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23: Jesus Betrayed and Condemned (Mk 14:43-15:20)
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I.       The Basics

A.     Setting

In contrast to Jesus’ popular support when He entered Jerusalem (11:8-10), now He was alone and rejected. Everyone, from the crowd to His own disciples, either turned against Him or deserted Him. Just as Jesus had predicted (10:33; 14:41), the humble Servant, the Son of God, was judged and condemned by sinners.

B.     Key Verse

            “So they cried out again, ’Crucify Him!’ Then Pilate said to them, ’Why, what evil has He done?’ But they cried out all the more, ’Crucify Him!’” (15:13-14).

C.     Did You Know…?

1.      Kiss (14:44): A kiss on the cheek or hand was a common gesture of affection and reverence given to a rabbi by his disciples.

2.      The one who cut off the ear of the servant of the high priest (14:47) was Simon Peter (cf. Jn 18:10). He was probably one of the disciples who took a sword with him in response to Jesus’ words during the Passover meal (cf. Lk 22:36-38; for what Jesus had meant, read the Luke Bible Study Guide, Lesson 29, Questions 16-17).

3.      The young man who fled naked (14:51) is mentioned only in the gospel according to Mark, and is very likely to be Mark himself. Perhaps he was in such a hurry to warn Jesus about the crowd that he did not have time to get dressed properly (wearing only a sleeping garment). His linen garment suggests that he was from a wealthy family (more common garments were made of wool).

4.      Sanhedrin (14:55): The 71-member Jewish high court, which originated from the council of Moses and the 70 elders (cf. Num 11:16-17). It was composed of chief priests, elders, and scribes, and was headed by the high priest. The Sanhedrin was given much authority in religious and civil affairs, including the power to sentence a person to death. However, it was required to submit the sentence to the Roman governor for approval and execution.

5.      “Tore his clothes” (14:63): A sign of grief or shock; it became a formal judicial act of the high priest expressing the opinion that he has heard blasphemy, which was a capital crime according to Jewish laws.

6.      Pilate (15:1): A Roman of the upper middle class and governor (“praetor”) of Judea and Samaria from A.D. 26-36. He commanded a cavalry of 120 and an infantry of 2,500-5,000. As the governor, he had the power to approve or reverse a capital sentence passed by the Sanhedrin.

7.      Barabbas (15:7): An insurrectionist against the Romans, which probably made him a hero among the Jews.

8.      Scourged/flogged (15:15): The Jews limited flogging to forty lashes, but the Romans were restricted by nothing but their strength and whim. Flogging was used to weaken a prisoner before crucifixion (although many did not survive the ordeal itself). The prisoner was stripped, tied to a post, and whipped. The leather whip, known as the “scorpion,” had sharp pieces of bone or lead, which reduced the flesh to a bloody pulp, often exposing the victim’s bones and innards.

9.        Praetorium (15:16): The Roman governor’s residence, which also functioned as his headquarters.

10.  Purple robe, crown of thorns (15:17): These were used to mock Jesus’ claim to be a king. The robe was probably an old military cloak, whose purple color suggested richness and royalty. The crown was pressed into Jesus’ scalp (which has many blood vessels), which caused severe bleeding.

II.    Observation

A.     Outline






B.     Key Words/Phrases

III. General Analysis

1a. List the characters that betrayed and/or rejected Jesus. How did they betray or reject Him?

1b. What do you do when many people are against you? What can you learn from Jesus?

IV.  Segment Analysis

A.     14:43-52

1. Why did the arresting party come armed with swords and clubs?

2. Judas needed a signal to identify Jesus. What does this tell you about Jesus’ physical appearance?

3a. What was Jesus’ reaction to Judas’ kiss?

3b. Have you ever felt betrayed? How did you react? What can you learn from Jesus’ reaction to Judas’ betrayal?

4a. Why did Peter draw his sword?

4b. What might have happened if Jesus had allowed His disciples to fight with swords?

4c. Do you ever feel like you need to take immediate action? Compare this to Peter’s reaction? What would Jesus tell you? (cf. Mt 26:52; Lk 22:51; Jn 18:11)

5. Explain 14:48-49. Why did Jesus tell those who came to arrest Him these words? How do the words “the Scriptures must be fulfilled” (14:49) explain why the crowd was arresting Him now?

6. Who were the only ones mentioned who followed Jesus after He was arrested?

B.     14:53-65

7. What do the false testimonies tell you about the people’s understanding of Jesus?

8. How did Jesus answer His accusers? What does this teach you about dealing with those who attack the true gospel?

9a. List common misconceptions about Jesus, Christianity, and the True Jesus Church.

9b. When someone says something false about your faith, how should you answer?

10. List the terms used to describe God in verses 14:61-62. Why were there so many?

11. Why did the high priest ask Jesus if He is the Christ?

12. For what charge did the Sanhedrin sentence Jesus to death?

13. Have you ever been falsely accused of something? How did you react? What can you learn from Jesus’ reaction to the false testimonies against Him?

14. Have you ever felt under-appreciated? How did you react? What can you learn from Jesus’ reaction to how the people repay Him for His ministry?

15. Have you ever falsely accused or jumped to conclusions about a person? What were the consequences? How do you avoid making the same mistake again?

C.     14:66-72

16. Contrast Peter when he drew his sword to protect Jesus to when he denied Jesus three times. How are we like Peter?

17. When a stranger asks if you are a Christian or a True Jesus Church member, what is your reaction? How should you answer?

D.     15:1-15

18. When Pilate asked, “What evil has [Jesus] done?” (15:14), what was the crowd’s answer?

19a. What was on the mind of the crowd at this time? Why were the people so against Jesus?

19b. How do we avoid being easily stirred up?

20. Jesus was sentenced to die, while a murderer (Barabbas) was set free. How is this an analogy of our salvation through Jesus Christ?

E.     15:16-20

21a. Why did the Roman soldiers mock Jesus?

21b. Have you ever bullied or made fun of someone? How did it affect that person and yourself?

21c. What is the worst insult you have ever received? How does it compare to the soldiers’ mockery of Jesus? What is the Christian teaching on dealing with insults?

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