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Bible Commentaries

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Mark 15


Mark 15:1-5 Jesus is brought bound and accused before Pilate: his silence before the governor.

Mark 15:6-15 Pilate, prevailed upon by the clamours of the people, releases Barabbas, and giveth up Jesus to be crucified.

Mark 15:16-23 Christ is mocked of the soldiers, crowned with thorns, and led to the place of crucifiction.

Mark 15:24-28 He is crucified between two thieves,

Mark 15:29-32 reviled,

Mark 15:33-37 and calling upon God expires.

Mark 15:38 The veil of the temple rent.

Mark 15:39-41 The centurion’s confession.

Mark 15:42-47 Joseph of Arimathea begs the body, and buries it.

Verse 1

See Poole on "Matthew 27:1-2". Pontius Pilate was the Roman governor in Judea at this time, Luke 3:1. The reasons of their carrying Christ to him, when they had condemned him to death for blasphemy, (a crime cognizable before them, as appeareth in the case of Stephen, Acts 7:54-60), see in our notes on Matthew. What time in the morning they carried him before Pilate is not said, only John saith it was early, and we read it was about the sixth hour, (that is, with us twelve of the clock), when Pilate dismissed him, being by him condemned; so probably they were with Pilate by six or seven in the morning. This morning was the morning after the evening in which they had eaten the passover, and the first day of their feast of unleavened bread: so little did they regard God’s ordinance.

Verses 2-20

This history of our Saviour’s examination before and condemnation by Pilate, together with the indignities offered him after his condemnation, is recorded in some degree or other by all the four evangelists, by the comparing of which it will appear that Mark hath left out many material circumstances and parts of it. In our notes on Matthew 27:11-31, we have compared and considered them all, and shall thither refer the reader; only observing,

1. How much more favour Christ found from a Gentile heathen than from the Jewish high priest, and not favour only, but justice also.

2. How close our Saviour kept upon his guard, not accusing himself.

3. The horrible debauchery of these priests, that they would prefer a murderer, and seditious person, before a most innocent person.

4. The weakness of a corrupt heart to resist an ordinary temptation. Pilate was convinced the prosecution was malicious, that there was no guilt in Christ; yet he must content the people, and is basely afraid of their misrepresenting him to the Roman emperor.

5. That the point upon which Christ was condemned, was his maintaining his spiritual kingdom in and over his church, for he expressly disclaimed any claim to any earthly kingdom before Pilate, as the other evangelists tell us.

6. How punctually the words of Christ are by the providence of God fulfilled; we have now heard how Christ was delivered to the Gentiles, by them mocked, scourged, spit upon, and now going to be killed.

7. How Christ hath made all our bitter waters sweet, sanctifying every cross to us, and taking the curse out of it. He was reviled, imprisoned, mocked, scourged, spit upon, and last of all killed; he hath tasted of all these bitter waters, and by that taste they are made wholesome and medicinal for us; and he hath learned us, that there is no ignominy, shame, and contempt, no indignity and species of suffering, for his sake, in which we may not boast and glory, as being thereby made conformable to the sufferings and death of Christ. And if we suffer with him, we shall be glorified together.

Verses 21-37

To make this history complete, all the other evangelists must be consulted, and compared with Mark, who omits many considerable passages recorded by them; we have done it in our notes on Matthew 27:32-50, See Poole on "Matthew 27:32", and following verses to Matthew 27:50, to which I refer the reader, both for the understanding the several passages of this relation, and reconciling any small differences between the relations of the several evangelists. It is the observation of some, that when in Scripture the father is made known by the son, or sons, it signifieth some more eminency in the sons than in the father. Many think that this Simon was a pagan: though it be not certain, yet it is not improbable, that this Alexander was the same who is mentioned Acts 19:33, persecuted there by the Jews; and Rufus, he whom Paul saluteth, Romans 16:13, calling him chosen in the Lord. They say they were both at Rome, where they judge St. Mark was when he wrote this history, and that Mark mentions them as those who could attest the truth of this part of the history. The father bare Christ’s cross, (or one end of it), there is all we read of him. The sons believe on him who died upon it. So free is Divine grace, fixing where it pleaseth. Concerning the wine mingled with myrrh, we spake in our notes on Matthew 27:32-50. Some think our Saviour’s friends gave it him to refresh him; but it is most probable it was given him to intoxicate him, that he might be less sensible of the pain he should endure upon the cross: whatsoever they intended, our Saviour refused it, having wine to uphold him which they knew not of. For other things relating to this story, see the notes on Matthew 27:32-50.

Verses 38-41

The prodigies happening upon the death of our Saviour, and the passages happening between the time of his expiration and his burial, are more largely reported by the other evangelists than by Mark; we have put them all together, and considered the passages relating to them, in our notes on Matthew 27:51-54.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:51", and following verses to Matthew 27:54.

Verses 42-47

The circumstances of our Saviour’s honourable burial, as related by this and the other evangelists, are gathered together and opened in our notes on Matthew 27:57-66.

See Poole on "Matthew 27:57", and following verses to Matthew 27:66.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Mark 15". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.