One of the more remarkable things about this brief account of our Lord’s crucifixion is the strong emphasis that Mark puts on the phrase king of the Jews. The death of Jesus is of course His priestly work, but we must also remember that it is through the cross that He conquered, the work of a king.
"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. . . ." (Mark 15:1-47).
Roman legal proceedings were routinely conducted at daybreak. So the Jewish leaders delivered Jesus to Pilate first thing in the morning (v. 1). The first question Pilate asks here shows that the Lord’s accusers decided that they needed to put a political spin on their accusation (v. 2). Jesus answered, briefly, in the affirmative. He is the king of the Jews. The accusers pile the accusations on, but when it got to this point, the Lord remained silent (vv. 3-4). "He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth" (Is. 53:7). His silence amazes Pilate (v. 5).
At this point we need to distinguish between a prophetic type and a literary type. A prophetic type would be something like Noah’s ark as a type of Christian baptism (1 Pet. 3:20-21). A literary type is found within one work of literature, as in the gospel of Mark. Here Barabbas is a type of all the sinners for whom Christ died.
It was a custom to release a prisoner at the time of the feast (v. 6). That this was what we call a political prisoner, and not a common thug, is seen from two things -- the direct statement of the text (v. 7), and the fact that the people wanted the prisoner released. The multitude cried out that they wanted the prisoner release to occur (v. 8). Pilate, misjudging badly, offers to release Jesus to them (v. 9). He knew that the chief priests were envious of Christ (v. 10), and did not think that the people would be involved in that. But the priests had the crowd under control (v. 11), and so they called for Barabbas. Pilate asks them, again a bad move, what they want him to do with Jesus (v. 12). The answer, shouted back, was crucify Him (v. 13). Pilate tries to defend the Lord, unsuccessfully (v. 14). This is the point where Pilate loses control of the situation. Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate turns the Lord over for flogging and crucifixion (v. 15).
Jesus was led into the Praetorium, inside Pilate’s residence (v. 16), and there mocked and flogged. The instrument for flogging was called the flagellum, with the whip wound through pieces of bone and metal. It was not unusual for men to die in the course of the flogging. The soldiers mockingly dressed Christ up in purple, a plaited crown of thorns, and began to worship Him (vv. 17-18). They did this while striking Him, and spitting on Him (v. 19). When they tired of this, they returned His clothes to Him, and led Him outside the city (v. 20). Part way there, they had to impress Simon of Cyrene into service (v. 21). He had to carry the crosspiece of the cross, the patibulum. As it turns out, he was also the father of some known as the first recipients of this gospel (v. 21).
They brought Him to Calvarium, and offered Him a drug (vv. 22-23 ) -- some respected Jerusalem women remembered Proverbs. 31:6-7, and made this kind of pain-killer available. Casting lots for His clothing v. 24), the soldiers fulfilled Scripture again (Ps. 22: 18). They crucified Him at the third hour, the King of the Jews (vv. 25-26). He was hanged between two thieves (vv. 27-28; Is. 53: 9). His enemies taunted Him, wagging their heads (v. 29; Ps. 22:7); the mocking fulfilled the word, and to a certain extent, spoke the truth (vv. 29-32).
The land was in convulsions (vv. 33, 38). Jesus cried out, in the words of Psalm 22. But it is still My God. But some Scripture was still unfulfilled -- namely Ps. 69:21. One of the observers runs off to fulfill that (vv. 35-36). Jesus cried out again, and then expired (v. 37). The veil in the temple was torn in two; and the first thing that happens when the veil is rent is that a Gentile confesses (vv. 38-39). The women who were "equivalent" to the twelve were watching from a distance (vv. 40-41).
At this point, a secret disciple comes forward boldly (vv. 42-43). When Pilate ascertains that Jesus was dead, he grants Joseph’s request (vv. 44-45). Joseph bought linen, removed Jesus from the cross, and laid Him in a sepulchre (v. 46). The women who were witnesses looked closely at where He was laid (v. 47).