18 Why have you forsaken me? Mark 15:22-41

by | Aug 15, 2020 | 01 Podcasts, Mark

After Jesus was captured in the Garden of Gethsemane, the soldiers led him to the high priest. Mark is very careful to point out that these two situations — the trial before the Sanhedrin and the denial of Peter — occur side by side. The contrast between these two situations gives us an illustration which is the answer to the question Jesus asks on the cross.


  • The trial of Jesus (Mark 14:53-65) was illegal from start to finish: The outcome was determined before the trial began (Mark 14:55); it was held at night; and it was held in the residence of the high priest rather than the court.
  • The witnesses disagree.
  • The high priest attempts to force Jesus to incriminate himself (which was illegal), putting him under oath to testify against himself (Matthew 26:63).
  • Mark contrasts Jesus speaking under oath in the inner courtroom and Peter’s oath denying Jesus in the outer courtyard (Mark 14:66-72).
  • Mark contrast the band of priests who hate Jesus and their anger and jealousy comes spilling out in the beating that fol lows the verdict with Peter, a man who loves Jesus with all his heart and yet, in the moment of crisis, he denies that he even knows Jesus.
  • Both events show us the condition of our souls.
  • The difference is Peter’s tears of regret.
  • Jesus then appears before Pilate (Mark 15:1-20) and is sentenced to crucifixion.


15:22And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.”  27And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.  29And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. 33And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” 40There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.  – Mark 15:22-41

  • Mark omits several details that the other gospel writers include. Probably because Mark recorded the story from Peter and Peter withdrew from the unfolding events, crushed in spirit after denying Jesus.
  • In Mark’s account, the crucifixion is an act of incredible brutality done in the name of “justice.”
  • Why did God forsake Jesus on the cross? Because Jesus death was the only way to save people like you and me.

Mark record three things that they could not make Jesus do:

  1. They could not make Jesus speak (Mark 15:4-5). He remained silent, because he could have saved himself with a word and he chose to die in our place.
  2. They could not make him drink (Mark 15:23). The wine & myrrh was a type of painkiller and he would not spare himself.
  3. They could not make him die (Mark 15:27). Jesus gave up his spirit.

Why did Jesus cry to God from the darkness and agonies of the cross, “Why have you forsaken me?” We have the answer from Jesus himself.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. – John 3:16-18

For more detail and explanation, please listen to the podcast.

Previous: 17 Couldn’t you stay awake? Mark 14:27-42

Series: Questions Jesus Asked

Resources: Gospel of Mark

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