The Roman soldiers mock Jesus but their mockery ironically speaks the truth.
The trial and crucifixion of Jesus is marked by the bitter irony that the participants speak the truth, but in a mocking tone. The Roman soldiers come together and address Jesus as king; they give him a royal robe and a crown; they salute him and kneel in front of him. Of course, the soldiers mean their gestures as a cruel joke. Mark’s readers, however, know that they are actually saluting and kneeling before the king of kings even though they don’t realize it. Mark employs this lack of understanding to highlight their broken notion of kingship; they mock Jesus as a king because they expect kings to act in a particular way. Throughout Mark’s Gospel, however, Jesus has modeled a new kind of king, a king who gives his life as a ransom for his people.