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Mark Chapter Fifteen


I. Content of the Chapter


The Suffering of the Bondman the Savior

A.   Who was judged by Pilate (v.1-15);

B.   Who was mocked by the solders (v.16-20);

C.   Who was crucified on the cross (v.21-41);

D.   Who was buried (v.42-47);


II. Verse by Verse commentary


Mark. 15:1 “Immediately, in the morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council; and they bound Jesus, led Him away, and delivered Him to Pilate.”

   YLT: “And immediately, in the morning, the chief priests having made a consultation, with the elders, and scribes, and the whole sanhedrim, having bound Jesus, did lead away, and delivered to Pilate;”

   The Background: at that time, the Jews were ruled by the Roman Empire and were given limited autonomy. The council had no right to put any one to death except for the gentiles who rushed presumptuously into the inner courtyard (see John. 18:31).

“Pilate” was the fifth governor in the land of Judea posted by the Roman Empire from 26 to 36 A.D. He was usually stationed in Samaria, and also had the official mansions in Jerusalem. During the Feast of the Passover, the Jews in all parts of the world were gathered in Jerusalem. Pilate would also come to the city to guard against disturbance or rebellion which might take place at any time. According to the description of the Jewish Historian Joseph, Pilate was a stubborn and marble person.

Literal Meaning: “immediately, in the morning”, it referred to the morning on Friday. It was illegal for the council to hold a meeting at night. Therefore they held a meeting purposely in the morning and condemned the death of Jesus officially (see Matt. 26:66).

  “Delivered Him to Pilate”, “governor” refers to the viceroy or the prince of the provinces. In order to “put Him to death” (see v.1), the council had to deliver Him to Pilate the governor and let him condemn Jesus and put Him to death according to the law of the Roman Empire.


Mark. 15:2 “Then Pilate asked Him, "Are You the King of the Jews?" He answered and said to him, "It is as you say." ”

   YLT: “and Pilate questioned him, `Art thou the king of the Jews?' and he answering said to him, `Thou dost say .'”

   Literal Meaning: “are You the King of the Jews?” ---- Pilate, a governor of the Roman Empire, did not usually show concern to the religious disputes of the Jews as long as they did not drag the Roman regime in. Therefore the council framed the political crime against Him before Pilate instead of denouncing Jesus of the religious crime. If Jesus presented Himself as the king of the Jews, it would show that He was against the Roman regime. Therefore Pilate asked this question.

“He answered and said to him, "It is as you say."” ---- Though Jesus admitted that He is the king, He still declared that His kingdom is not of this world (see John. 18:33-38).


Mark. 15:3 “And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing.”

   YLT: “And the chief priests were accusing him of many things,”

   Literal Meaning: “many things” referred to many fabricating evidence used to prove He set Himself as the king.


Mark. 15:4 “Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, "Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!" ”

   YLT: “And Pilate again questioned him, saying, `Thou dost not answer anything! lo, how many things they do testify against thee!'”

   the Background: according to the Roman law at that time, if the defendant did not defend for himself, he would be condemned.


Mark. 15:5 “But Jesus still answered nothing, so that Pilate marveled.”

   YLT: “and Jesus did no more answer anything, so that Pilate wondered”

   Literal Meaning: who, when He was reviled, did not revile again; when He suffered, he did not threaten; but committed Himself to God that judges righteously (see 1Pet. 2:23). This is the example of the Lord for us.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    If one clearly knows the will and guidance of God and commits himself unto God, he will have rest in God and have no defense for himself in any difficult circumstance.

2)    Believers should bridle their tongues and do not say meaningless words, as it becomes saints.


Mark. 15:6 “Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested.”

   YLT: “And at every feast he was releasing to them one prisoner, whomsoever they were asking;”

   Literal Meaning: this was the special convention of “amnesty” at that time with the purpose of showing the kindness of the rulers.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Since man had inherited sin from the father the devil, all of us became servants of sin (see John. 8:34), and would die in our sins (see John. 8:21, 24). However, the Son of God the Father in heaven Jesus came to “release” us and we became really free (see John. 8:36).

2)    We are “released”, because the Lord was crucified for us.


Mark. 15:7 “And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion.”

   YLT: “and there was named Barabbas, bound with those making insurrection with him, who had in the insurrection committed murder.”

Meaning of Words: “Barabbas”: son of father, son of Abba; “rebellion”: revolt;

   Literal Meaning: “there was one named Barabbas”, this man might be a leader of the Canaanite, which was a Jewish revolutionary organization. He was cast into prison for having committed a murder in a revolt (see Luke 23:18-25).

   Spiritual Meaning: “Barabbas” typifies that sinners were of their father the devil which was a murderer from the beginning and was a liar, and the father of it (John. 8:44).


Mark. 15:8 “Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them.”

   YLT: “And the multitude having cried out, began to ask for themselves as he was always doing to them,”


Mark. 15:9 “But Pilate answered them, saying, "Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?" ”

   YLT: “and Pilate answered them, saying, `Will ye I shall release to you the king of the Jews?'”


Mark. 15:10 “For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy.”

   YLT: “for he knew that because of envy the chief priests had delivered him up;”

Meaning of Words: “handed over”: deliver;

Literal Meaning: “they had handed Him over because of envy”, this was religious envy. The leaders of the council had deeply felt that the words and deeds of Jesus had threatened their authority.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The greatest feature of religionists is “envy”. Strife may arise because of envy (see 1Cor. 3:3). Therefore envy is the root of strife (see 2Cor. 12:20).

2)    Envy may also lead to murder (see Gal. 5:21; James. 4:2). Cain, the initiator of religion, was the typical religionist who killed his brother because of envy (see Gen. 4:3-8).


Mark. 15:11 “But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them.”

   YLT: “and the chief priests did move the multitude, that he might rather release Barabbas to them.”

   Literal Meaning: probably the crowd thought that Jesus was condemned by the council and no longer conformed to the image of the Messiah in their hearts. However, Barabbas who was put into prison because of the rebellion was contrarily shown as a national hero. Therefore, the people heard the chief priests.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)  If Jesus was not destroyed, Barabbas would not be released. Thank God, since the Lord Jesus was destroyed for us, we, the sinners (Barabbas), could be released.

2)  Religionists would rather ask for the murder and robber (see John. 18:40) than ask for the Lord Jesus, thus exposing the darkness of religion. Today, many zealous religionists (including the extreme Christians) often disregard morality and have no witness in life.


Mark. 15:12 “Pilate answered and said to them again, "What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?" ”

   YLT: “And Pilate answering, again said to them, `What, then, will ye I shall do to him whom ye call king of the Jews?'”

   Literal Meaning: though Pilate clearly knew that Jesus had no sin (see v.10), he still asked such question, manifesting His unrighteousness.


Mark. 15:13 “So they cried out again, "Crucify Him!" ”

   YLT: “and they again cried out, `Crucify him.'”

   The Background: the “Crucifixion” was the cruel torture used by the Roman Empire to punish serious criminals at that time. Only those who were of the most heinous guilt, such as robbers, murderers, arsonists, betrayers of a country and etc., should be executed by crucifixion. Moreover, the Roman citizens would not be tortured by such torture.

   Literal Meaning: “crucify Him!” ---- It fulfilled the prophecy that the Lord had said previously (see Matt. 20:19; 26:2).


Mark. 15:14 “Then Pilate said to them, "Why, what evil has He done?" But they cried out all the more, "Crucify Him!" ”

   YLT: “And Pilate said to them, `Why -- what evil did he?' and they cried out the more vehemently, `Crucify him;'”

   Literal Meaning: “what evil has He done?” ---- The governor asked this question at the end of the judgment, showing that he could not inquire any sin of the Lord and admitted He was innocent. Pilate always thought that He was the “innocent man” (see Matt.27:24; Luke 23:4, 14-15, 22; John 18:38; 19:4, 6, 12).


Mark. 15:15 “So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified.”

   YLT: “and Pilate, wishing to content the multitude, released to them Barabbas, and delivered up Jesus -- having scourged -- that he might be crucified.”

   The Background: whips used by Romans to scourge criminals were made of leather belt on which there were small bones or metal. The whips could make those who were scourged bruised and lacerated.

   Literal Meaning: “he delivered Him to be crucified.” ---- That Pilate made the Lord Jesus be crucified had fulfilled both the Lord’s own words about how He would die and the prophecies in the Old Testament (see Deut. 21:23; Num. 21:8-9; Gal. 3:13).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The deeds of Pilate are the typical representative of the world (especially politicians) ---- they confuse what is right, ignore the truth and only try to please the people (see v.24).

2)    Many leaders of the Christianity often would rather sacrifice the principle of the truth and adopt expediency in order to “gratify the crowd”, and however it makes our Lord undergo loss.

3)    Pilate disobeyed his conscience and sacrificed the Lord Jesus for the purpose of “gratifying the crowd”. This was a great warning! We shall never run counter to our conscience and sacrifice the Lord Jesus that we believe for the sake of gratifying the world.

4)    If we want to be strong to the end to bear witness of Christ, we cannot often make everyone glad. If we seek to please men only, we are not bondmen of Christ (Gal. 1:10).

5)    Thanks the Lord. Since He was “delivered”, the condemned prisoners like us were “released”. With His stripes we are healed (see Is. 53:5). What the salvation!


Mark. 15:16 “Then the soldiers led Him away into the hall called Praetorium, and they called together the whole garrison. ”

   YLT: “And the soldiers led him away into the hall, which is Praetorium, and call together the whole band,”

   Literal Meaning: “led Him away into the hall called Praetorium”, “Praetorium” was the official mansion for the governor in Jerusalem.

   Spiritual Meaning: “they called together the whole garrison”, it symbolized that all the armies of the Hades were gathered to raise the fatal attack against the Lord Jesus.


Mark. 15:17 “And they clothed Him with purple; and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head,”

   YLT: “and clothe him with purple, and having plaited a crown of thorns, they put on him,”

   Literal Meaning: “they clothed Him with purple”, “purple” was the color of king’s robe. They also used the crown of thorns to substitute for the royal crown. They dressed the Lord Jesus as the king of the Jews to mock and insult Him.

   Spiritual Meaning: “and they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head”, “thorn” was a sign of God’s curse (see Gen. 3:17-18). That the crown of thorns was put on the Lord’s head symbolized that He was cursed on the cross by God.

Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    “And they twisted a crown of thorns, put it on His head”, the Lord Jesus became a curse for us on the cross (Gal. 3:13).

2)    The purple robe and the crown were both signs of king, but they became signs of humiliation and dishonor. We are exalted because of the humiliation suffered by the Lord. Oh, “to the Lord the cross was shame; to us it is glory”.

3)    That the Lord had put on the crown of thorns on the cross was a curse for us so as to deliver us out of the curse. Today, He has put on the crown of honor and glory in the heaven for us so as to bring us into glory (see Heb. 2:9-10).


Mark. 15:18 “and began to salute Him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" ”

   YLT: “and began to salute him, `Hail, King of the Jews.'”

   Literal Meaning: they showed their salutation by mocking Him.


Mark. 15:19 “Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.”

   YLT: “And they were smiting him on the head with a reed, and were spitting on him, and having bent the knee, were bowing to him,”

   Spiritual Meaning: “they struck Him on the head with a reed”, “head” symbolized men’s power. “Struck Him with a reed”, it manifested the extreme bully.

    “Spat on Him”, “face” symbolized men’s honor. “They spat on Him”, it showed the extreme humiliation.


Mark. 15:20 “And when they had mocked Him, they took the purple off Him, put His own clothes on Him, and led Him out to crucify Him.”

   YLT: “and when they mocked him, they took the purple from off him, and clothed him in his own garments, and they led him forth, that they may crucify him.”

   The Background: it is said that when the Jews killed the lamb of the Passover in old days, they tied the four limbs of the lamb on the wooden framework of the cross and let it shed its blood and was dried up unto death. Therefore the Lord was “crucified”, thus fulfilling that He was the type of the lamb of the Passover (see Is. 53:7-8; 1Cor. 5:7; John. 1:29). The cruel torture of the cross was used for only a short time around the time when the Lord Jesus was on the world in the history of the Roman Empire. It seemed that it was specially arranged by God for the fulfillment of the prophecy and typifications of the Old Testament (see Num. 21:8-9; Deut. 21:23; Acts. 13:29; Gal. 3:13).


Mark. 15:21 “Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.”

   YLT: “And they impress a certain one passing by -- Simon, a Cyrenian, coming from the field, the father of Alexander and Rufus -- that he may bear his cross,”

   Literal Meaning: “they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name.” ---- “Cyrene” was the name of a place in North Africa; “Simon” was a Jewish name. He might be a Jewish who lived in Cyrene (see Acts. 11:20; 13:1) and he specially came to Jerusalem to the feast.

    “The father of Alexander and Rufus”, it showed that the readers (believers in Rome) of this book were familiar with both Alexander and Rufus (see Rom. 16:13).

    “Him they compelled”, “compelled”: to force one to serve by threatening manners.

    “To bear His cross”, the cross was often taken by the prisoner himself. Probably, Jesus was too weak to bear the cross at that time.

   Spiritual Meaning: “bear Jesus’ cross”: to have communion with His suffering and to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in the flesh (see Col. 1:24).  

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The whole family of Simon of Cyrene was saved because he took the cross of the Lord (see Rom. 16:13). Believers were compelled to take the cross under the sovereignty of God, however, the “compel” is the way of being blessed. 

2)    “Being compelled”, it means going against our interests, natural feelings and etc. However, many precious lessons are usually hidden in many things we dislike.

3)    Whoever has part in the cross of Christ, he will have part in the salvation of Christ.


Mark. 15:22 “And they brought Him to the place Golgotha, which is translated, Place of a Skull.”

   YLT: “and they bring him to the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, `Place of a skull;'”

Meaning of Words:Golgotha”: the skull; the place to stack the skull.

Literal Meaning: Golgotha”, a Hebrew name, means “the place of a skull” (see John. 19:17). It was in English called Calvary (Luke. 23:33, KJV), which was translated from Latin and had the same meaning with Golgotha. It was said that the shape of this hill was like the skull of dead ones and thus the name. The Lord Jesus was crucified there.

   Enlightenment in the Word: the natural mind and old concepts of us are “the skulls of dead ones”. We should crucify them in “Golgotha” and never let them stir up trouble.


Mark. 15:23 “Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it.”

   YLT: “and they were giving him to drink wine mingled with myrrh, and he did not receive.”

   Literal Meaning: “wine mingled with myrrh”, “myrrh” was like a kind of narcotic. Once man drank wine mingled with myrrh, he would be like one who had been doped so as to release his pain (see Pro. 31:6-7).

  “But He did not take it”, it indicated that He was willing to bear the pain of the punishment of sins until death (see Ps. 69:21).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)  The Lord Jesus bore the suffering of the cross Himself and refused any help or comfort from men. Those who truly take up the cross never seek any help or comfort besides God.

2)  He who feels painful in themselves and needs comfort of others is not the one who takes up the cross.

3)  The Lord Himself had tasted the suffering for us, so He is able to be touched with our feelings (see Heb. 4:15).


Mark. 15:24 “And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take.”

   YLT: “And having crucified him, they were dividing his garments, casting a lot upon them, what each may take;”

   Literal Meaning: “they divided His garments, casting lots”. ---- It fulfilled the prophecy in Ps. 28:18.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The world usually respect only the good works of the Lord Jesus (“divided His garments”), but is unwilling to receive the life of Christ (“they crucified Him”).

2)    We believers always attend to trifles but neglect the essentials, for we are fervent in searching the Bible, but are unwilling to come to the Lord to have life (see John. 5:39-40).


Mark. 15:25 “Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.”

   YLT: “and it was the third hour, and they crucified him;”

Meaning of Words: “the third hour” referred to nine o’clock in the morning.


Mark. 15:26 “And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

   YLT: “and the inscription of his accusation was written above -- `The King of the Jews.'”

   Literal Meaning: “the accusation written against Him”, according to the records of John, the inscription of the accusation was written in Hebrew, and Greek and Latin (see John 19:20).

  “THE KING OF THE JEWS”, in men’s sight, the inscription of the accusation was a kind of mock both to the Lord and the Jews (see John. 19:21), and also shows that He was crucified because of this reason.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The life of king shall be manifested through the death of the cross only.

2)    The way of the world to be king is to attack cities and capture territories. However, the way for believers to reign in life (see Rom. 5:17) is through the death of the cross.


Mark. 15:27 “With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left.”

   YLT: “And with him they crucify two robbers, one on the right hand, and one on his left,”

   Literal Meaning: this verse shows that: a) the prophecy that “He was numbered with the transgressors” (Is. 53:12) was fulfilled; b) He was on the tree with the position of a sinner and therefore He Himself bore our sins (see 1Pet. 2:24).

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Christ who was crucified is the center of mankind and all and He will draw all to Him (see John. 12:32).

2)    Men’s future depends on Christ who had been crucified. If one receives Him, he will be saved and have eternal life. If one refuses Him, he will perish and enter the everlasting fire.

3)    He, on the cross, destroyed, through death, him that had the power of death, that is, the devil and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage (i.e. robbers) (see Heb. 2:14-15).


Mark. 15:28 “So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "And He was numbered with the transgressors." ”

   YLT: “and the Writing was fulfilled that is saying, `And with lawless ones he was numbered.'”

Literal Meaning: “the Scripture was fulfilled”, it referred to Is. 53:12.


Mark. 15:29 “And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, "Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days,”

   YLT: “And those passing by were speaking evil of him, shaking their heads, and saying, `Ah, the thrower down of the sanctuary, and in three days the builder!”

   Literal Meaning: “wagging their heads”, it was the posture of the Jews when they mocked others.

    “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days”, it indicated that they misused the words of the Lord because they did not understand the words (see John. 2:19-21).


Mark. 15:30 “save Yourself, and come down from the cross!" ”

   YLT: “save thyself, and come down from the cross!'”

   Literal Meaning: it shows that they do not understand the principle in which God works and think that the Son of God can walk at will (see John. 8:28). They do not know that the Lord did not come down from the cross is just the proof of the Son of God (see Rom. 1:4).


Mark. 15:31 “Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, "He saved others; Himself He cannot save.”

   YLT: “And in like manner also the chief priests, mocking with one another, with the scribes, said, `Others he saved; himself he is not able to save.”

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The will of God is to achieve His plan of redemption through the death of the cross. Those who are held by God in His will often “save others and themselves they cannot save”. And only those who do not save themselves are able to save others. If He saves Himself, He can not save us.

2)    The death of the cross is an access to resurrection ---- supply life through death ---- if death works in us, life will work in others (see 2Cor. 4:11-12).

3)    The cross is to deny oneself (see Matt. 16:24), so the significance of the cross is to save others and not to save oneself. All those who are self-centered need to be dealt with by the cross.


Mark. 15:32 “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him. ”

   YLT: “The Christ! the king of Israel -- let him come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe;' and those crucified with him were reproaching him.”

   Literal Meaning: “the Christ, the King of Israel”, it shows that men believe in their natural mind that God must save and deliver those whom He pleases from the outward danger and suffering.

  The Lord was mocked on the cross by those who passed by (see v.29), the chief priests, the scribes and elders (see v.31), and the robbers who were crucified with Him. They especially mocked Him that if He indeed was the Son of God, He must have the power to save Himself and at least God would not sit by and watch His Son being crucified unto death.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Though believers are the children of God, God still does not always deliver us from sufferings. The apostle Paul deeply pleased God, but Paul suffered much more than us.

2)    Natural men do not know the spiritual principle. The greatest power of those who are spiritual is to control them and restrict them. Those who are truly of spirit can do all things through Christ who strengthens them (see Pill. 4:13). However, they do not do many things because they seek the profit of others, but not their own profit (see 1Cor. 10:23-24, 33).

3)    It is the manifestation of the Son of God that He does not do what He is “able to do” (see John. 5:19, 30; 8:28). Moreover, those who truly believe in God not only believe that God will do something for them but also believe that God always does not do something for them. The greatest faith is to commit oneself unto God and believe that whether God does something or not depends on God Himself, and we shall merely thanks God for His goodwill (see Matt. 11:25-27; 1Thess. 5:18).


Mark. 15:33 “Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.”

YLT: “And the sixth hour having come, darkness came over the whole land till the ninth hour,”

   Literal Meaning: “from the sixth hour until the ninth hour”: from twelve o’clock at noon to three o’clock in the afternoon.

    The Lord Jesus was crucified at the third hour (nine o’clock in the morning) (see v.25) and therefore there were six hours from the third hour to the ninth hour. In the first three hours, He suffered the pain of being persecuted and being mocked. In the next three hours, He suffered the pain of being judged and being forsaken.

   Spiritual Meaning: “there was darkness over all the land.” ---- “Darkness” symbolizes that God hid His face from Him and forsook Him. The Lord Jesus was forsaken by God because He bore sins of men. It showed how horrible the sins that He bore were.

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    May all the believers realize the horribleness of sins and preciousness of the presence of God.

2)    “There was darkness over all the land.” ---- It showed our sin, sins and all dark and negative things were judged and dealt with by God with the Lord on the cross.


Mark. 15:34 “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" ”

   YLT: “and at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a great voice, saying, `Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabachthani?' which is, being interpreted, `My God, my God, why didst Thou forsake me?'”

   Literal Meaning: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” ---- “Eli, Eli” is Hebrew and “lama sabachthani” is Aramaic.

  “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” ---- Jesus, standing in the position of a sinner on the cross at that time, bore our sins (see 1Pet. 2:24; Is. 53:6) and had made Him sin for us (see 2Cor. 5:21). Therefore the righteous God had to forsake Him (see Ps. 22:19). The Lord Jesus was with God all His life and was forsaken by God in those three hours. This was the extreme pain of the Son of God and therefore He cried out with such a loud voice.


Mark. 15:35 “Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, "Look, He is calling for Elijah!" ”

   YLT: “And certain of those standing by, having heard, said, `Lo, Elijah he doth call;'”

   Literal Meaning: “this Man is calling for Elijah!” ---- “Elijah” was the forerunner of the Messiah in the hearts of the Jews. Those who were present heard Jesus call “Eli” and misunderstood that He was calling “Elijah”.


Mark. 15:36 “Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down." ”

   YLT: “and one having run, and having filled a spunge with vinegar, having put also on a reed, was giving him to drink, saying, `Let alone, let us see if Elijah doth come to take him down.'”

   Literal Meaning: “sour wine”, the sour wine was used to refresh oneself and quench one’s thirst for the common people and soldiers at that time. They showed mocked Him by offering the reed filled with sour wine to Jesus (see Luke. 23:36). They did not expect that their behavior made the prophecy of the Old Testament be fulfilled (see Ps. 69:21; John. 19:28-29). In the last moment before the Lord Jesus breathed His last, He was still mocked and derided by men. It shows that both of the words and deeds of men are exactly in God’s foreknowledge and predestination.


Mark. 15:37 “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.”

   YLT: “And Jesus having uttered a loud cry, yielded the spirit,”

   Literal Meaning: “cried out with a loud voice”, man was often totally exhausted and breathed his last in a coma without any voice when he was crucified on the cross. However, the Lord Jesus still had strength to cry out, which manifested that His death was distinct from the common people (see v.39).

“Breathed His last”, note that all the four Gospels do not mention that the Lord Jesus “died”, but that He breathed His last (see Matt. 27:50; Luke 23:46), or “He yielded up His spirit” (see John. 10:18; 19:30), showing that His death was not because of natural reasons or the exhaustion of strength, but was that He yielded up His spirit unto God.


Mark. 15:38 “Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.”

   YLT: “and the veil of the sanctuary was rent in two, from top to bottom,”

   The Background: the veil of the temple is the veil of inner layer dividing the holy place and the most holy (see Exod. 26:33). In the times of the Old Testament, no one could enter the most holy, except for the high priest who entered in with blood through the veil once a year (see Heb. 9:7).

   Literal Meaning: the veil in the temple, made of blue, and purple, and crimson, and fine linen (see 2Chron. 3:14), was very thick and firm and was uneasy to be broken. No wonder that when the priests saw it, they felt it was far above the ordinary. There were even many priest believing the Lord (see Acts 6:7).

   Spiritual Meaning: “the veil of the temple”, it typified the body of the Lord. “Was torn in two”, it typified that the body of the Lord was broken for us and therefore He opened a new and living way so that we could have boldness to enter into the holiest by Him and come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need (see Heb. 10:19-20; 4:16).

There was cherubim made on the veil (see Ex. 26:31), which typified the entire creature. When the veil was broken, the cherubim on it would also be broken at the same time, symbolizing the all-inclusive death of Christ ---- when Christ died, the entire creature of us was also crucified with Him on the cross together (see Gal. 2:20; Rom. 6:6).

“From top to bottom”, it showed that the death of the cross was done by God from above. The fact that we have died with the Lord together had already been early done by God

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    Christ is our way (See John. 14:6); only through Him are we able to come to God.

2)    When the Lord breathed His last on the cross (v.37), the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom, showing that the power of the cross would not be manifested until the experience of the cross had come to the height. Though we are often brought into the experience of the cross, we are unwilling to die until we have breathed the last. No wonder that the great power of the cross is difficult to be manifested sufficiently.


Mark. 15:39 “So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!" ”

   YLT: “and the centurion who was standing over-against him, having seen that, having so cried out, he yielded the spirit, said, `Truly this man was Son of God.'”

   Literal Meaning: since the centurion often saw the condition when those who were crucified breathing their last (see the commentary of verse 37), when he saw the unusual phenomenon of the Lord Jesus, he firmly believed that he was not a common person, but the Son of God. 

   Enlightenment in the Word:

1)    The centurion said, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” It was not because he saw Him descending from the cross (v.32), but he saw the testimony of Him who obeyed unto death. The true power of the gospel is here.

2)    The centurion stood for the gentile unbelievers. Since they saw the effect of the Lord’s death and resurrection, they had to admit that, “truly this was the Son of God.” The most effective way for believers to preach the glad tidings is to let others see the death of the Lord on us ---- to display the fact that the cross of Christ had done on us before others ---- thus, if men see “the marks of the Lord Jesus” in our bodies (see Gal. 6:17), they will surely see that, “truly this was the Son of God.”


Mark. 15:40 “There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, ”

   YLT: “And there were also women afar off beholding, among whom was also Mary the Magdalene, and Mary of James the less, and of Joses, and Salome,”

   Literal Meaning: “Mary Magdalene”, the Lord Jesus had ever cast off seven unclean demons out of her (see 16:9; Luke 8:2).

“Mary the mother of James and Joses”, it was Mary the mother of Jesus (see Matt. 13:55; 27:56).

    “And Salome”, he might be the mother of Zebedee’s sons” (see Matt. 27:56). It was said that she was the sister of Mary the mother of Jesus (see John. 19:25).


Mark. 15:41 “who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.”

   YLT: “(who also, when he was in Galilee, were following him, and were ministering to him,) and many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.”

   Enlightenment in the Word: these women represented common and weak believers who are despised by others. They always followed and served the Lord quietly and when other disciples forsook the Lord and fled (See Matt. 26:56), they kept following the Lord until the cross, i.e. following the Lord until the death. Therefore they could bear witness of His death and resurrection (see Acts. 3:15). If we want to be the Lord’s witnesses, we have to follow Him until the death. 


Mark. 15:42 “Now when evening had come, because it was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath,”

   YLT: “And now evening having come, seeing it was the preparation, that is, the fore-sabbath,”

   Literal Meaning: “when evening had come”, “evening” in the original referred to the time from dusk to evening. The Sabbath of the Jews was counted from six o’clock after the sunset of that day (Friday), so this day could still be counted as “the day before the Sabbath”.

    “It was the Preparation Day, that is, the day before the Sabbath”, the Sabbath was from six o’clock after the sunset of that day (Friday) to six o’clock after the sunset of the next day (Saturday). Since the Jews could not act or work on the Sabbath at will, they had to make preparations in the previous day, which was called “the Preparation Day”.


Mark. 15:43 “Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent council member, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, coming and taking courage, went in to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. ”

   YLT: “Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, who also himself was waiting for the reign of God, came, boldly entered in unto Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus.”

   Literal Meaning: “Joseph of Arimathea”, “Arimathea” was a small town on the side of mount Ephraim, about twenty miles away from Jerusalem in the northwest.

“A prominent council member”, it showed that he was of social reputation. “Council member” referred to his status in the council (see Luke 23:50-51).      

“Who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God”, Joseph, like Nicodemus, was a disciple of Jesus in secret (see John. 3:19:38-39). He was courageous to show his identity because he was moved by the love of the Lord who died for us on the cross.


Mark. 15:44 “Pilate marveled that He was already dead; and summoning the centurion, he asked him if He had been dead for some time.”

   YLT: “And Pilate wondered if he were already dead, and having called near the centurion, did question him if he were long dead,”

   Literal Meaning: “Pilate marveled that He was already dead”, it usually cost two or three days for a crucified man to breath his last. The Lord Jesus was already dead without his legs being broken (see John 19:33), so Pilate marveled deeply at such unusual situation.

The reason why the Lord Jesus died so quickly was that:

1.        The Lord Jesus was very infirm in the flesh. He was crucified in weakness (see 2Cor. 13:4).

2.        The judgment of God upon Him was rather heavy, because God had laid on Him all the sins of the world (see Is. 53:6).

3.        The power of death attacked Him fiercely, for His death was the final decisive battle against the devil that had the might of death. Nevertheless, He still overcame the final enemy, namely, death (see Heb. 2:14; 1Cor. 15:26).


Mark. 15:45 “So when he found out from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.”

   YLT: “and having known from the centurion, he granted the body to Joseph.”


Mark. 15:46 “Then he bought fine linen, took Him down, and wrapped Him in the linen. And he laid Him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock, and rolled a stone against the door of the tomb. ”

   YLT: “And he, having brought fine linen, and having taken him down, wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre that had been hewn out of a rock, and he rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre,”

   Literal Meaning: “which he had hewn out of the rock”, this tomb was not hewn under the earth but hew out of the rock.

 Spiritual Meaning: the tomb where the Lord was buried was originally hewn by Joseph for himself (see Matt. 27:60), typifying that the old men of believers had been crucified with the Lord Jesus and buried into death by baptism (see Rom. 6:3-6; Col. 2:12). Therefore the body in the tomb could also refer to the old men and old members of believers.

    Rolling a large stone against the door of the tomb means stopping the dead old men from acting again (see Eph. 4:22; Col. 3:9) and preventing our members being yielded as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin (see Rom. 6:13).

   Enlightenment in the Word: “he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth”, the behavior of believers should be clean, holy, gentle and well-balanced and we should not let sin reign in our mortal body (see Rom. 6:12).


Mark. 15:47 “And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses observed where He was laid.”

   YLT: “and Mary the Magdalene, and Mary of Joses, were beholding where he is laid.”


III. Outlines of the Spiritual Lessons


The Death of the Bondman the Savior

A.   He Received the Judgment of Death:

1.    The reason why the Lord was delivered to the governor ---- the council had no right to put any man to death (v.1);

2.    He did not defend for Himself (v.2-5).

3.    We the prisoners of death were released because He was appointed to death (v.6-15).

B.   He Received the Punishment of Death:

1. He bore the humiliation of the cross (v.16-20).

2. Filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in the flesh (v.21);

3. He experienced the suffering of the cross (v.22-28).

4. He was mocked by men on the cross (v.29-32).

5. He was forsaken by God on the cross (v.33-36).

C.   The Phenomenon of His Death:

1.    The veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom ---- the Lord’s death opened the way to God (v.38).

2.    The centurion confessed that He was the Son of God ---- the Lord’s death was unusual as that of others (v.39).


Men’s Treatment Towards the Lord

A.   Religious leaders were determined to reject Him because of envy (v.1-10).

B.   The crowd would rather keep the robber than the Lord (v.11-14).

C.   Pilate condemned Him to death (v.15).

D.   Soldiers mocked Him (v.27-31).

E.   Joseph appeared to bury the Lord after His death (v.43-46).


The King of the Jews

A.   Pilate asked Jesus, "Are You the King of the Jews?" (v.2a)

B.   Jesus answered and said to him, "It is as you say.", which meant that He admitted that He is “the King of the Jews” (v.2b).

C.   The Jews accused Jesus of calling Him “the King of the Jews” (v.12).

D.   The Roman soldiers saluted Him, "Hail, King of the Jews!" (v.18).

E.   The inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS (v.26).


Five Kinds of Men Under the Cross

A.   Who was forced to take the cross of the Lord (v.21).

B.   Soldiers who gave Him sour wine mingled with gall and divided His garments, casting lots and kept watch over Him (v.23-24).

C.   Pilate who wrote the accusation of the Lord (v.26).

D.   Those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads (29-30).

E.   The priests and scribes who mocked Him (v.31-32a).

F.    The robber who was crucified with Him at the same time and mocked Him (v.32b).

G.   Those who waited to see whether Elijah would come (v.35-36).

H.   The centurion who bore witness that the Lord is the Son of God (v.39).

I.      Women who followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee (v.40-41).


Joseph of Arimathea

A.   Who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God (v.43a);

B.   Who came and took courage to ask Pilate for the body of Jesus (v.43b);

C.  Who stretched himself in the matters of burying the Lord (v.46);


── Caleb HuangChristian Digest Bible Commentary Series

   Translated by Mary Zhou