Mark 14:47 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:47, NIV: "Then one of those standing near drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear."

Mark 14:47, ESV: "But one of those who stood by drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear."

Mark 14:47, KJV: "And one of them that stood by drew a sword, and smote a servant of the high priest, and cut off his ear."

Mark 14:47, NASB: "But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear."

Mark 14:47, NLT: "But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest's slave, slashing off his ear."

Mark 14:47, CSB: "One of those who stood by drew his sword, struck the high priest's servant, and cut off his ear."

What does Mark 14:47 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The other gospels elaborate on Mark's action-filled scene. Jesus admits that He is the Jesus of Nazareth they are looking for—and identifies Himself with such power the guards fall to the ground (John 18:4–6). He then negotiates for the release of the eleven remaining disciples. Throughout His ministry, Jesus has kept the eleven safe (John 17:12), and it is still not yet time for them to face danger (John 18:8–9). These words are still floating in the air when Peter draws his sword and cuts off Malchus' ear (John 18:10).

The disciples are still thinking that Jesus will free the Jews from Roman rule and they will rule under Him. When they presume authority, they do so mainly by bossing people around (Mark 9:38; 10:13). Peter amplifies this presumption to violence and Jesus responds sharply. He heals Malchus, giving the guards no real reason to arrest Peter (Luke 22:51) and, again (Mark 8:31–33), reprimands Peter for trying to keep Him from obeying God (Matthew 26:52–54; John 18:11). Jesus then points out that resorting to violence will lead to a lifestyle of violence with dire consequences (Matthew 26:52). Jesus also puts the situation into perspective. If He wanted to, Jesus could pray and God would send twelve legions of angels to defend Him. But He won't, because this arrest must happen according to the Scriptures (Matthew 26:53–54).

Peter's brash act prevents him from fulfilling his brash vow of loyalty to Jesus (Mark 14:31). When they first arrive at Gethsemane, Peter cannot imagine any circumstance in which he would deny following Jesus. Soon, he will be in the courtyard of the high priest, listening to the Sanhedrin interrogate and beat Jesus. He may have been able to remain loyal, as John does. But Peter is also surrounded by the friends, co-workers, acquaintances, and one relative of the man he just tried to maim (John 18:26–27).

Fellow apostles or not, John seems to have a sort of rivalry with Peter. While the synoptic Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke include that "someone" with Jesus cut off the ear of the servant, only John identifies this would-be swordsman as Peter (John 18:10). John is also careful to note that he runs faster than Peter (John 20:3–4).