What does Mark 14:55 mean?
ESV: Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none.
NIV: The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death, but they did not find any.
NASB: Now the chief priests and the entire Council were trying to obtain testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, and they were not finding any.
CSB: The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they could not find any.
NLT: Inside, the leading priests and the entire high council were trying to find evidence against Jesus, so they could put him to death. But they couldn’t find any.
KJV: And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.
NKJV: Now the chief priests and all the council sought testimony against Jesus to put Him to death, but found none.
Verse Commentary:
Throughout Jesus' ministry, the Pharisees have found many things with which to charge Jesus. Unfortunately for the Sanhedrin, all those accusations involve infractions against oral tradition, not the original words of Scripture.

After Moses received the Law from God on Mount Sinai, people worried about specific applications. For example, how to define what exactly constitutes "work" on the Sabbath. This became a greater concern during and after the Babylonian captivity—the Jewish people wanted to ensure God wouldn't discipline Israel with exile again, due to disobedience (Ezekiel 39:23). The scribes, whose job it was to explain the law, took on the task of adding to it. They explained things like how many steps were permitted on the Sabbath and when and how a devout Jew would wash his hands.

Jesus doesn't abide by the oral law (Mark 7:1–13). God didn't give it; it is a man-made tradition. Jesus does abide by the Mosaic law, and never breaks it. The Sanhedrin is comprised mostly of Sadducees who likewise value Moses' law over the Pharisees' traditions. They don't particularly care if Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath. They need to connect Him to an overt act that the Mosaic law punishes with death. For their purposes, the charge doesn't even need to be true. It just needs to believable and, as the Mosaic law states (Deuteronomy 17:6), "corroborated" by manipulated testimony.

The Sanhedrin will never find a valid accusation that Jesus broke the Law. He never did. Jesus never sinned (1 Peter 2:22). All others have sinned (Romans 3:23). Every other human was conceived with a nature bent on sin (Psalm 51:5). That sin means that we deserve eternal separation from God (Romans 6:23). It is because Jesus never sinned and is willing to sacrifice His own life that we can be forgiven by God (Colossians 1:20; 1 Peter 1:18–19).

That is the horrible irony of this trial. Sinners, knowingly acting against the "spirit" of the Law, are trying to condemn a sinless Man, arguably to prevent an earthly war. The sinless Man knows He must die the death of a sinner to win the spiritual war and so He makes no defense. His death and resurrection cover the sins of some of His audience, including John, Peter, and possibly some of the Sanhedrin (John 12:42; 19:39). In their sin, the Sanhedrin participate in the work of salvation for the world!
Verse Context:
Mark 14:53–65 happens immediately after Jesus' arrest in the garden of Gethsemane. Jesus will face four separated trials, in multiple segments. The first is with the Sanhedrin, the council that judges if Jews have broken the Mosaic law. The second trial is with Pilate, the Roman governor (Mark 15:1–5). Pilate sends Jesus to Herod Antipas, who rules over Jesus' home district of Galilee and happens to be in town (Luke 23:6–16). Herod sends Jesus back to Pilate who, at the Sanhedrin's insistence, sentences Jesus to death (Mark 15:6–15). Jesus' interview with the Sanhedrin is also found in Matthew 26:57–68, Luke 22:63–71, and John 18:12–14, 19–24.
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 5/21/2024 1:29:55 PM
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