Mark 14:1-25

Open It

  1. When have you ever been criticized for doing something good?
  2. What is one ceremony or observance that is important to you?
  3. What is one sacrifice you made for someone else?


Read Over Exodus 12:1-30 in particular v 5, 12 -14, 16-17, 23, 24-27


Now read Mark 14:1-25.  We now enter what Passion narratives, Jesus last few days with the disciples Mark now concentrates attention wholly on the death of Jesus. Having given a middle distance and long distance perspective in what we know as chapter 13, he now turns to the immediate present for Jesus. As usual the story is told starkly and with no attempt to soften the blow or ease the pain of those who read.


Explore It

  1. When and where did the events of this story take place? (14:1-3) What is significant about the historical context of the Passover?
  2. What similarities do you see in what happened in exodus and now what was about to happen to Jesus?
  3. Why did the Jewish leaders not want to arrest Jesus during the Feast of Unleavened Bread? (14:2) They were not aloud to do anything other than prepare the meal during the They did not want to attempt to arrest Jesus during the Passover because they feared that the crowd would riot on his behalf. They feared that such an uprising might bring the wrath of Rome. Because many of the Jews still held Jesus in high regard and feared the reaction of so many Jews.
  4. What amazing thing did a woman do while Jesus was visiting Bethany? (14:3)

Bethany was located on the eastern slope of the Mount of Olives (Jerusalem is on the western side). This town was the home of Jesus’ friends Lazarus, Mary, and Martha (who were also present at this dinner, John 11:2). Jesus had been returning to Bethany from Jerusalem each night during this final week (11:11). This night, Jesus was a guest of Simon. He did not have leprosy at this time, for lepers had to live separately from people because of the extreme contagiousness of the disease. Jesus may have healed Simon.

  1. What is significant about the anointing of oil and the breaking of the Jar?

It was a common custom at some Jewish meals for the honored guests to be anointed with oil (see Luke 7:44-46), but it would not be so expensive. Such an anointing, with expensive oil, pictured a royal (messianic) anointing.  The breaking of the jar meant that all the perfume was to be, extravagantly, used for this occasion.


  1. Why would she do this, what do we know about her?

This woman was probably Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who lived in Bethany (John 12:1-3). She brought a beautiful jar of expensive perfume, which she poured on Jesus’ head.  Whether she knew it or not, this woman was encouraging him at the outset of the final phase of his ministry. Nor should we miss the fact that it was a woman, and that as this gospel proceeds it will be the women who are increasingly the most faithful and reliable of Jesus’ followers. She has prepared him for his burial!  



  1. What reaction did the woman’s actions get? Why? (14:4-5)
  2. Whom did Jesus rebuke? Why? (14:6) Where Mark says some, John specifically mentions Judas (John 12:4-5). This indignation over Mary’s act of worship would not have been based on concern for the poor, but on greed. Because Judas was the treasurer of Jesus’ ministry and had embezzled funds (John 12:6), he no doubt wanted the perfume sold so that the proceeds could be put into his care. This event probably pushed Judas over the edge in his determination to betray Jesus.  It is interesting that both the gift Mary gives and price Judas get paid for betraying Jesus is about 300 denari.  Interesting how Mark contrasts how to responses of what is means to be a disciple.
  3. How did Jesus evaluate the behavior of the woman who poured out the perfume? (14:6)
  4. Why did Judas betray? (14:10-11) Why? Why would Judas Iscariot want to betray Jesus? Very likely, Judas expected Jesus to start a political rebellion and overthrow Rome. As treasurer, Judas certainly assumed (as did the other disciples—see 10:35-37) that he would be given an important position in Jesus’ new government. But when Jesus praised Mary for pouring out the expensive perfume, Judas finally began to realize that Jesus’ Kingdom was not physical or political. Judas knew the leading priests had it in for Jesus, and he knew they would have the power to arrest Jesus. So that was where he went. Judas’s greedy desire for money and status could not be fulfilled if he followed Jesus, so he betrayed him in exchange for money and favor from the religious leaders.
  5. How did the chief priests react to Judas’s visit? Why? (14:10-11)

Obviously the leading priests were delighted to have discovered a traitor among Jesus’ followers. They had been having difficulty figuring out how to arrest Jesus (14:1-2); so when an offer of help came from this unexpected corner, they took advantage of it. They promised Judas a reward, and Judas began looking for the right opportunity—when there would be no Passover crowds to prevent Jesus’ capture and no possibility of a riot (14:2).

  1. In what way can a person betray Jesus?
  2. What is significant about the last supper to you?
  3. How would the disciples react to Jesus saying “this is my body” and “this is my blood”? Words like This is my body (22) about bread must have electrified the Remember what the significance of the Passover meal represented for the Jews, there freedom from slavery, God’s rescue plan, judgment on the Egyptians for their sins against Israel, the debt they paid was the loss of their first born, now Jesus Gods firstborn died for the sins of the world.  

What did Jesus mean by a “new covenant”? In Old Testament times, God had agreed to forgive people’s sins if they would bring animals for the priests to sacrifice. When this sacrificial system was inaugurated, the agreement between God and human beings was sealed with the blood of animals (Exodus 24:8). But animal blood did not in itself remove sin, and animal sacrifices had to be repeated day by day and year after year.

Jesus instituted a “new covenant,” or agreement, between humans and God. This concept is key to all New Testament theology and forms the basis for the name of the New Testament portion of the Bible. Under this new covenant, Jesus would die in the place of sinners. The old covenant was a shadow of the new, pointing forward to the day when Jesus himself would be the final and ultimate sacrifice for sin. Rather than an unblemished lamb slain on the altar, the perfect Lamb of God was slain on the cross as a sinless sacrifice so that our sins could be forgiven once and for all. Those who accept Christ’s sacrifice and believe in him receive forgiveness. Now all people can come directly to God through faith because Jesus’ death has made us acceptable in God’s eyes (Romans 3:21-24).

  1. What did Jesus mean by “this is the blood of covenant”?

So must his reference to the wine as my blood of the covenant (24). The old covenant, inaugurated through Moses, included sprinkling of sacrificial blood (Ex. 24:6–8). In it God committed himself to his people and called for their commitment to him. The repeated failure on their part led to a yearning for a better way, designated in the ‘new covenant’ promised by God through Jeremiah (Je. 31:31). The new covenant will involve an inner writing of God’s law on their hearts and minds. He will be their God and they his people, and all of his people will truly know him. What is more, their sins and wickedness will be forgiven and forgotten (Je. 31:33–34). No wonder, before covenant, some manuscripts have added the new, as Paul has it in 1 Corinthians 11:25. God’s new, inner covenant is being symbolized in the upper room, and will shortly be realized by the death of Jesus, represented here by the bread and wine. They are invited to enter all of that as they participate by eating and drinking.[1]


Apply It

  1. What can we learn about values from the woman in this story?
  2. What kinds of sacrifices can a person make for God?
  3. What is one way you can show your devotion to Christ above all other things, people, or ambitions in your life? When?
  4. What is one step you could take this week toward helping the poor in a practical way?