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Bible Commentaries
Mark 15

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New TestamentRobertson's Word Pictures

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Verse 1

In the morning (πρω). The ratification meeting after day. See on Matthew 26:1-5 for details.

Held a consultation (συμβουλιον ποιησαντες). So text of Westcott and Hort (Vulgate consilium facientes), though they give ετοιμασαντες in the margin. The late and rare word συμβουλιον is like the Latin consilium. If ετοιμασαντες is the correct text, the idea would be rather to prepare a concerted plan of action (Gould). But their action was illegal on the night before and they felt the need of this ratification after dawn which is described in Luke 22:66-71, who does not give the illegal night trial.

Bound Jesus (δησαντες τον Ιησουν). He was bound on his arrest (John 18:12) when brought before Annas who sent him on bound to Caiaphas (John 18:24) and now he is bound again as he is sent to Pilate (Mark 15:1; Matthew 27:2). It is implied that he was unbound while before Annas and then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.

Verse 2

Art thou the King of the Jews? (Συ ε ο βασιλευς των Ιουδαιων;). This is the only one of the charges made by the Sanhedrin to Pilate (Luke 23:2) that he notices. He does not believe this one to be true, but he has to pay attention to it or be liable to charges himself of passing over a man accused of rivalry and revolution against Caesar. John 18:28-32 gives the interview with Jesus that convinces Pilate that he is a harmless religious fanatic. See on Matthew 26:11.

Thou sayest (συ λεγεις). An affirmation, though in John 18:34-37 there is a second and fuller interview between Pilate and Jesus. "Here, as in the trial before the Sanhedrin, this is the one question that Jesus answers. It is the only question on which his own testimony is important and necessary" (Gould). The Jews were out on the pavement or sidewalk outside the palace while Pilate came out to them from above on the balcony (John 18:28) and had his interviews with Jesus on the inside, calling Jesus thither (John 18:33).

Verse 3

Accused him of many things (κατηγορουν αυτου πολλα). Imperfect tense, repeated accusations besides those already made. They let loose their venom against Jesus. One of the common verbs for speaking against in court (κατα and αγορευω). It is used with the genitive of the person and the accusative of the thing.

Verse 5

Marvelled (θαυμαζειν). Pilate was sure of the innocence of Jesus and saw through their envy (Mark 15:10), but he was hoping that Jesus would answer these charges to relieve him of the burden. He marvelled also at the self-control of Jesus.

Verse 6

Used to release (απελυεν). Imperfect tense of customary action where Matthew 27:15 has the verb ειωθε (was accustomed to).

They asked of him (παρηιτουντο). Imperfect middle, expressing their habit also.

Verse 7

Bound with them that had made insurrection (μετα των στασιαστων δεδεμενος). A desperate criminal, leader in the insurrection, sedition (εν τη στασε), or revolution against Rome, the very thing that the Jews up at Bethsaida Julias had wanted Jesus to lead (John 6:15). Barabbas was the leader of these rioters and was bound with them.

Had committed murder (φονον πεποιηκεισαν). Past perfect indicative without augment. Murder usually goes with such rioters and the priests and people actually chose a murderer in preference to Jesus.

Verse 8

As he was wont to do unto them (καθως εποιε αυτοις). Imperfect of customary action again and dative case.

Verse 9

The King of the Jews (τον βασιλεα των Ιουδαιων). That phrase from this charge sharpened the contrast between Jesus and Barabbas which is bluntly put in Matthew 27:17 "Barabbas or Jesus which is called Christ." See discussion there.

Verse 10

He perceived (εγινωσκεν). Imperfect tense descriptive of Pilate's growing apprehension from their conduct which increased his intuitive impression at the start. It was gradually dawning on him. Both Mark and Matthew give "envy" (φθονον) as the primary motive of the Sanhedrin. Pilate probably had heard of the popularity of Jesus by reason of the triumphal entry and the temple teaching.

Had delivered (παραδεδωκεισαν). Past perfect indicative without augment where Matthew 27:18 has the first aorist (kappa aorist) indicative παρεδωκαν, not preserving the distinction made by Mark. The aorist is never used "as" a past perfect.

Verse 11

Stirred up (ανεσεισαν).

Shook up like an earthquake (σεισμος). Matthew 27:20 has a weaker word, "persuaded" (επεισαν). Effective aorist indicative. The priests and scribes had amazing success. If one wonders why the crowd was fickle, he may recall that this was not yet the same people who followed him in triumphal entry and in the temple. That was the plan of Judas to get the thing over before those Galilean sympathizers waked up. "It was a case of regulars against an irregular, of priests against prophet" (Gould). "But Barabbas, as described by Mark, represented a popular passion, which was stronger than any sympathy they might have for so unworldly a character as Jesus--the passion for political liberty" (Bruce). "What unprincipled characters they were! They accuse Jesus to Pilate of political ambition, and they recommend Barabbas to the people for the same reason" (Bruce). The Sanhedrin would say to the people that Jesus had already abdicated his kingly claims while to Pilate they went on accusing him of treason to Caesar.

Rather (mƒllon). Rather than Jesus. It was a gambler's choice.

Verse 12

Whom ye call the King of the Jews (ον λεγετε τον βασιλεα των Ιουδαιων). Pilate rubs it in on the Jews (cf. verse Mark 15:9). The "then" (ουν) means since you have chosen Barabbas instead of Jesus.

Verse 13

Crucify him (Σταυρωσον αυτον). Luke 23:21 repeats the verb. Matthew 27:22 has it, "Let him be crucified." There was a chorus and a hubbub of confused voices all demanding crucifixion for Christ. Some of the voices beyond a doubt had joined in the hallelujahs to the Son of David in the triumphal entry. See on Matthew 27:23 for discussion of Mark 15:14.

Verse 15

To content the multitude (τω οχλω το ικανον ποιησα). A Latin idiom (satisfacere alicui), to do what is sufficient to remove one's ground of complaint. This same phrase occurs in Polybius, Appian, Diogenes Laertes, and in late papyri. Pilate was afraid of this crowd now completely under the control of the Sanhedrin. He knew what they would tell Caesar about him. See on Matthew 27:26 for discussion of the scourging.

Verse 16

The Praetorium (πραιτωριον). In Matthew 27:27 this same word is translated "palace." That is its meaning here also, the palace in which the Roman provincial governor resided. In Philippians 1:13 it means the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Mark mentions here "the court" (της αυλης) inside of the palace into which the people passed from the street through the vestibule. See further on Matthew about the "band."

Verse 17

Purple (πορφυραν). Matthew 27:28 has "scarlet robe" which see for discussion as well as for the crown of thorns.

Verse 19

Worshipped him (προσεκυνουν). In mockery. Imperfect tense as are ετυπτον (smote) and ενεπτυον (did spit upon). Repeated indignities.

Verse 20

They lead him out (εξαγουσιν αυτον). Vivid historical present after imperfects in verse Mark 15:19.

Verse 21

They compel (αγγαρευουσιν). Dramatic present indicative again where Matthew 27:32 has the aorist. For this Persian word see on Matthew 5:41; Matthew 27:32.

Coming out of the country (ερχομενον απ' αγρου). Hence Simon met the procession. Mark adds that he was "the father of Alexander and Rufus." Paul mentions a Rufus in Romans 16:13, but it was a common name and proves nothing. See on Matthew 27:32 for discussion of cross-bearing by criminals. Luke adds "after Jesus" (οπισθεν του Ιησου). But Jesus bore his own cross till he was relieved of it, and he walked in front of his own cross for the rest of the way.

Verse 22

They bring him (φερουσιν αυτον). Historical present again. See on Matthew 27:33 for discussion of Golgotha.

Verse 23

They offered him (εδιδουν αυτω). Imperfect tense where Matthew has the aorist εδωκαν.

Mingled with myrrh (εσμυρνισμενον). Perfect passive participle. The verb means flavoured with myrrh, myrrhed wine. It is not inconsistent with Matthew 27:34 "mingled with gall," which see.

But he received it not (ος δε ουκ ελαβεν). Note the demonstrative ος with δε. Matthew has it that Jesus was not willing to take. Mark's statement is that he refused it.

Verse 24

What each should take (τις τ αρη). Only in Mark. Note double interrogative, Who What? The verb αρη is first aorist active deliberative subjunctive retained in the indirect question. The details in Mark 15:24-32 are followed closely by Matthew 27:35-44. See there for discussion of details.

Verse 25

The third hour (ωρα τριτη). This is Jewish time and would be nine A.M. The trial before Pilate was the sixth hour Roman time (John 19:14), six A.M.

Verse 26

The superscription (η επιγραφη). The writing upon the top of the cross (our word epigraph). Luke 23:38 has this same word, but Matthew 27:37 has "accusation" (αιτιαν). See Matthew for discussion. John 19:19 has "title" (τιτλον).

Verse 32

Now come down (καταβατω νυν). Now that he is nailed to the cross.

That we may see and believe (ινα ιδωμεν κα πιστευσωμεν). Aorist subjunctive of purpose with ινα. They use almost the very language of Jesus in their ridicule, words that they had heard him use in his appeals to men to see and believe.

Reproached him (ωνειδιζον αυτον). Imperfect tense. They did it several times. Mark and Matthew both fail to give the story of the robber who turned to Christ on the Cross as told in Luke 23:39-43.

Verse 33

The sixth hour (ωρας εκτης). That is, noon (Jewish time), as the third hour was nine A.M. (Mark 15:25). See on Matthew 27:45 for discussion. Given also by Luke 23:44. Mark gives the Aramaic transliteration as does B in Matthew 27:45, which see for discussion.

Forsaken (εγκατελιπες). Some MSS. give ωνειδισας (reproached). We are not able to enter into the fulness of the desolation felt by Jesus at this moment as the Father regarded him as sin (2 Corinthians 5:21). This desolation was the deepest suffering. He did not cease to be the Son of God. That would be impossible.

Verse 35

He calleth Elijah (Ελειαν φωνε). They misunderstood the Ελω or Ελε (my God) for Elijah.

Verse 36

To take him down (καθελειν αυτον). Matthew 27:49 has "to save him" (σωσων), which see for discussion.

Verse 37

Gave up the ghost (εξεπνευσεν). Literally, breathed out. See "yielded up his spirit" in Matthew 27:50 for discussion for details. Mark uses this word εξεπνευσεν again in verse Mark 15:39.

Verse 39

The centurion (ο κεντυριων). A Latin word (centurio) used also in verse Mark 15:44 and here only in the N.T.

Which stood by over against him (ο παρεστηκως εξ εναντιας αυτου). This description alone in Mark, picturing the centurion "watching Jesus" (Matthew 27:54).

So (ουτως). With the darkness and the earthquake. See on Matthew 27:54 for discussion of "the Son of God," more probably "a Son of God."

Verse 40

And Salome (κα Σαλωμη). Apparently the "mother of the sons of Zebedee" (Matthew 27:56). Only in Mark.

Verse 41

Followed him and ministered unto him (ηκολουθουν κα διηκονουν αυτω). Two imperfects describing the long Galilean ministry of these three women and many other women in Galilee (Luke 8:1-3) who came up with him (α συναναβασα αυτω) to Jerusalem. This summary description in Mark is paralleled in Matthew 27:55 and Luke 23:49. These faithful women were last at the Cross as they stood afar and saw the dreadful end to all their hopes.

Verse 42

The preparation (παρασκευη). Mark explains the term as meaning "the day before the sabbath" (προσαββατον), that is our Friday, which began at sunset. See discussion on Matthew 27:57. The Jews had already taken steps to get the bodies removed (John 19:31).

Verse 43

A councillor of honourable estate (ευσχημων βουλευτης). A senator or member of the Sanhedrin of high standing, rich (Matthew 27:57).

Looking for the Kingdom of God (ην προσδεχομενος την βασιλειαν του θεου). Periphrastic imperfect. Also Luke 23:51. The very verb used by Luke of Simeon and Anna (Luke 2:25; Luke 2:38). Matthew 27:57 calls him "Jesus' disciple" while John 19:38 adds "secretly for fear of the Jews." He had evidently taken no public stand for Jesus before now.

Boldly (τολμησας). Aorist (ingressive) active participle, becoming bold. It is the glory of Joseph and Nicodemus, secret disciples of Jesus, that they took a bold stand when the rest were in terror and dismay. That is love psychology, paradoxical as it may seem.

Verse 44

If he were already dead (ε ηδη τεθνηκεν). Perfect active indicative with ε after a verb of wondering, a classical idiom, a kind of indirect question just as we say "I wonder if." Usually death by crucifixion was lingering. This item is only in Mark.

Whether he had been any while dead (ε παλα απεθανεν). B D read ηδη (already) again here instead of παλα (a long time). Mark does not tell the request of the Jews to Pilate that the legs of the three might be broken (John 19:31-37). Pilate wanted to make sure that Jesus was actually dead by official report.

Verse 45

Granted the corpse (εδωρησατο το πτωμα). This official information was necessary before the burial. As a matter of fact Pilate was probably glad to turn the body over to Joseph else the body would go to the potter's field. This is the only instance when πτωμα (cadaver, corpse) is applied to the body (σωμα) of Jesus, the term used in Matthew 27:59; Luke 23:53; John 19:40).

Verse 46

Wound (ενειλησεν). This word is only here in the N.T. As εντυλισσω is only in Matthew 27:59; Luke 23:53; John 20:7. Both verbs occur in the papyri, Plutarch, etc. They both mean to wrap, wind, roll in. The body of Jesus was wound in the linen cloth bought by Joseph and the hundred pounds of spices brought by Nicodemus (John 19:39) for burying were placed in the folds of the linen and the linen was bound around the body by strips of cloth (John 19:40). The time was short before the sabbath began and these two reverently laid the body of the Master in Joseph's new tomb, hewn out of a rock. The perfect passive participle (λελατομημενον) is from λατομος, a stonecutter (λως, stone, τεμνω, to cut). For further details see on Matthew 27:57-60. Luke 23:53 and John 19:41 also tell of the new tomb of Joseph. Some modern scholars think that this very tomb has been identified in Gordon's Calvary north of the city.

Against the door (επ την θυραν). Matthew has the dative τη θυρα without επ and adds the adjective "great" (μεγαν).

Verse 47

Beheld (εθεωρουν). Imperfect tense picturing the two Marys "sitting over against the sepulchre" (Matthew 27:61) and watching in silence as the shadows fell upon all their hopes and dreams. Apparently these two remained after the other women who had been beholding from afar the melancholy end (Mark 15:40) had left and "were watching the actions of Joseph and Nicodemus" (Swete). Probably also they saw the body of Jesus carried and hence they knew where it was laid and saw that it remained there (τεθειτα, perfect passive indicative, state of completion). "It is evident that they constituted themselves a party of observation" (Gould).

Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Mark 15". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/mark-15.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.
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