Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.5. Christ, betrayed to the Gentiles, standing before Pilate at the Tribunal of Temporal Authority: a. The Examination. Christ and the Accusers. The Confession, the Accusations, and the Lord’s Silence. b. The Judge’s attempt to deliver. Christ and Barabbas. The Outcry of the Enemy, the Silence of the Lord. The Surrender. The Mocking. MARK 15:1–15
(Parallels: Matt. 27:1–26; Luke 23:1–25; John 18:1–16.)
1And straightway in the morning1the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. 2And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering, said unto him, Thou sayest it. 3And the chief priests accused him of many things; but he answered nothing. 4And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee. 5But Jesus yet 6answered nothing: so that Pilate marvelled. Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. 7And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him,2 who had committed murder in the insurrection. 8And the multitude, crying aloud,3 began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. 9But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? (10For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.) 11But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. 12And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews ? 13And they cried out again, Crucify him. 14Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? 15And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Comp. the parallels in Matthew and Luke.—Mark, with Matthew, takes notice of the second formal council-meeting on the morning of the crucifixion: he, like Luke, brings more distinctly into view the circumstance that the whole Sanhedrim led Christ away to Pilate; and with him omits the end of Judas, recorded by Matthew, the dream of Pilate’s wife, the washing of the hands, and the cry—“His blood be on us, and our children.” Again, Mark, like Matthew, passes over the fact that Jesus was sent to the bar of Herod, which Luke records; the full examination before Pilate, omitted by all the Synoptics, related by John; and, finally, the repeated hesitations of Pilate in condemning. Mark merely notices what John and Luke relate very fully, that many additional accusations were raised against Jesus, regarding which He maintained an unbroken silence. He limits himself, like Matthew, particularly to the two chief features in the humiliation of Jesus before Pilate: His confession of His Messiahship (King of the Jews), and His being placed side by side with Barabbas. The characterization of Barabbas he gives more accurately, in a manner similar to Luke. He marks the decision of Pilate in a peculiar way, Mark 15:15. It is worthy of note that he, along with Matthew, represents the scourging and mocking of the Lord in Pilate’s prætorium (Luke, on the other hand, relates the putting to shame of Jesus in the palace of Herod) to be part of the crucifixion-agonies; consequently, the second unsuccessful attempt of Pilate to release Him, which, according to John, he sought to effect by bringing forth the scourged One to the people, is passed over unnoticed. The assembling of the populace before the prætorium, and the more exact designation of the prætorium, are peculiar to Mark.
Mark 15:6. He released unto them one prisoner.—This was a voluntary custom of the procurator.
Mark 15:7. In the insurrection.—In which he had been captured. One of the numberless Jewish insurrections; not known more exactly. “Paulus refers to JOSEPH. Antiq. 18, 4.” Meyer.
Mark 15:8. That had gone up.4—The stream of the populace comes, namely, back from the palace of Herod, whither Pilate had sent the Lord. Meanwhile the priests have prepared their people, have instigated and instructed them.
When he had scourged Him, to be crucified.—John, viewing matters from the psychological stand-point, mentions the scourging among the acts of Pilate, as the final attempt to deliver Jesus; Mark and Matthew, viewing the events from the historical stand-point, judge from this act that all is decided, and they look accordingly upon the scourging as the opening act in the awful tragedy of the crucifixion, παρέδωκε φραγελλώσας. Both are equally correct points of view. The scourging should have moved the people; it only led them to obduracy. And, as the matter issued, the crucifixion had already begun. In relating this circumstance, Matthew emphasizes the fact that the scourging resulted in the yielding up of Christ to the Jews (φραγελλώσας παρέδωκεν); Mark points out that the scourging was the opening scene in the crucifixion, and took place in consequence of the surrender.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. Comp. Matthew.
2. Christ before Pilate, beside Barabbas, amid the soldiers: a threefold climax in the world’s judgment upon the Judge of the world.
3. Barabbas, the murderer, a representative of the first murderer, the father of lies, as Christ stood there in the name of His Father.—The people’s choice between the two: 1. The miscalculated and improper juxtaposition caused by the political party, a self-condemnation of worldly polity; 2. the evil advice of the chief priests, a self-condemnation of the hierarchical guardianship of the people; 3. the horrifying choice, a self-condemnation of the self destroying populace.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See Matthew.—The world assembled to judge the Lord: 1. Jerusalem (the chief council); 2. Rome (Pilate); 3. the whole wide world (the soldiery).—Jesus condemned as Messiah, as the Christ of God. As Christ: 1. Condemned by the chief council; 2. given over to judgment by Pilate; 3. mocked by the soldiery.—The surrender of the prisoner at the paschal festival (probably a Passover-drama to represent the atonement for the first-born of Israel) is here a judgment upon completed blindness.—Barabbas is made by the Jews to represent the first-born of Israel, Christ the first-born of Egypt.—Christ justified upon His trial by the hostile judges: 1. By the judge: he seeks to free Him; 2. by the accusers and the people: their petition for the release of Barabbas reveals the bitterness of their hate; 3. by the soldiers, who adorn Him with the symbols of His patience and His spiritual glory.—The very mockery of truth must witness, even by its caricatures, to the glorious original.
STARKE:—When superior judges act unjustly, they accumulate upon their heads much more guilt than the subordinate authorities; for in that case the oppressed have no further appeal.—QUESNEL:—The assembling of the magistrates is orderly and beautiful: but the more proper their appearance, the more sinful the abuse of their authority in the oppression of the innocent.—HEDINGER:—When innocence itself must appear and be accused before the judges, is it anything strange that Thou, precious Jesus, art persecuted by the devil, accused, slandered, and condemned?—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Liars’ mouths can devise much; enough, if thou art guiltless.—Envy is hateful in every man, especially in ministers of the Gospel, who should content themselves in God.—QUESNEL:—What envy did here against Christ, the Chief Shepherd, that it does still to His servants, and will not cease to do till the world’s end.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—If the rulers among the people, who should put a stop to evil, themselves instigate and make the people sin, then must Christ be crucified.—HEDINGER:—In the last day the heathen will put many Christians to shame.—QUESNEL:—Love of honor and the fear of the world may lead a judge (who is not firmly settled in his love to justice) to many sins.—One single sinful passion makes slaves of men.—Natural honor a weak shield against temptation.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—The King of glory wears a crown of thorns, in order that He may take the curse away from the earth, and gain for us the crown of holiness.—The crowns of princes, also, have their thorns. Should they wear these to the honor of the crowned Jesus, then will they discharge aright the duties of their difficult office.—Hypocrites and the godless still insult Christ, though they even bow the knee at His name.
BRAUNE:—The deeper He went down in suffering, the less He pleased them.—All that God did to perplex the enemies of Jesus in their acts, was in vain (Peter’s tears, the acknowledgment of Judas, the silence of Herod on the chief point, the witness of Pilate, the dream of Procula; the comparison between the insurrectionist and murderer Barabbas, and Jesus in His majesty and tranquil greatness).—BRIEGER:—Pilate did not concede the truthfulness of the accusations of the Jews, yet condemned the Son of God to death. He thereby fulfilled in two respects the wisdom of God:—First, that the Lord should be crucified, and not stoned; second, that Jews and Gentiles should unite in His death.—BAUER:—Sad is the scene which here meets our eyes; as it ever is when goodness has to protect itself by the votes of the masses.
[Mark 15:1.—Codd. B., C., D., Lachmann, Tischendorf read only πρωί̈.]
[Mark 15:7.—Codd. B., C., D., Lachmann, Tischendorf read στασιαστῶν.]
[Mark 15:8.—Codd. B., D., Lachmann, Tischendorf, ἀναβάς instead of ἀναβοήσας.]
[Lange adopts the reading ἀναβάς in his translation. Luther’s version does the same.—Ed.]
And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.6. Jesus on Golgotha.—His Death, and the Death signs. a. The Mockings and the Lord’s Silence. b. The Crucifixion; and Blasphemy against, and Silence of, the Lord. c. The World Darkened; the Anguish-cry, and the Silence of Victory; the Death-shriek, and the Death silence of the Lord. d. The Rent in the Temple-vail, and the Silence of God upon the End of the Old Covenant. MARK 15:16–38.
(Parallels: Matt. 27:27–53; Luke 23:26–46; John 19:17–30.)
A. Mark 15:16–19
16And the soldiers led him away into the hall called Prætorium; and they call together the whole band. 17And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, 18And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! 19And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and, bowing their knees, worshipped him.
B. Mark 15:20–32
20And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own5clothes 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 andRufus, to bear his cross. 22And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. 23And they gave him to drink6wine mingled withmyrrh: but he received it not. 24And when they had crucified him, they parted his gar ments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. 25And it was the third hour; and they crucified him. 26And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. 28And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.729And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,830Save thyself, and come down9from the cross. 31Likewise also the chief priests, mocking, said among themselves, with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. 32Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.
C. Mark 15:33–37
33And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?10which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thouforsaken me? 35And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. 36And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down. 37And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.
D. Mark 15:38
38And the vail of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
Comp. the parallels in Matthew and Luke.—Mark points out more distinctly the ironical consciousness with which the cowardly Pilate yielded to the demands of the populace. With Matthew, he employs φραγελλώσας παρέδωκε, in which the thought is involved that the surrender was decided in the scourging. In describing the mocking, he omits, like John, the mention of the reed, which the soldiers, according to Matthew, forced into the Lord’s hand, or sought to force, and with which they struck Him (probably because He let it fall). Mark designates Simon of Cyrene the most particularly: he is the father of Alexander and Rufus. The address of the Lord to the daughters of Jerusalem, as they were following, which Luke reports, is omitted by Mark, as well as by Matthew. The bitter wine he names myrrh-wine. He makes the crucifixion to begin at the third hour. The quotation of Jesus from Isa. 53:12, which we consider genuine, is given by him alone. The address of Jesus to Mary and to John, beneath the cross, is passed over by him as by the other Synoptics; also the repentance of the thief, in which he agrees with Matthew. He describes more graphically than the other Evangelists the mockery of the passers by, using the word οὐὰ for this purpose; the derision and irony of the priests is given in their own words. He records in the original Syriac, Eloi, Eloi, etc. Of the man who gave the Lord vinegar to drink, he says indefinitely, “A certain one,” and that he called to the others, “Let alone.” Of the seven sayings of the Crucified, he records, like Matthew, only the Eli, Eli, and the last loud, piercing cry of Christ, without stating what the Lord expressed in it.
Mark 15:16. Into the hall (within, into the inner court).—Comp. Note on Matt. 27:27. They conducted Him into the palace-court, which we may easily suppose was surrounded by the neighboring buildings of the governor’s palace, forming a kind of barracks.
Mark 15:17. A scarlet military mantle (see on Matt. 27:28) was made to represent the imperial purple; hence the designation a purple (πορφυραν), a purple robe, as Mark and John describe it. And because this is the symbolic import of the robe, there is no discrepancy. The scarlet military cloak no more required to be a real purple, than the crown of thorns required to be a real crown, or the reed a real sceptre; for the whole transaction was an ironical drama, and such a one, too, that the infamous abuse might be readily perceived through the pretended glorification. The staff must be a reed, the symbol of impotence; the crown must injure and pierce the brow; and so too must the purple present the symbol of miserable, pretended greatness: and this was done by its being an old camp mantle.
Mark 15:21. And they compel.—Upon the term ἀγγαρεύειν, comp. Note on Matt. 5:41.—The father of Alexander and Rufus.—These men must have been well-known persons in the then existing Church; and they testify to the personal, lively recollection and originality of Mark, as does his “Timæus, the son of Bartimæus.” It is most natural to regard them as persons well known to the Church at Rome. On this account, Rufus, whom Paul greets, Rom. 16:13, may well be this Rufus. The Alexander, however, who is spoken of in the Acts of the Apostles, Mark 19:33, appears not to have been a Christian, but to have belonged to the hostile Judaism. (LANGE’S Apostol. Zeitalter, ii p. 275 f.) Whether he was the same person as Alexander the coppersmith, who was the enemy of Paul, cannot be positively made out. Meyer: “But how common were these names, and how many of the then well-known Christians are strangers to us. In ‘Actis Andreœ et Petri’ both are mentioned as the companions of Peter in Rome.” They are, of course, here brought forth from the treasures of the evangelical tradition.—Coming out of the country.—Meyer will have it, that this fact, mentioned likewise by Luke, is a proof that Jesus was not crucified on the first day of the feast. But in this opinion, no attention is paid to the circumstances: 1. That the country, or the country-seat as it might be termed, from which Simon was coming, might have lain within an easy Sabbath-day’s journey of Jerusalem (Meyer maintains,—If so, it must have been stated!); 2. that in case the Passover began with Friday, the second day, as Sabbath and Passover together, would be the chief festival-day; 3. that it is by no means historical to admit no contraventions of the Sabbath-law, and, furthermore, that it would be the very thing to turn the attention of the multitude to Simon, if there was anything remarkable, anything offensive, in his appearing at such a time. Such results are by no means uncommon in the similar instances of multitudes running together; so that the notice rather supports the view which adopts the first feast-day as the one. Jesus was crucified under the pretext that He was the great Sabbath-breaker. The people, in their witticism, might perhaps say, See, there comes another Sabbath breaker from the country; let him suffer a little along with the other.
Mark 15:22. Golgotha.—Meyer makes Golgotha genitive11(as if, Golgotha’s place). Because the translation is κρανίου τόπος. But the question is, Has not τόπος in the first instance a more general import,—the place (Golgotha)? John retranslates κρανίου τόπος into Hebrew, Golgotha; Matthew also names the place, Golgotha; Luke simply, Skull. No doubt it is strange that Mark has τόπος following Golgotha. Probably the place was called sometimes Skull, and sometimes Place of a Skull, and Mark gives the more exact designation. See on Matt. 27:33.
Mark 15:23. They gave Him; that is, they offered Him myrrh-wine. This myrrh-wine cannot, from the different descriptions of Mark, be identical with the vinegar, or the wine-vinegar, of which a drink was at a later period given to Jesus. Most likely the wine was in each case the same, but the narcotic intermixture was omitted in the second instance.
Mark 15:24. Parted his garments.—John gives the more exact description. The prevailing point of view among the first three Evangelists was the making the division an occasion for gambling. Comp. Note on Matt. 27:35. The form of the play is not closely described. Meyer: “We must leave unsettled the question, Whether the lot-casting was performed with dice, or the lots were shaken in some vessel (a helmet), and that which first fell out decided in favor of him to whom it belonged.”
Mark 15:25. And it was the third hour.—Upon the apparent discrepancy between this declaration of Mark and Matthew, and the statement of John, Mark 19:14, comp. Note on Matt. 27:45. We cannot avoid, however, drawing attention to the striking relation subsisting between the third and the sixth hour. At the third hour, by the crucifixion of Jesus, the endurance of the cross for His people was decided, as it meets us in the superscription, The King of the Jews, and is represented in the crucifixion of the thief (and the later deridings of the chief priests, etc.). But when the sixth hour came, and the darkness spread over the whole land—literally, over the whole world and earth—then was the judgment of the whole world decided. The third hour was the dying hour of Judaism: in the sixth hour, the dying hour of the old world was present to the view in typical signs. We have here, also, to carefully note the relation between the superscription, which according to Mark was decided upon about the third hour, and the declaration of John, that it was about the sixth hour: “And he saith to the Jews, Behold your King! But they cried out, Away with Him, away, crucify Him.” When the third hour had come, and it was advancing to the sixth, then was the crucifixion of Jesus decided in His being scourged, in accordance with the judgment of the people and of Pilate; but in this was, also, the crucifixion of the Jewish people themselves determined, which was first made apparent in the crucifixion of the two thieves in company with Jesus. About the sixth hour, according to John, the judgment of the world was decided along with that of Judaism—the presage of the dies iræ presented itself; that is to say, John has made this sign of the third hour to be the decisive, universal symbol, and has, on this account, probably brought it into connection with the sixth hour.
Mark 15:27. And with Him they crucify.—As to the alleged difference between the accounts of Mark and Luke, consult Note on Matt. 27:38, 44.
Mark 15:34. Eloi.—See Note on Matt. 27:46.
Mark 15:36. Let alone; let us see.—According to Meyer, this is contradictory to the account given by Matthew, 27:49. But it is not to be overlooked, that there is no reason why, in this moment of the intensest excitement, two divisions might not make the same exclamation, and that, too, in different senses,—the one mocking, the other speaking more earnestly. (Comp. the scene in SHAKESPEARE’S Macbeth after the murder.) If this sympathizer meant it humanely with his cry, “Let alone,” perhaps the idea shot through him, that Elias might interpose in the last extremity.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. The death.—The death of humanity in its life-germ is here completed in the death of Jesus. Considered in this light, Christ’s death is prophetical of the great dissolution of the world, to ensue at the end of all things. The extinction of the primary life: Christ condemned, His rights unacknowledged; derided, and by this derision looked upon by the world as destroyed; led forth, robbed, crucified, and in this act rejected in His person, and with His work, as the curse of the world; blasphemed, and so made to pronounce sentence of death upon the obdurate; Christ dead upon the cross. Hence there is announced, in presages, the future extinction of the derivative life, (i. e., the death of the world): The sun of the old world darkens at mid-day; the holy of holies of the divine ordinance in the old human world vanishes like a vision of the night, when the temple-vail rends asunder. All is now over with the old world; it has but to live out its remnant of life. It has judged itself; and in that self-condemnation lay God’s condemnation,—a condemnation which nothing but the conquering love of Christ could turn into a blessing.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
See Matthew; also the preceding reflections.—Christ was, notwithstanding, the King of the Jews the whole crucifixion through. This is seen: 1. In the accusation of His enemies; 2. in the impression produced upon Pilate, and in his decision; 3. in the kingly ornaments which the soldiers placed upon Him; 4. in the train which bore Him forth with them out of Jerusalem; 5. in the superscription on the cross; 6. in the terror which breaks forth in the blasphemy of His foes; 7. in the miracles accompanying His death.—The great dying on Golgotha: 1. There dieth the King of the Jews; 2. there dieth the Son of God; 3. there dieth the old world; 4. there dieth old sin; 5. there dieth old death.—Simon of Cyrene and his sons; or, the everlasting memory of the cross-bearers and their children.—Simon; or, how man becomes unconsciously separated from his common-placeness, and involved in the great history of the cross.—The terrifying world-darkness at bright mid-day forms a symbol of the terrifying world darkness spread over mankind by their blindness of heart.—Christ the clear light of the world in this night of the world.—His heart and His eye are fixed most earnestly on God during this world judgment; and that preserves the world, which is lost in itself, from sinking into the abyss.—The unholy and the holy Golgotha: 1. The unholy: men of violence, drunkards, gamblers, thieves, blaspheming priests. 2. The holy: the great Sufferer, the temperate One in holy clearness of soul and knowledge, the Laborer, the Warrior of God, the Supplicant.—[The potion rejected and the potion accepted, or holy refreshment in the conflict of suffering enjoyed after the example of Christ: 1. As refreshment at the right time; 2. in the right place; 3. in the right measure 4. in the right consecration.]—The despair in the seeming triumph, and the triumph in the seeming despair: 1. In the conduct and mockery of the enemies; 2. in the supplicatory cry of the Lord: My God, etc.—The signs of hellish madness in the blasphemies with which the chief priests end their work.—Let alone, let us see; or, how, at the life-flame of the dying Jesus, a new life has kindled in the dying world: 1. From the horrors of His death springs the horror of the world; 2. from His trust in God, the world’s belief; 3. from His pity, the compassion of the world.—Let alone, let us see: or, this history is not yet completed; it is only beginning at the time when it seems to approach its completion.—The death-shriek of the Lord is the great waking call to a new life for the world of man.
STARKE:—QUESNEL:—Christ, by becoming the derision of His creatures, has atoned for the criminality of the creatures in mocking God and religion.—Many would willingly pass by the cross of Christ; but, before they are aware of it, they are laid hold of, and forced into companionship with Christ in suffering.—Participation with Jesus in the cross, is that which alone makes our name in truth eternally renowned, and prevents it from passing into forgetfulness.—At the end, the world is bitter as gall, but heaven is sweet.—HEDINGER:—View, O my soul, in faith this picture of martyrdom!—Christ has been reckoned with the transgressors; hence we may console ourselves, that we shall come to God’s blessed companionship, and the company of the holy angels.—The understanding, in its wisdom, is offended at the cross of Christ.—He succeeds ill in the faith, who must see (John 20:29), and who will believe when he pleases (John 6:44).—Christ died for thee; be thou ready to die for Him.—When the true Lamb of God was offered, all the Levitical offerings found their completion.
BRAUNE:—They caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him, Matt. 21:39.—God’s wrath is heavier to bear than Christ’s cross.—Isa. 53:12.—“My God,” etc. Let us imitate Him in the employment of the Holy Scriptures; also, that, whet in the anguish of our hearts we cannot pray any more in our own words, we may allow the Spirit, whose work the holy word is, to represent us with groanings that cannot be uttered.
BRIEGER:—And they that passed by. So thoroughly helpless was Jesus upon the cross, that this crowd easily persuaded themselves that all was deception that they had seen and heard of Jesus.—The chief priests. So spake Satan, too, in the wilderness: If Thou be the Son of God, command that these stones, etc. To self-help he there challenged the Holy One of God: here he does the same through his well-approved servants.—Ps. 2:5.—The darkness. God must witness against these murderers.—In the destruction of the holy of holies, Jehovah destroyed the temple itself. The Most Holy was taken forth from the city of Jerusalem and laid outside the gate upon Golgotha. There, too, was a vail rent, even the flesh of Christ (Heb. 10:20).—GOSSNER, on Mark 15:30:—Self-help.—One might often free oneself by a mere word. But if the truth and the honor of God suffer by that word, one may not speak it.—His death was the rising sun for the spirit-world; and therefore the world’s natural sunlight veiled itself before Him. (LAMPE:—The sun set over Christ, and rose for me.)
[Mark 15:20.—Codd. B., C., Lachmann, Tischendorf read αὐτοῦ instead of τὰ ἴδια (A., Receptus).]
[Mark 15:23.—Codd. B., C.*, L., Tischendorf omit πιεῖν.]
Mark 15:28.—This verse is wanting in A., B., C., D., X.; and Griesbach and Tischendorf have decided against it. But it is found in P., in Origen, Eusebius, and the Versions. The verse has probably been omitted, because it was supposed to involve a discrepancy between Mark and Luke, as in Luke 22:37 the quotation is referred to the apprehension of Jesus. (Lange might have added, as supporting his view, L., Δ., 1, 13, 69. Alford’s remark, [which Meyer also makes,] that Mark rarely quotes from prophecy, however, is deserving of attention.—Trs.)
Mark 15:29.—The best MSS. read οἰκοδομῶν τρισὶν ὴμέραις.
Mark 15:30.—Codd. B., D., L., Δ., Lachmann, Tischendorf read καταβάς instead of κατάβα (Receptus).]
Mark 15:34.—The words ἐλωί̈, &c., are differently written in the MSS. Lachmann reads λεμὰ σαβαχθανι: Tischendorf, λεμὰ σαβακτανεί (ed. 1865); Fritzsche, λιμᾶ; Receptus, λαμμα σαβαχθανί.]
[Tischendorf (ed. 1865) reads ἐπὶ τὸν γολγοθᾶν.—Ed.)
And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.7. The Descent of Jesus into the Realm of Death. His Death, and the Tokens of the New Life. MARK 15:39–47
(Parallels: Matt. 27:54–66; Luke 23:39–56; John 19:31–42.)
39And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out,12and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. 40There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; 41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with 42him unto Jerusalem. And now, when the even was come, (because it was the 43preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,)13 Joseph of Arimathea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in14 boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and, calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. 45And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body15 to Joseph. And he bought 46fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid16 him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre. 47And Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of Joses,17 beheld where he was laid.18
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
See Matthew and Luke.—In the account of the centurion’s exclamation, Mark harmonizes with Matthew: the occasion of it he makes, characteristically, to have been the loud cry of the expiring Jesus. The three women beneath the cross, he mentions, like Matthew; also Salome by name, adding many other women, whom he does not specialize. Still more generally and comprehensively is this sorrowing circle alluded to by Luke. Like the other two Synoptics, Mark is less full in his narration of the burial than John; nevertheless he declares with exactness, as do John and Luke, the day to have been the παρασκευή. Nicodemus is missing here; Joseph of Arimathea is described as the disciple of Jesus in words different from Matthew, and more explicitly than Luke: “Who waited for the kingdom of God.” In this, the Petrine idea of the kingdom appears. That the step of Joseph was a bold one; that Pilate called the centurion, and assured himself of the certainty of Jesus’ death: these are features which are peculiar to Mark.
Mark 15:39. Said, Truly this man.—Comp. Note upon Matthew.—The noticing of the motive of the centurion’s cry, viz.: that he saw that Christ κράξας ἐξέπνευσεν, is peculiar to Mark, and is strikingly characteristic of him. The Lion of Judah is, even in His departing, a dying lion. The expression of a wondrous power of life and spirit in the last sign of life, the triumphant shout in death, was to the warrior, who had learned to know death from a totally different side upon the battle-fields, a new revelation. Theophylact: ού̔τω δεσποτικῶς ἐξέπνευσε. De Wette, following some others, gives but a weak conception: He saw in the speedier death of Jesus a favor from the gods. As to the monstrously gnostic explanation of the passage given by Baur, consult Meyer.
Mark 15:40. James the Less.—Meyer makes this remark apply solely to the stature. Comp., on the contrary, Judges 6:15. No doubt it points to a second James, rather than to James the disciple in the stricter sense, since James the son of Alpheus, as he is elsewhere termed, was not the brother of James the Greater. Comp. Note on Matthew. That this Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses is identical with Mary the wife of Alpheus, is proved by John 19:25.
Mark 15:42. And now, when the even was come, because.—We cannot construe this passage: Because it was even, Joseph came. Reasons: 1. The Jews, indeed, who, according to John, prayed Pilate to remove the bodies, had no other ground for the request than that the next day was the Sabbath. Joseph, on the contrary, had quite a different motive. He wished to entomb the Lord’s body with respect, and for this purpose could only employ the circumstance that the Jews themselves wished it removed. The connection of the words, in ἐπὲὶ ἦν, κ.τ.λ., with ἐλθὼν ’Ιωσήφ, κ.τ.λ., would be, notwithstanding all that is said to the contrary, very clumsy; and the correction ἦλθεν, moreover, goes to prove this. 3. Then had Joseph in a legal sense come too late. He must come before the evening. Accordingly, we understand the passage thus: between ὀψία and ὀψία there was a difference (sunsetting, and twilight); upon the evening preceding a feast, the earlier ὀψία was observed. About this time Joseph appeared upon Golgotha, and then he went to Pilate.—Was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath.—See Note on Matthew. Meyer says: “Here, accordingly, there is not a trace that this Friday was itself a festival.” The trace is given fully, Mark 14:12. If the day mentioned there was the 14th Nisan, then the following day must have been the 15th Nisan. Besides, we know that upon a Passover-feast, where the second day of the feast was at the same time a Sabbath, upon this day, according to the Jewish ideas of the Sabbath, the chief feast fell, as is distinctly shown in John 19:31. See WIESELER, Chron. Synop. p. 386. By the Sabbath occurring upon the second day of the feast, the first feast-day became the preparation, the day before the Sabbath.
Mark 15:43. Came, and went in boldly—He had come; had seen what occurred as the bones of the crucified were broken; knew that Jesus was about to be taken down; and now he felt that there was no time to be lost, and hence he dared to ask.
Mark 15:44. Whether He had been any while (already long) dead, πάλαι.—Before the return of the centurion. He wished to be sure as to what he did.
Mark 15:45. Gave the body.—Joseph being known as a wealthy man, we might have expected, from the character of Pilate, that he would have extorted money, because the bodies were frequently sold (see the quotations in Meyer). This generosity was the mark of a strange state of mind. Probably he was glad to hear that Jesus was really dead, because the Saviour in His higher nature had grown awful to him.
Mark 15:47. Where He was laid: ποῦ τέθειται.—From this time onward, there appears to have been a relation of confidence and friendship between the old disciples (the women), and the new disciples (Joseph and Nicodemus). In consequence of this new-born confidence and friendship, the Galilean women enter without hesitation the garden of the rich counsellor, and kneel down before the grave. According to Mark and Luke, their intention was at the same time to mark accurately the grave; already they were thinking of the anointing after the Sabbath. Bauer: It was not always the custom in Israel to employ a shroud in burying, and the shortness of time on, this occasion did not admit of it.
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. See the parallel passages in Matthew.
2. The signs of the new life, which present themselves in the death of Jesus.
3. The Lord’s death-cry, as expressing the might of His life and spirit, was the awakening of the heathen captain. Death is swallowed up in victory, 1 Cor. 15. The death of believers is henceforth a new death, the prospect of a new world, the presentation of a new world for contemplation.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
The last word of the Jewish priest: He was a blasphemer, is contradicted by, the first word of the heathen soldier: He was the Son of God.—Golgotha becomes changed by the Lord’s death: 1. The enemies, mockers, and blasphemers have vanished; 2. the friends, confessors, and worshippers appear.—The alternation of life and death in the dying hour of Christ: 1. While He still lived, all sank in death; 2. when He died, all awoke to a new life.—With Christ’s death, the presentiments of His resurrection spring up in the minds of believers.—The miraculous workings of the death of Jesus upon those who come under its influence, so different and yet so uniform: 1. So different: the heathen, Roman warrior, the emblem of the Roman Empire shattered to its foundations; the timid Jewish women transformed into heroines; the honorable Jewish counsellor, a Christian grave-digger to the Lord; Pilate, the proud man of the world, himself overcome by the spirit of mildness. 2. So uniform: all agree in the self-forgetful manifestation of their homage, and in an expression of readiness to do or to suffer, evidencing the beginning of a new life.—The soft sleep of the Saviour, and His sacred watchers: two female disciples on Good Friday, two angels on Easter morning.—The little congregation at the grave of Jesus, the germ of all Christian congregations.—All Christian Churches are Churches of the Holy Sepulchre.
STARKE:—Christ is also the heathen’s Saviour.—Nova Bibl. Tub.:—Even in the assembly of the wicked, and in a godless council, there may be a pious councillor; therefore beware of impious judgments.—QUESNEL:—God knows where to find persons who will carry out His plans, how dangerous soever they may be.—What appears to be destroyed, will turn out well at the end. Therefore despair not, dear Christian; believe and trust.—Whosoever hazards anything for the Lord, God will enable that venturer to succeed.—The counsel of the godless never succeeds; that of the righteous stands sure.—Look more to Christ’s glory than to self-interest and personal praise.—It is a beautiful work of love when the rich bury the poor.—Let the grave be as deep and as well-guarded as it may, the omnipotence of God will open it, and bring forth the dead.—BRAUNE:—The Head, like the members, was carried to resurrection through the grave.
BRIEGER:—The pious confessors (the first, the penitent thief; the second, the captain) condemn the chief council and all the people, Isa. 53:9. He was to have been buried, like other transgressors, on Golgotha. The heavenly Father had decreed otherwise.—BAUER:—From this time forward, God’s witnesses for the crucified Jesus come forward into view.
[Mark 15:39.—Codd. B., L., Tischendorf omit κράξας; Lachmann retains it with Receptus.]
[Mark 15:42.—A., B., Lachmann read πρὸς σάββατον (Meyer: only an error of the copyist); Tischendorf reads with the Receptus προσάββατον.]
[Mark 15:43.—A., B., C., Lachmann, Tischendorf read ελθών instead of ἦλθεν.]
[Mark 15:45.—B., D., L., Lachmann, Tischendorf read πτῶμα (corpse) instead of σῶμα.]
[Mark 15:46.—B., D., L., Lachmann, Tischendorf read ἔθηκεν; Receptus, κατέθηκεν; Cod. A., κάθηκεν.]
[Mark 15:47.—Cod. A. reads Ἰωσήφ; B., Δ., Lachmann, Tischendorf read Ἰωσῆτος, which is merely the Greek form of Ιωσῆ.
[Mark 15:47.—A., B., C., Lachmann, Tischendorf read τέθειται; Receptus, τίθεται.]