About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 15
in verse 1 tells us that the
“whole Sanhedrin” agreed to hand Jesus over to the Romans.
They therefore bound Him and took Him to Pilate. They had to take
Jesus to Pilate because they passed the death sentence on Jesus and Jews
did not have legal authority to execute anyone.
had that authority. Pilate was
the Roman governor of the
more details on this event you can read John’s account and my commentary
verse 2 Pilate asks Jesus if He was the King of the Jews.
Of course Pilate was thinking of a political king. Anyone claiming
to be king other than Caesar would have been guilty of
treason. Such a
claim would have been just as blasphemous to
answered by saying, “yes, it is as you say”.
Notice Jesus didn’t say, “yes I am “.
By saying what He said, He’s putting the claim of Kingship in
Pilate’s mouth. Jesus
is almost saying that “you Pilate are the one claiming me to be King and
your claim is right”.
see in verse 3 that the Jews accused Jesus of all sorts of things beyond
their number one accusation of being God or their king.
Jesus never responded to these other accusations.
They really meant very little besides the accusation to being their
king. Jesus simply didn’t
answer so Pilate asks Him, “aren’t you going to answer”?
main accusation that the Jews had against Jesus was that He claimed to be
God and to them that was supreme blasphemy. But they couldn’t really
come to Pilate with that accusation, so they presented the claim of
Jesus’ divinity as the king of the Jews.
This would hold more weight with Pilate since
the Jews had no king but Caesar.
Anyone claiming to be king would be in danger of being tried by a
Roman court of treason against Rome.
verse 5 we see that Jesus didn’t even answer Pilate’s question whether
He would answer or not. Pilate
was thus amazed. Here is a man
who was on death’s door step and He refused to defend Himself.
In Pilate’s eyes, as Jesus stood their, He certainly did not look
like the King He claimed to be.
commentators translate the word “amazed” as “wondered”.
This suggests that Pilate was maybe curious, intrigued, or wondered
that there was more than what met the eye with Jesus.
Pilate might well have thought there was more to Jesus than people
verse 6 we see Mark mentions a custom that took place every Passover.
When this custom began is not really known but it had been well in
existence for many decades prior to this.
The English doesn’t show this as well as the Greek does, but what
would take place is that the Jews would beg, for the release of a
prisoner. After hearing the
Jews beg the governor would ask what prisoner they wanted released and the
governor would set that prisoner free.
reminds them of this custom maybe with the hope that they’d release
Jesus. Mark tells us that
there had been some kind of insurrection, that is to say, some Jews tried
to overthrow the Roman authorities. Barabbas
was one of them and Pilate asked if they’d like him or Jesus
released. I think Pilate was
hoping that they’d take Jesus instead of Barabbas.
8 tells us that the crowd asked Pilate “to do for them what he usually
did”, meaning, let a prisoner go free.
verse 9 we see Pilate asking the Jews if they wanted him to “release the
King of the Jews”. I think
by saying it this way instead of asking in such a way that it would give
the Jews a choice, Pilate thought they’d take Jesus.
Somehow I think with the use of the words “King of the Jews”,
Pilate might have been speaking somewhat sarcastically, or at least
rubbing the idea of Jesus being the King of the Jews in the face of the
tells us that “it was out of envy” that the Sanhedrin brought Jesus to
him. This means that the
Jewish leaders were envious, or jealous of the fact that Jesus was gaining
more attention than they were in the eyes of their people.
verse 11 we see that the chief priest stirred up the crowd to release
Barabbas instead of Jesus. The
crowd clearly needed to be persuaded to whom they should choose and the
Jewish leadership was able to sway their thinking.
verse 12 Pilate rubs the fact that Jesus claims to be the King of the Jews
in the Jews faces. He asks
what he should do with the one “they call” the King of the Jews.
The Sanhedrin was in fact the ones that first called Jesus the King
of the Jews when they approached Pilate, although they certainly didn’t
believe He was their King. They were simply stating that is who Jesus
claimed to be. But Pilate was
twisting things around as a form of mockery towards them.
I think Pilate thought the Sanhedrin was crazy in their request and
he was showing this by the way he spoke to them.
this point in verse 13 the Jewish leaders were infuriated.
They simply yelled back “crucify Him”, or “kill Him”.
verse 14 Pilate responds by asking why they’d want Jesus to die since He
had committed no crime. You
clearly see that Pilate believed that Jesus was an innocent
Jews never really answered Pilate’s question.
They just shouted even louder, “crucify Him”.
By now all rationality was gone from the minds of the Jews. They
were so upset. They just
wanted Jesus dead.
verse 15 Mark tells us that Pilate wanted to satisfy the crowd.
Pilate was in somewhat of a tough position here.
He thought Jesus should have been released because he found no
reason to execute Him. But on
the other hand, he had a raging crowd on his hands that he didn’t want
to loose control of and cause a major riot.
So to please the crowd, and calm things down, he let them have
Barabbas. He had Jesus flogged
and sent Him away to be killed.
their were any followers of Jesus in the crowd, and there probably were,
they must have been deeply discouraged and overwhelmed with grief to see
Jesus taken away like this.
verse 16 we see the soldiers take Jesus away from the courtyard and into
the palace. We need to
understand that these soldiers
are Roman soldiers,
took place here was a great mockery of Jesus, something that was not
normal procedure for Roman courts, but nothing has been normal with the
arrest and so-called trial of Jesus.
the end of the last section we see that Jesus was flogged.
The soldiers would have stripped Jesus naked to whip Him.
Verse 17 tells us that after Jesus was flogged the soldiers put a
purple robe on Him. John says
that the robe was purple as well, yet Matthew says it was scarlet. Many
scholars suggest that what the soldiers put on Jesus was an old discarded
and faded soldiers coat that once was scarlet in colour but because it was
old and faded appeared to be purple. This
old coat was meant to be a robe of royalty. They made a crown out of
thorns and put that on Jesus’ head as well.
Of course both the robe
and the crown were quick attempts to dress Jesus’ bloody body and make
Him out to be some king of a king which was just another form of mockery.
mockery continued by them yelling out, “hail, King of the Jews”.
What no one there knew was that Jesus was in fact the King of the
Jews and even more so, the King of all there is.
soldiers began to spit on Jesus and hit Him with a staff.
This is after He’d already been flogged by the soldiers out in
the courtyard. This is also
after the Jews spit on Him and punched Him as well.
soldiers then fell on their knees and pretended to worship Jesus. What a
sight this must have been. Here the King of the universe was being mocked
as a pitiful imposter. Yet when Jesus returns to this earth as the King
that He is, all these soldier will see Him in a much different light as
the Book of Revelation states very clearly.
section ends with the soldiers talking the robe off Jesus and putting His
clothes back on.
is now on His way out of the city carrying His own cross that He will hang
on as a convicted criminal. We
learn this from the other gospel records.
Mark simply tells us that at some point, which was the city gates
according to the other gospels, that Simon was conscripted
to carry the cross for Jesus.
Simon would have carried the cross from the city gates to the hill where
Jesus died. It is clear that
Jesus had no strength left to carry the cross which would have been very
heavy. He had been beaten up
so much and most likely kicked and hit on the way carrying the cross that
He could no longer hold the cross.
is distinguish here in verse 21 from other Simon’s when Mark says that
he is from Cyrene and that he has two sons, Alexander and Rufus.
Many scholars believe this Rufus to be the Rufus that Paul speaks
of in Romans 16:13. Other
scholars feel that both of these sons became leaders in the church and
that is why Mark mentions them. The
mere mentioning of these two sons for many suggests that the readers would
have known who Mark was talking about.
these two sons, and perhaps Simon as well, became Christians, it is clear
that this experience had a great impact on them.
We don’t know if the sons were with Simon.
We only know that Simon was there and He carried the cross for
Jesus. I doubt is Simon
understood the significance of what He was doing at the time, but if he
did become a follower of Jesus, he sure would have later.
22 says that they brought Jesus to
23 says that the soldiers gave Jesus a mixture of wine and myrrh.
The myrrh would act as a very bitter tasting drug to stupefy Jesus,
that is to say, put him out a bit in order to make it easier for the
soldiers to put Him on the cross. They weren’t offering Jesus this
mixture to help Him, or to quench His thrust.
They offered this to Him to help themselves by making their job
easier. But Jesus refused to accept the mixture of wine and myrrh.
verse 24 Mark simply states that they “crucified Him”.
Nothing was added. They simply killed Jesus.
in verse 24 we see Mark briefly mentioning that the soldiers who put Jesus
on the cross drew lots, that is, gambled for the clothes of Jesus.
Mark does not say much about this.
To learn more you can read John’s account and my commentary on
the book of John. The casting
of lots for the clothes of the criminal was a common thing in those days.
It was not something particular to the death of Jesus.
verse 25 Mark tells us that Jesus was put on the cross
at the third hour of the day. Jews
counted hours beginning at 6
AM our time.
is interesting to note that Matthew and Luke state that darkness fell on
the earth at noon. This would mean that Jesus was already hanging on the
cross for three hours before the darkness came.
We’ll talk about this darkness in a few verses from now.
verse 26 we see the notice that was attached to the cross saying, “King
of the Jews”. This in fact
was the charge against Jesus that sent Him to the cross.
Posting such a sign wasn’t normal procedure.
It might well be possible that Pilate had this sign made to
irritate the Jews. But in the
long run, the sign was correct. Jesus
did die for being who He was, and that was King of the Jews.
28 states that Jesus was killed with two robbers, one on each side of Him.
Thus He was numbered with criminals.
The one and only just person in human history was executed as a
common criminal. But this is
the way of God. What seems right in human thinking isn’t necessarily
right in the ways of God.
verse 29 we see many of the by-standers mocking Jesus.
Everything surrounding the death of Jesus was one great mockery.
The trial was a complete mockery of Jesus as well as the Jewish
justice system. All along,
individuals mocked Jesus in every step of the way to the cross, and here
at the end, they are still mocking Him.
mockers remember the words of Jesus when He told them that He’d destroy
the temple and in three days raise it up again. Now they’re calling Him
down from the cross to save Himself. If
Jesus could destroy the
destruction of the physical
verse 31 we see the Jewish leaders mocking Jesus as well by saying, “He
saved others, but He cannot save Himself”.
On the surface the execution of Jesus looked like a real defeat,
but we know that it was just the opposite.
The cross became a major victory in the plan of God.
Once again, what seems to be a defeat in the eyes of the world is a
victory in the eyes of God.
Jews mocked Jesus also by demanding Him to come down from the cross in
order for them to believe. These
men weren’t interested in believing.
This again was simply a form of mockery.
Jesus never caved into the Jewish demands for a sign, so He surely
wouldn’t cave in now. Human
nature is such that we like to prove ourselves to be right when others say
we are wrong. But human nature
was totally defeated in the
section ends with Mark telling us that those who were crucified with Jesus
also hurled insults at Him. Mark
says that both robbers mocked Jesus. We know that one of these robbers
repented of his mockery and turned to Jesus and Jesus accepted him.
Jesus told this man that he’d be with Him in paradise.
The other robber did not repent.
is thus quite interesting that the first person saved in New Testament
times, if you think of New Testament times beginning at the cross, was a
criminal who came to Jesus in the last moments of his life.
It only goes to show, that it is never too late to come to Jesus
and be saved and it certainly doesn’t matter what kind of life you have
33 tells us that darkness fell upon the face of the earth from noon our
time to 3 PM our time.
At this time of year the moon was almost full.
You cannot have an eclipse of the
sun with a full moon. Any
historical research gathered tell us that there was no eclipse.
Thus this had to be a miracle of God with significance.
question is raised, “why did this darkness come and cover the whole
earth”? Darkness and
judgment are closely related in Scripture. Sin and darkness are closely
related as well. Jesus took
all human sin upon Himself while on that cross and God judged Him for that
sin. The darkness
signifies what took place on the cross.
The darkness fell upon mankind, animals and the earth itself,
because all were being judged, and all will be redeemed in the end. When I
say “all will be redeemed”, concerning all mankind who have given
their lives to Jesus will be redeemed.
Beyond this, it is clear that creation itself will be redeemed in
the New Earth as seen in Romans 8 and the Book of Revelation.
people believe that Jesus died spiritually while on the cross.
By this they mean that He lost His divinity and became an ordinary
man. I don’t believe this to
be true. These people say that
God and sin cannot live together in the way it did when Jesus became sin
and so God had to leave Jesus. Jesus
had to have lost His divine nature. But this is part of the miracle of the
who is God in human flesh became sin.
This shows us how much God loves us.
New Testament claims that both God the Father and Jesus Himself
participated in raising Jesus from the dead.
If Jesus participated in His being raised, to me, this would
suggest that Jesus could not have lost His divine nature.
A mere human being cannot raise himself from the dead.
the idea that God could not defile Himself in a body of sin while Jesus
was on the cross makes no since.
These people believe that Jesus got His divine nature back at some
point prior to His resurrection. Well,
the body of Jesus would have been defiled by sin, so if God couldn’t
have lived in Jesus while on the cross, how could He return to Jesus in
such a defiled body. There’s no logic in this argument.
the number one reason in my thinking why Jesus could not have died
spiritually is because if Jesus had lost His divinity while on the cross,
then the real Jesus who walked the face of the earth didn’t die on the
cross. And if the real Jesus
didn’t die on the cross then what happened on the cross has no
verse 34 Mark tells us that at the ninth hour Jesus cries out in a loud
voice, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me”?
This would be 3 PM in our time, meaning that after 6 hours of
hanging on the cross Jesus was still alive, that is, from 9 AM our time to
3 PM our time.
words that Jesus spoke at 3 PM were spoken in Hebrew. Although most Jews
spoke Aramaic, a language very similar to Hebrew, these words would have
been easily understood by the Jews standing by.
I’m sure these words spoke volumes to those who heard them. Even
though they may have failed to understand their significance, the Holy
Spirit would have carried these words to the hearts of those standing by.
Yet even at this, the Jews failed to acknowledge Jesus and continued
mocking Him as we will see later.
these three hours of darkness God’s judgment fell on Jesus.
Jesus actually became sin
as seen in 2 Cor. 5:21. He
also was cursed by God as seen in Gal. 3:13.
This was the curse of the Law.
This curse actually fulfilled that part of the Law of Moses.
Jesus was thus cursed on our behalf and received the punishment of
sin due to us. It is very important to understand that the Law of Moses
does not mean the same to us as Christians as it did to the Jews, because
it died on the cross with Jesus. This
is very clear from Paul’s writings.
three long hours Jesus was experiencing the wrath of God, and not His
love. It was in this way that
God forsook Jesus. Jesus did
not lose His divine nature on the cross.
This should be understood. He
was still God. It is just that
the Father, one part of the Trinity, turned His back on Jesus in judgment
and would not help Him.
cults like the Jehovah Witnesses use this verse to show that Jesus and the
Father were completely separate. They
then conclude that Jesus can’t be God.
But God is far beyond our capabilities of human reasoning.
It makes no sense to me that God can’t be made up of three parts,
yet each part distinct and different from the other parts. He is God. He
is the creator of all things. Why
can’t He be three yet one.
also interesting to note that this judgment lasted three hours.
Remember, the number 3
is often seen as the number of completion in the Bible.
It took three hours to complete this judgment. And it also began at
the third trimester of the day – 12 noon our time.
The first trimester starts a 6
PM and the second at 9 PM. Remember,
the Jewish day, as in the daylight period, not the 24 hour day, begins
about 6 PM our time.
says “why…” The
word why here means, “for what purpose”.
That means, “for what purpose have you forsaken me”?
Why did Jesus ask this question?
Did He not know why His Father forsook Him for the last three
hours? Or did He know but just
had to verbalize His feelings. Some
suggest that while going through the three hours of judgment that He lost
the capacity to know such things. This
may well be the case, although I don’t think we can know that for sure.
you look at the judgments of God as seen in the Book of Revelation, we can
clearly see that God does not hold hack in His judgments.
His judgments are very severe.
We maybe can imagine just a bit of what Jesus went through in these
three hours when we read the judgments of Revelation.
verse 35 some Jews after
hearing Jesus’ words say that Jesus is in fact calling out for Elijah.
These men had to be Jews. Roman
soldier knew little about Elijah. Also, these Jews knew the Hebrew words
spoken by Jesus. They knew
that He said, “God” and not “Elijah”.
This in fact most likely was yet another form of mockery.
believed that Elijah would return from the dead and announce the coming of
the Messiah, and live along side the Messiah.
These Jews were suggesting that Jesus was calling out to Elijah by
saying, “where are you Elijah? I’m
waiting for you”.
reports in verse 36 that someone gave Jesus a sponge soaked in wine
vinegar. What Mark
doesn’t say but we learn from other gospel accounts is that Jesus called
out that He was thirsty. Only
the Roman soldiers would have had access to this bitter wine so the man
most likely was a Roman soldier.
37 says, “with a loud cry Jesus breathed His last”.
“Breathed His last” simply means “breathed out His Spirit”
in Greek. He gave up His
Spirit. He handed His Spirit
over to His Father in final submission.
So this is what death is all about.
Death is that time when we hand our spirits over to God.
As we breath out our last breathe, we breathe out our spirit from
verse 38 Mark tells us that as Jesus cries out His last words, the curtain
in the temple rips in half. That
might well signify the death to the Old Covenant as seen in the
said earlier that the robber on the cross might well have been the first
New Testament Christian, If
that is so, verse 39 tells us that the second new Christian was a Roman
soldier who acknowledged after seeing all of these things that Jesus was
truly the Son of God. How interesting.
A robber and a Roman soldier could well be the first two Christians
in New Testament history.
40 speaks of some of Jesus’ followers watching from a distance.
Mark mentions two ladies here.
They were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Jose and James.
This Mary was the wife of one named
Cleopas, and the sister of the mother of Jesus, and Salome.
41 tells us that there were other women there as well.
We know from John that Mary the mother of Jesus was there as well.
And it appears that only John out of the Twelve were present at the
cross. We learn this from John when Jesus tells John to take care of Mary,
His earthly mother.
verse 42 Mark tells us that these women took care of Jesus’ needs for
Him while He was ministering in Galilee and they followed Him to
the bodies of executed criminals would be thrown into a pit and burned.
But not so with Jesus. Isa.
53:9 was fulfilled which said that Jesus would be buried with the rich.
mentions Preparation Day in verse 43 which simply means the day before the
Sabbath when Jews prepared for the Sabbath so they would not have to work
on the Sabbath.
verse 43 Mark mentions a man named Joseph of Arimethea who was on the
Jewish council, meaning the Sanhedrin. It is thus clear that there were
some in Sanhedrin that were
believers. Joseph was
both rich and prominent among the Jews.
Joseph came boldly to Pilate and asked to take Jesus down from the cross
and give Him a proper burial. Although
Jesus died with and as criminal He was not buried as a criminal which
would fulfill prophecy that He was buried with the rich and His body did
not suffer decay. If you read
Psa. 22, you will receive much insight into the death of Jesus.
Peter, on the Day of Pentecost quote this Psalm that tells us that
Jesus’ body did not suffer decay.
thing to note about Joseph and his actions that you don’t really learn
from the text is that he would have missed a Jewish ceremonial meal by
going to Pilate with his request. Another
thing to note is that he would have made himself unclean by handling a
dead body. So you see
Joseph’s resolve and dedication to Jesus here.
He would have been disobeying the very laws he stood for as a
leader of the Jews. He most likely did not realize it at the time but
those laws didn’t matter any more anyway.
says that Joseph was “waiting for the Kingdom”. I think that Joseph
truly wanted to see the Kingdom
as I said earlier, criminals who were
executed were normally thrown into a pit, unless a relative
requested the body to bury. So Joseph’s request wasn’t that much out
of the norm. What was
surprising, at least to Pilate, was the fact that Jesus was dead already.
usually caused people to die very slowly. It could have taken up to
four days, but here Jesus was dead in 6 hours.
Pilate learned from a centurion that Jesus was in fact dead, he gave the
body of Jesus to Joseph to bury.
46 says that Joseph took Jesus’ body down from the cross and wrapped it
in fine linen clothes. These
were long strips of cloth. He
would have wrapped each leg and each arm at a time and them the rest of
Jesus’ body except for His head which was covered with another special
clothe. There is no mention of
anointing Jesus’ body with special ointment that would have normally
been the case. There would not
have been time for that because of the Sabbath beginning early Friday
tomb that Joseph put Jesus in was his own that no one else had ever used,
thus another fulfillment of prophecy.
stone that Joseph put in front of the tomb would have been a round flat
slab of rock, thus making it somewhat easy to move.
The slab of rock would have been placed into a groove that was dug
out in the ground to keep it in place and make for easy moving to either
closes this chapter by saying that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of
Jose, mentioned before saw where Joseph had buried Jesus.
There were other women at the tomb as seen in other gospel accounts
but it appears they left while these two women stayed
a while longer.