Mark 14:63 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Mark 14:63, NIV: "The high priest tore his clothes. 'Why do we need any more witnesses?' he asked."

Mark 14:63, ESV: "And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need?"

Mark 14:63, KJV: "Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?"

Mark 14:63, NASB: "Tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, 'What further need do we have of witnesses?"

Mark 14:63, NLT: "Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, 'Why do we need other witnesses?"

Mark 14:63, CSB: "Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "Why do we still need witnesses?"

What does Mark 14:63 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jesus is on trial before the Jewish leaders. He challenges the members of the Sanhedrin to present their witnesses (John 18:19–23). The Sanhedrin have no good witnesses, so they find men who will give false testimony (Matthew 26:59). Jesus refuses to address the lies.

It is only when Caiaphas directly asks Jesus who He says He is that Jesus responds. Jesus answers that He is the Son of Man, a figure from Daniel 7:13–14, who will sit at God's right hand and come "with the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14:62). This is an act particularly associated with God, Himself. To Caiaphas, this is blasphemy. And since the members of the Sanhedrin as well as several others have heard Jesus, no more witnesses are necessary.

The office of high priest is the highest religious position in Judaism. The high priest is to be from the tribe of Levi and a direct descendant of Moses' brother Aaron (Exodus 28:1; Numbers 18:7). Only the high priest can enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:14–15). Caiaphas is the Roman-appointed high priest, although the former high priest, Caiaphas' father-in-law Annas, still has a lot of power (John 18:13). As much as we might dismiss Caiaphas as an agent of evil, God takes the role of high priest seriously. God inspired Caiaphas to prophesy that Jesus would have to die for Israel (John 11:49–52).

When Caiaphas had made this statement, the Jewish council had been discussing how to stop Jesus from inciting a riot and leading the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem (John 11:47–48). Caiaphas may have thought God was inspiring him to say that Jesus had to die in order to protect the Jews from the Romans. He didn't realize God was saying Jesus had to die to cover the sins of His followers all over the world. Taking something God tells us and twisting it to fit our own expectations is common to us, as well.

Clothing in the New Testament era is not as easy or as cheap to buy as it is in modern nations today. To tear one's clothing is to destroy something valuable. It is also a passionate display of mourning and grief. In this case, the high priest tears his clothes in response to what He considers Jesus' blasphemy against God (Mark 14:64). He is distraught that Jesus elevates Himself to God's right hand (Mark 14:62). It's unclear if Caiaphas is truly this outraged at Jesus' statements or if he's trying to emotionally manipulate the members of the Sanhedrin.