Mark 15: The Victory of the King of the Jews
This is the great Passover. Jesus is the house of God, the son and Israel of God whose blood turns the Angel of death away.
The Son of the Father
In 14:36 the “son of the Father” offers prayers in the garden. He cried out to God as “Abba” Father, and it is no accident that in the judicial proceedings that follow, Jesus is traded for Barabbas, a man whose name means “son of the father”. But of course the irony is that they came out to the Garden as though they were hunting a murderer (14:48) (when in fact they looked like armed thugs) and in the end a murderer is released to them. This “son of the father” is a revolutionary, a zealot, and Mark is portraying the High Priests and Jews as zealots and revolutionaries. And of course Jesus is crucified with thieves, being numbered with the transgressors (15:27-28). Here is God’s Son, Israel.
The King and the fools
This chapter and event can be presented as an enormous miscarriage of justice on many levels, but consider the fact of Pilot’s capitulation to these Jewish zealots and revolutionaries. The King of the Jews, the one who has come to establish peace and justice is being killed like a criminal, and the revolutionaries are being appeased and released. Pilot is a weak ruler and a fool. While knowing the truth, he cowers before violent men (15:15 cf. 15:9, 12, 16-20, 26). Even the location, the Praetorium, denotes the general’s tent or a palace or a seat of judgment. And the motif continues as Mark records three more attempts at mockery, all in some way testifying of the truth (v. 29-30, 31, 32). And this culminates with the centurion who declares, “Truly this man was the Son of God,” once again putting the truth in the mouths of the wrong people (15:39).
The House Desolate
We have considered how Jesus is the new temple and house of God. And here we see the final climax of that reality: when God forsakes Him, Jesus dies and the veil in the temple is torn from top to bottom. The murder of the Son is the great act that has finally driven God away. The reason the temple was defiled and destroyed in 70 AD is because Israel had already defiled the temple and destroyed it themselves some 40 years earlier. This is further emphasized by the fact that the temple curtain is torn in half. This is not merely the Most Holy Place revealed and accessed, but it is the Most Holy Place defiled, the temple spoiled and left desolate. Jesus is the temple, and therefore when Christ gave up the ghost, the veil was torn in half because the Spirit was leaving the temple.
Application & Conclusion
And this is the brilliant scheme of God to save and renew the entire world. God came down to destroy the works of darkness, to forgive our sins in this Great Passover, and then uniting us to Himself draw us up into the life of the Trinity. We would have done it differently, but God cannot be tamed. He bursts out of even the Holy of Holies, and now He fills and empowers His church with the resurrection life, the life of forgiveness and justice, the life of perfect freedom and glory. Jesus is Lord and King of all.