Mark 15

1 Early in the morning the chief priests immediately came to a decision with the leaders and the scribes. The whole Jewish council decided to tie Jesus up, lead him away, and hand him over to Pilate.
2 Pilate asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, I am," Jesus answered him.
3 The chief priests were accusing him of many things.
4 So Pilate asked him again, "Don't you have any answer? Look how many accusations they're bringing against you!"
5 But Jesus no longer answered anything, so Pilate was surprised.
6 At every Passover festival, Pilate would free one prisoner whom the people asked for.
7 There was a man named Barabbas in prison. He was with some rebels who had committed murder during a riot.
8 The crowd asked Pilate to do for them what he always did.
9 Pilate answered them, "Do you want me to free the king of the Jews for you?"
10 Pilate knew that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
11 The chief priests stirred up the crowd so that Pilate would free Barabbas for them instead.
12 So Pilate again asked them, "Then what should I do with the king of the Jews?"
13 "Crucify him!" they shouted back.
14 Pilate said to them, "Why? What has he done wrong?" But they shouted even louder, "Crucify him!"
15 Pilate wanted to satisfy the people, so he freed Barabbas for them. But he had Jesus whipped and handed over to be crucified.
16 The soldiers led Jesus into the courtyard of the palace and called together the whole troop.
17 They dressed him in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown, and placed it on his head.
18 Then they began to greet him, "Long live the king of the Jews!"
19 They kept hitting him on the head with a stick, spitting on him, and kneeling in front of him with false humility.
20 After the soldiers finished making fun of Jesus, they took off the purple cape and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
21 A man named Simon from the city of Cyrene was coming [into Jerusalem] from his home in the country. He was the father of Alexander and Rufus. As he was about to pass by, the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus' cross.
22 They took Jesus to Golgotha (which means "the place of the skull").
23 They tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but he wouldn't take it.
24 Next they crucified him. Then they divided his clothes among themselves by throwing dice to see what each one would get.
25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him.
26 There was a written notice of the accusation against him. It read, "The king of the Jews."
27 They crucified two criminals with him, one on his right and the other on his left.
29 Those who passed by insulted him. They shook their heads and said, "What a joke! You were going to tear down God's temple and build it again in three days.
30 Come down from the cross, and save yourself!"
31 The chief priests and the scribes made fun of him among themselves in the same way. They said, "He saved others, but he can't save himself.
32 Let the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now so that we may see and believe." Even those who were crucified with him were insulting him.
33 At noon darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
34 At three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?"
35 When some of the people standing there heard him say that, they said, "Listen! He's calling Elijah."
36 Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar. Then he put it on a stick and offered Jesus a drink. The man said, "Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down."
37 Then Jesus cried out in a loud voice and died.
38 The curtain in the temple was split in two from top to bottom.
39 When the officer who stood facing Jesus saw how he gave up his spirit, he said, "Certainly, this man was the Son of God!"
40 Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary from Magdala, Mary (the mother of young James and Joseph), and Salome.
41 They had followed him and supported him while he was in Galilee. Many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him were there too.
42 It was Friday evening, before the day of worship,
43 when Joseph arrived. He was from the city of Arimathea and was an important member of the Jewish council. He, too, was waiting for the kingdom of God. Joseph boldly went to Pilate's quarters to ask for the body of Jesus.
44 Pilate wondered if Jesus had already died. So he summoned the officer to ask him if Jesus was, in fact, dead.
45 When the officer had assured him that Jesus was dead, Pilate let Joseph have the corpse.
46 Joseph had purchased some linen cloth. He took the body down from the cross and wrapped it in the cloth. Then he laid the body in a tomb, which had been cut out of rock, and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.
47 Mary from Magdala and Mary (the mother of Joses) watched where Jesus was laid.

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.

Mark 15 Commentaries