Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Whole Bible

Mark Ch.15 / 16 Ch.s


* 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)

#1-14 They bound Christ. It is good for us often to remember the
bonds of the Lord Jesus, as bound with him who was bound for us.
By delivering up the King, they, in effect, delivered up the
kingdom of God, which was, therefore, as by their own consent,
taken from them, and given to another nation. Christ gave Pilate
a direct answer, but would not answer the witnesses, because the
things they alleged were known to be false, even Pilate himself
was convinced they were so. Pilate thought that he might appeal
from the priests to the people, and that they would deliver
Jesus out of the priests' hands. But they were more and more
urged by the priests, and cried, Crucify him! Crucify him! Let
us judge of persons and things by their merits, and the standard
of God's word, and not by common report. The thought that no one
ever was so shamefully treated, as the only perfectly wise,
holy, and excellent Person that ever appeared on earth, leads
the serious mind to strong views of man's wickedness and enmity
to God. Let us more and more abhor the evil dispositions which
marked the conduct of these persecutors.

#15-21 Christ met death in its greatest terror. It was the death
of the vilest malefactors. Thus the cross and the shame are put
together. God having been dishonoured by the sin of man, Christ
made satisfaction by submitting to the greatest disgrace human
nature could be loaded with. It was a cursed death; thus it was
branded by the Jewish law, #De 21:23|. The Roman soldiers mocked
our Lord Jesus as a King; thus in the high priest's hall the
servants had mocked him as a Prophet and Saviour. Shall a purple
or scarlet robe be matter of pride to a Christian, which was
matter of reproach and shame to Christ? He wore the crown of
thorns which we deserved, that we might wear the crown of glory
which he merited. We were by sin liable to everlasting shame and
contempt; to deliver us, our Lord Jesus submitted to shame and
contempt. He was led forth with the workers of iniquity, though
he did no sin. The sufferings of the meek and holy Redeemer, are
ever a source of instruction to the believer, of which, in his
best hours, he cannot be weary. Did Jesus thus suffer, and shall
I, a vile sinner, fret or repine? Shall I indulge anger, or
utter reproaches and threats because of troubles and injuries?

#22-32 The place where our Lord Jesus was crucified, was called
the place of a scull; it was the common place of execution; for
he was in all respects numbered with the transgressors. Whenever
we look unto Christ crucified, we must remember what was written
over his head; he is a King, and we must give up ourselves to be
his subjects, as Israelites indeed. They crucified two thieves
with him, and him in the midst; they thereby intended him great
dishonour. But it was foretold that he should be numbered with
the transgressors, because he was made sin for us. Even those
who passed by railed at him. They told him to come down from the
cross, and they would believe; but they did not believe, though
he gave them a more convincing sign when he came up from the
grave. With what earnestness will the man who firmly believes
the truth, as made known by the sufferings of Christ, seek for
salvation! With what gratitude will he receive the dawning hope
of forgiveness and eternal life, as purchased for him by the
sufferings and death of the Son of God! and with what godly
sorrow will he mourn over the sins which crucified the Lord of

#33-41 There was a thick darkness over the land, from noon until
three in the afternoon. The Jews were doing their utmost to
extinguish the Sun of Righteousness. The darkness signified the
cloud which the human soul of Christ was under, when he was
making it an offering for sin. He did not complain that his
disciples forsook him, but that his Father forsook him. In this
especially he was made sin for us. When Paul was to be offered
as a sacrifice for the service saints, he could joy and rejoice,
#Php 2:17|; but it is another thing to be offered as a sacrifice
for the sin of sinners. At the same instant that Jesus died, the
veil of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom. This
spake terror to the unbelieving Jews, and was a sign of the
destruction of their church and nation. It speaks comfort to all
believing Christians, for it signified the laying open a new and
living way into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. The
confidence with which Christ had openly addressed God as his
Father, and committed his soul into his hands, seems greatly to
have affected the centurion. Right views of Christ crucified
will reconcile the believer to the thought of death; he longs to
behold, love, and praise, as he ought, that Saviour who was
wounded and pierced to save him from the wrath to come.

#42-47 We are here attending the burial of our Lord Jesus. Oh
that we may by grace be planted in the likeness of it! Joseph of
Arimathea was one who waited for the kingdom of God. Those who
hope for a share in its privileges, must own Christ's cause,
when it seems to be crushed. This man God raised up for his
service. There was a special providence, that Pilate should be
so strict in his inquiry, that there might be no pretence to say
Jesus was alive. Pilate gave Joseph leave to take down the body,
and do what he pleased with it. Some of the women beheld where
Jesus was laid, that they might come after the sabbath to anoint
the dead body, because they had not time to do it before.
Special notice was taken of Christ's sepulchre, because he was
to rise again. And he will not forsake those who trust in him,
and call upon him. Death, deprived of its sting, will soon end
the believer's sorrows, as it ended those of the Saviour.