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Mark 15:13

ESV And they cried out again, “Crucify him.”
NIV Crucify him!' they shouted.
NASB They shouted back, 'Crucify Him!'
CSB Again they shouted, "Crucify him! "
NLT They shouted back, 'Crucify him!'
KJV And they cried out again, Crucify him.

What does Mark 15:13 mean?

The various factions within the Jewish ruling council all want Jesus dead. The council has brought Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor over Judea, and claimed that He is gathering followers to revolt against Rome's rule. They know it's not true. Pilate knows it's not true. The tetrarch of Galilee, Herod Antipas, knows it's not true. But Jesus won't defend Himself.

In a beautiful display of irony, the chief priests do what they accuse Jesus of. They gather people together and convince them to threaten to riot. Pilate has used a heavy hand to quash rebellions in the past, and he needs to walk a fine line. History suggests his governorship, prior to this moment, was criticized by higher Roman leaders for being too reactionary. Some even think Pilate, during this time, is acting on something of a "last-chance agreement." Another outbreak of bloodshed could mean losing his title. So, Pilate needs to maintain control, but not use too much violence. He doesn't want to crucify Jesus, but the crowd is getting louder.

Crucifixion is a very particular punishment with strong significance for both the Romans and the Jews. It is specifically designed to be equal parts agonizing and humiliating. The English word used to describe something unbearably painful is excruciating—literally meaning "from the cross." Victims typically die slowly of asphyxiation—struggling to breathe by pulling up on their impaled limbs—while hanging naked near a public road. For the Jews, it fulfills Deuteronomy 21:23: to hang from a "tree" is to be cursed by God.

The Jewish Sanhedrin wants Jesus dead. The Jews in Jerusalem cry, "Crucify him." The Edomite/Nabatean/Samaritan tetrarch leaves the decision to Pilate (Luke 23:15). Pilate agrees to the execution (Mark 15:15) but refuses to take responsibility (Matthew 27:24). The Roman soldiers carry out the orders (Mark 15:24).

It's important to note a clear teaching of the Bible with respect to this incident. Although all these parties bear their share of guilt, they are not in control of Jesus' death. Jesus specifically told the disciples, "…I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord" (John 10:17–18). Pilate will practically beg Jesus to defend Himself, saying that he, Pilate, has authority to free Him. Jesus replies, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above" (John 19:11).

Jesus doesn't blame Pilate, saying, "Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin" (John 19:11). He doesn't blame the mob crying out for His death, or His own executioners, telling God, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). For the act, He blames the religious leaders who should have accepted that He is their Messiah.

But even so, this crucifixion is the reason Jesus came to earth. He voluntarily stands before Pilate, ready to die for the sins of everyone there. That includes those who accuse Him, those who are apathetic, and those throughout history who accept His offer of forgiveness. If we believe God is sovereign, we must accept that when Jesus said, "the hour has come" (Mark 14:41), it was because He, not the people surrounding Him, was in control of those events.
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