Mark 14:55

The seeming discrepancies of the accounts by the evangelists of Peter's threefold denial are explained on the ground of their independency of one another, and their making prominent various portions of a lengthened and complex series of actions. "Three denials are mentioned by all the evangelists, and three occasions are distinguished; but on some of these there was more than one speaker, and probably more than one answer." This circumstance was -

I. AN EVIDENCE OF THE POWER OF EVIL IN GOOD MEN. This is the great lesson of the sins of the saints. There ought to be continual watchfulness, and living and walking in the Spirit.

1. It is not well to expose one's self to temptation unless from the highest motives. Curiosity seems to have been the ruling principle in Peter's mind. He was following the highest good, but not as perceiving it to be so, or truly desiring it - a perilous state of things. There are many unworthy followings of Christ, which have the "greater condemnation." Duty and self-sacrifice will, on the other hand, carry men safely through the most terrible trials.

2. Low views of Christ's character and office tend to unworthy conduct. The whole spiritual state of Peter was such as to expose him to the perpetration of the worst actions, and this arose from prevalence of false conceptions of Christ's person and work. His attitude and occupation immediately beforehand ("afar off;" " warming himself") have been regarded by many as symbolical of his spiritual position with regard to his Master. Scepticism and mental confusion on religious subjects, if not corrected or neutralized by close fellowship with Christ, or loyalty to the highest truth one knows, have sad moral results. Peter was still clinging against hope to his idea of a worldly Messiah.

3. Evil words and actions, if once indulged in, are the more easily repeated and aggravated. He proceeds from an equivocation - "I neither know nor understand what thou sayest" - to a stronger and more direct negative, and then to oaths and profanities.

II. AN EVIDENCE OF THE NECESSITY AND POWER OF CHRIST'S ATONEMENT. Even good men like Peter, if left to themselves, will grievously err and sin. How are men in such a position to be recovered?

1. There must therefore be a saving principle outside, and independent of ourselves. It is by virtue of his completed sacrifice in spirit that Christ by a look recalls his fallen disciple, and thus shows:

2. The power of his Spirit to redeem. In connection with such a power over spirit and conscience the greatest sins may be made the turning-points of repentance. Memory was appealed to, and the outward signs predicted by the Savior served as a spiritual index or clock of conscience. The cockcrowing has also an element of hope in it; it marked the dawning of a new day of penitence and enlightenment. - M.

All the council sought for witness against Jesus.
The world, in its best moods, exalts justice; and, in its worst moods, defeats it. Everything depends on the mood for the time being. Multitudes on the first day of Holy Week strewed the way with their clothes for their king to ride over; it was their mood. Only five days later a mob, bearing lanterns and torches, sought Him as if He were a thief, and led Him a prisoner over that same highway. The mood had changed. Mob law prevailed.

I. THE TRIBUNAL. No gathering of star chamber was ever more lawless.

1. The law decreed that no court should sit before sunrise; this trial followed immediately upon the midnight arrest — while Jerusalem was asleep.

2. The law required that anyone accused should have an advocate; here the Nazarene stood alone, with none to question in His behalf.

3. The law demanded that witnesses should be summoned for every prisoner; here no one was called to testify.

4. The judge of that court was Caiaphas, who had already declared the necessity of the death of Jesus, in order that the factions of the people might be harmonized.

5. Like a travesty reads the record: "The chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death." Their aim was to establish guilt, not to find justice.

6. It was the law that no sentences of death should be passed upon the same day as the trial; yet, in spite of their subterfuge, declaring the sentence of death just after sunrise, it was on the same day, since the Jewish day began at evening.

II. THE INDICTMENT. Full of flaws. Hopelessly confused. Even the testimony of bribed witnesses was too inconsistent to be of any use. The only seeming ground for a charge was a distortion of a saying in His earlier ministry concerning the destruction of the temple which He called His body, but which they declared was the pride of Jerusalem; but even this was no crime, as even His judges knew. Their case had failed. Their miserable charges were not sustained.

III. THE PRISONER. The one sinless Person among men. No enemy has ever found a flaw in His pure character. No charge, even of haste or imprudence, has ever been preferred. By His greatness and goodness, He throws all other human attainments into obscurity.

1. The best character is no protection against human hatred. The higher the character the more isolated it stands. The treatment accorded the Master will be meted out to His disciples. Persecution for righteousness' sake is a natural outcome of being righteous.

2. The best character does not always command friendship in the time of trial. It is not an infallible mark of piety to be always surrounded with friends.

IV. THE SENTENCE. Death, that cry of assassins; death, cold and cruel, blanching in a moment the ruddiest face; death, the breaking down of human life; death, the guardian of the cross; this was the word they hissed out — "He is guilty of death." To beckon such a death the laws of Moses and of the Romans were torn to shreds; mockery clothed itself in ermine; Pilate washed his guilty hands; and priests and rabble shouted themselves hoarse.

(David O. Mears.)

The Council of the Jews, commonly called the Sanhedrin, was composed of seventy-one persons. It consisted of three Courts or Houses, — the Sopherim, or Teachers of the Law, the College of the High Priest, and the house of the Elders. The president, or head of the Council, bore the title of Nasi, and was not necessarily the High Priest. In Numbers 11:16, we read that God commanded Moses to call together seventy of the Elders of Israel, and to put his spirit upon them. The Council was composed in like manner of seventy, to represent these Elders, chosen and ordained by Moses, and the seventy-first, the president, represented Moses; but as the Council was summoned by Moses, and not by Aaron, the High Priest was not necessarily the head of it. This president, or Nasi, was also called the Prince of Israel, and must be of the house of David, and the once became for many generations an inheritance of the family of Hillel, which descended from David. The First, or Upper House, was the House of the Lawyers, and it had originally supreme control of life and death. But when the Romans conquered Palestine, and converted Judea into a Roman Province, then this power was taken from them, and all those cases which had been tried by the Court of the Lawyers were heard by the Roman Prater. This House accordingly was practically dissolved; it had nothing to do, the sceptre was taken from it, and its lawgiver was divested of all power. The Second House was that of the Chief Priests; at the head of it sat the High Priest, and it was made up of the heads of the twenty-four priestly families and of the heads of the departments connected with the ministry in the Temple. The members all bore the title of "Chief Priests" (ἀρχιερεῖς). They decided in all spiritual matters, as to faith and heresy. This House remained in full activity after the practical abrogation of the First, and thus the High Priest became the virtual head of the Jewish Council. The Third House was that of the Elders, and was made up of representatives of the great Jewish families and of Rabbis of note. They went by the name of the "Elders," and continued to sit along with the Second House.

(S. Baring Gould, M. A.)

James, Jesus, John, Judas, Peter, Simon
Bethany, Galilee, Gethsemane, Jerusalem, Mount of Olives
Cause, Chief, Council, Death, Endeavouring, Entire, Evidence, Finding, Kept, Meanwhile, None, Obtain, Order, Priests, Sanhedrim, Sanhedrin, Seeking, Sought, Testimony, Trying, Unable, Witness, Witnesses
1. A conspiracy against Jesus.
3. Expensive perfume is poured on his head by a woman.
10. Judas sells his Master for money.
12. Jesus himself foretells how he will be betrayed by one of his disciples;
22. after the passover prepared, and eaten, institutes his last supper;
26. declares beforehand the flight of all his disciples, and Peter's denial.
43. Judas betrays him with a kiss.
46. Jesus is apprehended in the garden;
53. falsely accused and impiously condemned of the council;
65. shamefully abused by them;
66. and thrice denied by Peter.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Mark 14:55

     7330   chief priests

Mark 14:53-55

     7378   high priest, NT

Mark 14:53-56

     7464   teachers of the law

Mark 14:53-65

     5593   trial

Mark 14:55-56

     5276   crime

Mark 14:55-59

     5202   accusation, false
     5440   perjury
     5625   witnesses, false
     6163   faults
     8751   false witness

Mark 14:55-61

     6126   condemnation, human

Mark 14:55-65

     2585   Christ, trial

Mark 14:55-72

     5879   humiliation

July 28 Evening
Let your requests be made known unto God.--PHIL. 4:6. Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.--There was given to me a thorn in the flesh. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities. I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

July 18 Evening
She hath done what she could.--MARK 14:8. This poor widow hath cast in more than they all.--Whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.--If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.--If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

February 7 Evening
Jesus . . . was moved with compassion toward them.--MATT. 14:14. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever.--We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.--Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way.--He cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour? Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

'Is it I?'
'Is it I?'--Mark xiv. 19 The scene shows that Judas had not as yet drawn any suspicion on himself. Here the Apostles seem to be higher than their ordinary stature; for they do not take to questioning one another, or even to protest, 'No!' but to questioning Christ. I. The solemn prophecy. It seems strange at first sight that our Lord should have introduced such thoughts then, disturbing the sweet repose of that hallowed hour. But the terrible fact of the betrayal was naturally suggested by the emblems
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Sleeping Apostle
'Simon, sleepest thou!'--Mark xiv. 37 It is a very old Christian tradition that this Gospel is in some sense the Apostle Peter's. There are not many features in the Gospel itself which can be relied on as confirming this idea. Perhaps one such may be found in this plaintive remonstrance, which is only preserved for us here. Matthew's Gospel, indeed, tells us that the rebuke was addressed to Peter, but blunts the sharp point of it as directed to him, by throwing it into the plural, as if spoken to
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

A Secret Rendezvous
'And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the pastorer, His disciples said unto Him, Where wilt Thou that we go and prepare that Thou mayest eat the passover? 13. And He sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples?
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The New Passover
'And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the Passover, the disciples said unto Him, Where wilt Thou that we go and prepare that Thou mayest eat the Passover? 13. And He sendeth forth two of His disciples, and saith unto them, Go ye into the city, and there shall meet you a man bearing a pitcher of water: follow him. 14. And wheresoever he shall go in, say ye to the goodman of the house, The Master saith, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the Passover with My disciples?
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

'Strong Crying and Tears'
'And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and He saith to His disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray. 33. And He taketh with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy; 34. And saith onto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch. 35. And He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36. And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Captive Christ and the Circle Round Him
'And immediately, while He yet spake, cometh Judas, one of the twelve, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. 44. And he that betrayed Him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is He; take Him, and lead Him away safely. 45. And as soon as he was come, he goeth straightway to Him, and saith, Master, Master; and kissed Him. 46. And they laid their hands on Him, and took Him. 47. And one of them that
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Condemnation which Condemns the Judges
'And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put Him to death; and found none. 56. For many bare false witness against Him, but their witness agreed not together. 57. And there arose certain, and bare false witness against Him, saying, 58. We heard Him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands. 59. But neither so did their witness agree together. 60. And the high priest stood up in their
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

The Alabaster Box
'And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.... 8. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint My body to the burying. 9. Verily I say unto you. Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.'--Mark xiv. 6-9. John's Gospel sets this incident in its due framework of time and place, and tells us the names of the actors. The time was within a week
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture

Questions About the Lord's Supper
THE paper which begins at this page requires a few words of prefatory explanation. It consists of fifty-one questions about the Lord's Supper, with special reference to points which are the subject of much dispute and controversy in the present day. It supplies fifty-one answers to these questions, chiefly drawn from the New Testament, and the Articles, Communion Service, and Catechism of the Church of England. It contains, in addition, some valuable extracts from the writings of standard English
John Charles Ryle—The Upper Room: Being a Few Truths for the Times

That He who is About to Communicate with Christ Ought to Prepare Himself with Great Diligence
The Voice of the Beloved I am the Lover of purity, and Giver of sanctity. I seek a pure heart, and there is the place of My rest. Prepare for Me the larger upper room furnished, and I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples.(1) If thou wilt that I come unto thee and abide with thee, purge out the old leaven,(2) and cleanse the habitation of thy heart. Shut out the whole world, and all the throng of sins; sit as a sparrow alone upon the house-top,(3) and think upon thy transgressions
Thomas A Kempis—Imitation of Christ

Twenty-Eighth Lesson. Father! not what I Will;'
Father! Not what I will;' Or, Christ the Sacrifice. And He said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto Thee; remove this cup from me: howbeit not what I will, but what Thou wilt.'--Mark xiv. 36. WHAT a contrast within the space of a few hours! What a transition from the quiet elevation of that, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, FATHER I WILL,' to that falling on the ground and crying in agony. My Father! Not what I will.' In the one we see the High Priest within the veil in His
Andrew Murray—With Christ in the School of Prayer

Letter xiii. Christian Activity.
"She hath done what she could."--MARK 14:8. MY DEAR SISTER, You doubtless feel a deep interest in the great benevolent enterprises of the present day. No one who possesses the spirit of our Master can be indifferent towards them. It is important, then, that you should know what you can do towards moving forward these enterprises. For, remember that your obligation is as extensive as your ability. Christ commended the woman, referred to in the passage above quoted for doing "what she could."
Harvey Newcomb—A Practical Directory for Young Christian Females

Commentaries. George Petter (the largest Com. on M., London, 1661, 2 vols. fol.); C. Fr. A. Fritzsche (Evangelium Marci, Lips., 1830); A. Klostermann (Das Marcusevangelium nach seinem Quellenwerthe für die evang. Gesch., Göttingen, 1867); B. Weiss (Das Marcusevangelium und seine synopt. Parallelen, Berlin, 1872); Meyer (6th ed. by Weiss, Gött., 1878); Joseph A. Alexander (New York, 1858, and London, 1866); Harvey Goodwin (London, 1860); John H. Godwin (London, 1869); James Morison
Philip Schaff—History of the Christian Church, Volume I

"She Hath done what She Could. " Mark 14:8.
"She hath done what she could." Mark 14:8. 1 Bless, O bless, Almighty Father, Woman's mission with our race,-- Her fond strivings here to gather Fruits of thy redeeming grace. 2 Though her way be not where honor Wins the gazing world's acclaim, Yet we bless thee that upon her Rests the power of Jesus' name. 3 In that name, O Father, strengthen Her full heart and ready hands; May her efforts serve to lengthen Christian love's encircling bands. 4 Where the mourning and the needy And the suffering
J.G. Adams—Hymns for Christian Devotion

For the history of the disciples after the death of Jesus we are dependent upon a single source, the Acts of the Apostles, which can, however, be controlled, and to some extent corrected, by the gospels and by the epistles of Paul. It is now generally recognised that if any one wishes to write a life of Christ he ought to base his work not on the gospels as we have them now, but rather on the information provided by the critical analysis of the gospels as to their sources. These sources, or at least
Kirsopp Lake—Landmarks in the History of Early Christianity

Watch and Pray. --Mark. xiv. 38
Watch and Pray.--Mark. xiv. 38. Our Saviour's words are "Watch and Pray:" Lord, make us willing to obey; Lord, make us able to fulfil Thy counsel--give both power and will. The wisdom from above impart, To keep our hand, and tongue, and heart, In thought, word, deed,--that so we may Pray whilst we watch, watch while we pray. Lest while we watch, and fear no snare, We fall into neglect of prayer; Or, while we pray, and watch not, sin Creep like a subtil serpent in. When by an evil world beset,
James Montgomery—Sacred Poems and Hymns

As the Rind of a Pomegranate are Thy Cheeks, Besides that which is Hidden Within.
As the rind of the pomegranate is the least part of it, and includes all its excellence, so with this soul, its exterior appears of small account in comparison with what is concealed within. [42] The interior is filled with, the purest charity and the most advanced graces, but hidden under a very common exterior; for God takes pleasure in hiding away the souls He destines for Himself. Men are not worthy to know them, though the angels admire and respect them even under the humblest external form
Madame Guyon—Song of Songs of Solomon

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