What does Mark 14:44 mean?
ESV: Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I will kiss is the man. Seize him and lead him away under guard.”
NIV: Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 'The one I kiss is the man; arrest him and lead him away under guard.'
NASB: Now he who was betraying Him had given them a signal, saying, 'Whomever I kiss, He is the one; arrest Him and lead Him away under guard.'
CSB: His betrayer had given them a signal. "The one I kiss," he said, "he's the one; arrest him and take him away under guard."
NLT: The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: 'You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.'
KJV: And he that betrayed him had given them a token, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he; take him, and lead him away safely.
NKJV: Now His betrayer had given them a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the One; seize Him and lead Him away safely.”
Verse Commentary:
It is late night or very early morning on the Mount of Olives, and the time has come for Judas to betray Jesus to the Jewish rulers. It's dark. The Mount of Olives is inhabited by some of the tens of thousands who have come to celebrate the Passover in Jerusalem. Jesus is surrounded by eleven of His disciples. Judas needs a way to identify Jesus so the servants and guards of the Jewish leadership can get close enough to Jesus to arrest Him without the disciples helping Him escape. In an era without photographs, it's also necessary to bring someone along who can directly identify Jesus to the authorities.

Judas needs to get the guards close because he knows Jesus can be hard to catch. In Nazareth, the people reacted so negatively to Jesus' teaching that they tried to throw Him off a cliff. Jesus simply walked through the crowd and left (Luke 4:16–30). The religious leaders in Jerusalem know Jesus can be elusive, when it comes to being physically captured. At least twice He slipped out of their grasp when they had resolved to stone Him (John 8:59; 10:31, 39). Neither the Jewish leaders nor Judas understand that the reason they couldn't catch Jesus before wasn't because they were unprepared but because it wasn't time for them to catch Him yet (John 7:30).

To identify Jesus in the dark, surrounded by the disciples, Judas uses the traditional greeting of respect, honor, and brotherly love. The groggy disciples would recognize Judas and think he is returning from buying the supplies for the Feast of Unleavened Bread to be celebrated the next evening (John 13:27–30). The kiss would further lower the disciples' guard long enough for the crew of arresting guards to reach Jesus. The disciples are completely unprepared for what is about to happen.
Verse Context:
Mark 14:43–50 happens about one week after Jesus rode past the garden of Gethsemane in the daylight, surrounded by people declaring His coming to reestablish David's kingdom (Mark 11:1–10). For several days, He displayed His superior understanding of God over the Jewish religious leaders (Mark 11:27–12:40). Earlier this night, He spent a meaningful Passover meal with His disciples (Mark 14:17–31). Now, He is back in Gethsemane. It is the dead of night and a group has come to take Him before a series of sham trials before He is crucified. The story of Jesus' betrayal is also recorded in Matthew 26:47–56, Luke 22:47–53, and John 18:1–11.
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 5/29/2024 8:53:47 PM
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