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Mark  ◦   Chapter 15

1It was very early in the morning when the senior pastors, church leadership team, lawyers and theology professors reached their decision. They had Jesus bound and taken to Pilate.

2Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "You said it, not me," Jesus replied.

3The senior priests were making all sorts of allegations against Jesus,4so Pilate asked him several times, "Aren't you going to defend yourself? Is there nothing you want to say in your own behalf? Don't you hear all they are accusing you of?"

5But Jesus stood there, at peace with himself, and said nothing. Pilate was amazed.

6It was customary during the Passover Feast to release one prisoner requested by the people.7A murderer and revolutionary named Barabbas was currently in prison.8The crowd came to Pilate and asked him to release a prisoner, according to custom.

9"Do you want me to release the king of the Jews to you?" Pilate asked,10because he knew that the senior priests were jealous of Jesus and that's why they were seeking his execution.11But the senior priests had incited the crowd to request Barabbas.

12Pilate asked them, "What would you have me do with the One you call King of the Jews?"

13"Crucify him!" they shouted.

14Pilate tried to reason with them, asking, "Why? What crime has he committed?" But the crowd shouted even louder, "Crucify him!"

15In order to appease the crowd, Pilate relented and released Barabbas and had Jesus beaten and turned over to be crucified.

16The soldiers dragged Jesus away to the government building (that is, the Praetorium), and surrounded him with an entire company of soldiers.17They dressed him in a purple robe and made a crown out of thorns and crammed it onto his head.18Then they began mocking him, shouting, "Hail the King of the Jews!" 19They hit him again and again on the head with a rod and spat on him. Then they feigned worship, falling on their knees before him.20When they finished making fun of him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes back on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.

21Simon, a man from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was walking by on his way in from the countryside when the soldiers grabbed him and forced him to carry the cross.22They marched Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means "the place that looks like a skull").23They offered him an anesthetic made from wine mixed with myrrh, but he would not drink it.24Then they crucified him, and they cast lots to divide his clothes between them.

25It was nine o'clock in the morning when they nailed him to the cross.26The charges written against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.27Two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right the other on the left,28so the Scripture came true that said, "He shared the fate of lawbreakers."29People who passed by shouted insults at him. Shaking their heads they said, "So! You're so great, are you? Are you going to destroy the temple now, and rebuild it in three days?30Come down off the cross and save yourself, and we will believe you!"

31The senior pastors and theologians who teach a legal religion mocked him in the same way. "He saved others," they said, "but — so sad — he just can't save himself!32Let this latest Messiah, this pretender to the throne, this so-called 'King of Israel,' come down now from the cross, so we may see it for ourselves and believe." The thieves crucified with him also shouted insults upon him.

33At noon, a thick darkness overshadowed the entire region, and it lasted until three o'clock in the afternoon.34At three o'clock, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" (which means, "My God, my God, why have you given me up and let me go?"

35Some of those standing nearby heard this and said, "He's calling for Elijah."

36One man soaked a sponge in vinegar, put it on a stick, and was extending it toward Jesus to drink; then he changed his mind and said, "Wait! Let's see if Elijah will come and take him off the cross."

37With a loud cry, Jesus expired his last breath and died.

38The inner curtain of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom.39When the centurion standing guard in front of Jesus heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "This really was God's Son!"

40In the distance stood some women who were watching, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and Joseph, and Salome.41These women had followed him during his ministry in Galilee, and provided for his needs. Many other women who had followed to Jerusalem were also there.

42It was Friday, the day of preparation for the Sabbath. So as sunset approached,43Joseph of Arimathea, a leader of the Jewish high court, who longed for God's kingdom of love, went courageously to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body.44When Pilate heard that Jesus was already dead, he was surprised, so he summoned the centurion to inquire if Jesus had, in fact, died.45When it was confirmed by the centurion, Pilate gave the body to Joseph.46Joseph brought linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the cloth and placed it in a tomb hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a stone over the entrance to the tomb.47Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where Jesus was laid.