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Bible Commentaries

Derickson's Notes on Selected Books

Mark 14

Verses 1-2

MARK CHAPTER FOURTEEN

THE SETTING

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

At least the political folks of the time cared about what the people thought. Today in America the government does what it wants with little regard to what the people think. Heaven forbid they actually represent the people who elected them. The Jewish leaders knew where their support came from and wanted no part of upsetting the folks that foot the bills.

It may be of great note here that the Priests and Scribes are mentioned as well as the elders that Matthew mentions. Of all the groups plotting the Lord’s demise, the Sadducees and Pharisees are not mentioned. It might be wondered just why they are not part of the plot at this point. Were the Priests and Scribes just tired of waiting for the other groups to do their thing, or maybe the other groups had given up for some reason, whether boredom, fear or maybe even some were wondering of the validity of the Lord’s claims.

Darby uses the terms scribes and Pharisees in relation to this text in his commentary. Most of the other commentaries do not mention any groups in their notes. I might assume that Darby was just following the normal flow of the text where these were the two groups normally mentioned and made a slip of the pen. His Bible translation follows the King James in mentioning the same two groups as do many other translations.

We will have to take note as we proceed into the activities that follow His arrest to see if any of the other groups are mentioned.

Note also that they wanted to do it by craft, or deceit. They wanted to do it under cover so no one would know it. Evidently they wanted to abduct him, kill him and keep it all a secret. Oh the plot thickens in the world of the lost souls seeking to extinguish the only true light in their midst.

Pastors beware those in your churches that are crafty. They will go in secret doing their work stirring up problems and you will never know where the problems are really coming from. One or two crafty people in your church and you will have constant turmoil. You will think something has been settled then out of nowhere the problem is back.

Years ago while pastoring a pioneer work we had a situation where many in the church thought a certain direction was right and proper. I on the other hand and a number of others thought it a disastrous direction. It came to a church vote and one of the main families did not attend the vote. The direction was voted down much to my relief.

Several months later the husband of the family sat down beside me at a potluck and told me thathe had talked to everyone in the church and all were agreed that we should revote on the item. Beware the crafty person! If they need to be crafty, they cannot be doing too much good.

Verses 3-9

THE OFFERING

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. 4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said Why was this waste of the ointment made? 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. 6. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. 7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. 8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. 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.

John names the woman as Mary, and Martha along with Lazarus are mentioned as well. Thus we know the people present. The accounts in Matthew, Mark and John mention about the same information though only John identifies everyone. The apostles evidently were talking among themselves about the "wasting" of the spice while John identifies Judas as the one that approached the Lord about it. Also note in the text that he is named as a thief for taking money from what he held communally for the rest. John 12:1-50 mentions "4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, that should betray him, saith, 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred shillings, and given to the poor? 6 Now this he said, not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and having the bag took away what was put therein."

Jumping ahead a little to the betrayal I recently saw an article on a web site asking if Judas was showing his fidelity to God when he betrayed Jesus. In other words was the act the act of an obedient believer that was following the Lord’s plan for His life. At first I thought to myself that only a Calvinist could come up with such a question, but further reading showed that the man is just a believer that likes to question everything in a different way.

The crux of Judas and his spiritual life probably is answered just here - he was a thief and he was a traitor for money. He knew he was going to do the betraying thus he covered the truth by not admitting it was he at the last supper when the Lord told the apostles the betrayer was with them.

Was he fulfilling God’s best for his life? I rather doubt it from what we have already seen. As to whether the man was a true believer, many discuss this to great length but it comes down to “You will know them by their fruits.” Only God knows the truth so we should leave it to Him.

This account brings up something that is seldom if ever mentioned in a study of the Lord. The bag that Judas carried was the money that the Lord and apostles had in common. Out of that bag we can assume they lived - food, drink and other needs of a wandering group.

The clear implication also is that they gave to the poor out of this bag. It might also be assumedthat gifts other than cash might well have been sold for the cash to feed them and give to the poor. There was clearly a social side to the Lord’s ministry to the people around him on a cash level as well as feeding them via miracles etc.

Today giving cash is not the wiser way to assist the poor. A woman on talk radio the other day mentioned that she saw a woman in front of a supermarket asking for food. The woman caller took her inside the store and told her she would buy her a certain dollar amount for groceries. The woman took off with a cart and came back to the counter with cigarettes, steak and every other high priced product that she could find.

The caller vowed, never again. This is probably the wiser choice in our day since there are so many scammers around. Giving to a church food ministry or some similar charity might be a better way to help though you do not have the personal contact this way.

On the same topic my daughter and husband started carrying two sacks of groceries in their van so that they could give to folks that were in need. They pulled into a grocery store parking lot and were met by a man wanting food. They offered him a sack of groceries and the man said “No I need cash.” Well, so much for setting a Christ like example for their children by giving to the poor. :)

Helping the poor is the work of believers; we just need to be very careful how we go about it in our day.

Verses 10-11

THE PLOT THICKENS

10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them. 11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

Now, those that think that He was a believer might suggest that he wanted the money to pay back that which he had stolen from the bag, but that would seem a grasp in the dark. It is his motive of disloyalty that is so very prevalent in the text, not his goodness, repentance and restitution.

Note the gladness and the willingness of the parties to act upon their plot as they thickened it. Note also the specificity of the text. "Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve" leaves little doubt the one that was guilty. Not much of a way that the critics of our day could get around that clear declaration and identification.

Now, Judas might have been a little toward the lazy type in nature. He sought how he could "conveniently betray him." He did not want to go to too much trouble to get this job of betrayal on the road. And from the lack of mention in the text it would seem that the leaders took care of his minor request.

Sin is always the easy way, the way most convenient and often leads to serious consequences, as did the act of Judas. Luke adds that the act was to be away from the multitude, out of sight, in secret. The leaders are still worried about the public and their reaction to the killing of Christ. Matthew adds that Judas asked what they would give him and they gave him 30 pieces of silver and he closed the agreement.

Barnes suggests that the rebuke of the Lord related to Mary’s offering to Him may have angered Judas and that with his natural bent for covetousness tipped him over the edge with serving this man who he had followed for three years. One might wonder if there were other incidents that caused feelings if not friction between the two over that time period.

Luke mentions that Satan entered into Judas. We have little evidence that Satan actually was ever this involved in his devious activities, but at this time he was giving things his personal attention. The very fact that he entered into Judas would indicate that he was not a believer. There is no indication that Satan can indwell any believer.

One might contemplate the joy, excitement and shock of the Jewish leaders. In quiet they are plotting the death of the Lord, trying to figure out their plot and their plot plops into their midst in the form of Judas. What a relief, no need for all that thinking and planning, we will just let him do the work for us.

The People’s New Testament notes suggest even a more sinister reason behind the offer to betray the Lord. They suggest that the loss of the possible money from the offering of Mary had upset him in that he could not make that gain profitable for himself. They also go on to suggest, and it might well be correct, that he has just realized that his chance of being the Lord’s money keeper in an earthly kingdom was going away. This may have angered him even more than the rebuke in front of the others.

No matter the motivation or the inner character flaws the plot was set into motion and it would end in the arrest and ultimate death of the Lord.

Verses 12-16

THE PASSOVER

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

The apostles knew the Jewish special days and knew that the Lord would want to observe Passover. The text shows the Lord’s respect of the law and the desire to follow it. He was here to fulfill the law, not break it.Two of the disciples were told to go into the city and a man would meet them. Whether the Lord had sent someone to make these arrangements or whether it was a miracle we do not know. Either would fit easily into the text. It is possible that He had sent Judas to make the arrangements and Judas just made a little side trip to the Jewish leaderships meeting place to make another deal.

My mother was not an artist, but someone gave her a Paint by Number picture of the last supper. When television was boring I would often look at the picture and wonder what it was all about. This was long before I met the Lord. I, in my lost state, knew that there was special significance to the picture other than its artistic value. Even though it was only Paint by Number it was a reproduction of the slightly more famous one and I knew that for someone to paint that scene there must be more significance than the supper aspect.

This was the last time that the Lord would be alone with the apostles before His arrest, trial death and resurrection. He later spent time in prayer struggling with the knowledge of the coming cross. His emotions must have been quite astir even though He was fully God.

After spending three years with these men He must have felt alone as He faced his coming troubles. There must have been a heavy piece of excitement as well knowing that He was about to be the lamb led to slaughter for the sins of all mankind. The Passover was a memorial to the angel of death passing over Egypt killing all first born. The Lord had instructed the Jews to put the blood of a lamb over their door so that the Angel would know to pass over that household and spare their firstborn. The blood of that occasion was a picture of the blood of the pure Lamb of God that was shed to save all mankind from death.

Verses 17-21

THE REVELATION

17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve. 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. 19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I? 20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish. 21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

Christ announces to the twelve that one of them would betray him. They asked "Is it I?" Can you imagine what Judas felt like when they began to do this? Did all the apostles ask the question? We do not know but if they did Judas must have had some uneasy times.

John gives a little more detail on this and indicates that Jesus spoke directly to Judas and told him to do his work quickly and that Judas left. It seems in the context of John that he may have left early in the celebration. John 13:27 ff "Jesus therefore saith unto him, What thou doest, do quickly. 28 Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. 29 For some thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus said unto him, Buy what things we have need of for the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. 30 He then having received the sopwent out straightway: and it was night."

This speaking to Judas was another indication of Christ controlling the entire situation. He knew of the coming cross and the events prior to it. How Christ knew of Judas and his activities we do not know. The Spirit may have revealed this to him or someone in the Jewish leadership/household might have told him of Judas and the leaders having met.

Imagine the uneasiness in Judas as the Lord leaned to speak to him of these things. There must have been some fear of the other apostles if not fear of the Lord Himself. Judas knew that this man could walk on water and control nature; it must have given him some great fear of what Christ would do in anger. No anger was evident; it was God’s will working out in Christ’s life.

Verses 22-26

THE ORDINANCE

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. 23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. 24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament which is shed for many. 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. 26 And when they had sung an hymn they went out into the mount of Olives.

Christ ties the Lord’s Supper observance to the Passover quite nicely. The one observance was a celebration of thankfulness for life physical and the other an observance a celebration of thankfulness of life spiritual.

Christ mentions that He will not drink of the fruit of the vine until He will drink it in the Kingdom. This may indicate that the Marriage Feast of the Lamb is that time when the Lord will again partake of the cup. One a celebration looking back at the cross yet looking forward to the future and the other a celebration looking forward to the future with the Lord.

Verses 27-31

THE OFFENCE

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. 28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. 29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. 30 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. 31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

The Lord warns the disciples that they will be offended soon. They would be scattered as sheep. Peter is quite outspoken that he would not deny Him - that he would go to death with him without denial. We all know the results of the coming events. Peter failed miserably in his promise.

We ought not to be too hard on Peter however because most of us make promises to the Lord thatdo not always materialize. Some give their lives to the Lord then take them back and live for themselves. Some tell the Lord they are going to be great givers, but fail to follow through. Most of us, at one time or another have made promises but fail to follow through with our pledge to the Lord.

On the other hand we ought not to be so quick to declare ourselves better in this area for we know not what we will do when we are placed in the position of declaring our allegiance to the Lord and His.

We can, in our untested position, declare easily that we will do this or that but when under the pressure of deciding between family or life and declaring our commitment to Christ we may falter the same as Peter - hopefully not, but may the Lord give us strength to choose Him.

Do not take these comments as a way out when we face pressure, but take it as admonition to consider what you will do before the pressure is applied. Christ calls us to total commitment. Many through the ages have taken their stand with the Lord and many also have lost their lives and fortunes by doing so.

As you consider your response for Him, consider His response for you - He died for you, can we do less for Him if the situation should arise?

Verses 32-36

PRAYER ONE

32 And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33 And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35 And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

It is of interest to note the special association the Lord had with Peter, James and John. He confided in them what he would not with the other disciples ("began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34 And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death"” He shared his innermost feelings with them at this very difficult time of His life.

“began”

This was the start of His feelings, until this time He had either controlled his emotions or at this time started feeling this way. This word means to commence or rehearse from the beginning.

“to be sore amazed”

The term is used of fear or fright and by the construction it is indicated that this fear was caused from outside Him. This would fit the realization of what is coming upon Him very soon.“be very heavy”

This heaviness seems to be on His part. The realization is upon Him and he allows the heaviness to come upon him.

I don’t mean to imply that I know what was going on with the Lord, but it would be my impression from the construction that the realization that His time was very near struck Him maybe even unexpectedly, and as a man His mind just wrapped itself around the facts and the full force of them struck Him and His mind just went into heavy mode. Not that His divinity was out of control or not in control, but that his manhood suddenly realized what was about to face Him.

“exceeding sorrowful”

This was a simple expression of what He was feeling to His closest associates. He was very sorry. Whether sorry for Himself or for the apostles and their coming torment we are not told but It would seem that a little of both might be included. The whole situation was going to be terribly hard for all involved.

"Fell" seems to have a relationship to prostration as well as moving from the standing position to prostration. This is often the position for worship in the Bible and we ought to consider it more in our churches today. We seem to be rather flip about worship today. If we aren’t rocking on out, we are wandering around greeting one another and when that is over we hear lots of fluff about how God owes us a great life even though we have no idea of how to really worship.

It is hard to relate what is seen in churches today to the Biblical concept of worshiping God. Might some take a look into the concept in the Word rather than seeking information from somebody’s blog or website. God sets the standard we are to follow not the local church growth analyst.

“prayed”

While laying face to the ground the Lord was meeting His Father on serious business. When you have serious business to do with the God please consider Christ’s method of approach to the Father – that approach by prostration. Much of the unanswered prayer people complain about might well be due to improper life and approach to the fulfiller of prayer.

Some might bring up Luke 22:41 and his use of kneeling rather than lying down or prostrate. The translation is unfortunate since the term Luke used normally means lay, put or lay down rather than simply kneel, though it is translated kneeled four times elsewhere. Matthew 26:39 translates the act as "fell on his face."

“hour might pass from him”

His simple request was that the Father might allow this hour of trouble to pass from Him. I am sure that in His heart He knew that He must walk through these trials set before Him, but thehope of a man dreading the pain and coming death seems to speak forth.

There is also the possibility that there was a dread over and above this. There may have been dread of the coming separation from God and pain of the sins of the world. We are not told much of these things in the word, but taking the sin of all mankind upon one’s self cannot be a pleasant task to look forward to. We have no idea just what that meant to the Lord or how it affected Him but there certainly must have been ramifications.

“Abba Father”

Abba is a Chaldee (transliterated) word meaning father while the term translated father is a Greek word. The Greek speaking Jews often combined the two words together in prayer. On the other hand Barnes states that it is a Syriac word. Lightfoot has an extended discussion on the terms if you would like further information. (Matthew and Luke mention only one father as opposed to Mark’s two. Matthew and Luke mention only the Greek father.)

Some preachers over the years have said that this just means Christ was saying Papa to God the Father. I have seen nothing but interpretation in their comments; there is nothing in the meaning of the words to indicate that this informal common term would be used by neither the Greek Jew nor even us today. I do not see Christ speaking to the Father in such a familiar, common way either. There is little indication that God the Father has a mature Father and child Son relationship, they are equal and to indicate there is such a childlike quality to the Lord nears sacrilege in my mind. If they were on such an informal childish relationship I suppose that Christ would have shortened it to Pa in His teen years according to these men. Some even go so far as to say that it means dada a term used by infants.

“Take away this cup”

This seems best related to the whole thought of the coming persecution and the cross, while some might suggest that it only related to the persecution. I see nothing to indicate that it is the trouble alone. Indeed, we do not know if the Lord knew of the pre cross events well enough to know what it would be like, nor that it would be something to dread. He would only have known of His coming death for certain.

The important point being that He was sorely tempted and yet withstood with the help of the Holy Spirit and was willing to submit Himself to the will of the Father.

It should be noted that such temptation in the face of trouble and torment is not wrong and it is not sin for we know Christ lived this life without sin. Bowing to temptation is that which is sin.

Verses 37-38

PRAYER TWO

37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? 38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

Oh, the implications of telling one that you will pray for them and then not following through on your promise. They were only asked to "watch" but they did not even do that, they just took their late evening nap. The terms translated "watch" are all the same Greek word relating to awake watchful or vigilant. Watching for trouble might be the thought of the word. They told Him that they would watch but they slept instead.

The Old Testament references of the watchmen watching the city come to mind. They are to watch for the enemy not lie down and share in sweet dreams.

How very alone the Lord must have felt at that moment when He found them sleeping, and how the disciples must have felt when they were caught in less than astounding circumstances.

Verses 39-41

PRAYER THREE

39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. 40 And when he returned he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him. 41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

The Lord returned to prayer saying the same thing again to the Father. Repeated prayer is not wrong, it is the normal pattern. Pray until you have confidence that there is no longer a need to pray.

The promise to pray but not praying concept was introduced a few paragraphs ago. Oh how many times we say we will pray but we do not. It became my habit many years ago to think a moment before I answer when someone seeks my assistance in prayer. I consider whether I am willing to remember to do so, if I am willing to take time to do so, and whether I am going to do so. If I cannot in my own mind feel confident that I will follow through I will not respond with a positive. Seldom if ever do I actually say no or ignore such a request, but always the thought process occurs and the prayer commitment is made.

Prayer is so terribly important but churches today seem to shun the concept by canceling prayer meeting for most any reason be it weather, summer or winter, there is always an excuse.

I was in a church years ago where they had an early Saturday morning prayer time for men. There were seldom more than four and normally only three, but we always prayed and enjoyed the fellowship after. The meeting was often set aside during the summer and when it became two, it was set aside completely. It is sad to cancel prayer times due to lack of interest but the church often does.

Years ago a mission sent out a letter to all of their supporters of all of their missionaries. The letter suggested a prayer list to be sent out with needs of the various workers. The mission requested the supporters check a box to say that they were interested. The mission had over one hundred workers so you can imagine the letter went out to quite a number of supporters, but the mission only received one letter back from their questionnaire.Oh, the power of the church today. At least the supporters were honest and said no they would not pray, unlike the apostles that were asked to pray and did not. Actually the text does not say that they responded to the Lord’s request in the affirmative but one would assume you would respond positively to one you had followed for so long.

Luke records that an angel ministered to the Lord during His time of prayer. Luke 22:43 "And there appeared unto him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. 44 And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became as it were great drops of blood falling down upon the ground."

It is also of note that the Lord asked them to pray that they not be tempted. This probably relates back to the persecution that was to come upon them - that they not be tempted to deny Him in their facing of their enemies.

Along with the prayer that the apostles were to be involved in they were to be praying for themselves that they not fall into temptation. Prayer for yourself and your living are not wrong. We ought to be careful to prepare ourselves for the spiritual warfare that we are in as we walk through this life.

Verses 42-46

THE ARREST

42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand. 43 And immediately, while he yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44 And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely. 45 And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to him, and saith, Master, master; and kissed him. 46 And they laid their hands on him, and took him.

The record is clear that this is Judas the disciple not another unknown Judas when Mark records "Judas, one of the twelve" thus clearly proclaiming the one that betrayed to be Judas the apostle.

Now, the question that always has been in my mind is why the Jewish leaders needed Judas to assist them. The Jewish leaders had been confronting Christ for months and trying to trip Him up in their question/answer sessions, why would they not recognize Him?

There are two possible answers to this, first these are leaders in Jerusalem and they might not have seen Him before, or only on a limited basis. Second, it may be that they wanted super positive identification so that when they took him before the courts that there would be no surprises. It may have been part of the system to require someone that knew the accused to point them out for positive identification.

Note that Judas requested that He be lead away safely. Was this concern for the Lord? Was there really thought in his mind that nothing was going to happen to the Lord? On the contrary the word relates to "assuredly" rather than keep Him safe. Judas wanted them to be sure to lead Him away in custody; there was no concern on the man’s part for Christ or His safety.The whole bunch came to take Him, not that they thought a multitude would be needed but more likely they all wanted a bit of the glory for being there when He was arrested.

There are those today that are glory hounds. They will strain in whatever matter needed to be a part of something that is going on so that they can tell their coworkers and family "I was there when _________." It is part of our makeup to seek glory, that is why we should work on not wanting to seek glory. If we bring glory to God we have satisfied our reason for being on earth we have no need of being famous or being with the famous. We are indwelled by the most famous personality possible - God Himself.

Mark records the words of the man that betrayed his companion of three years, "Master, master; and kissed him." How false, how phony, and how disingenuous of Judas, he has in mind to sell Christ out, indeed he is in the act of doing so and he uses such terminology. Doing an evil deed and making himself a liar at the same time. It is no wonder the man is held with such derision by the Christian world, yet he is part of God’s plan of the ages. God uses man to do His will/plan. It is up to man to make sure that the doing is positive and not negative. Remember this fact when you work within your local church.

It would seem that the Jewish leaders were totally willing to be a part of this great occasion in their lives - what a fact to have to give answer for when they stand before God to be judged by their works.

Verses 47-49

THE REALITY

47 And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear. 48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? 49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

Peter (John’s account names him) shows his extreme interest in the Lord by drawing his sword and hacking off an ear. Christ, though not recorded by Mark, healed the man’s ear - what did that man think, being in the capturing crowd and knowing the man being arrested was more than his employers had made out.

Now I have no idea what was in Peter’s mind when he swung that sword but to get an ear off it would have had to have been traveling in a vertical plain and fairly quickly to cut it off. A fisherman was good at casting nets but a sword is a bit different. Unless Peter had been practicing for three years it would seem safe to assume that he did not hit his mark, indeed someone’s head must have been in his sights originally and only someone’s quick ducking response kept him from being a raising from the dead miracle.

As we have often done in this study, how do you think this man felt, first to have lost an ear, the pain, the realization of being defaced and then of being healed by the man you are assisting to arrest. Imagine the man feeling that pain disappear and knowing that the ear is whole - his mind must have been awash in emotion, intellectual struggles and mixed feelings about hisinvolvement.

Jesus clarifies everyone’s thinking by asking them why they did not take Him while He was in the temple. There does not seem to be an answer in any of the Gospels. It was obvious that they were being secretive and that they feared the people had they done anything publicly.

The detractors came at night, in secret; and so it often is in the church. When trouble arises it is not at the business meeting, but usually in the background where people can do their work in secret. Business meetings have their own type of problems, but watch for those things going on in the background.

So often trouble hatches when people in the background get together to stir their little pots of plots. The several times when other believers have determined to cause our family/ministry problems it has always been a few back there in the shadows plotting and causing problems that they would never make known in public. The sad part is these shadowy plots often come to fruition and often there is nothing that you can do to counter the attack. Yes, God knows all of the plots and all of the shadowy figures involved so we need not worry about retribution or making known the culprits. He will deal with them in HIS OWN GOOD TIME; it will not be a time of refreshing for either party for a healthy amount of dread for them is held on my part.

There is indication in what the Lord said about being in the temple that they really had no reason for Judas in that they knew Christ and what He looked like. One of my professors years ago suggested the following as a reason for needing Judas. "The Romans might have seen and known the Lord but how much can you see by torchlight - anyway those Jews all look alike so who would be able to tell Jesus from the rest?"

Of course the Romans were not the ones that wanted Him arrested and we do not know that Romans were in the group but John seems to leave that possibility open when he mentions (John 18:3) "Judas then, having received the band of soldiers , and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons." Whether the solders and officers were Roman or Jewish we do not know at this point.

Matthew 26:53 brings up another interesting topic. "Or thinkest thou that I cannot beseech my Father, and he shall even now send me more than twelve legions of angels?" Imagine the shock on the part of the Jews if this had happened. This proves that Christ GAVE His life rather than it being taken from Him. At any point in the process from the arrest to the death, He could have stopped the whole process by seeking the assistance of the Father.

His having this knowledge also relates to His prayer in the garden asking for all of this to go away but submitting to the Father’s will. He could have simply stopped it all; yet He submitted to God and went forward with what He knew was about to come to pass.

Now being the worrywart that I have been known to be, I think I would have considered going home after such a comment if I were with the Jewish leaders. I cannot imagine twelve angels being a good sight at that moment much less twelve legion! My guess is I am out of there withsuch possibilities unless I really was convinced that this guy was a nut case.

Verses 50-53

THE FULFILLMENT

50 And they all forsook him, and fled. 51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: 52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked. 53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.

All forsook Him in His worst hour of trial. Imagine pouring three years of your life into training these men and at the sign of big trouble they all flee. Now, this might be providential in that some of the eleven might well have been arrested, but still the eleven showed little courage in the face of trouble.

One, a young man evidently was on the way out of the situation when he is caught by the little clothes he had on and the cloth was ripped from him. I’d guess we have all had those dreams when all of a sudden we are naked and there are all sorts of people around. This is no dream for the young man, he is naked and there are a ton of folks around.

There is speculation as to who the young man was, and many suggest Mark himself. The thinking is that he is the only gospel writer that mentions the incident thus it must have been personal. Personally, if it had been me I would not have recorded the fact. I would have refrained first of all due to the embarrassment, but second because of the possible ramifications with the Jews having identified myself as having been there.

Barnes suggests it was the owner of the garden. "A certain young man - Who this was we have no means of determining, but it seems not improbable that he may have been the owner of the garden, and that he may have had an understanding with Jesus that he should visit it for retirement when he withdrew from the city. That he was not one of the apostles is clear. It is probable that be was roused from sleep by the noise made by the rabble, and came to render any aid in his power in quelling the disturbance. It is not known why this circumstance is recorded by Mark. It is omitted by all the other evangelists. It may have been recorded to show that the conspirators had instructions to take the "apostles" as well as Jesus, and supposing him to be one of them, they laid hold of him to take him before the high priest; or it "may" have been recorded in order to place his conduct in strong and honorable contrast with the timidity and fear of the disciples, who had all fled."

People’s New Testament notes and Robertson both suggest Mark as a possible identification, but all point out that identification of the man is pure conjecture. The Net Bible also suggests Mark.

"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.""The point being in recording of the incident is that the mob that arrested the Lord was out for others as well as the Lord. They were taking aim at all that were with him. The man seems to be distinct from the apostles in the text. As to why Mark recorded his nakedness is not stated. It may well have been to clearly identify him and the lengths that he took to remove himself from the situation.

As to identification, one day my wife and I were working in our office when a woman began screaming obscenities just outside our house. We looked out the window and saw a black woman walking down the middle of the street naked. I called 911 and told them there was a naked black woman walking down the street screaming. The 911 operator asked, "Can you describe her?" I replied that I thought if they sent an officer that he would probably recognize her. Nakedness is quite an identifier.

In the final portion of the text we see that Jesus is taken before the Jewish leadership. Not only was the chief priest there but all that had been plotting His death. These men were bent on His demise and wanted to be sure that it came to pass.

Verses 54-59

THE FALSE WITNESS

54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire. 55 And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none. 56 For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. 57 And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59 But neither so did their witness agree together.

Peter seemingly wanted to be with the Lord, but fear kept him from voicing his opinion relating to the false witness going on against the one that he had followed the three years prior. He entered into the house and sat with the servants. It would be suspected that there was a little covertness related to the situation.

From the text it would appear that there were false witnesses, then when their stories did not add up another group came to bear false witness as well. This second group might well be thought to have been some of the Jewish leaders that were named just previously since there is no indication that this group came from outside the building.

What frustration must have been felt by the Jewish leaders. Finally they have their man in court and there is no evidence. Years ago I was called for jury duty and was chosen for a jury seat. The man on trial was accused of driving while drunk and hitting another car. The lawyer for the man must have felt as the Jewish leaders. He would stand to give the man’s story but there was no evidence whatsoever to give on the man’s behalf. The man had been drinking, the evidence given by the prosecution seemed to be iron tight and the man’s lawyer seemed mute on his behalf. The jury only took about twenty minutes to reach a verdict and most of that time was taken with explaining things to one juror that evidently was asleep most of the trial.The man’s lawyer had no evidence to prove the man innocent and the Jewish leaders had no evidence to prove the Lord guilty. At least the lawyer on our trial got paid for his labors; I’d guess that the Jews that brought charges were lacking in credibility for a long time.

One must wonder if Peter would have given testimony for the Lord had there been any semblance of proof against Christ. Had some of the false witness seemed to the high priest to have been credible, would he have come forth to witness against those that would bear false witness.

The fact that he felt he wanted to be present moves me to think that he might have come forth as a witness for the Lord. What the outcome of such would also be speculation. On the other hand we know that God had all of this set within His plan and the sequence of events was set - Peter was not needed for a positive witness due to the fact that the Lord was set to go to the cross no matter the outcome of any of the trials that were to come to pass.

Verses 60-64

THE ACCUSATION

60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? 61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. 63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? 64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. 65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

It seems that the truth has little standing in the court of prejudice. Christ told them exactly who He was and they condemned Him for it.

It is of note that in the previous passage Peter was sitting with the servants, but here the servants are beating on the Lord. One is left to wonder if Peter was just all of a sudden sitting alone whether he left or whether he moved into some other segment of the crowd. Since all seem to be condemning the Lord it would make one wonder where he was and if he wasn’t rather prominent in his standing alone.

Actually the next passage tells us exactly what was going on. It seems that he was rather conspicuous and people started pointing him out as one of the apostles and we have recorded for us the denials of Peter as the Lord had predicted. He was standing out from the crowd but was in fear for his life and denied the Lord three times.

We all know that we would never deny the Lord if placed under pressure to do so, but even Peter failed. We should hope and plan to take a strong stand for Christ, but only that situation will allow us to know for sure what we would do or not do.

The Lord is condemned on His own words, even if they were totally true. He admitted to beingwho they thought he believed He was, but because it was heresy to suggest such a thing He was condemned for His statements.

He laid claim to being God and they rejected totally that claim and held that He should die for such a claim.

With laws like that the Messiah can never come for if they find one that claims to be he is automatically condemned to death. Seems they will eternally look forward to the Messiah - well until He opens their eyes and they realize that He is the One which they had been looking for over the generations.

Verses 66-72

THE DENIAL

66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: 67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. 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. 69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. 70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean and thy speech agreeth thereto. 71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. 72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

One of the witnesses at O.J. Simpson’s murder trial was condemned out of hand for saying that he/she heard a black person saying something. The basis of the condemnation was that you cannot tell race from the sound of speech. Humm, I always thought that the witness could have been correct. Not that you can ALWAYS tell race from voice, but often you can. It is not voice itself but the terms used, the inflection and the attitude. This passage makes it clear that there is basis for such thinking in that they recognized Peter as Galilean from his speech as well as other things.

After all can we not recognize someone as being from the south of the United States by their "southern drawl" and the New Yorker from his unique verbal skills? Not always, but often this is the case.

Peter was one of the twelve and he wanted to be close to the Lord but not too close. He did not want to be killed or condemned but he did want to be close to Him. This may have been love commitment or just curiosity but I would guess the first two were most important to Peter.

The question for the reader relates to how are you when people begin to question the Lord in public. Are you outward in your support of God and His things or do you just settle into the crowd as an observer? Are you bold in your witness for Him? Are you up front and in the face of opposition or way in the background?It is hard to be a solid defender of God and the Word if you do not know the answers to the critic’s statements/questions. This is why KNOWING the Word is so very important to the believer. The church is supposed to be training the believer to stand as a witness in this life, but I fear most churches are just teaching the believer to look for what benefit the Lord can bring to them.

Our pastors and teachers need to be not only teaching the Word of God in detail so that we know what it says, but they should be teaching us the art of apologetics - the giving of an answer for our faith. Knowing the Word is step one and step two is being able to defend the Word. It is not that we need to prove the Word is valid, but we need to answer the critic’s unbelief and incorrect representation of the Word.

Critics can have good sounding sound bites, but they need to be held accountable for the lack of support to those sound bites. Al Gore has been given the Nobel Peace Prize for his environmental work even though many scientists tell us that it is based on false assumptions and poor data. Anyone can make anything sound great, but to give it legs to stand on is another thing all together.

The Word can and does stand on its own, but we need to be able to point out the fallacious thinking of the false teachers. If Christians do not stand up to the falsehood in our world it will only grow in strength and stature due to our inability to discredit it.

There are apologists today that have been condemned for their work against falsehood, yet those condemning them are unable to do that same, needed, work. We cannot just get along in this life; we must be standing alone on the hill as a beacon to the lost. If we are blending in with the lost they can never know the brilliance of this Christ that was so easily condemned by the Jewish leaders.

Copyright Statement
Copyright 2008. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior permission of the author, except as provided by U.S.A. copyright laws. Do feel free to make copies for friends that might be interested as long as you do not make profit from the copies. This is God's work and I don't want anyone to profit from it in a material way.
Bibliographical Information
Derickson, Stanley. "Commentary on Mark 14". "Derickson's Notes on Selected Books". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/sdn/mark-14.html.