The crucifixion is the most central, fundamental, and at the same time controversial event in the Bible. Moreover, the crucifixion is the most prominent event that could ever happen in the entire history of mankind. Also, the crucifixion is the biggest stumbling block for many unbelievers, along with believers of different denominations and religions. Finally, the crucifixion is the greatest mystery that, however, reveals the true nature of God.
It is through the crucifixion God judged the world and yet shown His mercy to the sinners. God poured His wrath, and yet He offered us His abundant Love. The crucifixion is the perfect and ultimate sacrifice that no man could ever offer, and yet it is available for everyone. Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, born of a virgin, has offered Himself as a ransom for you and me. Through our transgressions, we have earned the death penalty, but Jesus Christ has paid the fine. That is what happened on the cross. For 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).
Weekly Insight Bible Reading
So, in this weekly insight, we will look at some events that took place in Mark 15 and some from Mark 14. Therefore, I would encourage you to read Mark 14 and Mark 15 beforehand. Please, take your time to study these chapters by yourself, with your family or study group.
Also, you might be interested in what was the last week. Please, check our previous weekly insight – Lenten Season: The Rejection And Betrayal – Mark 14.
Trials and Beatings before the Crucifixion
First, Jesus Christ was tried by the religious authorities. And after that, He was tried by the political authorities. That was necessary because Jewish religious leaders have no power to exercise capital punishments (John 18:31). Thus, Jesus Christ had two trials before the final verdict, death by crucifixion.
The Sanhedrin interrogates Jesus to justify the Crucifixion
From Mark 14:1, we know that the chief priests and the scribes have already decided to put Jesus Christ to death. So, the trial was a fabrication process of the false accusations for the future trial before Pilate. The Sanhedrin began their deliberations by seeking evidence that will justify their future demand for crucifixion. Thus, they sought a perfect witness against Jesus to put Him to death; and found none. Apparently, they did not lack witnesses because many were testifying falsely against Jesus, but those witnesses against Him did not agree with each other (Mark 14:55-56). Convicting a person for a crime, the Mosaic Law required precise agreement in the testimony of at least two witnesses (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6, 19:15) 15.
At the last came two false witnesses (Matt. 26:60) and declared that they heard Him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands (Mark 14:58). And yet, these two false witnesses did not hold any water. Even in their testimony, there were unspecified discrepancies, so Mark labelled it false 15. Of course, Jesus Christ was not talking about an actual temple, but He was referring to the temple of His body (John 2:19; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19). And these witnesses, just like many others, misinterpreted His words.
Caiaphas persuades his goal – the Crucifixion for Jesus
Then the high priest Caiaphas, being not satisfied with the result of the trial, asked Jesus two more questions (Mark 14:60). Caiaphas was hoping that he can get enough information to sentence Jesus to death by crucifixion. The first question that he asked Jesus was: “Have you no answer to make?” In Greek, this question expects a positive answer. Without a pause, Caiphas asked the second question: “What is it that these men testify against you?” But Jesus held His peace and answered nothing, (Mark 14:61, see also Isaiah 53:7) thereby He frustrated the court and brought its proceeding to a standstill 15.
But persuading his main goal, crucifixion for Jesus, Caiaphas asked Him pointedly: “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus answered firmly and unequivocally I AM. This is the first time in Mark’s Gospel that Jesus openly declared He is the Messiah. In proof of this, Jesus made a startling prediction. Applying words from Psalm 110:1 and Daniel 7:13 to Himself. Jesus said: “you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven” (Mark 14:62). Thus, the Lord Jesus referred to bodily resurrection in judgement before the exalted Son of Man, who will one day judge those who were judging Him. And then it will be unmistakable clear that He is God’s Anointed One, the Messiah 15.
First beatings before the Crucifixion
The affirmative answer to the last question of Caiaphas was exactly an objective of the high priest. The Mosaic Law required death by stoning for blasphemy (Lev. 24:15-16). However, being under the authority of Romans, the Sanhedrin could not execute Jesus Christ legally but condemn to death only (John 18:31). Thus, 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 (Mark 14:65).
Question to ponder:
Why do you think Jewish religious authorities not just rejected but also desired Jesus’ death by crucifixion? Have you ever had such moments in your life when you hated God? Why?
In the court before Pilate – the last trial before the Crucifixion
By Jewish law, Jesus Christ was condemned for blasphemy, as He declared to be the Messiah. However, in the court before Pilate, they tried Jesus for treason under Roman law, as the King of the Jews. Nevertheless, in both cases, He was sentenced to death, and as it prescribed under Roman law, punishment for treason is the cruellest and most inhuman – the crucifixion. Though not according to Mosaic Law, nor in compliance with Roman law, but in conformity with God’s will (Mark 10:33-34).
Since Pontius Pilate was Roman prefect of Judea, his main concern was to find out, if Jesus has ever claimed to be the King of the Jews. If so, then the treason is obvious, and justice has to be served immediately. Thus, Pilate started his interrogation. The Gospel according to Mark does not contain complete questioning by Pilate, as well trial by Herod. However, John 18:28-19:15 would be the most explicit.
Instead of confirming the Sanhedrin’s demand for crucifixion, Pilate started his trial by clarifying Jesus’ alleged claim to be “a king.” So, Pilate asked Jesus the question: “Are you the King of the Jews?” To which Jesus gave a cryptic reply: “You have said so.“ 15 (Mark 15:2) Jesus’ purpose on earth was Messianic. That is to say, He came to save His people, to liberate them from the slavery of sin. Moreover, in John 18:36 Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world.“
Pilate’s attempt to save Jesus from the Crucifixion
Each year during the Passover festival it was the governor’s custom as a sign of goodwill to release a prisoner selected by people. Thus, Pilate made futile attempts to gain an acquittal (not guilty) for Jesus 15 (Mark 15:6-15). He offered them to release to them the King of the Jews. Also, Pilate knew that the chief priests had delivered Him for envy but not out of loyalty to Rome. But the crowd, emotionally moved by the chief priests, urged him into releasing Barabbas instead of Jesus. And on the Pilate’s question, what should he do with the King of the Jews, the crowd shouted back, Crucify Him! When Pilate challenged them to state the crime which made Jesus guilty enough to deserve the crucifixion, they shouted even louder, Crucify Him!
Second beatings before the Crucifixion
Pilate saw no crime, no guilt in Jesus Christ, but being pressured by the Jewish crowd, he released Barabbas to them and had Jesus flogged, he sentenced Him to death by crucifixion.
A Roman flogging was a brutal beating that always preceded the execution of a capital sentence on male offenders. The prisoner was stripped, often tied to a post, and beaten on the back by several guards using short leather whips studded with sharp pieces of bone or metal. No limit was set on the number of blows. Often this punishment was fatal 15. After inhuman beatings and mockery, they led Jesus to Golgotha to execute the Crucifixion.
Usually, condemned to death by crucifixion, a man carried the patibulum of his own cross. Jesus started carrying His cross but weakened by flogging, He dropped under the weight of it. So, the soldiers randomly picked a passerby Simon of Cyrene to carry the cross for Christ 15. And, with restrained simplicity, Mark wrote, and they crucified Him.
Question to ponder:
Why do you think Jesus had two trials, one religious and one political? What do that trials reveal about Jesus’ authority and Kingship?
The Crucifixion: the way of The King
Normally the execution’ squad of soldiers strip a condemned man (except possible for a loincloth), lay on the ground, and both outstretched forearms they nail to the crossbeam. Then this beam is raised by soldiers and fastened to an upright post already stuck in the ground and the victim’s feet nailed to it. A wooden peg partway up the post on which the victim rests his feet to support his body. Death from extreme exhaustion and thirst was painful and slow and usually came after two or three days. Sometimes soldiers hastened death by breaking the victim’s legs 15 (John 19:31-33).
According to the Jewish method of counting, Jesus’ crucifixion took place at the third hour, that is, 9 a.m. by Roman (modern) counting (Mark 15:25; John 19:14). Before His final death, Jesus was on the cross for 6 hours. Again, the Lord Jesus underwent verbal abuse and mockery from both Jewish religious leaders and passersby 15 (Mark 15:29-32; Psalm 22:7, 109:25; Jer. 18:16; Lam. 2:15). They mocked His words and His entire ministry of healing and raising people from death. Moreover, they mocked Him as the Messiah, ridiculing Jesus because He seemed powerless to save even Himself (Mark 15:30). However, Jesus could not save (rescue) Himself from the crucifixion, the sufferings and death appointed to Him by God (Mark 8:31; 14:36).
The long-standing desire of the religious leader to kill Jesus was successful at last 15 (Mark 3:6; 11:18; 12:12; 14:1, 64; 15:1, 11-13). After prolonged cruel beatings and mockery that began even before the crucifixion, finally Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost (Mark 15:37; Matthew 27:50).
The Crucifixion is an ultimate Atonement
Because of our perpetually sinful nature (Romans 1-4), God justly doomed us to eternal banishment from His Presence. The darkness in the middle of the day (between 12 and 3 pm) was a cosmic sign of God’s judgement on human sin (Isa. 5:25-30; Amos 8:9-10; Micah 3:5-7; Zeph. 1:14-15) which God placed on Jesus (Isa. 53:5-6; 2 Cor. 5:21). Specifically, it pictured God’s judgement on Israel, who rejected His Messiah, the Sin-Bearer (John 1:29). Thus, the darkness visualized what Jesus’ last cry expressed.
To deliver humanity, Christ became the sin-offering, the scapegoat (Lev. 16:11-28). As such, Jesus carried out our sins in His own body and suffered a terrible death by crucifixion (1 Pet. 22:24). He abolished sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Heb. 9:26). Thus, Jesus Christ suffered the wrath of God due to our disobedience (Eph. 5:6); and the sward of that wrath awoke not only against the sins that were laid upon Him but against Himself as being an embodiment of the Sinner, and yet the Fellow of Jehovah (Zech 13:7).
Therefore, He was accursed of God personally (Gal. 3:10), condemned to death, the mysterious death of separation from God and seclusion in hell. But because Jesus Christ is God, righteous and sinless (2 Corinthians 5:21), He could not be detained in hell. Thus, He carried away its gates, as Samson carried away the gates of Gaza 6.
The Crucifixion – a sweet savour of the perfect sacrifice to God
Herein lie the great controversy and mystery of our Lord Jesus Christ as the Burnt-Offering and the Sin-Offering of Leviticus 1 and 4. Never was the sacrifice so precious to the heart of God – truly a sweet savour when hanging on the cross; and yet, at the same moment, accursed as being the impersonation of sin itself. In John 3:14-15, Jesus Himself declared: “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.” Thus, the crucifixion as the serpent of the pole is the means by which the new birth and the promised kingdom made effectual. So, if the dying man, poisoned by the venom of sin, who, by faith, would simply look (to believe), he would be healed from the deadly poison of sin in his body and live.
Question to ponder:
Please think about your sins and repent of them before the throne of the Almighty. Moreover, give thanks and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ, whom we sentenced to death through the crucifixion on the cross intended for you and me.
- Jesus Christ was tried before the council of Sanhedrin but never proven guilty.
- However, the Jewish religious leader’s wicked hearts demanded the death of the Messiah, death by crucifixion.
- On the trial before Pilate, Jesus was proven innocent. But the crowd, moved by the high priests, demanded the blood of the Messiah be shed.
- The way of the King to the place of His crucifixion was through the cruel beatings and mockery from the Roman soldiers, religious leaders, and angry crowd.
- The Lord Jesus Christ weakened and exhausted by beatings, died on the cross. He carried away the sins of the world. The wrath of God was poured on Him to serve justice and grant liberation to the one who believes.
If you have not yet accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior, why not now!? Please, do not wait until it is too late! Embrace God’s Grace, Mercy and Love now – Accept Jesus Now!
- Are we Sinning?
- The Proud will not seek God
- Are You Wise Enough To Understand The Gospel?
- Is Your Deafness Related To Being Stiff-Necked?
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
The Lord’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
- The Henry Morris Study Bible – KJV
- The Matthew Henry Study Bible – KJV
- The MacArthur Study Bible – ESV
- ESV Study Bible
- Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible KJV
- The Complete Bible Commentary – George Williams
- The Moody Bible Commentary – a one-volume commentary
- Studies in the Sermon on the Mount by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
- NASB Zondervan Study Bible
- Chronological Life Application Study Bible – NLT
- Rose Book of Bible Charts, Maps, and Time Lines
- The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible
- Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty [Old Testament Edition]
- The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty [New Testament Edition]