Mark 14:65 is difficult to read, and even more difficult to understand: “And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ And the guards received him with blows” (Mark 14:65). Continue reading . . .
Mark 14:65 is difficult to read, and even more difficult to understand: “And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, ‘Prophesy!’ And the guards received him with blows” (Mark 14:65).
That Jesus was blindfolded, hit, and asked to identify his attacker was based on a Jewish test by which the Messiah was to be revealed (see Is. 11:2-4). Since it was believed that Messiah will use neither eyes nor ears, he must judge by the sense of smell. Thus this treatment of Jesus is but another taunt based on his claim to be the Messiah: "If you are truly who you claim to be, you should be able to identify your attacker without seeing him!"
Spitting on someone and the inflicting of blows were conventional gestures of rejection and humiliation (cf. Job 30:10; Num. 12:14; Dt. 25:9; Isa. 50:6). Throughout Jewish history, people would go to Absalom’s tomb in the Kedron valley outside Jerusalem and repeatedly spit on it as an expression of their disdain for Absalom’s treatment and betrayal of his father King David.
I think Spurgeon speaks for all of us when he cries, “Be astonished, O heavens, and be horribly afraid. His face is the light of the universe, his person is the glory of heaven, and they ‘began to spit on him!’ Alas, my God, that man should be so base!” (Charles Spurgeon, 3:253).
One almost hesitates to comment at all on such an inconceivable and despicable act as spitting in the face of the Son of Man. William Hendriksen explains:
"The face which these underlings --