Mark 15:21-32 – The Crucifixion

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Mark 15:21

  1. Cyrene was a city in North Africa that had a relatively large Jewish population (Acts 2:10).
  2. Simon was probably visiting Jerusalem to celebrate Easter with his countrymen.
  3. The fact that his two sons are mentioned by name indicates that they belonged to the disciples (Rom 16:13).
  4. The Romans used to let the one to be crucified carry his own cross on the way to the execution, but since Jesus was so badly scourged, he couldn’t take it.
  5. Simon Peter has promised just hours earlier never to abandon Jesus, but now, when Jesus needs help the most, another Simon must help Jesus (Mark 14:27-31).
    1. The good thing about this is that even if Jesus’ disciples abandon Jesus, God still has the power to carry out his plan even without the disciples.
    1. The negative of this is that Peter missed out on a priceless honor and glory by not being where he had promised he would be!
    1. Although Jesus offers Peter forgiveness and restoration, there is no denying that Simon Peter here lost a great honour in helping his Master on the way to the cross.

Mark 15:22

  1. The location of Jesus’ crucifixion is unknown today, but there are two suggestions as to where Calvary was located:
    1. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, built in 326 on the site where the Roman Emperor Constantine and his mother Helena believed Calvary was located.
    1. Gordon’s Garden Tomb, which General Gordon found in 1883 on a rock that looks like a skull and has a tomb and a garden (John 19:41).

Mark 15:23

  1. The spiked wine had a painkilling effect, but Jesus refused to accept it because he was about to undergo the crucifixion in his right mind.

Mark 15:24

  1. Crucifixion was a cruel method of execution used to execute people as slowly and painfully as possible in front of an audience.
    1. Crucifixion was so cruel that it was forbidden to execute Roman citizens in this way. Crucifixion was intended for slaves and for the worst criminals.
  2. Normally, the crucifixion took place in the following way:
    1. The prisoner was whipped so that his back was sore and torn.
    1. The prisoner was stripped and laid on the ground.
    1. The arms were nailed to the cross, which was then erected.
    1. The feet were nailed to the cross.
    1. The posture of the cross meant that if you didn’t lift yourself, you would suffocate, but because you had nails in your feet, lifting yourself was extremely painful, which meant that you eventually couldn’t cope and died from the pain or difficulty in breathing.
    1. The crucified could hang on the cross for days. If the Romans wanted to hasten death, they could crush the thigh bones of those crucified so that they could not lift themselves to breathe and thus suffocate to death (John 19:31-32).
  3. The Roman soldiers here fulfill Psalm 22:19.

Mark 15:26

  1. The Romans used to name the crucified person on a poster and write what he was guilty of.
  2. According to John, Pilate wrote “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews” in Hebrew, Latin and Greek (John 19:19).
    1. If you take the initial letters from the poster, it becomes “INRI” in Latin and “YHWH” in Hebrew.
    1. The Jewish leadership vainly wanted Pilate to change the written text and perhaps it was because it looked like they had crucified God (John 19:21-22).

Mark 15:29

  1. Although they acknowledge that Jesus has done good, they still mock him.
  2. Even those crucified with Jesus mock him, although one of the robbers eventually repents (Luke 23:39-43).
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