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Mark - Lesson 21

  • Thomas Klock Harvest Ministries
  • 2007 21 Sep
Mark - Lesson 21

Lesson Twenty-one

The Son of Man Crucified

Mark 15


Knowing the Scriptures

Studies in Mark’s Gospel




We are at the heart of the passion of the Son of Man.  In Mark 14:43–72 we saw Jesus betrayed, arrested, tried (illegally in most respects), and condemned for the truth.  Sadly, we also saw the downfall of Peter, the Rock, now humbled and crumbled into dust.  Yet by God’s grace we know that he was restored and effectively served Christ the rest of his days, just as those of us who have failed the Lord can also find that forgiveness and restoration to effective service for Him.  Jesus was cruelly and illegally mocked by the religious leaders themselves as they convicted Him for proclaiming that He was not just Son of Man, but Son of God.  


The hour for which Jesus was incarnated into our world had come.  This week we will see another person crumble and make the wrong decision about Jesus: Pontius Pilate.  Mark quickly moved through the crucifixion of Jesus to His death and burial, but it is appropriate for us to take time to meditate on what He suffered for us.  This week we’ll have a few less notes and comments when we come to the crucifixion itself so that we can think on it more effectively.  Let’s turn to that now.


DAY ONE:  The Roman Trial

Please carefully read Mark 15:1–10 and answer the following questions.


1.  The religious leaders either continued all night or held a consultation separately with the whole council to make their illegal trial a bit more legitimate.  They then bound Jesus and took Him to Pontius Pilate (his name means armed with a javelin[i]).  He was the fifth Roman prefect (a title later changed to procurator, i.e., imperial magistrate) from a.d. 26–36. He was a harsh governor who despised the Jews (Luke 13:1–2).  Presumably he stayed in Herod’s palace as was customary for provincial governors. If so, Jesus’ trial was held there.[ii]  These governors held court early in the morning, so this was nothing unusual.  Describe the interaction between Pilate, Jesus, and the Jewish leaders, and Pilate’s reaction to this (vv. 2–5).


2.  Pilate knew something was fishy about all of this, and then thought of a way he might avoid the mess.  Who did that involve (vv. 6–8)?


3.  What did He ask the people and why (vv. 9, 10)?


4.  What else happened at this point that Mark omitted (Matthew 27:19; Luke 23:6–12)?


Scripture Memory:  This week we will be memorizing Colossians 2:14 (nlt).  Review the passage several times throughout the day each day this week, and by the end of the week, you should have it memorized completely.


He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross. (Colossians 2:14, nlt)


DAY TWO: Mocked by the People and Soldiers

Please carefully read Mark 15:11–19 and answer the following questions.


1.  Yesterday we saw that, according to Passover custom, Pilate wanted to release a prisoner to them, hoping they would select Jesus.  The Zealot criminal Barabbas (whose name ironically means son of the father) had committed murder in his insurrection against Rome, and Pilate thought that surely they would pick Jesus over him.  Yet how did his plan backfire (vv. 11–13)?

2.  The crowd was stirred up by the priests, which in Greek literally means shook up like an earthquake.[iii] How did Pilate now crumble before the pressures of the crowd, just as Herod did in our study of the death of John the Baptist (vv. 13–15)?


Jesus’ scourging was actually much worse than its portrayal in The Passion of the Christ, as horrible as that was.  The Roman flagellum was a lash made of leather thongs embedded with bits of glass, bone, and metal.  The prisoner was stripped, often tied to a post, and beaten on the back by several guards using these whips. No limit was set on the number of blows, and often this was fatal. “Our Lord’s back was so lacerated by the scourge that it was one mass of open, raw, quivering flesh trickling with blood, not a series of stripes or cuts, but one mass of torn flesh;” and also “and the flesh of the victim was shredded, sometimes until bones or entrails appeared. Flogging was sometimes fatal.”[iv] “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5, nkjv). 


3.  After being scourged, what further mockery did Jesus endure under these heartless soldiers? Notice how many people were involved (vv. 16–19).


Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.


He canceled the _____________________ that contained the charges against us. He _________________ it and destroyed it by _____________________ it to Christ's cross. (Colossians 2:14, nlt)


DAY THREE:  The Skull

Please carefully read Mark 15:20–28 and answer the following questions.


1.  Mark omitted much of what took place on the way to Jesus’ death.  (You can read a more complete account in Luke 23:26–32.)  What happened during the procession of Jesus to the place of His crucifixion (vv. 20, 21)?


NOTE: A condemned prisoner would carry the crossbeam of his cross, weighing about 100 pounds.  The one who had the blessed privilege of carrying this for Jesus, too weakened to carry it Himself, was Simon of Cyrene; Mark alone mentions his sons Alexander and Rufus, probably believers known to the church in Rome that Mark wrote to (see Romans 16:13).  Golgotha is a Greek transliteration of an Aramaic word meaning The Place of the Skull. The word Calvary comes from the Latin Calvaria, a variation of calva, a skull. Golgotha was a rounded, rocky knoll (not a hill or mountain) resembling the shape of a human skull. Its exact location is uncertain, but of course a church has been built on one possible site.[v]


2.  What else happened at the time of His crucifixion (vv. 23–26)?


For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.

They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots. (Psalm 22:16–18, nkjv). 


3.  When He was arrested, Jesus had asked the band taking Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber?” (Mark 14:48)  Ironically, who were His companions in death as prophesied in Isaiah 53:12 (vv. 27, 28)?


Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.


He canceled the ____________________ that contained the __________________ against us. He _________________ it and destroyed it by _____________________ it to ____________________ cross. (Colossians 2:14, nlt)


DAY FOUR:  The Son of Man Dies

Please carefully read Mark 15:29–39 and answer the following questions.


The time frame mentioned here in Mark (the third, the sixth, and the ninth hours) reflected Jewish time. They reckoned time from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., so this means that the third hour was 9 a.m., the sixth hour noon, and the ninth hour 3 p.m.  John used Roman time in his Gospel, so “the sixth hour” in John 19:14 is 6 a.m.[vi]


1.  What types of awful mockery did Jesus have to endure during His suffering on the cross (vv. 29–32)?


But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people.  All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, "He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!" (Psalm 22:6–8, nkjv)


2.  What awesome thing happened when the sixth hour (noon) came, and what do you think this all reflected (vv. 33–36)?

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?  Why are You so far from helping Me,

and from the words of My groaning?  O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear; and in the night season, and am not silent? (Psalm 22:1, 2, nkjv)


3.  What happened at last at the ninth hour, and how did this witness to both Jew and Gentile what God had done (vv. 37–39)? 


Jesus’ “loud cry shows that He didn’t die the ordinary death of one crucified; normally a person suffered for a long period (often two or three days) and then lapsed into a coma and died. But Jesus was fully conscious to the end; His death came voluntarily and suddenly.  The centurion’s confession is the climax of Mark’s revelation of Jesus’ identity; a Gentile Roman officer’s response contrasts with the mockery we read of here.[vii] No doubt his response was based on what he saw of Jesus and on the final words He said.  Let’s close today thinking about Jesus’ seven statements from the cross.

1.  “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

2.  “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Luke 23:43

3.  When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing by, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold your son!”  Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” (John 19:26, 27)

4.  “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34

5.  Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst!" John 19:28

6.  “It is finished!” John 19:30

7.  “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.”  Having said this, He breathed His last. Luke 23:46 (nkjv)


Scripture Memory:  Try to fill in the missing words in the blanks below, by memory if at all possible, and then review the passage several times today.


He canceled the _____________________ that ___________________________ the ______________________ against us. He _________________ it and _______________________ it by _____________________ it to ____________________cross. (Colossians 2:14, nlt)


DAY FIVE:  The Son of Man Buried

Please carefully read Mark 15:40–47 and answer the following questions.


1.  What interesting thing did Mark add about the death of Jesus (vv. 40, 41), and how were these women involved in Jesus’ ministry (Luke 8:1–3)?


2.  Some secret followers of Jesus now emerged from concealment.  Who was one of these men (John 19 tells us the other one was Nicodemus), and what did they find courage to do (vv. 42–44)?


NOTE: Warren Wiersbe clarifies something for us here:  “We must not think that these two men suddenly decided to bury Jesus, because what they did demanded much preparation . . . Joseph had to prepare the tomb in a garden near the place where Jesus died. This tomb was probably not for Joseph himself, since a wealthy man would not likely choose to be buried near a place of execution. The men also had to obtain a large quantity of spices (John 19:39), and this could not be done when the shops were closed for Passover. And all of this had to be done without the council’s knowledge.”[viii]  Perhaps they, like the woman who anointed Jesus’ with her perfume for His burial, had believed Jesus’ words regarding His coming death, even though the disciples didn’t. 


3.  Pilate inquired of the centurion whether Jesus was already dead or not.  The Romans would not release His body until they had verification that He was dead.  How does John 19:31–37 confirm this fact?


 And they made His grave with the wicked—But with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. Isaiah 53:9


4.  Describe Jesus’ burial. What is there to remember about the women to keep in mind for Lesson 22 (vv. 46, 47)?


Scripture Memory:  Can you write out this week’s passage by memory here below?  Give it a try, and keep reviewing the passage several times throughout the day.


Colossians 2:14


DAY SIX: Following Christ


Much of what happened on Good Friday was unwittingly done and fulfilled prophecies of long ago.  There is one we haven’t mentioned. “So the Lord God said to the serpent: ‘Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all cattle, and more than every beast of the field; on your belly you shall go, and you shall eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.’” (Genesis 3:14, 15, nkjv).  In Scripture, the Seed referred to the promise of one who would come to destroy the curse Satan brought to this earth.  Even the ground was cursed, bringing forth thorns and weeds (Genesis 3:17, 18).  The crown of thorns that the soldiers repeatedly beat onto Jesus’ head is a picture of God’s curse on sinful humanity being thrust on Jesus![ix] He took your curse personally on Himself so you can be freed of it—so no matter what troubles you and trips you up today, you can find forgiveness and transformation at the foot of His cross. It was more than atonement that Jesus came to bring us; it was a new life, a New Covenant in which we experience a living relationship with God.  Read through the two passages below and record your thoughts and thankfulness for what He has done for you, and perhaps record some things you have struggled with that can find new victory through the “wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb!”


By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, "This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them," then He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."   Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.  Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,  by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh,  and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:10–23, nkjv).


Don't let anyone lead you astray with empty philosophy and high-sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from the evil powers of this world, and not from Christ. For in Christ the fullness of God lives in a human body, and you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe.  When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure—the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ's cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ. (Colossians 2:8–15, nlt)

Think about this as we close:  The death of Jesus was actually the end of religion!  “No rules, regulations, or rituals are to be imposed between God and humanity.  The distance these created between sinful humanity and the holy God has been done away with from God’s side.  There is now free access to God the Father through the work of the Son on the cross.  God has now come close.”[x]


Scripture Memory:  Hopefully you now can write out this week’s passage completely by memory.  Do so now, and keep on reviewing it so you will be ready to share it with others in your group time.


Colossians 2:14:


[i] Oxford University Press, The Scofield Study Bible, NKJV (New York:  Oxford University Press, 2002), p. 1391.

[ii] John D. Grassmick, Mark.  In John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary New Testament (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications, 1983), p. 185.

[iii] :  A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Sunday School Board of the Southern Baptist Convention.  In Oak Harbor:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1932, 1933, 1997).

[iv]  James A. Brooks, Mark.  In David S. Dockery ed., The New American Commentary, Vol. 23 (Nashville:  Broadman Press, 1991), p. 252;  John D. Grassmick, Mark, p. 186; and Kenneth S. Wuest, Wuest’s Studies in the New Testament:  For the English Reader (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, Co; in Bellingham:  Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1984, 1997). 

[v] John D. Grassmick, Mark, p. 186-187.

[vi] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1 (Wheaton:  Victor Books/SP Publications Inc., 1989), p. 164.

[vii] John D. Grassmick, p. 190.

[viii] Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary Vol. 1, p. 166.

[ix] Grassmick, p. 187.

[x] Peter G. Bolt, The Cross From a Distance:  Atonement in Mark’s Gospel.  In D.A. Carson ed., New Studies in Biblical Theology, Vol. 18 (Downer’s Grove:  InterVarsity Press, 2004), p. 127.


© 2006 by Harvest Christian Fellowship. All rights reserved. Written by Thomas Klock for Men’s Bible Fellowship, 2005-2006.