Lesson 42: Mark 11–16

“Lesson 42: Mark 11–16,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual (2016)

“Lesson 42,” New Testament Seminary Teacher Manual

Lesson 42

Mark 11–16


Near the end of His mortal ministry, the Savior observed a poor widow cast two mites into the temple treasury. Later, while at dinner in Bethany, Mary anointed Jesus in token of His burial. The Savior suffered in Gethsemane. He was tried and condemned to die. After He died on the cross and was resurrected, the Lord appeared to His Apostles and commissioned them to take the gospel to the world.

Suggestions for Teaching

Mark 11–13

The Savior teaches at the temple and observes a widow cast mites into the temple treasury

Read the following scenarios aloud, and ask students to listen for the differences between the offerings presented to the Lord in each scenario.

  1. A woman gave her bishop a very large sum of money as a fast offering. Another woman who lives in the same ward gave a very small amount to her bishop as a fast offering.

  2. A man serves as a stake president. Another man in the same stake serves as a primary teacher.

  • What differences did you notice in the offerings given in each scenario?

  • How might a person feel if his or her offering to the Lord appears small when compared to the offerings of others?

Invite students to look for truths as they study Mark 11–14 that will help them know how the Lord views their offerings to Him.

Christ's Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem

Display the picture Triumphal Entry (Gospel Art Book [2009], no. 50; see also Briefly summarize Mark 11:1–12:40 by explaining that as the Savior neared the end of His mortal ministry, He rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, cleansed the temple, and taught the people there. Remind students that in an attempt to discredit the Savior, the Pharisees and scribes asked Him difficult questions while He taught in the temple. After the Savior responded to their questions, He denounced the hypocrisy of the Pharisees and scribes (see Matthew 23).

Explain that while Jesus was at the temple, He witnessed individuals bringing money to the temple treasury as an offering to God. Invite a student to read Mark 12:41–44 aloud, and ask the class to look for what the Savior saw at the treasury.

  • What did the Savior see at the treasury?

Show the coin with the least value in your country’s currency, and explain that a mite was “the smallest bronze coin used by the Jews” (Bible Dictionary, “Money”).

  • How might someone feel if they could give only two mites as an offering to God?

  • What did the Savior say about the widow’s offering compared to the offerings of the others?

  • Why do you think the Savior considered her offering to be “more” than the other offerings?

  • Based on what the Lord said about the widow, what principle can we learn about giving to the Lord? (Students may use different words but should identify a principle similar to the following: If we are willing to give all that we have to the Lord, He will accept our offering even if it appears small in comparison to that of others.)

Summarize Mark 13 by explaining that the Savior taught His Apostles about the Second Coming. Remind students that they studied these teachings in Joseph Smith—Matthew.

Mark 14:1–9

Mary anoints the Savior

Explain that after the Savior taught His disciples about the signs of His Second Coming, He left Jerusalem and went to Bethany to the house of a man named Simon, who previously had been afflicted with leprosy.

Invite one student to read Mark 14:3 aloud and another student to read John 12:3 aloud. Ask the class to listen for what happened to the Savior as he sat down for dinner.

  • What happened to the Savior as He sat down for dinner at Simon’s house? (Explain that the woman who anointed the Savior is Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus [see John 12:1–3].)

  • How did Mary show the Savior her love and devotion?

Explain that Mary’s act of anointing the Savior’s head and feet with spikenard (a costly ointment) was an act of such reverence that even kings rarely received it (see James E. Talmage, Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 512).

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mark 14:4–9. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how some of the people at the dinner reacted to what Mary did. Explain that we learn from John 12:4–5 that Judas Iscariot was the one who complained about Mary’s act.

  • How did Judas Iscariot react to Mary’s anointing the Savior with costly ointment?

  • According to verse 5, how much was the ointment worth? (Explain that three hundred pence was about equal to the amount a common laborer could earn in a year.)

  • How did the Savior respond to Judas’s criticism of Mary?

Point out the phrase “she hath wrought a good work on me” in verse 6, and explain that it indicates that the Savior was pleased with what Mary had done. Also point out the phrase “she hath done what she could” in verse 8, and explain that this implies that Mary had given her best to the Lord.

  • What truth can we learn from these verses about how the Savior feels when we give our best to Him? (Students may use different words but should identify the following principle: The Savior is pleased when we give Him our best.)

Refer to the two scenarios that were presented at the beginning of class. Ask students to use the truths they identified in Mark 12 and Mark 14 to explain how the individuals in each scenario might please the Lord.

  • How might believing these truths help someone who feels that they don’t have much to give to the Lord?

  • When have you seen someone give their best to the Lord?

Invite students to consider whether they are currently giving their best to the Lord. Encourage them to select one aspect of their life in which they could improve and to set a goal that would help them give their best to the Lord.

Mark 14:10–16:20

Jesus begins His Atonement as He suffers in Gethsemane for our sins; He is betrayed by Judas Iscariot and brought before Jewish leaders

Ask students to silently ponder the following questions:

  • Have you ever felt that no one understands you or what you are going through?

  • Have you ever felt that you cannot be forgiven of your past sins?

Invite students to look for truths as they study Mark 14 that can help someone who might have these feelings.

Summarize Mark 14:10–31 by explaining that a few days after Mary anointed Jesus, Jesus and the Apostles observed the Passover. Afterward, the Savior went to the Garden of Gethsemane.

Invite a student to read Mark 14:32–34 aloud. Ask the class to follow along, looking for how the Savior felt in the Garden of Gethsemane.

  • How did the Savior feel in the Garden of Gethsemane?

After students respond, write the following phrases on the board: sore amazed, very heavy, exceeding sorrowful.

Explain that these phrases refer to the suffering Jesus Christ experienced as part of His Atonement.

  • What do these phrases teach us about the Atonement of Jesus Christ? (After students respond, write the following truth on the board: As part of His Atonement, Jesus Christ suffered and sorrowed in the Garden of Gethsemane.)

Invite several students to take turns reading aloud from Mark 14:35–42. Ask the class to follow along, looking for what the Savior did because of His intense suffering.

  • What did the Savior do because of His intense suffering? (Help students understand that Jesus’s suffering was so severe that He asked if it were possible for Him not to experience it.)

Write the following phrase on the board: Jesus Christ suffered … so that He …

Explain that other scripture passages can help us understand Jesus Christ’s suffering and why He would be willing to suffer for us.

Write the following references on the board: Isaiah 53:3–5 and Alma 7:11–13. Divide students into pairs, and invite them to read the verses together, looking for what the Savior suffered and why He suffered. Ask students to write in their class notebooks or scripture study journals how they would complete the phrase written on the board using what they learn in Isaiah 53:3–5 and Alma 7:11–13. (You may need to explain that the word succor in Alma 7:12 means to hurry to give relief or to go to someone’s aid.)

After sufficient time, invite several students to report how they completed the phrase. Their answers should be similar to the following: Jesus Christ suffered our pains, afflictions, temptations, sicknesses, infirmities, and sorrows so that He would know how to succor us. Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so that He could blot out our transgressions. Remind students that the Savior’s suffering for the sins of mankind began in Gethsemane and continued through and culminated in His Crucifixion on the cross.

Media Icon
To help students feel the importance of the truth that as part of His Atonement Jesus Christ suffered and sorrowed in the Garden of Gethsemane, consider showing the video “Special Witness—Elder Holland” (2:38), in which Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles testifies of the Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane. This video is available on

  • How might knowing what the Savior suffered and why He suffered help you as you face trials, pains, and afflictions?

  • When have you felt the Savior succor you in a time of pain, sickness, or sorrow?

  • What feelings have you experienced as you have repented and felt your sins blotted out (or erased) through the Atonement of Jesus Christ?

Summarize Mark 14:43–16:20 by explaining that Jesus was taken to an illegal trial before the Sanhedrin and condemned to die. After the Savior died on the cross and was resurrected, He appeared to His Apostles and commissioned them to take the gospel to the world.

You may want to conclude by testifying of the truths you have discussed today.

Commentary and Background Information

Mark 12:41–44. The poor widow’s mites

“The mites the widow donated to the temple treasury were small Jewish coins called lepta (Greek for small). They weighed about 1/2 gram (less than 1/50 of an ounce) and were worth less than a ‘farthing’ or quadran, which was the Roman coin of lowest value at the time (see Mark 12:42).

“The fact that the widow gave ‘all that she had’ exemplified her sincere devotion to God, in contrast to the pretense of the scribes (see Mark 12:38–40). Elder James E. Talmage (1862–1933) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explained why the Lord commended the widow even though her offering was a relatively small donation: ‘The rich gave much yet kept back more; the widow’s gift was her all. It was not the smallness of her offering that made it especially acceptable, but the spirit of sacrifice and devout intent with which she gave’ (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 561–62). Elder Talmage also stated: ‘Whether it be the gift of a man or a nation, the best, if offered willingly and with pure intent, is always excellent in the sight of God, however poor by other comparison that best may be’ (The House of the Lord, rev. ed. [1968], 3)” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 128–29).

Mark 14:3–9. Mary anointed Jesus

Elder James E. Talmage explained that Mary’s actions showed her great love for Jesus:

“To anoint the head of a guest with ordinary oil was to do him honor; to anoint his feet also was to show unusual and signal regard; but the anointing of head and feet with spikenard, and in such abundance, was an act of reverential homage rarely rendered even to kings. Mary’s act was an expression of adoration; it was the fragrant outwelling of a heart overflowing with worship and affection” (Jesus the Christ, 3rd ed. [1916], 512).

Mark 14:32–36. The Savior’s suffering in Gethsemane

“Mark’s language bears witness of the reality and severity of the Savior’s suffering (see Mark 14:23–36). The Greek word translated ‘sore amazed’ in the text can refer to a range of emotions, including amazement, awe, astonishment following great shock, and overwhelming distress. The Greek verb translated ‘very heavy’ can mean depressed, dejected, and full of anguish or sorrow. Together, these words depict a deep and extreme agony. The Savior said that His soul was ‘exceedingly sorrowful unto death’ (Mark 14:34)—that is, His anguish was so intense that He felt He was at the point of death. …

“Elder Neal A. Maxwell (1926–2004) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles … spoke of the suffering of the Atonement:

“‘In Gethsemane, the suffering Jesus began to be “sore amazed” (Mark 14:33), or, in the Greek, “awestruck” and “astonished.”

“‘Imagine, Jehovah, the Creator of this and other worlds, “astonished”! … He had never personally known the exquisite and exacting process of an atonement before. Thus, when the agony came in its fulness, it was so much, much worse than even He with his unique intellect had ever imagined! …

“‘The cumulative weight of all mortal sins—past, present, and future—pressed upon that perfect, sinless, and sensitive Soul! All our infirmities and sicknesses were somehow, too, a part of the awful arithmetic of the Atonement. (See Alma 7:11–12; Isa. 53:3–5; Matt. 8:17.)’ (‘Willing to Submit,’ Ensign, May 1985, 72–73)” (New Testament Student Manual [Church Educational System manual, 2014], 130).