Lesson 16: Mark -Chapter 14: 27-72
First read Mark 14: 27-72 all the way through.
The ‘Supernatural’ Acts and Events in Mark 14: 27-72:
Things you don’t see everyday:
– Prophecy of Peter’s denial
– Prophetic Word of knowledge
-Jesus knows that Judas and the temple guards are almost there.
Now read it again in detail along with the Notes and Commentary below:
Notes and Commentary:
I. The Prophecy of Peter’s Denial –Verses 27-31
Verses 27-28: Along the way to Mount of Olives, Jesus tells his disciples that soon all of them would leave desert him and scatter. He is quoting Zechariah 13:7 here:
‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’
Then he tells them that they will meet again in Galilee after he is ‘raised up’ (Resurrection).
This kind of conversation had to be confusing to them. First of all, none of them were thinking about leaving, and the veiled reference to meeting again after he was ‘raised up’ would not have been meaningful to them in the context of that evening. All of the disciples deny here that they are going to let Jesus down, particularly Peter.
Verses 29-31: Peter had enough of the ‘betrayal’ talk at the supper; here he boldly states that even if all the others take off, he’s going to stick it out with Jesus. Boldness can be a virtue at times. However, the Gospel of Luke (22:24-30) tells us that just before this the twelve were arguing over who was the greatest among them again. So Peter’s ‘boldness’ here probably came from pride. Peter was emphatic: “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.”
Jesus tells Peter:
“Truly, I tell you, (When Jesus says ‘truly’, it is always as good as done) this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
As we shall see, it wasn’t long before this prophecy was fulfilled.
II. Gethsemane –Verses 32-42
Verses 32-34: Jesus and his disciples reach the Mount of Olives and continue on to the garden or orchard of Gethsemane on the lower slopes of the Mount. This was one of Jesus’ favorite places to go, particularly for prayer and meditation.
Jesus left eight of the apostles at the entrance to ‘watch’ and took Peter, James, and John with him to stand and support him in prayer. As we shall see, the three were really quite tired and not very supportive in his time of need. Jesus knew what was ahead of him and the torture and death that he would soon be facing and was quite sorrowful and actually in agony over it.
We know Jesus as the Divine Son of God and sometimes we forget that he was also human. He got hungry, tired, and he felt physical pain. Also, rejection by others would have bothered him like anyone else. Soon he was facing the ultimate rejection by his own people, and incredible amounts of physical torture and pain. Like anyone else, he would have liked to avoid such treatment if possible.
Verse 35: It was usual for folk in those days to pray standing with hands raised. Notice that he is so distressed that he just falls down to the ground. The account in Luke (22:39-46) tells us that he prayed in such great agony that The Father sent an angel to support and strengthen him.
Verse 36: Notice that he addresses God as:
‘Abba’ (Aramaic) was what little children called their dads in those days. It was equivalent to our ‘Daddy.’ Jesus asked his dad to change the plan if it was possible. After all, who would want to face the rejection that was ahead along with the extreme pain of Roman torture, crucifixion, and a slow death. If this seems to be a moment of weakness or vulnerability, it is proven not to be the case by what he says next:
“Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
Jesus says this in spite of the certainty and knowledge that soon he would face torture and cruel death.
Verses 37-41a: Three times, Jesus came back to his disciples and found them sleeping. They were not exactly giving him the prayer support that he was hoping for. Notice in vs. 37-38 that he singles out Peter:
“Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
There are lots of times in my own personal prayer life when I can’t seem to stay awake and I am reminded of this verse:
“The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
How true, at least in my experience. Jesus not only singled out Peter because he was one of the key leaders, but also because he knew that Peter would soon be facing his own temptation.
Verses 41b-42: That was it, the time had come and Jesus knew that Judas would arrive any minute with the soldiers and betray him. Jesus knows what is coming, yet he goes straight ahead to face his capture, trial, torture and death. Praise God for his Son Jesus who came into the world to free us all and was willing to endure everything for our sake.
III. The Betrayal and Arrest of Jesus –Verses 43-52
Verses 43-45: Judas showed up that night with a whole gang of officials and Temple guards fully armed. He had probably observed Jesus slip away from crowds on numerous occasions and decided to leave nothing to chance. In the dim light flowing through the orchards on the Mount of Olives at night it was necessary for Judas to personally identify Jesus so that the right man could be seized and arrested.
Regardless, the actions of Judas were despicable and infamous. Judas identified Jesus using a kiss and called him ‘Rabbi’; the traditional greeting between a student/disciple and his Master implying endearment and respect in the very act of betrayal.
Verses 46-49: The men with Judas immediately seized Jesus. Then the scene got rather chaotic for a while. One of the disciples of Jesus actually drew a sword at that point and cut off a servants’ ear. Mark leaves it at that, but John identifies the swordsman as Peter and the servant as Malchus. Also, Luke tells us that Jesus healed the man’s ear.
Then Jesus spoke and protested the treatment he was receiving. Was he leading some kind of armed rebellion? The expected answer was no. He pointed out that they could have easily arrested him as he taught in the Temple every day that week. Of course, the chief priests opted for a secret arrest in order to avoid a possible riot.
Verse 50: Then all the disciples ran away and deserted Jesus leaving him to face his destiny alone. Just like Jesus said they would.
It is obvious that the officials were only concerned with arresting Jesus and brought only enough soldiers to make the arrest and control the situation. They really didn’t try to arrest and pursue the disciples also. So the disciples were able to run away and avoid arrest.
Verses 51-52: The reference to the ‘young man’ is found only in Mark and was probably John Mark himself, the author of the Gospel.
A linen garment was an indication of wealth in those days. He probably tagged along with Jesus and the disciples following their meal that evening. Then continued to follow the group that arrested Jesus until he was threatened also with arrest and lost his cloths in the process of getting away.
According to early Christian tradition, the family of John Mark was wealthy and provided the upper room for the last supper and later on Pentecost.
IV. Jesus On Trial: Before The Sanhedrin –Verses 53-65
Verse 53: Following his arrest, Jesus was taken to the high priest and before a hastily called session of the Sanhedrin. The trial of Jesus can be divided into two parts- first the religious trial before the Sanhedrin, and second the legal/political trial before Pilate and Herod Antipas (However, the Gospel of Mark does not include the appearance of Jesus before Herod).
The second trial was necessary because the Sanhedrin and the Jewish religious authorities did not have the legal right to carry out capitol punishment. The Roman authorities (including Pilate and their puppet King Herod) retained that legal right and power solely for themselves.
Verses 55-59: Notice that the chief priest had already decided to have Jesus killed. The so-called trial was merely an opportunity to find the necessary pretense or excuse for carrying out their plans to eliminate Jesus. In their ‘religious’ trial, false testimony was entertained and condoned, even though there was little agreement among the so-called witnesses. All contrary to the Mosaic Law.
The Sanhedrin needed to find a reason within their religious laws to have Jesus condemned; but they also needed to be able to support and demonstrate that Jesus was guilty of a serious breech of Roman law (like treason) that would assure a sentence of death by the Roman authorities.
The Jewish authorities were faced with a dilemma. Seemingly no charge could be constructed or found that would satisfy both the religious and legal requirements for a sentence of death. So what if Jesus did say that he could tear down and rebuild the Temple in 3 days? What would that mean to the Romans? They would never kill someone for making crazy statements.
Verses 60-64: At this point, the Sanhedrin really had nothing to charge Jesus with, after all their efforts. Anyway, nothing that the Romans would be interested in. Then the high priest (Caiaphas-who remains unnamed in Mark) challenges Jesus to answer the charges. Jesus continues to remain silent. Finally, the high priest asks Jesus if he is the Messiah, ‘the Son of the Blessed (God)’. There were rumors that Jesus had made claims for himself that went beyond the title of Messiah- The Anointed One.
When Jesus answered: “I Am“, he used the personal name of God and actually was claiming it as his own and he was claiming to be Divine. Further more, using the ‘Son of Man’ title, he was claiming to be the divine figure represented in Daniel 7 who was to receive everlasting dominion over all the earth. The reaction from the high priest and the Sanhedrin was immediate. They all understood what he was claiming. It was blasphemy for sure and worthy of death.
Verse 65: The groans and the shouts of the leaders were probably deafening at that point. Some left their seats and began to spit on Jesus and while others proceeded to hit him. The ‘respected’ council was nearly in a riot when the guards finally took him away.
I can never understand those scholars who teach that Jesus never claimed to be the divine Son of God. The reaction of the chief priests and scribes makes it very clear what they believed that Jesus was declaring here. They finally had the charges that they needed from his very own mouth:
1. The religious Charge: Blasphemy–claims to be equal with God.
2. The legal Charge (For the Romans): Treason-Claims to be the Messiah–The true King of the Judah and the whole world (Dan. 7).
The entire Sanhedrin agreed to condemn Jesus to death, at least all of those who were present at this trumped up session. Not exactly the high point in the history of this venerated council.
V. Peter’s Denial of Jesus –Verses 54, 66-72
Verse 54: All of the disciples of Jesus scattered at his arrest except Peter. Verse 54 records that Peter followed the procession at a distance and even ventured into the courtyard of the high priest.
From that position, he was somewhat privy to the discussion of the Sanhedrin. Usually the council held their meetings near the Temple, but this hasty session was irregular in both time and place. Peter tried to blend in with the guards and servants as he warmed himself by the fire. One wonders what his plans were if any. Peter obviously hoped to make good on his boast that “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
Verses 66-68: While he was in the courtyard a servant girl recognized him declaring: “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” Notice how Peter responds. He was obviously not prepared to answer. What a weak retort: “I neither know or understand what you mean.”
Then he moves toward the gateway as the rooster crows the first time. One wonders what happened to Peter’s usual boldness. Was he intimidated by all of the religious leaders at the so-called trial? Did he fear for his own life? Was he beginning to question whether Jesus was really the one? Maybe it was a combination of all of the above?
Verses 69-70: The servant girl saw Peter again by the gate and this time addressed those standing near by: “This man is one of them.” Again Peter denied it.
The scripture indicates that some time passed and then those standing near by began to insist that Peter was surely one of those connected to Jesus: “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” This time Peter was really upset. He cursed and answered his accusers: “I do not know this man of whom you speak.”
Immediately the rooster crowed a second time and Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” Peter had failed famously. Luke 22:61 tells us that Jesus turned and looked directly at him that very moment. As Peter thought about it he broke down and wept. He had failed the Lord and there was no way he could ever take it back.
Note: John Mark probably got this account from Peter himself. It should give us all hope considering that Peter was eventually restored by Jesus.
-Read: Mark 15 for the next lesson.