Pilate wondered if Jesus was dead (Mk 15:44-15:44)

“Then Pilate wondered

If Jesus was

Already dead.

He summoned

The centurion.

He asked him

Whether Jesus

Had been dead

For some time.”

 

ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος ἐθαύμασεν εἰ ἤδη τέθνηκεν, καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τὸν κεντυρίωνα ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν εἰ πάλαι ἀπέθανεν·

 

There is nothing like this in any of the other synoptic gospels, where Pilate simply gave permission to Joseph to have the body of Jesus.  Here in Mark, Pilate wondered (ὁ δὲ Πειλᾶτος ἐθαύμασεν) if Jesus was already dead (εἰ ἤδη τέθνηκεν).  He summoned the centurion (καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τὸν κεντυρίωνα).  He asked him whether Jesus was already dead (ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτὸν εἰ πάλαι ἀπέθανεν).

 

Joseph of Arimathea (Mk 15:43-15:43)

“Joseph of Arimathea

Was a respected member

Of the council.

He also himself

Was waiting expectantly

For the kingdom of God.

He went boldly

To Pilate.

He asked for

The body of Jesus.”

 

ἐλθὼν Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας, εὐσχήμων βουλευτής, ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν προσδεχόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ, τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς τὸν Πειλᾶτον καὶ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ.

 

There is less confusion about this Joseph since he is mentioned in all 4 gospel stories.  This text is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:57-58.  Luke, chapter 23:50-52, mentioned that Joseph was a member of the elder’s council in Jerusalem who had not voted for the plan to destroy Jesus.  John, chapter 19:38, said that Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus.  Mark said that Joseph from Arimathea (ἐλθὼν Ἰωσὴφ ὁ ἀπὸ Ἀριμαθαίας) came forward.  He was a respected member of the Jerusalem council (εὐσχήμων βουλευτής).  He was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God (ὃς καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν προσδεχόμενος τὴν βασιλείαν τοῦ Θεοῦ).  He went boldly to Pilate (τολμήσας εἰσῆλθεν πρὸς τὸν Πειλᾶτον).  He asked for the body of Jesus (καὶ ᾐτήσατο τὸ σῶμα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ).  Many legends have developed around this wealthy Joseph from Arimathea, a town in Judea near Jerusalem.

The day before the Sabbath (Mk 15:42-15:42)

“Evening had come.

It was the day

Of Preparation.

That is

The day

Before the Sabbath,”

 

Καὶ ἤδη ὀψίας γενομένης, ἐπεὶ ἦν Παρασκευή, ὅ ἐστιν προσάββατον

 

Matthew, chapter 27:57 simply mentioned that it was evening, without any mention of the Sabbath.  Luke, chapter 23:54, and John, chapter 19:42 mentioned the same thing as Mark here that it was the day of preparation for the Sabbath.  Mark said that evening had arrived (Καὶ ἤδη ὀψίας γενομένης), since it was the day of Preparation (ἐπεὶ ἦν Παρασκευή), which is the day before the Sabbath (ὅ ἐστιν προσάββατον).  Everything would have to be done before sundown, which was the beginning of the Sabbath.  Notice that it was evening, since no burials were permitted on the Sabbath or feast days.

The role of these women from Galilee (Mk 15:41-15:41)

“These women

Used to follow Jesus.

They provided

For him

When he was

In Galilee.

There were

Many other women

Who had come up

With him

To Jerusalem.”

 

αἳ ὅτε ἦν ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ, καὶ ἄλλαι πολλαὶ αἱ συναναβᾶσαι αὐτῷ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα.

 

There is something similar in Matthew, chapter 27:35.  Mark said that these women followed Jesus from Galilee (αἳ ὅτε ἦν ἐν τῇ Γαλιλαίᾳ ἠκολούθουν αὐτῷ), as they provided, ministered, or served him (καὶ διηκόνουν αὐτῷ).  Mark also indicated that there were many other unnamed women who had come with Jesus to Jerusalem (καὶ ἄλλαι πολλαὶ αἱ συναναβᾶσαι αὐτῷ εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα).  These groupies may have been the first deaconess of the Christian era.  However, they were from Galilee and not women from Jerusalem.

The women followers (Mk 15:40-15:40)

“There were also women

Looking on

From a distance.

Among them were

Mary Magdalene,

Mary,

The mother

Of James the younger,

And of Joseph,

And Salome.”

 

Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι, ἐν αἷς καὶ Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ καὶ Σαλώμη,

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:55-56.  In Luke, chapter 23:49, there was a mention of the women from Galilee, but without their specific names.  In John, chapter 19:25-27, there was a mention of the mother of Jesus, Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene, as well as a conversation, but no mention of Galilee.  Mark said that some women were also there (Ἦσαν δὲ καὶ γυναῖκες).  They were looking on from a distance (ἀπὸ μακρόθεν θεωροῦσαι), which would have been their normal role.  Mark specifically mentioned Mary Magdalene (ἐν αἷς ἦν Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ), Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph (καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ), as well as Salome (καὶ Σαλώμη).  Was Salome the mother of the sons of Zebedee?  Certainly, there were a lot of women called Mary, since it was the most popular name of Palestinian Jewish women at the time of Jesus.  There probably were 8 different women with the name of Mary in the 61 times that the name Mary was mentioned in the New Testament.  First was (1) Mary, the mother of Jesus, who was not mentioned here.  Next there was (2) Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, who also was not mentioned here.  (3) Mary of Clopas was mentioned in John, but not here.  Then there was Mary Magdalene (4), who was mentioned here.  Finally, there were the more confusing Marys.  (5) Mary, the mother of James the younger and Joseph, who was mentioned here.  (6) Perhaps the mother of the Zebedee brothers was also named Mary or Mary Salome.  Finally (7) Mary, the mother of John Mark was mentioned in Acts, chapter 12:12, while (8) Mary in Rome, was mentioned in Paul’s letter to the Romans, chapter 16:6.  There was also an English novel by Bruce Marshall (1899-1987) called The Other Mary from 1927, based on the New Testament.

This man was the Son of God (Mk 15:39-15:39)

“When the centurion,

Who stood

Facing Jesus,

Saw that

In this way,

Jesus breathed

His last breath,

He said.

‘Truly!

This man

Was God’s Son!’”

 

Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ κεντυρίων ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ ὅτι οὕτως ἐξέπνευσεν, εἶπεν Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος Υἱὸς Θεοῦ ἦν.

 

This is similar to Matthew, chapter 27:54, except that there is no mention of an earthquake here, just the centurion statement alone.  In Luke, chapter 23:47, the centurion simply said that this man was innocent, without any earthquake.  There was nothing about a centurion or an earthquake in John, chapter 19.  Mark said that this Roman centurion (Ἰδὼν δὲ ὁ κεντυρίων), the one facing or guarding Jesus (ὁ παρεστηκὼς ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ), saw the way that Jesus had died or spent his last breath (ὅτι οὕτως ἐξέπνευσεν).  He said (εἶπεν) that truly this man was the Son of God (Ἀληθῶς οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος Υἱὸς Θεοῦ ἦν).  It is interesting to note that the leader of the Roman soldiers, this centurion, who was in charge of 100 men, issued this statement.  He, the gentile Roman soldier, was the one calling Jesus the Son of God.

Temple curtain torn in two (Mk 15:38-15:38)

“The curtain

Of the temple

Was torn

In two,

From top

To bottom.”

 

Καὶ τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ ἐσχίσθη εἰς δύο ἀπ’ ἄνωθεν ἕως κάτω.

 

This is almost word for word in Matthew, chapter 27:51, about the Temple curtain being torn in two, except that there is no mention of an earthquake here in Mark.  There was no mention of the Temple curtain tearing or an earthquake in Luke, chapter 23, or John, chapter 19.  Mark said that the curtain of the Temple (Καὶ τὸ καταπέτασμα τοῦ ναοῦ) or the veil that separated the Holy of Holies from the other parts of the Temple was torn in two (ἐσχίσθη εἰς δύο), from the top to the bottom (ἀπ’ ἄνωθεν ἕως κάτω).  Perhaps this indicated a prediction about the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE.