In this study we will look at the terrible things that happened to the Lord Jesus Christ during the final hours of His earthly life. Mark simply gives us a brief account of the crucifixion and death of Jesus, leaving out various events that took place on the way to Calvary and His sayings on the cross (please see Matthew, Luke and John).
Here is the eternal Son of God innocently suffering for the sins of the whole world. In this suffering we see His love made manifest. “And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge” (Ephesians 3:19) … “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8) … “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
“And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band” (Mark 15:16).
The Lord was given over to the Romans as though He was a criminal. He suffered at the hands of Gentiles as well as Jews, so that all humanity is guilty of His death. The Jews and Gentiles unjustly judged Him, but one day the whole world will be judged by Him. “We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Romans 14:10-12) … “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Only those, both Jews and Gentiles, who accept Him as Messiah will stand guiltless before His throne, “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy” (Jude :24).
“And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him” (Mark 15:17-20).
Jesus was made a laughingstock by the Roman soldiers as they made sport of Him and dressed Him in royal colours and a crown of thorns. They did this to mock His teaching about His Kingdom. One day all people will see the glorified Christ clothed in the royal robes of Heaven and wearing His eternal crown. “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (Revelation 19:16) … “Which in his times he shall show, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting” (1 Timothy 6:15-16). On earth He was ridiculed by men, but in Heaven all men will worship Him. “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:10-11).
“And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross” (Mark 15:21).
Some have suggested that the Lord was too weak after His beating to carry the cross, but it is more likely that He allowed this to happen so that we might have an illustration of an important truth. “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23).
“And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him. And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS” (Mark 15:22-26).
Golgotha (Calvary) is where the sacrifice for our sins was paid. None of the gospel writers described the moment when the nails were hammered into the hands and feet of the Redeemer or when the cross was lifted up and dropped into its hole. It was not the wood or the iron that saved us, but the precious blood of Christ.
The world took His robes and He took its sin. “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). He was cursed by man and became curse for us. “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Galatians 3:13). He gave Himself that we might be saved. “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity” (Titus 2:14). He was rejected so that we could be received. “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father” (Revelation 1:5-6).
“And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors” (Mark 15:27-28).
The One who had never sinned was “numbered with the transgressors” (see Isaiah 53:12), so that we who, by nature and practice , were lost in sin might be reckoned innocent through His blood (see 2 Corinthians 5:21 above).
“And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let 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” (Mark 15:29-32).
Everyone around the cross mocked and reviled Christ. It is interesting that Pilate titled Him “King of the Jews” and the Jews called Him “King of Israel.” They called Him an impostor when He did not come down from the cross. These evil people would still not have believed even if He had done what they asked. He could have come down, but He hung there for us. “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (1 Corinthians 1:20-22).
While the other gospels record more information that relate to this passage, but what Mark has written should fill our hearts with a deep sense of the enormous debt we owe to Christ. He paid the price we could never pay if we lived a thousand lifetimes. Nevertheless we can be thankful that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16) … “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15).