Mark 15:1-41 Exploring the Passage

Below are some preliminary questions to assist in the study of this passage. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download).

1. How did Jesus respond to Pilate’s interrogation (see Mark 15:2 printed below?) What was Pilate’s reaction? See Mark 15:4-5 (printed below)

Pilate asked him, Are you the King of the Jews? He answered him, You are correct in saying so. (Mark 15:2)

Pilate again asked him, Do you make no reply? Look at all the things of which they are accusing you. (5) But Jesus made no further reply; this caused Pilate to wonder. (Mark 15:4-5)

When Pilate asks Jesus, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus calmly replies, “You are correct in saying so.” When Jesus refused to respond to any of the accusations brought against Him by the Jews, it caused Pilate to wonder. Here before him stood a man who was willing to allow himself to be condemned without even defending himself.

2. Why does Pilate hand Jesus over to be crucified? See Mark 15:15 (printed below)

So Pilate, wishing to pacify the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and, after he had scourged him, handed Jesus over to be crucified. (Mark 15:15)

Pilate did so simply in order to pacify the crowd. He knew the Jews had brought Jesus before him out of envy (verse 10) so that they might get rid of Him. When Pilate asks what crime Jesus has committed, the Jews do not specify a crime, they merely demand His crucifixion. (verse 14).

3. According to Mark 15:32b, both of those who were crucified with Jesus insulted Him. But Luke 23:39-43 tells us that one of them pleaded for mercy. How do you explain this?

Apparently, at first both of those who were crucified with Jesus joined the crowd in mocking Him. When He refused to come down from the cross they concluded that He was a powerless fraud. But as the afternoon wore on and the one criminal observed the divine dignity and compassion of the Lord Jesus, he repented.

4. What does Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani mean? See Mark 15:34 (printed below) What is significant about the fact that the crowd could not understand its meaning?

At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? (which, being interpreted, means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”) (Mark 15:34)

It means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is here quoting Psalm 22:1. The fact that the crowd could not understand the meaning of Jesus’ words shows the complete isolation Jesus was experiencing on the cross. He was cut off from fellowship with God and from His fellow man; He suffered all alone.

5. When Jesus cried out at the moment of His death, what happened? See Mark 15:37-39 (printed below) What is significant about this?

Then Jesus let out a loud cry and yielded up his spirit. (38) And the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. (39) When the centurion who was standing in front of Jesus saw how he had yielded up his spirit, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. (Mark 15:37-39)

When Jesus cried out at the moment of His death the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. This was the veil, or curtain, that separated the holy place from the most holy which was the very dwelling place of God. The fact that the veil was ripped from top to bottom indicates that this was an act of God. By this divine act God was indicating that the way into His presence is now open because of Jesus’ atoning death on the cross (cp. Ephesians 2:13,18).