King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Mark 15

Christ before Pilate. (1-14) Christ led to be crucified. (15-21) The crucifixion. (22-32) The death of Christ. (33-41) His body buried. (42-47)

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Christ before Pilate

1 And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.

2 And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it.

3 And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.

4 And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee.

5 But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.

6 Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired.

7 And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection.

8 And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them.

9 But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews?

10 For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy.

11 But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them.

12 And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews?

13 And they cried out again, Crucify him.

14 Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.

Christ led to be crucified

15 And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.

16 And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band.

17 And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head,

18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!

19 And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.

20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

21 And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

The crucifixion

22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.

23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not.

24 And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.

25 And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

26 And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.

27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days,

30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.

31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

The death of Christ

33 And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

35 And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias.

36 And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.

37 And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.

38 And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.

39 And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.

40 There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

41 (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.

His body buried

42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.

44 And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

45 And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

46 And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

47 And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. It was customary with the Jews to bind and deliver over to the Roman governors those whom they had condemned in their own councils; but we must not suppose that this was the first time they bound Jesus; for, as S. John informs us, when first they apprehended him, they put manacles upon him. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 2. It may be remarked upon this answer of our Lord, that he was not unwilling to answer the questions put to him by the governor, who condemned him contrary to his inclination, though he would not condescend to return an answer to the question of the high priests, as they were not worthy of the favour. Theophy.

Ver. 6. This practice of releasing to the people any prisoner they might think proper, was instituted in order to captivate the will of the people; which was most commonly done on the festival day, when the Jews were assembled from the different provinces to Jerusalem. But that the blindness and malice of this people might be more apparent, the evangelist here describes the atrocious wickedness of the man they preferred to the Son of God. Gloss.

Ver. 10. Since envy put to death the Author of life, Jesus Christ, how watchful should all Christians be against every degree of that sin. S. Chrysos. hom. xl. in Matt.

Ver. 21. S. Jerom thinks Alexander and Rufus were disciples of Christ, and on this account the name of their father is here expressed. S. Jerom. in D. Diony.

Ver. 23. S. Matt. says mixed with gall; for gall is here used for bitterness, and wine that has myrrh in it is a very strong bitter; although, perhaps, both gall and myrrh might have been ingredients to increase the bitterness. S. Austin. — Or, in the confusion that was occasioned, some might have offered him one thing, some another; one person giving vinegar and gall, another wine mixed with myrrh. Theophy. — Wine mingled with myrrh may perhaps be used for vinegar. S. Jer. — This was given to criminals, to lessen their torments. Our Lord was pleased to taste the bitterness, but he would not permit the relief which the admittance of the same into his stomach might have afforded. Thus also were the scriptures fulfilled: they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. Ps. lxviii. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 25. S. Mark is the only evangelist who says it was the third hour. S. John says it was the sixth. But these may easily be reconciled by supposing that he was crucified towards the end of the third hour, that is, about eleven of the clock, or half-past eleven, which being near the sixth hour, or twelve, the evangelist might say it was the sixth hour. Nic. de Lyra. — The third hour. The ancient account divided the day into four parts, which were named from the hour from which they began: the first, third, sixth, and ninth hour. Our Lord was crucified a little before noon; before the third hour had quite expired; but when the sixth hour was near at hand. Ch.

Ver. 26. It was written on a board, or rather on parchment fixed to a board, (as Leipsius informs us) expressing the cause why he was crucified, viz. because he was the King of the Jews. And, indeed, Pilate himself was fully persuaded that he was the Messiah promised to the Jews: and though he knew him to be innocent, he connived the more at his death through fear lest he might attempt something against the Roman empire, if he were permitted to continue. At the same time, by putting up his cause, he wished to revenge himself of the Jews, for their importunity and obstinacy in compelling him, partly against his will, to condemn him to death. For what could be more ignominious to the Jews than to see their king crucified at their own request, and for no other reason than because he was their king, and they did not wish him to reign over them. Thus did they receive the king for whose coming they had so long sighed, and from whom they had expected delivery from the Roman yoke, and the subjugation of the whole world to their own power. Sirinus.

Ver. 28. This text of Isaias regards the Messias according to the very letter. V.

Ver. 32. Afterwards they saw Him arising out of the sepulchre whom they thought unable to descend from the cross. Where, O Jew, is thy infidelity? I ask you yourselves. You shall be your own judges. How much more astonishing is it to be able, when dead, to rise again, than, when living, to descend from the cross? You desired a small exertion of power, and a much greater is here performed: but still your infidelity would not be cured. All have turned out of the way, all have become useless. S. Jer. — If the Scribes and Pharisees did not believe in Christ when he rose from the dead, neither would they have believed in him had he left the cross. Though the scripture had foretold in many places that he was to suffer, Ps. xxi. They have dug my hands and feet; and Ps. xcv, They shall look upon him whom they have pierced; He shall reign from the tree: (and which St. Justin assures us the Jews had erased from the psalm) yet where can the Jews point out that it was foretold he should descend from the cross? Tir.

Ver. 39. The centurion considered the crying out of our Saviour as an effect not of human, but divine power, since it generally happens that people at the moment the soul quits the body are reduced to so debilitated a state, that they are scarce able to utter the least word. Although Jesus was truly the natural, not the adoptive, Son of God, it is nevertheless probable that the centurion, being a Gentile, did not speak in this manner as if he knew Jesus to be the natural Son of God. He did not know that the Son of God was really true God, equal to the Father, but called him Son of God, as if adopted, on account of his extraordinary sanctity; or, perhaps, he might have called him the Son of God, in order to oppose the Jews, who called our Saviour a blasphemer, because he made himself the Son of God. D. Diony.

Ver. 42. Ven. Bede thinks the word parasceve is derived from the Greek paraskeue, signifying a preparation. It was the day before the sabbath, on which the Jews were accustomed to prepare two meals, one for the parasceve, and another for the sabbath; the Jews not being allowed to dress any meat on the latter day, on account of its great solemnity. The Jews learnt this word of the Greeks, who lived among them in Jerusalem. Ven. Bede.

Ver. 43. A noble Decurion. The Decurions among the Romans were first called so as having ten men under them, as the centurions were over a hundred. But some of the Decurions were also Counsellors in towns, as is here signified by the Greek word Bouleutes. Wi.

Ver. 46. According to the description of those that have seen it, it is a kind of small chamber, the height of which, from top to bottom, is eight feet and an inch, its length six feet and one inch, and its breadth fifteen feet ten inches. Its entrance, or vestibule, which looks towards the east, is but four feet high, and two feet four inches wide. The place within, where our Lord’s body was laid, takes up a whole side of the cave. The stone which was laid to secure the door of the sepulchre is still remaining, and according to Mr. Maundrell, is two yards and a quarter long, one broad, and one thick: but the particular parts of it are not visible, being all incrusted over with white marble, except in five or six little places, where it is left bare to receive the kisses and other devotions of pilgrims. Mark Luke’s Voyage to Asia Minor, Vol. II. p. 12. and Maundrell’s Journey from Aleppo to Jerusalem.