[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 15)

15:1 {In the morning} (\prōi\). The ratification meeting after
day. See on ¯Mt 26:1-5 for details. {Held a consultation}
(\sumboulion poiēsantes\). So text of Westcott and Hort (Vulgate
_consilium facientes_)
, though they give \hetoimasantes\ in the
margin. The late and rare word \sumboulion\ is like the Latin
_consilium_. If \hetoimasantes\ is the correct text, the idea
would be rather to prepare a concerted plan of action (Gould).
But their action was illegal on the night before and they felt
the need of this ratification after dawn which is described in
Lu 22:66-71, who does not give the illegal night trial. {Bound
(\dēsantes ton Iēsoun\). He was bound on his arrest (Joh
when brought before Annas who sent him on bound to
Caiaphas (Joh 18:24) and now he is bound again as he is sent to
Pilate (Mr 15:1; Mt 27:2). It is implied that he was unbound
while before Annas and then before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin.

15:2 {Art thou the King of the Jews?} (\Su ei ho basileus tōn
. This is the only one of the charges made by the
Sanhedrin to Pilate (Lu 23:2) that he notices. He does not
believe this one to be true, but he has to pay attention to it or
be liable to charges himself of passing over a man accused of
rivalry and revolution against Caesar. Joh 18:28-32 gives the
interview with Jesus that convinces Pilate that he is a harmless
religious fanatic. See on ¯Mt 26:11. {Thou sayest} (\su
. An affirmation, though in Joh 18:34-37 there is a
second and fuller interview between Pilate and Jesus. "Here, as
in the trial before the Sanhedrin, this is the one question that
Jesus answers. It is the only question on which his own testimony
is important and necessary" (Gould). The Jews were out on the
pavement or sidewalk outside the palace while Pilate came out to
them from above on the balcony (Joh 18:28f.) and had his
interviews with Jesus on the inside, calling Jesus thither (Joh

15:3 {Accused him of many things} (\katēgoroun autou polla\).
Imperfect tense, repeated accusations besides those already made.
They let loose their venom against Jesus. One of the common verbs
for speaking against in court (\kata\ and \agoreuō\). It is used
with the genitive of the person and the accusative of the thing.

15:5 {Marvelled} (\thaumazein\). Pilate was sure of the innocence
of Jesus and saw through their envy (Mr 15:10), but he was
hoping that Jesus would answer these charges to relieve him of
the burden. He marvelled also at the self-control of Jesus.

15:6 {Used to release} (\apeluen\). Imperfect tense of customary
action where Mt 27:15 has the verb \eiōthei\ (was accustomed
. {They asked of him} (\parēitounto\). Imperfect middle,
expressing their habit also.

15:7 {Bound with them that had made insurrection} (\meta tōn
stasiastōn dedemenos\)
. A desperate criminal, leader in the
insurrection, sedition (\en tēi stasei\), or revolution against
Rome, the very thing that the Jews up at Bethsaida Julias had
wanted Jesus to lead (Joh 6:15). Barabbas was the leader of
these rioters and was bound with them. {Had committed murder}
(\phonon pepoiēkeisan\). Past perfect indicative without augment.
Murder usually goes with such rioters and the priests and people
actually chose a murderer in preference to Jesus.

15:8 {As he was wont to do unto them} (\kathōs epoiei autois\).
Imperfect of customary action again and dative case.

15:9 {The King of the Jews} (\ton basilea tōn Ioudaiōn\). That
phrase from this charge sharpened the contrast between Jesus and
Barabbas which is bluntly put in Mt 27:17 "Barabbas or Jesus
which is called Christ." See discussion there.

15:10 {He perceived} (\eginōsken\). Imperfect tense descriptive
of Pilate's growing apprehension from their conduct which
increased his intuitive impression at the start. It was gradually
dawning on him. Both Mark and Matthew give "envy" (\phthonon\) as
the primary motive of the Sanhedrin. Pilate probably had heard of
the popularity of Jesus by reason of the triumphal entry and the
temple teaching. {Had delivered} (\paradedōkeisan\). Past perfect
indicative without augment where Mt 27:18 has the first aorist
(kappa aorist) indicative \paredōkan\, not preserving the
distinction made by Mark. The aorist is never used "as" a past

15:11 {Stirred up} (\aneseisan\). {Shook up} like an earthquake
(\seismos\). Mt 27:20 has a weaker word, "persuaded"
(\epeisan\). Effective aorist indicative. The priests and scribes
had amazing success. If one wonders why the crowd was fickle, he
may recall that this was not yet the same people who followed him
in triumphal entry and in the temple. That was the plan of Judas
to get the thing over before those Galilean sympathizers waked
up. "It was a case of regulars against an irregular, of priests
against prophet" (Gould). "But Barabbas, as described by Mark,
represented a popular passion, which was stronger than any
sympathy they might have for so unworldly a character as
Jesus--the passion for _political liberty_" (Bruce). "What
unprincipled characters they were! They accuse Jesus to Pilate of
political ambition, and they recommend Barabbas to the people for
the same reason" (Bruce). The Sanhedrin would say to the people
that Jesus had already abdicated his kingly claims while to
Pilate they went on accusing him of treason to Caesar. {Rather}
(_māllon_). Rather than Jesus. It was a gambler's choice.

15:12 {Whom ye call the King of the Jews} (\hon legete ton
basilea tōn Ioudaiōn\)
. Pilate rubs it in on the Jews (cf. verse
. The "then" (\oun\) means since you have chosen Barabbas
instead of Jesus.

15:13 {Crucify him} (\Staurōson auton\). Lu 23:21 repeats the
verb. Mt 27:22 has it, "Let him be crucified." There was a
chorus and a hubbub of confused voices all demanding crucifixion
for Christ. Some of the voices beyond a doubt had joined in the
hallelujahs to the Son of David in the triumphal entry. See on
¯Mt 27:23 for discussion of Mr 15:14.

15:15 {To content the multitude} (\tōi ochlōi to hikanon
. A Latin idiom (_satisfacere alicui_), to do what is
sufficient to remove one's ground of complaint. This same phrase
occurs in Polybius, Appian, Diogenes Laertes, and in late papyri.
Pilate was afraid of this crowd now completely under the control
of the Sanhedrin. He knew what they would tell Caesar about him.
See on ¯Mt 27:26 for discussion of the scourging.

15:16 {The Praetorium} (\praitōrion\). In Mt 27:27 this same
word is translated "palace." That is its meaning here also, the
palace in which the Roman provincial governor resided. In Php
1:13 it means the Praetorian Guard in Rome. Mark mentions here
"the court" (\tēs aulēs\) inside of the palace into which the
people passed from the street through the vestibule. See further
on Matthew about the "band."

15:17 {Purple} (\porphuran\). Mt 27:28 has "scarlet robe" which
see for discussion as well as for the crown of thorns.

15:19 {Worshipped him} (\prosekunoun\). In mockery. Imperfect
tense as are \etupton\ (smote) and \eneptuon\ (did spit upon).
Repeated indignities.

15:20 {They lead him out} (\exagousin auton\). Vivid historical
present after imperfects in verse 19.

15:21 {They compel} (\aggareuousin\). Dramatic present indicative
again where Mt 27:32 has the aorist. For this Persian word see
on ¯Mt 5:41; 27:32. {Coming out of the country} (\erchomenon ap'
. Hence Simon met the procession. Mark adds that he was
"the father of Alexander and Rufus." Paul mentions a Rufus in Ro
16:13, but it was a common name and proves nothing. See on ¯Mt
27:32 for discussion of cross-bearing by criminals. Luke adds
"after Jesus" (\opisthen tou Iēsou\). But Jesus bore his own
cross till he was relieved of it, and he walked in front of his
own cross for the rest of the way.

15:22 {They bring him} (\pherousin auton\). Historical present
again. See on ¯Mt 27:33f. for discussion of Golgotha.

15:23 {They offered him} (\edidoun autōi\). Imperfect tense where
Matthew has the aorist \edōkan\. {Mingled with myrrh}
(\esmurnismenon\). Perfect passive participle. The verb means
flavoured with myrrh, myrrhed wine. It is not inconsistent with
¯Mt 27:34 "mingled with gall," which see. {But he received it
(\hos de ouk elaben\). Note the demonstrative \hos\ with
\de\. Matthew has it that Jesus was not willing to take. Mark's
statement is that he refused it.

15:24 {What each should take} (\tis ti ārēi\). Only in Mark. Note
double interrogative, Who What? The verb \arēi\ is first aorist
active deliberative subjunctive retained in the indirect
question. The details in Mr 15:24-32 are followed closely by
Mt 27:35-44. See there for discussion of details.

15:25 {The third hour} (\hōra tritē\). This is Jewish time and
would be nine A.M. The trial before Pilate was the sixth hour
Roman time (Joh 19:14), six A.M.

15:26 {The superscription} (\hē epigraphē\). The writing upon the
top of the cross (our word epigraph). Lu 23:38 has this same
word, but Mt 27:37 has "accusation" (\aitian\). See Matthew for
discussion. Joh 19:19 has "title" (\titlon\).

15:32 {Now come down} (\katabatō nun\). Now that he is nailed to
the cross. {That we may see and believe} (\hina idōmen kai
. Aorist subjunctive of purpose with \hina\. They
use almost the very language of Jesus in their ridicule, words
that they had heard him use in his appeals to men to see and
believe. {Reproached him} (\ōneidizon auton\). Imperfect tense.
They did it several times. Mark and Matthew both fail to give the
story of the robber who turned to Christ on the Cross as told in
Lu 23:39-43.

15:33 {The sixth hour} (\hōras hektēs\). That is, noon (Jewish
, as the third hour was nine A.M. (Mr 15:25). See on ¯Mt
27:45 for discussion. Given also by Lu 23:44. Mark gives the
Aramaic transliteration as does B in Mt 27:45, which see for
discussion. {Forsaken} (\egkatelipes\). Some MSS. give
\ōneidisas\ (reproached). We are not able to enter into the
fulness of the desolation felt by Jesus at this moment as the
Father regarded him as sin (2Co 5:21). This desolation was the
deepest suffering. He did not cease to be the Son of God. That
would be impossible.

15:35 {He calleth Elijah} (\Eleian phōnei\). They misunderstood
the \Elōi\ or \Elei\ (my God) for Elijah.

15:36 {To take him down} (\kathelein auton\). Mt 27:49 has "to
save him" (\sōsōn\), which see for discussion.

15:37 {Gave up the ghost} (\exepneusen\). Literally, breathed
out. See "yielded up his spirit" in Mt 27:50 for discussion for
details. Mark uses this word \exepneusen\ again in verse 39.

15:39 {The centurion} (\ho kenturiōn\). A Latin word (_centurio_)
used also in verse 44 and here only in the N.T. {Which stood by
over against him}
(\ho parestēkōs ex enantias autou\). This
description alone in Mark, picturing the centurion "watching
Jesus" (Mt 27:54). {So} (\houtōs\). With the darkness and the
earthquake. See on ¯Mt 27:54 for discussion of "the Son of God,"
more probably "a Son of God."

15:40 {And Salome} (\kai Salōmē\). Apparently the "mother of the
sons of Zebedee" (Mt 27:56). Only in Mark.

15:41 {Followed him and ministered unto him} (\ēkolouthoun kai
diēkonoun autōi\)
. Two imperfects describing the long Galilean
ministry of these three women and many other women in Galilee
(Lu 8:1-3) who came up with him (\hai sunanabāsai autōi\) to
Jerusalem. This summary description in Mark is paralleled in Mt
27:55f. and Lu 23:49. These faithful women were last at the
Cross as they stood afar and saw the dreadful end to all their

15:42 {The preparation} (\paraskeuē\). Mark explains the term as
meaning "the day before the sabbath" (\prosabbaton\), that is our
Friday, which began at sunset. See discussion on ¯Mt 27:57. The
Jews had already taken steps to get the bodies removed (Joh

15:43 {A councillor of honourable estate} (\euschēmōn
. A senator or member of the Sanhedrin of high
standing, rich (Mt 27:57). {Looking for the Kingdom of God}
(\ēn prosdechomenos tēn basileian tou theou\). Periphrastic
imperfect. Also Lu 23:51. The very verb used by Luke of Simeon
and Anna (Lu 2:25,38). Mt 27:57 calls him "Jesus' disciple"
while Joh 19:38 adds "secretly for fear of the Jews." He had
evidently taken no public stand for Jesus before now. {Boldly}
(\tolmēsas\). Aorist (ingressive) active participle, becoming
bold. It is the glory of Joseph and Nicodemus, secret disciples
of Jesus, that they took a bold stand when the rest were in
terror and dismay. That is love psychology, paradoxical as it may

15:44 {If he were already dead} (\ei ēdē tethnēken\). Perfect
active indicative with \ei\ after a verb of wondering, a
classical idiom, a kind of indirect question just as we say "I
wonder if." Usually death by crucifixion was lingering. This item
is only in Mark. {Whether he had been any while dead} (\ei palai
. B D read \ēdē\ (already) again here instead of
\palai\ (a long time). Mark does not tell the request of the Jews
to Pilate that the legs of the three might be broken (Joh
. Pilate wanted to make sure that Jesus was actually
dead by official report.

15:45 {Granted the corpse} (\edōrēsato to ptōma\). This official
information was necessary before the burial. As a matter of fact
Pilate was probably glad to turn the body over to Joseph else the
body would go to the potter's field. This is the only instance
when \ptōma\ (_cadaver_, corpse) is applied to the body (\sōma\)
of Jesus, the term used in Mt 27:59; Lu 23:53; Joh 19:40).

15:46 {Wound} (\eneilēsen\). This word is only here in the N.T.
As \entulissō\ is only in Mt 27:59; Lu 23:53; Joh 20:7. Both
verbs occur in the papyri, Plutarch, etc. They both mean to wrap,
wind, roll in. The body of Jesus was wound in the linen cloth
bought by Joseph and the hundred pounds of spices brought by
Nicodemus (Joh 19:39) for burying were placed in the folds of
the linen and the linen was bound around the body by strips of
cloth (Joh 19:40). The time was short before the sabbath began
and these two reverently laid the body of the Master in Joseph's
new tomb, hewn out of a rock. The perfect passive participle
(\lelatomēmenon\) is from \latomos\, a stonecutter (\lōs\, stone,
\temnō\, to cut)
. For further details see on ¯Mt 27:57-60. Lu
23:53 and Joh 19:41 also tell of the new tomb of Joseph. Some
modern scholars think that this very tomb has been identified in
Gordon's Calvary north of the city. {Against the door} (\epi tēn
. Matthew has the dative \tēi thurāi\ without \epi\ and
adds the adjective "great" (\megan\).

15:47 {Beheld} (\etheōroun\). Imperfect tense picturing the two
Marys "sitting over against the sepulchre" (Mt 27:61) and
watching in silence as the shadows fell upon all their hopes and
dreams. Apparently these two remained after the other women who
had been beholding from afar the melancholy end (Mr 15:40) had
left and "were watching the actions of Joseph and Nicodemus"
(Swete). Probably also they saw the body of Jesus carried and
hence they knew where it was laid and saw that it remained there
(\tetheitai\, perfect passive indicative, state of completion).
"It is evident that they constituted themselves a party of
observation" (Gould).

[Table of Contents]
[Previous] [Next]
Word Pictures in the New Testament
(Mark: Chapter 15)