What does Mark 15:33 mean?
ESV: And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
NIV: At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
NASB: When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour.
CSB: When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon.
NLT: At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock.
KJV: And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.
The sixth hour is noon; the ninth hour is 3:00 p.m. Jesus has been on the cross since the third hour: 9:00 a.m. (Mark 15:25). At 3:00 p.m., Jesus will die. At that same time, on the other side of the city, the priests will slaughter the lambs for the Passover meals of the people who live in Judea.
In Amos 8:9–10, God speaks of a day of judgment when the "songs of the temple shall become wailings" (Amos 8:3):
"And on that day," declares the LORD GOD,
"I will make the sun go down at noon
and darken the earth in broad daylight.
I will turn your feasts into mourning
and all your songs into lamentation;
I will bring sackcloth on every waist
and baldness on every head;
I will make it like the mourning for an only son
and the end of it like a bitter day…"
Darkness was the ninth plague God put on the Egyptians (Exodus 10:21–29). The darkness enveloped Egypt for three days; here it lasts three hours. The final plague was the first Passover, the origin of the feast celebrated this very moment. As God took the firstborns of the Egyptians to secure the rescue of His people the Israelites, God now accepts the death of His own Firstborn as a "ransom for many" (Mark 10:45).
Mark 15:33–41 is a raw and stark account of Jesus' death. Jesus feels separated from God and abandoned by His friends. The land is covered by darkness. The earth shakes and the tombs open (Matthew 27:52–53). Only too late does the centurion get a glimpse of what he and his men have done. Even the women who supported Jesus during His ministry have moved farther away. But when Jesus breaths His last, the temple veil tears, marking the possibility of our reconciliation with God. Jesus' death is also recorded in Matthew 27:45–56, Luke 23:44–49, and John 19:28–37.
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 11/30/2023 5:24:38 AM
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