What does Mark 14:59 mean?
ESV: Yet even about this their testimony did not agree.
NIV: Yet even then their testimony did not agree.
NASB: And not even in this respect was their testimony consistent.
CSB: Yet their testimony did not agree even on this.
NLT: But even then they didn’t get their stories straight!
KJV: But neither so did their witness agree together.
NKJV: But not even then did their testimony agree.
Verse Commentary:
In the Mosaic law, a conviction requires two witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15). There is only one crime in which only one witness is necessary, and that is the rape of a woman where her cries for help cannot be heard (Deuteronomy 22:25–27). The Sanhedrin is trying to find people willing to testify they witnessed Jesus committing a crime. Several things are wrong with this.

First, properly-functioning authority does not arrest someone first, then try to figure out what crime they committed. Righteous leaders only arrest someone because they highly suspect that person committed a specific crime. In this case, the Sanhedrin has long-since decided they want Jesus dead (John 11:48–53). All they are doing here is fishing for a justification.

Second, Jesus has not, in fact, broken actual Mosaic law, nor the civil laws put in place by the Romans. Literally speaking, there's nothing to charge Him with. So the Sanhedrin court seeks people who will lie (Matthew 26:59), which is itself a capital crime in the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 19:18–19).

Third, it's hard to find people who can tell the same lie without a great amount of corroboration. For capital crimes, two or more witnesses must have the same testimony, but none of the witnesses' stories match.

Some witnesses have come forward to claim Jesus said He was going to destroy the temple (Mark 14:58). This is a useful accusation, since destroying a religious facility is against Roman law. But even members of the Sanhedrin know that Jesus didn't say that He, personally, would tear down the temple (John 2:19–21). Some, at least, also understand He was referring to His body, not the building (Matthew 27:62–64; 28:11–15).

As of the writing of this commentary, this passage is incredibly applicable to modern times. The Sanhedrin are actively seeking fake evidence to support their political goals. We may be tempted to read this two thousand years later and shake our heads at their arrogance and duplicity…but our culture does the same, and so do some of us, personally. "Fake news," partial information, rumors, misleading headlines, and so forth are rampant. This is especially true on the internet. This deceit is carefully cultivated to reinforce whatever someone wants others to believe.

God values truth, not lies. Consider that false accusations are punishable by death in the Mosaic law. We must be careful about what we believe, what we read, and what we pass on to others. Our carelessness and pride may not literally cause the death of an innocent man; then again, it might.
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 1:37:09 PM
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