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Mark - Chapter 15

Bible Study Notes

Mark 15:1-5 Early in the morning, the Jewish leaders held a council, bound Jesus and led him to Pontius Pilate. Pilate asked if Jesus considered Himself the King of the Jews (which was a way of trapping Jesus, for just claiming to be a king would be treason, for Caesar in Rome is really king and he has appointment a puppet King in, Herod, to govern). By Jesus saying yes, sealed His doom, for Jesus technically is a King, but a heavenly King that will one day rule the whole world from Jerusalem. Pilate asked Jesus many other questions, but Jesus said nothing. Pilate was amazed at Jesus’ silence, since accused prisoners predictably and vehemently denied the charges against them.

Notes: The right of execution was reserved for the Roman authorities. Pilate was smart enough to know that Jesus did nothing worthy of death, but that the Jewish leaders were jealous of Jesus and wanted Him gone.

Mark 15:6-15 Pilate tried to get himself off the hook from being the one to condemn Jesus, so he remembered a Roman custom at the time of the Passover that would allow the Jews to select one prisoner to be let free. Pilate was hoping the people would choose Jesus, but they chose a murderer named Barabbas instead because the Jewish leaders stirred up the crowd to get them to reject Jesus. Pilate asked what was he supposed to do with Jesus. Again, by the direction of the Jewish leaders, they people shouted to crucify Jesus. Pilate tried to reason with people that Jesus did nothing wrong, but the crowd didn’t listen. Pilate, afraid of a riot, released Barabbas, and after whipping Jesus, delivered Him up to the Roman soldiers to be nailed to a wooden cross.

Notes: A battalion was about 600 men.

Mark 15:16-32 An entire battalion was put in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion. They put a purple cloak on Jesus and a crown of thorns on His head to mock him for claiming to be a king. They saluted him in jest saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They kept striking his head with a reed, and spitting on him as the bowed low in fake homage. When they were done having fun torturing Jesus, they took off the purple cloak, put his own clothes back on Him, and led Jesus away to be crucified. Jesus was so wounded and weak, He couldn’t carry his own cross beam. The soldiers made Simon of Cyrene, a passerby (most likely a foreigner who came to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover) to help carry Jesus’ cross. They led Jesus to Golgotha, which means the Place of a Skull up on a hill. They offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh that would sedate Jesus so He wouldn’t feel so much pain, but Jesus refused. Jesus wanted His full wits and to endure the wrath of His father in its entirety. The soldiers nailed Jesus to the cross and lifted Him up around the 3rd hour of the day, which in Jewish time keeping would be 9AM. They rolled dice to see who would win Jesus’ garments. Pilate instructed the soldiers to put a sign above Jesus’ head that read his crime, “The King of the Jews.” Two robbers were crucified with Jesus, one on His left and the other on His right. The crowd that walked by the scene also mocked Jesus saying things like, “If you the Son of God, then come down from the cross and heal yourself and we will believe you!” The chief priests joined in on the mocking saying that Jesus apparently could save others but he can’t even save Himself.

Notes: The two robbers crucified with Jesus fulfill the prophecy, “he was numbered with the transgressors” (Isa. 53:12).

Mark 15:33-41 Around 12:00PM noon time, the sky went dark until 3:00PM when Jesus cried out to His father (As he looked away from His Son, for Jesus was carrying all the sins of the world on His shoulders and His father abandoned Him at this time), My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the crowd thought Jesus said Elijah, not Eloi, which means God, so they thought Jesus was calling for the prophet Elijah to save Him. Someone tried to give Jesus some wine to drink on a reed, but they were stopped and told to wait to see if Elijah would come. Instead, Jesus uttered a loud cry, and died. The curtain in the temple that separates the Holy of Holies was torn in two from top to bottom (This rending signified that the way into God’s presence was open by the death of his Son).  The centurion who stood near Jesus proclaimed that surely Jesus was the Son of God based on what He witnessed (The miraculous things going on around Jesus). From a distance, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Joses, and his brother James the Apostle (The younger or the son of Alphaeus), and Salome (The mother of John and James Zebedee, Apostles of Jesus), most likely Mary’s (Jesus’ mother) sister. Their sympathetic loyalty was in sharp contrast to the disciples who, except for John, were nowhere to be found.

Notes: The darkness represented Divine Judgement, and the judgement or wrath of God was directed toward His Son for our sins. The final loud cry is probably the cry of victory, “It is finished”. Jesus died around the time of the daily afternoon sacrifice in the temple. Access to God is now provided by the unique sacrifice of Jesus, rendering the temple sacrifices obsolete. The centurion had seen many crucified victims die, but none like Jesus. The strength he possessed at his death, as evidenced by his loud cry, was unheard of for a victim of crucifixion. That, coupled with the earthquake that coincided with Christ’s death convinced the centurion that Jesus “was the Son of God.”

Mark 15:42-47 That evening, the day before the Sabbath of the Passover (which may or not have been the typical Saturday Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the council (Jewish leaders), a secret believer in Jesus, went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus (Not to be left on the cross to rot and be eaten by birds like they did with all other men crucified). Pilate was shocked to hear that Jesus was dead in under 6 hours. Sometimes they would hang for days. It is believed that Jesus died of a broken heart over the sins piled on Him. Pilate sent a centurion to ensure that Jesus was dead, and then granted Jesus’ body to Joseph. Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking Jesus down from the cross, wrapped Him in the shroud and laid him in a tomb that was cut out of rock and rolled a stone against the entrance of them tomb. The tomb was most likely purchased by Joseph for himself. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother Joses witnessed where Joseph buried Jesus.

Notes: According to Jewish custom (in part due to Deut. 21:22–23), proper burials were to take place within 24 hours. The Jews did not embalm corpses, but wrapped them in perfumed burial cloths. Nicodemus, another prominent member of the Sanhedrin, assisted Joseph in caring for the body of Jesus. These men, who had kept their allegiance to Jesus secret during his lifetime, then came forward publicly to bury him, while the disciples, who had openly followed Jesus, hid.


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