Mark 14:56 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:56, NIV: "Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree."

Mark 14:56, ESV: "For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree."

Mark 14:56, KJV: "For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together."

Mark 14:56, NASB: "For many people were giving false testimony against Him, and so their testimonies were not consistent."

Mark 14:56, NLT: "Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other."

Mark 14:56, CSB: "For many were giving false testimony against him, and the testimonies did not agree."

What does Mark 14:56 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

The Sanhedrin—the Jewish religious court—has arrested Jesus. Now they need to find something to charge Him with. He has defied the extra-scriptural oral law (Mark 7:1–13). He has cleared the temple courtyard of unlawful merchants (Mark 11:15–19). He has loudly condemned the sins of civil leaders (Matthew 23). Some of those acts violate Pharisee traditions, but none of these actions are literally illegal according to law of Moses, itself. Since most of the Sanhedrin are Sadducees, who don't follow Pharisaical views, those conflicts won't serve their purposes.

Jesus has made statements that He is on the same level with God. Possibly because those comments were not always clear, in their context, the Sanhedrin can't find two people who can corroborate this accusation. The Mosaic law is very specific: "A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established" (Deuteronomy 19:15). The testimony needs to be given individually and needs to agree in order to be valid.

The Mosaic law includes certain crimes that may be punished by execution. They include idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:1–10), breaking the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14–15), dishonoring one's parents (Deuteronomy 21:18–21), murder (Exodus 21:12–14), adultery (Leviticus 20), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), and bearing false witness in a capital case (Deuteronomy 19:15–21). This is part of the terrible irony of Jesus' sham trials. While witnesses against Jesus committed the last of these crimes—false witness—Jesus can't even be accused of breaking the Sabbath. Every time He worked on the Sabbath, He only violated manmade traditions that defined "work." He didn't break the commandment as written or as intended.

The Sanhedrin will eventually stretch the third commandment: do not take the Lord's name in vain (Leviticus 24:11–16). But even that falls short. Jesus admits He is the Messiah and will be "seated at the right hand of Power" (Mark 14:62). Of course, Jesus is only guilty of blasphemy if He is not, in fact, the Messiah and God. Since He is, such statements are not blasphemous.