Later this week, I’ll be looking at Mark 15 with my NT class. I did some work on this passage last year, and noted a number of intriguing things in the narrative:
Firstly, Jesus is frequently on the receiving end of the action. Notice the number of things that are done to Jesus in chapter 15: they lead him away, they put a robe on him, they put a crown on him, they strike him, etc… This changes when it comes to a climax and Jesus is in the active voice – what does he do? He cries and he dies.
Secondly, Jesus’ kingly glory is not what his disciples expected. The attentive hearer of Mark’s Gospel can’t help but recall the request of James and John to sit at his right and his left in his glory… now here is Jesus, installed as king in chapter 15, and the positions at his right and his left are crosses.
Thirdly, Jesus’ vindication corresponds with his mocking. While the soldiers had taunted and mocked Jesus as a failed king, the centurion himself acknowledges that he is Son of God. While the chief priests and elders had mocked Jesus as a failed saviour, the temple curtain itself rips in two upon the accomplishment of his atonement.