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Bible Commentaries

The Bible Study New Testament

Mark 15

Verse 1


They put leans in chains, took him away, and handed him over to Pilate. See notes on Matthew 27:1-2; Matthew 27:11-14. The four Gospels give slightly differing accounts, but if we could have been eyewitnesses of the events, we would see how they accurately present the things that happened.

Verse 7


A man named Barabbas. This man was the leader of a group of rebels who had caused a riot and committed murder in it. Barabbas was one of the STASIASTON = rebels, insurrectionists. The Expositor’s Greek Testament says: “They were no mere band of brigands but men engaged in an insurrection, probably of a political character, rising out of the restless desire of many for independence, and in connection with that guilty of murder.” This adds up to the fact that: (1) Barabbas was in prison for leading a rebellion against the Roman authorities. (2) There were others involved in this with him. (3) Rebellion was a crime punished by crucifixion. (4) This activity identifies both Barabbas and those with him as “zealots.” (5) The fact that this all happened about the same time is strong evidence that both thieves who were crucified with Jesus, were partners of Barabbas in this insurrection, which would mean they were zealots as well. Josephus, the Jewish Historian, tells of an insurrection at about this time, caused by Pilate taking money from the temple treasury to construct an aqueduct. This might be the incident here, since many were killed in the rebellion Josephus speaks of. “Zealots” were “vigilante-outlaws,” who used the cloak of “freedom fighter” to cover their hoodlum activities. (See also notes on Luke 23:40-42.)

Verse 15


So he set Barabbas free for them. It was ironic to set the guilty man free, and to hand Jesus over to be nailed to the cross. See 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 9:28.

Verses 21-41


And they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. See notes on Matthew 27:32-56. Only Mark tells us that Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Compare Romans 16:13; Acts 19:33. Evidently both were well known to Mark’s first readers. Even though Cyrene was in North Africa, it had a large Jewish population. Simon was probably a Jew, come to Jerusalem for the Passover, but some think he may have been a “black” man.

Verses 42-47


It was getting on toward evening. See notes on Matthew 27:57-61. John tells us that Nicodemus was with Joseph of Arimathea when he asked for the body of Jesus and placed it in the new grave. Both of these men were members of the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus was a follower of Jesus (John 3:1-5), and attempted to get Jesus a fair hearing before the Sanhedrin (John 7:50-51).

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Bibliographical Information
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on Mark 15". "The Bible Study New Testament". College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.