What does Mark 14:56 mean?
ESV: For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree.
NIV: Many testified falsely against him, but their statements did not agree.
NASB: For many people were giving false testimony against Him, and so their testimonies were not consistent.
CSB: For many were giving false testimony against him, and the testimonies did not agree.
NLT: Many false witnesses spoke against him, but they contradicted each other.
KJV: For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.
NKJV: For many bore false witness against Him, but their testimonies did not agree.
Verse Commentary:
The Sanhedrin—the Jewish religious court—has arrested Jesus. Now they need to find something to charge Him with. He has defied the extra-scriptural oral law (Mark 7:1–13). He has cleared the temple courtyard of unlawful merchants (Mark 11:15–19). He has loudly condemned the sins of civil leaders (Matthew 23). Some of those acts violate Pharisee traditions, but none of these actions are literally illegal according to law of Moses, itself. Since most of the Sanhedrin are Sadducees, who don't follow Pharisaical views, those conflicts won't serve their purposes.

Jesus has made statements that He is on the same level with God. Possibly because those comments were not always clear, in their context, the Sanhedrin can't find two people who can corroborate this accusation. The Mosaic law is very specific: "A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established" (Deuteronomy 19:15). The testimony needs to be given individually and needs to agree in order to be valid.

The Mosaic law includes certain crimes that may be punished by execution. They include idolatry (Deuteronomy 13:1–10), breaking the Sabbath (Exodus 31:14–15), dishonoring one's parents (Deuteronomy 21:18–21), murder (Exodus 21:12–14), adultery (Leviticus 20), kidnapping (Exodus 21:16), and bearing false witness in a capital case (Deuteronomy 19:15–21). This is part of the terrible irony of Jesus' sham trials. While witnesses against Jesus committed the last of these crimes—false witness—Jesus can't even be accused of breaking the Sabbath. Every time He worked on the Sabbath, He only violated manmade traditions that defined "work." He didn't break the commandment as written or as intended.

The Sanhedrin will eventually stretch the third commandment: do not take the Lord's name in vain (Leviticus 24:11–16). But even that falls short. Jesus admits He is the Messiah and will be "seated at the right hand of Power" (Mark 14:62). Of course, Jesus is only guilty of blasphemy if He is not, in fact, the Messiah and God. Since He is, such statements are not blasphemous.
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 5/25/2024 1:51:15 AM
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