Now: The events described at Mr 14:
while he was at Bethany: The events described at Mr 14:
a woman: According to Joh 12:3, this woman is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
alabaster jar: See Glossary, “Alabaster.”
perfumed oil: John says that the weight was a pound. Mark’s and John’s accounts specify that it was worth “more than 300 denarii.” (Mr 14:5; Joh 12:
pouring it on his head: According to Matthew and Mark, the woman poured the oil on Jesus’ head. (Mt 26:7) John, who wrote years later, supplied the added detail that she also poured it on his feet. (Joh 12:3) Jesus explains that this loving act, in a figurative sense, prepared him for burial.
she poured perfumed oil on my body: The woman (see study note on Mr 14:3) performed this generous act out of love and appreciation for Jesus. He explained that she was unknowingly preparing his body for burial, since such perfumed oil and ointments were often applied to dead bodies.
is preached in all the world: Similar to his prophecy at Mr 13:10, Jesus here foretells that the good news would be proclaimed in all the world and would include this woman’s act of devotion. God inspired three Gospel writers to mention what she did.
Iscariot: See study note on Mt 10:4.
dipping with me: People usually ate food with their fingers, or they used a piece of bread somewhat like a spoon. This expression could also be an idiom meaning “to share food together.” Eating with a person signified close friendship. To turn against such an intimate companion was considered the vilest form of treachery.
bowl: The Greek word denotes a relatively deep bowl from which a meal was eaten. A few ancient manuscripts have a reading that can be rendered “the common bowl,” but the current reading has strong manuscript support.
took a loaf . . . broke it: The loaves common in the ancient Near East were thin and, if unleavened, brittle. There was no spiritual significance to Jesus’ breaking the bread; this was the normal way to divide that type of loaf.
said a blessing: This expression evidently refers to a prayer offering praise and thanks to God.
means: The Greek word e·stinʹ (literally meaning “is”) here has the sense of “signifies; symbolizes; stands for; represents.” This meaning was evident to the apostles, since on this occasion Jesus’ perfect body was there in front of them and so was the unleavened bread that they were about to eat. Therefore, the bread could not have been his literal body. It is worth noting that the same Greek word is used at Mt 12:7, and many Bible translations render it “means.”
blood of the covenant: The new covenant, between Jehovah and anointed Christians, was made operative by Jesus’ sacrifice. (Heb 8:10) Jesus here uses the same expression Moses used when acting as mediator and inaugurating the Law covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. (Ex 24:8; Heb 9:19-21) Just as the blood of bulls and goats validated the Law covenant between God and the nation of Israel, Jesus’ blood made valid the new covenant that Jehovah would make with spiritual Israel. That covenant went into effect at Pentecost 33 C.E.
praises: Or “hymns; psalms.” According to one Jewish tradition, the first Hallel Psalms (113, 114) were sung, or recited, during the Passover meal; the last four (115-118) at its conclusion. The latter contain some of the prophecies that apply to the Messiah. Ps 118 begins and ends with the words: “Give thanks to Jehovah, for he is good; his loyal love endures forever.” (Ps 118:1, 29) These may well have been the last words of praise that Jesus sang with his faithful apostles on the night before his death.
before a rooster crows: All four Gospels mention this, but only Mark’s account adds the detail that the rooster would crow twice. (Mt 26:34, 74, 75; Mr 14:72; Lu 22:34, 60, 61; Joh 13:38; 18:27) The Mishnah indicates that roosters were bred in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, lending support to the Bible account. This crowing likely occurred very early in the morning.
Gethsemane: This garden was evidently located on the Mount of Olives across the Kidron Valley from Jerusalem. It was probably equipped with an olive press, since its name is derived from a Hebrew or Aramaic expression (gath shema·nehʹ) meaning “oil press.” Although the exact location cannot be determined, one tradition identifies Gethsemane with a garden located at the foot of the Mount of Olives, at the fork of the road on its W slope.
I am: Or “My soul is.” The Greek word psy·kheʹ, traditionally rendered “soul,” here refers to a person’s entire being. So “my soul” can be rendered “my whole being” or simply “I.”
keep on the watch: Lit., “stay awake.” Jesus had emphasized the need for his disciples to stay awake spiritually because of not knowing the day and hour of his coming. (See study notes on Mt 24:42; 25:13; Mr 13:35.) He repeats that exhortation here and again at Mr 14:38, where he links staying awake spiritually with persevering in prayer. Similar exhortations are found throughout the Christian Greek Scriptures, showing that spiritual alertness is vital for true Christians.
Abba: A Hebrew or Aramaic word (transliterated into Greek) occurring three times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Ro 8:
Father: All three instances of Abba are followed by the translation ho pa·terʹ in Greek, which literally means “the father” or “O Father.”
remove this cup from me: In the Bible, “cup” is often used figuratively of God’s will, or the “assigned portion,” for a person. (See study note on Mt 20:22.) Jesus no doubt felt great concern over the reproach that his death as one charged with blasphemy and sedition could bring on God, moving him to pray that this “cup” be removed from him.
spirit: Here referring to the impelling force that issues from a person’s figurative heart and causes him to say and do things in a certain way.
flesh: In the Bible, the term is often used to represent man in his imperfect sinful state.
their eyes were weighed down: A Greek idiomatic expression that means “to be extremely sleepy.” It could also be rendered, “they could not keep their eyes open.”
Look!: The Greek word i·douʹ, here rendered “look!,” is often used to focus attention on what follows, encouraging the reader to visualize the scene or to take note of a detail in a narrative. It is also used to add emphasis or to introduce something new or surprising. In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term occurs most frequently in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke and in the book of Revelation. A corresponding expression is often used in the Hebrew Scriptures.
gave him a tender kiss: The Greek verb rendered “to give a tender kiss” is an intensive form of the verb for “kiss,” used at Mr 14:44. By greeting Jesus in such a warm, friendly manner, Judas showed the depth of his deceitfulness and hypocrisy.
one of those standing by: The parallel account at Joh 18:10 shows that it was Simon Peter who drew his sword and that the name of the slave of the high priest was Malchus. The accounts of Luke (22:50) and John (18:10) also add the detail that it was his “right ear” that was cut off.
a certain young man: Mark is the only one who records the incident described in verses 51 and 52. The young man may have been the writer himself. If so, Mark may have had some personal contact with Jesus.
naked: Or “not sufficiently dressed.” The Greek word gy·mnosʹ can have the meaning “lightly clad; in the undergarment only.”
the high priest: When Israel functioned as an independent nation, the high priest held his office for life. (Nu 35:25) However, during the Roman occupation of Israel, the rulers assigned by Rome had authority to appoint the high priest and to depose him. The high priest who presided at Jesus’ trial was Caiaphas (Mt 26:
Sanhedrin: That is, the Jewish high court in Jerusalem. The Greek word rendered “Sanhedrin” (sy·neʹdri·on) literally means a “sitting down with.” Although it was a general term for an assembly or a meeting, in Israel it could refer to a religious judicial body or court.
their testimony was not in agreement: Mark is the only Gospel writer to report that the false witnesses at Jesus’ trial were not in agreement.
right hand of power: To be on a ruler’s right hand meant being second in importance to the ruler himself. (Ps 110:1; Ac 7:
ripped his garments: Here a gesture expressing indignation. Caiaphas likely tore open the part of his garment that covered his chest to dramatize his sanctimonious outrage at Jesus’ words.
Prophesy!: Here “prophesy” does not imply making a prediction but, rather, identifying by divine revelation. The context shows that Jesus’ persecutors had covered his face, and the parallel account at Mt 26:68 reveals that the taunt they addressed to him was, in full: “Prophesy to us, you Christ. Who struck you?” They were thus challenging the blindfolded Jesus to identify who was hitting him.
entryway: Or “vestibule.”
curse: Most likely, Peter is invoking a curse on himself, saying, in effect, that he ‘wishes to be cursed if he is lying and actually knows the man.’
swear: Or “swear with an oath.” Motivated by fear, Peter is trying to convince those around him that his denials are truthful. By swearing to the matter, he is taking an oath that his words are true and that a calamity might befall him if they are not.
a rooster crowed: All four Gospels mention this event, but only Mark’s account adds the detail that the rooster crowed a second time. (Mt 26:34, 74, 75; Mr 14:30; Lu 22:34, 60, 61; Joh 13:38; 18:27) The Mishnah indicates that roosters were bred in Jerusalem in Jesus’ day, lending support to the Bible account. This crowing likely occurred sometime before dawn.
These small vaselike vessels for perfume were originally made of stone found near Alabastron, Egypt. The stone itself, a form of calcium carbonate, came to be known by the name Alabastron. The jar shown here was discovered in Egypt and dates from somewhere between 150 B.C.E. and 100 C.E. A less costly material, such as gypsum, was used to make similar-looking jars; these too were called alabasters, simply because of the use to which they were put. However, cases made of genuine alabaster were used for the more costly ointments and perfumes, like those with which Jesus was anointed on two occasions
Essential items at the Passover meal were: roast lamb (no bones in the animal were to be broken) (1); unleavened bread (2); and bitter greens (3). (Ex 12:
Some homes in Israel had an upper story. That room was accessed by means of an inside ladder or wooden staircase or an outside stone staircase or a ladder. In a large upper chamber, possibly similar to the one depicted here, Jesus celebrated the last Passover with his disciples and instituted the commemoration of the Lord’s Evening Meal. (Lu 22:12, 19, 20) On the day of Pentecost 33 C.E., about 120 disciples were apparently in an upper chamber of a house in Jerusalem when God’s spirit was poured out on them.