What does Mark 14:63 mean?
ESV: And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need?
NIV: The high priest tore his clothes. 'Why do we need any more witnesses?' he asked.
NASB: Tearing his clothes, the high priest *said, 'What further need do we have of witnesses?
CSB: Then the high priest tore his robes and said, "Why do we still need witnesses?
NLT: Then the high priest tore his clothing to show his horror and said, 'Why do we need other witnesses?
KJV: Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?
NKJV: Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, “What further need do we have of witnesses?
Verse Commentary:
Jesus is on trial before the Jewish leaders. He challenges the members of the Sanhedrin to present their witnesses (John 18:19–23). The Sanhedrin have no good witnesses, so they find men who will give false testimony (Matthew 26:59). Jesus refuses to address the lies.

It is only when Caiaphas directly asks Jesus who He says He is that Jesus responds. Jesus answers that He is the Son of Man, a figure from Daniel 7:13–14, who will sit at God's right hand and come "with the clouds of heaven" (Mark 14:62). This is an act particularly associated with God, Himself. To Caiaphas, this is blasphemy. And since the members of the Sanhedrin as well as several others have heard Jesus, no more witnesses are necessary.

The office of high priest is the highest religious position in Judaism. The high priest is to be from the tribe of Levi and a direct descendant of Moses' brother Aaron (Exodus 28:1; Numbers 18:7). Only the high priest can enter the Holy of Holies, and only once a year, on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:14–15). Caiaphas is the Roman-appointed high priest, although the former high priest, Caiaphas' father-in-law Annas, still has a lot of power (John 18:13). As much as we might dismiss Caiaphas as an agent of evil, God takes the role of high priest seriously. God inspired Caiaphas to prophesy that Jesus would have to die for Israel (John 11:49–52).

When Caiaphas had made this statement, the Jewish council had been discussing how to stop Jesus from inciting a riot and leading the Roman army to destroy Jerusalem (John 11:47–48). Caiaphas may have thought God was inspiring him to say that Jesus had to die in order to protect the Jews from the Romans. He didn't realize God was saying Jesus had to die to cover the sins of His followers all over the world. Taking something God tells us and twisting it to fit our own expectations is common to us, as well.

Clothing in the New Testament era is not as easy or as cheap to buy as it is in modern nations today. To tear one's clothing is to destroy something valuable. It is also a passionate display of mourning and grief. In this case, the high priest tears his clothes in response to what He considers Jesus' blasphemy against God (Mark 14:64). He is distraught that Jesus elevates Himself to God's right hand (Mark 14:62). It's unclear if Caiaphas is truly this outraged at Jesus' statements or if he's trying to emotionally manipulate the members of the Sanhedrin.
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 1:32:19 PM
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