What does Mark 15:26 mean?
ESV: And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”
NIV: The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.
NASB: The inscription of the charge against Him read, 'THE KING OF THE JEWS.'
CSB: The inscription of the charge written against him was: The King of the Jews.
NLT: A sign announced the charge against him. It read, 'The King of the Jews.'
KJV: And the superscription of his accusation was written over, THE KING OF THE JEWS.
Verse Commentary:
It is standard procedure for crucifixion victims to be paraded about with a sign announcing their convicted crime. Once they are secured to the cross, the placard is attached above them to dissuade bystanders from committing the same offense. The Jewish people are told in no uncertain terms what will happen if they attempt to rebel and anoint a king other than Caesar.

The Jewish leaders, the Sanhedrin, convict Jesus of claiming to be the Messiah and the Son of God, a crime worthy of death (Matthew 26:66). "Messiah" is from the Hebrew Mashiyach, presented as Christos in Greek, both meaning "anointed." This means nothing to the Romans, but the rough translation is "King of the Jews." If Jesus is "King" of the Jews, as the Romans would interpret it, the Sanhedrin members are committing treason against their own King and blasphemy against their God. If Jesus isn't King of the Jews, He's no threat to Pilate or Caesar.

The sign is Pilate's political backhanded slap at the Jewish leaders (John 19:19–22). He has the sign written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek, and keeps the wording despite the protestations of the chief priests. It's unclear if Pilate thinks Jesus really could have pushed back the Romans and established Himself as king, or if Pilate is disgusted by the teachers and enforcers of the Jewish law who demand the crucifixion of an innocent man. Undoubtedly, he recognizes that this gentle teacher who heals and tells His followers to obey the law and love others is a far better choice for Jewish king than the corrupt officials. The Jewish leaders and soldiers call Jesus "King of the Jews" to mock Him (Mark 15:18, 32). Pilate does it to mock the leaders.

Nevertheless, the sign over Jesus' head (Matthew 27:37) is important. Despite the fact the Sanhedrin denies Jesus is King of the Jews or the Messiah (John 19:15), the legal charge designates Jesus is executed because He is King of the Jews. He dies because He is the Messiah.
Verse Context:
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.
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 3/1/2024 3:26:48 AM
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