Mark 15

1 Early in the morning the chief priests met hurriedly with the elders, the teachers of the Law, and the whole Council, and made their plans. They put Jesus in chains, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate.
2 Pilate questioned him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "So you say."
3 The chief priests were accusing Jesus of many things,
4 so Pilate questioned him again, "Aren't you going to answer? Listen to all their accusations!"
5 Again Jesus refused to say a word, and Pilate was amazed.
6 At every Passover Festival Pilate was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the people asked for.
7 At that time a man named Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder in the riot.
8 When the crowd gathered and began to ask Pilate for the usual favor,
9 he asked them, "Do you want me to set free for you the king of the Jews?"
10 He knew very well that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask, instead, that Pilate set Barabbas free for them.
12 Pilate spoke again to the crowd, "What, then, do you want me to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?"
13 They shouted back, "Crucify him!"
14 "But what crime has he committed?" Pilate asked. They shouted all the louder, "Crucify him!"
15 Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he set Barabbas free for them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed him over to be crucified.
16 The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor's palace and called together the rest of the company.
17 They put a purple robe on Jesus, made a crown out of thorny branches, and put it on his head.
18 Then they began to salute him: "Long live the King of the Jews!"
19 They beat him over the head with a stick, spat on him, fell on their knees, and bowed down to him.
20 When they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 On the way they met a man named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross. (Simon was from Cyrene and was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) 1
22 They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means "The Place of the Skull."
23 There they tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but Jesus would not drink it.
24 Then they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, throwing dice to see who would get which piece of clothing. 2
25 It was nine o'clock in the morning when they crucified him.
26 The notice of the accusation against him said: "The King of the Jews."
27 They also crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left. 3
29 People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: "Aha! You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! 4
30 Now come down from the cross and save yourself!"
31 In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law made fun of Jesus, saying to one another, "He saved others, but he cannot save himself!
32 Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him!" And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also.
33 At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours.
34 At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, ["Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?"] which means, "My God, my God, why did you abandon me?" 5
35 Some of the people there heard him and said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah!"
36 One of them ran up with a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, and put it on the end of a stick. Then he held it up to Jesus' lips and said, "Wait! Let us see if Elijah is coming to bring him down from the cross!" 6
37 With a loud cry Jesus died.
38 The curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 7
39 The army officer who was standing there in front of the cross saw how Jesus had died. "This man was really the Son of God!" he said.
40 Some women were there, looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joseph, and Salome. 8
41 They had followed Jesus while he was in Galilee and had helped him. Many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him were there also.
42 It was toward evening when Joseph of Arimathea arrived. He was a respected member of the Council, who was waiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God. It was Preparation day (that is, the day before the Sabbath), so Joseph went boldly into the presence of Pilate and asked him for the body of Jesus.
44 Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was already dead. He called the army officer and asked him if Jesus had been dead a long time.
45 After hearing the officer's report, Pilate told Joseph he could have the body.
46 Joseph bought a linen sheet, took the body down, wrapped it in the sheet, and placed it in a tomb which had been dug out of solid rock. Then he rolled a large stone across the entrance to the tomb.
47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joseph were watching and saw where the body of Jesus was placed.

Mark 15 Commentary

Chapter 15

Christ before Pilate. (1-14) Christ led to be crucified. (15-21) The crucifixion. (22-32) The death of Christ. (33-41) His body buried. (42-47)

Verses 1-14 They bound Christ. It is good for us often to remember the bonds of the Lord Jesus, as bound with him who was bound for us. By delivering up the King, they, in effect, delivered up the kingdom of God, which was, therefore, as by their own consent, taken from them, and given to another nation. Christ gave Pilate a direct answer, but would not answer the witnesses, because the things they alleged were known to be false, even Pilate himself was convinced they were so. Pilate thought that he might appeal from the priests to the people, and that they would deliver Jesus out of the priests' hands. But they were more and more urged by the priests, and cried, Crucify him! Crucify him! Let us judge of persons and things by their merits, and the standard of God's word, and not by common report. The thought that no one ever was so shamefully treated, as the only perfectly wise, holy, and excellent Person that ever appeared on earth, leads the serious mind to strong views of man's wickedness and enmity to God. Let us more and more abhor the evil dispositions which marked the conduct of these persecutors.

Verses 15-21 Christ met death in its greatest terror. It was the death of the vilest malefactors. Thus the cross and the shame are put together. God having been dishonoured by the sin of man, Christ made satisfaction by submitting to the greatest disgrace human nature could be loaded with. It was a cursed death; thus it was branded by the Jewish law, ( Deuteronomy 21:23 ) . The Roman soldiers mocked our Lord Jesus as a King; thus in the high priest's hall the servants had mocked him as a Prophet and Saviour. Shall a purple or scarlet robe be matter of pride to a Christian, which was matter of reproach and shame to Christ? He wore the crown of thorns which we deserved, that we might wear the crown of glory which he merited. We were by sin liable to everlasting shame and contempt; to deliver us, our Lord Jesus submitted to shame and contempt. He was led forth with the workers of iniquity, though he did no sin. The sufferings of the meek and holy Redeemer, are ever a source of instruction to the believer, of which, in his best hours, he cannot be weary. Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall I, a vile sinner, fret or repine? Shall I indulge anger, or utter reproaches and threats because of troubles and injuries?

Verses 22-32 The place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, was called the place of a scull; it was the common place of execution; for he was in all respects numbered with the transgressors. Whenever we look unto Christ crucified, we must remember what was written over his head; he is a King, and we must give up ourselves to be his subjects, as Israelites indeed. They crucified two thieves with him, and him in the midst; they thereby intended him great dishonour. But it was foretold that he should be numbered with the transgressors, because he was made sin for us. Even those who passed by railed at him. They told him to come down from the cross, and they would believe; but they did not believe, though he gave them a more convincing sign when he came up from the grave. With what earnestness will the man who firmly believes the truth, as made known by the sufferings of Christ, seek for salvation! With what gratitude will he receive the dawning hope of forgiveness and eternal life, as purchased for him by the sufferings and death of the Son of God! and with what godly sorrow will he mourn over the sins which crucified the Lord of glory!

Verses 33-41 There was a thick darkness over the land, from noon until three in the afternoon. The Jews were doing their utmost to extinguish the Sun of Righteousness. The darkness signified the cloud which the human soul of Christ was under, when he was making it an offering for sin. He did not complain that his disciples forsook him, but that his Father forsook him. In this especially he was made sin for us. When Paul was to be offered as a sacrifice for the service saints, he could joy and rejoice, ( Philippians 2:17 ) ; but it is another thing to be offered as a sacrifice for the sin of sinners. At the same instant that Jesus died, the veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. This spake terror to the unbelieving Jews, and was a sign of the destruction of their church and nation. It speaks comfort to all believing Christians, for it signified the laying open a new and living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Saviour who was wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.

Verses 42-47 We are here attending the burial of our Lord Jesus. Oh that we may by grace be planted in the likeness of it! Joseph of Arimathea was one who waited for the kingdom of God. Those who hope for a share in its privileges, must own Christ's cause, when it seems to be crushed. This man God raised up for his service. There was a special providence, that Pilate should be so strict in his inquiry, that there might be no pretence to say Jesus was alive. Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body, and do what he pleased with it. Some of the women beheld where Jesus was laid, that they might come after the sabbath to anoint the dead body, because they had not time to do it before. Special notice was taken of Christ's sepulchre, because he was to rise again. And he will not forsake those who trust in him, and call upon him. Death, deprived of its sting, will soon end the believer's sorrows, as it ended those of the Saviour.

Cross References 8

  • 1. 15.21Romans 16.13.
  • 2. 15.24Psalms 22.18.
  • 3. 15.28Isaiah 53.12.
  • 4. 15.29 aPsalms 22.7; 109.25; bMark 14.58;John 2.19.
  • 5. 15.34Psalms 22.1.
  • 6. 15.36Psalms 69.21.
  • 7. 15.38Exodus 26.31-33.
  • 8. 15.40, 41Luke 8.2, 3.

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. [Some manuscripts add verse 28:] In this way the scripture came true which says, "He shared the fate of criminals" [(see Lk 22.37).]
  • [b]. had died; [some manuscripts have] had cried out and died.

Mark 15 Commentaries