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Mark - Who is Christ?
A Bible Study Course on the Gospel of Christ according to MARK
PART 8 - Christ's Passion and Death (Mark 14:1 - 15:47)

12. The Soldiers Mock and Whip Jesus (Mark 15:16-20)

MARK 15:16-20
16 The soldiers led him away within the court, which is the Praetorium; and they called together the whole cohort. 17 They clothed him with purple, and weaving a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 They began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 They struck his head with a reed, and spat on him, and bowing their knees, did homage to him. 20 When they had mocked him, they took the purple off of him, and put his own garments on him. They led him out to crucify him.

Jesus was scourged mercilessly by the Roman soldiers, who used a whip made of strips of leather with rough pieces of metal tied at the ends of the strips. Often the resultant deep gashes opened the flesh to the very bone.

The vertebral column is one of the most sensitive members of the body through which the nerves pass. He who damages the spine damages the man himself. This scourging was a preparation for the body to become weak before crucifixion, with great loss of blood. A scourged man was considered half dead.

After torture, the soldiers were allowed to mock Jesus. They did to him as they wished, for the hour of crucifixion had not yet come. They brought him into the fortress of Antonia with its four thick towers, situated at the north temple court, where the Roman troops were quartered. This overlooked and surrounded the temple area, to curb any outbreak of violence in the city.

The Roman cohort, which was quartered at that time in Jerusalem, contained approximately 500-1000 soldiers and officers. The soldiers charged with torturing Jesus called their friends, laughing and saying: “Today, we have a stranger who claims to be the King of the Jews. He wished to stir up the people. So, let us worship him. He also said that he was the Son of God. So, let us worship him.”

None of the mockers believed in Jesus’ call and glory, but they saw his bloodstained robe, his torn back, and his silent isolation. Some ran and brought the same kind of robe worn by the Roman governor. They platted a crown of thorns, and mockingly put it on his head. Thorns cut deep into his forehead. How great were the sufferings that Jesus bore!

Jesus maintained a royal silence without crying. They were not satisfied to torture his body, but they also tortured his soul with their blasphemy, saying: “Hail, unsuccessful King of the Jews! March on, hero without an army, riding an ass without a political plan, miraculously Healer, who is not able to heal himself.”

Some bowed the knee before him, and made a jest of doing homage to him. They did not know what they did, for the devil had blinded their eyes, and they blasphemed in the midst of their mock-homage. To complete their shame, they took a reed and smote him on the head and the back. They had already put a scepter in his hand to deride his pretensions of being a king.

Jesus did not carry a king’s scepter made of gold and ivory in his right hand, nor did he carry a golden globe in his left hand, but became an image of mockery. Heathen men smote him and spat in his face. Has anyone spat in your face, in your eyes? What was your reaction? Look how Jesus responded! He loved his enemies, blessed those who cursed him, and bore the hatred of men without complaint. He overcame the whole world by himself.

After the soldiers had emptied out all the mockery and grudge of their human hearts, they took the royal robe off, and put his own bloodstained raiment on him, not knowing that this one-piece-garment indicated the office of the true High Priest who was on his way to reconcile God to men, giving his life for love. They did not recognize that the King of Kings purchased for himself a people who would wear his characteristics: meekness and love, humility and glory, forgiveness and holiness.

PRAYER: O Lord Jesus, we worship you because your silence spoke more expressly than any protest or defense. In your love, you did not reject the mockers. We thank you for your patience in suffering, and for your love during torture. Help us not to flare up when we are mocked, and not to hate our persecutors, but to overcome our hatred, love our enemies, and save them in your name. We worship you, and prepare the way for your coming O promised King, and meek Lamb of God. We commit ourselves into your hands. You are our King. Amen.


  1. How did the Roman soldiers torture Jesus? How did he answer their mocking?


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