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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)

15. The King Crucified Between Two Robbers (Mark 15:26-28)

MARK 15:26-28
26 The superscription of his accusation was written over him, “THE KING OF THE JEWS.” 27 With him they crucified two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left. 28 The Scripture was fulfilled, which says, “He was numbered with transgressors.”

The characteristics of a good king are wisdom, strength, justice, glory, goodness, patience, and power. These and more are the characteristics of Jesus, for he is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, who spoke the truth at all times, and did not deny his call when Pilate inquired about his kingship.

Yet, he neither discussed nor explained it, for God the Father appointed him as King in our world. He did not condemn the disobedient with violence, but loved them and was patient with them. He preferred to die at the hands of rebels rather than to consume them because of their rebellion. The King of Love accepted to be killed, instead of killing those who killed him.

The angel Gabriel had foretold, before Jesus was born, that the Savior had his name “Jesus”, for he should save his people from their sins. He became the true King and Reconciler of his people to God. He had the authority to atone for the disobedient. Thus, he is the priestly King who is able to solve the most difficult problem, having delivered his followers from the wrath of God. He combined in himself the offices of high priest and king, and was the royal Priest in whom power and love, truth and forgiveness, glory and atonement met.

Jesus’ government was divine and was apparent in his holy love. He suffered the severity of his brothers, but he took away their sins, drawing all the wrath of God upon his heart. Thus, the royal Priest became the very Lamb of God who suffered in the weakness of his tortured body.

The title written over his thorn-crowned head said: “The King of the Jews” to ridicule the crucified King and to emphasize the invalidity of his kingship. However, Jesus’ weakness was his power. By the sacrifice of himself, he reconciled all men to God. Where in our world can you find a king who dies in order that his people may live?

Contrarily, kings and princes usually sacrifice a many of their peoples for the sake of their own ease and luxury. Jesus was different: He suffered in order that we may not suffer, and he died in order that we may not die, but live in him.

Jesus was a Jew of the royal tribe “Judah” from whom the seed of King David descended. God had promised that the divine King would come from this seed, that his kingdom would be endless, that his Father would be God, and that his eternal life comes from God himself.

All the disciples, except Judas Iscariot, were Galileans, i.e. a mixture of the remaining tribes of Israel. In Jesus and Judas Iscariot, we see what might come out of the Jewish nation. Judas loved money, power, and honor; he became a betrayer of his King and Savior, and hanged himself, in despair. But Jesus remained poor and humble. He denied himself, opened himself completely to the Spirit and guidance of his heavenly Father, and became the Savior of the world by the sacrifice of himself.

Not only Judas Iscariot, but also the majority of Jews refused Jesus, because he asked them to repent in spite of their false godliness, and called them to change their minds in spite of their great knowledge of the Law, and to turn to God in spite of their assumption that they were united with the Creator.

The people of the old covenant, in their pride, refused the heavenly King, and delivered him up to the hands of the Gentiles, to a shameful death. By this deliverance, they drove Jesus out of their nation to be hanged between two robbers as a symbol that he was the center of the whole unclean world. The Holy One between the adulterers, the Meek One between the stubborn.

The intent to destroy the reputation of his kingship by abusive insult and bodily weakness displayed his plan. The divine King wanted to make the criminals and robbers righteous and holy. He cleansed the unclean, and made of those who were rejected by God a chosen generation and a royal priesthood.

All men are sinners. No one is righteous. We all deserve death on the cross, you and I. But Jesus took our place that we might be changed by his Spirit. Whoever accepts his teaching and person, of whatever nation or religion, whether unbelievers or religious, knows and recognizes himself as a criminal nailed on the cross, but, at the same time, sanctified, purified, and justified through the presence of Jesus, the rejected King, who stretches out his arms today before the whole world, expecting the turning of his rebellious people, and your faith too.

PRAYER: Our Holy God, our Father in heaven, we worship you because you sent Jesus Christ as the true King who did not rule with violent authority, but showed his love and mercy to men. He knew our corruption, and did not destroy us, but forgave our sins when he died in our place. Help all sinners to recognize their King and their Representative in the wrath of your judgment, and to accept him thankfully. May your kingdom come today. May your will be done through the power of reconciliation of our great Priest and the sacrifice of himself. Amen.


  1. What is the meaning of the title “the King of the Jews”?


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