Thursday, August 7, 2008

Mark Chapter 15

Are you thankful for what God is going to do? In Mark 15, that was the ultimate moment in human history for needing to be thankful for what God is going to do. We see Mark’s account of the Crucifixion, which, as I described in my writings on Matthew, is the single worst event in human history. The chapter begins with Jesus being mocked and flogged. The Pharisees who were so confident in prosecuting Jesus didn’t even have the guts to carry out the death sentence themselves. Instead, they handed Him over to the Roman authorities. Pilate is a bit of a coward in his own right. He was sensible enough to realize that Jesus was innocent of the crimes leveled against Him, but didn’t have the guts to stand up to the Jews.

25It was the third hour when they crucified him. 26The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those 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, 30come down from the cross and save yourself!"
31In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. "He saved others," they said, "but he can't save himself! 32Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe." Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him. – Mark 15:25-32

There are many perspectives that we can view this from. The Jews that wanted to crucify Jesus were driving the point home. Many of the people that welcomed Him to Jerusalem just a week earlier as the triumphant king were those now hurling insults at Him. Jesus’ compassion is what comes through most, however. Here he was, facing a humiliating and painful death, yet He still forgave even those that were putting them to death. Yes He could have come down from the Cross, but the penalty for sin would not have been paid. These verses just paint what else He had to endure in order to pay the penalty. They didn’t even realize the temple He had talked about for so long was Himself.

33At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?"—which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
35When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah."
36One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.
37With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.

38The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!"
40Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there. – Mark 15:33-41

Once again, we must be thankful for what God is going to do. Jesus had His followers at the Cross. He even made some new believers like the Centurion mentioned here. In His final moments before death, He even put the fear of God into those mocking Him. In death, however, there was reason to hope. This chapter ends with Jesus being put in the tomb. There were plenty of reasons to lose hope at this point. What is amazing is that everyone lost hope, as no one was prepared for the Resurrection even though Christ had spoken about it at length. Even when all hope seems lost, we must be thankful for what God is going to do. That is keeping me alive today.

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