What does Mark 15:19 mean?
ESV: And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him.
NIV: Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him.
NASB: And they repeatedly beat His head with a reed and spit on Him, and kneeling, they bowed down before Him.
CSB: They were hitting him on the head with a stick and spitting on him. Getting down on their knees, they were paying him homage.
NLT: And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.
KJV: And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him.
NKJV: Then they struck Him on the head with a reed and spat on Him; and bowing the knee, they worshiped Him.
Verse Commentary:
The irony of this moment is horrifying. The guards think Jesus is an itinerant teacher from a backwards people who has the misfortune of becoming their plaything. Paul will have a very different interpretation (Philippians 2:4–11). Jesus is not a victim; He is humbling Himself and His will to His Father-God. In part because of Jesus' submission to the guards' blows and His agreement to go to the cross, God will exalt Him above the world, "so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father" (Philippians 2:10–11). For many of the soldiers, the next time they kneel before Jesus will probably be on their way to hell (Revelation 20:11–15), though some might later be convinced (Mark 15:39).

We may not beat people with reeds or spit on them, but those of us reading this passage today are not entirely unlike these soldiers. When presented with evidence that someone else is evil or foolish, we are often quick to join in the ridicule: especially on social media. Generally speaking, we rarely take the time to check sources and uncover the truth. The chief priests and scribes know the Jewish Scriptures and their rejection of Jesus has no excuse. Their "fake news" about Jesus spreads quickly to the integrity-challenged crowd. It empowers the soldiers who happily indulge their less-honorable urges on a man they know nothing about.

Proverbs 18:17 says, "The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him." Granted, Jesus refuses to defend Himself; He deliberately neglects to present His side of the case. But the Sanhedrin's claims are so specious and full of holes, even Pilate knows they're lying (Mark 15:10). It may be standard operating procedure to flog a prisoner, even before crucifying him, but the mocking the soldiers inflict on Jesus reflects their own character. We should be careful not to follow their example.
Verse Context:
Mark 15:16–20 is typical of biblical narratives, which often give a short synopsis and then flesh out the details. Mark 15:16–20 may describe the scourging Jesus receives in Mark 15:15, or it may be a second beating after the official death sentence is given. Although victims are traditionally scourged before a crucifixion, Pilate also hopes that torturing Jesus will appease the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:16, 22; John 19:1). But the Jewish leadership will settle for nothing less than Jesus crucified. Matthew 27:26–31 parallels Mark's account while John 19:1–16 gives more detail.
Chapter Summary:
After sham trials, Jesus is taken to the local Roman governor, Pilate. This is the only person in Jerusalem with the legal authority to have Jesus executed. Pilate is not fooled, and he attempts to arrange for Jesus' release. But the ruler's ploys fail, in part because Jesus will not defend Himself, and partly because the mob is intent on His death. Pilate offers a prisoner exchange in Barabbas, and even has Jesus brutally beaten in order to pacify the crowd. Eventually, he caves in and Jesus is crucified. Thanks to His prior abuse, Jesus survives only a few hours on the cross before dying. Jesus is then buried in a tomb belonging to a secret follower among the Jerusalem council.
Chapter Context:
After being unfairly judged, Jesus will now be unfairly sentenced and cruelly murdered. It's reasonable to say this chapter provides context for everything else contained in the Bible. From Adam and Eve until the last baby born in the millennial kingdom, every person other than Christ is stained with sin. Conscience, law, Jesus' direct leadership, even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit cannot keep us from sinning. Sinless Jesus had to die on the cross, sacrificing Himself in our place, so our sins could be forgiven and we could be reconciled to God. Beneath the violence, darkness, dishonor, and death is the love of God for all mankind (John 3:16). Jesus' crucifixion is also found in Matthew 27, Luke 23, and John 19. The next chapter describes the miracle of His resurrection.
Book Summary:
The Gospel of Mark emphasizes both Jesus' servanthood and His role as the promised Messiah: the Son of God. This is done through a concise, action-packed style. Mark provides relatively few details, instead focusing on actions and simple statements. This relates to the Gospel's authorship, which is believed to be based on the memories of the apostle Peter. These include many of Jesus' miracles, in contrast to other Gospels which include many more of Jesus' teachings and parables. Mark also makes frequent mention of Jesus' ministry being misunderstood by others.
Accessed 5/24/2024 10:37:14 PM
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