Mark 14

Chapter fourteen is the longest chapter in Mark and primarily covers Jesus’ Passover evening with his disciples. In Mark 14:3-9 Mark recorded the incident when Jesus was anointed with expensive oil. John notes that it was his friend, Mary, who did it before Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem (John 12:1-8). Mark placed it here to show the connection with Judas finally being fed up enough with Jesus to betray him (Mark 14:10-11).

Mark 14:12-21 tells of Jesus’ final Passover meal. Jesus’ foreknowledge of the details of that night is shown in a simple, yet powerful, way – the man, the jar of water, the large room. Whatever was going to happen that night, Jesus made sure his disciples knew that he was in control of the whole event. That control continued throughout the evening as Jesus declared that he was about to be betrayed, that the culprit was sitting at the table with him, and that he knew who it was.

After the Passover meal, Jesus declared that his blood was the blood that would fulfill the covenant, when it was “poured out for many” (Mark 14:22-31). Leaving the Upper Room, Jesus made three more predictions: first, that they would all scatter when he was struck down; second, that he would meet them in Galilee after rising again; and third, that Peter would deny him three times.

Coming “to a place called Gethsemane” Jesus asked the Eleven to wait for him while he prayed, but that they should remain alert (Mark 14:32-42). After a period of time, possibly a full “hour,” Jesus returned to find them sleeping and chided them. This time he told them that they, too, should pray, but they fell asleep again. After the third time of the same thing, it was time to go. Judas arrived with a mob of Temple soldiers, backed with the authority of the religious leaders (Mark 14:43-52). When they tried to arrest Jesus, there was a brief struggle. Mark did not name Peter as the aggressor, possibly out of respect for Peter as his mentor. Just as Jesus had said, “all the disciples left him and fled.” Only Mark notes the young man who, when they tried to arrest him, “ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth behind.” Many scholars think this was a reference to Mark himself, acknowledging his own cowardice as well.

For the rest of the night Jesus was tried in the Jewish court (Mark 14:53-65). The fact that “they did not find anything” proving him guilty of death did not stop them. They were willing to convict him on false testimony that even the witnesses could not agree on. Finally, the high priest asked Jesus the one question he would not ignore: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus answered with the very name of God himself, “I am,” and then quoted from both Psalm 110 and Daniel 7, two of the clearest Messianic passages in the Hebrew text. That was all they needed to condemn him to death for blasphemy. During the trial, Peter was in the courtyard outside of the very building in which Jesus was being tried (Mark 14:66-72). As Jesus claimed his true identity, Peter denied any association with Jesus, even swearing that he had never met him. Then the rooster crowed.