-A consultation was held early on that fateful Friday morning as the chief priests, elders, and scribes all consorted together. They bound Jesus and led Him away to deliver Him over the Roman authority, Pilate, with the hopes of capital punishment for this Man believed to be a blasphemous imposter. Pilate questioned the Messiah asking Him if indeed He was the King of the Jews. Jesus replied that it was as he said. The chief priests began to again accuse Him harshly. Christ did not respond to their accusations, which led Pilate to wonder why He made no defense for Himself. This amazed the Roman leader (Mark 15:1-5). At the feast, the Romans had a tradition of allowing one prisoner to be released. There was an insurrectionist named Barabbas, who had committed murder, that came up for release along with Jesus. Pilate was aware, the Bible says here, that the Jewish leadership had handed Jesus over because of their envy more than anything else. So, he made attempts to peacefully release the Lord, but the chief priests were successful in stirring up the crowd gathered for this event to release Barabbas rather than Jesus. Pilate asked plainly what he should do with Jesus then, who was referred to as the “King of the Jews.” They shouted, “Crucify Him!” The biblical commentary paints a very sad tale for Pilate as he released Barabbas instead of Jesus wishing to satisfy the stirred up crowd. An injustice was served. Jesus was whipped and then handed over to be crucified by asphyxiation on a cross (Mark 15:6-15).
-The Roman soldiers quickly took him into the Praetorium, which was a part of the Antonia Fortress on the northeast side of the Temple Mount area. The whole Roman cohort (battalion) was called together for this occasion as they dressed the Lord in purple and placed a crown woven out of razor sharp thorns on him in mockery. They jeered, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They beat His earthly Head with a reed (or staff) of wood. They were spitting on Him in derision, and kept kneeling down in sardonic worship of Him to humiliate the Messiah. When this was finished, they undressed His purple robe and put His own garments back on. Then they led Him out to crucify the Lamb of God (Mark 15:16-20).
-Along the route to the crucifixion site, they pressed into service a passer-by from the country. Mark names this man as Simon of Cyrene and the father of Alexander and Rufus. This implies that this family ended up becoming Christians due to the fact that much was known about them in the early church. Simon of Cyrene bore the cross of Jesus, more than likely since the Lord was at this point too physically weak to carry it on His own. He was finally brought to the place, Golgotha, or place of the Skull, outside the city walls of Jerusalem. He was offered wine mixed with myrrh as an antiseptic, but He refused to take it. “And they crucified Him, and divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man should take (Psalm 22:18, Mark 15:21-24).”
-Jesus historically was put on the cross at 9:00am local time. The charge against Him by the Roman government who was in dominion over Judea at that time read, “The King of the Jews.” They crucified at the same time, two other thieves to either side of the Lord. Thus the Scripture was further fulfilled that He, the Messiah, would be “numbered with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12).” Those going back and forth into and out of the city along what was probably a busy thoroughfare were hurling abuse at Him in mockery and disgust. They had hoped for a political savior, but it seemed their hopes had been dashed by what they considered to be yet another imposter and deceiver. They tempted Him, “save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” In other words, “prove You are who You say You are by doing things our way, not God’s!” Thankfully, our Lord knew better and endured the insults casted so venomously at Him during His passion. Even the religious leaders were getting into the act as insensitive-abusive manipulators. Lastly, the two thieves condemned to die with Him were also insulting the King of Glory, but in another gospel at least one came around to salvation after truly observing the scene (Mark 15:25-32, Luke 23:39-43).
-By noon, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00pm). In this afternoon hour, Jesus cried out, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Bystanders misheard Him in this plea. They falsely thought He was calling for Elijah the prophet. After another sponge with sour wine was offered to the Lord for a drink, He uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last breath on earth as the Suffering Servant. The veil of the Temple was immediately torn in two from top to bottom ushering in a new era of God’s mercy and grace upon the earth for all mankind. The centurion who had witnessed all the miraculous and incredible events of the crucifixion right in front of the Lord admitted, “Truly this Man was the Son of God!” Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome were listed as some of the prominent women looking of from a distance as these events unfolded at Calvary. These used to follow Him in Galilee and ministered to Him. They, along with others, had come up with Him to Jerusalem as witnesses of the greatest event in human history (Mark 15:33-41).
-Now when evening had already come, because it was the preparation day before the Sabbath, immediate action had to be taken to bury the Savior. Joseph of Arimathea (a tribal town of Benjamin in Judea about three miles northeast of Jerusalem), who was indicated as a “prominent member of the Council” and one who was “waiting for the Kingdom of God” gathered incredible courage to go before Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus after His death. Pilate indeed wondered how the Christ could have been killed so quickly, so he beckoned for the centurion and questioned him on the matter. Ascertaining the facts of the Lord’s death, Pilate granted Joseph of Arimathea His deceased body. Joseph bought a linen cloth, the Bible says, and took Him down from the cross. He then wrapped the body of the Lord in the linen cloth and laid Him in a nearby tomb which had been hewn out in the rock. Joseph then saw to it that a stone was rolled against the entrance of the tomb for protection. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were looking on to see the exact spot where the Lord was laid. They would come back after the Sabbath day of rest to anoint Him in His proper burial (Mark 15:42-16:1).
-*Application* The death of One on behalf of the many, still draws us to excitement and passion today. Jesus changes lives. His sacrifice on the cross mattered. It is altogether the worst and the best thing that has ever happened in the history of the world all at the same time. A paradox, it is the perfect demonstration of courage and love for a hopeless case. When we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, the Just for the unjust (Romans 5:8, 1 Peter 3:18).
Verse to Memorize: Mark 15:37