Mark 14:3-11, 32-36
May 19, 2019
Old Account was Settled Long Ago – If you are lost and once was in
debt fiscally and paid the debt off – Think of the feeling.
There is no comparison to having our sin debt paid and the
euphoria associated with being free in the universe from sin.
Compare how easy it is to get rid of that debt compared to
having to work a debt out – indentured servants - etc.
In the last four verses of Mark 13, Jesus praised a poor widow because she
willingly gave two small coins to God’s work.
In vs. 3-9 in ch. 14, Jesus experiences the anointing of a woman who gave
extravagantly to Him.
The world had sneered at the widow’s mites as being practically worthless.
The world and even the disciples scolded the woman who anointed Jesus
as a waste thinking it might be given to the poor.
Deuteronomy 15:11 – “The poor shall never cease out of the land.”
Jesus knew that His disciples would always have opportunity to do what is
good for the poor. The Book of Acts shows how the first generation of
Christians did so.
But as Jesus was nearing death, His disciples didn’t have much time left to
show their devotion to Him, but this woman had seized the moment to show
honor and devotion to Him. This was the initial application of fragrance to
His physical body – a Jewish burial custom which was completed by
Nicodemus days later when he put the burial spices on Jesus’ corpse.
Jesus accepted her deed as preparation for His burial coming soon. We may
suppose that this powerful fragrance remained with Him wherever He went
from that moment until He was sealed in the tomb.
33 “And He taketh with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore
amazed, and to be very heavy;” It appears that our Lord separated Himself from all
the disciples except Peter and James and John, and then the bitter agony began.
He began to be greatly amazed, and sore troubled (ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι ἀδημονεῖν –
ekthambeisthai kai adaemonein – to be being over-awed and to be being depressed.).
These two Greek verbs are as adequately expressed above as seems possible. The
first implies "utter, extreme amazement;" if the second has for its root ἄδημος –
adaemos - not at home, it implies the anguish of the soul struggling to free itself
from the body under the pressure of intense mental distress. The three chosen
disciples were allowed to be witnesses of this awful anguish. They had been
fortified to endure the sight by the glories of the transfiguration. It would have
been too much for the faith of the rest. But these three witnessed it, that they might
learn themselves, and be able to teach others, that the way to glory is by suffering.
34 “And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here,
and watch.” None but He who bore those sorrows can know what they were. It was not
the apprehension of the bodily torments and the bitter death that awaited Him, all
foreknown by Him. It was the inconceivable agony of THE WEIGHT OF THE SINS
OF MEN. The Lord was thus laying "upon Him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)
This, and this alone, can explain it. My soul is exceeding sorrowful even unto death.
Every word carries the emphasis of an overwhelming grief. It was then that "the deep
waters came in," even unto his soul. "What," says Cornelius a Lapide, "must have
been the voice, the countenance, the expression, as He uttered those awful words!"
35 “And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed
that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him.” Our Lord now
separated himself, though apparently, as Luke (Luke 22:41) says, only "about a
stone's cast" from the three disciples, and threw Himself on the ground in mortal
agony, and prayed that this hour of His supreme mental anguish might, if possible,
pass from Him.
62 “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.” To this question our Lord returns a
plain and candid answer, out of reverence for the Divine Name which, as Matthew and
Luke tell us, had been invoked by the high priest, and also respect for the office of the
high priest, by whom He had been put upon His oath. St. Chrysostom says that our
Lord answered thus that He might leave without excuse all those who listened to Him,
who would not hereafter be able to plead in the day of judgment that, when our Lord
was solemnly asked in the council whether He was the Son of God, He had either
refused to answer, or had answered evasively. This answer of our Lord is full of
majesty and sublimity. He is arraigned as a criminal, standing in the midst of the
chief priests and scribes, His bitter enemies; and it is as though He said, "You, O
Caiaphas, and you the chief priests and elders of the Jews, are now unjustly
condemning me as a false prophet and a false Christ; but the day is at hand
when I, who am now a prisoner at your judgment seat, shall sit on the throne
of glory as the Judge of you and of all mankind. You are now about to condemn
me to the death of the cross; but I shall then sit in judgment upon you, and
condemn you for this terrible guilt of slaying me, WHO
AM THE TRUE GOD AND THE JUDGE OF THE WORLD!
63 “Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further
witnesses?” And the high priest rent his clothes (διαῥῤήξας τοὺς χιτῶνας –
diarraexas tous chitonas – tearing the tunics; literally, his tunics); Matthew
(Matthew 26:65) has τὰ ἱμὰτια – ta himatia - literally, his garments. None but people
of rank wore two tunics. The Greek verb here rendered "rent" implies violent dramatic
action. The Jewish tunic was open under the chin, and large enough to receive the
head, so that it could easily be placed over the shoulders, by inserting the head.
When the wearer wished to give this sign of indignation or grief, he would seize the
garment at this opening with both hands, and violently tear it asunder down to the
waist. But it was unlawful for the high priest to do this in a private grief
(Leviticus 10:6). Some of the Fathers think that by this action Caiaphas
involuntarily typified the rending of the priesthood from himself and from
the Jewish nation. The veil of the temple being rent - compare
The Trial Before Caiaphas (vs. 53-65)
(Parallel passages: (Matthew 26:57-68; Luke 22:54,63-71; John 18:12-24,28)
Here is hypocrisy in high places. If our Lord had remained silent, they would have
probably charged Him with imposture; now that He confessed His Messiahship and
future exaltation, they proceeded to condemn Him for blasphemy. The council sought
nothing further; they wanted only evidence against Him — something to inculpate, not
to exculpate, Him. They did not wish to hear the grounds of His claim; they wanted no
explanation. With the Jews the setting up of a claim to any Divine’ attribute was
regarded as blasphemy; the claim of Christ, according to their opinion of Him, came
under the Mosaic law of blasphemy. And now the hypocrisy of the high priest is
something shocking. As the highest ecclesiastical functionary of the nation, and the
principal officer of its great council, his duty surely was to investigate the confession
and claim of one who professed to embody the hopes of the nation, and to scrutinize
the true nature of that claim, the real meaning of it, the grounds on which it rested,
the reasons of it, and the evidence for it. On the contrary, he grasped with avidity at
the prospect of a condemnation. His sense of justice was no higher than his sense of
religion; on anything that might tend to explain, or extenuate, or exculpate, he shut
his eyes and closed his ears. But what is still more disgusting in the conduct of this
ecclesiastic was his abominable hypocrisy. He feigned abhorrence at the crime which
he was so anxious to establish. Glad as he was to have this constructive crime of
blasphemy to allege, he pretended the most extreme horror by tearing his garments
from the neck to the waist. Here, indeed, was “spiritual wickedness in high places.”
(Ephesians 6:12) 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.”
Surely this is the most amazing scene in the long history of humanity! The Redeemer of
mankind upon His trial; the Savior at the bar of those He came to save; — there is in
this something monstrous and almost incredible. But the case is even worse than
this. The Lord and Judge of man stands at the tribunal of those who must one day
appear before His judgment seat. They judge Him in time whom He must judge
in eternity. It is a spectacle the most affecting and the most awful this earth has ever
unrighteous Annas. (John 18:13) - He is now led into the presence of the high
priest, Caiaphas (son-in-law to Annas) who has declared that it was good that
one man should perish for the people; which meant, that it was better that the
innocent Jesus should die, rather than that the ruler’s influence with the
people should be imperiled by the prevalence of the spiritual teaching of
the Prophet of
and then in something like legal fashion, the chief priests, elders, and
scribes. It appears that these are mainly of the Sadducees, of the party who
aimed at political power. The tribunal before which Jesus is arraigned is
composed of the Sanhedrim, so far as it may be said to exist at this time. It
is observable, accordingly, that the accusers of Jesus are His judges. These
are the men who sent down spies into
Jesus, and catch Him in His speech. These are the men who instigated the
cavilers who, in the public places of
the Lord with foolish questions, un-candid criticisms, unfounded calumnies.
These are the men who, after the raising of Lazarus, plotted against the
mighty One, and resolved that they would have His life. These are the men
who themselves sent out the band that apprehended Jesus in the garden. He
appears, therefore, at the bar of those who have watched and pursued Him
with eager malice, who have persecuted Him with unscrupulous hatred, and
who have now got Him within their toils. Such was the court before which
Jesus appeared. From a tribunal like this there was no prospect, no
expectation, no possibility, of justice. This Jesus had long foreseen, and for
the consequences Jesus was perfectly prepared. “Now the chief priests and
the whole council sought witness against Jesus to put Him to death, and
found it not”. (v. 55) – Their supreme object was to put Him to death; but
they wished to accomplish their object in a manner consistent with their own
honor, so as not to appear to have put Him to death without reason. So they
sought for false witnesses against Him, that they might deliver the Author
of life and the Savior of the world to death. For in real truth, although they
knew it not, they were the instruments in God’s hands, He had determined by
the death of Christ to BESTOW ON US BOTH PRESENT AND ETERNAL
no wonder that they seek evidence against the accused. In such circumstances
Jesus must be obviously, undeniably innocent, if no charge can be substantiated
against Him. False witnesses appear; but so flagrantly inconsistent are their
unfounded accusations, that even such a court, so prejudiced, cannot condemn
upon testimony so mutually destructive. At length, however, false witnesses
stand up, who distort a memorable saying of Christ into what may be construed
as a disparagement of the national temple which all Jews regard with pride.
Jesus, speaking of the temple of His body, had said, “Destroy this temple, and
in three days I will rear it again.” - (John 2:19) - This saying is mis-
represented, and made to appear the utterance of an intention to destroy the
sacred and noble edifice. What our Lord had really said was this — we read it
in John 2:19 - “Destroy this temple; and in three days I will raise it up.”
These words the false witnesses perverted; for they assigned to Jesus
the work of destruction which He left to the Jews. He did not say,” I will
destroy;” but “Do ye destroy, and I will rebuild.” Nor did He say, “I will
build another;” but “I will raise it up,” that is, from the dead; for John
tells us that “He spake of the temple of his body,” (John 2:21) -in which,
as in a temple, there dwelt the fullness of the Godhead.. Even so, however, the
witnesses agree not. If this is the worst charge that can be brought against Jesus,
and if even this cannot be substantiated; if no remembered words can be twisted
so as to give some color for condemnation before a tribunal so constituted and so
prejudiced; then this is certain, that the ministry of Jesus must have been
discharged with amazing wisdom and discretion. At the same time, the sin of
the Lord’s enemies appears the more enormous and the more inexcusable.
Jesus was not condemned upon any evidence, any testimony, against Him.
Ø The president of the court, stung with disappointment, springs from
his seat, indignant at the silence and calmness of the accused; and, with
most unjudicial unfairness, interposes, and endeavors to provoke Jesus
into language which may inculpate himself. But he is met with a
dignified demeanor and with continued silence.
Ø This effort being in vain, the high priest adjures the accused, and
requires Him to say whether or not He persists in the claims which He
has made in the course of His ministry to be the Messiah, and the Son
of the Blessed. Let Him say “No,” and He is for ever discredited and
powerless; let Him say “Yes,” and then His admission may be
construed into a claim which may be represented to the Roman
procurator as a treasonable assumption of royal power. The intention
of the judge in this proceeding was evil; but an opportunity was thus
given for the great Accused publicly to put Himself right with the
court and with the world. Here we behold innocence in its peerless
perfection. No fault is found in Jesus. Even His demeanor, amidst all
this injustice, is consummate moral beauty. His unruffled calm, His
Divine dignity, His immovable patience, — all command the
profoundest reverence of our heart.
think it worth while to refute witnesses who have refuted themselves and one
another. But now that the ruler of the people puts Him upon His oath, and
requires of Him a plain answer to a plain question, Jesus breaks His silence.
“I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the
Son of God” – (Matthew 26:63) - To this question our Lord returns a plain
and candid answer, out of reverence for the Divine Name which, as Matthew
and Luke tell us, had been invoked by the high priest, and also respect for the
office of the high priest, by whom He had been put upon His oath. St.
Chrysostom says that our Lord answered thus that He might leave without
excuse all those who listened to Him, who would not hereafter be able to plead
in the day of judgment that, when our Lord was solemnly asked in the council
whether He was the Son of God, He had either refused to answer, or had
answered evasively. This answer of our Lord is full of majesty and
sublimity. He is arraigned as a criminal, standing in the midst of the chief
priests and scribes, His bitter enemies; and it is as though He said, “You, O
Caiaphas, and you the chief priests and elders of the Jews, are now unjustly
condemning me as a false prophet and a false Christ; but the day is at hand
when I, who am now a prisoner at your judgment seat, shall sit on the
throne of glory as the Judge of you and of all mankind. You are now about
to condemn me to the death of the cross; but I shall then sit in judgment
upon you, and condemn you for this terrible guilt of slaying me, who am
the true God and the Judge of the world. (II Corinthians 5:10)
Ø He acknowledges what He has often asserted before, that no claim can
be too high for Him to make with truth. If He is to die and upon that He
has resolved — (Luke 9:51) - Jesus will die, witnessing to the truth and
for the truth. He is the foretold Deliverer, the anointed King, the
Son of the Blessed and Eternal. This He will not conceal; from this
avowal naught shall make Him shrink.
Ø He adds that His high position and glorious office shall be one day
witnessed by His persecutors and judges, as well as by all mankind.
(Zechariah 12:10) - There is true sublimity in such an avowal, made in
such circumstances and before such an assembly. To the view of man
Jesus is the culprit, powerless before the malice and the injustice of the
mighty, and in danger of a cruel and violent death. But in truth the case
is otherwise. (Matthew 26:53) - He is the Divine King, the Divine Judge.
His glory is concealed now, but it shall shine forth in due time and ere
long. Men on earth shall bow in His Name, receive His laws, and place
themselves beneath His protecting care. The world shall witness His
majesty, and all nations shall be summoned to His bar, and heaven shall
crown Him “Lord of all.” What striking harmony there is between this
profession and expectation of Christ on the one hand, and on the other
that wonderful statement of an apostle, “For the joy that was set before
Him, He endured the cross, despising the shame” (Hebrews 12:2)
Ø The avowal is treated as a confession. No witnesses are now needed.
From His own mouth He is judged. The charge, which Jesus’ own
language is held to justify and substantiate, is one of blasphemy. And, if
Christ were a mere man, this charge was just. (He is the Son of God!)
Ø The whole court concurs in the judgment. The president is eager to
condemn, but not more eager than his assessors. One mind moves them
all, a mind of malice and hatred, a mind rejoicing in iniquity, grasping
at the fulfillment of base hopes.
Ø The sentence is death. It was a foregone conclusion. The destruction of
Jesus had been resolved upon long since. Death for the Lord of life; death
for the Benefactor of mankind; death for the innocent but willing Victim
of human ferocity and human sin!
Ø THE INSULTS. Again and again, in the course of that awful night, that
awful morning, was the Lord of glory treated with derision, ignominy,
and contempt. The record is almost too distressing to be read. We can
read of the agony in the garden, of the anguish of the
cross, but we scarcely know how to read of the treatment our Savior met
with from our fellowmen, from those He came to save and bless. The
spitting, the buffeting, the mockery, the blows, — those will not bear to
be thought upon. We may believe, we cannot realize, the record!
Here we behold sin at its height, raging and seemingly triumphant.
Whether we look at the witnesses who maligned Jesus, the court which
condemned him, or the officers who abused Him, we are confronted with
appalling proofs of the flagitiousness of human sin.
Here we behold innocence in its peerless perfection. No fault is found in
Jesus. Even His demeanor, amidst all this injustice, is consummate moral
beauty. His unruffled calm, His Divine dignity, His immovable patience, —
all command the profoundest reverence of our heart.
Here we behold a willing Sacrifice. Jesus is “obedient unto death, even the death
of the cross.” (Philippians 2:8) - With these stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
These are a part of the suffering Jesus bore for us. That we may be freed from
condemnation, He is condemned; that we may live, He is delivered unto death.
A glorious example is here presented for our imitation. “Christ also suffered
for you, leaving you an example, that ye should follow in His steps, who did
no sin, neither was guile found in His mouth: who, when He was reviled,
reviled not again; when He suffered, threatened not; but committed
Himself to Him that judgeth righteously.” (I Peter 2:21-23)