|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:53-65 We have here Christ's condemnation before the great council of the Jews. Peter followed; but the high priest's fire-side was no proper place, nor his servants proper company, for Peter: it was an entrance into temptation. Great diligence was used to procure false witnesses against Jesus, yet their testimony was not equal to the charge of a capital crime, by the utmost stretch of their law. He was asked, Art thou the Son of the Blessed? that is, the Son of God. For the proof of his being the Son of God, he refers to his second coming. In these outrages we have proofs of man's enmity to God, and of God's free and unspeakable love to man.
Verse 54. - And Peter had followed him afar off, even within, into the court (εἰς τὴν αὐλὴν) of the high priest. This court was the place where the guards and servants of the high priest were assembled. Our Lord was within, in a large room, being arraigned before the council. St. John informs us (John 18:15) that he himself, being known to the high priest, had gone in with Jesus into the court of the high priest; and that he had been the means of bringing in Peter, who had been standing outside at the door leading into the court. We now see Peter among the servants, crouching over the fire. The weather was cold, for it was early springtime; and it was now after midnight. Peter was warming himself in the light of the fire (πρὸς τὸ φῶς), and so his features were clearly seen in the glow of the brightly burning charcoal.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Peter followed him afar off,.... And did another disciple, perhaps John; John 18:15, who having somewhat recovered themselves from their fright, turned back, and followed Jesus, and the company that led him away; keeping at some distance, that they might not be observed, and exposed to danger; and proceeded till they came to Jerusalem, and to the place where the sanhedrim were convened; and the other disciple went in along with Jesus; and Peter afterwards, by his means, got in:
even into the palace of the high priest; being let in by her that kept the door, at the motion of the other disciple
and he sat with the servants; as if he was one of them, and had no concern with Jesus:
and warmed himself at the fire; or "light", as the Greek word signifies, and answers to the Hebrew word by which both: light and fire are expressed; of which, take an instance or two, in the room of many (g):
"a murderer that strikes, his neighbour with a stone, or with iron, and plunges him into water, or into "fire", so that he cannot get out, and dies, is guilty.''
Again (h), a
"book which "fire", takes hold upon on one side, he puts, water on the other; and if it is quenched, it is quenched; if the "fire" takes hold on both sides, he opens it, and reads in it; and if it is quenched, it is quenched: a cloak which "fire" takes hold upon on one side, he puts water on the other side; and if it is quenched, it is quenched; if the "fire" takes hold on it on both sides, he takes, it and wraps himself in it, and if it is quenched, it is quenched.''
So we read (i) of , "the fire of hell"; and Ur of the Chaldees has its name from the fire, that was worshipped there, as a symbol of the sun: and fire was the or "light", created on the first day, Genesis 1:3; See Gill on Matthew 26:58.
(g) Misn. Sanhedrin, c 9. sect 1.((h) T. Hieros. Sabbat, fol. 15. 4. & T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 120. 1. Vid. Misn. Avoda Zara, c. 5. sect. 12. (i) T. Bab. Chagiga, fol. 27. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
54. And Peter followed him afar off, even into—or "from afar, even to the interior of."
the palace of the high priest—"An oriental house," says Robinson, "is usually built around a quadrangular interior court; into which there is a passage (sometimes arched) through the front part of the house, closed next the street by a heavy folding gate, with a smaller wicket for single persons, kept by a porter. The interior court, often paved or flagged, and open to the sky, is the hall, which our translators have rendered 'palace,' where the attendants made a fire; and the passage beneath the front of the house, from the street to this court, is the porch. The place where Jesus stood before the high priest may have been an open room, or place of audience on the ground floor, in the rear or on one side of the court; such rooms, open in front, being customary. It was close upon the court, for Jesus heard all that was going on around the fire, and turned and looked upon Peter (Lu 22:61)."
and he sat with the servants, and warmed himself at the fire—The graphic details, here omitted, are supplied in the other Gospels. Joh 18:18:
And the servants and officers stood there—that is, in the hall, within the quadrangle, open to the sky.
who had made a fire of coals—or charcoal (in a brazier probably).
for it was cold—John alone of all the Evangelists mentions the material, and the coldness of the night, as Webster and Wilkinson remark. The elevated situation of Jerusalem, observes Tholuck, renders it so cold about Easter as to make a watch fire at night indispensable.
And Peter stood with them and warmed himself—"He went in," says Matthew (Mt 26:58), "and sat with the servants to see the end." These two minute statements throw an interesting light on each other. His wishing to "see the end," or issue of these proceedings, was what led him into the palace, for he evidently feared the worst. But once in, the serpent coil is drawn closer; it is a cold night, and why should not he take advantage of the fire as well as others? Besides, in the talk of the crowd about the all-engrossing topic he may pick up something which he would like to hear. Poor Peter! But now, let us leave him warming himself at the fire, and listening to the hum of talk about this strange case by which the subordinate officials, passing to and fro and crowding around the fire in this open court, would while away the time; and, following what appears the order of the Evangelical Narrative, let us turn to Peter's Lord.
Jesus Is Interrogated by Annas—His Dignified Reply—Is Treated with Indignity by One of the Officials—His Meek Rebuke (Joh 18:19-23).
We have seen that it is only the Fourth Evangelist who tells us that our Lord was sent to Annas first, overnight, until the Sanhedrim could be got together at earliest dawn. We have now, in the same Gospel, the deeply instructive scene that passed during this non-official interview.
The high priest—Annas.
then asked Jesus of His disciples and of His doctrine—probably to entrap Him into some statements which might be used against Him at the trial. From our Lord's answer it would seem that "His disciples" were understood to be some secret party.
Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world—compare Joh 7:4. He speaks of His public teaching as now a past thing—as now all over.
I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort—courting publicity, though with sublime noiselessness.
and in secret have I said nothing—rather, "spake I nothing"; that is, nothing different from what He taught in public: all His private communications with the Twelve being but explanations and developments of His public teaching. (Compare Isa 45:19; 48:16).
Why askest thou Me? ask them which heard Me what I have said to them—rather, "what I said unto them."
behold, they know what I said—From this mode of replying, it is evident that our Lord saw the attempt to draw Him into self-crimination, and resented it by falling back upon the right of every accused party to have some charge laid against Him by competent witnesses.
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