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Mark 15 & 16 Reading Guide

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Chapter Summary

We're combining two chapters today for a couple of reasons. First, somehow we're a day off of schedule and we need to catch up. Second, chapter 16 is only 8 verses (reasons why we don't include v9-20).

  • v1-5 - After finishing their late night kangaroo court trial of Jesus, the establishment takes Jesus to Pilate hoping he'll execute Jesus, since the Jews did not have that authority.

  • v6-15 - As a public relations stunt, each year Pilate would release a popular Jewish convict. Instead of choosing Jesus, however, the crowd chooses Barabbas. The name Bar-abbas means 'son of the father.' Isn't it amazing that Jesus, who is the Son of God, and whose favorite name for Himself was 'Son of Man,' is basically exchanged by the crowd for Barabbas? The Son of God/Man was traded for the son of Adam.

  • v16-21 - The soldiers charged with executing Jesus have cruel fun with the whole 'king of the Jews' theme. Ultimately, Jesus has been beat so severely that He doesn't even have the strength to carry His own cross.

  • v22-41 - In his typical writing style, Mark's account of the crucifixion is short and to the point. Yet Mark's reveals all sorts of particular details. Find one that sticks out to you and contemplate why the Holy Spirit included it. The detail that sticks out for me is the reaction of the Centurion. This hardened Roman soldier, who hours earlier had been supervising his men mocking Jesus' kingship, becomes the first person in the world to realize the Son of God was killed on a cross.

  • v42-47 - Jesus is buried, ironically by a member of the establishment who had rallied to kill Him. Jesus is dressed in burial linens and laid in Joseph's tomb as His mother looks on.

  • 16:1-7 - Jesus mother and Mary Magdalene go out to anoint Jesus' body very early on the morning of the first day of the week, concerned about how they'll get past the heavy stone door. They're met by a young man dressed in a white shirt. His first words are for them not to be alarmed (literally: 'over-amazed,' a word Mark uses often to describe people's reaction to Jesus). The angel sends Mary & Mary out as witnesses of Jesus' resurrection, which is itself amazing, since that culture did not consider the testimony of women to be legally valid.

  • v8 - Mark's gospel ends in a way that seems very unsatisfying to our modern sensibilities. We like stories that resolve and that end on a 'they lived happily ever after' note. This dissatisfaction is likely what led scribes over the centuries to try and finish Mark's gospel for him (v9-20 - Read more about why I, along with most Reformed theologians, don't consider these verses to be scriptural). How does this ending make you feel? Why do you think Mark wanted you to feel this way after telling you the awesome story of Jesus?


We've already looked back at Psalm 22 this year, and chances are we'll look back at it again. Jesus used memorized scriptures, like Psalm 22, to help Him endure the torture of the cross.


Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:

  1. EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: Joseph of Arimathea was the man who took down Jesus’ body from the cross and placed it in a tomb. Mark describes Joseph as a prominent member of the Jewish ruling council, and also gives a detail about Joseph’s spiritual life. What detail was this? (See verse 43.)

  2. Mark includes several details about clothing in this chapter. See how many you can find. What are some other examples in Mark's gospel where clothing is mentioned?

Question1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Your Father will not forsake you because Christ atoned for your sin on the cross (v34)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Ask the Holy Spirit to continually remind you of the fact that the centurion discovered at the foot of the cross: that surely Jesus is the Son of God.



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