Studies in the Gospel of Mark- Chapter 14 Part 2 and 15
I. Religious Examination, Truth, Betrayal, and Remorse
A. And they led Jesus to the high priest. And all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes came together. And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest. And he was sitting with the guards and warming himself at the fire. Now the chief priests and the whole council were seeking testimony against Jesus to put him to death, but they found none. For many bore false witness against him, but their testimony did not agree. And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying, “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'” Yet even about this their testimony did not agree. And the high priest stood up in the midst and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?” But he remained silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” And the high priest tore his garments and said, “What further witnesses do we need? You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death. And some began to spit on him and to cover his face and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows. And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came, and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway and the rooster crowed. And the servant girl saw him and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.” But again he denied it. And after a little while the bystanders again said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.” But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” And immediately the rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the rooster crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept. (Mark 14:53-72)
B. Here we see the examination of Jesus specifically by the religious leaders of Judaism. He is led into the chief priest’s courtyard and there was already gathered what could be called members of the Sanhedrin. Whether all are called to the meeting is unclear until the morning, but enough to place Jesus on religious trial.
C. They sought people to implicate Jesus in a capital crime, and three times they could not find anyone or the ones that did speak were not in agreement on the issue. In a moment of desperation the chief priest asks Jesus the question that would be, in his mind, the perfect reason for putting Jesus to death…blasphemy.”Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.” In response to the chief priest’s question Jesus gives him the truth. Even in this moment the Truth of God was speaking and they refused to hear and believe! Instead they condemned the Truth for a lie.
D. The narrative shifts to one of the premier disciples who, though never intended to betray the Son of Man, in the midst of pressure, fear, and self-preservation betrays His master and friend. Even when the religious examiners could not find solid testimony against Jesus, Simon Peter, who had previously declared Him to be the Son of God, was now vehemently denying that he even knew Jesus.
E. When the rooster crowed a second time, Peter remembered Jesus’ prophecy and he broke down and wept bitterly. He too had betrayed the Lord Jesus, just as Judas Iscariot (though not in the same manner), and it has been recorded for our sakes. We can be encouraged at the longsuffering and patience of Christ in our own walk, when we too are tripped up, but let us allow the conviction of sin bring true repentance in our lives!
II. Human Examination, Truth, Torture, Mockery
A. And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” And the chief priests accused him of many things. And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed. Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” And Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified. And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters), and they called together the whole battalion. And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him. And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. (Mark 15:1-21)
B. They took Jesus to Pilate for a Governmental examination. Pilate wants to know if Jesus thinks or if he really is a king, for that reality could be considered rebellious to the regime. Jesus surprised Pilate and he wanted to scheme somehow to let Him go. So he offered to let Jesus or a murderer named Barabbas go free thinking the crowd would pick Jesus. By this time Pilate knew the reason Jesus had been brought to him; it was because of envy and jealousy of the chief priests.
C. After presenting the two the priests had stirred the crowd up to choose Barabbas and wanting to please them he asked what they wanted him to do with Jesus. When crucifixion was their reply he handed Him over to be scourged and crucified. He was tortured and then mocked. These horrible acts of injustice are necessary for us to realize the cost and result of our own sin. We can see ourselves in every character mentioned in the Passion story.
We are the Chief Priest- Seeking our own religious justifications.
We are the Accusers- Presenting our distorted views of who Jesus is and what He says.
We are the Servant Girl- Pointing out the indignity of followers of Christ.
We are Peter- Consumed with self-preservation and fear betraying the One who gave His all for us.
We are Pilate- Refusing to stand on Truth and instead seeking to please people crucify the Son of God.
We are Barabbas- Deserving death for our capital crimes against God, being spared by a Holy Innocent substitute.
We are the soldiers- Joined in mocking and torturing the Servant of God because of our own sin.
We are Simon of Cyrene- Called to identify with Jesus by carrying our cross.
III. The Act of Atonement and Redemption
A. And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem. (Mark 15:22-41)
B. There have been many different thoughts about where Golgotha/Calvary are/were located. However, we do know it was called the place of the skull. The pictures above maybe represent the place where Jesus was crucified.
C. Even while on the cross the voice of the accuser was still heard tempting Him to exercise His own power to prove who He was. At noon, the sun was darkened and for 3 hours it remained dark. There upon the cross we do not exactly know what happened to Jesus. Isaiah 52:14-53:5 give us some understanding and Jesus at 3PM cries out a statement that reveals something of those three hours. “My God , My God, Why have you forsaken Me?”
D. One of the centurions proclaimed after Jesus gave up His spirit, “Surely, this man was the Son of God”.
E. Here Mark records that there were women that had followed Jesus to the place of crucifixion. Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of Salome, and we know from other Gospels that Mary Jesus’ mother was there. She was faithful to her/the Son.
IV. Preservation of the Body
A. And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died. And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid. (Mark 15:42-47)
B. Joseph of Arimathea and in another Gospel Nicodemus ask for Jesus body. It is this same Nicodemus that Jesus talks to in John chapter 3. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15)
C. Pilate was surprised Jesus was already dead, but upon researching the facts Pilate gave the body to Joseph. At the beginning of Jesus’ life God entrusted His Son’s body to a man named Joseph and at the end He is entrusted to a man named Joseph.