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 about 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.
a woman: See study note on Mt 26:7.
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.
she poured perfumed oil on my body: The woman (see study note on Mt 26:7) 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.
Truly: See study note on Mt 5:18.
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.
Iscariot: See study note on Mt 10:4.
silver money: Lit., “silver,” that is, silver used as money. According to Mt 26:15, the amount of money was “30 silver pieces.” Matthew is the only Gospel writer to mention the amount for which Jesus was betrayed. These were possibly 30 silver shekels minted in Tyre. The use of this sum appears to show the chief priests’ contempt for Jesus, since under the Law, it was the price of a slave. (Ex 21:32) Likewise, when the prophet Zechariah asked the unfaithful Israelites for his wages for his prophetic work among God’s people, they weighed out to him “30 pieces of silver,” suggesting that they considered him to be worth no more than a slave.—Zec 11:12, 13.
on the first day of the Unleavened Bread: The Festival of Unleavened Bread began on Nisan 15, the day after the Passover (Nisan 14), and the festival lasted for seven days. (See App. B15.) By Jesus’ time, however, the Passover had become so closely connected to this festival that all eight days, including Nisan 14, were sometimes referred to as “the Festival of the Unleavened Bread.” (Lu 22:1) The day mentioned here refers to Nisan 14 because it is said to be the day when they customarily offered up the Passover sacrifice. (Ex 12:6, 15, 17, 18; Le 23:5; De 16:1-8) What is described in verses 12-16 likely took place on the afternoon of Nisan 13 in preparation for the Passover, which was celebrated “after evening had fallen” at the beginning of Nisan 14.—Mr 14:17, 18; see App. B12 and study note on Mt 26:17.
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: See study note on Mt 26:26.
said a blessing: This expression evidently refers to a prayer offering praise and thanks to God.
means: See study note on Mt 26:26.
blood of the covenant: See study note on Mt 26:28.
drink it new: See study note on Mt 26:29.
praises: See study note on Mt 26:30.
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: See study note on Mt 26:36.
I am: See study note on Mt 26:38.
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.
fell to the ground: Or “threw himself to the ground.” The parallel account at Mt 26:39 says that Jesus “fell facedown.” In the Bible, several postures for prayer are mentioned, including standing and kneeling. However, perhaps the humblest posture was when a person in fervent prayer would lie facedown with his body outstretched.
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: See study note on Mt 26:41.
flesh: See study note on Mt 26:41.
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!: See study note on Mr 1:2.
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.
struck the slave of the high priest: See study note on Joh 18:10.
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: See study note on Mt 25:36.
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: See study note on Mt 26:59.
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.
the Christ: See study note on Mt 11:2.
right hand of power: See study note on Mt 26:64.
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: See study note on Mt 26:74.
swear: See study note on Mt 26:74.
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.