What does Mark 14:30 mean?
ESV: And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I tell you, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
NIV: Truly I tell you,' Jesus answered, 'today--yes, tonight--before the rooster crows twice you yourself will disown me three times.'
NASB: And Jesus *said to him, 'Truly I say to you, that this very night, before a rooster crows twice, you yourself will deny Me three times.'
CSB: "Truly I tell you," Jesus said to him, "today, this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times."
NLT: Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, Peter — this very night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny three times that you even know me.'
KJV: And Jesus saith unto him, Verily I say unto thee, That this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice.
NKJV: Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you that today, even this night, before the rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.”
Verse Commentary:
There is some debate as to what the "rooster crow" is. It may very well be the cry of a literal rooster. Despite what most people assume from movies and television, roosters are ornery animals that find it unnecessary to wait for dawn to crow. This phrase may also be a figure of speech used for the bugle call which heralds the start of the Roman guards' fourth nightshift.

Much to Peter's devastation, Jesus' prophecy does come true. Jesus is arrested on the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:46) and taken to the high priest Caiaphas' courtyard where He is questioned by the Sanhedrin (Matthew 26:57–59). Peter stays at the gate while John, who is known to the high priest (John 18:15), goes into the courtyard. John sends a servant girl out to the gate, but Peter denies being one of Jesus disciples and the rooster cries once (John 18:15–17; Mark 14:68). The high priests' servants and officers make a fire, and Peter feels bold enough to join them to get warm when another servant girl returns (Matthew 26:71). She can see Peter better in the light of the fire and accuses him of being with Jesus in front of the other men (Luke 22:56). Peter denies again (Mark 14:69–70)). Finally, the bystanders confront Peter, recognizing that his accent is from Galilee. Peter not only denies that he knows Jesus, he curses himself if he is lying. The rooster crows again, and Peter remembers Jesus' words. He leaves, weeping (Mark 14:70–72; Luke 22:62).

Jesus warns Peter that Satan has asked to "sift [him] like wheat" (Luke 22:31). Not only is Peter's loyalty tested, Jesus hears Peter's denials (Luke 22:61). But Jesus prays that although Peter's courage may fail, his faith won't, and that Peter will be able to use this experience to give courage to the other disciples (Luke 22:32). Peter will deny Jesus, but he will also be restored (John 21:15–19). And, soon, with no fear of the Jewish leaders, Peter will publicly proclaim the gospel to a multitude gathered in Jerusalem. That day, about three thousand people will hear his message and believe in Jesus (Acts 2:14–41).

The difference is the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, Peter is bold and brash, ready to follow Jesus into any situation in which Jesus' power and authority are manifest. He does not yet have the courage to face persecution personally or walk into hardships without Jesus literally leading the way. Once Peter receives the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4), he will not be perfect (Galatians 2:11–14), but his faith will be proven (Acts 4).
Verse Context:
Mark 14:26–31 occurs as Jesus and the twelve disciples have just had the Passover meal in an upper room in Jerusalem. They are now on the Mount of Olives, where they have stayed every night this week (Luke 21:37). After such an intimate celebration, Jesus warns the disciples they will abandon Him, and Peter, specifically, will deny he knows Him. But Jesus isn't trying to shame the disciples; He's telling them where to meet Him after His resurrection. Jesus' warning is also recorded in Matthew 26:30–35, Luke 22:31–34, and John 13:36–38.
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.
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