Mark 14:55 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:55, NIV: "The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any."

Mark 14:55, ESV: "Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none."

Mark 14:55, KJV: "And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none."

Mark 14:55, NASB: "Now the chief priests and the entire Council were trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any."

Mark 14:55, NLT: "Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn't find any."

Mark 14:55, CSB: "The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they could not find any."

What does Mark 14:55 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Throughout Jesus' ministry, the Pharisees have found many things with which to charge Jesus. Unfortunately for the Sanhedrin, all those accusations involve infractions against oral tradition, not the original words of Scripture.

After Moses received the Law from God on Mount Sinai, people worried about specific applications. For example, how to define what exactly constitutes "work" on the Sabbath. This became a greater concern during and after the Babylonian captivity—the Jewish people wanted to ensure God wouldn't discipline Israel with exile again, due to disobedience (Ezekiel 39:23). The scribes, whose job it was to explain the law, took on the task of adding to it. They explained things like how many steps were permitted on the Sabbath and when and how a devout Jew would wash his hands.

Jesus doesn't abide by the oral law (Mark 7:1–13). God didn't give it; it is a man-made tradition. Jesus does abide by the Mosaic law, and never breaks it. The Sanhedrin is comprised mostly of Sadducees who likewise value Moses' law over the Pharisees' traditions. They don't particularly care if Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. They need to connect Him to an overt act that the Mosaic law punishes with death. For their purposes, the charge doesn't even need to be true. It just needs to believable and, as the Mosaic law states (Deuteronomy 17:6), "corroborated" by manipulated testimony.

The Sanhedrin will never find a valid accusation that Jesus broke the Law. He never did. Jesus never sinned (1 Peter 2:22). All others have sinned (Romans 3:23). Every other human was conceived with a nature bent on sin (Psalm 51:5). That sin means that we deserve eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). It is because Jesus never sinned and is willing to sacrifice His own life that we can be forgiven by God (Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18–19).

That is the horrible irony of this trial. Sinners, knowingly acting against the "spirit" of the Law, are trying to condemn a sinless Man, arguably to prevent an earthly war. The sinless Man knows He must die the death of a sinner to win the spiritual war and so He makes no defense. His death and resurrection cover the sins of some of His audience, including John, Peter, and possibly some of the Sanhedrin (John 12:42; 19:39). In their sin, the Sanhedrin participate in the work of salvation for the world!