What does Mark 14:31 mean?
ESV: But he said emphatically, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.
NIV: But Peter insisted emphatically, 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.' And all the others said the same.
NASB: But Peter repeatedly said insistently, 'Even if I have to die with You, I will not deny You!' And they all were saying the same thing as well.
CSB: But he kept insisting, "If I have to die with you, I will never deny you." And they all said the same thing.
NLT: No!' Peter declared emphatically. 'Even if I have to die with you, I will never deny you!' And all the others vowed the same.
KJV: But he spake the more vehemently, If I should die with thee, I will not deny thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.
NKJV: But he spoke more vehemently, “If I have to die with You, I will not deny You!” And they all said likewise.
Verse Commentary:
Peter fulfills his vow, but not for several decades. John 13:36 says, "Simon Peter said to him, 'Lord, where are you going?' Jesus answered him, 'Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.'" After the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus tells Peter, "…when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go" (John 21:18). Jesus predicts that Peter will, indeed, follow Jesus to death, and death on a cross. Church tradition says that John, who was listening in on Jesus' words to Peter, died of old age, but Peter was crucified. That same tradition says Peter opted to be crucified upside-down because he didn't consider himself worthy to die in the same way as his Lord.

Mark is not one of Jesus' twelve disciples, although it's possible he is with them on the Mount of Olives (Mark 14:51–52). It's believed Mark got most of his information from Peter. If so, this passage and its fulfillment in Mark 14:66–72 emphasize how a great change came over Peter. Here, he is brash, contradicting Jesus as he has done before (Mark 8:31–33). Soon, when Peter denies that he knows Jesus, his "courage" will prove to be empty arrogance. Later, however, after Peter receives the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1–4), his strength will come from God. He will preach to thousands in the middle of Jerusalem (Acts 2:14–41) and in the temple courtyard (Acts 3:11–26). He will feel honored to be imprisoned and beaten, grateful that God finds him worthy of suffering in the name of Jesus (Acts 5:17–42).

Peter's transformation is a powerful testament that our hearts can only be truly changed by the power of the Holy Spirit. We may claim to be brave, loyal, and willing to die for Christ, but without the Holy Spirit, we are merely looking out for ourselves (Romans 3:12).
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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