Confraternity Bible: New Testament and Supplemental Commentary

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MARK - Chapter 14

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Mark 14

Supplemental Commentary:

Note.  Only those words and passages which have no parallel in the First Gospel are commented upon here.  For the rest the reader should consult the Commentary on the parallel passages in Matthew.


1.  The Last Supper  14, 1-31

14, 1-2:  The Council.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 1-5 and Luke 22, 1 f.

14, 3-9:  The Anointing at Bethany.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 6-13 and John 12, 1-8.    3.  Genuine nard:  see Commentary on John 12, 3.  The ointment was in the form of an oil which could be poured out of an alabaster jar.  The alabaster jar, if we judge by the specimens found by archeologists, was shaped somewhat like a bottle.  Its rather narrow opening was sealed with wax, and it was this wax and not the jar itself that Mary broke; the Greek word which is here translated breaking signifies properly "crushing, pushing down."

14, 10-11:  The Betrayal.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 14-16 and Luke 22, 3-6.

14, 12-16:  Preparation.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 17-19 and Luke 22, 7-13.    13 f.  Two of his disciples:  Luke tells us that they were Peter and John.  These strange directions were probably due to Christ's desire to keep the exact location of the house a secret from Judas and thereby ensure safety from His enemies during the Last Supper.  There will meet you a man carrying a pitcher: the sense seems to be, "Follow the first man that you meet who carries a pitcher," etc.  Perhaps the sight would be rather unusual, since the task of fetching water from the public fountains was generally performed by women.  This man is certainly distinct from the master of the house.  The latter was no doubt a disciple of Christ.  His house seems to have been the same as that in which the Apostles assembled after the Ascension (Acts 1, 13) and identical with "the house of Mary, the mother of John who was surnamed Mark" (Acts 12, 12).  If that is so, it adds probability to the opinion that the "certain young man" mentioned in 14, 51 f was St. Mark himself.

14, 17-21:  The Betrayer.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 20-25; Luke 22, 14.21-23; John 13, 21-30.

14, 22-25: The Holy Eucharist.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 26-29; Luke 22, 18-20; 1 Cor. 11, 23-25.

14, 26-31:  Peter's Denials Predicted.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 30-35; Luke 22, 31-34; John 13, 36-38.  Mark alone, both in the prediction and in its fulfillment, mentions the cock crowing twice.

2.  The Passion and Death of Jesus  14, 32 -- 15, 47

14, 32-42:  The Agony in the Garden.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 36-46 and Luke 22, 40-46.    36.  Abba is the Aramaic word for Father; cf. Rom. 8, 15; Gal. 4, 6.    41.  It is enough: this is the Vulgate's rendering of a Greek word which means literally "it holds off"; the exact significance of this word as used here is uncertain; possibly the sense is, "It is no use," i.e., of watching any more.

14, 43-52:  Jesus Arrested.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 47-56; Luke 22, 47-53; John 18, 2-11.    44.  Mark alone records the words of Judas, And lead him away safely: Judas knew that Jesus had previously slipped from the hands of His enemies on several occasions; cf. Luke 4, 29 f; John 8, 59; 12, 36.    51 f.  Peculiar to Mark.  According to a probable opinion, which, however, was unknown to the Fathers, this certain young man was St. Mark himself.  Assuming that the Last Supper took place in the house of Mary, Mark's mother (see Commentary on 14, 13) the band led by Judas may have first sought Jesus there; Mark, aroused from sleep by this excitement, may have followed them to Gethsemani.  The linen cloth wrapped about his naked body seems to have been a bedsheet, for he slipped out of it very easily in order to evade his captors.  Mark mentions this otherwise unimportant incident to show the rough character of the mob with Judas, and perhaps, if he is the young man in question, to indicate this one little appearance he made in the drama of Christ's life.

14, 53-65:  Jesus before the Sanhedrin.  Parallel in Matt. 26, 57-68; cf. also Luke 22, 63-71 and John 18, 13.19-24.

14, 66-72:  Peter's Denial.  Parallels in Matt. 26, 69-75; Luke 22, 54-62; John 18, 17 f.25-27.    72.  He began to weep: the Greek is, literally, "Having thrown upon, he wept"; but the meaning of this obscure expression is entirely uncertain.  Besides the conjecture of the Vulgate, other suggestions are; "Reflecting upon it, he wept"; "Casting himself upon the ground, he wept"; "Covering his head, he wept."

Confraternity Bible:

The Council   1 Now it was two days before the Passover and the feast of the Unleavened Bread; the chief priests and the Scribes were seeking how they might seize him by stealth and put him to death; 2* for they said, "Not on the feast, or there might be a riot among the people."

The Anointing at Bethany  3 And when he was at Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, and was reclining at table, there came a woman with an alabaster jar of ointment, genuine nard of great value; and breaking the alabaster jar, she poured it on his head.  4 But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "To what purpose has this waste of the ointment been made? 5 for this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor."  And they grumbled at her.

6 But Jesus said, "Let her be.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done me a good turn.  7 For the poor you have always with you, and whenever you want you can do good to them; but you do not always have me.  8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body in preparation for burial.  9 Amen I say to you, wherever in the whole world this gospel is preached, this also that she has done shall be told in memory of her."

The Betrayal  10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray him to them.  11 And they, when they heard it, were glad, and promised to give him money.  And he sought out an opportunity to betray him.

Preparation  12 And on the first day of the Unleavened Bread, when it was customary for them to sacrifice the passover, the disciples said to him, "Where dost thou want us to go and prepare for thee to eat the passover?"  13 And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, "Go into the city, and there will meet you a man carrying a pitcher of water; follow him.  14 And wherever he enters, say to the master of the house, 'The Master say, "Where is my guest chamber, that I may eat the passover there with my disciples?"'  15 And he will show you a large upper room furnished; there make ready for us."  16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found just as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.

The Betrayer  17 Now when evening arrived, he came with the Twelve.  18 And while they were at table eating, Jesus said, "Amen I say to you, one of you will betray me---one who is eating with me."  19 But they began to be sad, and to say to him one by one, "Is it I?"  20 But he said to them, "It is one of the Twelve, who dips into the dish with me.  21 The Son of Man indeed goes his way, as it is written of him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed!  It were better for that man if he had not been born."

The Holy Eucharist  22 And while they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessing it, he broke and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body."  23 And taking a cup and giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank of it; 24 and he said to them, "This is my blood of the new covenant, which is being shed for many.  25 Amen I say to you, that I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day when I shall drink it new in the kingdom of God."

Peter's Denials Predicted  26 And after reciting a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.  27* And Jesus said to them, "You will all be scandalized this night; for it is written,
'I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.' 
28 But after I have risen, I will go before you into Galilee."  29 But Peter said to him, "Even though all shall be scandalized, yet not I."  30 Jesus said to him, "Amen I say to thee, today, this very night, before a cock crows twice, thou wilt deny me three times."  31 But he went on speaking more vehemently, "Even if I should have to die with thee, I will not deny thee!"  And they all said the same thing.

The Agony in the Garden  32 And they came to a country place called Gethsemani, and he said to his disciples, "Sit down here, while I pray."  33 And he took with him Peter and James and John, and he began to feel dread and to be exceedingly troubled.  34 And he said to them, "My soul is sad, even unto death.  Wait here and watch."  35 And going forward a little, he fell on the ground, and began to pray that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him; 36 and he said, "Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee.  Remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou willest."

37 Then he came and found them asleep.  And he said to Peter, "Simon, dost thou sleep?  Couldst thou not watch one hour?  38  Watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation.  The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."  39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words over.  40 And he came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy.  And they did not know what answer to make to him.  41 And he came the third time, and said to them, "Sleep on now, and take your rest!  It is enough; the hour has come.  Behold, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  42 Rise, let us go.  Behold, he who will betray me is at hand."

Jesus Arrested  43 And while he was yet speaking, Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, came and with him a great crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the Scribes and the elders.  44 Now his betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "Whomever I kiss, that is he; lay hold of him, and lead him safely away."  45 And when he came, he went straight up to him, and said, "Rabbi!" and kissed him.  46 And they seized him and held  him.

47 But one of the bystanders drew his sword, and struck the servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.  48 And Jesus, addressing them, said, "As against a robber you have come out, with swords and clubs, to seize me.  49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and you did not lay hands on me.  But it is so that the Scriptures may be fulfilled."

50 Then all his disciples left him and fled.  51 And a certain young man was following him, having a linen cloth wrapped about his naked body, and they seized him.  52 But leaving the linen cloth behind, he fled away from them naked.

Jesus before the Sanhedrin  53* And they led Jesus away to the high priest; and all the priests and the Scribes and the elders gathered together.  54 But Peter followed him at a distance, even to the courtyard of the high priest, and was sitting with the attendants at the fire and warming himself.  55 Now the chief priests and all the Sanhedrin were seeking witnesses against Jesus, that they might put him to death, but they found none.  56 For while many bore false witness against him, their evidence did not agree.  57 And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, 58 "We ourselves have heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple built by hands, and after three days I will build another, not built by hands.'"  59 And even then their evidence did not agree.

60 Then the high priest, standing up in their midst, asked Jesus, saying, "Dost thou make no answer to the things that these men prefer against thee?"  61 But he kept silence, and made no answer.  Again the high priest began to ask him, and said to him, "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?"  62 And Jesus said to him, "I am.  And you shall see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven."

63 But the high priest tore his garments and said, "What further need have we of witnesses?  64 You have heard the blasphemy.  What do you think?"  And they all condemned him as liable to death.  65 And some began to spit on him, and to blindfold him, and to buffet him, and to say to him, "Prophesy."  And the attendants struck him with blows of their hands.

Peter's Denial  66 And while Peter was below in the courtyard, there came one of the maidservants of the high priest; 67 and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him and said, "Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth."  68 But he denied it, saying, "I neither know nor understand what thou art saying."  And he went outside into the vestibule; and the cock crowed.  69 And the maidservant, seeing him again, began to say to the bystanders, "This is one of them."  70 But again he denied it.  And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, "Surely thou art one of them, for thou art also a Galilean."  71 But he began to curse and to swear: "I do not know this man you are talking about."  72 And at that moment a cock crowed a second time.  And Peter remembered the word that Jesus had said to him, "Before a cock crows twice, thou wilt deny me three times."  And he began to weep.


2: Not on the feast: the crowds of pilgrims were sometimes great enough to double the normal population of the Holy City.

27: Zach. 13, 7.

53: Jesus was first cited before the Sanhedrin, the highest ecclesiastical and civil court of the Jews.  Here He was unjustly condemned for blasphemy, but the court could not execute the death penalty.  Hence Jesus was sent to Pilate, who alone had the power to inflict it.