The Plot to Kill Jesus
1Two days before the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread, # 14:1 To commemorate the “passing over” of the death angel over the homes of the Hebrew people in Egypt, God instituted these days of celebration. It was an eight-day observance that began with the Passover and included the Feast of Unleavened Bread. See Ex. 12:15–20; 34:18. Some believe there could have been 250,000 pilgrims who flocked to Jerusalem to observe the celebrations. Jesus, our Passover Lamb, was killed on the day of Passover. the leading priests and religious scholars were committed to finding a way to secretly arrest Jesus and have him executed. 2They agreed that their plot could not succeed if they carried it out during the days of the feast, for they said, “There could be a riot among the people.”
Jesus Is Anointed for His Death and Burial
3Now Jesus was in Bethany, in the home of Simon, a man Jesus had healed of leprosy. # 14:3 We are all cleansed lepers, symbolized by Simon. Christ left the religious structure of the temple and went into the house of a leper. Former “lepers” are now the true temple of God. And as he was reclining at the table, # 14:3 In the time of Jesus, meals were not eaten sitting at a table, but rather while reclining on one’s side before a low table. There are two suppers mentioned in this chapter. At one, Jesus was a guest; at the other, he was the host. a woman came into the house, with an alabaster flask # 14:3 An alabaster flask would itself be considered a luxury item in that day. Alabaster was a type of gypsum, very white and possibly translucent. It was found in caves and in limestone deposits. filled with the highest quality of fragrant and expensive oil. # 14:3 This was spikenard (or nard), a spice taken from a plant that grows in northern India near the Himalayas. This costly perfume would have been carried over land to the Middle East. Many believe this jar of spikenard would have cost the average worker a year’s wages. It was a common practice among the Jews to prepare a body for burial with fragrant ointment. John records that it was about twelve ounces of perfume, which would have dripped down all of Jesus’ garments to his feet (John 12:3). She came to Jesus, and with a gesture of extreme devotion, she broke the flask and poured out the precious oil over his head. 4But some were highly indignant when they saw this, and they complained to one another, saying, “What a total waste! 5It could have been sold for a great sum, # 14:5 Or “three hundred denarii,” which is equivalent to nearly a year’s salary. Works of charity are important, but they can never replace our devotion to Christ. and the money could have benefited the poor.” So they scolded her harshly.
6Jesus said to them, “Leave her alone! Why are you so critical of this woman? She has honored me with this beautiful act of kindness. 7You will always have the poor, whom you can help whenever you want, but you will not always have me. 8When she poured the fragrant oil over me, she was preparing my body in advance of my burial. # 14:8 It is possible that when the Roman soldiers pierced Jesus’ feet and placed the crown of thorns on his head, they could have smelled this fragrant oil. She has done all that she could to honor me. 9I promise you that as this wonderful gospel spreads all over the world, the story of her lavish devotion to me will be mentioned in memory of her.” # 14:9 Jesus’ prophecy is that her sacrifice and love would be included in the Gospel account. Her act of devotion is mentioned in three of the four Gospels. You can’t read the New Testament without knowing of her passionate act of worship. The gospel will always give birth to hearts filled with passion for Jesus.
Judas Schemes to Betray Jesus
10One of the twelve apostles, Judas Iscariot, # 14:10 Or “Judas the locksmith.” Judas is the name Judah. Iscariot was not his last name. There are two possibilities for the meaning of Iscariot. Some believe it is taken from a Hebrew word that means “lock.” Judah the locksmith. He most likely was the one who locked the collection bag, which means he had the key and could pilfer the fund at will. It’s his sad history that he wanted to lock up Jesus and control him for his own ends. Other scholars see the possibility that Iscariot is actually “Ish [man] of Kerioth” (a town once situated south of Hebron). This would mean Judas was the only non-Galilean among the Twelve. went to the leading priests to inform them of his willingness to betray Jesus into their hands. 11They were delighted to hear this and agreed to pay him for it. # 14:11 This was thirty pieces of silver, the going price of a slave. See Ex. 21:32 and Matt. 26:15. So immediately Judas began to look for the right opportunity to betray him.
12On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover Lamb is sacrificed, Jesus’ disciples asked him, “Where would you like us to prepare the Passover meal # 14:12 That is, “the Passover seder.” for you?”
13So he sent two of his disciples ahead into Jerusalem with these instructions: “Make your way into the city and watch for a man carrying a pitcher of water. Follow him, 14and say to the owner of whatever house he enters, ‘The Teacher wants to ask you: “Do you have my room ready where I can eat the Passover meal with my disciples?” ’ 15And he will show you a large upstairs room ready and with a table set. Make preparations for us there.”
16So they went into the city and found everything to be exactly like Jesus had prophesied, and they prepared for him the Passover meal. # 14:16 This miracle account shows that Jesus had revelation knowledge and prophetic insight into the future. The disciples encountered the man, just like Jesus had said. Carrying water was a task given to women, making it easy to spot a man carrying a water jug. Also, it was somewhat of a miracle that during the feast days, with a quarter of a million pilgrims celebrating Passover in Jerusalem, there would be a large room like this unoccupied. This was the last Passover feast in God’s economy, as the shadow of Passover was fulfilled at the cross, where Jesus was crucified. Passover is now replaced for believers by the communion we share at the Lord’s Supper. See 1 Cor. 5:7–8. 17And when evening came, he entered the house and went upstairs with his twelve disciples. 18Over dinner, while they were reclining around the table, Jesus said, “Listen to the truth: One of you eating here with me is about to betray me.”
19Feeling deeply troubled by these words, one after another asked him, “Is it I?”
20He answered, “It is one of you twelve who has shared meals with me as an intimate friend. # 14:20 Or “one who dips with me in the bowl.” This is a figure of speech for an intimate friend. 21All that was prophesied of me, the Son of Man, is destined to soon take place, # 14:21 Or “The Son of Man will go where it is written that he must go.” but it will be disastrous for the one who betrays the Son of Man. It would be far better for him if he had never been born!”
Jesus Shares Communion with His Twelve
22As they were dining, Jesus took the bread and blessed it, and broke it, # 14:22 Although the Greek word klao means to “break bread,” it is better understood as tearing a round loaf of flatbread in half. The symbolism of this communion meal was fulfilled by Jesus giving us his body on the cross. Believers today now feast, not on the crucified body of Jesus, but on the substance of the glorified body of the resurrected Christ. and gave it to his disciples. He said to them, “Receive this; it is my body.” 23Then taking the cup of wine and giving thanks to the Father, he declared the new covenant with them. # 14:23 As translated from the Aramaic. And as each one drank from the cup, 24he said to them, “This is my blood, which seals the new # 14:24 A few Greek manuscripts do not have the word new. It is included in the Aramaic and the majority of Greek texts. This new covenant is a better covenant because it is established on better promises. In this new covenant, God freely gives us forgiveness, life, salvation, and every heavenly spiritual blessing. See Eph. 1:3; Heb. 8:6–13; 9:16–17. Jesus serves his disciples the bread and the cup (the blood or wine), which means he is serving us his death and resurrection. This is now our feast and our constant supply of life (John 6:51). covenant poured out for many. 25I tell you the truth, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the day comes when we drink it together in the kingdom feast of my Father.” # 14:25 We are now in the realm of the kingdom of God. The Holy Spirit brings us into the body of Christ and into the reality of God’s kingdom realm. It is growing and increasing in scope, and every time believers drink of the cup of communion, Jesus is present with us. It is the Lord’s Table, not ours. This was a prophecy of what would happen in just a matter of days from then, as believers would break bread together in remembrance of what Jesus had done for them. See Acts 2:42. Jesus now drinks it with us in a new way, and not just once a year at Passover, but every time we worship him by taking communion. 26Then they sang a psalm # 14:26 Or “a hymn.” The Aramaic is “They offered praise.” It was the custom after celebrating the Passover seder to conclude with singing one of the Hallel psalms (Pss. 115–118). and afterwards left for the Mount of Olives.
Jesus Prophesies Peter’s Denial
27Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away and desert me. # 14:27 Or “You will all fall into a trap and be ensnared.” This will fulfill the prophecy of the Scripture that says:
I will strike down the shepherd
and all the sheep will scatter. # 14:27 See Zech. 13:7.
28“But after I am risen, # 14:28 Jesus knew he would triumph over death and be raised from the dead. I will go ahead of you to Galilee.”
29Then Peter spoke up and said, “Even if all the rest lose their faith and fall away, I will still be beside you!”
30Jesus said, “Mark my words, Peter. This very night, before the rooster crows twice a few hours from now, you will deny that you know me three times.”
31But Peter was insistent and replied emphatically, “I will absolutely not! Under no circumstances will I ever deny you—even if I have to die with you!” And all the others repeated the same thing.
Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32Then Jesus led his disciples to an orchard called “The Oil Press.” # 14:32 Or “Gethsemane,” the Aramaic word for (olive) “oil press.” This was located on the lower slope of the Mount of Olives near the brook Kidron. King David left Jerusalem weeping as he crossed the Kidron Valley and went up the Mount of Olives (2 Sam. 15:23). Now the Son of David comes into that valley with great sorrow on his way into Jerusalem to be crucified. Kidron comes from the Hebrew verb qadar, which means “to grow dark” or “to mourn.” He told them, “Sit here while I pray awhile.” 33He took Peter, Jacob, and John with him. # 14:33 Peter, Jacob (James), and John were the three disciples who were witnesses of Christ’s glory when he was transfigured before their eyes. On the eve of his crucifixion, Jesus longed to have his three closest disciples nearby. An intense feeling of great horror plunged his soul into deep sorrow. 34And he said to them, “My heart is overwhelmed with anguish and crushed with grief. # 14:34 The Greek words used here in vv. 33–34 are unusual. The terms are extraordinarily emotional and expressive, describing the deepest feelings a person could experience. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
35He walked a short distance away, and being overcome with grief, he threw himself facedown on the ground. He prayed that if it were possible, he would not have to experience this hour of suffering. 36He prayed, “Abba, my Father, all things are possible for you. Please—remove this cup of suffering! # 14:36 The cup becomes a metaphor of the great suffering that Jesus had to endure that night in the garden. However, Jesus was not asking the Father for a way around the cross. Rather, he was asking God to keep him alive through this night of suffering so that he could carry the cross and take away our sins. According to the prophecies of the Old Testament, Jesus was to be pierced on a cross. We learn from Heb. 5:7 that Jesus’ prayer was answered that night as the cup was indeed taken from him. An angel of God came to strengthen him and deliver him from premature death (Matt. 26:39). The “cup” he was asking God to let pass from him was the cup of premature death that Satan was trying to make him drink in the garden, not the death he would experience the next day on the cross. He had already sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44), but the prophecies had to be fulfilled of being pierced on a cross for our transgressions. God answered his cry and he lived through the agony of Gethsemane so that he could be our sacrifice for sin on Calvary. Jesus did not waver in the garden. We have a brave Savior. Yet what I want is not important, for I only desire to fulfill your plan for me.”
37Then he came back to his three disciples and found them all sound asleep. He awakened Peter and said to him, “Simon, are you asleep? Do you lack the strength to stay awake with me for even just an hour? 38Keep alert and pray that you’ll be spared from this time of testing. For your spirit is eager enough, but your humanity is feeble.” # 14:38 The Aramaic is “the flesh is failing.”
39Then he left them a second time and went to pray the same thing. 40Afterward, he came back to the disciples and found them sound asleep, for they couldn’t keep their eyes open and they didn’t know what to say to him.
41After praying for the third time, he returned to his disciples and awoke them again, saying, “Do you plan on sleeping and resting indefinitely? That’s enough sleep! The end has come and the hour has arrived # 14:41 Or “It is received in full; the hour has come.” Although this clause is not found in the most reliable Greek texts, it is included in the Aramaic and a few Greek manuscripts (Codex D). for the Son of Man to be handed over to the authority of sinful men. 42Get up and let’s go. Don’t you see? My betrayer draws near.”
Jesus’ Betrayal and Arrest
43At that moment Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived, along with a large crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent to arrest Jesus by order of the ruling priests, the religious scholars, and the Jewish leaders. 44Now, Judas, the traitor, had arranged to give them a signal that would identify Jesus, for he had told them, “Jesus is the man I will kiss. So arrest him and take him away.” 45Judas quickly stepped up to Jesus and said, “Rabbi, my teacher!” # 14:45 Notice what Judas did not call Jesus. He did not call him “Lord,” but “teacher.” and he kissed him on both cheeks.
46Then the armed men seized Jesus to arrest him. 47One of the disciples # 14:47 Or “bystanders,” which we know to have included Peter. See John 18:10. pulled out a sword # 14:47 This was a small sword or dagger. and swung it at the servant of Caiaphas, the high priest, slashing off his ear.
48Jesus said to the mob, “Why would you arrest me with swords and clubs as though I were an outlaw? # 14:48 Or “revolutionary.” 49Day after day I sat with you in the temple courts, teaching the people, yet you didn’t arrest me then. But all of this fulfills the prophecies of the Scriptures.” 50At that point all of his disciples ran away and abandoned him.
51There was a young man # 14:51 Traditionally, this young man was thought to be Mark, the author of this Gospel. Mark may be using the common literary device of allusion when speaking of himself. The Greek text uses the word neaniskos, which would mean that the young man was a teenager or in his early twenties. there following Jesus, wearing only a linen sheet wrapped around him. # 14:51 This linen sheet is from the Greek word sindon and occurs in the Synoptic Gospels to describe the linen sheet used for burial cloth. Sindon is also used for the young man (neaniskos) dressed in linen who announced to the women at the tomb that Jesus was alive (Mark 16:5–7). This event can be seen as a foreshadowing of the resurrection, with the symbolism of the burial cloth and the escape from their clutches (in the next verse). Some believe that this young man wrapped in a burial cloth could have been resurrected in the nearby graveyard when Jesus spoke the words “I Am.” 52They tried to arrest him also, but he slipped from their grasp and ran off naked, # 14:52 Or “he was nearly naked,” for in the Jewish culture, if you were in your undergarment, you were considered to be naked. The linen garment (tunic) would point to a family of wealth. We know the weather was somewhat cold that night, for in just a few hours Peter would be standing by a fire, warming his hands. leaving his linen cloth in their hands.
Jesus Condemned by the Religious Leaders
53Those who arrested Jesus led him away to Caiaphas, the high priest, to a meeting where the religious scholars and Jewish leaders were assembled. 54Now, Peter had followed him from a distance all the way to the chief priest’s courtyard. He sat with the guards and was warming himself by the fire.
55The chief priests and the Jewish council of leaders were doing their best to find false charges that they could bring against Jesus and condemn him to death, but they could not find any. 56Many false witnesses came forward, but the evidence could not be corroborated. 57Some came forward and testified against him, saying, 58“We heard him say, ‘I can destroy this temple made with hands and then build another one again in three days not made with hands!’ ” 59Yet even on this point the witnesses did not agree.
60Finally, the chief priest stood up in the middle of them and said to Jesus, “Have you nothing to say about these allegations? Is what they’re saying about you true?”
61But Jesus remained silent before them and did not answer. So the chief priest said to him, “Are you the anointed Messiah, the Son of the Blessed God?”
62Jesus answered him, “I am. And more than that, you are about to see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Almighty and coming in the heavenly clouds!” # 14:62 See Dan. 7:13.
63Then, as an act of outrage, the high priest # 14:63 What a dramatic scene! Two high priests are facing each other: the high priest of the Jewish system and the true High Priest. One is of the order of Aaron; the other of the order of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:11–28). One a sinful man; the other, the sinless Son of God. It is clear from Lev. 21:10 that if a high priest tears his robe he is disqualified from his office. Indeed, Caiaphas is now stepping aside and God’s true High Priest is taking his place. tore his robe and shouted, “No more witnesses are needed, 64for you’ve heard this grievous blasphemy.” Turning to the council he said, “Now, what is your verdict?”
“He’s guilty and deserves the death penalty!” they all answered.
65Then they spat on his face # 14:65 See Isa. 50:6. and blindfolded him. Others struck him over and over with their fists and taunted him by saying, “Prophesy to us! Tell us which one of us is about to hit you next?” And the guards took him and beat him.
66Meanwhile, Peter was sitting below in the courtyard when a girl, a servant of the high priest, came near the fire. 67When she saw Peter there warming himself, she said to him, “I recognize you. You were with that Nazarene, Jesus.”
68But Peter denied it, saying, “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.” Then he went out to the gateway of the courtyard and the rooster crowed. # 14:68 Some manuscripts leave out the last phrase, “and the rooster crowed.”
69When the servant girl noticed him, she said to all the bystanders, “I know this man is one of his followers!”
70Once again, Peter denied it. A short time later, the bystanders said to him, “You must be one of them. You’re a Galilean, like he is, for your accent proves it!” # 14:70 Or “You are also a Galilean.” As a Galilean, Peter spoke a northern dialect of Aramaic that would pronounce certain words slightly differently, much like English is spoken with different accents around the world.
71Peter cursed and said, “I tell you, I don’t know this man you’re talking about!”
72At the same moment Peter spoke those words, the sound of a rooster crowing pierced the night for the second time. And Peter remembered the words Jesus had spoken to him earlier: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” With his heart shattered, Peter broke down and sobbed with bitter tears.