Please read Mark Chapter 15 and focus on Verses 16-24 in preparation for our study on the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus over the next two weeks. Next week we will have the special pleasure of hearing a magnificent sermon by the man who has been called, “one of the greatest living preachers in America and the dean of Black preachers” the one and only Dr. Gardner C, Taylor. His sermon “In His Own Clothes” is a masterpiece and we will hear it next week at the beginning of Bible Study.
After the sermon we will review the following commentary on our text from the Bible Knowledge Commentary and then answer questions from the Scripture, Sermon, and Commentary. Please read your Bible, the commentary below and come listen to the sermon and be prepared to discuss all three.
The Roman soldiers’ mockery of Jesus (15:16-20; Matt 27:27-31; John 19:2-12).
15:16. After the flogging of Jesus, presumably outside in the public square, the Roman soldiers took Him, battered and bleeding, into (?eso?, “inside”) the palace (lit., “courtyard”; cf. same word in 14:54,66). The rendering “palace” is justified due to Mark’s explanatory comment, that is, the Praetorium, equating the two places. The Latin loanword, Praetorium, meant the governor’s official residence (cf. Matt 27:27; John 18:28,33; 19:9; Acts 23:35).
Once inside they summoned the whole company (?speiran?, Gr. for the Latin “cohort”) of soldiers. Ordinarily a cohort was 600 men, 1/10 of a 6,000-soldier legion. But in this case it may have been an auxiliary battalion of 200-300 soldiers that had accompanied Pilate to Jerusalem from Caesarea.
15:17-19. In ludicrous imitation of a vassal king’s regal robes and gilded head-wreath, the soldiers dressed Jesus in a purple robe, a faded military cloak, and pressed a crown of thorns, perhaps palm spines, on His head. With this “crown” the soldiers unwittingly pictured God’s curse on sinful humanity being thrust on Jesus (cf. Gen 3:17-18). Matthew noted that they also placed a staff in His hand as a mock scepter (Matt 27:29).
Then they ridiculed Him with contemptuous words and insulting actions in mock homage to a king. The derisive greeting Hail (Rejoice), King of the Jews, paralleled the formal Roman plaudit, “Ave, Caesar.” The NIV words, again and again reflect the imperfect tense of the Greek verbs. The soldiers kept striking Jesus with a staff, probably His mock scepter, on His thorn-crowned head. They kept spitting on Him (cf. 14:65) and bending their knees in mock submission to royalty. In all this they acted out of contempt not so much for Jesus personally but for their subject nation which had long desired a king of its own.
15:20. The soldiers then removed the mock royal attire and dressed Him in His own clothes. Then they, a four-soldier execution squad (cf. John 19:23) under the command of a centurion, led Him outside the city to crucify Him.
Jesus’ suffering before the Roman authorities was exemplary for Mark’s readers who would be subjected to similar ridicule before pagan authorities (cf. comments on Mark 13:9-13).