God’s Word of Mercy and Forgiveness
Mark 15:1-41: Jesus is questioned by Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea. Jesus is sentenced to death, and he is tortured and mocked and nailed to a cross. At noon the sky turns dark; and three hours later, Jesus calls out to God and dies.
Jesus before Pilate
(Matthew 27.1,2,11-14; Luke 23.1-5; John 18.28-38)
1Early in the morning the chief priests met hurriedly with the elders, the teachers of the Law, and the whole Council, and made their plans. They put Jesus in chains, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. 2Pilate questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “So you say.”
3The chief priests were accusing Jesus of many things, 4so Pilate questioned him again, “Aren’t you going to answer? Listen to all their accusations!”
5Again Jesus refused to say a word, and Pilate was amazed.
Jesus Is Sentenced to Death
(Matthew 27.15-26; Luke 23.13-25; John 18.39—19.16)
6At every Passover Festival Pilate was in the habit of setting free any one prisoner the people asked for. 7At that time a man named Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder in the riot. 8When the crowd gathered and began to ask Pilate for the usual favor, 9he asked them, “Do you want me to set free for you the king of the Jews?” 10He knew very well that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him because they were jealous.
11But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to ask, instead, that Pilate set Barabbas free for them. 12Pilate spoke again to the crowd, “What, then, do you want me to do with the one you call the king of the Jews?”
13They shouted back, “Crucify him!”
14“But what crime has he committed?” Pilate asked.
They shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
15Pilate wanted to please the crowd, so he set Barabbas free for them. Then he had Jesus whipped and handed him over to be crucified.
The Soldiers Make Fun of Jesus
(Matthew 27.27-31; John 19.2,3)
16The soldiers took Jesus inside to the courtyard of the governor’s palace and called together the rest of the company. 17They put a purple robe on Jesus, made a crown out of thorny branches, and put it on his head. 18Then they began to salute him: “Long live the King of the Jews!” 19They beat him over the head with a stick, spat on him, fell on their knees, and bowed down to him. 20When they had finished making fun of him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.
Jesus Is Crucified
(Matthew 27.32-44; Luke 23.26-43; John 19.17-27)
21 On the way they met a man named Simon, who was coming into the city from the country, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was from Cyrene and was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) 22They took Jesus to a place called Golgotha, which means “The Place of the Skull.” 23There they tried to give him wine mixed with a drug called myrrh, but Jesus would not drink it. 24 Then they crucified him and divided his clothes among themselves, throwing dice to see who would get which piece of clothing. 25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The notice of the accusation against him said: “The King of the Jews.” 27They also crucified two bandits with Jesus, one on his right and the other on his left.
29 People passing by shook their heads and hurled insults at Jesus: “Aha! You were going to tear down the Temple and build it back up in three days! 30Now come down from the cross and save yourself!”
31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the Law made fun of Jesus, saying to one another, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! 32Let us see the Messiah, the king of Israel, come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him!”
And the two who were crucified with Jesus insulted him also.
The Death of Jesus
(Matthew 27.45-56; Luke 23.44-49; John 19.28-30)
33At noon the whole country was covered with darkness, which lasted for three hours. 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud shout, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why did you abandon me?”
35Some of the people there heard him and said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah!” 36 One of them ran up with a sponge, soaked it in cheap wine, and put it on the end of a stick. Then he held it up to Jesus’ lips and said, “Wait! Let us see if Elijah is coming to bring him down from the cross!”
37With a loud cry Jesus died.
38 The curtain hanging in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39The army officer who was standing there in front of the cross saw how Jesus had died. “This man was really the Son of God!” he said.
40 Some women were there, looking on from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of the younger James and of Joseph, and Salome. 41They had followed Jesus while he was in Galilee and had helped him. Many other women who had come to Jerusalem with him were there also.
Today’s Key Verse: Mark 15:39
The army officer who was standing there in front of the cross saw how Jesus had died. “This man was really the Son of God!” he said.
Was Pilate reluctant to sentence Jesus to death? Why or why not? What persuaded him to issue the death sentence? How was Jesus mocked and insulted by the soldiers and the crowd? Reread verse 39. What do you think is significant about the army officer’s confession?
Lord Jesus, you willingly offered your life for my sake and took my sins with you to the cross. As I reflect on your sacrifice, I offer you my repentant heart and thank you for your undying love for me. Amen.
Mark 15:42-47: Jesus is buried.