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).


Please read this more detailed discussion of divorce as taught by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:31-32:
In Jesus’ day, confusion prevailed about the grounds for divorce. Even the rabbis could not agree on what constituted the “uncleanness” of Deut 24:1. Followers of Rabbi Shammai felt adultery was the only grounds for divorce. Those who followed Rabbi Hillel accepted many reasons, including such things as poor cooking.
The gospels record four statements by Jesus concerning divorce. In two of these He allowed divorce in the case of adultery. In Matt 5:32 Jesus commented on the situation of both the woman and her new husband: “Whoever divorces his wife for any reason except sexual immorality causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.”
In another statement, Jesus described the position of the man who divorced his wife: “Whoever divorces his wife except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Matt 19:9). While these two statements seem to allow divorce because of unfaithfulness, two other statements of Jesus appear to make no provision for divorce (Mark 10:11-12; Luke 16:18).
Are Jesus’ statements allowing divorce for infidelity in conflict with biblical statements that seem to forbid it entirely? Jesus’ statements in Mark and Luke were made in conversations with Pharisees about the Mosaic Law, which they believed allowed divorce on grounds other than adultery (Deut 24:1-4). Jesus’ main point in these statements was that divorce is contrary to God’s plan for marriage and should never be taken lightly. Even though Moses allowed divorce, this was an exception granted under the law because of their “hardness” of heart (Mark 10:5). Jesus desired to put “teeth” into the Law by declaring that, even if the divorced couple had not been sexually unfaithful to each other, they would commit adultery in God’s sight if they now married other partners.
In allowing divorce for the single reason of “immorality,” or illicit sexual intercourse, Jesus’ thought is clearly that a person dissolves his marriage by creating a sexual union with someone other than the marriage partner. Such union violates the sacred “oneness” intended by God when he united Adam and Eve in the first marriage relationship (Gen 2:18-25).
In the case of sexual unfaithfulness, the decree of divorce simply reflects the fact that the marriage has already been broken. A man divorcing his wife for this cause does not “make her an adulteress,” for she already is one. Thus, divorce on the grounds of unchastity usually frees the innocent partner to remarry without incurring the guilt of adultery (Matt 19:9). However, this is sometimes questioned. Although Jesus allowed divorce for adultery, He did not require it. On the contrary, He insisted that divorce disrupts God’s plan for marriage and left the way open for repentance and forgiveness.
Paul was essentially in agreement with Jesus’ teachings on marriage and divorce. However, the apostle dealt with new situations involving the marital conflict between believers and between a believer and a non-believer.
In the case of two Christians Paul admonished them to follow the Lord’s teachings and be reconciled. In any event, neither is to marry another (1 Cor 7:10-11). In 1 Cor 7:15, Paul says that a Christian whose mate has abandoned the marriage should be free to formalize the divorce: “If the unbeliever departs, let him depart, a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases.” Many authorities hold that the phrase “not under bondage” means that a deserted Christian spouse may lawfully go from divorce to remarriage. But other scholars disagree with this interpretation. In any event, Paul encourages the believer to keep the marriage together in hopes that the unbelieving partner might be saved (1 Cor 7:16).
(from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright © 1986, Thomas Nelson Publishers)