About Jesus     Steve Sweetman

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ch. 14:1-12    ch. 14:12-27    ch. 14:28-32    ch. 14:33-43   

ch. 14:44-53    ch. 14:54-66    ch. 14:67-72

Jesus Anointed At Bethany   (ch. 14:1-12)


In verses 1 and 2 we see it is still Tuesday night when the Jewish leaders decide not to arrest Jesus at that point because the Passover was only 2 days away, thus we know it was Tuesday night. The leaders were in fear of the large crowd that was in Jerusalem because of the yearly Passover events and they didn’t want to cause a disturbance.


From verse 3 onward Mark describes a meal that was made for Jesus in the house of Simon the leper. Both Matthew and Mark comment on this meal but if you want to learn more you can read John.  One thing we learn from John is that this event happened 6 days before the Passover, so that would make this event on the previous Friday to the events that Mark has been describing in the last couple of chapters.  Therefore this would have taken place before Jesus overthrew the money changers tables in the Temple and even before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.  I can’t tell you why Matthew and Mark put this event where they do in their narrative.


In verse 3 we see Jesus reclining at the table.  We should remember that in those days people did not sit on chairs at a table as we do today.  They sat down, or reclined on cushions. 


Mark tells us of a woman who anoints Jesus’ head with expensive perfume.  He and Matthew skip over much of the details, but John tells us that this woman was Mary.


Also in verse 3 we see that in this jar was a perfume called “nard”.  This nard was poured over Jesus’ head. Nard is from a certain plant that is grown in the middle east and especially in India. When it was poured over Jesus’ head, because of its nature, it would have evaporated quickly.  It’s not an oily substance that would have stained clothing or taken long to dry, but it did leave a sweet smell on His body for a long while.


We learn from John that this nard was in an alabaster jar, meaning a semi-transparent type of jar that had to be broken in order for the nard to be released.  This was something very special and only for a special occasion would a woman break the jar and remove the nard.


In verses 4 through 6 we see that some people did not like the idea of Mary wasting this perfume, as they put it.  We know from John that most of the complaining came from Judas. The perfume would have been worth a years salary so the complaint was instead of wasting it by pouring it over Jesus, she should have sold it and given the money to the poor.  Well, you might think that was not a bad idea, but Jesus had other thoughts.


Judas and the others “rebuked” Mary sharply Mark says.  Most likely the tone of their voice along with what they were saying caused an immediate reaction in Jesus and He did not let the subject drop away.


In verse 6 Jesus sharply rebukes the complainers by telling them to “leave her alone” and to “stop bothering her”.  Mary doesn’t appear to defend herself, Jesus does that for her.  And this is often the case.  We don’t always have to defend ourselves. 


Jesus saw what Mary did in a much different light than the complainers, and of course, Judas being the number one complainer was more interested in money than feeding the poor or honouring Jesus.  Jesus viewed this as a “beautiful” jester on the part of Mary.  She willingly gave up something extremely expensive for Jesus, and Jesus was greatly honoured.


In verse 7 Jesus says “the poor you always have with you and you can help them at any times”.  Then He says that they won’t always have Him.  In fact within the week He’d die on the cross then He’d come back for a few short weeks until He returned to Heaven.


One might wonder about what Jesus says here.  Is He being selfish?  Should not have He agreed that a whole years worth of income could have helped the poor immensely?  Seemingly Jesus didn’t think this way at all, and it’s not that He has no interest for the poor.  As a matter of fact He did and the number one complainer had no interest for the poor. 


Jesus was defending Mary’s act of honour, and sometimes honouring Jesus, if not all times, comes before helping the poor.  We do help the poor and we should not neglect the poor but what Jesus is saying here is that He comes first.  We first honour Him and then we honour the poor and do those things which He has asked us to do concerning the poor.  Without honouring Jesus first, and without spending time with Him, our works of service don’t count much in the eyes of God.  They may indeed help the people you’re serving, but such serving is outside the sphere of faith.


When reading this verse I often think of Watchman Nee’s little book called “Why This Waste”.  He speaks of lives given totally to Jesus and His service, lives that could have been very productive in a worldly sense but aren’t because they’ve dedicated themselves to Jesus and spend their lives on Him. The world looks on such people as missionaries and sees a waste of  lives, while Jesus looks on them and sees those wasting their lives for Him, which is far from a waste.


In verse 8 Jesus says that “she did what she could”.  This means that at that moment she did the most honourable thing that she could possibly do.  All the complainers could do is complain, something that is far from honourable.


Also in verse 8 Jesus states the reason why Mary did this.  He says that she anointed His body ahead of His burial.  Normally one would anoint a dead body with perfume to take away the bad odor, but Mary anoints Jesus’ body before He dies.


The question is always asked.  Did Mary really know that Jesus was going to die?  Some say she didn’t.  She unconsciously did this.  But if she didn’t think Jesus was going to die, why would Jesus say this.  I think Mary knew what was going to happen.  As a matter of fact, they all should have known because Jesus told them many times of His death but many just didn’t clue in, but Mary did.


In verses 10 and 11 we learn that this was the event that motivated Judas to go to the Jewish leaders and make a deal with them to betray Jesus into their hands.  The whole event was over money.  We know that Judas was a thief from the beginning.  We know all he was interested in was money, and when he saw this apparent waste, that triggered him to give into Satan’s attempt to use him against Jesus.  He would thus be paid to hand Jesus over to the Jews.


This section ends with Judas going out to find the Jewish leadership so he could make a deal with them to arrest  Jesus.  This might be the reason why this section seems to be out of place. The chapter opens on Tuesday, but suddenly switches to the previous Friday.  Yet this add section is linked together by verse 1 and verse 14.  Verse 14 states that Judas went to find the Jewish leadership to help them arrest Jesus.  Verse 1 tells us that they weren’t prepared to do that quite yet. 



The Lord’s Supper (ch. 14:12-27)


In verse 12 we see that Mark now jumps forward to the “first Day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread”.  This would be on Thursday.  What Jesus did on Wednesday is unknown.  Neither of the four gospel writers comment on what Jesus did on Wednesday


The words “first day of the Feast of the Unleavened Bread” is in reference to the eight days that Jews would bake and eat bread with no leaven in it.  This also was the Day of Passover when Jews would kill and eat the Passover Lamb. 


In verse 12 also we see some of the disciples asking Jesus where He wanted to eat the Passover, so they could go and prepare the meal.  Thus we see that it doesn’t appear that Jesus helped make the meal. 


In verse 13 Jesus tells two of the disciples “to go into the city”.  There’s not really any dispute among scholars to what city Jesus is talking about here.  He wants these two men to go into Jerusalem.


The instructions that Jesus gives these two men are that they will see a man carrying a jar of water.  They are to ask him that the Teacher requires a room to eat the Passover in with His disciples.  That man will have an upper room that is all ready and furnished for this meal.


Mark doesn’t tell us, but Luke tells us that the two men that Jesus sent was Peter and John.  The question is asked, did either Peter or John, or even Jesus know this man.  We may not know the answer for sure.  It is clear to me that Jesus at least new the man, or knew of him and his room through the Spirit, one or the other. 


It is also unlikely that Peter and John returned to Bethany, to meet up with Jesus and then return to Jerusalem to eat the Passover. That’ assuming that Jesus actually spent Wednesday night in Bethany.  We don’t know that for sure either. 


Verse 16 simply tells us that Peter and John did as Jesus told them and everything was exactly as Jesus said it would be.


Verse 17 says that “when evening came Jesus arrived with the Twelve…”   Peter and John most likely prepared the meal and met up with Jesus and the other ten men at some pre-arranged place and then they all went to the upper room.


We note that the Passover meal was in the evening. This would be our Thursday evening, but Jews begin their day at sundown. So our Thursday evening would be their Friday.


John goes into greater detail than does Mark and the other gospel writers about this meal.   If you want to see more details you can read John and my commentary on John.  Mark simply says here that the Twelve and Jesus recline at the table and Jesus tells them that He will be betrayed by one of them that eats with Him.  How difficult this must have been for Jesus.  I don’t think that this was a joyous occasion for Jesus and for  the Twelve. 


The Passover meal consisted of a fixed order in the ceremony.  1 – first cup of wine with its blessing, 2 – eating of bitter herbs that would recall the bitter life in Egypt, 3 – eating of the unleavened bread and the roasted lamb, 4 – the head of the house dips the bitter herbs into a sauce and prays and then the rest follow him, 5- drinking of water and wine mixture while he explains the meaning of the meal, 6 – a Psalm is sung with a drink from a cup of wine, 7 – the father washes his hands, takes 2 cakes of bread,  breaks one and lays it on the unbroken one, blesses the bread, wraps a broken piece of bread in herbs, dips it in a sauce and eats it along with a piece of lamb, 8 – all join in eating. It was at this point that the exposure of Judas was made. 9 – the father would eat the last pieces of the lamb and then came the third cup of wine. 10 – another Psalm was sung along with fourth and sometimes fifth cup of wine.


It is interesting to note that concerning Judas, Jesus doesn’t mention him by name. Jesus doesn’t say that Judas will betray Him.  He simply says that the one who dips bread with me will betray me, making the whole event much more dramatic.  Can you possibly think of how everyone would feel when they saw Judas dip his piece of bread in the sauce with Jesus.  At that point everyone would know Jesus’ betrayer without Jesus mentioning his name.  What a solemn  moment that was.


Verse 19 says that everyone was “saddened and one by one they said, ‘surely not I’”.  Everyone just knew that they’d never betray Jesus their Lord, but we know better.  Judas of course betrayed Jesus to His death. Then many of the others betrayed Jesus as well, though their betrayal was not as serious.  I’m reminded that Jesus told Peter that He’d pray for him so his faith would not fail after Peter’s denial.  We all deny Jesus from time to time in many ways, but what Jesus is most concerned about is our faith, or our trust in Him.  Though we deny Him from time to time, we are to trust Him to our deaths.


In verse 20 we see Jesus with the specific words stating the one who dips bread with Him would betray Him. We note that Jesus didn’t just come out and say that Judas would betray Him.  The way in which this event unfolded was much more dramatic.  If Jesus had of simply said, “Judas will betray me”, there would have been no suspense and would be far lass dramatic. I don’t think that Jesus intended to overly dramatize this, but it turned out to be so, and I also believe it was part of Jesus place in connection with the battle that was now raging in Judas’ heart and mind.


As Jesus was saying these things the other eleven men were wondering who the betrayer was, yet with Judas, the devil was sitting on his shoulders enticing Judas to give into Him as Jesus spoke.  What was really gong on here was a battle between Jesus and satan.  No one in the room could see this battle, only Jesus and Judas.   


Some may wonder about Judas. Did he repent upon his suicide?  Will he be in Heaven?  I don’t think so.  In verse 21 Jesus tells the Twelve that He will go as the Scriptures say, but wow to the one who betrays Him for it would have been better if he had never been born.  To me this is the clear answer.  Judas will not be found in Heaven. 


I wonder what Judas might have thought when he heard these words from Jesus.  I think that the Holy Spirit always spoke through Jesus and I don’t think these words were any exception.  I think Judas’ heart must have been pricked with these words. And as John tells us, satan had already entered Judas.  It was too late for him to change his mind, or so I think at present.


In verse 22 Jesus took some bread, gave thanks, broke it in pieces and gave the pieces to the disciples.   Most scholars feel that this took place during the eight step in the Passover meal.  What Jesus does here seems to be an addition to what would have normally happened in this step.  This is one reason why scholars believe what Jesus was really doing here was instituting a new Passover meal, which we call the Lord’s Supper. This would replace the Passover and would be for New Testament Christians.


One thing to remember about the bread that Jesus broke is that it wasn’t a loaf as we would know it.  Remember there was no leaven in the bread to make the loaf rise.  It was just a very thin flat piece of bread.


Many people point out the fact that Jesus “broke the bread” and say this symbolizes Jesus body being broken on the cross.  But we need to remember is that no bones were broken in Jesus’ body.  Some liturgies actually say, “take and eat for this is my body broken for you”.  By saying this, you’re saying that the breaking of the bread by Jesus symbolizes His broken body on the cross.  It just might be that there is no symbolism.  Jesus had to break the bread to distribute it to twelve men.  In reference to the bread He just said, “take it, this is my body”.  No words about being broken. 


Once  Jesus passes out the broken bread He says, “take it, this is my body”.  Luke records a few more words. Luke adds “given for you”.  Note it’s not “broken for you”. The words “this is my body” have caused more trouble and debates between theologians over the years than most other words found in the Bible. 


This is the question.  Did Jesus offer these men a piece of bread, or a piece of His body?  He hands them bread, but He calls it His body.  He did not say that this piece of bread represents His body. He says that it is His body.


Catholic doctrine teaches that this bread became the body of Jesus once it was digested into the stomach of the Twelve.  Most Protestant believe the bread was purely symbolic even though Jesus said it was His body.


This question is hard to answer. I tend to believe that the bread was symbolic and Jesus didn’t have to say it was symbolic for it to be symbolic.  It could have been simply understood based on simple logic, even though I’m not convinced the Twelve did understand. 


In verse 23 Jesus took a cup of wine and gave thanks and offered it to the Twelve as well.  In verse 24 we have the same wording as above.  Jesus says, “this is my blood…”   Again, if I believe the bread was symbolic, I’d have to believe the wine was symbolic.


Jesus says that “this (the wine) is the blood of the covenant”.  Some manuscripts say “new covenant”.  If Jesus actually said the word “new” then the idea that He is presenting is clear. Yet even if He didn’t put the word “new” before covenant, I believe it is understood to be new. 


By saying this is the blood of the new covenant, Jesus is now introducing to the Twelve the truth that the Old Covenant as seen in the Old Testament is now coming to an end, and a New Covenant will now replace the old one.


A lot could be said about covenant here, but I won’t get into all the details.  What I would like to say is that God  never made the Old Covenant or the New Covenant with man.  He made it with Himself.  God simply agreed with Himself to bless men and women with salvation if they so chose to receive this blessing.


Jesus says that His blood would be poured out for many.  It is my thinking that the “many” spoken of here are the many that will receive salvation.  It’s not the “many” that God predestined.  I will not speak further on this topic. You can read my commentary on Romans chapter 8 to see my thinking.


Jesus’ body wasn’t broken on the cross, but His blood was literally poured out of His body. We should note that point.


This somewhat simple little event within the Passover meal has now turned into one of the sacraments of the church.  Some denominations make more of this than others.  It does appear to me that Jesus was adding a new part to the Passover for particular reasons. But it also appears that He wanted us to partake in like fashion as a testimony to the cross.  In 1 Cor. 11 Paul speaks of the Lord’s Supper as if it was a regular and accepted tradition in the early church. Also, the way Paul speaks of this meal tells me that it was Jesus’ thinking for us to remember the cross with this tradition.     


In verse 25 Jesus tells the Twelve that He will not drink of “the fruit of the vine” until He drinks it anew in the Kingdom of God.  You might have noticed that in the last few verses there is no mention of wine, only the cup.  But here Jesus says what was in the cup, and it’s the fruit of the vine, and this drink was not grape juice.  You cannot have fresh grape juice in the early spring of the year.


So Jesus says that He would not drink wine until He drank it again anew in the Kingdom of God.  A couple questions should be asked here.  When Jesus said He was not going to drink wine until the Kingdom of God came, was He talking about simply drinking wine, or was He speaking of the wine of the Lord’s Supper.  Most commentators believe that He was speaking of the specific wine that He was drinking as He instituted the Lord’s Supper.  There’s a good chance that Jesus drank wine after His resurrection and before He returned to Heaven.


The second question is, “when does the Kingdom of God come”?  The Kingdom of God came spiritually in Acts 2.  The Kingdom of God will come materially and in its fullness when Jesus returns to set up His Kingdom on earth.  Jesus never partook of the Lord’s Supper in the present spiritual Kingdom of God that we presently live in.  Yet as you read the end of the Book of Revelation you’ll see the great banquet feast of the Lamb. It is my thinking that at least part of that feast will be the Lord’s Supper and Jesus will drink the wine at that point with you and I who have been found as redeemed people. 


Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial (ch. 14:27-32)


Concerning the disciples denying Jesus, we first think of Judas, and then we might think of Peter’s denial.  But here in verse 27 Jesus clearly says that they “all will fall away”, not just Peter and Judas. 


The Greek word translated as “fall away” means “to be trapped” as a fisherman would catch a fish with a hook. They were so overwhelmed by what happened to Jesus that they fell into satan’s trap. 


Jesus says that these men will be trapped because “it is written” in Zech. 13:1.  Jesus quotes, “I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered”. It is always interesting to see how Jesus interprets the Old Testament , especially its prophecies.   Does Jesus take this verse from Zechariah and say it is speaking to the event that will soon take place with Jesus’ death and the disciples entrapment, or is He using this verse as an example of what happens when a shepherd is stricken?  It’s hard to say for sure, but it would seem to me that He is saying this Old Testament verse applies strictly to what is about to happen.  Yet at the same time, this is one point to suggest double meanings to prophetic Scripture.  It seems to me, and to many well known scholars that Old Testament prophecies have a double or even a triple meaning to them, meaning that their fulfillment can be seen in more than one time in history.


Notice the words “I will strike”.  The “I” refers to Yahweh God. He will strike the shepherd and the shepherd is Jesus.  This is what really happened on the cross.  It wasn’t the Jews nor the Romans that really killed Jesus. It was God Himself that killed Him.


In verse 28 Jesus speaks of His resurrection again by telling them that after He rises from the dead He will “go ahead of them into Galilee ”.  He will leave Jerusalem and meet them in Galilee.


It is pretty clear that the disciples didn’t quite understand the talk of the resurrection, or else they might have not been so devastated with His death. 


We see typical Peter once again in verse 29 when he says, “even if all fall away, I won’t”. But in verse 30 Jesus answers Peter by saying, “today, yes tonight before the rooster crows twice, you yourself will disown me three times”.


Note the words “you yourself”.   Peter is confident that he will be the only one who will not fall away.  But Jesus stresses the point that he will fall away like the others by saying “you yourself”.  It’s like saying “you, yes you Peter will deny me”.


Something else to note is that the others will fall away, but Peter will deny Jesus.  Peter’s denial seem one step further than falling away in my thinking.  He actually disowned Jesus. He confessed with a lie that he did not know Jesus. He didn’t merely sneak away and hide like the others. Peter actually disowned knowing his Lord with a lie.


In verse 31 Peter contradicted Jesus by saying he’d never disown Jesus. It’s clear that Peter didn’t know or understand what he was saying.  He was actually telling the Lord of all there is that He was wrong.  The other ten followed Peter in his assertion that Jesus was wrong.


One thing we note from Luke and do not see here is that none of this bothered Jesus.  He knew that all of these men would fall away and He knew Peter would disown Him three times.  Luke tells us that Jesus told Peter that He would pray for him so that his faith would not fail.  So in Jesus’ mind the falling away and the denial wasn’t the important issue.  The important issue was their faith, their trust in Him. Trust in Jesus must stay in tact.  We all fall at times and we all even deny Jesus at times, but it is our trust in Him that is important.  Our trust must stay in tact and be strengthened. 


Gethsemane (ch.14:32-43)


It’s somewhat debatable but there is a general consensus that the word Gethsemane means “oil press”.   The idea of “oil press”, like a “wine press” is pretty significant here, whether it was meant to be so or not.  What takes place within Jesus was like the olive having it’s juice squeezed out of it in a olive press. 


Probably the number one reason why Jesus took His disciples here was not that what was to happen and the name of the place were related, but that He wanted a quiet and secluded place to pray.


He asks the Twelve to sit down and then He takes Peter, James and John with Him a little ways off into the olive grove.   Once again we see this special relationship that Jesus seems to have with these three men.


Jesus tells the nine remaining men “to sit here while I pray”.  The Greek word here for pray  means to pray with the intent to finish the prayer.  Of course the word “finish” is important in the next few days of His life, because He is now in the process of finishing His work on earth, and finishing what needs to be done to bring salvation to the world.  He would certainly finish His prayer which in turn is a resolve to carry through with the atonement process.


In verse 33 Jesus began to be “deeply distressed and troubled”. We cannot begin to even imagine how Jesus felt at this point in His life.  Only three men saw Jesus in the state that He was in.  An alternate  translation of these words could be  “completely upset and worried”.  As Jesus took a few extra steps away from Peter, James and John it appears that Jesus was overcome with fear, dread, worry, and anxiety. These three men would have never seen Jesus in this state.  It appears that He had lost His power, lost His strength, and lost all that He had that made Him who He was. 


In verse 34 Jesus says that His “soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death”.  This means that Jesus came close to dying in this olive grove.  I can’t say for sure, but it might well be possible that Jesus had a heart attack as He was in prayer.            


Also in verse 34 Jesus tells the three men to stay where they are and to keep watch.   Some might say that Jesus is telling the three to watch Him pray, but the word “keep” seems to suggest to watch out for those who would come to arrest Him, although they did not realize such a thing would happen.


This is one of Jesus’ most dreadful hours of His life.  It might well be that He wanted these three men to see Him in this hour and even perhaps bring some kind comfort to Him as He prays in agony.  But that didn’t happen.  He had to experience this alone.  Man let Him down as we seem to always do. 


It’s only my thinking, and I could be wrong, but when thinking of Restoration Theology that says the church will reach such great heights of success that Jesus will look down on us and say, “I just have to come back now” seems too far fetched. I look at Israel.  They could not follow through with God’s will.  I look at these three men.  They fell asleep.  I wonder if the same will happen at the end of this age with the church.  Will it succeed as Restorationists say, or will Jesus have to return and do the job by Himself, as He does here in the olive grove.


Verse 35 tells us what Jesus was praying. He was asking His Father, that if it was any way possible He’d prefer not to go through with His plan.  If there was any other way to do this, Jesus would have gladly bowed out of this prearranged plan.


Mark says that Jesus “fell to the ground”.  I don’t think Jesus calmly knelt down on His knees as you and I would at a prayer meeting.  I think He actually fell.  He could not stand the weight of the pressure that was on His life. He simply collapsed. 


In verse 36 we see Jesus pleading with His Father. He cries out, “everything is possible for you.  Take this cup from me.  Yet, not what I will, but what you will”.  Jesus asks this of His Father based on the fact that God could do anything.  God could have changed His mind and worked out another plan.  Yet it seems to me that God’s love for us needed to be seen in the death of Jesus.  Yes, God could have provided salvation for us in one of many ways, but this way shows the whole universe that He loved us so much He was willing to kill His own Son, which was really Himself in human form.


You can see the intensity in Jesus’ prayer at this point.  He doesn’t ask if His Father could take this cup from Him.  He almost demands.  He says, “take this cup from me”.  But even if this is close to demanding, Jesus quickly continues by saying that He is more than willing to follow through with God’s plan.  This is the fight between the human and divine nature of Jesus.


In verse 37 Jesus returns to the three men and finds them asleep.  He actually had to wake them up.  He asks Peter, “could you not watch for one hour”.  So we know how long Jesus had been praying.  It is interesting that Jesus asked Peter this question.  Maybe because He saw Peter as their leader.  Maybe because Peter was usually the first to speak. 


Jesus then tells the three men to “watch and pray so they will not fall into temptation”.  There’s two things here.  We are to watch and we are to pray.  We’ve seen these words before and one time where we’ve seen them was in reference to the end of this age.  We are told by Jesus to watch and pray as the time of the end draws near, so we won’t be asleep when Jesus returns.  Watching simply means to stay alert and active in the things of God.  Praying is what we should be doing as we’re being alert.  I might add that praying in this respect doesn’t mean merely praying as in intercession, but it also means being in communion with God as we live out our lives wherever we are.  It’s this second aspect of prayer that is important as well.  Just the mere fact that Jesus places these two words together suggests to me that He’s talking about communing or praying as we go about our daily chores.


Jesus then admits that “the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”.  This is something that these three men should have seen in Jesus but may have missed since they fell asleep. Jesus Himself experienced this.  His spirit was willing, while His flesh was weak at this moment.  But His flesh did not win the battle. 


In verse 39 we see that Jesus went back and continued to pray and then returned to see the three men fast asleep again.  He must have only shook His head.  We certainly see the difference between Jesus and mankind in this situation. They failed again, and as Mark says, “they did not know what to say to Him”.  The three men were speechless. Even Peter had nothing to say.  What could they have possibly said anyways that would have meant anything to Jesus at this point in time?


We see in verse 41 that Jesus returns the third time from praying and sees the  men sleeping. We see the number three here.  Most Biblical scholars who hold to the importance of numbers in the Bible say that the number three is the number of completion. Jesus prayed in agony three times, and at the end of the third time His prayer was complete as we noted earlier with the Greek verb tense.  As the old Methodists used to say, “He prayed through”. He came out the other end of His prayer with the resolve to do God’s will.


Jesus then says, “enough”.  “That’s it”, Jesus says.  “It’s all over now. Enough is enough”.  Jesus spent the last three years with these men, teaching, preaching and healing the sick. He spoke to masses.  He debated with the Jewish leadership.  And now it was all over.  Those closest to Him were asleep, and as He says, “here comes my betrayer”, who was also one of His, one of them. 


Maybe the three men and the others were too much in a daze of sleep to catch Jesus’ meaning here when He tells them that the Son of Man will now be betrayed into the hands of sinners, of which Judas was one. But my guess is that when the Eleven saw Judas standing with the Jewish leadership their hearts fell to their knees in shock and despair.



Jesus Arrested (ch. 14:43-53)


We see in verse 43 that while Jesus was actually saying the above words, suddenly out of nowhere came Judas with a crowd of men carrying swords and clubs.  The Greek word for “sword” implies a short sword which Roman soldiers would carry.  Clubs were carried normally by the Temple guards.  So we have two groups of men that were sent out by the Jewish leadership.


I’m sure the Eleven were overwhelmed to see Judas with the soldiers.  What Jesus had prophesied at the Last Supper has now come to pass.


Verse 44 tells us that Judas had pre-arranged a signal.  The one who he would kiss would be Jesus, the one the soldiers should arrest and take away with guards. You’d wonder, Judas had been with Jesus for three years at this point. Did he really think that Jesus would put up a fight? Although, on the other hand, Judas wanted to claim the money promised him with the safe arrival of Jesus to the Sanhedrin.  If Jesus escapes, he’d get no money.


Scholars suggest that there could have easily been 200 Roman soldiers and 200 Temple guards along with some bystanders who would have followed these soldiers to the Olive Grove.


Judas comes to Jesus and says, “rabbi” and kisses Him as if he is glad to see Jesus, and in one since of the word he was.  The soldiers immediately arrested Jesus.  And Judas betrayed the Lord with an apparent affectionate kiss.  Of course, it was more devilish than affectionate.


Yet in reality this kiss means nothing.  John tells us that even before Judas kissed Jesus that Jesus voluntarily handed Himself over to the crowd.  Judas only carried through with His plan, even though Jesus pre-empted the plan by willingly giving Himself up.


We learn from Luke that the disciples had 2 swords with them at the request of Jesus.  (Lu 22:38)  Mark doesn’t tell us that it was Peter who drew the sword and cut a soldiers ear off.  Maybe because Peter and Mark were close friends, he didn’t want to disclose that information. And of course, who else would have done this but Peter.  Peter pretty well said that he’d let no one take Jesus away and this was his impulsive attempt to stop Jesus from being taken away.  But could Peter withstand 400 men.  I don’t think so.  Peter acts out of emotion, not out of common sense.


In verse 48 Jesus protests the way in which He was arrested, as if He were some leader of an army Himself, ready to overthrow Rome . Jesus tells his arresters that they’ve seen Him in the Temple over the last few days and that they could have arrested Him then.  But to fulfill Scripture, His arrest had to be done this way.


At this moment in time, when the soldiers took Jesus away nine of the eleven fled and hid themselves.  Peter and John however followed them into Jerusalem from a distance, where Peter would deny knowing Jesus, and where John would stay to see Jesus hanging on the cross.


It is hard to say why Mark includes verse 51 into his narrative.  Who was this young man who was only dressed in a blanket of linen?  Why was he following Jesus, and why would the soldiers want to arrest him?  Some scholars believe this young man was Mark, but that’s pure speculation.


Before The Sanhedrin (ch. 14:53-66)


In verse 53 we see that all the Jewish leadership met that night when the soldiers brought Jesus to them. In verse 54 we note that Peter followed the soldiers yet he was afar off so not to be seen.


This gathering of the Sanhedrin took place at night as we know.  But for the Sanhedrin to gather at night was against their own law, but at this point many of the Jewish leaders were so upset with Jesus that they cared little about their own laws.


While Jesus is inside being drilled by the Jews, Peter is outside in the courtyard warming himself by the fire.  We know from John that the only reason why Peter got in the courtyard was because John knew the gatekeeper.  Peter was apparently pretending to be part of the common folk who happened to be there.  This in itself was somewhat hypocritical, because he was more than just an ordinary guy in this context.


Another illegality to understand here is that Jesus was not arrested in proper Jewish fashion.  He was simply arrested and brought to the Sanhedrin, without any proper indictment with creditable witnesses. 


Verse 55 tells us that they could not find any real valid reason to put Jesus to death and verse 56 tells us that the witnesses they gathered up all told different stories.  So there was no foundation to carry on this procedure since there were no creditable witnesses.


The Jews went as far as to find some “false witnesses” as verse 58 says.  They remembered the time when Jesus said that He’d destroy this temple and then in three days raise it again.  Of course they were misinterpreting Jesus’ words, because Jesus was speaking of the temple of His body, not the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.  The Sanhedrin was hoping to get Jesus on this point concerning Him wanting to destroy their Temple.  Yet even these false witnesses that the Jews set forth could not agree on their testimony.  So after hearing from these witnesses with no success, the high priest tries himself to trap Jesus.  Mark does not tell us but John does tell us that the high priest is Caiaphas.    


At this point the so-called trial should have been over.  There’s no real evidence to convict Jesus.  They should have just let Him go free.  But Caiaphas in verse 60 tries Himself to convict Jesus.  He first asks Jesus why He is being silent.  Jesus simply did not stand up for Himself and answer any of the accusations, which would have been quite frustrating to the Jews.    


Caiaphas was furious with Jesus.  By prodding Jesus he was most likely trying to make Jesus say something He shouldn’t and thus the Jews would have something to convict Jesus on that actually came from His mouth and they’d all be witnesses.


Verse 61 says that Jesus “remained silent”. He chose not to defend Himself against all the false accusations.    He just stood there alone and silent before His accusers.  So Caiaphas asks Jesus outright if He was “the Christ, the Son of the Most Blessed”.  Of course the “Most Blessed” refers to God.


Caiaphas asks Jesus a direct question, and although he did not believe that Jesus was the Christ, Jesus could not let this question go unanswered.  This was an important question, and failing to answer this question because it was based on the truth of who He was would be a mistake.


Mark says Jesus replies by saying, “I am”.  Matthew tells us that Jesus said more than that.   Two simple words, “I am” confirms just who Jesus is.  He is the Son of the Most Blessed, and He has the job of being the Christ.


Also in verse 62 Jesus adds, “you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of Heaven.”.   Matthew seems to suggest that the Sanhedrin would begin to see these thing immediately because of the use of the words “and now”, as in “now you will see…”.   So some interpret  Jesus’ words as meaning that they’d see the power of God in Jesus through His death, resurrection, ascension, and even through the early church.  Yet others believe Jesus is speaking of His return at the end of this age due to the fact that He speaks of “the clouds” which is often in reference to His return  At the moment, I’m not sure what way to think.


In verse 63 we see Caiaphas in a raging anger. He rips his clothes as a demonstration of His disgust.  He as well as the rest of the Sanhedrin heard what Jesus said from His own mouth.  There need to be no witnesses.  Jesus had blasphemed God with His words, claiming to be His Son. Caiaphas thus asks, “what do you think”?  He asks his colleagues what they thought knowing most of them would be on his side.


In verse 64 all of the Sanhedrin agreed with Caiaphas and said Jesus was worthy of death.


This was a criminal case in the eyes of the Jews, meaning the sentence of death would be placed on Jesus.  Yet in criminal cases, once the Sanhedrin decided the accused was guilty they had to come back and meet on another day, not the same day, and go through a lengthy procedure before the accused would receive his verdict and sentence.  Yet with all these proceedings, the Sanhedrin did not follow their own rules  They simply pronounced Jesus as being guilty and worthy of death.  This is why we always hear that Jesus’ trial was a mock trial.  All the official rules were broken.


In verse 65 we see the anger of the Sanhedrin.  They blind folded Jesus, spit on Him, punched Him , and said, “prophecy”.   We learn from Matthew  that the word “prophecy” is in reference to Jesus being blind folded and should be able to prophecy concerning who hit Him and spit on Him.


Peter Disowns Jesus (ch. 14:66-72)


In verses 66 and 67 we see a servant girl, the one who let Peter and John in the court yard according to the other gospels, came to Peter and ask, “you also were with that Nazarene Jesus”.


Peter was warming himself by an outdoor fire when the servant girl ask him about knowing Jesus.  There was a large crowd around him and this put the pressure on him.  If he acknowledged knowing Jesus then he feared what might happen to him. We know from Luke that this temptation was actually a temptation from the devil.  Peter couldn’t take the pressure.


In verse 68 Peter answers the girl by saying, “I don’t know or understand what you are talking about”.  There’s two parts to Peter’s answer here.  Peter first says that he doesn’t know what the girl is talking about.  He doesn’t know this Jesus or anything associated with Him.  Yet beyond this, he doesn’t even understand the question.  This second part is an attempt to even distance himself further from Jesus.  He doesn’t know Jesus and he doesn’t even understand the question about Him, as if he’s never heard of Jesus, which most people had.


After lying Peter left the fire and went back to the gate of the courtyard.  By mentioning this, to me it seems to suggest that Peter was very uncomfortable and could no longer be in the presence of the crowd around the fire in case someone continued the discussion.


It appears he went back to where the same servant girl came from in the first place.  She left her post at the gate, came to the fire, and returned to the gate where Peter was after he left the fire.  She did not ask him the second time if he knew of Jesus.  She simply announced to the people standing around the gate that “this fellow is one of them”.  We see this in verse  69.


Also in verse 69 we see Peter denying knowing Jesus.  Mark does not say what Peter says, but once you tell one lie you need to support it with another lie, or else come clean with the truth. Peter still had the fears and could not bring himself around to speak the truth so for the second time he denied knowing Jesus and denied being one of Jesus’ disciples.


How true it is. Once you lie you fail to be honest, you trap yourself .  Either you admit to the dishonesty, or you keep up the falsehood to support the original.  The tendency of the carnal man is to continue the falsehood.    


In verse 70 others told Peter that he had to be one of Jesus’ followers because he was a Galilean.  We know from other gospel records that his speech gave Peter away.  His dialect was one from Galilee .


Verse 71 says that Peter “began to call down curses on himself and swore”.  He called down a curse, meaning, he’d told God to curse him if what he was saying was not true.  This was more than words to Peter and to Jews.  They understood the reality of blessings and curses from the Old Testament Law.  God told Israel that if they obey Him they’d be blessed, but if they didn’t obey  Him, they’d be cursed.  Peter was willing to be cursed by God if what he was saying was not true.  Peter was very upset with the idea that these people thought he had any association with Jesus.  


Peter again says, “I don’t know this man…”.    Jesus, the one he guaranteed to die for became “this man” in his denial.  This is a far cry from Peter’s somewhat arrogant claim to follow Jesus to His death.  It’s also a far cry from Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ for which Jesus praised him for.


The chapter ends in verse 72 with Peter remembering the words of Jesus after the rooster crowed.    Peter broke down and wept. He was extremely disappointed in himself and saddened. The difference between Peter’s reaction and Judas’ was that Peter’s tears led to genuine repentance.  Judas remained unrepentant.   Thus Jesus’ prayer for Peter was answered.  Yes, Peter denied knowing Jesus, but he did not deny his faith.  Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would not fail, and it didn’t. Peter, after denying Jesus, came back to Jesus and picked up where he left off.


This story about Peter is more detailed by Luke.  We see Jesus is mostly concerned about Peter’s faith, or his trust in Him.  Jesus was less concerned about Peter’s denial.  This tells me that though we fall and fail Jesus at times, He wants us to continually trust Him.  Trust in Jesus is the main factor because that is what saves us and keeps us saved.  We should never allow our failures to destroy out faith. 


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