extreme—his actions said, “I respect and honor you,” at the exact time he was betraying Jesus to be murdered. Judas’s actions illustrate Proverbs 27:6, “Wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses.” Often, foes disguise themselves as friends. Evil often wears a mask to conceal its true purpose.

In Luke 22:3, we see that Satan entered into Judas before Judas went to see the chief priests and set things up to betray Jesus. Satan possessed Judas in hopes of using him to destroy Jesus’ ministry and get Him out of the way, and Satan used a kiss—a sign of affection—to unleash a surge of hatred. However, there is nothing the Evil One does that God doesn’t know about or have complete control over. God allowed Satan to possess Judas and use him to betray Jesus in such a deceptive and hypocritical way in order to bring about our redemption. The betrayal itself was prophesied hundreds of years before its fulfillment (Psalm 41:9).

When Jesus was betrayed by a kiss, He identified with the troubles of David, who wrote, “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were rising against me, I could hide. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship at the house of God, as we walked about among the worshipers” (Psalm 55:12–14). Job’s emotional pain also foreshadowed Jesus’ sorrow: “Those I love have turned against me” (Job 19:19).

Once Judas gave the kiss, the deed was done. Jesus was betrayed into the government’s hands to be crucified. Judas was “seized with remorse” (Matthew 27:3) over what he’d done. He gave the money back to the temple authorities and hanged himself out of guilt (verse 5).(Source:

Related Resources:

Mark 14:46  They laid hands on Him and seized Him.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:50 And Jesus said to him, “Friend, do what you have come for.” Then they came and laid hands on Jesus and seized Him. 

Luke 22:48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” 

John 18:12 So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,


They laid hands on Him and seized Him - This is a very short but very amazing passage. Laying hands and seizing (John 18:12 adds "bound" or binding) the perfect Son of God! From John's account below (see bold text) it is clear that they could not have seized Jesus had He not submitted to them. He has prayed in Garden and is now ready to go willingly to the Cross. 

Peter summarizes Jesus' reaction to this (and His later mistreatment" writing "while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." (1 Peter 2:23+)

Akin quips "No charges were made. Following legal protocols are not on their agenda this night!"

Grassmick - No charges are stated in Mark’s account; nevertheless the legality of His arrest according to Jewish criminal law was assumed since the Sanhedrin authorized it. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary

John gives us background not noted by Mark -

"Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples. 3 Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 So Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon Him, went forth and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered Him, “Jesus the Nazarene.” He said to them, “I am He.” And Judas also, who was betraying Him, was standing with them. 6 So when He said to them, “I am He,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 Therefore He again asked them, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus the Nazarene.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am He; so if you seek Me, let these go their way,” 9 to fulfill the word which He spoke, “Of those whom You have given Me I lost not one.”  (John 18:2-9)

Laid...upon (put, fall)(1911)(epiballo  from epi = upon + ballo = throw) means to cast over or throw upon (coats on donkey Mk 11:7). Frequently used of attempt to lay upon another person one's hands = Laid (hands) on Jesus (Mt 26:50, Mk 14:46, cf Lk 20:19, Jn 7:30, 44, Lk 21:12) and on the apostles in Acts (Acts 4:3, Acts 5:18, Acts 12:1, Acts 21:27) All uses in Mark -Mk. 4:37; Mk. 11:7; Mk. 14:46

Mark 14:47  But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:51 And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.  52 Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53 “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?”

Luke 22:49+ When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear. 

John 18: 10 Simon Peter then, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s slave, and cut off his right ear; and the slave’s name was Malchus. 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put the sword into the sheath; the cup which the Father has given Me, shall I not drink it?”


But one of those who stood by drew his sword - Note that when it became apparent what was transpiring Luke 22:49+ records that the disciples asked "Lord, shall we strike with the sword (machaira)?” (Lk 22:38+ says they had 2 swords among themselves) One of the disciples did not wait for Jesus to answer! John 18:10 identifies this assailant as Peter. Peter and the disciples had not yet tried to flee yet but the events were unfolding suddenly and there was no time to think things through so Peter took immediate action! Sword is machaira referring to a short sword like a dagger (something that could be hidden under one's clothing).

Constable: Peter had not only boasted too much (Mk 14:29, 31), and prayed too little (Mk 14:37, 40, 41), but he also acted too violently.

Maclaren - When the Church takes sword in hand, it usually shows that it does not know how to wield it, and as often as not has struck the wrong man.” 

And struck the slave of the high priest (Caiaphas) and cut off his ear -   As noted Peter sid not await Jesus' answer, Luke recording "When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear." (Lk 22:49-50+). John adds that "the slave’s name was Malchus." (Jn 18:10) Both Luke and John say it was Malchus' right ear which was severed, suggesting that Peter struck with a right handed blow. This event also helps understand why Jesus did not overtly identify Judas as the betrayer at the Passover Seder, for Peter undoubtedly had the same knife and almost certainly would have sought to prevent Judas from betraying Jesus! Finally Luke the doctor adds "  But Jesus answered and said, “Stop! No more of this.” And He touched his ear and healed him." (Luke 22:51+) Had Peter succeeded in killing Malchus, he would have been arrested and there would have been no Petrine sermon that resulted in the birth of the church (Acts 2). God, ever in sovereign control, did not allow this to happen!

Wuest  quips "Peter was not intending a surgical operation on the man’s ear, but purposed to split his skull."

Barclay - “Had Jesus not healed Malchus, Peter would have been arrested as well; and there might have been four crosses at Calvary.” 

MacArthur - Undoubtedly aiming for the head, the fisherman missed his mark and only severed an ear when Malchus ducked (cf. Luke 22:50).

Hiebert - Peter undoubtedly intended to sever the man’s neck, but, catching the flash of the sword, Malchus ducked his head and the sword just clipped his right ear (Luke 22:50; John 18:10). Since Mark elsewhere does not use the diminutive form for ear, its use here may be intended to indicate that only the lobe of the ear was cut off. The aggressive action of Peter reflected self-confidence as well as love for Jesus. It also revealed his rashness; he intended to make good his claim that he would not fail Jesus, but he did not stop to consider the risk to himself or the futility of his action. Mark left unrecorded Jesus’ rebuke to Peter (Matt. 26:52) as well as His explanation for the necessity of the arrest (Matt. 26:53; John 18:11). (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Matthew gives us more detail of Peter's attack 

And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.  52 Then Jesus *said to him, “Put your sword back into its place (NOTE JESUS GIVES 3 REASONS); (1) for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. 53 (2) “Or do you think that I cannot appeal to My Father, and He will at once put at My disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 (3) “How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled, which say that it must happen this way?” (Matthew 26:51)

Daniel Hill - Principles: Zeal can be misdirected.  Peter no doubt thought he was doing the right thing, and was doing it with considerable enthusiasm, but it was wrong.  It was misplaced zeal.  We must always follow the Lord, not get out ahead. When we do get out ahead of the plan of God, we end up over our heads and in areas in which we lack capacity. Like Peter we may end up with a sword and have no idea how to use it.  When we start pursing our own plan or arranging our own agenda, we will find ourselves in over our heads. For all the humor of this situation, it could have been very disastrous.  It could have been the spark that could have ignited a fire fight between the well armed Temple police and guards and the disciples. Every one there with Jesus could have been killed that night.  No more disciples, all because of Peter's misdirected zeal.

Related Resource:

Mark 14:48  And Jesus said to them, "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber?

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:55 At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. 

Luke 22:52+ Then Jesus said to the chief priests and officers of the temple and elders who had come against Him, “Have you come out with swords and clubs as you would against a robber? 


 And Jesus said to them (Who? see Lk 22:52+), "Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber - Jesus' point is that they came "armed to the teeth" (as we might say today), as if He were a violent criminal who was "armed and dangerous!" (Albeit one impulsive member of His entourage was in fact armed and dangerous!)

J D Jones is surely correct writing Jesus "was the only calm, collected, unruffled person in the Garden!”

Wuest  - Our Lord does not protest against the arrest, but against its manner. He was not a robber, but a religious teacher.

There is a bit of irony here for "Highway robbers like Barabbas (lestes used of him in Jn 18:40) were common and were often regarded as heroes. Jesus will be crucified between two robbers in the very place that Barabbas would have occupied." (Robertson

Paul Appleparaphrases this "Were your expectations that I am some type of political revolutionary that has galvanized powerful forces and armed them with powerful weapons to try to wage war against the Roman government?"

NET Note on robber - Or “a revolutionary.” This term can refer to one who stirs up rebellion: BDAG 594 s.v. λῃστής 2 has “revolutionary, insurrectionist,” citing evidence from Josephus (J. W. 2.13.2–3 [2.253–254]). However, this usage generally postdates Jesus’ time. It does refer to a figure of violence. Luke uses the same term for the highwaymen who attack the traveler in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:30).

Robber (3027)(lestes from lizoma = to plunder, seize) means one who steals openly and by violence in contrast to kleptes which denotes one who steals by stealth.  A robber, highwayman, bandit (Mt 27:38; Mk 11:17; 15:27; Lk 10:30, 36; J 10:1, 8; 2 Cor 11:26). A revolutionary, insurrectionist, one who favors the use of force (Jn 18:40). Figuratively lestes speaks of unscrupulous, greedy, or overambitious leaders (Jn 10.8) Zodhiates Judas was a thief (kleptes [John 12:6]) doing no violence to anyone. He stole secretly. Barabbas was a robber (lēstés [Jn 18:40 {cf. Mk 15:7}]). Palestine was infested by robbers to whom its walks and caves afforded a great deal of cover and shelter (cf. Jdg. 9:25; Hos. 6:9; 7:1), hence, the expression "den of robbers" (Jer. 7:11; Mt. 21:13). The temple became a haunt of robbers. The dealers in the temple market were notorious for their extortion, but it gave them fancied security in their evildoing. It is probable that some of these robbers were really zealots in rebellion against the authority of Rome, so that there was an element of misplaced patriotism and even religion in their proceedings. Josephus identified robbers with zealots. (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament) Uses in NT - Matt. 21:13; Matt. 26:55; Matt. 27:38; Matt. 27:44; Mk. 11:17; Mk. 14:48; Mk. 15:27; Lk. 10:30; Lk. 10:36; Lk. 19:46; Lk. 22:52; Jn. 10:1; Jn. 10:8; Jn. 18:40; 2 Co. 11:26

Mark 14:49  "Every day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize Me; but this has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures."

  • was: Mk 11:15-18,27 12:35 Mt 21:23-27 Lu 19:47,48 20:1,2 21:37,38 Joh 7:28-30,37 8:2,12 10:23 18:20 
  • but: Ps 22:1-31 pS 69:1-36 Isa 53:1-12 Da 9:24-26 Mt 26:54,56 Lu 22:37 Lu 24:25-27,44,45 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:55 At that time Jesus said to the crowds, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me as you would against a robber? Every day I used to sit in the temple teaching and you did not seize Me. 

Luke 22:53 “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.”


Every day I was with you in the temple teaching - Every day refers to Jesus' teaching in the Temple three consecutive days that week. With you (pros humas) is more literally before you, depicting face to face encounters every day of that week. Jesus' point is that He had not been hiding from them (like a robber would) and they had ample opportunity to observe His character. Yet now they treat Him as a common criminal. 

And you did not seize Me - Of course they WOULD have if they COULD have but they were afraid of the people and so afraid for their own lives! Sadly they feared MEN and not GOD! 

MacArthur - His statement exposed their hypocrisy and cowardice. If He truly was the dangerous threat to Rome they accused Him of being (John 19:12), why had they not arrested Him in the temple earlier that week? His question exposed their fear that the people, enamored with Jesus, would turn against them (Luke 22:2).

Hiebert: While quietly submitting to the arrest, He protested its manner. His protest was directed against the religious leaders promoting the arrest. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

But - Term of contrast. Here it "points to the contrast between what might have been expected and their actual course of action in fulfillment of prophecy." (Hiebert)

This has taken place to fulfill the Scriptures - Remember that when Scriptures (graphe) in the NT almost always refers to the Old Testament.  All of the events taking place were not transpiring by accident but reflected the unfolding of prophecies in the Old Testament.

Daniel Hill - The fulfillment of Scripture Jesus refers to is the prediction given by Isaiah in Isaiah 53:12+ "Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great, And He will divide the booty with the strong; Because He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors." 

Akin - they could have arrested Him at anytime. Arresting Him late at night in a quiet, secluded location showed their cowardice. It was shameful. And…it was also a fulfillment of Scripture for the prophet Isaiah has prophesied of the Suffering Servant of the Lord: – “He was despised and rejected by men” (Isaiah 53:3) – “By oppression and judgment he was taken away” (Isaiah 53:8) – “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Isaiah 53:12)

Paul Apple - Key statement undergirding all of the events taking place in this final Passion Week – OT prophecies regarding the Suffering Servant were being fulfilled in detail – no mystery or surprises; exactly what God had pre-determined would happen; all part of His glorious plan of redemption; gives us hope regarding the as yet unfulfilled prophecies of the future return of Christ and the glorious kingdom He will establish on earth; God has not forgotten His promises – to the nation of Israel; to the people of God

Henry Blackaby - Oriented by the Scriptures

       “But the Scriptures must be fulfilled.”
       Then they all deserted Him and ran away.—Mark 14:49b–50 

There are times when, in the darkest moments of your life, the only comfort left for you is a word from God. Jesus faced the cruel injustice of a hostile world, but perhaps His deepest pain came when His closest friends deserted and betrayed Him. What could possibly sustain Him at such a dark moment? Jesus found His comfort in the Scriptures (Matt. 26:20–25, 31). The Scriptures kept everything in perspective for the Savior, holding Him steadfast in the knowledge that everything He was experiencing was according to His Father's plan. Jesus could proceed with confidence because the Scriptures assured Him that the Father was in control.

The word of God will guide you in the same way. There will be times when events around you will confuse you. Those in whom you've placed your trust will fail you. Others will abandon you. You will be misunderstood and criticized. In these times of distress, when your devotion and obedience are put to the greatest test, you must let Scripture guide and comfort you. Never let the faithlessness of others determine what you do. Turn to the Scriptures and allow them to reorient you to God and His activity.

Even as a young boy, Jesus was already well acquainted with the Scriptures. He was never surprised by events; He lived with confidence because the Scriptures had prepared Him for everything that He would face.

If you will immerse yourself daily in the word of God, you will not be caught off guard when crises come. Your focus will already be on God, and He will safely guide you through your difficult moments.

Mark 14:50  And they all left Him and fled.


And they all left Him and fled - They refers of course to the disciples. Clearly this is not the finest hour for the disciples. Note the word ALL = Jesus' prophecy less than a few hours old and Zechariah's prophecy some 500+ year old were both fulfilled to the letter! “You will ALL fall away, because it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP SHALL BE SCATTERED.’ We can stake our eternal life on God's perfectly fulfilled prophecies "For all the promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2 Cor 1:20KJV)

Just as Jesus had predicted "You will all fall away." (Mk 14:27+) They were all "scandalized" and subsequently scattered!

Separation never comes from His side.
J. Hudson Taylor

Scroggie - “All their hopes crashed in this dark hour, and their faith was demoralised, but in reality their love remained. But there is the tragic fact-they fled.”

Hiebert points out that "ALL, standing emphatically at the end of the sentence, stresses His complete forsakenness. Not even Peter proved the exception that he had claimed he would be." (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

They All Fled       Mark 14:50 - J J Knap

Jesus did not only suffer in Gethsemane under the heavy hand of God that was upon Him because of us, but also the people made it extremely hard for Him. Look only at the multitude of Romans that were sent out against Him. They were escorted by deputies of the Jewish chief priests, Scribes and elders. That in itself was grievous for Jesus because He saw in the Roman multitude the world of the heathens and in their accompanying deputies the world of the Jews, so the whole of mankind joined together to destroy Him. Add to this the fact that they came against Him, the helpless one, with sticks and swords as against a murderer! This was a deep humiliation of His human sense of honour. We all have our self-esteem, and Jesus appreciated the esteem of man, even more than the most honourable one of us. To be chased like a criminal, decide for yourself whether this was not something to His holy soul to be overwhelmed by.

However, even deeper was He hurt in His heart when His disciples acted unfaithfully and forsook Him all, fleeing from Him. The troop of Roman soldiers performed a given command. That wild group of Jews were His bitter enemies. Now His friends also made venom to drip into the cup He had to drink. All forsook Him! Those were the men who shortly before had confessed by the mouth of Peter: “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” All forsook Him! At an hour in which Jesus needed their presence as never before, shortly after the moment in which He had reached out to them like a stem of wheat, saying, “Tarry ye here, and watch,” all fled! The sight of these fleeing disciples must have been an unbearable suffering for Jesus, and, if ever, at that moment the words of the psalm must have been in His heart: “I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none!”

How unsteady is the human heart in its ways. To swear first eternal faithfulness and to be willing to accept even martyrdom on His behalf. Yet, when hardly a stick or sword is lifted up against Him, we flee. Let us watch for over-confident language like that of Peter and the other disciples, because it is often followed by a deep fall. Let us never assume great things of ourselves. Let us never say that our faith will stand any test, that we shall never leave Jesus, that we shall follow Him even into death. If ever our proud heart makes such words arise to our lips, let us turn to this ashaming page with the humiliating words: “They all forsook him, and fled.”

Mark 14:51  A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him.


A young man was following Him, wearing nothing but a linen sheet over his naked body; and they seized him - As discussed many think this was Mark in his "pajamas!" Clearly the authorities associated him with Jesus and for that reason they seized him. Twice Mark mentions this young man's naked body a detail that is of uncertain significance. Daniel Hill proposes that "The incident is included to show the speed in which the disciples and any other followers of the Lord fled the scene, abandoning the Lord Jesus to the Temple guard."

Henry Morris - This "young man" almost certainly was John Mark himself (otherwise who would know about and write about such an incident). Mark probably had retired for the night in an adjacent room, and had overheard their very fascinating, and obviously significant, conversations there in the upper room of his mother's home. Then, when they left to go to the garden, continuing their conversation as they walked, he quickly decided to grab a linen cloth and follow them at a discreet distance, unseen but still able to hear and see what was happening. The soldiers then saw him and tried to detain him, but he, like the disciples, also fled.

Believers Study Bible - There is little reason for including such an insignificant element in the story unless the naked young man who fled was none other than John Mark. Furthermore, such an experience would certainly have remained vivid in the mind of the victim. This brief, autobiographical, human interest reference adds testimony to the truthfulness and authenticity of the entire book.

Edwards: In light of the meagerness of information, speculation about the identity of the lad is pointless. Mark’s leaving him unidentified appears to be intentional and purposeful. The young man represents all who flew in desperation when mayhem broke out at the arrest of Jesus. This particular story speaks for all present. His lack of identity also invites readers to examine their own readiness to abandon Jesus. The prophecy of Amos has come to pass among all of Jesus’ followers: “Even the bravest of warriors will flee naked on that day,” declares the Lord (Amos 2:16). (The Gospel according to Mark)

Linen sheet (4616)(sindon) a light piece of clothing like a chemise. Liddell-Scott - sindon, a fine cloth, a kind of cambric or muslin." Friberg - (1) as a loosely fitting sleeping garment tunic, (night)shirt (Mk 14.51); (2) as a cloth used to wrap a corpse for Jesus' burial clothes - "Joseph bought a linen cloth, took Him down, wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out in the rock; and he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb." (Mk 15:46, Mt 27.59)

5x in NT - Matt. 27:59; Mk. 14:51; Mk. 14:52; Mk. 15:46; Lk. 23:53 Septuagint uses - Jdg. 14:12; Jdg. 14:13; Prov. 31:24;

James Smith - Handfuls of Purpose - THE MYSTERIOUS YOUNG MAN MARK 14:51

Who was he? The more we ponder on this incident the more we are led to believe it was Mark himself, the writer of this Gospel, and for the following reasons:

1. This way of referring to himself is quite in keeping with the usual manner of personal references in the Gospels. This was how John spoke of himself in his Gospel.

2. The very triviality of the incident seems to point to Mark as the young man concerned. This incident has little or no bearing on the story. Yet it was not trivial to Mark.

3. The minuteness of the reference inevitably suggests that the Evangelist is giving a bit of his own history.

4. “Having a linen cloth”—having a sindon, a fine and very costly cloth, so called because it was woven at Scinde, India. It was a kind of linen cloth greatly valued, but exceedingly costly, and only the very wealthy could afford it. Now we do know that Mark and his mother were wealthy.

5. In all probability this young man had been a silent, hidden observer of our Lord’s agony and prayer in Gethsemane, and that is one reason why, though the three selected disciples were asleep, we have so full an account of what really happened.

Mark 14:52  But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked.

But he pulled free of the linen sheet and escaped naked - Not all bible stories are suitable for reenactment in Sunday School! Apple writes that this is "Quite a contrast in how they were armed to the teeth and he was barely clothed Quite a contrast in terms of how he resisted capture and how Jesus submitted voluntarily."

Akin - And so again, as it was in the Garden of Eden, our nakedness is exposed as we desert the God who loves us and has graced us so abundantly with His kindness and good gifts

Constable: He was wearing a rather costly linen outer garment (Gr. sindon) without an undergarment (Gr. chiton). It may have been his sleeping garment. This incident makes little contribution to the story of Jesus' arrest, apart from illustrating that everyone fled. Therefore some of the church fathers and most of the modern commentators have concluded that the young man was Mark, the writer of this Gospel. However, there is no solid evidence for this.

MacArthur: What’s the point? The point is, Jesus is alone. Everybody’s gone. The Apostles are gone and even a sort of, I don’t know, a normal follower of Jesus, just a guy who saw what was going on and the more he saw, the more he knew and he was a follower. He was following Him. Get closer and closer and closer and he’s gone too. It’s just to show that there’s no one left…no one left.

NET Note - The statement he ran off naked is probably a reference to Mark himself, traditionally assumed to be the author of this Gospel. Why he was wearing only an outer garment and not the customary tunic as well is not mentioned. W. L. Lane, Mark (NICNT), 527–28, says that Mark probably mentioned this episode so as to make it clear that "all fled, leaving Jesus alone in the custody of the police." 

Akin sums up the scene at Gethsemane - Gethsemane is the prelude to Calvary. Before He could surrender His body to be beaten and crucified on the cross, He must first surrender His will to His heavenly Father in the garden. In the first garden, the Garden of Eden, Adam said to the Father, “not your will but mine be done,” and all of creation was plunged into sin. In this second garden, the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus, the 2nd Adam, says, “not my will but yours be done,” and the redemption and salvation of all creation begins! Eden brought death. Gethsemane begins new life. Stuart Townend and Keith Getty penned in 2009 a hymn entitled “To See The King of Heaven Fall (different vocal then one below).” It is also known as the “Gethsemane Hymn.” The words beautifully capture what this King who suffered alone did on our behalf:

To see the King of heaven fall
In anguish to His knees,
The Light and Hope of all the world
Now overwhelmed with grief.
What nameless horrors must He see,
To cry out in the garden:
‘Oh, take this cup away from me!
Yet not my will but Yours
Yet not my will but Yours.’

To know each friend will fall away,
And heaven’s voice be still,
For hell to have its vengeful day
Upon Golgotha’s hill.
No words describe the Saviour’s plight
To be by God forsaken
Till wrath and love are satisfied,
And every sin is paid,
And every sin is paid.

What took Him to this wretched place,
What kept Him on this road?
His love for Adam’s curséd race,
For every broken soul.
No sin too slight to overlook,
No crime too great to carry,
All mingled in this poisoned cup,
And yet He drank it all
The Saviour drank it all,
The Saviour drank it all.

Mark 14:53  They led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:57 Those who had seized Jesus led Him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the scribes and the elders were gathered together.

Luke 22:54+  Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance. 

John 18:24 So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest.


They led Jesus away to the high priest - Note that it is still night (trials were illegal at night) when Jesus is taken before the high priest Caiaphas had ordered His arrest. Be careful not to get confused because while Caiaphas is the ruling high priest, his father-in-law Annas, the previous high priest, is called "high priest" in John's account (see below). Note also that Mark never uses the actual name of the current high priest Caiaphas. (appointed by Rome in 18 A.D and served until 36 A.D). Note from the table below that Mark (nor any of the synoptic gospels) does not record the informal meeting before the former high priest Annas (served A.D. 18-36) and also that none of the Gospels record all six aspects of the trials.  

Paul Apple on led...away - Being led away as a common criminal; not with presumption of innocence; not innocent until proven guilty; but under a predetermined, prej

John records Jesus before Annas who still wielded influence with his son-in-law Caiaphas and both apparently resided in the same palace...

So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him, and led Him to Annas first; for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. 14 Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. (John 18:12-14)

(Annas the former) high priest then questioned Jesus about His disciples, and about His teaching (ANNAS WAS NOT INTERESTED IN TRUTH, ONLY EVIDENCE TO INCRIMINATE JESUS!). 20 Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. 21 “Why do you question Me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said.” 22 When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” 23 Jesus answered him, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?” (ANNAS COULD FIND NOTHING TO CHARGE AGAINST JESUS) 24 So Annas sent Him bound to Caiaphas the high priest. (John 18:19-24)

MacArthur points out that "Like a first-century mafia family, Annas and his sons controlled the lucrative temple operation, including money changing and the sale of sacrificial animals, which was so closely associated with him that it became notoriously nicknamed the Bazaar of Annas. Jesus disrupted the corrupt enterprise when He single-handedly evacuated the temple earlier that week (Mark 11:15–18+)."

So now we have the beginning fulfillment of the prophecy Jesus had spoken in Mark 8:31+ where He began to teach His disciples "that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes (THIS TRIAD WOULD EQUATE WITH THE SANHEDRIN), and be killed, and after three days rise again."

And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes gathered together - Gathered together is the historical present which gives us a vivid picture of these men coming together like a brood of vipers crawling in at nighttime! As you read about the trials of Jesus, realize that they were merely a "formality" because in the eyes of the Jews Jesus in their minds was already considered guilty and condemned to die on the Cross. So not only was the entire process a series of "mock" trials, there were as many as seven "illegalities involved in these trials from the perspective of Jewish law" (See below).

Hiebert on all the chief priests, which indicates that "the whole hierarchy, indicates that they were out in force and were the leaders in the action." (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Paul Apple - How were they all able to suddenly come together in the dead of the night? 71 members of the Sanhedrin – no small gathering; shows how urgently they regarded the situation

Grassmick - Three groups—the elders (influential lay leaders), chief priests (Sadducees, cf. Mk 12:18, including former high priests), teachers of the Law (scribes, mostly Pharisees)—constituted the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme court which met in Jerusalem (cf. Mk 11:27; Mk 14:53). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Constable has an informative note writing that "This was an unofficial meeting of the Sanhedrin since Jewish law required that official meetings take place during the daytime. It transpired before dawn on Friday, the fifteenth of Nisan, a feast day. Normally the Sanhedrin did not conduct hearings of this type on a feast day. The Jewish leaders probably met at this unorthodox hour because the Romans conducted their civil trials shortly after sunrise. The Sanhedrin wanted to deliver Jesus over to Pilate for a hasty trial before public sentiment built in favor of Jesus. Normally the Sanhedrin did not pass sentence on an accused capital offender until the day following his trial. They made an exception in Jesus’ case. Usually the Sanhedrin met in a hall on the west side of the temple enclosure. However now they met in Caiaphas’ house or palace (Luke 22:54). “All” the Sanhedrin may mean every one of its 71 members or, probably, all that were necessary for a quorum, at least 23." 

Hiebert: All the gospels make it clear that the trial of Jesus fell into two general parts. He was first tried by the ecclesiastical authorities and then by the political authorities. A comparison of the different accounts indicates that both parts comprised three stages. None of the gospels record all the different stages. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Comparing all 4 gospels we discover Jesus endured 6 hearings or "trials" (used only loosely for these were hardly fair trials!) in a matter of hours, the first three were Religious Trials before the Jewish authorities and the last three were Civil Trials before the Roman political authorities, Pilate and Herod Antipas (Mt 26-27; Mark 14-15; Luke 22-23; John 18-19).

See also Detailed Discussion of 3 Religious Trials
Jesus’ Religious Trial

Before Annas
   (at night)

John 18:12–14, 19–24

Before Caiaphas
    (at night)

Matt. 26:57–68; Mark 14:53–65; Luke 22:54, 63–65

Before the Sanhedrin
    (after dawn)

Matt. 27:1; Mark 15:1; Luke 22:66–71

Jesus’ Civil Trial

Before Pilate

Matt. 27:2, 11–14; Mark 15:1–5; Luke 23:1–5; John 18:28–38

Before Herod Antipas

Luke 23:6–12

Before Pilate

Matt. 27:15–26; Mark 15:6–15; Luke 23:13–25; John 18:39–19:16

For a more detailed discussion of the rules/laws for trials, witnesses, etc. see Buss' ten page discussion "Extracts from the Mishna." 

THE DENIAL OF CHRIST—Mark 14:53–72 - Croft Pentz
I.      THE DIVINE SAVIOUR—Mark 14:53–56
      A.      The court—Mark 14:53. They wanted a quick court session. They wanted to condemn Him as soon as possible. It was wrong to have a court session at night.
      B.      The coward—Mark 14:54. Peter, who boasted he would never deny Christ. Peter, who cut off an ear in defending Christ (John 18:10) is now afraid to stand for Christ.
      C.      The Christ—Mark 14:55–56. They sought to find fault, but could find none. The false witnesses could not give sufficient proof.

II.      THE DEGRADED SAVIOUR—Mark 14:57–65
     A.      Prophecy—Mark 14:57–59. Christ’s words of destroying the temple and raising it up in three days (John 2:19–21). They didn’t fully understand. They twist its meaning, seeking to destroy Christ. He spoke of His body being crucified, then rising the third day.
      B.      Patient—Mark 14:60–61. When accused of doing wrong, He remained silent. He now was practicing His teachings of “turning the cheek,” and being kind in pressure situations.
      C.      Power—Mark 14:62–63. When asked if He was the Messiah, He admitted He was. This stirred up the Jewish leaders, who felt He had no respect toward God.
      D.      People—Mark 14:64. All present agreed Christ was guilty of blasphemy and sentenced Him to death.
      E.      Punished—Mark 14:65. They spat upon Him and beat Him with their fists. He remains silent, suffering, though doing no wrong.

III.      THE DENIED SAVIOUR—Mark 14:66–72
      A.      Recognition—Mark 14:66–67. Peter was with the wrong people. A maid of the high priest recognizes Peter as a disciple of Christ.
     B.      Rejection—Mark 14:68–71. Note how Peter denies Christ three times: Mark 14:68, 70, 71. The last time he swears, saying he didn’t know Christ. What a difference from Mark 14:29–31!
   C.      Remembrance—Mark 14:72. After the third denial, the rooster crows. Peter remembers Christ’s words (Luke 22:34). He is filled with sorrow. Why did Peter deny the Lord?
         1.      When he should have been praying, he was sleeping.
         2.      He did much talking and little practicing.

Question: What trials did Jesus face before His crucifixion?

Answer: The night of Jesus’ arrest, He was brought before AnnasCaiaphas, and an assembly of religious leaders called the Sanhedrin (John 18:19-24; Matthew 26:57). After this He was taken before Pilate, the Roman Governor (John 18:28), sent off to Herod (Luke 23:7), and returned to Pilate (Luke 23:11-12), who finally sentenced Him to death.

There were six parts to Jesus’ trial: three stages in a religious court and three stages before a Roman court. Jesus was tried before Annas, the former high priest; Caiaphas, the current high priest; and the Sanhedrin. He was charged in these “ecclesiastical” trials with blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah.

The trials before Jewish authorities, the religious trials, showed the degree to which the Jewish leaders hated Him because they carelessly disregarded many of their own laws. There were several illegalities involved in these trials from the perspective of Jewish law:

  1. No trial was to be held during feast time.
  2. Each member of the court was to vote individually to convict or acquit, but Jesus was convicted by acclamation.
  3. If the death penalty was given, a night must pass before the sentence was carried out; however, only a few hours passed before Jesus was placed on the Cross.
  4. The Jews had no authority to execute anyone.
  5. No trial was to be held at night, but this trial was held before dawn.
  6. The accused was to be given counsel or representation, but Jesus had none.
  7. The accused was not to be asked self-incriminating questions, but Jesus was asked if He was the Christ.

The trials before the Roman authorities started with Pilate (John 18:23) after Jesus was beaten. The charges brought against Him were very different from the charges in His religious trials. He was charged with inciting people to riot, forbidding the people to pay their taxes, and claiming to be King. Pilate found no reason to kill Jesus so he sent Him to Herod (Luke 23:7). Herod had Jesus ridiculed but, wanting to avoid the political liability, sent Jesus back to Pilate (Luke 23:11–12). This was the last trial as Pilate tried to appease the animosity of the Jews by having Jesus scourged. The Roman scourge was a terrible whipping designed to remove the flesh from the back of the one being punished. In a final effort to have Jesus released, Pilate offered the prisoner Barabbas to be crucified and Jesus released, but to no avail. The crowds called for Barabbas to be released and Jesus to be crucified. Pilate granted their demand and surrendered Jesus to their will (Luke 23:25). The trials of Jesus represent the ultimate mockery of justice. Jesus, the most innocent man in the history of the world, was found guilty of crimes and sentenced to death by crucifixion. (Source:

Related Resources:

Mark 14:54  Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:58 But Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome. 

Luke 22:54+ Having arrested Him, they led Him away and brought Him to the house of the high priest; but Peter was following at a distance.


Mark sets the stage for Peter's denial in Mark 14:53, then interrupts with an account of Jesus' trial before Caiaphas the high priest (Mark 14:55-65) and then returns to finish the saga of Peter's triple denial before the double crowing.  (Mark 14:66-72)

Note that all Four Gospels have descriptions of Peter's denial, but comparing these four accounts is not always straightforward. Keep this in mind as you study, teach and preach on Peter's denials.

Stein for example comments that there are several differences including "such things as: exactly where and when the three denials took place, who the people were who questioned Peter, the exact wording of Peter’s denials, and the number of cock crows (one or two). All four (Gospel writers agree) that Peter (1) denied his Lord three times (2) on the night of Jesus’ betrayal (3) in the courtyard of the high priest, (4) that a maid questioned Peter, and (5) that a cock crowed “immediately” after the third denial." (NAC) (Numbers in parentheses added).

Below are ALL FOUR GOSPEL versions describing Peter's

Peter had followed Him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest (Caiaphas - see Mt 26:57) - "drawn by love but keeping at a safe distance because of fear" (Hiebert). John's account adds that "Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple (JOHN). Now that disciple was known to the high priest, and entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest, 16 but Peter was standing at the door outside. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in." (John 18:15-16)

Paul Apple - Commendable that Peter followed him at all – after putting himself in jeopardy by cutting off the ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest But noteworthy that he only followed Jesus at a distance – not exactly the commitment that Jesus had called for when he commanded His disciples to forsake all and follow after Him; to deny themselves and take up their cross daily

Earle - One of the outstanding features of Mark's Gospel is the addition of little details, like this one. The Greek literally says: "warming himself (thermainomenos) at the light (phos)." The fire would serve for both heating and lighting. Incidentally, our word "thermometer" is a combination of two Greek words: therme, "heat," and the verb metreo, "measure."

Hiebert: Peter drawn by love but holds back due to fear. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

James Edwards: Peter has forsaken a discipleship of costly following (8:34) for one of safe observation. (The Gospel according to Mark)

Grassmick explains that the courtyard "was a central quadrangle with the high priest’s residence built around it (cf. John 18:15–18)." (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Matthew gives the reason for Peter following writing that "Peter was following Him at a distance as far as the courtyard of the high priest, and entered in, and sat down with the officers to see the outcome (telos - the conclusion of a process of events)."  (Mt 26:58) Peter wanted to know how this would end. Apparently he still does not completely grasp that Jesus must die as the sacrificial Lamb for the sins of the world. 

And he was sitting with the officers and warming himself at the fire - Jerusalem is elevated about 2500 feet above sea level and it can become cold at night in the spring. Sitting with the officers was a daring ploy in a dangerous place as he would soon discover. These officers would not have been Roman soldiers but were the "Temple police" under Jewish jurisdiction. At the fire is literally "toward the light" (fire is the word phos = light) or facing the fire. This small detail means that even though it was dark, his face would be well illuminated which would lead to discovery of his identity described in Mark 14:67. Not smart Peter! But Jesus had given the prophecy and God took care of the details (cold night, need for fire, Peter facing the fire), so that it would be fulfilled perfectly. 

Hiebert on the officers - The temple police acted under the authority of the high priest. They remained out in the court while Jesus was before the Sanhedrin. Peter joined them.  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Officers (5257)(huperetes from hupo = under, beneath + eretes = a rower) is literally and under oarsman and then a subordinate, a servant, an attendant (Lk 4:20), one who is in the service of another or an assistant in general.Vincent says huperetes was used most commonly with the meaning of officer (Mt 5:25, etc), "denoting a subordinate official, as a herald or an orderly." 

Huperetes - 20x in 20v - Usage: attendant(1), helper(1), minister(1), officer(1), officers(13), servants(3). - Matt. 5:25; Matt. 26:58; Mk. 14:54; Mk. 14:65; 

Fire (Light) (5457)(phos from pháo = to shine) is defined by many lexicons as that which contrasts with darkness. Light is the medium of illumination that makes sight possible or makes things visible. In Scripture phos can refer to literal, physical light (Ge 1:3), but often is used metaphorically or symbolically, the greatest metaphorical use being used to symbolize Jesus as "the Light of the world." (Jn 8:12).

Edwards - In this section we see the final stage leading to Peter's downfall - SELF PRESERVATION. The key verse here is verse 54. ". . . but Peter followed Him at a distance." In trying to preserve himself, Peter lost vital contact with Christ and ultimately disassociated himself with the Lord. Many Christians today are following Christ "from a distance," desiring to sap all His benefits but unwilling to bear His reproach. This spirit of self-preservation will inevitably lead to denying Christ when the heat is on, for reputation and comfort will be of greater value than the praise of God and eternal reword. May we join in the ranks of the saints described in Revelation 12:11, "And they overcame him (Satan) by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death." (The Gospel according to Mark)

George MacDonald, Scottish clergyman and author of the children's classic At the Back of the North Wind, wrote, “The Son of God suffered unto death, not that men might not suffer, but that their sufferings might be like his.” MacDonald's statement suggests that Christ's suffering gives meaning to the suffering of the believer. But this also raises a related question. What gave meaning to Christ's suffering? How was He able to approach the pain of the cross and all that surrounded it with such calm assurance?

The answer is found in Jesus' knowledge of the Father's plan. Even though His disciples had difficulty grasping the inevitability and significance of Christ's suffering, our Lord did not shrink back from the pain that was soon to come. He understood that it was part of His destiny. His acceptance was not the result of fatalism. Rather, it came from His knowledge and faith that His Heavenly Father would use that suffering to purchase our redemption.

Jesus did not enjoy suffering. He looked forward to all that His suffering would accomplish but not to the actual suffering itself. On the night of His betrayal and arrest our Lord agonized in the Garden of Gethsemane to such an extent that He was “overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” (v. 34). When the Greek text describes Jesus' state of mind, it uses terms that speak of alarm and great distress. At that time He looked for comfort from His disciples and through prayer. He even prayed and asked that, if at all possible, He be spared suffering. The secret to His calm acceptance of His fate is found in the qualifying phrase of Christ's prayer: “Not what I will, but what you will” (v. 36).

The Savior's deference to the Father's will reflected more than a submissive attitude. It was grounded in the confidence that His suffering was part of a divine plan. It was not suffering merely for the sake of suffering. Nor was it suffering in vain. Christ suffered for a purpose: “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
Christ's suffering was both an offering and an example. Unlike Him, our suffering does not purge sin. But like Christ's, our suffering does have purpose. Those who suffer for the sake of Christ do so as part of God's larger plan. Like Him, we are to entrust ourselves to the one who judges justly (cf. 1 Peter 2:23).

Like Him too, we can look for comfort in prayer and the companionship of others who love God. Think of someone you know who is currently going through a time of suffering. Perhaps a brief note, phone call, or visit would be a source of encouragement today.

Mark 14:55  Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:59 Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put Him to death. 60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 


Grassmick offers an interesting supposition - The material in this section probably rests on the report of one or more Sanhedrin members who were secretly sympathetic to Jesus or who were against Him originally but later came to believe in Him (cf. Acts 6:7). (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Paul Apple- How do you respond when you are wrongly accused? We all have the identical natural response. We become extremely defensive; we seek to justify ourselves; we might lash back and attack our attackers; we marshal all the evidence that could possibly support our claims. But Jesus responded differently. He endured more intense injustice than we could ever imagine. But He never lost His poise. And He never lost His compassion.

Now the chief priests and the whole Council (Sanhedrin) kept trying  to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any - The first Jewish "kangaroo court" was convened upstairs (cf Mk 14:66). The Jews knew they needed a charge before they could convict Jesus and so Kept trying (zeteo) which is in the imperfect tense indicating they were seeking incriminating evidence over and over but to no avail. Matthew 26:59 says they were not just trying to obtain testimony, but any testimony, even false testimony to convict Jesus of a capital crime (warranting the death sentence). Their hands were beginning to be "stained" (so to speak) with the blood of this innocent Man! Were not finding is in the imperfect tense signifying again and again they came to a "dead end" (no pun intended).

If this had been a fair proceeding, these men would serve as Jesus' judges, but instead they proved to be His prosecutors! Indeed Jesus was “guilty until proven innocent” but He was never going to be found innocent by the religious leaders. 

MacArthur adds "According to Jewish law, the Sanhedrin was not permitted to initiate charges. They could only investigate and adjudicate the cases that were presented to them. Yet, at the trial of Jesus, the members of the council illegally acted as prosecutors searching for grounds on which to indict Him....Instead of proving His guilt, their contradictory stories only highlighted the stark contrast between His innocence and the blatant corruption of all who spoke."

Grassmick - This was an “informal” trial that required a “formal” ratification after dawn (cf. 15:1) to satisfy strict Jewish legal procedure allowing trials only in the daytime. A quorum consisted of 23 members (Mishnah Sanhedrin 1. 6) but on this occasion the majority were probably there even though it was around 3 A.M. on Nisan 15 (Friday), a feast day....This hasty night meeting was deemed necessary because: (1) In Jewish criminal law it was customary to hold a trial immediately after arrest. (2) Roman legal trials were usually held shortly after sunrise (cf. 15:1) so the Sanhedrin needed a binding verdict by daybreak in order to get the case to Pilate early. (3) With Jesus finally in custody they did not want to delay proceedings, thereby arousing opposition to His arrest. Actually they had already determined to kill Him (cf. 14:1–2); their only problem was getting evidence that would justify it (cf. v. 55). Perhaps also they wished to have the Romans crucify Jesus to avoid the people’s blaming the Sanhedrin for His death. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - Their predetermined aim was to impose on Him the highest possible penalty. The whole procedure had the character of a grand-jury investigation rather than of a formal trial. It is fairly clear that it was an unofficial, even illegal, meeting dominated by the priestly faction. The high priest’s residence was not the proper place for a formal meeting, nor could a verdict of capital punishment be pronounced at night. But what was done at this night session was in reality a trial, since the outcome of the session determined the nature of their pretense at a formal trial after dawn (Mark 15:1). (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Mark 14:56  For many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent.

Deuteronomy 19:15 “A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.


For - Term of explanation. Mark explains their failure even with false witnesses! 

Many were giving false testimony against Him, but their testimony was not consistent - Note there was no paucity of witnesses for Mark said many witnesses came. Now think about this for a moment. Remember it is the middle of the night (somewhere between 12 midnight and 6 AM) which strongly suggests these witnesses had been pre-arranged and pre-prepared (cf "premeditated murder"!), ready and waiting to roll (out of bed) when needed. Jewish law required two agreeing witnesses to establish a charge (Deut. 19:15) Consequently their inconsistent testimonies were useless (Nu 35:30; Dt. 17:6).  Apparently the Jewish leaders followed protocol here, for the rule was that witnesses must testify separately and if that is the case it made it easy for them to contradict each others lies! Their testimony was not consistent is more literally "were not equal" or "were not alike." In short, their lies lied! Their lies did not match!

Grassmick on many witnesses - Perhaps these witnesses were already on call prior to Jesus’ arrest but did not coordinate their stories. In Jewish trials the witnesses served as the prosecution, giving their testimonies separately. Convicting a person for a crime, the Mosaic Law required precise agreement in the testimony of at least two witnesses (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15).  (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Mark 14:57  Some stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying,

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 


Some - Matthew 26:60 says two came forward

Stood up and began to give false testimony against Him, saying - Following failure to obtain any incriminating evidence using the false witnesses, two more came forward. Only Mark says their testimony was false

Mark 14:58  "We heard Him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.'"

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:60 They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. But later on two came forward, 61 and said, “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’”

John 2:18-22+ The Jews then said to Him, “What sign do You show us as your authority for doing these things?” 19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” 20 The Jews then said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” 21 But He was speaking of the temple of His body. 22 So when He was raised from the dead, His disciples remembered that He said this; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had spoken. 


We heard Him say - We is obviously plural and suggests these witnesses testified together, but maybe not, because even their testimony was not consistent! Note also these were not EYE witnesses, but EAR witnesses who HEARD Him say. Nevertheless they are making the claim of personal (firsthand) knowledge. 

I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands (John 2:18-22+) - Matthew's version is essentially the same except it says "the temple of God.’” (Mt 26:60). The Greek word for Temple in their testimony was naos which referred specifically to the holy sanctuary (with holy of holies) itself and not the entire Temple complex (which was heiron). Compare their accusation with Jesus' actual words in John 2:19 where He said “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Do you see what they added? Jesus did not say made with hands because He was referring to His body and His body was not made with hands. Made with hands would refer to the literal Temple built by the hands of men. They have misquoted Jesus, either on purpose or because of faulty memories! Either way they have given a false witness!  

Grassmick says "These witnesses, like those present at the time, misinterpreted His words as a reference to the Jerusalem temple." (ED: That is possible, but I favor that they "conveniently" added the phrase made with hands.) Destruction of a worship place was a capital offense in the ancient world (Josephus The Antiquities of the Jews 10. 6. 2). (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - It is possible that their charge was based on a blend of His figurative statement about His death and resurrection as given in John 2:19–22 and His prediction of the literal destruction of the temple in Mark 13:2. That He would replace the present temple with one of a different kind implied an overthrow of the divinely instituted form of worship and therefore involved Him in open disloyalty to the sacred institution. Also, the claim that He would quickly rebuild the temple without hands was a usurpation of supernatural power and authority, hence blasphemous. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Lane writes "The accusation was utterly serious, for throughout the Graeco-Roman world the destruction or desecration of places of worship was regarded as a capital offense.” (NICNC-Mark)

G Campbell Morgan “This is the most diabolical form of untruth, because it is an untruth in which there is an element of truth. We remember Tennyson’s words: ‘A lie that is all a lie, may be met and fought outright; But a lie that is partly the truth, is a harder matter to fight.’ ”

Mark 14:59  Not even in this respect was their testimony consistent.


Not even in this respect was their testimony consistent - Only Mark describes the inconsistent testimony of the last two false witnesses. How the two testimonies were discordant is not indicated. They could not even do a good job lying! 

MacArthur: They had no time to get together. They had not time for collusion. They had no time to meet with people and get the same story. They had no time to plot everything out.

As Cole said "It is harder to agree on a consistent lie than to tell the simple truth.”

Mark 14:60  The high priest stood up and came forward and questioned Jesus, saying, "Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?"

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:62 The high priest stood up and said to Him, “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?”


What was the challenge? To come up with a charge that would stick and would allow them to condemn Jesus to a death sentence. In fact as we shall see the high priest suggested that Christ incriminate Himself. 

The high priest stood up and came forward - Came forward is literally "into the middle," or "into their midst." Front and center stage as we commonly say. Robertson says that he stood up for greater solemnity, and tried to make up by bluster, the lack of evidence.

And questioned Jesus - Like a prosecuting attorney. 

Questioned (1905)(eperotao from epí = an intens. + erōtáō = to ask, inquire of, beg of) in the NT means "to interrogate, inquire" and can speak of inquiry in general but is also used as a legal technical term with the sense of to interrogate or examine, question. And in a similar setting as here in Mark 14 we read "When they had brought them (JESUS' DISCIPLES), they stood them before the Council (SANHEDRIN). The high priest questioned (eperotao) them." (Acts 5.27+). 

Spurgeon - “It was a tacit confession that Christ had been proved innocent up till then. The high priest would not have needed to draw something out of the accused one if there had been sufficient material against him elsewhere. The trial had been a dead failure up to that point, and he knew it, and was red with rage. Now he attempts to bully the prisoner that he may extract some declaration from him which may save all further trouble of witnesses, and end the matter.”

Saying, "Do You not answer? - The essence of the question by the High Priest is "Why Won’t You Defend Yourself?" NLT paraphrases it "Well, aren't you going to answer these charges?" NIV - "Are you not going to answer?" In the Greek this question expects an affirmative answer.

Hiebert -  "by his double question, the belligerent high priest sought to goad Jesus into saying something that could be used against Him. His first question has an intensive force because of the original double negative. In view of these witnesses against Him, how can He remain silent, treating them with contempt?"  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

What is it that these men are testifying against You?" - With this question Caiaphas was "fishing" for Jesus to give an explanation.

Hiebert -  "The second question indicates that the testimony is of such a nature as to demand an explanation from Him. What is the meaning of all these charges against Him?" (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Mark 14:61  But He kept silent and did not answer. Again the high priest was questioning Him, and saying to Him, "Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:63 But Jesus kept silent. And the high priest said to Him, “I adjure You by the living God, that You tell us whether You are the Christ, the Son of God.”


But He kept silent and did not answer - Caiaphas had offered a double question and Mark follows with a double description of Jesus non-reponse. Jesus did not have to respond because He knew He was innocent and He saw through the devious ruse of Caiaphas. 

MacArthur - The Lord’s silence was that of integrity, innocence, and majestic tranquility. He refused to give these mock proceedings any appearance of legitimacy. Moreover, the Lord knew the words of Isaiah 53:7+, which prophesied of the Messiah, “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.” The silence of Jesus was in stark contrast to the lies that reverberated throughout the court.

Kept silent (quiet)(4623)(siopao from siope = silence, a hush, properly, muteness, i.e. involuntary stillness, or inability to speak)  means to be silent, hold one's peace, say nothing. Uses in Mark - Mk. 3:4; Mk. 4:39; Mk. 9:34; Mk. 10:48; Mk. 14:61

Again the high priest was questioning Him - Now Caiaphas picks up the pace so to speak for here questioning (again the "legal" term eperotao) is in the imperfect tense picturing Caiaphas asking Jesus again and again, a veritable bullying barrage! 

And saying to Him -  Saying is in the present tense indicating continually saying this. In Mt 26:63 Caiaphas "ups the ante" by using the phrase "I adjure (exorkizo means to demand that a person take an oath as to the truth of what is said) you by the Living God." (Interesting he calls God as witness). In so doing, Caiaphas put Jesus under oath in an attempt to get Him to incriminate Himself. This was an illegal practice in Jewish jurisprudence, but legalities had long ago vanished from these blatantly illegal proceedings!

Robertson commenting on Mt 26:63 says "Jesus did not refuse to answer under solemn oath, clearly showing that he was not thinking of oaths in courts of justice when he prohibited profanity. The charge that Caiaphas makes is that Jesus claims to be the Messiah, the Son of God. To refuse to answer would be tantamount to a denial. So Jesus answered knowing full well the use that would be made of his confession and claim."

Wuest  adds "In asking this question, Matthew records that the high priest put Jesus under a solemn oath. This he did to force Jesus to incriminate Himself, a thing unlawful in Jewish jurisprudence. But to refuse to answer this question, would be tantamount to a denial of His deity." 

Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One? - You is emphatic and Hiebert suggests in this context it sounds a contemptuous tone. Christ of course is Christos (from chrio = to anoint to an office) so what Caiaphas is asking Jesus "Are you the Messiah?"Some versions translate Christ here as "Messiah" (NLT, CSB, NRSV, NAB). NET Note has "Or "the Messiah"; both "Christ" (Greek) and "Messiah" (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean "one who has been anointed.""

James Edwards notes the irony of the question, “The effect is to put a full christological confession into the mouth of the high priest!..his arch-prosecutor confesses his name! How ironic that in the Gospel of Mark the two most complete christological confessions from humans occur in the mouth of those responsible for Jesus’ death: the high priest in Mk 14:61 and the centurion at the cross in Mk 15:39” (The Gospel according to Mark)

Son of the Blessed One (this Name for God used only here) is another way to say "the Son of God," which is affirmed by Matthew's parallel "are the Christ, the Son of God.” (Mt 26:63)

Grassmick -  The title “Blessed One,” found in this sense only here in the New Testament, is a Jewish substitute for “God” (cf. Mishnah Berachoth 7. 3). These two titles of Jesus both refer to His claim to be the Messiah. (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

MacArthur on Caiaphas' question -- This was the first legitimate question posed to Jesus throughout the entire trial. It was a straightforward inquiry that called for a truthful response. The Lord understood, of course, that Caiaphas was hoping to trap Him in a statement the council would regard as blasphemous. The high priest knew that Jesus had repeatedly claimed to be the Messiah (cf. Luke 4:18–21; John 4:25–26; 5:17–18; 8:58) and to be the Son of God, making Himself equal with God (John 5:18; 8:16–19; 10:29–39). He hoped to coax Jesus to repeat that claim before the Sanhedrin. The Lord Jesus knew exactly what was happening. But rather than sidestepping the issue or remaining silent, He responded with a bold and unambiguous declaration of both His messiahship and deity.

Daniel Akin - Numerous times in Mark’s gospel Jesus asked those who followed Him and those He healed to be silent concerning His identity. The time for the “Messianic Secret” has now come to an end. Called, under divine oath, to bear witness to His true identity, He does not flinch nor does He waver. He directly and openly affirms, “I am” (Gr. ego eimi). However, He does not stop there. He identifies the Messiah with Daniel 7:13-14’s apocalyptic Son of Man and declares, “You will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power [God], and coming with the clouds of heaven” (v. 62). Jesus weds Daniel 7:13-14 with Psalm 110:1 in identifying Himself as the Messiah and God’s Son (see Mark 12:35-37). The One you now judge will come and judge you in the end. Today I stand before you, but there is coming a day when you will stand before me! A great reversal is coming!

In the OT (eg, Lev 8:12) only the High Priest was anointed - how ironic that here the high priest asked Jesus if He were the "Anointed One", the Messiah. 

Jesus’ first response to the use of intimidation and fear used by the religious leaders was to remain silent. They wanted Jesus to make a self-incriminating statement; Jesus maintained his composure. Peter later wrote, “When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate…. Instead, he entrusted himself to [God] who judges justly” (1 Peter 2:23 NIV). Jesus is an example for us. We may find ourselves confronted by people hostile to Christ in the classroom, in the workplace, on the athletic field, or in the neighborhood, and we must have a way to deal with their attacks. Our goal should be to face attacks as Jesus did—with patience, calmness, and confidence that God is in complete control. (LAC)

Dave Roper - The Sound of Silence

Ultimate peace is silent through the density of life. 137—C. S. Lewis
Silence, I’ve come to believe, is the answer to many of life’s contradictions, so I’m learning to say less these days.

Silence was often our Lord’s way. In the face of severe provocation He “remained silent and gave no answer.”138 Jesus could have answered His critics, but “like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth.”139

There is awesome power in silence, especially in those overwhelmingly bad situations in which we are subject to harsh words from those we love. There, however, silence is most difficult, for loved ones have the greatest power to wound us. Yet there silence is most essential, for we owe our own loved ones the greatest measure of forbearance.

Silence forestalls angry reactions and bitter words that we may later regret and others may not forget. Silence gives us time to slow our thoughts and reorder them, perhaps to remind ourselves that the one who wounded us is weary, or worried, or otherwise out of sorts. Silence gives us time to forgive.

Silence is also a means by which we may help others see themselves. As their voices reverberate in the quietness we offer, they may hear their unkind words and regret them. When we step aside and wait in stillness, we give God an opportunity to work through us. When we take up our own cause, we may frustrate His ultimate intention to use us to bring spiritual healing and health to others.

Silence can be the gentle answer that turns away anger.140 Defensive reactions make things worse: they stir up anger. Restraint and silence relieve tension and restore peace. As James assures us, “Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”141 Others begin to grow toward goodness through our example.

Finally, calm, unruffled silence is an eloquent and gracious reflection of God’s unconditional love. Clement, a first-century Christian, wrote, “Let [those who belong to Christ] demonstrate by silence the gentleness of their tongue; [and thus] let them show His love.”142

137 Lewis always depicts the atmosphere of the natural world as thick and dense. In such an environment it is difficult to think clearly and act appropriately.
138 Mark 14:61. Here Mark uses a word for silence that suggests both silence and peaceful calm.
139 Isaiah 53:7 NASB
140 Proverbs 15:1
141 James 3:18
142 1 Clement 21:7

To Speak Or Not To Speak

[Jesus] kept silent and answered nothing. —Mark 14:61

Today's Scripture: Mark 14:53-65

Sometimes silence is the best response to a false charge. At other times we must speak up.

When false witnesses accused Jesus as He stood before the Sanhedrin, He “kept silent” (Mark 14:53-61). Defending Himself would have been useless. Furthermore, He was fulfilling the prophecy of Isaiah 53:7. But earlier in His ministry, Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, challenging them to prove that He sinned (John 8:13-59).

A pastor resigned from his church because a few members made untrue statements about him. He thought it unchristian to defend himself, and in some instances it is. But in this case, the troublemakers needed to be confronted and their false charges refuted. He should have urged them to repent or face church discipline.

Saying nothing may allow wrongdoers to go unchallenged in their evil ways. But if God’s Spirit leads us to remain silent, or if we want merely to try to salvage our wounded pride, then we should hold our tongue.

Are you being falsely accused? If you discern that it’s futile to argue, or if your pride has been hurt, ask God for grace to say nothing. But if you feel concern for the wrongdoers and want to see justice done, speak up! By:  Herbert Vander Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Lord, give us wisdom to discern
When what is false must be revealed
Or if we need Your grace and strength
To close our lips and keep them sealed.
—D. De Haan

Silence can be valuable; don’t break it unless you can improve on it.

Hard Sayings - F F Bruce, et al Mark 14:61–62  You Will See the Son of Man

After his arrest in Gethsemane, Jesus was brought before a court of inquiry, presided over by the high priest. At first, according to Mark’s narrative, an attempt was made to convict him of having spoken against the Jerusalem temple. Not only was violation of the sanctity of the temple, whether in deed or in word, a capital offense; it was the one type of offense for which the Roman government allowed the supreme Jewish court to pass and execute sentence at its own discretion. Two or three years later, when Stephen was successfully prosecuted before the supreme court on a similar charge, there was no need to refer the case to Pilate before execution could be carried out. On the present occasion, however, Jesus could not be convicted on this charge because the two witnesses for the prosecution gave conflicting evidence.

Then the high priest, apparently on his own initiative, asked Jesus to tell the court if he was the Messiah, the Son of God (using “the Blessed” as a substitute for the divine name). The Messiah was entitled to be described as the Son of God, if he was the person addressed by God in Psalm 2:7 with the words “You are my son,” or the person who in Psalm 89:26 cries to God, “Thou art my Father” (RSV). Jesus was not in the way of spontaneously referring to himself as the Messiah. But to the high priest’s question he answered, “I am.” How Matthew and Luke understood this reply may be seen from their renderings of it: “You have said so” (Mt 26:64 RSV) or “You say that I am” (Lk 22:70 RSV). That is to say, if Jesus must give an answer to the high priest’s question, the answer cannot be other than yes, but the choice of words is the high priest’s, not his own. The words that followed, however, were his own choice. It is as though he said, “If ‘Christ’ (that is, ‘Messiah’ or ‘Anointed One’) is the term you insist on using, then I have no option but to say yes, but if I were to choose my own terms, I should say that you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Almighty and coming with the clouds of heaven.” (Here “power” on Jesus’ lips, meaning much the same as we mean when we say “the Almighty” is, like “the Blessed” on the high priest’s lips, a substitute for the divine name.)

What, then, does this saying mean, and why was it declared blasphemous by the high priest? It means, in brief, that while the Son of Man, Jesus himself, stood now before his judges friendless and humiliated, they would one day see him vindicated by God. He says this in symbolic language, but the source of this symbolic language is biblical. Mention has been made already of the Son of Man coming with the clouds of heaven (see comment on Mk 13:30); this language is drawn from Daniel 7:13–14, where “one like a son of man” is seen in a vision coming “with the clouds of heaven” to be presented before God (“the Ancient of Days”) and to receive eternal world dominion from him. The “one like a son of man” is a human figure, displacing the succession of beastlike figures who had been exercising world dominion previously. The one whose claims received such scant courtesy from his judges would yet be acknowledged as sovereign Lord in the hearts of men and women throughout the world. His claims would, moreover, be acknowledged by God: the Son of Man would be seen seated “at the right hand of the Almighty.” This wording is taken from Psalm 110:1, which records a divine oracle addressed certainly to the ruler of David’s line: “Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The present prisoner at the bar would be seen to be, by divine appointment, Lord of the universe—and that not in the distant future, but forthwith. “From now on,” in Luke’s version, “the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God” (Lk 22:69). (Luke omits the language about the clouds of heaven.) “In the future,” in Matthew’s version, “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven” (Mt 26:64). The right hand of God was the place of supreme exaltation; the clouds were the vehicle of the divine glory.

The Servant of the Lord in the Old Testament, once despised and rejected by men, was hailed by God as “raised and lifted up and highly exalted” (Is 52:13); this role is filled in the New Testament by Jesus, obedient to the point of death, even death by crucifixion, being “highly exalted” by God and endowed with “the name which is above every name,” in order to be confessed by every tongue as Lord (Phil 2:6–11 RSV). It is the same reversal of roles that is announced in Jesus’ reply to the high priest.

Why was his reply judged to be blasphemous? Not because he agreed that he was the Messiah; that might be politically dangerous and could be interpreted as seditious by the Roman administration (as indeed it was), but it did not encroach on the prerogatives of God; neither did the claim to be Son of God in that sense. But the language which he went on to use by his own choice did appear to be an invasion of the glory that belongs to God alone. It was there that blasphemy was believed to lie. The historical sequel may be allowed to rule on the question whether it was blasphemy or an expression of faith in God which was justified in the event.

Mark 14:62  And Jesus said, "I am; and you shall see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it yourself; nevertheless I tell you, hereafter you will see THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER, and COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN.”  


Geddert notes that "According to my count, Jesus directly answers only two of the many questions posed to him in Mark’s Gospel [Questioning Jesus]. In 12:28–31, Jesus is asked about the greatest commandment, and he answers by giving the greatest two. Here he is asked whether he claims to be the Christ and the Son of God (= Messiah and Son of the Blessed One). He confirms that he is, and then also refers to himself as Son of Man and as I Am."

And Jesus said, I am - I am is "ego eimi" the very words Jesus had used numerous times to stake His claim as God, for "ego eimi" was used in the Septuagint of Exodus 3:14+. For example in John 8:58 used "I am" (ego eimi) declaring "“Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am.” The Jews responded in John 8:59 by picking "up stones to throw at Him." Why? Because they knew He had just declared Himself to be God!

MacArthur: What He is saying is, “Yes I AM and My death is not the end, I will be exalted to the throne of God. I will return in glory to judge and reign over the earth.”

Constable - Previously Jesus had veiled His messiahship because publicly claiming to be the Messiah would have precipitated a premature crisis (cf. Mark 1:43–44; 8:29–30; 9:9; 11:28–33; 12:12). Now He openly admitted His messiahship because the time for crisis had arrived.

Robertson on I am - Matthew 26:64 has it, “You have said,” which is the equivalent of the affirmative rephy. But Mark’s statement is definite beyond controversy. But this is not all that Jesus said to Caiaphas. He claims that the day will come when Jesus will be the Judge and Caiaphas the culprit using the prophetic language in Dan. 7:13 and Psa. 110:1. It was all that Caiaphas wanted.

Wuest  adds on I am "The pronoun is used for emphasis. It is, “As for myself, in contradistinction to all others, I am.

Grassmick - This is the first time in Mark’s Gospel that He openly declared He is the Messiah (See Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Barton - The pronoun emphasized that Jesus himself, distinct from all others, was indeed “the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One.” This is the first time, recorded in this Gospel, that Jesus openly declared himself to be the Messiah. The two words, “I am,” both answered the high priest’s question and alluded to Jesus divinity (“I AM” being God’s self-designation, see Exodus 3:14). (LAC)

Jesus responds to Caiaphas as He often did to queries, by using Scripture, specifically quoting from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13-14, both of which were considered Messianic passages by the Jews...

Psalm 110:1+ A Psalm of David. The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” 

Daniel 7:13-14+ “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him.  14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.

And you shall see - Imagine their reaction to these words which Jesus directed personally at the 71 members of the Sanhedrin! This was a prophecy. It was a prophecy that they would see Him in exaltation and in judgment. One thinks of Revelation 1:7+ which says

BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen. 

THE SON OF MAN SITTING AT THE RIGHT HAND OF POWER - Jesus predicts the Son of Man's (His) future exaltation. Jesus equates Himself with Son of Man which was a well-known designation for the Messiah. Notice where He is sitting? At the right hand of Power, which is significant because "Power" was a figurative way to describe God (cf "right hand of God" in Acts 2:33+ and Acts 7:55+). 

NET Note - The expression the right hand of the Power is a circumlocution for referring to God. Such indirect references to God were common in 1st century Judaism out of reverence for the divine name.

And COMING WITH THE CLOUDS OF HEAVEN - This recalls Jesus' prophetic promise in Mark 13:26+. This passage speaks of the Son of Man, the Messiah, coming in judgment, in the present context coming in judgment of those who were wickedly sitting in judgment of Him! He was saying that He was Messiah and Judge (cf Jn 5:22). The implication also is that even thought they would put Him to death, He would yet live again. Even as the Jews had picked up stones to throw at Jesus in John 8:59, Jesus knew His declaration of divinity would seal His fate before the Sanhedrin. 

Swete says concerning our Lord’s answer; “But the words of Jesus are also a solemn warning that His position and that of His judges would one day be reversed, and a final but ineffectual summons to repentance and faith.” 

Wuest adds "our Lord’s words uttered at His trial before the Sanhedrin, were a final but ineffectual summons to repentance and faith, in that the Jewish leaders, instead of repenting of their rejection of Jesus as Messiah, and accepting Him as such, caused Him to be crucified."

Mark did not mean that Christ would return in glory during the lifetime of these religious leaders. Jesus’ words assured these self-righteous religious leaders that judgment would come and they would be accountable to God. Their foolish and spiteful actions would be revealed as sinful. But these words also give confident assurance to all true disciples that the King is coming and will bring justice. No matter how terrible our suffering or how cruel the injustice brought against us, let us remember that God is the “Mighty One.” Nothing anyone can do to us will lessen his power. (LAC)

Mark 14:63  Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, "What further need do we have of witnesses?

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 


Caiaphas was a hypocrite for this was the exact answer he sought from Jesus and reacted with self-righteous, melodramatic horror! He would have much rather been jumping with evil glee, but had to contain himself! He was doing what a high priest was supposed to do when he heard blasphemy. Sadly he did not grasp that Jesus' words were not blasphemy but the absolute truth! MacArthur adds "inwardly, the hypocritical high priest cared nothing about honoring God. He was elated to have finally found a means by which to condemn the incarnate God." 

Guzik - In a real sense, it wasn’t Jesus on trial at all—it was more accurate to say that the religious leaders were on trial. They seemed to win, but they really lost. In fact, we all are on trial before Jesus and will be held to account for what we do with Him.

Tearing his clothes - Caiaphas had achieved what he sought, but in time and eternity would realize that it was far more than he sought as he would stand before the Judge he had once judged and it would be at the Great White Throne judgment where he would sentenced to everlasting punishment (Rev 20:11-15+). At that future time Caiaphas would learn that he had not made a good decision to tear his clothes! 

MacArthur explains that "tearing his clothes, a symbol of righteous indignation. The Jews typically tore their garments as an expression of immense grief (cf. Gen. 37:29; Lev. 10:6; Job 1:20; Acts 14:14). According to Leviticus 21:10, the high priest was forbidden to tear his clothes, though the Talmud allowed it in cases when God was blasphemed. On the outside, Caiaphas pretended to honor God by rending his garments in supposed horror and shock over blasphemy by Jesus. But inwardly, the hypocritical high priest cared nothing about honoring God. He was elated to have finally found a means by which to condemn the incarnate God.

Barton - Jesus had identified himself with God by using a familiar title for God found in the Old Testament, “I AM” (Exodus 3:14) and by applying two messianic prophecies to himself. The high priest recognized Jesus’ claim  (LAC)

Wuest adds "This tearing of garments was an old sign of mourning or sorrow first mentioned in Genesis 37:29. The law forbad the high priest from rending his garments in the case of private troubles (Lev. 10:6, 21:10), but when acting as a judge, he was required by custom to express in this way his horror of any blasphemy uttered in his presence."

Tearing (1284)(diarresso or diarrégnumi) from diá =denoting separation + rhéssō/rhégnumi = to tear, break, rend) means literally to tear through, rend asunder, such as tearing clothing (Mt. 26:65; Mk 14:83, Acts 14:14, in the Lxx = Rueben in Ge 37:29, Jacob in Ge 37:34 when told of Joseph's supposed death; Joshua at the defeat at Ai - Joshua 7:6, and many other OT examples), tearing a net (Luke 5:6); breaking chains (Luke 8:29; Lxx = Ps. 2:3).The Jews in expressing grief or indignation used to tear their garments from their chest to the waist (Ge 37:29, 33, 34; 44:13; Nu 14:6; Josh. 7:6; 2 Sa 3:31).

The high priest said, "What further need do we have of witnesses? - In a distorted sense this expresses relief for now the gates of hell were flung wide open to carry out their evil plans. No more witnesses were needed, for Jesus had now "witnessed" against Himself! "His rhetorical question indicated that the case was closed and the verdict set. The members of the Sanhedrin finally had what they needed to support before the people the sentence they had predetermined to pass." (MacArthur)

Wuest - In the words, “What need we any further witnesses?” “the relief of the embarrassed judge is manifest. If trustworthy evidence was not forthcoming, the necessity for it had now been superseded; the Prisoner had incriminated Himself” (Swete).

Barton - Of all people, the high priest and members of the Sanhedrin should have recognized the Messiah because they knew the Scriptures thoroughly. Their job was to point people to God, but they were more concerned about preserving their reputations and holding on to their authority. They valued human security more than eternal security.

Given the mind-set of the religious leaders, Jesus’ claims were blasphemous. How could this man have the authority of God? Popular culture and modern thought still view Christ’s claims as blasphemous, and if we express our faith, people will view us as bigoted and intolerant. They will be outraged by our claims to know the truth. Our belief that God controls our life violates their desire to have a human-centered life. Our view of moral law offends their belief that all values are relative to each person and situation. Our conviction about controlling our desires radically disagrees with their pleasure- and experience-oriented outlook. Be ready for the world to be morally outraged at your single-minded belief in Christ and his truth. (LAC)

Mark 14:64  "You have heard the blasphemy; how does it seem to you?" And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:65 Then the high priest tore his robes and said, “He has blasphemed! What further need do we have of witnesses? Behold, you have now heard the blasphemy; 66 what do you think?” They answered, “He deserves death!” 


You have heard the blasphemy (blasphemia- "I Am" (Mk 14:62) was all these hypocrites needed to hear! Caiaphas immediately refuses to accept Jesus' claim to be the Messiah and to be Deity. "Caiaphas regarded the words as blasphemy because Jesus claimed the position and power of deity." (Robertson)

Luke 22:66 says it was not Jesus but these religious bigots who were blaspheming.

MacArthur comments - The Old Testament identified blasphemy as defiant irreverence of God (cf. Lev. 24:10–23), and taught that “the one who blasphemes the name of the Lord shall surely be put to death” (v. 16). For a mere man to claim equality with God was rightly regarded as blasphemy (cf. John 5:18). But the sentence Caiaphas called for was illegal because Jesus was not guilty of blasphemy. The Lord’s words were absolutely true. He was the Messiah, the Son of God, the One who had come from heaven. In reality, the high priest and the other members of the council were the blasphemers (cf. Luke 22:65). (See Mark Commentary)

Robertson - Now it would not be blasphemy for the real Messiah to make such a claim, but it was intolerable to admit that Jesus could be the Messiah of Jewish hope. At the beginning of Christ’s ministry he occasionally used the word Messiah of himself, but he soon ceased, for it was plain that it would create trouble. The people would take it in the sense of a political revolutionist who would throw off the Roman yoke. If he declined that role, the Pharisees would have none of him for that was the kind of a Messiah that they desired. But the hour has now come. At the Triumphal Entry Jesus let the Galilean crowds hail him as Messiah, knowing what the effect would be. Now the hour has struck. He has made his claim and has defied the High Priest.

Scroggie remarks, “Either Jesus was what He said He was, or He was the greatest impostor that ever lived, and was guilty, as was said, of blasphemy.”

how does it seem to you? - In essence Caiaphas is asking the Council "What is your verdict?" (NLT) or "What is your decision?" (ESV) Expositors explains: “What appears to you to be the appropriate penalty of such blasphemous speech?”

Hendriksen: This unanimous verdict was not as yet a formal sentence. Declaring a person guilty and sentencing him are two different matters. In order to create at least a semblance of legality, a short period of time must elapse between these two actions. As was pointed out earlier, according to existing regulations that interval should have been a day. But as the Sanhedrists see it, such a prolonged delay would have been too dangerous. It could have given the friends of Jesus enough time to organize a revolt in his behalf. Now is the time to act. Early in the morning the Sanhedrin will have to be convened once more. That will be for the purpose of sentencing. And even that action will not be final. It must still be approved by Pilate, the governor.

And they all condemned Him to be deserving of death - NLT has "Guilty!" they all cried. "He deserves to die!" (Mk 14:64NLT). Death was the penalty of blasphemy (Lev. 24:15, 16+). They all condemned Jesus of blasphemy and in so doing they all essentially condemned themselves and deserving of eternal death away from the presence of the One they had so harshly, unfairly, wickedly judged. 

Constable - The Mosaic Law prescribed death by stoning for blasphemers (Lev. 24:14), but this was not bad enough for Jesus. Jesus had foreseen this and had predicted death at the hands of the Gentiles as well as the Jews (Mk 10:33).

Wuest - Swete remarks; “On this occasion the conclusion was foregone; no one proposed to test the claim of Jesus before condemning it as blasphemous; all condemned Him to be worthy of death.” Joseph of Arimathaea was not present, since he did not consent to the death of Jesus (Luke 23:51). Nicodemus was apparently absent, probably not having been invited because of previous sympathy with Jesus. All the rest voted for His death.

Given that all condemned Jesus as deserving death one has to ask what about Joseph of Arimathea who was a member of the Sanhedrin. Luke helps us answer that question 

And a man named Joseph (Joseph of Arimathaea), who was a member of the Council, a good and righteous man 51 (he had not consented to their plan and action), a man from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who was waiting for the kingdom of God; (Luke 23:50–51+)

Comment - Apparently Joseph was not present. "Nicodemus was apparently absent also, probably not invited because of previous sympathy with Jesus (John 7:50). But all who were present voted for the death of Jesus." (Robertson )

Fruchtenbaum adds that "The religious leaders engage in activities that were punishable by steep fines in Jewish law. The offenses included hitting, which is punishable by 4 denarii (four days wages). Then palm slaps, punishable by a 200 denarii fine (200 days wages). Then spitting in His face, punishable by a 400 denarii fine (400 days wages)."

Hendriksen: It has been emphasized by various authors that the trial of Jesus was illegal on several technical grounds, such as the following:

  1.  No trial for life was allowed during the night. Yet, Jesus was tried and condemned during the hours of 1-3 A.M. Friday, and executed on the Feast, which was forbidden. According to Pharisaic law, no hearings in a case involving capital punishment could even be initiated on the eve of la major festival like Passover. No conviction was allowed at night. To execute a sentence on the day of one of the great feasts was contrary to the established regulations.
  2. The arrest of Jesus was effected as a result of a bribe, namely, the blood-money which Judas received.
  3. Jesus was asked to incriminate himself.
  4. In cases of capital punishment, Jewish law did not permit the sentence to be pronounced until the day after the accused had been convicted.

Blasphemy (slander)(988)(blasphemia from blapto = hinder, injure, hurt + pheme = report, rumor, fame from phemí = to speak; see verb form blasphemeo) refers to verbal abuse against someone which denotes the very worst type of slander. It is speech which seeks to wound someone's reputation by evil reports, evil speaking. Abusive speech against someone by telling lies or otherwise offending them. t is worth noting that in the OT blasphemy was a most serious sin, so serious in fact, that the Law of Moses decreed that anyone who blasphemed the name of Jehovah God should be stoned (Lv 24:10-16). This law even included foreigners who were guests in the camp of Israel.

Deserving (1777)(enochos from enécho = to hold in, i.e., to ensnare, to be entangled - Gal 5:1) literally means held fast in (in the grasp, held in, contained in) and is an adjective describing one "in danger of," "liable to judgment and punishment in a legal forensic sense" (Mt 5:21), or "deserving (worthy) of (and subject to punishment)" (describing the crowd's antipathy toward Jesus = Mt 26:66, Mk 14:64). To be held fast, bound, obliged. Enochos means being guilty of having done wrong and thus deserving some particular penalty. It describes deeds that were open to judicial indictment (cf. Mt 5:21, 22; 26:66; Mk 3:29; 14:64; Jas 2:10). Enochos is primarily a legal term - liable to a charge or action at law or in court.

PETER - James Smith
The Biography of Peter is singularly instructive for every follower of Christ.

1 His Call. The first of the Twelve, Matt. 10:2
2 His Courage, Matt. 14:28
3 His Confession, Matt. 16:15-16
4 His Impulsiveness, Matt. 17:4; John 18:10
5 His Self-Confidence, Mark 14:29-31
6 His Indifference, Mark 14:37
7 His Cowardliness, Mark 14:54
8 His Denial, Mark 14:68-71
9 His Repentance, Mark 14:72
10 His Forgiveness, Mark 16:7
11 His Faith, John 20:2-4
12 His Love, John 21:7
13 His Devotion, John 21:15
14 His Boldness, Acts 2:14; 4:19-20
15 His Power, Acts 3:6, 5:3

He was a man of like passions as we are: Be of good cheer.

My All in All - Robert J Morgan Mark 14:64 Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel tells of being singled out for punishment one day in the Nazi death camp. He was a teenager at the time, and he'd inadvertently stumbled onto an officer taking advantage of a woman in a back room of a warehouse. Shortly thereafter, the officer, enraged at being caught, assembled the prisoners, including Wiesel and his father, and a wave of dread swept over the group.

Wiesel felt sweat running down his back as his number was called. As he stepped forward, a crate was pulled into place and the boy was ordered to lie across it to be whipped. The pain was indescribable, and the beating left him barely conscious. But Wiesel later said that one person suffered more than he did—his father, standing among the prisoners, helplessly watching, unable to do anything to save or spare his son. 

It amazes us that all the leaders of Israel condemned their Messiah to death, but there's a greater mystery to Calvary: the silence of the Father Himself, who willingly stood aside and watched His Son being scourged and crucified, even as Jesus cried out, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matt. 27:46).

Not even in heaven will we fully understand the wonder of the cross, but this we know assuredly: it's by His blood that we are saved and by His stripes that we are healed.

Lord, by the stripes which wounded Thee,
From death's dread sting Thy servants free,
That we may live, and sing to Thee: Alleluia!
—Twelfth-century hymn

Mark 14:65  Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, "Prophesy!" And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:67 Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, 68and said, “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?”

Luke 22:63+ Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking Him and beating Him, 64 and they blindfolded Him and were asking Him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?” 65 And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.


At this point the "kangaroo court" really begins to jump and moves from a sham to shameful as Mark records four evil acts. 

Some began to spit at Him - Began marks a distinct change in the mood of the solemn proceedings which now border on a mob scene! Some refers to some of the "august" (I use that sarcastically) members of the Sanhedrin! If you have ever received this insulting treatment, you have an inkling what Jesus must have felt. Spit is in the present tense picturing a continuous line of men spitting on Jesus! 

Isaiah prophesied

Isaiah 50:6  I gave My back to those who strike Me, And My cheeks to those who pluck out the beard; I did not cover My face from humiliation and spitting. 

Hiebert points out that "Having decided His fate, all restraint in their actions toward Jesus broke down. The activities engaged in are stated by four present tense infinitives, denoting that they continued for some time. To spit on His face (Matt. 26:67) is an act which is still universally regarded as the strongest and grossest form of personal insult (Num. 12:14; Deut 25:9)." (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Constable - Spitting and hitting were traditional Jewish ways of expressing repudiation (cf. Num. 12:14; Deut. 25:9; Job 30:10; Isa. 50:6).  Even today spitting in someone’s face is one of the grossest forms of personal insult. 

Spurgeon - “Be astonished, O heavens, and be horribly afraid. His face is the light of the universe, his person is the glory of heaven, and they ‘began to spit on him.’ Alas, my God, that man should be so base!” (Spurgeon)

MacArthur - Revealing their true decadence, the supreme court of Israel descended into chaos and resorted to shameful physical abuse. For the Jews, the act of spitting constituted the most detestable form of personal insult (cf. Num. 12:14; Deut. 25:9)

And to blindfold Him - Not found in Matthew but is found in Luke 22:63+. Blindfolded or not, every verbal and physical abuse was seen by His Father in Heaven and will be paid back fully with just recompense! 

Blindfold (4028)(perikalupto from peri = around + kalupto = to cover) means literally to cover all around, then to put a veil around, put a covering all around, cover (completely), conceal, cover (with gold - see uses in Septuagint).Perikalupto -  blindfold(1), blindfolded(1), covered(1). Mk. 14:65; Lk. 22:64; Heb. 9:4 

Paul Apple says there was a "tradition that Messiah could judge by smell without needed sight." 

Constable - Evidently they blindfolded Jesus and challenged Him to identify His assailants because of a belief that Messiah did not need to see but could judge by smell (Isa. 11:2–4)

Grassmick on blindfold and beat - This reflects a traditional test of messianic status based on a Rabbinic interpretation of Isaiah 11:2–4. The true Messiah could judge such matters without the benefit of sight (cf. Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 93b). But Jesus refused to submit to their test and remained silent (cf. Isa. 53:7; 1 Peter 2:23). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

And to beat Him with their fists - Beat means to pummel Jesus with their clenched fists and in the is in the present tense indicating continuous abuse! This is a mob scene by these religious leaders. 

Beat (buffet, harshly treat) (2852)(kolaphizo from kolaphos = the knuckles or a closed fist and kolapto = to strike) means to beat or strike with the fist. To strike with clenched hand. Figuratively it means to cause harm, treat roughly or harshly. Used 5x in NT - Matt. 26:67; Mk. 14:65; 1 Co. 4:11; 2 Co. 12:7; 1 Pet. 2:20

Hiebert remarks that "These acts of brutality were intended as a brilliant demonstration of the absurdity of His messianic and prophetic claims. They succeeded only in demonstrating the awful depravity of the human heart. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Some 700 years earlier Isaiah had prophesied of this horrible fate of our Messiah...

Just as many were astonished at you, My people, So His appearance was marred more than any man And His form more than the sons of men.( Isaiah 52:14)

Scofield Bible on Isaiah 52:14 - “The literal rendering is terrible: ‘So marred from the form of man was His aspect that His appearance was not that of a son of man’—i. e. not human—the effect of the brutalities described in Matt. 26:67, 68; 27:27–30.”

And to say to Him, "Prophesy!" (aorist imperative - Do it now!- What a jeering demand. Matthew 26:68 (cf Luke 22:63+) amplifies their caustic command -  “Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?” They were taunting the King of glory. He knew exactly who had just hit Him! One can only imagine their horror when Jesus' "prophecy" will be made reality, for Paul writes "at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Php 2:10-11) Could Jesus have prophesied? Of course, but again He remained silent not indulging these evil irreverent mockers As Peter said "while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously." (1 Peter 2:23+). He would not prophesy then, but one day He will pronounce their final sentence "‘I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!" (Mt 7:23+)

Once more our Lord remained silent in partial fulfillment of Isaiah 53:&

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth

NET Note on Who hit you? (which Luke 22:63 adds) - This is a variation of one of three ancient games that involved blindfolds. (ED: The difference of course is that children would only "hit" but here they were beating Him!)

If one ever doubted the depravity of the human heart, all they need do is read this section on the treatment of Jesus by so-called religious men. It reminds me of the horrible Spanish Inquisition of men and women by those who called themselves "religious!"

Prophesy (4395)(propheteuo) indicates they were commanding (aorist imperative = Do this now!) Jesus to give them a divine revelation. They were making fun of His divinity! 

And the officers (huperetes) received Him with slaps in the face - Received Him means the Sanhedrin gave Jesus back over to their custody. NET = "The guards also took Him and beat Him." These officers are not Roman but Jewish, presumably the Temple police. 

The abuse Jesus suffered fulfilled His prophecy given earlier to His disciples and soon the prophecy of His death would be fulfilled...

The Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death and will hand Him over to the Gentiles. They will mock Him and spit on Him, and scourge Him and kill Him, and three days later He will rise again. (Mark 10:33–34)

Understanding that Jesus endured such pain and humiliation should cause us to respond in three ways. The following are from Spurgeon...

  1. We should bravely bear pain and humiliation for the sake of Jesus ourselves. “How ready should we be to hear slander and ridicule for Jesus’ sake. Do not get into a huff, and think it a strange thing that people should mock you. Who are you, dear sir? Who are you? What can you be if compared with Christ? If they spat upon him, why should they not spit upon you? If they buffeted him, why should they not buffet you? Shall your Master have all the rough of it? Shall he have all the bitter, and you all the sweet? A pretty soldier you, to demand better fare than your Captain!” 
  2. We should be more diligent to praise Jesus. “How earnestly, next, ought we to honor our dear Lord. If men were so eager to put him to shame, let us be ten times more earnest to bring him glory. Is there anything we can do today by which he may be honored? Let us set about it. Can we make any sacrifice? Can we perform any difficult task which would glorify him? Let us not deliberate, but at once do it with our might. Let us be inventive in modes of glorifying him, even as his adversaries were ingenious in the methods of his shame.” 
  3. We should have more assurance and confidence in receiving the finished work of Jesus for our redemption. “Surely I know that he who suffered this, since he was verily the Son of the Blessed, must have ability to save us. Such griefs must be a full atonement for our transgressions. Glory be to God, that spittle on his countenance means a clear, bright face for me. Those false accusations on his character mean no condemnation for me.” 

Mark 14:66  As Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant-girls of the high priest came,

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” 

Luke 22:55+  After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 

John 18:17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”


After the discussion of Jesus "trial" before Caiaphas, Mark picks up the story of Peter which began in Mark 14:54.

Guzik says "Peter’s first problem was that he followed Him at a distance (Mark 14:54). When we distance ourselves from Jesus, it is hard to make a proper stand for Him at the critical time."

Mark Akin introduces this section - A very popular saying today is the phrase, “I got your back.” There is even a song entitled “I Got Your Back” by rapper T.I. Basically the idea is “ I am your friend and I am watching out for you. I am watching out for what’s behind you as you are busy looking ahead. “ In other words you can trust me to look out for you, to even “take a bullet for you” if necessary. It is a pledge of devotion, loyalty and true friendship. Such friends are few and should be cherished as precious gifts. Peter had made such a pledge to Jesus just a few hours earlier (Mark 14:29, Mark 14:31, contrast Mk 14:50).....Now, however, we find him, and only him, drawing close to the place where our Lord is being held. Maybe he does have Jesus’ back. On the other hand, maybe he doesn’t.

Darrel Bock adds that "The Gospels differ about who elicits Peter’s denials; the slave girls are more prominent in Matthew (Mt 26:69, 71) and Mark (Mk 14:66, 69) than in Luke (Lk 22:56).

Hiebert adds "All four Gospels candidly record three denials by Peter (Matt. 26:69–75; Luke 22:55–62; John 18:15–18, 25–27), but the details vary considerably. Efforts to arrange all the Gospels into one consistent narrative have produced varied combinations. In the synoptics, the three denials are told together, but in the Fourth Gospel, they are related to the course of events that evening."  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

As Peter was below in the courtyard - Note the location of "below." Jesus "trial was apparently at a higher level of the palace. 

Constable - Peter’s presence was a testimony to His love for Jesus. Unfortunately his love could not stand the test of fear.

Hiebert adds below in the courtyard "indicates that the apartments around the courtyard were on a higher level than the open court. The rooms were approached by steps. It need not mean that the trial of Jesus took place in an upstairs apartment."  (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

one of the servant-girls of the high priest came - John says she was "the slave-girl who kept the door" (John 18:17) and therefore may have been the one who admitted Peter to the courtard. Wuest adds the fact "That she was about and on duty at that hour, is indicative of the fact that there was something unusual astir." 

Servant-girls (3814)(paidiske diminutive of pais = a girl, youth) refers to a young girl or maiden. In NT refers to a slave girl or female slave. This very word is used 6 times (see uses below) in the Septuagint translation of Genesis 16 to refer to Hagar.)  Paidiske - 14x in 12v - bondwoman(5), servant-girl(4), servant-girls(1), slave-girl(2), slaves*(1), women(1). Matt. 26:69; Mk. 14:66; Mk. 14:69; Lk. 12:45; Lk. 22:56; Jn. 18:17; Acts 12:13; Acts 16:16; Gal. 4:22; Gal. 4:23; Gal. 4:30; Gal. 4:31

Scripture does not tell us what Peter’s motives were for entering the high priest’s courtyard. Perhaps he thought he could still rescue Jesus. But we learn from his encounter that he foolishly put himself into temptation. He had already deserted and fled, so he knew his own weakness and vulnerability. But he tried to hide his identity, and this would lead him to deny his master. When we struggle with failure or guilt or find ourselves surrounded by those hostile to Christ, we must recognize our vulnerability and resist the temptation to compromise our faith, values, or morals. (LAC)

Mark 14:67  and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, "You also were with Jesus the Nazarene."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:69 Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard, and a servant-girl came to him and said, “You too were with Jesus the Galilean.” 

Luke 22:55+ After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter was sitting among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 

John 18:17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.”


And seeing Peter warming himself - Peter's face was illuminated by the light of the fire. Notice that here it says seeing Peter, but then it adds she looked at him, this later signifying an attentive gaze giving special attention to Peter's facial features. 

She looked at him - If looks could kill, this one could have! Looked (emblepo) is the same verb used in Lk 22:61 when Jesus' eyes met Peter's in the courtyard of Caiaphas just after Peter had denied Him the third time! In ancient Greek use emblepo often signified "a look of interest, love or concern." All three nuances are surely true of the look of Jesus. Both of these looks were intense, the servant-girl's being  potentially a "look that could kill" (recall Peter had lopped off the ear of Caiaphas' servant!) and the other being a "look of love" from the One Who embodies love.

Hiebert on  the double usage (of verbs for sight - "seeing" and "looked") is not superfluous. One glance at him established that Peter was a stranger; but upon giving him a penetrating look (cf. 10:21), she recalled having previously seen him in the company of Jesus.

Looked (1689) (emblepo from en = in or on + blépo = to look) means to look in the face, fix the eyes upon and so to stare at. It includes the idea of to contemplate or consider. The 10 uses are primarily in the Gospels - Matt. 6:26; Matt. 19:26; Mk. 10:21; Mk. 10:27; Mk. 14:67; Lk. 20:17; Lk. 22:61; Jn. 1:36; Jn. 1:42; Acts 22:11

Brooks observes that in the three denials there was, “A certain amount of escalation is in the charges and denials.”

And said, "You also were with Jesus the Nazarene." - You is emphatic. You're the one! Can't you see the blood rush to Peter's face? Fear of men is beginning to accelerate. To refer to Jesus as a Nazarene was a reference to His  hometown, which communicated a general contempt for the poor reputation  of Nazareth.  John 18:17 has her asking a question "You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” Matthew 26:69 has  “You too were with Jesus the Galilean” instead of "the Nazarene." In Luke 22:56+ she says “This man was with Him too.” The servant-girl was "spot on" and had just given Peter his first challenge to admit he had been with Jesus. 

Jesus the Nazarene - 9x in 9v - Mk. 10:47; Mk. 14:67; Mk. 16:6; Lk. 24:19; Jn. 18:5; Jn. 18:7; Jn. 19:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 22:8

Nazarene (3480)(Nazoraios from Nazara Nazareth) describes an inhabitant of Nazareth and as in this passage is used to describe Jesus. In the plural nazoraios is used once to describe Christians (in a derogatory sense) (Acts 24:5+) This was in the inscription on the Cross (Jn 19:19). Zodhiates adds that "In Mt 2:23, we find the expression "He shall be called a Nazarene," i.e., according to the meaning of the Hebrew word netser (05342), "he shall be called a shoot" or branch. This is in allusion to such passages as Isa 11:1+; Isa 53:2+ and Zech 3:8; 6:12, but here also it implies reproach from the contempt in which Nazareth was held." (Ibid)

Related Resources:

Mark 14:68  But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are talking about." And he went out onto the porch, and a rooster crowed.

NET  Mark 14:68 But he denied it: "I don't even understand what you're talking about!" Then he went out to the gateway, and a rooster crowed.

NLT  Mark 14:68 But Peter denied it. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said, and he went out into the entryway. Just then, a rooster crowed.

ESV  Mark 14:68 But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you mean." And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed.

NIV  Mark 14:68 But he denied it. "I don't know or understand what you're talking about," he said, and went out into the entryway.

GNT  Mark 14:68 ὁ δὲ ἠρνήσατο λέγων, Οὔτε οἶδα οὔτε ἐπίσταμαι σὺ τί λέγεις. καὶ ἐξῆλθεν ἔξω εἰς τὸ προαύλιον [καὶ ἀλέκτωρ ἐφώνησεν].

KJV  Mark 14:68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

YLT  Mark 14:68 and he denied, saying, 'I have not known him, neither do I understand what thou sayest;' and he went forth without to the porch, and a cock crew.

ASV  Mark 14:68 But he denied, saying, I neither know, nor understand what thou sayest: and he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

CSB  Mark 14:68 But he denied it: "I don't know or understand what you're talking about!" Then he went out to the entryway, and a rooster crowed.

NKJ  Mark 14:68 But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are saying." And he went out on the porch, and a rooster crowed.

NRS  Mark 14:68 But he denied it, saying, "I do not know or understand what you are talking about." And he went out into the forecourt. Then the cock crowed. 

  • he denied: Mk 14:29-31  Joh 13:36-38 2Ti 2:12,13 
  • he went: Mt 26:71,72 
  • and a: Mk 14:30 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • The Great Denial  - James Stalker (THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST A Devotional History of our Lord’s Passion)

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you are talking about.” 71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.”

Luke 22:57+ But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.” 

John 18:17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 


But - Term of contrast - He was challenged to tell the truth, but he lied. 

he denied it - Matthew 26:70 adds that Peter "denied it before them all." The word to deny is the exact opposite of to confess. Scripture teaches we are to confess Christ (Ro 10:9-10+) and to deny self (Lk 9:23+ also uses arneomai), but here Peter does essentially just the opposite, denying Christ in order to preserve self! 

Guzik - A hostile man of authority interrogated Jesus. Peter did not face this kind of interrogation, only one of the servant girls. But she was enough to make Peter deny Jesus. “A silly wench daunteth and dispiriteth this stout champion.” (Trapp)

Hiebert - The unexpectedness, as well as the publicity, of the exposure filled Peter with sudden panic. Instead of making a bold confession, he played the coward. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Adam Clarke comments that "all this evil sprung from the fear of man. How many denials of Christ and his truth have sprung since, from the same cause!”

Denied (720)(arneomai from "a" = negation + rheo = say) literally means "to say no", to say one does not know about or is in any way related to some person or some thing. Webster says that to deny implies a firm refusal to accept as true, to grant or concede or to acknowledge the existence or claims of. Arneomai is the very verb Jesus used of denying self in Lk 9:23+ "“If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me." Peter was not doing a very good job obeying Luke 9:23! 

What the Bible teaches adds that "The denial of Peter in the courtyard coincided with the confession of Christ before His accusers. The perfect Servant witnessed a good confession in contrast to the denial of an imperfect one."

Saying, "I neither know nor understand what you are talking about." - Peter blatantly rejects any knowledge of Jesus. In effect Peter doubly denies the accusation that he was with Jesus. In effect he tells two lies!  

Grassmick - refusing to acknowledge his relationship to Jesus out of fear for his safety. His denial was a common Jewish legal expression, literally, “I neither know nor understand what you (emphatic) are saying.” (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Wuest - Peter’s meaning is, “I am neither conscious of the fact, nor is the statement intelligible to me.”

Edwards: Mark’s two Greek verbs for “know” are only an apparent redundancy. The first (oida) tends to denote theoretical knowledge, and the second (epistamai) practical knowledge; Peter’s denial is thus a total denial – in theory and practice! (The Gospel according to Mark)

NET Note - "I do not know or understand what you are saying." In the translation this is taken as a hendiadys (a figure of speech where two terms express a single meaning, usually for emphatic reasons).

Hiebert - the redundancy reflects Peter’s agitation. His two verbs make his denial as emphatic as possible. He denied all knowledge, and even understanding, of what the maid was saying. It was an indirect denial of Christ through a claim of ignorance and personal inability to understand the charge. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Grassmick - "His denial was a common Jewish legal expression, literally, "I neither know nor understand what you (emphatic) are saying." (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Lane adds: “Peter denied the charge, using the form common in rabbinical law for a formal, legal denial.” (NICNT-Mark)

And he went out onto the porch -  The night was still cold but the pressure was heating up and the fire illuminated his face. Fear feels safer in the shadows. So Peter steps away from the fire to avoid further scrutiny, but he is too late for he has been identified.The porch was a covered archway opening onto the street.

and a rooster crowed - "Strike one." Two strikes and Peter would be "out" because he was not playing baseball! 

NET Note - A real rooster crowing is probably in view here (rather than the Roman trumpet call known as gallicinium), in part due to the fact that Mark mentions the rooster crowing twice. See the discussion at Matt 26:74. 

Technical Note on a rooster crowed  - Several important witnesses (a B L W Y* 579 892 2427 pc) lack the words "and a rooster crowed." The fact that such good and early Alexandrian witnesses lack these words makes this textual problem difficult to decide, especially because the words receive support from other witnesses, some of which are fairly decent (A C D Q Y(c )067 ¦(1, 13 )33 [1424] Û lat). The omission could have been intentional on the part of some Alexandrian scribes who wished to bring this text in line with the other Gospel accounts that only mention a rooster crowing once ( Matt 26:74; Luke 22:60; John 18:27). The insertion could be an attempt to make the fulfillment of Jesus' prophecy in 14:30 more explicit. Internally, the words "and a rooster crowed" fit Mark's Gospel here, not only in view of 14:30, "before a rooster crows twice," but also in view of the mention of "a second time" in 14:71 (a reading which is much more textually secure). Nevertheless, a decision is difficult. (NET Note) 

Grassmick on rooster crowed - Nearly all major ancient Greek manuscripts and early versions include the words “and the rooster crowed” (NIV marg.; KJV) at the end of verse 68. This evidence plus the strongly attested words “the second time” in verse 72 favor inclusion of these words. Since only one rooster-crowing is mentioned in the parallel passages (cf. Matt. 26:74; Luke 22:60; John 18:27) these words were probably omitted from Mark very early by some scribes to conform to the parallels. But Mark was simply more specific than the other Gospels, probably because of Peter’s vivid recollection. Apparently this first rooster-crowing held no significance for Peter since it happened every morning (cf. Mark 13:35b; 14:72). (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert's note on a rooster crowed - The words are omitted by many of the ancient manuscripts, and their authenticity is uncertain. They are omitted in the critical texts of Westcott and Hort as well as Nestle. The text of the United Bible Societies puts them in brackets as questionable. Many commentators accept the omission. But Taylor points out that “the authorities for omission are mainly Alexandrian with partial Western support, and seems to reflect desire to cancel the Markan allusions to two cockcrowings in favour of the one mentioned in Matthew, Luke, and John. It is possible also that the correctors asked themselves how it was that, if Peter heard a cock crowing, he did not at once repent” (The Gospel According to St. Mark, p. 574). C.E.B. Cranfield suggests that the words were omitted “perhaps in order to make the denial seem a little less shameful” (The Gospel According to Saint Mark, Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary, p. 447). (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Answers to Tough Questions -  Doesn’t Mark disagree with the other three Gospels about Peter’s denial of Jesus?
 A problem that has perplexed many careful students of the Bible concerns the accounts of the denial of Christ by Simon Peter. Jesus said to Peter, “Truly I say to you that this very night, before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times” (Matthew 26:34, NASB).

 Matthew records the fulfillment of this prediction, “And immediately the cock crew. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus, which said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice. And he went out, and wept bitterly” (Matthew 26:74, 75, KJV).

 The problem comes when we read Mark’s version, “and Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice” (Mark 14:30, KJV). The fulfillment reads, concerning Peter, “He went out into the porch” (Mark 14:68, KJV), and later, in verse 72, “the second time the cock crew.”

 Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said to him, “Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.” Was it before the cock crowed once or twice that Peter denied Jesus? Luke and John give the same basic account as Matthew, making Mark’s statement seemingly at variance with the other three.

 This problem is not as unresolvable as it may seem. It is quite reasonable that Jesus made both statements. He told Peter that he would deny Him before the crowing of the cock, and his denial would occur before it had crowed twice.

 What we have, therefore, is Mark recording the story in more detail. This would seem natural since Mark wrote his Gospel under the influence of Simon Peter, and it would be natural for him to further detail this story, seeing that he is one of the main characters.

 Thus we have all four evangelists recording that Jesus predicted Peter’s denial of Jesus, with Mark adding further details. A possible reconstruction would be the following: Jesus reveals to Peter that before the cock crows, Peter will deny Him three times.

 Peter, as was his way, probably objected loudly to this idea that he would deny his Lord. Jesus then in turn repeats His earlier prediction, along with a further note that before the cock crows twice Peter will deny Him three times. (This harmony fits well with Mark’s account in his Gospel.)

 Furthermore, the clause, “Before a cock crows, you shall deny Me three times” (Matthew 26:34, NASB), is not contradicted by Mark relating that after Peter had denied Jesus the first time, the cock crowed. The cock crow was the sign that morning was soon to appear, and the phrase, “the time of the cock crow,” is another term for dawn.
 When Jesus is referring to the cock crowing twice, he is predicting a crowing of the cock in the middle of the night long before daybreak.

 “Observation over a period of 12 years in Jerusalem has confirmed that the cock crows at three distinct times, first about a half hour after midnight, a second time about an hour later, and a third time an hour after the second” (William Lane, The Gospel According to Mark, p. 543).

 When all the facts are considered, the problem of Peter’s denial is not at all a blatant contradiction, but can be harmonized. (Josh McDowell)

When Skeptics Ask -  Norman Geisler - Parallel accounts in the Gospels
Many critics have blasted the Gospels because of variations in their records of the same events. Some even insist that it is impossible to harmonize all of the accounts into a cohesive whole. The existence of such harmonies as A.T. Robertson’s should suffice to quiet these complaints, but some still persist. A common objection is found in Peter’s denials. All accounts agree that Christ told Peter he would deny Him three times, but there appear to be more than three denials recorded. Also, Mark 14:30 says that the cock will crow twice and proceeds to mention two crows (vv. 68, 72), but there is only one crow spoken of in the other Gospels. There are, however, possible solutions which account for all the evidence without contradiction.

First, as to the number of cock crows, there is no real problem if we understand that Mark simply included a detail that the others omitted. Since Peter himself was probably the source of Mark’s information (they are related in 1 Peter 5:13), there is no reason to doubt his word. It is reasonable to think that Peter might have noticed a cock crowing after the first denial and that he would include such details that the other disciples ignored because it had more personal relevance to him.
The number of denials can be harmonized as follows:

First Denial Second Denial Third Denial

Matt. 26:69–70; Mark 14:66–68; Luke 22:55–57; John 18:17–18

Matt. 26:71–72; Mark 14:69–70a; Luke 22:58; John 18:25

Matt. 26:73–74; Mark 14:70b–72; Luke 22:59–60; John 18:26–27

Peter is warming himself by a fire in the court and a servant of the high priest brings the accusation, knowing that he entered with John. John’s description of the scene follows his account of the denial. A cock crows, noted by Mark.

Peter has moved to a different fire on the porch when a second servant brings the same accusation.

A relative of Malchus first recognizes Peter, then others note that his accent is Galilean. A second cock crows, noted by all.

Second, it is possible that there is a copyist’s mistake in Mark 14:68, 72. The statement “and a cock crowed” may have been inadvertently written into verse 68 when it was originally only in verse 72. The word “second” would have been inserted later by someone seeking to clarify it. One of the very best Greek manuscripts supports this and a few other copies agree.

As long as it is possible to reconcile alleged contradictions in one of these ways, there is no real contradiction. Since there are possible solutions, the Bible should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Mark 14:69  The servant-girl saw him, and began once more to say to the bystanders, "This is one of them!"

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:71 When he had gone out to the gateway, another servant-girl saw him and *said to those who were there, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 

Luke 22:58+ A little later, another saw him and said, “You are one of them too!” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”

John 18:17 Then the slave-girl who kept the door *said to Peter, “You are not also one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He *said, “I am not.” 


The servant-girl saw him - The same one described above. "Since Matthew mentions “another maid” (Mt 26:71) and Luke mentions “another [man]” (Luke 22:58), it is clear that several joined in challenging Peter this time." (Hiebert)

And began once more to say to the bystanders, "This is one of them!" - Now she changes her tact. Peter had denied it and now like a prosecuting attorney she appeals to the jury of bystanders.One of them of course would be one of the disciples of Jesus. Another maid added "“This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” (Mt 26:71)

James Edwards well says, “a change in place is no substitute for a change of heart. Like a guilty conscience, the servant girl accuses Peter a second time” (The Gospel according to Mark)

Mark 14:70  But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too."

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:72 And again he denied it with an oath, “I do not know the man.” 73 A little later the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”

Luke 22:59+ After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, saying, “Certainly this man also was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.

John 18:26 One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, *said, “Did I not see you in the garden with Him?” 


Akin writes "Peter is now on the spot, in the hot seat, in front of others. Here is his chance to “man up”, regain his courage, and take a stand for Jesus for whom he had expressed undying loyalty."

But - Term of contrast. The servant girl had spoken truth, but a second time Peter would speak a lie. 

Again expression of time - This signals a shameful repetition of his previous denial. Hiebert adds that "This time it was a denial of Jesus by claiming he was not one of His followers. He thus separated himself from Jesus as well as His disciples."

He denied (arneomai) it - Denied is in the imperfect tense which pictures him denying the accusation over and over. As Akin says "It was an extensive and repeated denial, not a one time slip of the tongue." 

There is another way to interpret the imperfect here considering that apparently another maid and another man had accosted and accused Peter. Hiebert writes "denied is imperfect, suggesting repeated expressions of denial to the different ones challenging him."  

And after a little while - How long is After a while?  Luke 22:59+ says "After about an hour had passed." The basis of the bystander's accusation is that they recognized Peter was from Galilee, presumably by his accent. 

the bystanders were again saying to Peter, "Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too." - Note the adverb they chose is "Surely," which Hieberts says "insists that in spite of his denials, Peter actually is “of them,” the circle of Jesus’ disciples. The idea is "truly despite your denials. His denials have not assuaged but strengthened their suspicion of his true identity.  The bystanders join the servant girl in bringing accusation against Peter, basing their accusation on their premise that he is Galilean, which they would have discerned from his accent. Matthew 26:73 affirms this interpretation noting that "the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Surely you too are one of them; for even the way you talk gives you away.”

Paul Apple - If we don’t know you by your face, at least we recognize you by your accent

Grassmick - Galileans spoke an Aramaic dialect with noticeable differences in pronunciation. So they concluded he was a follower of that heretic Galilean, Jesus. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary

Daniel Akin - Peter failed the Lord 3 times as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane (14:37-42). Now he fails Him 3 times in the 12 courtyard of the high priest. Initially he failed him by sleeping when he should have been praying. Now he fails Him by denying Him when he should have confessed Him. The rock named Peter crumbles and is pulverized under the pressure.

Surely (230)(alethos) is an adverb meaning adv. truly, really, actually With adjectival function = real Jn 1:47; 8:31. BDAG says "corresponding to what is really so." Friberg - adverb; (1) as qualifying a verb of telling truly, in truth (Lk 9.27 ); (2) as attributing genuine existence to a thing, state, or quality as opposed to what is imagined really, truly, actually (Jn 1.47)

18x in 18v - Matt. 14:33; Matt. 26:73; Matt. 27:54; Mk. 14:70; Mk. 15:39; Lk. 9:27; Lk. 12:44; Lk. 21:3; Jn. 1:47; Jn. 4:42; Jn. 6:14; Jn. 7:26; Jn. 7:40; Jn. 8:31; Jn. 17:8; Acts 12:11; 1 Thess. 2:13; 1 Jn. 2:5

Alethos in the Septuagint - Gen. 18:13; Gen. 20:12; Exod. 33:16; Deut. 17:4; Jos. 7:20; Ruth 3:12; 1 Sam. 22:7; 1 Ki. 8:27; 1 Ki. 18:39; 2 Chr. 6:18; Ps. 58:1; Jer. 28:6; Jer. 51:13; Dan. 3:14; Dan. 3:24;

Mark 14:71  But he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this man you are talking about!"

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:74 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. 

Luke 22:60+ But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed.

John 18:27 Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.


But he began to curse and swear, "I do not know this Man you are talking about!" - Peter is not using foul language per se as we might think today when we hear that someone is cursing and swearing! Peter has become frantic with the repeated accusations that he is associated with Jesus and so he resorts to a stronger "defense" even being willing to call down a curse upon himself if he is lying (which he was!)! Both curse and swear are present tense which depicts Peter as continually cursing and swearing. Note how Peter's denial has "escalated" for now he claims he does not even know Jesus who he refers to as this Man. It is a direct denial of Jesus Himself! 

Wuest - The word “curse” is anathematizo, “to declare anathema or cursed.” The Jews had a practice of laying themselves under a curse (Acts 23:12). Paul in Galatians 1:8, 9, calls the divine curse (same word) down upon those who preached a different gospel than the true one. Peter, thus declares himself subject to the divine curse if he is not telling the truth when he disclaims all acquaintance with Jesus. 

Paul Apple on Peter swearing - Calling on something higher and greater than himself to bolster his claims – Remember what Christ had taught about oaths

Daniel Akin - This was all Peter could take! He anathematizes himself with a divine curse. “If I am lying may God strike me dead” is a modern idiom that captures well Peter’s sentiment. “I swear to God, and may I die if I am lying, I do not know this man of whom you speak” (v.70). Peter will not even mention Jesus’ name so as to distance himself even further from this now convicted capital criminal from Galilee

Salmond puts it, “Peter plunges, desperate and reckless, into this last depth of falsehood and disloyalty.”

Curse (bound under an oath) (332)(anathematizo from anathēma = a curse, cf use in Gal 1:8,9+) means to bind with an oath or under a curse, as if calling on God to punish if what is solemnly spoken is not true or is not accomplished.

Swear (take no oath (swear)(3660) (omnuo) derives from a basic meaning to grasp a sacred object. The verb omnuo thus means to swear, confirm or affirm the truth of a statement by calling on a divine being (heaven, altar, temple, throne of God) to execute sanctions against a person if the statement in question is not true. To put one's self under oath. To threaten with an oath as in Heb 3:11,18, 4:3. To swear means “to take an oath” for confirmation, as is done in court. The verb is used of God in Acts 2:30 to confirm that He will fulfill His promise.

Mark 14:72  Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, "Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And he began to weep.

  • Second: Mk 14:30,68 Mt 26:34,74 
  • Peter: 2Sa 24:10 Ps 119:59,60 Jer 31:18-20 Eze 16:63 36:31 Lu 15:17-19 22:60 
  • began to weep, Eze 7:16 Mt 26:75 Lu 22:62 2Co 7:10 
  • Mark 14 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Related Passages:

Matthew 26:74 Then he began to curse and swear, “I do not know the man!” And immediately a rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the word which Jesus had said, “Before a rooster crows (Mk 14:30 "before a rooster crows twice"), you will deny Me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

Luke 22:60+ But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today (Mk 14:30 "before a rooster crows twice"), you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly. 

John 18:27 Peter then denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.


Immediately a rooster crowed a second time - Immediately Jesus' prophecy was fulfilled to the letter. Luke 22:50 adds that "while he was still speaking." Rooster's crowing on the farm when I was a boy usually meant it was time to "Wake up!" Peter has just received his "Wake up" call from God via a rooster (cf Balaam's donkey speaking). 

Something else occurred at this time and is described in Luke 22:60-61+ 

"But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked (emblepo) at Peter (THEIR EYES MET!) And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.”

Comment - As noted above in ancient Greek emblepo often signified "a look of interest, love or concern." All three nuances are surely true of the look of Jesus. Sinclair Ferguson says “That look was to be his salvation, for he saw in those eyes not condemnation but compassion. That was the turning point in his life… Now, in this most painful and memorable of ways, Peter saw himself as he really was, repented, and was remade into the great apostle” (Let’s Study Mark,).

Hiebert - The remembrance of the Lord’s warning and His sad look of love broke the tension of Peter’s fear and awakened his conscience, opening the door to true repentance. (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

William Barclay favors a bugle call not a cock crow -  The Roman night was divided into four watches from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. At the end of the third watch, at three o'clock in the morning, the guard was changed. When the guard was changed there was a bugle call which was called the gallicinium, which is the Latin for the cockcrow. Most likely what happened was that as Peter spoke his third denial, the clear note of the bugle call rang out over the silent city and smote on Peter's ear. He remembered and his heart broke.

And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, "Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." - He remembered but sadly it was too late, for it was after he had sinned. In Mk 14:68 Peter he went out onto the porch, and a rooster crowed and one would have thought this was a divine providential "wake up call" warning Peter that two more denials were coming. Yes, prophecy had to be fulfilled, but yes Peter was responsible for his actions, specifically his denials. 

“It was not the crowing of the cock that convicted Peter; it was the remembering of Christ’s words.”  
-- Warren Wiersbe

So once again Jesus prophecy proved perfect, but so would His prophetic promise "but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers." (Lk 22:32+). 

MacArthur: Luke 22:61 says, “and the Lord turned and looked at Peter.” The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Straight into Peter’s eyes went the gaze of the Lord Jesus. Perhaps his trial had just ended and He was coming back across the courtyard, headed to prison where he’d be kept for a few hours until the dawn, fake trial, scourging, crucifixion in the morning. His face covered with spit, black and blue puffy from being punched in the face and slapped. His garments covered with sweaty blood that had oozed out of His sweat glands in the agonies in the garden. And as He’s bound, is taken through the courtyard. He looks right into the eyes of Peter. I’m pretty sure that’s a look that Peter never, ever, ever forgot.

And he began to weep -  Matthew 26:75 (cf Luke 22:62) says "He wept bitterly." I like the NET translation "And he broke down and wept." Weep is in the imperfect tense, sobbing over and over, again and again. Most of us can identify with this type of weeping, for on some occasion we wept and sobbed uncontrollably when we received bad or tragic news. Peter had a broken heart. 

To weep (2799)(klaio) means to mourn, to weep, to lament or to wail with emphasis external expression of grief such as noise accompanying weeping. It expresses one’s immediate and outward reaction to suffering. The picture is of one lamenting with sobs or wailing aloud and was used to describe the wailing that took place when someone died. Weeping thus was a sign of the pain and grief. It was a term frequently used to describe the actions of professional mourners. Peter wasn't faking it like professional mourners!

McGee remarks, “Peter could repent of his sin, and that is the real test of a genuine believer.”

Grassmick - In contrast with Judas (Matt. 27:3–5) Peter’s remorse opened the way for true repentance and a reaffirmation of his loyalty to Jesus as the risen Lord (cf. Mark 16:7; John 21:15–19). Peter had a faith in Jesus that could be renewed, but Judas did not. (See The Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Hiebert - Following these demands, Peter dropped completely out of the picture until after the crucifixion. The terrible shame of his base denials, with their public implications, were wiped out only by the risen Christ appearing to Peter (Luke 24:34; John 21:15–23; 1 Cor. 15:5). (The Gospel of Mark: An Expositional Commentary)

Guzik - There is a significant contrast between Judas and Peter. Both of them denied Jesus in one way or another, but one was restored and the other was not. Restoring Peter was important to Jesus; after His resurrection, Jesus had a private meeting with Peter (Luke 24:34) and a public restoration with Peter (John 21). Judas ended up as an apostate, and Peter was a backslider who suffered spiritual decline from an experience he once enjoyed.

Spurgeon - After his final denial Peter not only went out, but he wept. As he kept on turning over his sin, it appeared to him in all its blackest hue. We are told he wept bitterly. Convulsive weeping came on him. He could not stand himself. His heart seemed as if it would flow away in rivers of repentant tears. It is a blessed sign of the work of grace in the soul when the man who has sinned quits his evil companions and mourns over his sin as one who is in bitterness for his firstborn. If any of us have sinned like Peter, we should go and weep like Peter. If we have fallen like Peter, then let our soul bitterly bewail our transgressions. Many talk about the greatness of David’s sin, but if they knew the depths of David’s repentance and the heartbreak that came with it, they would not so glibly speak of it. There is a tradition that Peter never heard a rooster crow or thought of this incident as long as he lived without weeping. And although that is only a tradition, I can well believe it was the case, for that is just what would be likely to happen to a true penitent.

Wessel - “The importance and relevance of Peter’s denial for the church to which Mark writes is obvious. To a church under severe pressure of persecution it provided a warning. If denial of Jesus Christ was possible for an apostle, and one of the leaders of the apostles at that, then they must be constantly on guard lest they too deny Jesus. The story also provided assurance that if anyone did fail Jesus under the duress of persecution, there was always a way open for repentance, forgiveness, and restoration (cf. 16:7).”

ILLUSTRATION - Balthasar Hubmaier has been called “the Simon Peter” of the evangelical Anabaptist of the 16th century. The movement’s greatest theologian, he would see 6,000 believers baptized at Nikolsburg in 1526-27. And because of vicious and severe persecution, he would compromise and deny his commitment to Christ at least on two different occasions. And yet, like Peter, he would be brought by God to deep repentance and confession. In a work entitled Short Apology he would write, “O God, pardon me my weakness. It is good for me that you have humbled me” (Estep, The Anabaptist Story, 63). On what appears to be a third occasion of torture, Hubmaier “grew strong” and with uncompromising fortitude remained true to Jesus. The date was March 2, 1528. One week later, on March 10, Hubmaier was burned at the stake with his precious wife nearby encouraging him to remain faithful to Jesus. Three days later she would be executed as well by drowning in the Danube River. As Hubmaier prepared to be burned, he shouted loud for the on looking crowd to hear, “O my gracious God, grant me grace in my great suffering.” As the flames engulfed his beard and hair, his last words were simple, “O my heavenly Father! O my gracious God!” “O Jesus!” Witnesses said that in his death “he appeared to feel more joy than pain.” Such is the grace of God poured out on any sinner, no matter what the sin, who flees to Jesus in repentance, who flees to God in his hour of need. The Great King in His passion has made it possible for all of us without exception! Praise His Name! (Daniel Akin

What's Next?

Read: Luke 22:54-62 

Peter went out and wept bitterly. —Luke 22:62

The night before Jesus was crucified, two of His disciples turned against Him. Judas betrayed Christ, leading His enemies to Him in the Garden (Lk. 22:47-48). And Peter denied three times that he even knew the Lord (vv.57-60).

But the difference in what they did next was enormous. Peter wept bitter tears of repentance and later was gently restored (v.62; Jn. 21:15-17); Judas hanged himself (Mt. 27:5).

When we commit a sin, the most important thing is what we do next. If we lose our temper and say something cruel to a family member, what do we do next? If we mistreat a co-worker, what do we do next? If we find we are dwelling on evil thoughts, what do we do next? To make excuses, to justify our bad behavior, to blame the other person, or to ignore God is only to add more sin to the first.

Perhaps as you’ve been reading this, the Holy Spirit has brought your attention to some sin in your life. If so, you’re faced with a choice—to repent and confess it to God (1 Jn. 1:9), or to continue denying that you have a sin problem.

When you sin, don’t compound it with another sin. Take it immediately to the Lord in prayerful confession. The most important thing is what you do next! (Used by permission - copyright Our Daily Bread) By David C. Egner

For Further Study
In 1 John 1:8-10, what do we learn about ourselves?
How are we to react to sin in our lives? (1 Jn. 1:9).
What is the basis of our forgiveness? (1 Jn. 2:1-2).

Denial compounds our sin; confession cancels it.

Spurgeon - Morning and Evening - Mark 14:72 It has been thought by some that as long as Peter lived, the fountain of his tears began to flow whenever he remembered his denying his Lord. It is not unlikely that it was so, for his sin was very great, and grace in him had afterwards a perfect work. This same experience is common to all the redeemed family according to the degree in which the Spirit of God has removed the natural heart of stone. We, like Peter, remember our boastful promise: “Though all men shall forsake thee, yet will not I.” We eat our own words with the bitter herbs of repentance. When we think of what we vowed we would be, and of what we have been, we may weep whole showers of grief. He thought on his denying his Lord. The place in which he did it, the little cause which led him into such heinous sin, the oaths and blasphemies with which he sought to confirm his falsehood, and the dreadful hardness of heart which drove him to do so again and yet again. Can we, when we are reminded of our sins, and their exceeding sinfulness, remain stolid and stubborn? Will we not make our house a Bochim, and cry unto the Lord for renewed assurances of pardoning love? May we never take a dry-eyed look at sin, lest ere long we have a tongue parched in the flames of hell. Peter also thought upon his Master’s look of love. The Lord followed up the cock’s warning voice with an admonitory look of sorrow, pity, and love. That glance was never out of Peter’s mind so long as he lived. It was far more effectual than ten thousand sermons would have been without the Spirit. The penitent apostle would be sure to weep when he recollected the Saviour’s full forgiveness, which restored him to his former place. To think that we have offended so kind and good a Lord is more than sufficient reason for being constant weepers. Lord, smite our rocky hearts, and make the waters flow.


“And when he thought thereon, he wept” (Mark 14:72). We may learn from this—
1. That it is a great privilege to hear the words of Jesus. Peter had heard s