Study Notes

Mark 14:27-72


Remember that Jesus has just celebrated the Passover Seder with His disciples. They then headed out to the Mount of Olives. Jesus now begins to warn them about the night to come...

14:27-28 I Will Go Before You

Jesus quotes Zechariah 13 to them, which says,

Zech. 13:6-7 "And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, ' {Those} with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.' Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered..."

But even though they will forsake Him, we see His grace already ministering to them, saying,

Mark 14:28 "But after I have been raised, I will go before you to Galilee."

Think about how much more faithful the Lord is than we are. His Word tells us,

2Tim. 2:13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny Himself.

Hebr. 13:5 ...He Himself has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,"

If you've recently been through a time that you've scattered or run away from the Lord, here's some good news: He knew where you'd end up, and He's already gone before you. Just meet Him where He's promised to meet you: in prayer, in the Word, in fellowship, and at His table.

14:29-31 I Will Not Fall Away

The Lord had said it. It was not open to debate. But Peter was so carried away by the fervor of his zeal and love for Christ, that he wasn't thinking about his own weakness, or the truth of Jesus' word. It became a prideful thing - "I would never be that weak and wimpy, Lord!"

Whenever you put yourself in such a high position, odds are you're going to fall. The proverb says,

Prov. 16:18 Pride {goes} before destruction, And a haughty spirit before stumbling.

Peter's strength was boldness. He was the kind of guy that ran headlong into everything without thinking of the danger. That was his strongest quality, and he knew it. But overconfidence leaves us underequipped.

We already know that the best way to avoid sin is to avoid those temptations that we're weak in. But the hidden danger is when we become overconfident in our strong points. We think, "Oh, I never struggle with temptation in that area. I've never had a problem with watching this, or doing that, or going there." And so we don't pray about those things. We think we can handle them by ourselves. Overconfidence has caused countless armies to lose battles, and countless teams to lose games. And it will cause us to fall where we never thought we would. There is no cause to be prideful and overconfident. Remember that Jesus said,

John 15:5 "...Apart from Me you can do nothing."

Peter fell because of his pride and overconfidence in himself. Let's learn from his mistake and not repeat it in our own lives.

14:32-40 Gethsemane

Gethsemane means: "the place of the olivepress." And if we tune into a little bit of the Bible's symbolism, we discover a spiritual truth in Gethsemane.

In Scripture, if you want to know what something represents, study it in context throughout the Bible - especially the first place it's mentioned. And so as I sought to know why Jesus' last night was spent praying in a garden called "the place of the olivepress," I did a little study on olives. I discovered that olives and olive trees represent witness or testimony. In Genesis after the flood, Noah sent out a dove...

Gen. 8:11 And the dove came to him toward evening; and behold, in her beak was a freshly picked olive leaf. So Noah knew that the water was abated from the earth.

The olive branch was a testimony - it gave witness to the fact that the floodwaters had receded. And that applies throughout Scripture. For instance, in Revelation 11, God's two witnesses are called the "two olive trees".

So what does Gethsemane, "the place of the olive press," represent? It was a place of crushing olives. Crushing to bring forth olive oil. Gethsemane was the location of the crushing of the faithful and true witness.

Now, you might think, "Well, what does that accomplish?" In Leviticus,we are told that the tabernacle had a lampstand that burned continually day and night. Its fuel was clear oil from beaten olives. The faithful and true witness had to be crushed to produce the olive oil. Jesus had to be beaten in order to be the light of the world.

And now, Jesus has told us that we are to be His witnesses. We are to be the light of the world. So, we also must undergo the crushing. The self-denial, the trials, picking up our cross, following Him. The powerful witness for the Lord is always the one who's been powerfully crushed by the Lord.

Remove This Cup

In the garden, Jesus prayed,

Mark 14:36 "...Father! All things are possible for Thee; remove this cup from Me..."

Jesus is saying, "If there's any other way, let's take it. If they can make it to heaven without Me going to the cross, let's take that route."

This points both to Jesus' humanity and His omnipotence. His divine nature already knew the pain, anguish, and torment He would undergo. But His human flesh couldn't bear the idea of what was about to happen to Him in the next 24 hours.

I want us to notice something, too. Lots of people like to say, "Well, all roads lead to God." But if all roads lead to God, then Jesus' prayer was not answered, and He died in vain. That would mean that His torture and crucifixion were all needless and pointless.

Not What I Will

Notice that with the request to be let off the hook, Jesus also prayed,

Mark 14:36 "...Yet not what I will, but what Thou wilt."

Jesus' submission to the Father was amazing. I compare it to my own submission to God. Why am I not always totally submitted to His will? It's a matter of putting my flesh to death:

1Pet. 4:1-2 Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

"But it's too hard to resist sin!" Nonsense. The writer of Hebrews said,

Hebr. 12:4 You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin

We can always resist sin.

14:41-46 A Multitude With Swords And Clubs

John tells us that this group was a "cohort," which is 600 men. They came armed to the teeth to arrest Jesus.

Whomever I Shall Kiss

Have you ever thought about what Jesus looked like? We have all kinds of ideas from the famous paintings, but in fact, He looked just like every other Jew. He was so ordinary-looking that Judas had to identify to the cohort who Jesus was. And frankly, He wasn't even a handsome Jew at that. Isaiah prophesied:

Isa. 53:2 ...He has no stately form or majesty That we should look upon Him, nor appearance that we should be attracted to Him.

Jesus was such a regular-looking that Judas had to point Him out.

14:47 Drew His Sword

Peter, in his exuberance to do right, lashed out and did the worst thing possible - he hacked off this guy's ear with his sword.

Have you ever been the victim of this kind of exuberant brutality? Oh, not with a steel sword, but have you ever been attacked by one of Jesus' immature disciples using the Sword of the spirit - the Word of God? Have you ever been the one swinging the Sword?

You see, we can use the Sword of the Spirit as a scalpel, to do surgery on people's hearts, or we can hack off their ears so that they can't and won't hear us anymore.

Before you pull out the sword and start swinging, check your motivation. "Am I just doing this to be right, to win the argument, to conquer this person? Or am I doing it because I love them, and they're lost in sin, or truly mistaken about the true nature of God?"

Fortunately, Jesus is able to heal people if they've been hurt in that way. We're told in the gospel of Luke that...

Luke 22:51 ...Jesus answered and said, "Stop! No more of this." And He touched his ear and healed him.

But let's not be the ones responsible for the injuries. Let's be careful of assaulting people with the Sword of the Spirit.

14:48-52 Escaping Naked

There is this almost humorous scene put in here - a young man who only had this one garment on - a sheet wrapped around him. When someone in the cohort tried to grab him, he escaped... but without his clothes.

Who is the young man? Our only clue is that Mark's gospel is the only one to include this account. It is very likely that this was young John Mark himself.

14:53-59 False Testimony

The chief priests and the Council weren't looking for the truth - they were looking for testimony that would incriminate Jesus. Everything about this trial was against their own law.

14:60-65 He Kept Silent

In keeping silent, Jesus wasn't taking the 5th, he was fulfilling Messianic prophecy:

Isa. 53:7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, So He did not open His mouth.

Some of the worst trials you'll ever experience in your life are the ones when you are being attacked and falsely accused. Listen and remember: sometimes the best defense is no defense at all. Ecclesiastes says that there is...

Eccl. 3:7 ...a time to be silent, and a time to speak.

Let's learn to silently wait on the Lord's deliverance and defense, instead of trying to deliver and defend ourselves.

Ps. 62:1-2 MY soul {waits} in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.

As you're seeking to be like Christ in your walk, consider whether you too should keep silent before your accusers.

14:66-72 Following At A Distance

Back in verse 54, we saw that...

Mark 14:54 ...Peter had followed Him at a distance...

Following Christ at a distance is a very dangerous place to be. Now he has begun to find warmth among the servants of the enemies of Christ. When the servant of the Lord takes up company with the servants of the world, intimidation makes you compromise your beliefs, or just outright deny them.

This is one reason that God has called us out from the world.

2Cor. 6:17 "Therefore, COME OUT FROM THEIR MIDST AND BE SEPARATE," says the Lord. AND DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN; And I will welcome you.

Rom. 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind...

If you've been following at a distance, finding fellowship with the people of this world, the good news is that God is always anxious to have you back. Just stop being distance and get close again.

James 4:8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you...

Today, Jesus is calling all of us to a closer place. No more distant following, no more fence sitting.

Go to next study

Go to previous study