What does Mark 14:21 mean?
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.”
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.'
NASB: For the Son of Man is going away just as it is written about Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.'
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."
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!'
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.
NKJV: The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had never been born.”
Verse Commentary:
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.
Verse Context:
Mark 14:12–21 depicts the evening of 14 Nisan, when Jesus and the disciples celebrate the Passover. This is an event Jesus has been earnestly looking forward to (Luke 22:15). After the traditional Jewish Passover, Jesus will transition into the new Lord's Supper. He will also identify Judas as His betrayer and dismiss him to coordinate His arrest with the priests (John 13:21–30). The other disciples are still curious as to when Jesus will liberate Israel. This account is also recorded in Matthew 26:17–25 and Luke 22:7–13, 21–23; John goes into great detail about other aspects, particularly about what Jesus teaches, in John 13—17.
Chapter Summary:
Jesus is anointed in a symbolic anticipation of His death. Judas decides to secretly cooperate with local religious leaders to arrest Jesus in secret. During the Passover meal, Jesus predicts His betrayal by Judas, and Peter's denial. He also institutes the Lord's Supper, also known as communion. After praying on the Mount of Olives, Jesus is captured when Judas identifies Him to a hostile mob sent by Jewish authorities. He endures a corrupt, prejudiced trial, ending in a conviction for blasphemy. Peter, fearing for his life, lies about knowing Jesus, before remembering Jesus' prediction and breaking down in sobs.
Chapter Context:
Jesus has finished His public teaching ministry and now prepares for the crucifixion. His sacrificial loyalty will provide the means by which the disciples' abandonment will be forgiven. Next, the Romans, as representatives of Gentiles throughout history, will join the Jews and kill Jesus. Jesus will be buried, but He will rise again with the promise that His sacrifice will redeem the world. Matthew 26 and Luke 22 follow Mark 14 more closely while John 13:1—18:27 records more of Jesus' teaching in the upper room.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/25/2024 1:09:27 AM
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