Mark 14:21 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:21, NIV: "The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.'"

Mark 14:21, ESV: "For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”"

Mark 14:21, KJV: "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."

Mark 14:21, NASB: "For the Son of Man is going away just as it is written about Him; but woe to that manby whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been goodfor that man if he had not been born.'"

Mark 14:21, NLT: "For the Son of Man must die, as the Scriptures declared long ago. But how terrible it will be for the one who betrays him. It would be far better for that man if he had never been born!'"

Mark 14:21, CSB: "For the Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.""

What does Mark 14:21 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus often calls Himself the "Son of Man," a phrase taken from Daniel 7. Daniel has a vision in which the "Ancient of Days" (God the Father), gives "dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him" to "one like a son of man" (Daniel 7:14, 13). The disciples have readily accepted Jesus' identification as the Son of Man. It means that He is the Messiah. They think this means He will at this time free Israel from foreign rule and bring in an age of peace and prosperity. And Jesus has promised the disciples will be on hand to take leadership positions in His court (Matthew 19:28).

Jesus has also explained to the disciples that the Son of Man will suffer and die (Mark 8:31; 9:9, 12, 31; 10:33). They don't realize they are witnessing the very beginning of this movement. They think Jesus has sent Judas to get supplies for the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be held the next night (John 13:28–29). They don't know Judas has gone to ignite the darkest hours of human history.

Daniel, in the Old Testament, doesn't mention that the Son of Man will be betrayed, tortured, and killed. That fate is explained by the "Suffering Servant" imagery of Isaiah 53. Jesus has spent His time with the disciples explaining that the two figures are one unified person. First, the Suffering Servant will be "despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3). It is at His second coming that the Son of Man will be given His kingdom (Mark 13:24–27).

Ultimately, Jesus' comment about Judas is true of every unbeliever. It would be better not to have been born than to face eternal judgment in hell. Much ink has been spilled debating why, how, or even "if" God made us as eternal souls with the free will to choose or reject Him. Practically, Christians should use this knowledge and follow Jesus' example: preach the gospel and mourn those who reject it.