Mark Chapter Fifteen
Before Pilate (chap. 15), He only witnesses a good confession, a testimony to the truth where the glory of God required it, and where this testimony stood opposed to the power of the adversary. To all the rest He answers nothing. He lets them go on; and the evangelist enters into no details. To render this testimony was the last service and duty He had to perform. It is rendered. The Jews make choice of the seditious murderer Barabbas; and Pilate, hearkening to the voice of the multitude, won over by the chief priests, delivers Jesus to be crucified. The Lord submits to the insults of the soldiers, who mingle the pride and insolence of their class with the hard-heartedness of the executioner whose function they performed. Sad specimens of our nature! The Christ who came to save them was, for the moment, under their power. He used His own power, not to save Himself, but to deliver others from that of the enemy. At length they lead Him away to Golgotha to crucify Him. There they offer Him a soporific mixture, which He refuses; and they crucify Him with two thieves, one on His right hand and the other on His left, thus accomplishing (for it was all they did or could do) everything that was written concerning the Lord. It was now the Jews' and the priests' hour; they had, alas for them! the desire of their heart. And they make manifest, without knowing it, the glory and perfection of Jesus. The temple could not rise again without being thus cast down; and, as instruments, they established the fact which He had then announced. Farther, He saved others and not Himself. These are the two parts of the perfection of the death of Christ with reference to man.
But, whatever might be the thoughts of Christ and His sufferings with regard to men (those dogs, those bulls of Bashan), the work which He had to accomplish contained depths far beyond those outward things. Darkness covered the earth-divine and sympathetic testimony of that which, with far deeper gloom, covered the soul of Jesus, forsaken of God for sin, but thus displaying incomparably more than at any other time, His absolute perfection; while the darkness marked, in an external sign, His entire separation from outward things, the whole work being between Him and God alone, according to the perfectness of both. All passed between Him and His God. Little understood by others, all is between Himself and God: and crying again with a loud voice, He gives up the ghost. His service was completed. What more had He to do in a world wherein He only lived to accomplish the will of God? All was finished, and He necessarily departs. I do not speak of physical necessity, for He still retained His strength; but, morally rejected by the world, there was no longer room in it for His mercy towards it: the will of God was by Himself entirely fulfilled. He had drunk in His soul the cup of death and of judgment for sin. There was nothing left Him but the act of dying; and He expires, obedient to the end, in order to commence in another world (whether for His soul separate from the body, or in glory) a life where evil could never enter, and where the new man will be perfectly happy in the presence of God.
His service was completed. His obedience had its term in death-His obedience, and therefore His life, as carried on in the midst of sinners. What would a life have meant in which there was no more obedience to be fulfilled? In dying now His obedience was perfected, and He dies. The way into the holiest is now opened-the veil is rent from top to bottom. The Gentile centurion confesses, in the death of Jesus, the Person of the Son of God. Until then, the Messiah and Judaism went together. In His death Judaism rejects Him, and He is the Saviour of the world. The veil no longer conceals God. In this respect it was all Judaism could do. The manifestation of perfect grace is there for the Gentile, who acknowledged-because Jesus gave up His life with a cry that proved the existence of so much strength-that the Prince of life, the Son of God, was there. Pilate also is astonished that He is already dead. He only believes it when certified of its truth by the centurion. As to faith-far from grace, and even from human justice-he did not trouble himself at all on that point.
The death of Jesus did not tear Him from the hearts of those feeble ones who loved Him (who perhaps had not been in the conflict, but whom grace had now brought out from their retreat): those pious women who had followed Him and had often ministered to His wants, and Joseph, who, although touched in conscience, had not followed Him, until now, strengthened at the last by the testimony of the grace and perfection of Jesus (the integrity of the counsellor finding in the circumstances, not an occasion of fear, but that which induced him to declare himself)-these women and Joseph are alike occupied about the body of Jesus. This tabernacle of the Son of God is not left without those services which were due from man to Him who had just quitted it. Moreover the providence of God, as well as His operation in their hearts, had prepared for all this. The body of Jesus is laid in the tomb, and they all wait for the end of the sabbath to perform their service to it. The women had taken knowledge of the place.
── John Darby《Synopsis of Mark》
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)
Commentary on Mark 15:1-14
(Read Mark 15:1-14)
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.
Commentary on Mark 15:15-21
(Read Mark 15:15-21)
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?
Commentary on Mark 15:22-32
(Read Mark 15:22-32)
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!
Commentary on Mark 15:33-41
(Read Mark 15:33-41)
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.
Commentary on Mark 15:42-47
(Read Mark 15:42-47)
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.
── Matthew Henry《Concise Commentary on Mark》
 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.
 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.
Insurrection — A crime which the Roman governors, and Pilate in particular, were more especially concerned and careful to punish.
 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?
Will ye that I release to you the king of the Jews — Which does this wretched man discover most? Want of justice, or courage, or common sense? The poor coward sacrifices justice to popular clamour, and enrages those whom he seeks to appease, by so unseasonably repeating that title, The king of the Jews, which he could not but know was so highly offensive to them.
 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.
 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,
Purple — As royal robes were usually purple and scarlet, St. Mark and John term this a purple robe, St. Matthew a scarlet one. The Tyrian purple is said not to have been very different from scarlet.
 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 him.
 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.
The father of Alexander and Rufus — These were afterward two eminent Christians, and must have been well known when St. Mark wrote.
 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.
 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.
 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,
 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
 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?
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me — Thereby claiming God as his God; and yet lamenting his Father's withdrawing the tokens of his love, and treating him as an enemy, while he bare our sins.
 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.
Who served him — Provided him with necessaries.
 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
Because it was the day before the Sabbath — And the bodies might not hang on the Sabbath day: therefore they were in haste to have them taken down.
 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.
Honourable — A man of character and reputation: A counsellor - A member of the sanhedrim.
 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.
He rolled a stone — By his servants. It was too large for him to roll himself.
── John Wesley《Explanatory Notes on Mark》
Chapter 15. Tried and Crucified
I. Pilate Tries Jesus
II. Suffering on the Cross
III. Laid by a Tomb
── Chih-Hsin Chang《An Outline of The New Testament》
"BINDING THE HANDS OF JESUS"
1. In Mk 15:1, we read of how the enemies of Jesus bound Him in
preparation for sending Him to Pilate:
"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."
2. As we read this, it is easy for our hearts to be filled with
sadness, and even with a touch of "righteous indignation" for that
crowd that bound Jesus in such a way
3. And yet, there are few today who are not guilty of binding the hands
of Jesus in a "figurative" way!
[To see what I mean, consider some of the various ways we can be guilty
today of "Binding The Hands of Jesus"...]
I. BY REFUSING TO OBEY THE GOSPEL
A. IN HIS GREAT LOVE FOR US, JESUS STRETCHED OUT HIS HANDS AND DIED
FOR OUR SINS...
1. Even today, through His gospel, He pleads with all to take
advantage of His vicarious suffering
2. He does not want us to suffer for the guilt of our own sins
3. In truth, then, His "tender invitation" of Mt 11:28-30 is
still being offered today
B. BUT WHEN ONE REFUSES TO OBEY THE GOSPEL...
1. The hands of Jesus are bound!
2. There is no way such a person can then receive the benefits of
3. For him or her, the death of Jesus was in vain!
C. IS THIS TRUE OF YOU?
1. It is...if you have not yet accepted the gospel by obeying the
commands of Jesus - cf. Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38
2. And if it is, then you will one day have to face the righteous
indignation of Jesus Himself! - cf. 2 Th 1:7-9
[But even those who obey the gospel can be guilty of "Binding The Hands
Of Jesus". How? One way is...]
II. BY REFUSING TO BE TRANSFORMED
A. CHRIST'S WILL IS THAT WE BE TRANSFORMED...
1. This transformation involves a renewal of the mind - Ro 12:
1-2; Ep 4:20-24
2. This renewal occurs as we read, study, and meditate upon the
Word of God - 1 Pe 1:23-2:2; Ph 4:8
B. BUT MANY CHRISTIANS NEGLECT THE INSTRUMENT BY WHICH WE CAN BE
1. We do not "receive with meekness the implanted word, which is
able to save your souls" - Ja 1:21b
2. Allowing other things to take precedence in our lives, we so
"bind the hands of Jesus" that we do not change!
C. ARE WE GUILTY OF THIS?
1. We are, if we neglect to study the Bible on our own!
2. We are, if we fail to take advantage of opportunities to study
3. Neglect the transforming power of the Word of God, and we are
just as guilty of "binding the hands of Jesus" as were those
who delivered Him to Pilate!
[We can also be guilty of "Binding The Hands Of Jesus"...]
III. BY REFUSING TO PRAY
A. JESUS HAS BECOME OUR "HIGH PRIEST"...
1. He became man for this very purpose - He 2:17-18
2. He has made it possible for us to boldly approach God's throne
of grace in prayer - He 4:14-16
3. As our high priest...
a. He is able to save those who come to God through Him - He
b. He "ever lives" to make intercession for us - He 7:25b
B. WHEN WE DON'T PRAY AS WE SHOULD...
1. Jesus cannot be our high priest, our intercessor!
2. Figuratively speaking, we have taken the "praying hands" of
Jesus and "bound" them behind His back!
C. ARE WE DOING THIS?
1. If so, what a travesty this is!
2. For here is Jesus...
a. Who "lives" to intercede for us
b. But Who can't, because we prevent Him from doing so by our
failure to pray!
[There is yet another way to be guilty of "Binding The Hands Of
IV. BY REFUSING TO DO OUR PART IN THE CHURCH
A. THE CHURCH IS DESCRIBED AS THE "BODY OF CHRIST" - Ep 1:22-23
1. As His body, we are individually members of one another - 1 Co
2. As members of one another, we are to care for one another - Ep
3. It is through such "mutual edification", that Christ provides
much of His help for the members of His body!
B. BUT WHEN WE FAIL TO DO OUR SHARE, AGAIN JESUS IS "BOUND"!
1. Just as our physical head can do little if our bodily members
fail to follow its leading, so it is with Jesus and His
2. Jesus could do so much more for His members, if only more of
the members did THEIR part!
C. HAVE YOU EVER CONSIDERED IT THIS WAY?
1. That by failing to do our part, we "handicap" the body of
2. That because of our neglect, or apathy, or lukewarmness...
a. Either the whole body of Christ suffers...
b. Or others are forced to do "double duty" in order to make
up the difference?
[Yes, there are many ways we can be just as guilty of "Binding The
Hands Of Jesus" today as were the religious leaders in delivering Jesus
to Pilate! But consider just one more...]
V. BY REFUSING TO SHARE THE GOSPEL WITH THE LOST
A. JESUS HAS MADE HIS DISCIPLES TO BE HIS "HANDS" IN TAKING THE
GOSPEL TO THE LOST...
1. Consider Mt 28:19-20; Mk 16:15-16; 1 Pe 2:9
2. In every case of conversion recorded in Acts, Jesus used a
disciple to tell the good news
3. Jesus works the same way today!
B. BUT TO THE DEGREE THAT WE KEEP THE "GOOD NEWS" TO OURSELVES...
1. We have "bound the hands" of Jesus once again!
2. We hinder Jesus from telling others of His wonderful grace!
C. ARE WE "BINDING THE HANDS OF JESUS" IN THIS WAY?
1. Every day, countless souls die with no hope of eternal life
2. This need not be, if more would make the sharing of the gospel
the primary concern in their lives!
3. Sadly, in too many cases the primary concern of Christians is
the pursuit of pleasure and acquisition of worldly treasures!
1. Yes, one does not have to literally "bind the hands of Jesus" to be
guilty of the same sort of offense that we read about in Mk 15:1;
as we have seen, there are many other ways as well!
2. Why not today, resolve to "loose the hands of Jesus" so that IN us
and THROUGH us He may accomplish His full desire? Which is...
a. To SAVE us!
b. To TRANSFORM us!
c. To USE us!