Mark 14:2 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:2, NIV: "But not during the festival,' they said, 'or the people may riot.'"

Mark 14:2, ESV: "for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be an uproar from the people.”"

Mark 14:2, KJV: "But they said, Not on the feast day, lest there be an uproar of the people."

Mark 14:2, NASB: "for they were saying, 'Not during the festival, otherwise there will be a riot of the people.'"

Mark 14:2, NLT: "'But not during the Passover celebration,' they agreed, 'or the people may riot.'"

Mark 14:2, CSB: ""Not during the festival," they said, "so that there won't be a riot among the people.""

What does Mark 14:2 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The chief priests, scribes (Mark 14:1), and elders (Matthew 26:3) of the Sanhedrin are trying to figure out how to arrest Jesus while avoiding any backlash from the people who think He is the Messiah. "The feast" has two possible definitions. It may refer to the crowd of celebrants who have flooded Jerusalem. This would explain why the Jewish leaders don't arrest Jesus during the day in Jerusalem but wait until the dead of night, when He is away from the crowds (Mark 14:49; Luke 22:53).

Or "the feast" may mean the time frame, including the Passover and the seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread that directly follows. Although the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread are technically two different events, their proximity to each other leads people to use their titles collectively. Jewish men from throughout the Roman Empire, especially Judea, Galilee, and Perea, congregate every year for the eight days.

Although Jesus' hometown of Nazareth rejected Him (Mark 6:1–6), the people of Galilee love Him—or, at least, they love what He can do for them (John 6:24–26). The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem know that to kill Him while Jerusalem is swollen with visitors from Galilee would risk the threat of a rebellion against the Roman occupiers. Their fears are not unfounded. The historian Josephus records that in the hundred years before Jesus' crucifixion, Rome had crucified thousands of Jewish rebels. The Sanhedrin fears the Romans would respond to a Jesus-inspired revolt by flattening Jerusalem. Something similar will, in fact, happen decades later in AD 70.

We don't know if the Sanhedrin wanted to wait until after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a week hence, or just until Jesus is relatively isolated, but the former proves impossible. After a woman anoints Jesus' head with perfumed ointment, Judas coordinates with the chief priests to betray Jesus (Mark 14:10–11). During the Passover meal, Jesus tells Judas to go out and proceed with his plan (John 13:27). We don't know what Satan's preferred timeline is, but it is Jesus who writes the schedule for His death, not the council.