This is a commentary for you and me. It isn’t complicated, because Jesus wants you to understand it, so you can be healed physically and even more importantly, in your relationship with God, which was broken by sin.
In Chapter 14, Jesus Christ shows you and me that His death was planned from the beginning. He was not surprised or unaware. It was why He was sent by God the Father. We see Him in the garden, asking that the cup (crucifixion) might pass from Him, but praying, “Not My will, but Thine be done, Father.” We see the secrecy, fear of public opinion, and blindness of His accusers, and we see that we all will deny Jesus until our hearts are made new at our own personal Pentecost.
Verse 1-2 — The spiritually blind priests and scribes seek to arrest Jesus secretly, and kill Him. Secrecy is needed because they fear public backlash, even a large riot because many Jews were in the city for Passover. The irony is that the true Passover Lamb, the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36), Jesus Christ, was the One sent to take away even the sins of those who plotted to kill Him, if they turn to Him, confess their sins and ask Him to forgive them. He is willing to forgive even those who will soon murder Him!
Would you do that? You will, after you are filled with the Holy Spirit. You will no longer live for yourself, but you will live so that the world would come to faith in Jesus Christ. Look at Stephen! He had the power to forgive even his murderers, because He was filled with God (Acts 7:60)!
You may say, “Amazing! The Jewish religious leaders wanted to kill God’s own Son!” But Jesus is a threat to the position and reputation of all who are in power, even those who believe they can live without Jesus Christ, as I did. I was my own god, doing what I pleased, rejecting Jesus Christ as a myth or legend. But I was simply existing, and under God’s wrath for my sin and rejection of His Son, deceived by the one who kills, steals and destroys.
Jesus Christ sees sinful hearts and calls them to turn to Him. Not a popular message! But if you will heed it — oh, my! Like me, you will find that He will save you from God’s wrath and fill you abundantly with His life (John 10:10), His love, His Spirit, until it overflows!
Verses 3-5 — At Simon the Leper’s home, a woman comes with an alabaster vial of pure spikenard, a rare perfume made from plants and spices from the Far East. That single vial is worth 100 days’ wages (see verse 5). At $15.00 an hour, 8 hours a day for 100 days, in today’s economy, that one bottle would be worth $12,000. She pours it out. She isn’t thinking about the cost. She anoints Jesus’ head, to honor Him. The air was filled with the fragrance.
IMPORTANT POINT: You honor Jesus Christ when you worship Him with everything that is in you. Like the woman with the alabaster vial, pour out every drop that you possess, regardless of the cost! If you are full of His Spirit, you have truly honored Him by offering yourself to Him completely. Then you are full of HIs love, and you anoint His head with that love. The time has come that you worship God the Father and God the Son in Spirit and in truth. God seeks such ones (John 4:23-24).
The disciples, as usual, do not understand. Why is the perfume wasted? It could have been sold and the money given to the poor. They do not yet understand worship. So they scold the woman for her extravagance.
IMPORTANT POINT: Don’t be surprised if some scold you because you worship the Lord extravagantly. It makes some folks uncomfortable. Love them in spite of it, pray for them, but don’t let them stop you. Go to the back of the church, out into the foyer, whatever you need to do to worship the One you love!
Verses 6-9 — Jesus rebukes them for scolding the woman. She has done a good thing. Don’t bother her. You will always have the poor, but I won’t always be here on earth with you. She’s doing what she can while she’s here. She’s preparing Me for My burial.
Jesus knows what was about to happen. He knows why He was sent by the Father. He knows He will soon be dead and buried in a tomb.
Instead of worshiping the Lord while He was with them, the disciples have chosen to point fingers at an extravagant worshiper who knows she only has that moment to honor and worship Him. They will continue to miss the truth until their blind eyes and hard hearts are healed, at Pentecost. It is the same for every human on the planet.
He also tells you and me that we will always have the poor. Poverty will not be conquered until everything is made new by God. Help the poor, but know that there is no earthly solution to poverty. The greedy will remain greedy. The “haves” will always have far more than they need; therefore, the “have nots” will never have enough, until everything is brought to a close.
The woman exhibits such pure worship, honor, and love that her act will always be told when the gospel is told to the whole world. It will be a memorial to her. That prophecy is fulfilled as I write this to you.
How much does extravagant worship bless God? How important is it to worship the Father in Spirit and truth? More than you can think or imagine.
Verses 10-11 — Judas, one of the twelve disciples, goes to betray Jesus to the chief priests. He is promised money. He will lead them to Jesus. The priests and scribes excitedly plot and plan — they have Him now! The blind lead the blind, and both will fall into a pit.
Look at Zechariah 11:12-13. It was a prophecy of this transaction. Judas will return the money he is paid, after Jesus has been arrested and condemned. He will be remorseful, but not repentant. He will say, “I have sinned,” but not “Father, forgive me.” The priests won’t want to accept the money because it is dirty money now. So the Jewish leaders will use it to buy a potter’s field for the burial of strangers (Matthew 27:17). Then Judas will hang himself because of his shame.
Verses 12-16 — The time has come to sacrifice the Passover lamb, part of the Jewish celebration of their freedom from slavery in Egypt, recorded in the Book of Exodus. But the real Passover Lamb is about to be sacrificed on a cross, so that all who come to Him will receive freedom from slavery to the sin nature they were born with.
The Passover meal is called the seder (SAY-der). Passover, which launches the Feast of Unleavened Bread, starts that evening. Jesus sends His disciples ahead to prepare to eat the seder. They find everything just as He instructed. The man carrying the water pitcher is a highly unusual sight — that task was for women. That man had prepared the room in advance. He probably didn’t know why, until Jesus’ disciples came and asked for it.
IMPORTANT POINT: Jesus sees everything ahead of time. He sees you, that you are coming near, and He calls you to repent and surrender to Him. You will find as soon as you do, you will have victory in every circumstance and against the temptations that Satan dangles in front of you (James 1:14-15). Your lusts, upon which Satan plays, will be gone, dead and buried (1Peter 4:1-2, Galatians 5:24).
Verses 17-21 — Jesus announces that He will be betrayed, and that the betrayer is one of the disciples. They are grieved. Each says to Him, “Surely, not I?” In other words, I couldn’t possibly betray you, could I? They are shocked and not sure of their own ability to stand with Him. Woe to the one who betrays Jesus Christ — it would be better if he had not lived. Even though it is the plan of God that Jesus be betrayed, falsely tried and crucified, Jesus warns of eternal punishment for those who are a part of it.
Verses 22-25 — This is what the church sometimes calls, “Communion.” It is done in remembrance of these verses, and of Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf. Jesus breaks bread, shares it with His disciples, and says it is His body. Indeed, His body will be horribly beaten on their behalf, and ours.
He pours out wine, the Cup of Redemption in the seder meal ceremony, and shares it with them, telling them it is His blood which will initiate a new covenant (a legal promise to perform something), not like the old one (Hebrews 8:9, Jeremiah 31:31). His blood, He tells them, is poured out for many (all who will come to Him).
Indeed, when He hung on the cross, the earth was baptized with massive quantities of His blood. It poured out from His side, when the Roman soldiers pierced it.
He says He won’t drink of wine again until He drinks the Cup of Rejoicing (or Expectation), the final cup of the seder meal, with them when they (and you and I) rule and reign with Him at the end of things. They sing a hymn, a Hallel Psalm, part of the seder meal ceremony. They camp in a familiar location, the Mount of Olives.
Verses 26-31 — Jesus tells them that though just one betrays Him, they will all fall away. They will run. They will abandon Him. It must be so, for it is a fulfillment of prophecy given by God to one of His prophets long ago (Zechariah 13:7).
Jesus tells them He will be raised, after giving His body and blood for them and us. And He will forgive them for fleeing, and restore them. He promises that they will all meet with Him in Galilee.
Peter protests, not understanding that Jesus must die for him and all of us (Isaiah 53:5). He says he won’t fall away. But Jesus tells him he will, that very night. Peter will deny Jesus three times, even before a rooster crows twice. But Peter insists he will be loyal, and the rest join in. We won’t deny You, Jesus! But they will. All of them will, by scattering.
IMPORTANT POINT: Do you see that God is in control, not man? What does that mean to you? It means you must yield to His will and His ways, and He will lead you, He will empower you to obey Him when you ask Him to fill you with His Spirit. He will heal you. He will fulfill His Word in your life.
Verses 32-42 — Jesus is in the garden at Gethsemane. He is grieved. He knows what is coming. He knows He will be beaten so badly that He won’t be recognizable as human (Isaiah 52:14). But worse, He knows that in the moment He carries the sin of the world upon Himself, He will be separated from God the Father for the first time in eternity.
James, John and Peter are to keep watch while He prays. They fall asleep. He asks His Father to take the cup from Him. All things are possible with the Father. YET! YET! Yet not MY will, but what YOU will (see Verse 36).
He finds the watchers sleeping. He warns them that the spirit of man is willing to be on the watch, but man’s flesh is weak.
Again, He asks the Father. Again, He says, “Not My will, but Yours, Father.” Again He finds them sleeping. Again He prays. Again He returns. It is enough. It is time. He is being betrayed. Go! The one who betrays Him is coming.
IMPORTANT POINT: Again, Jesus knows all of these things in advance. He knows when His betrayer is coming, before he arrives. He knows He was sent by the Father to die. He knows in advance that will mean separation from the Father for the first time in eternity. These verses emphasize the tremendous cost paid by the Father and the Son so you and I could be made right with God.
Verses 43-52 — Immediately, while Jesus is speaking, Judas comes with a large crowd carrying swords and clubs. In John 18:3, John records that there are 600 Roman soldiers among the crowd, along with the chief priests and the Pharisees. Judas betrays Jesus with a kiss. Jesus is seized.
One of the disciples (John writes that it was Peter, in John 18:10), cuts off the ear of one of the high priest’s slave. It is useless. Jesus must be taken. It is the fulfillment of prophecy.
Jesus speaks to those who seize Him. Why didn’t you arrest Me earlier? Why do you do it at night, as if I was a robber? I have been among you, teaching every day in the Temple. But this is to fulfill the scriptures. Prophecy must be fulfilled, and you don’t even understand that you are fulfilling it by capturing Me. You do not understand that this event is far beyond your ability to change. God has said it, and it will be done.
Then a young man (probably Mark himself) wearing just a sheet because he had been sleeping, is seized, but he pulls free of the sheet and runs naked and vulnerable into the night. It is the same for you, if you run from Jesus. You run naked into the night, completely vulnerable to the world around you. I ran naked into the night until I was 45 years old. Then I came back to Jesus Christ.
Verses 53-65 — Now begins the illegal trial. It is illegal because it is done at night and Jesus has no legal representation, among other illegalities. Peter has followed Jesus at a distance, as the Roman cohort delivers Him to the chief priests and the Sanhedrin, a council of 71 Jewish religious leaders.
At the illegal trial, some witnesses falsely claim that Jesus said He would destroy this Temple and rebuild it without human assistance in three days. But Jesus really said that if the Jewish leaders destroyed the temple which is His body, He would rebuild it in three days (when He was raised from the dead on the third day (see John 2:19-22).
False testimony is given. None of their testimonies agree. So the high priest asks Jesus, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” And Jesus says, “I am, and you will see when I come again.”
Considering this to be blasphemy, the high priest tears his clothes in disgust. No further testimony is needed. Jesus has said He is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Christ. He says He is God. Blasphemy! He deserves death! Then everyone spits on God the Son, blindfolds Him and beats Him with their fists, telling Him to prophesy and tell them who hit Him. They mock Him. They slap Him or strike Him with rods.
Verses 66-72 — Meanwhile, Peter betrays Jesus Christ three times: 1) as he warms himself by the fire, to the servant-girl of the high priest; 2) after he moves to the porch, to the servant-girl again confronts him; and 3) to the bystanders. I do not know Him! And when the rooster crows twice. And Peter weeps, he wails aloud. He had sworn he would not deny Jesus, but it has happened just as Jesus said.
IMPORTANT POINT: Even after denying Jesus three times, Peter was restored after Jesus rose form the dead. And after Peter was filled with the Spirit at Pentecost, he never denied Jesus Christ again. No matter how far you have strayed, no matter how you have sinned, no matter how many times you have denied Him, He will restore you. Then you will ask Him to do the same in you as He did in Peter, and He will fill you with His Spirit. You will never deny Him again.