Mark Chapter 15:1-47
Memory verses for
this week: Mat 18:4 Whosoever therefore
shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the
kingdom of heaven.
We continue with our study
of Mark as we cover Chapter 15. Last week we saw the great agony
Jesus went through as he prayed there in the garden of Gethsemane.
Judas Iscariot comes and betrays Christ to the soldiers. All of the
disciples flee as Jesus is taken to the home of the high priest. We
closed the chapter with Peter doing exactly what he had said he would
never do, denying Jesus Christ.
The Trial Before Pilate
Mark 15:1 And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a
consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and
bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.
Mark 15:2 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And
he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it.
Mark 15:3 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he
Mark 15:4 And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou
nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee.
Mark 15:5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate
The chief priest, elder, and scribes brought Jesus bound to
Pilate. Pilate questions the Lord and asks if he is the King of the
Jews. Jesus says “Thou sayest it.” As the many accusations fly at
Christ, he dose not answer a word. Pilate is extremely concerned,
and it says he marvelled. When we are accused, we normally speak out
loudly when we are innocent. Jesus had never sinned, yet he did not
respond to these false accusations.
Matthew Henry said this about Christ being bound.
They bound him. He was to be the great sacrifice, and
sacrifices must be bound with cords, Ps. 118:27. Christ was bound, to
make bonds easy to us, and enable us, as Paul and Silas, to sing in
bonds. It is good for us often to remember the bonds of the Lord
Jesus, as bound with him who was bound for us. They led him through
the streets of Jerusalem, to expose him to contempt, who, while he
taught in the temple, but a day or two before, was had in veneration;
and we may well imagine how miserably he looked after such a night’s
usage as he had had; so buffeted, spit upon, and abused. Their
delivering him to the Roman power was a type of ruin of their church,
which hereby they merited, and brought upon themselves; it signified
that the promise, the covenant, and the oracles, of God, and the
visible state church, which were the glory of Israel, and had been so
long in their possession, should now be delivered up to the Gentiles.
By delivering up the king they do, in effect, deliver up the kingdom
of God, which is therefore, as it were, by their own consent, taken
from them, and given to another nation. If they had delivered up
Christ, to gratify the desires of the Romans, or to satisfy and
jealousies of theirs concerning him, it had been another matter; but
they voluntarily betrayed him that was Israel’s crown, to them that
were Israel’s yoke.
II. The Choice of
Mark 15:6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner,
whomsoever they desired.
Mark 15:7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with
them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in
Mark 15:8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do
as he had ever done unto them.
Mark 15:9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release
unto you the King of the Jews?
At the passover feast, it had become a custom that Pilate
would release to the Jews one prisoner. Barabbas was a notorious
prisoner who had organized resistance to the established government of
Rome (insurrection). He also was accused of murder while in the
revolt. In Pilate’s eyes, this man would be considered a dangerous
political prisoner. Because of this, Pilate thought this would be an
easy way to be rid of Jesus without having to decide the case.
Logically, the people would not want to free a murderer. Pilate asks
if they wish for him to release the “King of the Jews.”
Mark 15:10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him
Mark 15:11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should
rather release Barabbas unto them.
Mark 15:12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will
ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?
Mark 15:13 And they cried out again, Crucify him.
Mark 15:14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he
done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.
Mark 15:15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released
Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to
Pilate was confident that it was envy that had caused them to
deliver Jesus into his hands. The chief priests moved among the
people and told them to ask for the release of Barabbas. Again in
verse 12, Pilate asks if they want him to free Christ. They cry out
and say to crucify Jesus. Pilate is alarmed at this and asks “What
evil hath he done?” The more he asked, the louder they cried out to
crucify him. So to make them happy, he releases Barabbas and has him
III. Jesus Crowned
Mark 15:16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called
Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.
Mark 15:17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown
of thorns, and put it about his head,
Mark 15:18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!
Mark 15:19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did
spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.
Mark 15:20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple
from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify
Mark 15:21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by,
coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear
Mark 15:22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is,
being interpreted, The place of a skull.
Mark 15:23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but
he received it not.
The soldiers mock Jesus. They clothed him in a purple (a
sign of royalty) robe which was the attire of a king. They make a
crown of thorns and placed it upon His head. After mocking him, they
take off the robe and put his own clothes back on him. Christ is
beaten so badly and in such bad shape that he cannot carry his cross
to Calvary. They have Simon, a Cyrenian, bear the cross for him.
They brought him to the place of a skull called Golgotha. In the
side of the mountain, you could see the resemblance of a man’s skull.
The soldiers off him wine mingled with myrrh, but he would not accept
it. This most likely was a drug to deaden pain, but Jesus would not
IV. Jesus Crucified
Mark 15:24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his
garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
Mark 15:25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.
Verse 24 is a direct fulfillment of Psalms 22:18.
Psa 22:18 They part my garments among them,
and cast lots upon my vesture.
At 9 am, they
crucified Christ. Remember that the Jewish day began at 6pm, so
their new day began at 6am.
Mark 15:26 And the superscription of his accusation was written
over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Mark 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his
right hand, and the other on his left.
Mark 15:28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he
was numbered with the transgressors.
Two thieves were crucified with Him and this was another
fulfillment of the scripture.
Isa 53:12 Therefore
will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the
spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death:
and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of
many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
Mark 15:29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their
heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest
it in three days,
Mark 15:30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.
Mark 15:31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among
themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.
Mark 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the
cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with
him reviled him.
The people mocked him as he hung on the cross. Even the
thieves mock him, but one comes to his senses later and asks Christ to
remember him when he come in his kingdom. That man was saved that
day, showing how easy it is to be saved if we mean business with God
and repent of our sins.
Mark 15:33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness
over the whole land until the ninth hour.
Mark 15:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice,
saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My
God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Mark 15:35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it,
said, Behold, he calleth Elias.
When the sixth hour come (12 noon), there was darkness over
all the earth. This darkness lasted until 3pm, another 3 hours.
Finally at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out “My God, my God, why hast
thou forsaken me?” At this moment, when the sin of the world was
placed on Jesus, God turned his back on His only begotten Son. God
can not look upon sin, and Jesus bore the sin alone. How much He
loved us. Christ cries out and gives up the ghost.
Mark 15:36 And one ran and filled a sponge full of vinegar, and
put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see
whether Elias will come to take him down.
Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the
J. Vernon McGee said this about Christ’s death:
notice here that Mark gives us the Crucifixion by the clock. On the
third hour He was put on the Cross, and at the sixth hour (which would
be twelve noon) darkness came down. The high noon sun was covered, and
darkness came down over the Cross. From the sixth hour to the ninth
hour, that would be until three o’clock in the afternoon, there was
Now will you notice this: the first three hours were from
9:00 a.m. until 12 noon;
the second three hours were from 12 noon to 3:00
p.m. Jesus hung on the
Cross for six hours. In the first three hours there was physical
light; in the second three hours there was physical darkness. But in
the first three hours there was spiritual darkness; in the second
three hours there was spiritual light. Why? Because in those first
three hours man did his worst. They crucified Him and they reviled
Him. Even those who were hanging with Him on the Cross reviled Him. At
least at the first, both thieves did. At that time His enemies,
marching around down beneath the Cross, were wagging their heads and
ridiculing Him. In the first three hours man was working, doing his
very worst; in the second three hours God was working. He was
suffering at the hands of man in the first three hours; He was
suffering for man in the last three hours. In the first three hours He
was dying because of sin, in the second three hours He was dying for
the sin of the world. So during the time of the physical darkness,
there was actually spiritual light and God was working. In those first
three hours sin was doing all it could to destroy Him; in the second
three hours He is making His soul an offering for sin. In those last
three hours He is paying for the sins of the world. It was during this
period that He was made sin for us; He became sin for us. He was
forsaken of God and yet, even at that time, God was in Christ,
reconciling the world unto Himself (see 2 Cor. 5:19). What a paradox
we find here.
Mark 15:38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the
top to the bottom.
Mark 15:39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him,
saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this
man was the Son of God.
Mark 15:40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom
was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses,
Mark 15:41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and
ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto
The veil of the temple was rent from top to bottom. This
veil separated the inner chamber from the room called the holiest of
holies. It could only be entered once per year by the high priest
where he brought an offering for his own sins and one for the people.
This tearing apart of the veil was God showing that the way into the
presence of God was opened to every man. No priest or mediator is
needed for us to come to God. Jesus Christ is our way, our only way,
to God. The centurion said, “Truly this man was the Son of God.”
Others looked on while Jesus was crucified.
V. The Burial of
Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the
preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which
also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto
Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Joseph of Arimathaea comes to Pilate and asks that he might
have the body of Jesus to bury in his tomb. Pilate marvels that he is
dead so quickly. Many times it took up to six days for a man to die
on the cross. Crucifixion was the most horrible death a person can
Mark 15:44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and
calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any
Mark 15:45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body
Mark 15:46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and
wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn
out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.
Mark 15:47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld
where he was laid.
Joseph is given the body of Jesus and places him in a tomb
hewn out of a rock. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary beheld where
the body was laid.
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4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth
more and more unto the perfect day.
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Practice Random Acts of Kindness. Each act spreads, and many will be
Matthew, Matthew Henry’s
Commentary on the Bible,
(Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers) 1997.
Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible
commentary [computer file], electronic ed., Logos Library System,
(Nashville: Thomas Nelson) 1997, c1981 by J. Vernon McGee.