What does Mark 15:24 mean?
ESV: And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take.
NIV: And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
NASB: And they *crucified Him, and *divided up His garments among themselves, casting lots for them to decide what each man would take.
CSB: Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get.
NLT: Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece.
KJV: And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.
In Psalm 22:16–18, David describes his bad circumstances in prophetic terms:
For dogs encompass me;
a company of evildoers encircles me;
they have pierced my hands and feet—
I can count all my bones—
they stare and gloat over me;
they divide my garments among them,
and for my clothing they cast lots.
"Dogs" is slang term in Jesus' time for Gentiles. In David's era it meant something worthy of contempt. In this moment, both descriptions fit the Roman soldiers. On the cross, of course, Jesus' hands and feet are pierced with nails. His bones are likely exposed on His back and ribs because of the extreme scourging the soldiers gave Him (John 19:1). And here, the Roman soldiers indulge in their habit of dividing up their victim's clothing.
After the guards had beat Jesus and removed the mocking purple cloak, they returned His clothing to Him (Mark 15:20). John explains that Jesus has five pieces of clothing (John 19:23–24). The guards, numbering four, split the first four pieces evenly. The last is a seamless, woven garment. Not wishing to tear it, the guards cast lots for it.
Modern artistic crucifixes often include a loincloth over Jesus for propriety's sake. However, it was Roman practice for crucifixion victims to be hanged naked, to their public shame. The text supports this.
Mark 15:21–32 describes the crucifixion of Jesus. The Romans refined crucifixion to be the most painful and humiliating death imaginable. Victims were usually stripped naked, then tied or nailed to a cross. Executioners were adept at driving nails between bones and arteries, but directly through nerves, extending the victim's agony. Hanging in this position, the condemned could only breathe if they lifted their weight on impaled feet or wrists. Exhaustion would soon lead to suffocation—typically taking a victim two or three days to die. Bodies were usually left to rot in public unless a family member was given special permission to remove them. More painful for Jesus, however, is the total separation from His heavenly Father. Still, though He suffers alone, He suffers with hope (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus' crucifixion is also detailed in Matthew 27:32–44, Luke 23:26–43, and John 19:16–27.
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.
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.
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 3/1/2024 3:18:15 AM
© Copyright 2002-2024 Got Questions Ministries. All rights reserved.
Text from ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, NLT, KJV © Copyright respective owners, used by permission.