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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Mark 14

 

 

Verses 1-9

Mark 14:1-3. After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death. But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people. And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,

A well-known person. There were plenty of Simons, and so they had to put another name to distinguish him. You remember Simon the Pharisee, in whose house Christ was anointed by a woman, who washed his feet with tears. This is another Simon. Not Simon the Pharisee, but Simon the Leper.

A healed man, no doubt, or he could not have entertained guests. There can be no question by whom he was healed; for there was nobody else that could heal leprosy, except our Divine Lord. “And being at Bethany in the house of Simon the Leper.”

Mark 14:3. As he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

It does not want any “it,” “poured on his head.” The liquid nard flowed over his locks, and, as it was with Aaron, it went, doubtless, down his beard to the utmost skirts of his garments.

Mark 14:4. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

Matthew says that they were disciples. Shame upon them. The ointment was put to its proper use. It was more wasted when it was in the box than when it was out of it, for it was doing nothing inside the alabaster box. But when it came out, it was answering its purpose. It was perfuming all round about. “Why was this waste of the ointment made?” When lives are lost in Christ’s honour, or strength is spent in his service there is no waste. It is what life and strength are made for — that they may be spent for him.

Mark 14:5-6. For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

Or “in me.”

Mark 14:7. For ye have the poor with you always,

If you help them one day, they are poor, and they want helping the next. Or if you help them and leave them, leaving them because they go home to God, there are other poor people sure to come, for they will never cease out of the land. “Ye have the poor with you always.”

Mark 14:7. And whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

“Ye can only do this for me during the few days that I shall be with you.

Within a week I shall be crucified. Forty more days I shall be gone from you. Me ye have not always.”

Mark 14:8-9. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

And it is so to this day. Christ’s gospel is preached tonight, and this woman’s love will be remembered. John also speaks of this in his 12th chapter.

This exposition consisted of readings from John 8:29-59. Mark 14:1-9. John 12:1-7.


Verses 22-41

Mark 14:22. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

It was part of a meal. It was no celebration. It was no sacrifice, bloody or unbloody. It was simply a commemorative ceremony, of which he would now give them a specimen even before it became commemorative. “As they did eat, Jesus took bread.” No seeking for consecrated wafers or some special food, but such bread as they had been eating. “Blessed” — thanking God for it. “And break it and gave it to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.”

Mark 14:23-24. And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

There was no fear of their making the mistake, which had been made by Humanists, of taking these words literally, because Jesus Christ was sitting there. They could not imagine that, as he took bread, he would say literally, “This bread is my body.” Why, there was his body sitting there before them. Had he two bodies? When he gave them the cup and said, “This is my blood in the new covenant,” they never dreamt of such a thing as that the wine in the cup was really and literally his blood. His blood was in his veins. They saw him living there, not bleeding. No, it is an extraordinary thing that men who have the life of God in them, and have some spiritual discernment, have, nevertheless, in some instances, been found driving their faith into the belief of the absurd fable of transubstantiation. Jesus Christ means “This represents my body. This represents my blood” — the usual way of uttering such a sense both in the Old and New Testament, even as Christ said, “I am the door.” Yet nobody thought that he was a door. “I am the way.” Nobody thought he was a roadway. “I am the shepherd,” and yet nobody supposed that he carried a crook, and that he literally kept sheep. So says he, “This is my body, this is my blood” and they who sat there were in their senses, and they were not superstitious. They knew what he meant.

Mark 14:25-26. Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God. And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

I cannot resist repeating the remark I have often made about that singing of a hymn. It seems to me such a grand, brave thing for the Saviour to sing a hymn after the last meal that he would eat with his disciples before his death when he knew that he was going forth to all the torture of Pilate’s hall, and to death at Calvary. Yet he says, “Let us sing a hymn.” He chose a Psalm of David, and, I dare say, himself pitched a tune. “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out unto the Mount of Olives.”

Mark 14:27. And Jesus saith unto them,

As they walked along.

Mark 14:27-28. All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

What sweet comfort was there — as much as to say, “Though you are scattered, I will gather you. Though you forsake me, I will not forsake you. I will go before you into our old haunts, into that Galilee of the Gentiles where I was wont to preach aforetime. I will go before you into Galilee.”

Mark 14:29-30. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, that this day, even in this night,

The day begins at sunset.

Mark 14:30-31. Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice, But he spake the more vehemently, if I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

So Peter was not alone in his intense, though rash expression of attachment. They did mean, all of them, to stand to their Master, and to die with him, as you and I mean to. But shall we carry it out better than they, think you? Not if our resolve, like theirs, is made in our own strength.

Mark 14:32. And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane:

The garden on the side of the hill of Olivet.

Mark 14:32. And he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.

Eight of you keep watching at the garden gate to let me know when my betrayer comes.

Mark 14:33. And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;

They had not seen him in that state before. He seemed like one distracted, so amazed — like one astonished out of all composure unable to collect himself or to contain himself, and to be very heavy, as if an awful weight pressed on his soul.

Mark 14:34. And saith unto them, my soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

These three were to make his closest bodyguard, to intimate to him if any came.

Mark 14:35. And he went forward a little,

A stone’s cast, so as to be retired from them.

Mark 14:35-36. And fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

That was the point of the prayer, the very pith and marrow of it not what I will, but what thou wilt.

Mark 14:37. And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping.

Three choice guards — his bosom companions.

Mark 14:37. And saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?

Matthew and Luke tell us that he said “Could ye not watch with me one hour?” and Mark tells us here that he especially said that to Peter. Now remember that Mark is the gospel of Peter. No doubt Mark was the great friend of Peter, and writes his gospel from Peter’s point, so Peter in the Gospel of Mark records the worst things about himself, and he just puts it here that the Master said, “Simon, sleepest thou?” Bad enough for the others to be asleep, but “Simon, sleepest thou? Couldest not thou watch one hour?”

Mark 14:38. Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

Oh! that was a kind excuse to make for them — to say something good about them, even though they slept when they ought to have comforted him. He did see that their spirit was ready, but the flesh was weak.

Mark 14:39-40. And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words. And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy), neither wist they what to answer him.

How could they excuse their conduct? A second time asleep! They were in a muddled state.

Mark 14:41. And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

This exposition consisted of readings from 2 Samuel 15:13-23; Isaiah 61.; Mark 14:22-41.


Verses 27-72

Mark 14:27-29. And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered. But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee. But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.

There was love in that utterance, and so far it was commendable; but there was also much self-trust in it, but there was great presumption, for Peter dared even to contradict his Master to his face; and, at the same time, he contradicted the inspired Scripture, for Jesus had told the disciples that it was written that the sheep should be scattered. Yet Peter boldly denied both what God had written and what Christ had said. Alas! there is nothing of evil which proud self-confidence will not make us do. God save us from such a spirit as that!

Mark 14:30-31. And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise.

See how positive he was, how reliant upon the strength of his own love. It was well to feel such love, but it was ill to mix with it such self-confidence.

Mark 14:31. Likewise also said they all.

Whenever a man, who is called to be a leader, goes astray, others are pretty sure to follow him. It was so on this occasion, for when Peter made his boastful speech, “Likewise also said they all,” all the rest of his brethren chimed in, and so shared in his sin, but he was chief in the wrong-doing, for he led them all. In the 53rd verse, we read what happened after Christ’s agony and betrayal in Gethsemane:—

Mark 14:53-54. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and, the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

Meanwhile, Christ was being put to the utmost derision and contempt. In the 66th verse, we are told more concerning the boastful apostle:—

Mark 14:66-70. And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: and when she saw Peter warming Himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.

He could not hold his tongue, you see. He was always fast and forward in speech; and no sooner did he begin to speak than the people said, “That is the Galilaean brogue; you come from that part of the country, your speech betrays you.”

Mark 14:71-72. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

This exposition consisted of readings from Mark 14:27-31; Mark 14:53-54; Mark 14:66-72; and John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27.


Verses 53-65

Mark 14:53-54. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

We may regard what was said to Jesus, by Annas and Caiaphas, as a sort of unofficial preliminary examination; and, meanwhile, their fellow conspirators were scouring the streets of Jerusalem to gather together the members of the Sanhedrim, and also searching among the slums in order to find witnesses who could be bribed to give false evidence against Jesus.

Mark 14:55. And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.

A pretty court that was, occupied in seeking for witnesses who might enable them to condemn to death a prisoner against whom no charge had yet been formulated.

Mark 14:56-59. For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying, We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. But neither so did their witness agree together.

It was a rule that they should be examined separately, and there had not been time for them to be coached up as to what they were to say, so one contradicted the other, and it looked as if the trial must break down.

Mark 14:60. And the high priest stood up in the midst,

Losing all patience, he stood up, in a furious rage at the turn things were taking.

Mark 14:60-61. And asked Jesus, saying, Answered thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee? But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

This time, according to Matthew’s account, the high priest said to Jesus, “I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God.” Being thus, as it were, put upon his oath, the Saviour felt compelled to answer. He could not remain silent when such a great and important question was at stake.

Mark 14:62-65. And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death. And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

Perhaps we have the same narrative in Luke; possibly, however, he gives us a continuation of the sad story; it is difficult to say which is the case. (See Luke 22:63-71 )

This exposition consisted of readings from John 18:12-14; John 18:19-26; Mark 14:53-65; and Luke 22:63-71; Luke 3:1.


Verses 53-72

Mark 14:53-54. And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes. And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

Thus we learn what a cold night it was,-that night in which the Saviour’s “sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” Often, at Jerusalem, the days are extremely hot, yet the nights are as cold as if it were winter, through the abundant dews that fall, and cause a dampness everywhere.

Mark 14:66-67. And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest: and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him,-

I think I see her, with her eyes fixed upon him, as he was warming himself at the fire: “She looked upon him,”-

Mark 14:67-68. And said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth. But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

This first time was not the regular season of cock-crowing, but those birds crow when they please. Before the fixed period called the cock-crowing, Peter was to deny his Master three times; this was the first time.

Mark 14:69-70. And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them. And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.

“Thou hast the peculiar brogue of that part of the country: ‘Thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.’”

Mark 14:71-72. But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak. And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cockcrow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

He does not say that he went out, and wept bitterly, as Luke says in his version of the incident. This is Peter’s own account of it, so he says as little as he can to his own credit, while he tells all that is to his discredit. You notice that there seem to be some slight differences between these two accounts, and it is quite natural that it should be so. If any two honest men here were to describe any scene that they had witnessed, the two would be sure to differ in some particulars, yet both accounts might be true. Matthew tells us that Jesus said to Peter, “Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice;” but Mark tells us that he said, “Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.” Yes; but there is no real contradiction, and the incident introduced by Mark shows how, to the very letter, both of those utterances of our Saviour were fulfilled, So is it with regard to those who spoke to Peter; when we come to another account, you will see that they differ very considerably, yet they are all true, for all that. (See Luke 22:54-62)

This exposition consisted of readings from Matthew 26:31-35; Matthew 26:57-58; Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:53-54; Mark 14:66-72; Luke 1:54-62; and John 18:15-18; John 18:25-27.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Mark 14:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/mark-14.html. 2011.

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