The Gospel of Mark Chapter 14:42-72 The Betrayal and Arrest 14:42 Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer is approaching!’ After his agonizing triumph in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus woke his disciples and went to meet his betrayer. 14:43 Right away, while Jesus was still speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived. With him came a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and experts in the law and elders. Even as he spoke, Judas arrived with a detachment of temple police, heavily armed. Judas may have had some idea of what the disciples’ reactions to Jesus’ arrest would be, particularly Peter's and so he may have advised them to bring weapons. 14:44-46 (Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, ‘The one I kiss is the man. Arrest him and lead him away under guard.’) When Judas arrived, he went up to Jesus immediately and said, ‘Rabbi!’ and kissed him. Then they took hold of him and arrested him. Judas had also agreed the means by which he would identify Jesus. The kiss was the usual form of greeting in New Testament times (Rom. 16:16); and among Christians such an affectionate greeting demonstrated love and brotherhood (1 Pet. 5:14). The callous way in which Judas used the kiss and hypocritically addressed Jesus as “Rabbi” demonstrated that he had gone beyond all hope of repentance (Prov. 27:6). In this way Judas handed the Saviour of the world into the hands of cruel men. 14:47 One of the bystanders drew his sword and struck the high priest's slave, cutting off his ear. We are told in John 18:10 that it was Peter who made this useless attack upon Malchus, one of the high priest's servants, cutting off his ear. Luke informs us (Luke 22:51) that Jesus touched the ear of this servant and healed it immediately. Even to those who had come out to destroy him, Jesus showed love and compassion. The one who commands “love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44) never asks us to do anything which he did not do first. 14:48-49 Jesus said to them, ‘Have you come with swords and clubs to arrest me like you would an outlaw? Day after day I was with you, teaching in the temple courts, yet you did not arrest me. But this has happened so that the scriptures would be fulfilled.’
Although it appeared that Judas was handing Jesus over to his enemies, and that his enemies now had Christ in their power, yet Jesus remained in complete control of the situation. He even dictated the terms of his own arrest, confounding his enemies by challenging them (John 18:78). Pointing to their weapons he reminds them that he was with them daily in the temple but they did not seize him. The fact that they had to come armed and under cover of darkness proved them to be in the wrong. Yet all things were happening in accordance with the scriptures: God was still in control (Isa. 53:7). 14:50 Then all the disciples left him and fled. Here we see the fulfilment of Jesus’ prediction in verse 27; all the disciples left him and fled. 14:51-52 A young man was following him, wearing only a linen cloth. They tried to arrest him, but he ran off naked, leaving his linen cloth behind. It is thought that this young man (who would have been in his teens) might have been Mark the writer of the gospel. The temple guards were unable to arrest him, but he only narrowly managed to escape by leaving his clothing behind.
The Religious Trial of Christ After Jesus’ arrest they took him first of all to Annas, who had retired as high priest fifteen years previously and was the father-in-law of the present high priest, Caiaphas (John 18:13). It was Caiaphas who had prophesied that it was needful that one man should die so that the whole nation should not perish (John 11:50-51). From there they led Jesus to Caiaphas, and the 71 members of the Sanhedrin (the religious authority of the Jews) assembled to put Jesus on trial, laying false charges against him. 14:54 And Peter had followed him from a distance, up to the high priest's courtyard. He was sitting with the guards and warming himself by the fire. Peter, who originally had fled with the rest of the disciples in the garden, returned to follow Jesus at a safe distance and gained entry into the high priest's courtyard through John's influence (John 18:16). He sat among the enemies of Christ, warming himself by the fire. 14:55-56 The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find anything. Many gave false testimony against him, but their testimony did not agree. The very fact that they had difficulty finding any witnesses to give false testimony against Jesus proves that they could not justify his arrest. The text suggests that they were forced to bribe different people to make false accusations against Jesus; but even then these could not agree, God throwing their false testimony into confusion. 14:57-59 Some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: We heard him say, 'I will destroy this temple made with hands and in three days build another not made with hands.' Yet even on this point their testimony did not agree. At last there were some who came forward to say that they had heard Jesus threaten to destroy the temple and then rebuild it. This was of course true, but in context, Jesus had been speaking of his death and resurrection. “Yet his death did destroy the need of the temple and established the church as a new place made without hands in which God would dwell” (Wesley Bible). 14:60-61 Then the high priest stood up before them and asked Jesus, ‘Have you no answer? What is this that they are testifying against you?’ But he was silent and did not answer. Again the high priest questioned him, ‘Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?’
Caiaphas then took matters into his own hands, being amazed at Jesus' silent response to all the accusations being made against him (1 Pet. 2:23). If he had chosen to believe the scriptures, Caiaphas would have recognised Christ as the Son of God by his demeanour without having to question him (Isa. 53:7). 14:62 I am, said Jesus, and you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power and coming with the clouds of heaven. Up until this point Jesus had not even let his own disciples openly confess him as Christ (Mark 8:30; Mark 9:9). But now there was no longer any need for concealment for his time had come. So Jesus answered with an emphatic “I am!” This claim to be the “I am”, the deity, the messiah-King who was destined to sit at the right hand of God, from where he would come again in glory and judgement, was too much for the high priest. 14:63-64 Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, ‘Why do we still need witnesses? You have heard the blasphemy! What is your verdict?’ They all condemned him as deserving death. Caiaphas could not have asked for any better. As far as he was concerned this was blasphemy, justification enough to condemn Jesus to death. And so it was by the religious leaders of his time that the Lord Jesus Christ is condemned to death. 14:65 Then some began to spit on him, and to blindfold him, and to strike him with their fists, saying, ‘Prophesy!’ The guards also took him and beat him. The Sanhedrin had no power to carry out their sentence of death, for this could only be done by the Romans. Nevertheless, all restraint and respect for Jesus was abandoned as they abused him shamefully, spitting in his face (Isa. 50:6). They blindfolded him, asking him to prophecy who hit him. In this way he was despised, rejected and set at nought (Isa. 53:3).
Peter's Denial 14:66-67 Now while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the high priest's slave girls came by. When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked directly at him and said, ‘You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus.’ Whilst all this was going on, Peter was still warming himself by the fire, keeping company with those who were Christ’s enemies. Nor did he go unnoticed, for a servant girl recognised him and accused him of being a follower of Jesus. 14:68 But he denied it: ‘I don't even understand what you're talking about!’ Then he went out to the gateway, and a rooster crowed. Peter pretends that he doesn't understand what she means – this is the first denial - and the cock crew - Peter had begun to fall, just as Jesus had predicted. 14:69 When the slave girl saw him, she began again to say to the bystanders, ‘This man is one of them.’ The girl was not going to let Peter get away with such a denial, and on seeing him again she made her accusation to others standing by that he was one of Jesus’ followers. 14:70 But he denied it again. A short time later the bystanders again said to Peter, ‘You must be one of them, because you are also a Galilean.’
This time, Peter denied that he was a disciple of Jesus – this was the second denial. The third time Peter was approached by those who stood with him, for his Galilean accent betrayed him. Surely, if he was a Galilean, he must be one of Christ's followers. 14:71-72 Then he began to curse, and he swore with an oath, ‘I do not know this man you are talking about!’ Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. Then Peter remembered what Jesus had said to him: ‘Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.’ And he broke down and wept. On this third occasion Peter denied with oaths and curses that he ever knew Jesus at all - and the cock crowed again. Peter completely falls. At this point Luke reveals that Jesus looked at Peter - not with a look of condemnation but a look of love. It was enough; Peter remembered Jesus' prediction and was completely broken in spirit and wept. Like Jeremiah before him, Peter had learned to admit “my heart within me is broken” (Jer. 23:9). This was not to be the end of Peter; for his broken and contrite spirit and the fact that Jesus had prayed for him remained as his all-sufficient protection (Psalm 34:18).
© Derek Williams 2013 Bible Studies Online UK www.biblestudiesonline.org.uk You may copy, print or distribute our studies freely in any form, just so long as you make no charges. Sign up today for our FREE monthly Bible study magazine “Living Word” Scriptures taken from the NET Bible www.bible.org