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Jehovah’s Witnesses

New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Study Edition)

Mark 14:1-72

14  Now the Passover+ and the Festival of Unleavened Bread+ was two days later.+ And the chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to seize* him by cunning* and kill him;+  for they were saying: “Not at the festival; perhaps there might be an uproar of the people.”  And while he was at Bethʹa·ny dining* in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, genuine nard, very expensive. She broke open the alabaster jar and began pouring it on his head.+  At this some said to one another indignantly: “Why has this perfumed oil been wasted?  For this perfumed oil could have been sold for more than 300 de·narʹi·i+ and the money given to the poor!” And they were greatly annoyed with* her.  But Jesus said: “Let her alone. Why do you try to make trouble for her? She did a fine deed toward me.+  For you always have the poor with you,+ and you can do them good whenever you want to, but you will not always have me.+  She did what she could; she poured perfumed oil on my body beforehand, in view of the burial.+  Truly I say to you, wherever the good news is preached in all the world,+ what this woman did will also be told in memory of her.”+ 10  And Judas Is·carʹi·ot, one of the Twelve, went off to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.+ 11  When they heard it, they were delighted and promised to give him silver money.+ So he began seeking an opportunity to betray him. 12  Now on the first day of the Unleavened Bread,+ when they customarily offered up the Passover sacrifice,+ his disciples said to him: “Where do you want us to go and prepare for you to eat the Passover?”+ 13  With that he sent two of his disciples and said to them: “Go into the city, and a man carrying an earthenware water jar will meet you. Follow him,+ 14  and wherever he goes inside, say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says: “Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ 15  And he will show you a large upper room, furnished and ready. Prepare it for us there.” 16  So the disciples went out, and they entered the city and found it just as he said to them, and they prepared for the Passover. 17  After evening had fallen, he came with the Twelve.+ 18  And as they were reclining at the table and eating, Jesus said: “Truly I say to you, one of you who is eating with me will betray me.”+ 19  They began to be grieved and to say to him one by one: “It is not I, is it?” 20  He said to them: “It is one of the Twelve, the one dipping with me into the bowl.+ 21  For the Son of man is going away, just as it is written about him, but woe to that man through whom the Son of man is betrayed!+ It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”+ 22  And as they continued eating, he took a loaf, said a blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying: “Take it; this means my body.”+ 23  And taking a cup, he offered thanks and gave it to them, and they all drank out of it.+ 24  And he said to them: “This means my ‘blood+ of the covenant,’+ which is to be poured out in behalf of many.+ 25  Truly I say to you, I will by no means drink anymore of the product of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God.”+ 26  Finally, after singing praises, they went out to the Mount of Olives.+ 27  And Jesus said to them: “You will all be stumbled, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd,+ and the sheep will be scattered about.’+ 28  But after I have been raised up, I will go ahead of you into Galʹi·lee.”+ 29  But Peter said to him: “Even if all the others are stumbled, I will not be.”+ 30  At that Jesus said to him: “Truly I say to you that today, yes, on this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.”+ 31  But he kept insisting: “If I have to die with you, I will by no means disown you.” Also, all the others began to say the same thing.+ 32  So they came to a spot named Geth·semʹa·ne, and he said to his disciples: “Sit down here while I pray.”+ 33  And he took Peter and James and John along with him,+ and he began to feel deeply distressed* and to be greatly troubled. 34  He said to them: “I am deeply grieved,+ even to death. Stay here and keep on the watch.”+ 35  And going a little way forward, he fell to the ground and began praying that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him. 36  And he said: “Abba, Father,+ all things are possible for you; remove this cup from me. Yet, not what I want, but what you want.”+ 37  He returned and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter: “Simon, are you sleeping? Did you not have the strength to keep on the watch for one hour?+ 38  Keep on the watch and pray continually, so that you do not come into temptation.+ The spirit, of course, is eager,* but the flesh is weak.”+ 39  And he went away again and prayed, saying the same thing.+ 40  And he came again and found them sleeping, for their eyes were weighed down, so they did not know what to answer him. 41  And he returned the third time and said to them: “At such a time as this, you are sleeping and resting! It is enough! The hour has come!+ Look! The Son of man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42  Get up, let us go. Look! My betrayer has drawn near.”+ 43  And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.+ 44  Now his betrayer had given them an agreed sign, saying: “Whoever it is I kiss, he is the one; take him into custody, and lead him away under guard.”* 45  And he came straight up and approached him and said, “Rabbi!” and gave him a tender kiss. 46  So they seized him and took him into custody. 47  However, one of those standing by drew his sword and struck the slave of the high priest, taking off his ear.+ 48  But in response Jesus said to them: “Did you come out to arrest me with swords and clubs as against a robber?+ 49  Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching,+ and yet you did not take me into custody. Nevertheless, this is to fulfill the Scriptures.”+ 50  And they all abandoned him and fled.+ 51  However, a certain young man wearing only a fine linen garment over his naked body began to follow him nearby, and they tried to seize him, 52  but he left his linen garment behind and got away naked. 53  They now led Jesus away to the high priest,+ and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes assembled.+ 54  But Peter, from a good distance, followed him as far as into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting together with the house attendants and warming himself before a bright fire.+ 55  Now the chief priests and the entire Sanʹhe·drin were looking for testimony against Jesus in order to put him to death, but they were not finding any.+ 56  Many, indeed, were giving false witness against him,+ but their testimonies were not in agreement. 57  Also, certain ones were standing up and bearing false witness against him, saying: 58  “We heard him say, ‘I will throw down this temple that was made with hands, and in three days I will build another not made with hands.’”+ 59  But even on these grounds, their testimony was not in agreement. 60  Then the high priest stood up in their midst and questioned Jesus, saying: “Do you say nothing in reply? What is it these men are testifying against you?”+ 61  But he kept silent and made no reply at all.+ Again the high priest began to question him and said to him: “Are you the Christ the Son of the Blessed One?” 62  Then Jesus said: “I am; and you will see the Son of man+ sitting at the right hand+ of power and coming with the clouds of heaven.”+ 63  At this the high priest ripped his garments and said: “What further need do we have of witnesses?+ 64  You heard the blasphemy. What is your decision?”* They all condemned him as deserving of death.+ 65  And some started to spit on him+ and to cover his face and hit him with their fists and say to him: “Prophesy!” And slapping him in the face, the court attendants took him.+ 66  Now while Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came.+ 67  On seeing Peter warming himself, she looked straight at him and said: “You too were with the Naz·a·reneʹ, this Jesus.” 68  But he denied it, saying: “Neither do I know him nor do I understand* what you are talking about,” and he went outside to the entryway. 69  There the servant girl saw him and again began to say to those standing by: “This is one of them.”+ 70  Again he was denying it. And after a little while, those standing by again began saying to Peter: “Certainly you are one of them, for you are, in fact, a Gal·i·leʹan.” 71  But he started to curse and swear: “I do not know this man of whom you speak!” 72  Immediately a rooster crowed a second time,+ and Peter recalled what Jesus had said to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will disown me three times.”+ And he broke down and began to weep.


Or “arrest.”
Or “deceit; craftiness.”
Or “reclining at the table.”
Or “they spoke angrily to; they scolded.”
Or “feel stunned.”
Or “willing.”
Or “securely.”
Or “What do you think?”; “How does it seem to you?”
Or “I neither know nor understand.”

Now: The events described at Mr 14:1, 2 took place on Nisan 12; the verse states that the Passover (on Nisan 14; see study note on Mt 26:2) and the Festival of Unleavened Bread (on Nisan 15-21; see Glossary) was two days later.—See App. A7, B12, B15, and study notes on Mr 14:3, 10.

while he was at Bethany: The events described at Mr 14:3-9 evidently took place after sunset when Nisan 9 began. That timing is indicated by the parallel account in John, where Jesus is said to arrive at Bethany “six days before the Passover.” (Joh 12:1) He must have arrived before the beginning (at sunset) of the Sabbath on Nisan 8, which was the day before the meal at Simon’s place.Joh 12:2-11; see App. A7 and B12.

Simon the leper: This Simon is mentioned only here and in the parallel account at Mt 26:6. He may have been a former leper whom Jesus healed.—See study note on Mt 8:2 and Glossary, “Leprosy; Leper.”

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 12:3-5) That sum represented about a year’s wages for an ordinary laborer. The source of such perfumed oil is generally thought to be an aromatic plant (Nardostachys jatamansi) found in the Himalayas. Nard was often adulterated, even counterfeited, but both Mark and John say that this oil was genuine nard.—See Glossary, “Nard.”

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.—See study note on Mr 14:8.

300 denarii: Matthew’s account simply says “a great deal of money” (Mt 26:9), but the accounts of Mark and John are more specific.—See study note on Mr 14:3; Glossary, “Denarius”; and App. B14.

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.2Ch 16:14.

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.Mt 26:12, 13; Joh 12:7; see study note on Mr 13:10.

And: What is described in verses 10 and 11 happened on Nisan 12, the same day that the events described at Mr 14:1, 2 took place.—See App. A7, B12, and study notes on Mr 14:1, 3.

Iscariot: See study note on Mt 10:4.

After evening had fallen: That is, the evening marking the start of Nisan 14.—See App. A7 and B12.

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.Ps 41:9; Joh 13:18.

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.—See study note on Mt 14:19.

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.Heb 9:14, 15.

drink it new: That is, the vine’s new product. In the Scriptures, wine sometimes symbolizes joy.Ps 104:15; Ec 10:19.

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.—See study note on Mr 13:35.

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.—See App. B12.

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.”—See Glossary, “Soul.”

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.1Co 16:13; Col 4:2; 1Th 5:6; 1Pe 5:8; Re 16:15.

Abba: A Hebrew or Aramaic word (transliterated into Greek) occurring three times in the Christian Greek Scriptures. (Ro 8:15; Ga 4:6) The word literally means “the father” or “O Father.” It combines some of the intimacy of the English word “papa” with the dignity of the word “father,” being informal and yet respectful. It was among the first words a child learned to speak; yet in ancient Hebrew and Aramaic writings, it was also used by a grown son when addressing his father. Therefore, it was an endearing form of address rather than a title. Jesus’ use of this expression shows the close, trusting relationship he has with his Father.

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.—See Glossary.

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.—See study note on Mr Title.

naked: Or “not sufficiently dressed.” The Greek word gy·mnosʹ can have the meaning “lightly clad; in the undergarment only.”Jas 2:15, ftn.

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 26:3, 57), a skillful diplomat who held his office longer than any of his immediate predecessors. He was appointed about 18 C.E. and remained in office until about 36 C.E.—See Glossary, “High priest,” and App. B12 for the possible location of Caiaphas’ house.

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.—See study note on Mt 5:22 and Glossary; see also App. B12 for the possible location of the Sanhedrin Hall.

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 7:55, 56) The Greek word for “power” in this context may be understood to refer to God himself, and it could be rendered “the Power” or “the Powerful One.” The Greek expression for “right hand of power” also occurs in the parallel account at Lu 22:69, but with the addition of the word for “God.” It is rendered “the powerful right hand of God.” The phrase “right hand of power” may also imply that Jesus would be infused with power, or authority, because of being at the right hand of the Powerful One, God.

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.—See study notes on Mt 26:68; Lu 22:64.

entryway: Or “vestibule.”—See study note on Mt 26:71.

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.—See study note on Mr 13:35.


Alabaster Jar
Alabaster Jar

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—once at the house of a Pharisee in Galilee and once at the house of Simon the leper in Bethany.

The Passover Meal
The Passover Meal

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 12:5, 8; Nu 9:11) The bitter greens, which according to the Mishnah might have been lettuce, chicory, pepperwort, endive, or dandelion, evidently reminded the Israelites of their bitter slavery in Egypt. Jesus used the unleavened bread as a symbol of his perfect human body. (Mt 26:26) And the apostle Paul called Jesus “our Passover lamb.” (1Co 5:7) By the first century, wine (4) was also served as part of the Passover meal. Jesus used the wine to symbolize his blood, which would be poured out as a sacrifice.Mt 26:27, 28.

Upper Room
Upper Room

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.Ac 1:15; 2:1-4.