King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Mark 14

Christ anointed at Bethany. (1-11) The passover, Jesus declares that Judas would betray him. (12-21) The Lord’s supper instituted. (22-31) Christ’s agony in the garden. (32-42) He is betrayed and taken. (43-52) Christ before the high priest. (53-65) Peter denies Christ. (66-72)

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Christ anointed at Bethany

1 After two days was the feast of the passover, and of unleavened bread: and the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might take him by craft, and put him to death.

2 But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people.

3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.

4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?

5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.

6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.

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.

10 And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went unto the chief priests, to betray him unto them.

11 And when they heard it, they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought how he might conveniently betray him.

The passover, Jesus declares that Judas would betray him

12 And the first day of unleavened bread, when they killed the passover, 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?

15 And he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.

16 And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

17 And in the evening he cometh with the twelve.

18 And as they sat and did eat, Jesus said, Verily I say unto you, One of you which eateth with me shall betray me.

19 And they began to be sorrowful, and to say unto him one by one, Is it I? and another said, Is it I?

20 And he answered and said unto them, It is one of the twelve, that dippeth with me in the dish.

21 The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him: but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! good were it for that man if he had never been born.

The Lord’s supper instituted

22 And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.

23 And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it.

24 And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

25 Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.

26 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

27 And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

28 But after that I am risen, I will go before you into Galilee.

29 But Peter said unto him, Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.

30 And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.

31 But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.

Christ’s agony in the garden

32 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 unto 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 thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

37 And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?

38 Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.

39 And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.

40 And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.

41 And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.

42 Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.

He is betrayed and taken

43 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 stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear.

48 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?

49 I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

50 And they all forsook him, and fled.

51 And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him:

52 And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

Christ before the high priest

53 And they led Jesus away to the high priest: and with him were assembled all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes.

54 And Peter followed him afar off, even into the palace of the high priest: and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire.

55 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 the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?

61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?

62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?

64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

65 And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to buffet him, and to say unto him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike him with the palms of their hands.

Peter denies Christ

66 And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:

67 And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.

68 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.

69 And a maid saw him again, and began to say to them that stood by, This is one of them.

70 And he denied it again. And a little after, they that stood by said again to Peter, Surely thou art one of them: for thou art a Galilaean, and thy speech agreeth thereto.

71 But he began to curse and to swear, saying, I know not this man of whom ye speak.

72 And the second time the cock crew. And Peter called to mind the word that Jesus said unto him, Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice. And when he thought thereon, he wept.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Though the evangelists generally use the words pasch and azymes promiscuously, yet S. Mark distinguishes them, being really different. The pasch is used for the 14th day of the moon of the first month. But the 15th day, on which they departed out of Egypt, was the feast of the azymes, or the unleavened bread; which continued seven days, till the 21st day of the moon inclusive. Ven. Bede. — Pasch is also used for the sabbath day within the seven days of the solemnity; (Jo. xix. 14.) and also for all the sacrifices made during the seven days of the feast.

Ver. 2. They were not so much afraid of the sedition itself, as of the people delivering Christ out of their hands. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 3. Of precious[1] spikenard. This was a perfume extracted and distilled from the leaves, tops, or stalks, of the plant or herb called nard. It was the custom of the eastern people to pour such precious perfumes on their own heads, or on the heads of their guests whom they had a mind to honour. Wi. — This happened six days previous to the pasch. The woman here mentioned was Mary, sister of Lazarus. John xii. 3.

Ver. 4. It was chiefly Judas Iscariot that murmured here. S. John only mentions him; perhaps some others had been excited to complain, by the traitor. This is certain, that if any concurred in murmuring with Judas, they afterwards repented, on hearing the answer given immediately by our Saviour. D. Dionys.

Ver. 7. Christ here answers the apostles, by informing them that he should not always be with them, but would shortly leave them, as to his corporal presence, though he spiritually will remain with them, and their successors, to the end of time. Mat. xxviii. — Behold I am, &c. He will not always be with them, so as to want their services. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 10. Many of the present day shudder at the thought of the horrid and inexpressible crime of Judas, in betraying his Master, his Lord, and his God, and yet do not take care to avoid the like wickedness themselves; for, as often as for a little gain they neglect the duties of faith and charity, they become traitors to God, who is charity and faith. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 12. Whither wilt thou, &c. By these words the disciples teach us to direct our every step according to the will of God; therefore does their Lord tell them, with whom he would eat the pasch, to go two of them into the city. S. Jerom.

Ver. 14. Were is my refectory:[2] where I may eat the pasch, or the paschal supper of the lamb sacrificed? Lit. in the Lat. where is my eating, or my refection? but it is generally agreed that here is meant a place to eat in. Wi.

This is my Body.

Ver. 22. This which I now give, and which you now receive; for the bread is not the figure only of Christ, but is changed into the true body of Christ; and he himself says, The bread, which I will give you, is my flesh. S. John vi. But the flesh of Christ is not seen, on account of our infirmity; for if we were allowed to see with our eyes the flesh and blood of Jesus, we should not dare to approach the blessed sacrament. Our Lord therefore condescending to our weakness, preserves the outward species of bread and wine, but changes the bread and wine into the reality of flesh and blood. Theophy. — S. Chrysostom, in his thirtieth sermon on the treason of Judas, says: “Christ is also now present to adorn our table, (altar) the same that was present to adorn that table. For it is not man that causes the elements to become the body and blood of Christ, but the very Christ, the same that was crucified for us: oude gar anthropos estin o koion ta prokeimena ginesthai soma kai aima christou all autos o staurotheis uper emon christos. The priest stands his vicegerent, and pronounces the words, but the power and grace is of God. He says, this is my body, and the word changes the elements: and as the sentence ‘increase and multiply, and fill the earth, was spoken once, but still imparts fecundity to human nature throughout all time: so these words (of consecration) once spoken, constitute an absolute, perfect sacrifice upon every altar of the Church from that day to this, yea even to the time when Christ shall come again at the last day.” Schema pleron esteken o iereus, ta remata phtheggomenos ekeina e de dunamis, kai e charis tou theou esti. touto mou esti to soma, phesi touto to rema metarruthmizei ta prokeimena. Kai kathaper e phone ekeine e legousa “auxanesthe, kai plethunesthe, kai plerosate ten gen,” errethe men apax, dia pantos de tou chronou ginetai ergo endunamousa ten phusin ten emeteran pros paidopoiian. outo kai e phone aute apax lechtheisa, kath ekasten trapezan en tais ekklesiais, ex ekeinou mechri semeron, kai mechri tes autou parousias, ten thusian apertismenen ergasetai. S. Chrysostom, Serm. xxx, on the treachery of Judas.

These words are so plain, that it is difficult to imagine others more explicit. Their force and import will however appear in a still stronger light, if we consider the formal promise Christ had made to his apostles, as related by S. John, that he would give them his flesh to eat, that same flesh he was to deliver up for the life of the world. He on that occasion confirmed with remarkable emphasis of expression the reality of this manducation, assuring them that his flesh was meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed; and when some of the disciples were shocked at such a proposal, he still insisted that unless they eat his flesh, they should have no life in them. The possibility of it he evinced from his divine power, to be exemplified in his miraculous ascension; the necessity of it he established, by permitting those to abandon him who refused to believe it; and the belief of it he enforced on the minds of his disciples, from the consideration that he, their teacher, was the Son of God, and the author of their eternal salvation. The apostles were deeply impressed with these thoughts, previously to the institution of the holy Eucharist; consequently when they beheld Jesus Christ, just before his death, taking bread into his sacred hands; when after blessing it with solemnity, they heard him say, Take, eat; this is my body, which shall be given for you; they must necessarily have concluded, that it was truly his body, which he now gave them to eat, according to his former promise. And though their reason or senses might have started difficulties, yet all these were obviated by their belief of his being God, and consequently able to effect whatever he pleased, and to make good whatever he said. —— Moreover, if we consult tradition, we shall find that the Greek, as well as the Latin Church, has uniformly declared in favour of the literal sense of Christ’s words, as may be seen at large in all Catholic controvertists. The learned author of the Perpetuité de la Foi, and his continuator, Renaudot, in the two additional quarto volumes, have invincibly demonstrated, that the belief of all the Oriental Christians perfectly coincides with that of the Catholic Church, respecting the real presence. Dr. Philip Nicolai, though a Protestant, candidly acknowledges, in his first book of the Kingdom of Christ, p. 22, “that not only the churches of the Greeks, but also the Russians, the Georgians, the Armenians, the Judæans, and the Ethiopians, as many of them as believe in Christ, hold the true and real presence of the body and blood of our Lord.” This general agreement amongst the many Churches of the Christian world, affords the strongest evidence against Secker and others, who pretend that the doctrine of the real presence is a mere innovation; which was not started till 700 years after Christ’s death. For, how will their supposition accord with the belief of the Nestorians and Eutychians, who were separated from the Church of Rome long before that period, and who were found to agree exactly with Catholics concerning this important tenent? — See this point clearly given in Rutter’s Evangelical Harmony.

This is my Blood.

Ver. 24. Which shall be shed. With words so explicit, with the unanimous agreement of the Eastern and Western Churches, how can any Dissenters bring themselves to believe that there is nothing more designed, or given, than a memorial of Christ’s passion and death? Catholics, who believe in the real presence, do certainly renew in themselves the remembrance of our Saviour’s death and passion, with more lively sentiments of devotion than they who believe it to be mere bread and wine. The outward forms of bread and wine, which remain in the Eucharist, are chiefly designed to signify or represent to us three things; viz. 1. The passion of Christ, of which they are the remembrance; 2. the body and blood of Christ, really, though sacramentally present, of which they are the veil; and 3. everlasting life, of which they are the pledge. — N. B. In speaking of the real presence in the Eucharist, Catholics hold that Christ is corporally and substantially present, but not carnally; i.e. not in that gross, natural, and sensible manner, in which or separated brethren so frequently misrepresent our doctrine.

Ver. 25. This vine represents the Synagogue, according to Isaias. The vine, or vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel. Of this vine Christ drank for some time; and though many of the branches were become useless, there were yet many that still brought forth fruit. But Christ now going to his passion, declares that it would be no longer acceptable to him, since the figures were not to pass into reality. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 26. Jesus Christ is seized upon Mount Olivet, whence he ascended into heaven; that we might know that the place on earth where we watch and pray, where we suffer chains without resistance, is the place whence we are to ascend into heaven. S. Jerom.

Ver. 27. Christ permitted his disciples to fall, that they might learn not to trust in themselves. To strengthen his prediction, he adduces the testimony of Zacharias the prophet, (xiii. 7.) I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep shall be dispersed. Theophy. . . . This text is expressed in other words, being there spoken in the person of the prophet: Strike the pastor, and the sheep shall be dispersed. Ven. Bede. — By these words, the prophet prays for the passion of the Lord. The Almighty Father answers his prayer: I will strike the shepherd. The Son is sent by the Father, and is stricken by becoming incarnate and suffering death. S. Jerom.

Ver. 37. You who were ready to die for me, cannot watch with me! We are here taught a great duty of a Christian life, and that is, to beg of God, that he would give us strength to observe and follow the motions and inspirations of his Holy Spirit, and never to resist the calls of heaven.

Ver. 45. Our Lord received the kiss of the traitor, that he might not appear to avoid being delivered up; and at the same time he fulfilled that of the Psalmist, with those who hated peace, I was peaceful. Ps. cxix. 7.

Ver. 46. Here is Joseph betrayed and sold by his brethren, and pierced in his soul with a sword. S. Jerom.

Ver. 47. This was Peter, as we learn from S. John xviii. 10. He is here actuated with his usual ardent zeal, calling to mind the example of Phinees, who by executing justice on the wicked, merited the reward of justice, and a continual priesthood. Ven. Bede. — S. Mark conceals his master’s name, lest he should seem to be publishing the ardour of his zeal for Christ. Theophy.

Ver. 51. This probably was the owner, or the son of the owner of the garden, who hearing the tumult came to see what was the cause. It must have been a young man from the Greek word neaniskos. T.

Ver. 55. Though the law prescribed there should be only one high priest, yet at this time there were many, being appointed yearly by the Roman governor; and those are here called chief priests who had once been invested with the dignity of high priest, but were at that time out of office. Theophy.

Ver. 56. Their evidence did not agree. Others translate, their testimonies were not sufficient; that is, so as to amount to a crime that made him guilty of death. The Greek, as well as the Latin text, may be taken in either sense. The high priest, vexed at this, stood up, and asked him questions, hoping to make him appear guilty by his own confession. Wi. — This latter sense is given to the same expression, v. 59. infra.

Ver. 57. Thus has iniquity lied to itself, (Ps. xxvi.) as formerly in the case of the wife of Putiphar against Joseph, (Gen. xxix.) and the elders against Susanna. Dan. S. Jerom.

Ver. 61. Our Redeemer was silent, because he knew they would not attend to his words; therefore does he say in S. Luke, If I shall tell you, you will not believe me. Theophy.

Ver. 63. Caiphas, in order to excite their hatred against what was said, rent his garments, and thus deprived himself of the priestly dignity, by transgressing the precept; which, speaking of the high priest says: He shall not uncover his head, and his garments he shall not rend. Lev. xxi. 10. S. Leo the Great. — By the high priest rending his garments he shews, that the Jewish priesthood, on account of their crimes, was now dissolved; whereas the tunic of Christ, by which the one true Catholic Church is prefigured, was seamless, and not to be divided. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 71. In this one apostle, Peter, the first and chief in the order of apostles, in whom the Church was figured, both sorts were to be signified, viz. the strong and the weak, because the Church is not without both. S. Austin, Serm. xiii. de verb. Do. — Again, our Saviour would shew by the example of the chief apostle, that no man ought to presume of himself, when even S. Peter was not secure and immoveable. Idem. tract. lxvi. in Evan. Joan. and S. Leo. serm. ix. de Pass. Do.

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[1] V. 3. Unguenti nardi spicati pretiosi, murou nardou pistikes polutelous. Both here in S. Mark, and also in S. John, C. xii. 3. we read pistikes, which by the Greek agees with nard, and not with ointment. The interpreters are much divided about the signification of the word pistikes: some late writers would needs have pistides to come from pio or pino, and to signify liquid, but this does not seem well grounded. Others, with S. Aug. would have pistikes to be taken from the name of some country or place from whence this precious nard was brought. The most common opinion seems that of S. Hierom, with whom agree Theophylactus, and Euthymius, that pistika, derived from pistis, signifies true and genuine nard, and so of the greatest price and value.

[2] V. 14. Ubi est refectio mea, ubi pascha manducem? Pou esti to kataluma, opou pascha . . . phago.

[3] V. 56. Convenientia testimonia non erant. isai ai marturiai ouk esan. The word isai may either signify that they did not agree together, or that they were not sufficient to get him condemned, which latter is the opinion of Erasmus, who translates, non erant idonea.