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Home > Commentaries > Barnes' Notes > Mark > Chapter 15

Barnes' Notes on the New Testament

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MARK Chapter 15.

Verses 1-15. See the principal events in this chapter explained in Matthew 27.

{u} "consultation" Psalms 2:2; Matthew 27:1; Luke 23:1; John 18:28; Acts 3:13; 4:26

Verse 2. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 3. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 4. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 5. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{v} "But Jesus" Isaiah 53:7; John 19:9

Verse 6. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{w} "Now, at that" Matthew 27:15; Luke 23:17; John 18:39

Verse 7. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 8. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 9. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 10. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{x} "envy" Proverbs 27:4; Ecclesiastes 4:4; Acts 13:45; Titus 3:3

Verse 11. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{y} "release Barabbas" Acts 3:14

Verse 12. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{z} "King of the Jews" Psalms 2:6; Jeremiah 23:5; Acts 5:31

Verse 13. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 14. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{a} "what evil" Isaiah 53:9

Verse 15. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 16. Called Praetorium. The hall of the praetor, or Roman governor, where he sat to administer justice.

Whole band. See Barnes "Matthew 27:27".

{b} "the soldiers" Matthew 27:27; John 18:28,33; 19:9

Verse 17. With purple. Matthew says scarlet. See Barnes "Matthew 27:28".

About his head. In the form of a garland, or diadem. The whole head was not covered, but it was placed in a circle round the temples.

Verse 18. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 19. Worshipped him. Mocked him with the appearance of homage. The word worship here denotes only the respect and honour done to princes and kings. It does not refer to any religious homage. They regarded him as foolishly and madly claiming to be a king--not as claiming to be Divine.

{c} "spit upon him" Mark 14:65

Verse 20. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 21. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 22. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{e} "And they brang" Matthew 27:33; Luke 23:33; John 19:17

Verse 23. Wine mingled, etc. Matthew says, vinegar. It was probably wine soured, so that it might be called either. This was the common drink of the Roman soldiers.

Myrrh. See Barnes "Matthew 27:34".

Verse 24. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{f} "they parted" Psalms 22:18

Verse 25. And it was the third hour, etc. In John 19:14, it is said, "And it was the preparation of the Passover, and about the sixth hour," etc. Much difficulty has been felt in reconciling these passages; and infidels have usually adduced them to prove that the evangelists have contradicted themselves. In reconciling them the following remarks may perhaps make the matter clear.

(1.) The Jews divided both the night and the day into four equal parts of three hours each. See Barnes "Matthew 14:25". The first division of the day commenced at six o'clock in the morning, and ended at nine; the second commenced at nine, and ended at twelve, etc. The third hour, mentioned by Mark, would therefore correspond with our nine o'clock; the sixth hour, mentioned by John, would correspond with our twelve, or noon.

(2.) Mark professes to give the time accurately; John does not. He says "it was about the sixth hour," without affirming that this was exactly the time.

(3.) A mistake in numbers is easily made; and if it should be admitted that such an error had crept into the text here, it would be nothing more than has occurred in many ancient writings. It has been proved, moreover, that it was common not to write the words indicating numbers at length, but to use letters. The Greeks designated numbers by the letters of the alphabet; and this mode of computation is found in ancient manuscripts, For example, the Cambridge Ms. of the New Testament has in this very place in Mark not the word third written at length, but the letter \~g\~, Gamma, the usual notation for third. Now, it is well known that it would be easy to mistake this for the mark denoting six, \~6\~. All error of this kind in an early MS might be extensively propagated, and might have led to the present reading of the text. Such an error is actually known to exist in the "Chronicon" of Paschal, where Otho is said to have reigned \~6\~ (six) months; whereas it is known that he reigned but three; and in this place therefore the \~g\~, three, was mistaken for \~6\~, six.

(4.) There is some external authority for reading "third" in John 19:14. The Cambridge MS has this reading. Nonnus, who lived in the fifth century, says that this was the true reading. (Wetstein.) Peter of Alexandria, in a fragment concerning the passover, as quoted by Usher, says, "It was the preparation of the passover, and about the third hour, as," he adds, "the most accurate copies of the Bible have it; and this was the handwriting of the Evangelist (John) which is kept, by the grace of God, in his most holy church at Ephesus." (Mill.) It is to be admitted, however, that no great reliance is to be placed on this account. That a mistake might have occurred in the early MSS. is not improbable. No man can prove that it did not so occur; and as long as this cannot be proved, the passages should not be adduced as conclusive proof of contradiction.

After all, perhaps the whole difficulty may be removed by the following statements:

(1.) Calvary was without the walls of Jerusalem. It was a considerable distance from the place where Jesus was tried and condemned. Some time--more or less--would be occupied in going there, and in the preparatory measures for crucifying him.

(2.) It is not necessary to understand Mark as saying that it was precisely nine o'clock, according to our expression. With the Jews, it was six until seven; it was the third hour until the fourth commenced; it was the ninth until it was the tenth. They included in the third hour the whole time from the third to the fourth. The same mode they adopted in regard to their days. See Barnes "Matthew 12:40".

(3.) It is not unduly pressing the matter to suppose that Mark spoke of the time when the process for crucifixion commenced; i. e., when he was condemned; when they entered upon it; when they made the preparation. Between that and the time when he was taken out of Jerusalem to Mount Calvary, and when he was actually nailed to the tree, there is no improbability in supposing that there might have been an interval of more than an hour. Indeed, the presumption is, that considerably more time than that would elapse.

(4.) John does not profess, as has been remarked, to be strictly accurate. He says, "it was about the sixth hour," etc.

(5.) Now suppose that John meant to indicate the tune when he was actually suspended on the cross; that he spoke of the crucifixion denoting the act of suspension, as it struck him, and there is no difficulty. Any other two men--many witnesses might give just such an account now. One man would speak of the time when the process for an execution commenced, another perhaps of the very act of the execution, and would both speak of it in general terms, and say that a man was executed at such a time. And the circumstantial variation would prove that there was no collusion--no agreement to impose on a court--that they were honest witnesses. That is prosed here,

(6.) That this is the true account of the matter is clear from the evangelists themselves; and especially from Mark. The three first evangelists concur in stating that there was a remarkable darkness over the whole land from the sixth to the ninth hour, Matthew 27:45; Mark 15:33;; Luke 23:44. This fact would seem to indicate that the actual crucifixion continued only during that time--that he was, in fact, suspended at about the sixth hour, though the preparations for crucifying him had been going on (Mark) for two hours before. The fact, that Mark (Mark 15:33) mentions this darkness as commencing at the sixth and not at the third hour, is one of the circumstances undesignedly occurring that seems to signify that the crucifixion then had actually taken place--though the various arrangements for it (Mark 15:26) had been going on from the third hour.

One thing is conclusively proved by this, that the evangelists did not conspire together to impose on the world. They are independent witnesses; and they were honest men. And the circumstance adverted to here is one that is allowed to be of great value in testimony in courts of justice--circumstantial variation with essential agreement.

Verse 26. The superscription The writing over his head on the cross.

The King of the Jews. See Barnes "Matthew 27:37".

Verse 27. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 28. And the Scripture was fulfilled, etc. This passage of Scripture is found in Isaiah 53:12. This does not mean that he was a transgressor, but simply, that in dying, he had a place with transgressors. Nor does it mean that God regarded him as a sinner; but that, at his death, in popular estimation, or by the sentence of the judge, he was regarded as a transgressor, and was treated in the same manner as the others put to death for their transgressions. Jesus died, "the just for the unjust," and in his death, as well as in his life, he was "holy, harmless, undefiled."

{g} "Scripture" Isaiah 53:12

Verse 29. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{h} "And they" Psalms 22:7.

Verse 30. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 31. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 32. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{k} "may see and" Romans 3:3; 2 Timothy 2:13

Verse 33. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{l} "And when" Matthew 27:45; Luke 23:44

Verse 34. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{m} "saying" Psalms 22:1
{n} "forsaken me" Psalms 42:9; 71:11; Lamentations 1:12

Verse 35. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 36. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{o} "and gave" Psalms 69:21

Verse 37. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{p} "And Jesus" Matthew 27:50; Luke 23:46; John 19:30

Verse 39. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 39. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

Verse 40. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{q} "afar off" Psalms 38:11

Verse 41. No notes from Barnes on this verse.

{r} "ministered" Luke 8:2,3

Verse 42. The even. The time after three o'clock in the afternoon.

The preparation, etc. The following day was to be a day of peculiar solemnity, called the great day of the feast. More than ordinary preparation was, therefore, made for that sabbath on the day before. Hence the day was known as a day of preparation. This preparation consisted in food, etc., to be used on the sabbath.

Verse 43. Joseph--an honourable counsellor. A distinguished man, who probably held a high office among the Jews, as one of their great council or a Jewish senator. The word honourable here is not a mere title of office, but is given in reference to his personal character, as being a man of integrity and blameless life.

Waited for the kingdom of God. Waited for, or expected, the coming of the Messiah. But this expression means more than an indefinite expectation that the Messiah would come, for all the Jews expected that. It implies that he believed Jesus to be the Messiah, and that he had waited for him to build up the kingdom of God; and this agrees with what John says, John 19:38 that he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, for fear of the Jews. He had retained his secret belief in the hope that Jesus would be proclaimed and treated as the Messiah, and then he probably proposed openly to acknowledge his attachment to him. But God called him to a public profession of attachment in a different manner, and gave this distinguished man grace to evince it. So men often delay a profession of attachment to Christ. They cherish a secret love; they indulge a hope in the mercy of God; but they conceal it for fear of man. Whereas God requires that the attachment should be made known. "He that is ashamed of me," said the Saviour, "and of my words before men, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed when he shall come in the glory of his Father and of the holy angels." Those who love the Saviour have no right to hide their light under a bushel. As soon as they have evidence, satisfactory to their own mind, that they are Christians, or have a prevalent belief, after faithful examination, that they truly love God, and depend on the Lord Jesus for salvation, so soon are they bound to profess Christ before men. This is the command of God, and this is the way of peace. None have the prospect of comfort in religion, who do not have respect to all of the commandments of God.

Went in boldly unto Pilate. God had raised up this distinguished counsellor and secret disciple for a special and most important vocation. The disciples of Jesus had fled; and if they had not, they had no influence with Pilate. Unless there had been a special application to Pilate in behalf of Jesus, his body would have been buried that night in the common grave with the malefactors: for it was a law of the Jews that the body of an executed man should not remain on the cross on the sabbath. At this critical juncture, God called forward this secret disciple--this friend of Jesus, though unknown as such to the world, and gave him confidence; he dared to express sympathy for the Saviour; he went in boldly, and begged the body of Jesus. It needed no small measure of courage to do this. Jesus had just been condemned, mocked, spit on, crucified--the death of a slave, or the most guilty wretch. To avow attachment for him now was proof of sincere affection; and the Holy Spirit has thought this worthy of special notice; and has set down this bold attachment of a senator for Jesus, for our imitation.

Craved the body. Begged, or asked.

{s} "also waited" Luke 2:25,38

Verse 44. And Pilate marvelled if, etc. Wondered if he was dead; or wondered that he was so soon dead. It was not common for persons crucified to expire under two or three days, sometimes not until the sixth or seventh. Joseph had asked for the body, implying that he was dead. That he was had been ascertained by the soldiers. See John 19:33.

Verse 45. When he knew it of the centurion. Being informed by the centurion of the fact that he was dead. The centurion had charge of the soldiers who watched him, and could therefore give correct information.

Verse 46. No Barnes text on this verse.

{t} "a stone" Mark 16:3,4

Verse 47. Beheld where he was laid. The affection of these pious females never forsook them, in all the trials and sufferings of their Lord. With true love they followed him to the cross; they came as near to him as they were permitted to come, in his last moments; they followed him when taken down and laid in the tomb. The strong, the mighty, the youthful, had fled; but female love never forsook him, even in his deepest humiliation. This is the nature of true love. It is strongest in such scenes. While professed attachment will abound in prosperity, and live most in sunshine, it is only genuine love that will go into the dark shades of adversity, and flourish there. In scenes of poverty, want, affliction, and death, it shows its genuineness. That which lives there is genuine; that which turns away from such scenes is spurious.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Mark 15". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". <>.  


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