Mark 15

* Christ before Pilate. (1-14) Christ led to be crucified.

(15-21) The crucifixion. (22-32) The death of Christ. (33-41)

His body buried. (42-47)

1-14 They bound Christ. It is good for us often to remember the

bonds of the Lord Jesus, as bound with him who was bound for us.

By delivering up the King, they, in effect, delivered up the

kingdom of God, which was, therefore, as by their own consent,

taken from them, and given to another nation. Christ gave Pilate

a direct answer, but would not answer the witnesses, because the

things they alleged were known to be false, even Pilate himself

was convinced they were so. Pilate thought that he might appeal

from the priests to the people, and that they would deliver

Jesus out of the priests' hands. But they were more and more

urged by the priests, and cried, Crucify him! Crucify him! Let

us judge of persons and things by their merits, and the standard

of God's word, and not by common report. The thought that no one

ever was so shamefully treated, as the only perfectly wise,

holy, and excellent Person that ever appeared on earth, leads

the serious mind to strong views of man's wickedness and enmity

to God. Let us more and more abhor the evil dispositions which

marked the conduct of these persecutors.
15-21 Christ met death in its greatest terror. It was the death

of the vilest malefactors. Thus the cross and the shame are put

together. God having been dishonoured by the sin of man, Christ

made satisfaction by submitting to the greatest disgrace human

nature could be loaded with. It was a cursed death; thus it was

branded by the Jewish law, #De 21:23|. The Roman soldiers mocked

our Lord Jesus as a King; thus in the high priest's hall the

servants had mocked him as a Prophet and Saviour. Shall a purple

or scarlet robe be matter of pride to a Christian, which was

matter of reproach and shame to Christ? He wore the crown of

thorns which we deserved, that we might wear the crown of glory

which he merited. We were by sin liable to everlasting shame and

contempt; to deliver us, our Lord Jesus submitted to shame and

contempt. He was led forth with the workers of iniquity, though

he did no sin. The sufferings of the meek and holy Redeemer, are

ever a source of instruction to the believer, of which, in his

best hours, he cannot be weary. Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall

I, a vile sinner, fret or repine? Shall I indulge anger, or

utter reproaches and threats because of troubles and injuries?
22-32 The place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, was called

the place of a scull; it was the common place of execution; for

he was in all respects numbered with the transgressors. Whenever

we look unto Christ crucified, we must remember what was written

over his head; he is a King, and we must give up ourselves to be

his subjects, as Israelites indeed. They crucified two thieves

with him, and him in the midst; they thereby intended him great

dishonour. But it was foretold that he should be numbered with

the transgressors, because he was made sin for us. Even those

who passed by railed at him. They told him to come down from the

cross, and they would believe; but they did not believe, though

he gave them a more convincing sign when he came up from the

grave. With what earnestness will the man who firmly believes

the truth, as made known by the sufferings of Christ, seek for

salvation! With what gratitude will he receive the dawning hope

of forgiveness and eternal life, as purchased for him by the

sufferings and death of the Son of God! and with what godly

sorrow will he mourn over the sins which crucified the Lord of

glory!
33-41 There was a thick darkness over the land, from noon until

three in the afternoon. The Jews were doing their utmost to

extinguish the Sun of Righteousness. The darkness signified the

cloud which the human soul of Christ was under, when he was

making it an offering for sin. He did not complain that his

disciples forsook him, but that his Father forsook him. In this

especially he was made sin for us. When Paul was to be offered

as a sacrifice for the service saints, he could joy and rejoice,

#Php 2:17|; but it is another thing to be offered as a sacrifice

for the sin of sinners. At the same instant that Jesus died, the

veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. This

spake terror to the unbelieving Jews, and was a sign of the

destruction of their church and nation. It speaks comfort to all

believing Christians, for it signified the laying open a new and

living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The

confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his

Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to

have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified

will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to

behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Saviour who was

wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.
42-47 We are here attending the burial of our Lord Jesus. Oh

that we may by grace be planted in the likeness of it! Joseph of

Arimathea was one who waited for the kingdom of God. Those who

hope for a share in its privileges, must own Christ's cause,

when it seems to be crushed. This man God raised up for his

service. There was a special providence, that Pilate should be

so strict in his inquiry, that there might be no pretence to say

Jesus was alive. Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body,

and do what he pleased with it. Some of the women beheld where

Jesus was laid, that they might come after the sabbath to anoint

the dead body, because they had not time to do it before.

Special notice was taken of Christ's sepulchre, because he was

to rise again. And he will not forsake those who trust in him,

and call upon him. Death, deprived of its sting, will soon end

the believer's sorrows, as it ended those of the Saviour.
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