KENNETH W. YATES
Each Synoptic Gospel writer mentioned that when Jesus was dying on the cross, darkness fell upon the land for three hours (Matt 27:45; Mark 15:33; Luke 23:44). However, because of the general nature of narrative literature, we are not told the significance of this darkness.
In this article, I would like to look at Mark’s Gospel and try to determine the importance of this event from his perspective and what it means. Other explanations will be explored and rejected.
It seems that this is a productive exercise. First of all, there is obvious benefit in knowing why this miraculous event took place and how it is related to the death of Christ. Secondly, Mark showed us that studying this phenomenon is beneficial. He indicated that at least one person considered the darkness, and it helped him in arriving at certain truths about the One on the cross.
II. THE CENTURION AT THE CROSS
All the Synoptic Gospels record that there was a Roman centurion at the cross. In the Gospel of Mark, this man played a pivotal role. He was the one who made the final statement about Jesus when He died. He stated that Jesus was the Son of God (15:39).
This is significant for a number of reasons. First, in Mark’s Gospel, he is the only human who declared this truth. God the Father and demons were the only other ones who recognized the identity of Christ in like manner (1:11; 3:11; 5:7; 9:7).
We can certainly conclude that this man did not understand that Jesus was the Second Person of the Trinity. Even the disciples did not comprehend these realities. The centurion was not even a believer and was a person who believed in many different gods. Wallace calls the use of “Son” here qualitative. This means the centurion was stressing the character of Christ:1 he saw that Jesus was the One who was doing the work of God. Those who heard and saw Jesus were hearing and seeing what God was doing. The One dying on the cross was displaying supernatural power.2 In the centurion’s belief system, for example, the emperor was a son of the gods because he had great authority on earth. The emperor was doing the work of the gods, providing for the well-being of the people of the empire.
Roman soldiers often adopted the beliefs of the people in whatever region they were living. They believed that local areas were governed by local deities. The centurion was in the capital of the Jewish people, very near to the temple of the Jewish God. He came to the conclusion that Jesus was approved by the God of that area. The God of the Man on the cross was with Him. In fact, the centurion had heard Him call out to His God (v 34).
Mark explained why the centurion came to that conclusion. He said that the man “saw” that Christ had “cried out like this” when He died. The centurion saw the manner in which Christ died, and this made an impression upon him. He had seen many men die by crucifixion. All the others had died in agony, suffering from extreme dehydration. In such a state, men were delirious and unable to speak clearly. But Jesus was in complete control. He seemed to determine the point of His death. He was able to speak clearly.3 The centurion had never seen anything like this before.4
But the centurion was also aware of the darkness around him. The word “saw” in v 39 is the first word of the sentence in the Greek text. What this man saw is being emphasized. He had never “seen” it turn dark for three hours in the middle of the day. It was clearly a miraculous event. This, along with the way Jesus died, convinced him that Jesus was the Son of God. The Jewish God was revealing something by this darkness, and the centurion would have understood this darkness was affecting the land of the Jews.
While it is impossible to know exactly how he saw the significance of the darkness, the culture of the centurion provides clues. Many in the ancient world saw a darkened sky as signifying the death of a great person. This could happen, for example, with an eclipse of the sun. It would indicate that that person went to be with the gods. It could be a sign that the gods were angry and were about to punish the inhabitants of earth. Roman army generals would often point to changes in the sky, such as a comet or shooting stars, as indicating that the gods were about to act, and they would motivate their armies in the light of such signs.5 It is likely that as a longtime member of the Roman army, the centurion would have witnessed such teachings by his superiors.6
Grandez says that the background of this military man would have caused him to see the darkness in one of three ways, or even a combination of these three. He would interpret what was happening around and in front of him in light of these things, even though he had no knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures. The darkness showed that an important man was dying, that the God of the Jews was intervening in what He was seeing, or that the Jewish Deity of that region was angry.7
When the centurion saw the darkness and the composure of Christ on the cross, he made this surprising evaluation of Jesus. This crucified criminal was pleasing to the God of that country. The God of Israel was on His side.
Even though he came to this conclusion from a pagan understanding and background and still fell very short of the full significance of the title he gave to Jesus, this man saw things that others did not. The darkness allowed him to perceive such truths. He was, theologically speaking, moving in the right direction. He was open to what God was revealing to him by the darkness.8
The Gospel of Mark began with a statement that Jesus is the Son of God (1:1). Now, with the words of this centurion at the death of Christ, this truth was restated. These words form an inclusio, or bookends, of the book.
The words of the centurion, therefore, are central to the Gospel of Mark. The reason is that they provided a rebuke to the nation of Israel. They also provided a rebuke to the disciples. His interpretation of the darkness at the cross, as theologically flawed as his understanding may have been, allowed the centurion to provide a contrast to both.
A. A Rebuke to the Nation
The response of the centurion was shocking when compared to the pronouncements of the Jews concerning Jesus. When the high priest asked Him if He was the Son of God, the Lord confirmed His identity. The high priest and the highest governing body of the nation condemned Him as being a blasphemer, worthy of death (14:62-64).
Before a crowd of Jews, Pilate referred to the Lord as the King of the Jews (15:9). This title was equivalent, in Jewish thinking, to being the Son of God (John 1:49). The Jews in the crowd called for Jesus to be crucified (15:13). The confession of the centurion at the cross was declaring that the Jewish nation was killing their King.
There was also an inscription above the cross of Christ which called Him the King of the Jews (15:26). Even though it was a sarcastic statement on the part of the Romans and was meant as a slur to the Jewish people, it stated the truth. The Jews around the cross were offended that the Romans would make such a statement about a man hanging on a cross.
The darkness around the cross made the contrast between the centurion and the Jews stand out. In the midst of that darkness, the centurion confirmed what the sign on the cross said. The Jews, however, could not recognize the obvious. The crucifixion was in a public place, and as crowds passed by, they ridiculed Him. Specifically, they mocked Him for what false witnesses had said about His claim of destroying the temple in Jerusalem. They taunted Him, telling Him to come down from the cross. Somebody who could destroy the temple and raise it up in three days could surely come down from a cross (15:29-30).
The religious leaders of the nation agreed that He was worthy of ridicule at the cross as well. They commented that He had healed others but could not save Himself (15:30-31a).
Even the Jewish criminals crucified alongside Him blasphemed Him. The nation of Israel had placed Him between two of the lowest segments of society and even their verdict was that He was not the King of Israel, the Son of God (15:32b). That was how all the Jews saw what was happening on the cross.
Schmidt points out that the darkness brought out the magnitude of the centurion’s comment. He expressed “wonder” and “insight” about who Jesus is. The Jews at the cross, from every level of society, showed their “blindness” in the middle of the same darkness. The Jews, who should have been enlightened, were not able to see in the darkness. The Gentile centurion, whom the readers would have expected to be in the dark regarding spiritual matters, received from God a “ray of enlightenment” in the midst of the dark sky.9
When one compares the account of Christ’s death in the Gospels of Luke and Mark, the contrast between the Jews and the centurion in Mark becomes even more stark. In Luke, one of the criminals crucified with Christ became a believer and recognized that Jesus is the King of Israel (Luke 23:42). Luke described this man’s spiritual insight; he was like the centurion in that regard.10 Mark, however, did not mention the conversion of the Jewish criminal. Luke also described other Jews who were sympathetic to Jesus at the cross (Luke 23:48).11 Once again, Mark did not discuss such positive insights by the Jews.
Mark, then, emphasized how blind the Jews were in the darkness. They mocked and killed Jesus. The centurion, although he was not a Jew, understood more about the King of the Jews than they did. He proclaimed Jesus’ dignity. He was a strong rebuke to God’s chosen people.
B. A Rebuke to the Disciples
The confession of the centurion at the cross was not only an indictment of the nation of Israel, but it was also a foil to the disciples.12 In the darkness, the centurion saw things the disciples did not see, even though the Lord had taught them for three years.13
First of all, the centurion saw things at the cross the disciples did not because the disciples had fled from the Lord after the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:50). They were not even present. Even though the disciples understood that He is the Christ, they were also blind to certain aspects of what that means. That was the reason they had fled.
When Peter confessed that Jesus is the Christ, he understood that Jesus is the promised King who was to come. However, when Jesus immediately told him and the rest of the disciples that He was going to suffer and die, Peter rebuked Him (Mark 8:29-33). It is clear that Peter was speaking for all the disciples and that none of the disciples could accept that the King would suffer and die.
Jesus continued to teach the disciples that He would be mocked and killed by both the Jewish nation and the Romans (Mark 9:31; 10:33-34). Every time the Lord spoke of these things, Mark recorded how the disciples did not understand. It was inconceivable to them that the King of the kingdom of God could experience such humiliation.
But the King is also the Son of God. The centurion saw the bloody Man on the cross and witnessed the mocking of the religious leaders who were present. This Man had suffered greatly. The centurion even saw Christ die an agonizing death after all He had gone through. After all of that, he proclaimed that Jesus is indeed the Son of God. He recognized that He was doing the will of the God of Israel.
In the darkness surrounding the cross, the centurion was able to see things that others should have been able to see but did not. The Jewish nation could not see through the darkness. Neither could the disciples. How strange it was that a pagan Gentile could.
How did Mark want the readers of his Gospel to interpret the darkness? As in the case of the centurion, it seems that he wanted these readers to see in it a message for the nation of Israel and for the disciples.
Before looking at those messages, let us consider other possible but less likely reasons for the darkness.
III. OTHER REASONS FOR THE DARKNESS
There have been a number of suggestions as to the significance of the darkness at the cross. Grandez and Moo list at least eight.14 Some of these have been considered under the discussion of how the centurion interpreted the darkness. A few other views are popular among evangelicals. However, they should be rejected when the context and purpose of Mark are considered.
A. God the Father Looked Away
Mark recorded only one saying from the Lord while He was on the cross: Jesus asked why His God had forsaken Him (15:34). Many have interpreted this cry, which came from Psalm 22, as a statement that Jesus felt abandoned by His Father.15 The darkness is seen in connection with this cry of desperation and the emotions of Christ.
As the Father turned His gaze from the Son, the world turned dark. The sin of the world was put upon Him, and the Father could not gaze upon sin. In addition, the death of Christ was the greatest wickedness ever committed in the history of the world, and the darkness revealed it.16 The whole scene was a picture of the pain felt by Christ and His Father. It was as if nature itself sympathized with the Father, as the Son died for the sin of the world.17 Creation itself expressed grief.
However, this view does not take into consideration the context of the Gospel of Mark. The reader cannot determine the subjective emotions of the Lord on the cross. Mark did not give any clues of such things in the crucifixion account. Schmidt makes this point and regrets that the early church fathers used this verse to argue for certain theological doctrines. For example, they pointed to the cry of the Lord to prove the doctrine of the Trinity, since Jesus spoke to the Father. It is highly doubtful, however, that Mark wanted to teach on these matters. Schmidt rightly states that these early writers also looked at the darkness in order to simply speculate about Christ’s feelings and experiences.18
This view is also defective because it assumes that the words of Christ in Mark are a cry of abandonment. As will be discussed, the words from Psalm 22 were a cry of victory.
B. Eschatological Judgment
Some have seen the darkness at the cross as a demonstration of the eschatological judgment that OT prophets spoke of. Joel 2:28-32 speaks of darkness associated with the Day of the Lord.19 God was judging the world, and the inhabitants of the world were going to be judged. It was a warning for people to be prepared for what was coming.20
In the same vein, some see the darkness in Mark 15:34 as a direct allusion to Amos 8:9. In the death of Christ, God had finally intervened in human history. Eschatological judgment had arrived.21
The view that the darkness at Calvary pointed to these OT references has some weaknesses. Amos 8:9 is not addressing the judgment in the last days. The prophet was speaking to the northern kingdom of Israel and telling them what God was going to do to them because of their sin.
More importantly, the eschatological judgment of the world did not occur at the crucifixion of Christ. Later, Peter would appeal to Joel 2:28-32 when he preached on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-21) and discussed the darkness of that coming day. This certainly seems to point to a still future day. The darkness that Joel spoke of will occur before the second coming of the Lord at the end of the Tribulation coming upon the earth. It does not describe what happened when He died.
C. A New Creation
Another view of the darkness at the cross also looks to the OT to find its significance. It goes back to Gen 1:2. In the beginning, the world was shrouded in darkness. This darkness yielded to the light when God spoke that light into being. The same thing happened at the cross. Jesus, in His death, was bringing in a new creation. It began in darkness but lasted for three hours. That darkness also yielded to the light. We could even say that the entire old creation could be described as darkness. But there is a transition. The new creation brought by the work of the Lord will be one of light.22
This view also brings in Paul’s discussion of Christ as the Second Adam (Rom 5:12-19; 1 Cor 15:20-22). Adam failed, but on the cross Jesus succeeded. The Lord undid what Adam did. Kline comments:
With the first Adam, son of God, creation dawned, and all those in him share in the results of his covenant failure. With the second Adam, Son of God, new creation dawned, and all those in him share in the benefits of his covenant faithfulness.23
When compared with Genesis 1, the darkness in Mark 15 means that Jesus was inaugurating a latter-day new creation.24
This view suffers from the same weakness as the view that the darkness signified eschatological judgment. The death of Christ did not bring in a new creation. In addition, this introduces a foreign concept in the Gospel of Mark. There is nothing in the context of Mark 15 indicating that Mark wanted the reader to make that connection.
When one looks at the purpose of Mark and the context of Mark 15, there are better options to explain the reason for the darkness at the cross of Christ.
IV. A MESSAGE FOR ISRAEL
As already noted, the confession of the centurion was a rebuke to the unbelief of the Jews at the cross and the nation as a whole. Not surprisingly then, it is clear in Mark 15 that the nation should have understood what the darkness was saying to them. What happened at the cross was an ominous sign for Israel.
A. Judgment on the Nation
The Gospel of Mark opened with John the Baptist and then Jesus Himself offering the kingdom of God to that generation of Jews (1:15). However, beginning with their leaders, it was clear that they would reject that offer (3:6, 22; 6:6, 27; 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34). Because of that rejection and their killing of the King, God would severely judge the nation. This was inherent in John’s and Jesus’ call for the nation to repent. If they repented, they would be blessed. If they did not, God would discipline the nation.
The last week of the Lord’s life brought this coming judgment into sharp focus. He entered Jerusalem and cleaned out the temple, rebuking the leaders who oversaw its operation (11:15). He cursed a fig tree, which was a symbol of Israel, giving a parable about her coming destruction (11:20-24).25 He then gave a much longer parable, saying the nation would indeed be judged because they had rejected Him (12:1-11). The final time He was in the temple, He pointed to a poor widow, who was a walking advertisement for the evil of the nation and how it deserved the punishment coming its way.26
The Olivet Discourse in Mark’s Gospel is the longest teaching section of the Lord (13:5-37). Jesus said that the temple would be destroyed to such a degree that there would not be one stone left upon another.
The greatest illustration of their deserved judgment is what they did to the King. They accused Him of blasphemy and turned Him over to the Romans. They had Him crucified and mocked Him. When He died, the veil of the temple was ripped in two, which was another illustration of the coming destruction (15:38).27 The fact that it was ripped from top to bottom tells the reader that this destruction would come from God Himself.
In the Gospel of Mark, the only recorded words of the Lord on the cross, quoted from Psalm 22, pointed to this judgment too.
B. Psalm 22
The Lord’s cry about being forsaken by His Father (15:34), though often taken as a cry of abandonment, needs to be reconsidered. It is the first verse of Psalm 22, but it is clear that Mark also had in mind other parts of the psalm. In 15:24, he described how the soldiers cast lots for Christ’s clothes, which is found in Ps 22:18. The mocking the Lord was subject to in 15:29-32 is foretold in Ps 22:7-8. The crucifixion itself is seen in Ps 22:14-17. In addition, the One who cried out in Ps 22:1 was delivered by God, as recorded in Ps 22:22-25. This looked forward to the resurrection of Christ recounted in Mark 16:1-8.
Years ago, Dodd argued that when the NT writers quoted OT verses, they were not taking them out of context. Nor were these verses simply to be taken in isolation. Instead, often the writers were expecting the reader to look at the whole context of the verses cited. The believing readers had exposure to the OT as well as the teachings of the church. The writers expected them to know these passages. Dodd specifically referred to Psalm 22 as an example.28
Mark, then, by his references to Psalm 22, wanted us to consider the entire psalm. It is a psalm about a Righteous Sufferer, who although He suffered, was delivered by God. It is a Psalm of victory, not defeat.
Concerning Psalm 22 and the darkness at the crucifixion of Christ in Mark 15, Ps 22:4-5 is of particular interest. It speaks of the fathers of Israel who cried out to God, and He delivered them. The most obvious and well-known example of such a deliverance was when the nation cried out to God, and He brought them out of Egypt.
On the cross, the Lord had Psalm 22 on His lips. He was put to death during the Passover feast, which also celebrated the time when God delivered Israel from Egypt. God brought this salvation about through ten plagues. The ninth plague was one of darkness which fell over the land of Egypt. It was a plague that lasted for three days (Exod 10:22). On the cross, the darkness lasted for three hours. The tenth plague was the death of each firstborn son in Egypt. On the cross, the firstborn Son of God died.
The parallel here is striking. Darkness in Egypt was a sign that God was judging the nation of Egypt. Here, in the death of Christ, the nation of Israel had rejected their King. All that happened leading up to the cross and all that was happening there cried out for judgment of the nation Israel. The darkness in the land was a sign of judgment coming upon them for their sin.
There are many similarities between the darkness described in Egypt in Exod 10:21-22 and the description of the darkness at Christ’s cross in Mark 15:33. The Exodus passage is the only place in the Greek translation of the OT in which the words for “was” and “darkness” are found, followed by the phrase “over all the land.” That the same words are found in Mark 15:33 strongly suggests that Mark had in mind the ninth plague in Egypt.29
In the past, as mentioned in Psalm 22, God had fought for Israel. The darkness at the cross showed that He would now fight against them. There is a parallel idea in this regard found in Jer 21:5. Jeremiah told the Jews of his day that God would fight against them with His outstretched hand and strong arm. God had fought for them in Egypt in this manner. The point is that God would do to them what He had done for them in the past (Exod 6:6; Deut 4:34; Ps 136:12). In Jeremiah’s day, as in the day of Christ, the temple would be destroyed and the people scattered in captivity.30
Christ, then, is the Righteous Sufferer to whom Psalm 22 pointed. Even though He was righteous, the nation had rejected and killed Him. But He would be delivered. The cry of Ps 22:1 on the lips of Christ pointed to His victory. The nation, however, would be judged. The darkness at the cross was a clear picture of that coming judgment.
It seems likely that this was the main purpose for the darkness at the cross. It also seems likely that even the centurion understood this at some level. As mentioned above, this was a rebuke to the nation. Here, we see that the Jews were blind about the judgment coming their way. But the centurion also served as a rebuke to the disciples. His understanding of the darkness also pointed to their blindness. They could also learn something from the darkness which surrounded the cross.
V. A MESSAGE FOR THE DISCIPLES
The Jewish religious leaders, as well as the nation as a whole, should have been able to see that the darkness which fell over Israel when Christ was on the cross was a message to them. But the darkness also contained a message for the disciples.
When the Lord began His ministry, not only did He offer the kingdom to Israel, He also encountered Satan (Mark 1:12-13). Satan, of course, was the one responsible for bringing sin into the world. Mankind has been enslaved to the power of sin since that time. That sin also meant that every man would die. This was the curse put on man because of sin.
It is clear that on the cross, Christ took on the sin of the world (John 1:29; 2 Cor 5:21). In Luke 22:53, as Christ was leaving the Garden of Gethsemane to face His fate, He referred to that hour and the “power of darkness.” This was almost certainly a reference to Satan. Just as the Lord had faced Satan when He began His ministry, He would face him again at the end of it.
In Mark 10:45, the Lord is speaking to the disciples about the cost of following Him in discipleship. He speaks of Himself as a Servant who gives His life as a “ransom.” The word means the price paid to set someone free from slavery.31 This pointed to the cross, when the Lord paid the price to set His people free from slavery to sin.
Just as the darkness on the cross pointed to the judgment that would fall on the nation, the darkness also pointed to Christ’s judgment on sin. The power of darkness had brought the curse to this world. How appropriate it was that when the One who paid the price to release His people from that curse, darkness would fall over the land. He came to undo the darkness and curse (Gal 3:13).
In His resurrection, He would, of course, defeat death. But there is another emphasis here. The Gospel of Mark is about discipleship. If believers are to follow Christ in discipleship, they need to be released from the power of sin. The resurrection of the Lord shows that the believer can now live righteously because the power of sin has been broken. The believer no longer has to serve it (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 5:8- 10).32 The power of sin, the power of darkness, has been broken.
This is the message that the darkness has for the disciple. The supposed cry of abandonment by the Lord when the sky turned dark (15:33; Ps 22:1), was in actuality, a cry of victory. The disciples thought that all was lost. They had abandoned the Lord. But He was once again teaching them about discipleship. He had told them that as disciples they would have to suffer for Him. They would have to become servants like Him (Mark 8:34-38; 10:43-45). If they did so, they would be greatly rewarded in His kingdom. As seen in the example of the centurion, however, the disciples did not see any of this. They did not understand the need to suffer, either on their part or the part of the Lord.
On the cross, He showed them all these things. He was serving them by dying there in order to save them from death and the power of sin. He suffered greatly. He endured the darkness. But His Father heard Him and exalted Him. The disciple who suffered and served would be exalted by the Father as well. Jesus’ death on the cross made such service possible. We could say that His service for us broke the power of darkness.
Just as Mark used Psalm 22 to show the coming judgment on the nation, the same psalm also pointed to what the death of Christ means for the disciple. The author of Hebrews quotes from Ps 22:22. He said the verse means that the disciple of the Lord can look to Christ as his example (Heb 2:12). The Lord had told His disciples to take up their own crosses and follow Him. They could trust in Him to fulfill His promises of great rewards for faithfulness towards Him. The Lord showed on the cross that God exalts those who suffer for Him.33
Many reasons have been given for the darkness, described in Mark 15:33, that fell upon the land of Israel for three hours when Christ hung upon the cross. While there may be theological truths contained in a number of these, there appear to be two reasons in the Gospel of Mark that are most likely; these are based on the purposes of the book.
One of the major themes in Mark is that the kingdom of God was offered to the Jews of Jesus’ day. The other is that even though the gift of eternal life is absolutely free, following Christ in discipleship is costly. The darkness at the cross was a message for the nation and for the disciple. In both cases, judgment was involved. In both cases, as well, Psalm 22, which runs throughout the crucifixion account, points to the meaning of the darkness.
For the nation, the darkness was an ominous sign. Their rejection of the offer of the kingdom and their murder of the King meant that judgment was going to fall upon them. Whereas God had once brought darkness upon their enemies as a sign of His displeasure towards those enemies, it would now be a sign directed towards them.
For the disciple, the darkness was both an example and glorious news. Christ gave an example of what being a suffering servant meant, as well as showing that trusting in God in the midst of that suffering will result in exaltation. The great news was that the darkness was also a sign of the judgment upon the power of sin.
In the Gospel of Mark, the disciples had failed so often. They had misunderstood almost all of what Jesus had taught them about discipleship. They simply did not understand the necessity of suffering. Now, they could follow His example, and in the power provided by His resurrected life, they knew they could do what He commanded them to do.
One author rightly summarized what the darkness at the cross in Mark means. He says that, “the unnatural darkness signified God’s judgment on sin, as well as His displeasure with Israel who rejected their King.”34
The nation of Israel should have been able to grasp what the darkness meant for them. A believer in Jesus Christ who reads the Gospel of Mark should be able to see the significance of that miraculous darkness for him as well.
Mark gave us a central figure in his Gospel to show us that such insight is indeed possible. A Gentile, unbelieving Roman soldier at the foot of the cross was able to see in the dark. He “saw” what was happening. When he did, even he came very close to realizing what it signified. He stated a truth of which he did not know the full significance. But the believer who reads the account of the crucifixion of the Lord can.
1 Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 250-51.
2 Dennis J. Kavanaugh, “The Ambiguity of Mark’s Use of Huios Theou in Mark 15:39,” (PhD Dissertation, Dallas Theological Seminary, 2011), 272-73.
3 Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel according to Luke (X-XXIV), vol. 2 (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1985), 1519; I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978): 874-76.
4 Kenneth W. Yates, Centurions in Luke/Acts (PhD Dissertation: Dallas Theological Seminary, 2014): 186-208.
5 Eli E. Burriss, “The Roman and His Religion,” Classical Journal 8 (1929): 596; Plutarch, Rom. 27:6-7; Pliny, Nat. Hist. 2.26-30; Josephus, Ant. 17.6.1-4.
6 On average, it took approximately fifteen years in the Roman army to obtain the rank of centurion.
7 Rufino M. Grandez, “Las tinieblas en la Muerte de Jesus,” Estudios Biblicos 47 (1989): 217.
8 Robert J. Karris, “Luke 23:47 and the Lucan View of Jesus’ Death,” Journal of Biblical Literature 105 (1986): 66.
9 Thomas E. Schmidt, “Cry of Dereliction or Cry of Judgment? Mark 15:34 in Context,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 4 (1994): 152–53.
10 Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 822-27.
11 David M. Crump, Jesus the Intercessor: Prayer and Christology in Luke-Acts, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament, vol. 49 (Tübingen: Mohr, 1992), 78, 90.
12 J. F. Williams, “Discipleship and Minor Characters in Mark’s Gospel,” Bibliotheca Sacra 153 (1996): 336.
13 Kenneth W. Yates, “The Healing of Bartimaeus (Mark 10:46–52): Part 1,” JOTGES (Spring, 2016): 8-10.
14 Douglas J. Moo, The Old Testament in the Gospel Narratives (Sheffield, ENG: Almond Press, 1983), 342-43; Grandez, “Las tinieblas,” 217.
15 Raymond E. Brown, “The Passion according to Luke,” Worship 60 (1986): 8. Brown compares this to the last words of Christ on the cross in Luke, which are words of trust and confidence in God.
16 Hal M. Haller Jr., “The Gospel according to Matthew,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 133.
17 Louis A. Barbieri, Jr., “Matthew,” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary, ed. J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck, (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1985), 89; Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 1 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 276.
18 Schmidt, “Cry,” 145-46.
19 Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 9:51–24:53, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1996), 1858.
20 Wiersbe, Bible, 165.
21 Francis J. Mooney, The Gospel of Mark (Peabody MA: Hendrickson, 2002), 325; James R. Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), 475.
22 Dane C. Ortlund and G. K. Beale, “Darkness over the Whole Land: A Biblical Theological Reflection on Mark 15:33,” The Westminster Theological Journal 75 (2013): 236.
23 Meredith G. Kline, Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Covenantal Worldview (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2006), 97-99.
24 Ortlund and Beale, “Darkness,” 224-25.
25 Kenneth W. Yates, “Faith That Moves Mountains (Mark 11:20-26),” JOTGES 33 (2020): 6-17.
26 Kenneth W. Yates, “Discipleship and the Widow’s Mites (Mark 12:41-44), JOTGES 32 (2020): 18-20.
27 There were two veils in the temple, an inner and outer one. Scholars are divided on which veil was torn when the Lord died. The inner one was immediately before the Holy of Holies and was a symbol of access to the presence of God. In light of this discussion on the coming judgment upon the nation of Israel, it is best to conclude it was the outer veil. This would have been a public display of what was going to happen, much like the darkness was a public phenomenon as well.
28 C. H. Dodd, According to the Scriptures: The Sub-Structure of New Testament Theology (New York, NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1953), 59-60; Richard M. Davidson, “Interpreting Scripture according to Scripture,” Perspective Digest 17 (2012): 23.
29 Ortlund and Beale, “Darkness,” 227.
30 Charles L. Feinberg, Jeremiah (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1982), 151.
31 BDAG, 605.
32 Zane C. Hodges, Romans: Deliverance from Wrath (Corinth, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2013), 140-44.
33 Kenneth W. Yates, Hebrews: Partners with Christ (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2019), 45-47.
34 Barry Mershon, Jr., “The Gospel according to Mark,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 213.