38. Mark 15:28 Numbered with the Lawless!
MKJV: Mark 15:27-30: And with Him they crucified two thieves, the one off the right, and one off the left. And the Scripture was fulfilled which said, “And he was numbered with the lawless.” And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, Aha! You razing the temple and building it in three days, save yourself and come down from the cross!
NIV: Mark 15:27-30: They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!”
Why was this important statement omitted from the NIV?
Let us look at the manuscript evidence:
|Witness:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:||Greek:||Translations:||Church Fathers:|
|301-400||א, B,||1 Old Latin, 1 Syriac, Boharic,Fayyumic||Eusebian Canons||Vulgate, Gothic|
|401-500||A, C, D||1 Old Latin||2 Old Latin, 2 Syriac, Armenian,Ethiopic, Georgian|
|601-700||3 Old Latin, 1 Syriac|
|801-900||X||K, Δ, Θ, Π|
|901-1000||f1, f13||Old Latin|
According to the facts as illustrated in the table above, it is clear that the oldest Greek manuscripts as well as the oldest translations do not include these words in Mark.
It is important to note that Eusebius did not include these verses in his canons either. Eusebius (†339 A.D.) of Caesarea devised a system to aid in locating parallel passages in the Gospels. It was widely used and copied in many manuscripts and translations. With his intense study of the Gospels to find all parallels, he would have added it to his canons if it had been part of the Gospel according to Mark during his lifetime.
As an example of the Eusebian Canons herewith a copy of the Canons in the Rabula Gospels, a Syriac translation ±550 A.D. (Graphic from Wikipedia.)
A study of the Gospels makes it clear that both Matthew and Luke made use of Mark when they compiled their Gospels. If these words had been part of the original Mark autograph, some explanation should be found why both Matthew and Luke would omit such a crucial prophecy! It simply does not make any sense!
Both Matthew and Luke have also made use of their own unique sources. In this case Luke’s own investigation is applicable. According to Luke Jesus quoted Isaiah 53:12 and made it applicable on Himself: “It is written: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors’ ; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.” This Jesus said immediately before He and the disciples went out to Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives!
Let us look at Isaiah 53:12 as it is given in the NIV: “Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
Do note the extreme depth of this Scripture! It really isn’t at all about Jesus physically hanging between two transgressors and therefore numbered with them. He was numbered between the transgressors because He was covered with the stains of sin. It is not the presence of those two robbers, but rather the presence of every body’s sin that defined Him as one of the transgressors.
Close your eyes for a moment and see Him bearing your sin on the cross.