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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - MARK 14
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    CHAPTER 14

    Mr 14:1-11. THE CONSPIRACY OF THE JEWISH AUTHORITIES TO PUT JESUS TO DEATH--THE SUPPER AND THE ANOINTING AT BETHANY--JUDAS AGREES WITH THE CHIEF PRIESTS TO BETRAY HIS LORD. ( = Mt 26:1-16; Lu 22:1-6; Joh 12:1-11).

    The events of this section appeared to have occurred on the fourth day (Wednesday) of the Redeemer's Last Week.

    Conspiracy of the Jewish Authorities to Put Jesus to Death (Mr 14:1, 2).

    1. After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread--The meaning is, that two days after what is about to be mentioned the passover would arrive; in other words, what follows occurred two days before the feast.
    - and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death--From Matthew's fuller account (Mt 26:1-75) we learn that our Lord announced this to the Twelve as follows, being the first announcement to them of the precise time: "And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings" (Mt 26:1) --referring to the contents of Mt 24:1-25:46, which He delivered to His disciples; His public ministry being now closed: from His prophetical He is now passing into His priestly office, although all along He Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses--"He said unto His disciples, Ye know that after two days is [the feast of] the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified." The first and the last steps of His final sufferings are brought together in this brief announcement of all that was to take place. The passover was the first and the chief of the three great annual festivals, commemorative of the redemption of God's people from Egypt, through the sprinkling of the blood of a lamb divinely appointed to be slain for that end; the destroying angel, "when he saw the blood, passing over" the Israelitish houses, on which that blood was seen, when he came to destroy all the first-born in the land of Egypt (Ex 12:12, 13) --bright typical foreshadowing of the great Sacrifice, and the Redemption effected thereby. Accordingly, "by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, who is wonderful in counsel and excellent in working," it was so ordered that precisely at the passover season, "Christ our Passover should be sacrificed for us." On the day following the passover commenced "the feast of unleavened bread," so called because for seven days only unleavened bread was to be eaten (Ex 12:18-20). See on 1Co 5:6-8. We are further told by Matthew (Mt 26:3) that the consultation was held in the palace of Caiaphas the high priest, between the chief priests, [the scribes], and the elders of the people, how "they might take Jesus by subtlety and kill Him."

    2. But they said, Not on the feast day--rather, not during the feast; not until the seven days of unleavened bread should be over.
    - lest there be an uproar of the people--In consequence of the vast influx of strangers, embracing all the male population of the land who had reached a certain age, there were within the walls of Jerusalem at this festival some two million people; and in their excited state, the danger of tumult and bloodshed among "the people," who for the most part took Jesus for a prophet, was extreme. See JOSEPHUS [Antiquities, 20.5.3]. What plan, if any, these ecclesiastics fixed upon for seizing our Lord, does not appear. But the proposal of Judas being at once and eagerly gone into, it is probable they were till then at some loss for a plan sufficiently quiet and yet effectual. So, just at the feast time shall it be done; the unexpected offer of Judas relieving them of their fears. Thus, as BENGEL remarks, did the divine counsel take effect.

    The Supper and the Anointing at Bethany Six Days before the Passover (Mr 14:3-9).

    The time of this part of the narrative is four days before what has just been related. Had it been part of the regular train of events which our Evangelist designed to record, he would probably have inserted it in its proper place, before the conspiracy of the Jewish authorities. But having come to the treason of Judas, he seems to have gone back upon this scene as what probably gave immediate occasion to the awful deed.

    3. And being in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman--It was "Mary," as we learn from Joh 12:3.
    - having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard--pure nard, a celebrated aromatic--(See So 1:12).
    - very precious--"very costly" (Joh 12:3).
    - and she brake the box, and poured it on his head--"and anointed," adds John (Joh 12:3), "the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." The only use of this was to refresh and exhilarate--a grateful compliment in the East, amid the closeness of a heated atmosphere, with many guests at a feast. Such was the form in which Mary's love to Christ, at so much cost to herself, poured itself out.

    4. And there were some that had indignation within themselves and said--Matthew says (Mt 26:8), "But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying," &c. The spokesman, however, was none of the true-hearted Eleven--as we learn from John (Joh 12:4): "Then saith one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray Him." Doubtless the thought stirred first in his breast, and issued from his base lips; and some of the rest, ignorant of his true character and feelings, and carried away by his plausible speech, might for the moment feel some chagrin at the apparent waste.
    - Why was this waste of the ointment made?

    5. For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence--between nine and ten pounds sterling.
    - and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her--"This he said," remarks John (Joh 12:6), and the remark is of exceeding importance, "not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and had the bag"--the scrip or treasure chest--"and bare what was put therein"--not "bare it off" by theft, as some understand it. It is true that he did this; but the expression means simply that he had charge of it and its contents, or was treasurer to Jesus and the Twelve. What a remarkable arrangement was this, by which an avaricious and dishonest person was not only taken into the number of the Twelve, but entrusted with the custody of their little property! The purposes which this served are obvious enough; but it is further noticeable, that the remotest hint was never given to the Eleven of his true character, nor did the disciples most favored with the intimacy of Jesus ever suspect him, till a few minutes before he voluntarily separated himself from their company--for ever!

    6. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me--It was good in itself, and so was acceptable to Christ; it was eminently seasonable, and so more acceptable still; and it was "what she could," and so most acceptable of all.

    7. For ye have the poor with you always--referring to De 15:11.
    - and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always--a gentle hint of His approaching departure, by One who knew the worth of His own presence.

    8. She hath done what she could--a noble testimony, embodying a principle of immense importance.
    - she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying--or, as in John (Joh 12:7), "Against the day of my burying hath she kept this." Not that she, dear heart, thought of His burial, much less reserved any of her nard to anoint her dead Lord. But as the time was so near at hand when that office would have to be performed, and she was not to have that privilege even after the spices were brought for the purpose (Mr 16:1), He lovingly regards it as done now. "In the act of love done to Him," says OLSHAUSEN beautifully, "she has erected to herself an eternal monument, as lasting as the Gospel, the eternal Word of God. From generation to generation this remarkable prophecy of the Lord has been fulfilled; and even we, in explaining this saying of the Redeemer, of necessity contribute to its accomplishment." "Who but Himself," asks STIER, "had the power to ensure to any work of man, even if resounding in His own time through the whole earth, an imperishable remembrance in the stream of history? Behold once more here the majesty of His royal judicial supremacy in the government of the world, in this, 'Verily I say unto you.'"

    10. And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them--that is, to make his proposals, and to bargain with them, as appears from Matthew's fuller statement (Mt 26:14, 15) which says, he "went unto the chief priests, and said, What will ye give me, and I will deliver Him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver." The thirty pieces of silver were thirty shekels, the fine paid for man- or maid-servant accidentally killed (Ex 21:32), and equal to between four and five pounds sterling--"a goodly price that I was prized at of them!" (Zec 11:13).

    11. And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money--Matthew alone records the precise sum, because a remarkable and complicated prophecy, which he was afterwards to refer to, was fulfilled by it.
    - And he sought how he might conveniently betray him--or, as more fully given in Luke (Lu 22:6), "And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude." That he should avoid an "uproar" or "riot" among the people, which probably was made an essential condition by the Jewish authorities, was thus assented to by the traitor; into whom, says Luke (Lu 22:3), "Satan entered," to put him upon this hellish deed.

    Mr 14:12-26. PREPARATION FOR, AND LAST CELEBRATION OF, THE PASSOVER--ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE TRAITOR--INSTITUTION OF THE SUPPER. ( = Mt 26:17-30; Lu 22:7-23, 39; Joh 13:21-30).

    See on Lu 22:7-23; Lu 22:39; and see on Joh 13:10, 11; Joh 13:18, 19; Joh 13:21-30.

    Mr 14:27-31. THE DESERTION OF JESUS BY HIS DISCIPLES AND THE FALL OF PETER, FORETOLD. ( = Mt 26:31-35; Lu 22:31-38; Joh 13:36-38).

    See on Lu 22:31-46.

    Mr 14:32-42. THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN. ( = Mt 26:36-46; Lu 22:39-46).

    See on Lu 22:39-46.

    Mr 14:43-52. BETRAYAL AND APPREHENSION OF JESUS--FLIGHT OF HIS DISCIPLES. ( = Mt 26:47-56; Lu 22:47-53; Joh 18:1-12).

    See on Joh 18:1-12.

    Mr 14:53-72. JESUS ARRAIGNED BEFORE THE SANHEDRIM, CONDEMNED TO DIE, AND SHAMEFULLY ENTREATED--THE FALL OF PETER. ( = Mt 26:57-75; Lu 22:54-71; Joh 18:13-18, 24-27).

    Had we only the first three Gospels, we should have concluded that our Lord was led immediately to Caiaphas, and had before the Council. But as the Sanhedrim could hardly have been brought together at the dead hour of night--by which time our Lord was in the hands of the officers sent to take Him--and as it was only "as soon as it was day" that the Council met (Lu 22:66), we should have had some difficulty in knowing what was done with Him during those intervening hours. In the Fourth Gospel, however, all this is cleared up, and a very important addition to our information is made (Joh 18:13, 14, 19-24). Let us endeavor to trace the events in the true order of succession, and in the detail supplied by a comparison of all the four streams of text.

    Jesus Is Brought Privately before Annas, the Father-in-Law of Caiaphas (Joh 18:13, 14).

    Joh 18:13:
    - And they led Him away to Annas first; for he was father-in-law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that same year--This successful Annas, as ELLICOTT remarks, was appointed high priest by Quirinus, A.D. 12, and after holding the office for several years, was deposed by Valerius Gratius, Pilate's predecessor in the procuratorship of Judea [J

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