The Good News!
We hear Jesus’ name called out in the heat of anger, swearing and using His name as a curse from unbelievers. We shudder. As believers we swear using, what we think are “kinder” words, but still swear in anger. We mock the Name of Jesus using any word that comes close to His Name, no matter what. When I read Mark’s words of how Jesus was mocked, even while He was raised up on that rough wooden structure, fashioned in a cross, held their by nails, in excruciating pain and agony, I am ashamed for myself and others. Do we not know this has to be the Son of God, Our Creator, Our LORD? Read on, slowly and carefully, putting ourselves at the scene of this horrendous event…
Mark 15, The Message
21 There was a man walking by, coming from work, Simon from Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They made him carry Jesus’ cross.
22-24 The soldiers brought Jesus to Golgotha, meaning “Skull Hill.” They offered him a mild painkiller (wine mixed with myrrh), but he wouldn’t take it. And they nailed him to the cross. They divided up his clothes and threw dice to see who would get them.
25-30 They nailed him up at nine o’clock in the morning. The charge against him—the king of the jews—was printed on a poster. Along with him, they crucified two criminals, one to his right, the other to his left. People passing along the road jeered, shaking their heads in mock lament: “You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you’re really God’s Son, come down from that cross!”
31-32 The high priests, along with the religion scholars, were right there mixing it up with the rest of them, having a great time poking fun at him: “He saved others—but he can’t save himself! Messiah, is he? King of Israel? Then let him climb down from that cross. We’ll all become believers then!” Even the men crucified alongside him joined in the mockery.
33-34 At noon the sky became extremely dark. The darkness lasted three hours. At three o’clock, Jesus groaned out of the depths, crying loudly, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?”
35-36 Some of the bystanders who heard him said, “Listen, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran off, soaked a sponge in sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.”
37-39 But Jesus, with a loud cry, gave his last breath. At that moment the Temple curtain ripped right down the middle. When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
People who probably once praised Him as he rode a donkey through the streets days earlier, now jeered, “Save yourself, if you’re really God’s Son!”
“He saved others–but he can’t save himself!” This statement is probably the most ironic of all. Jesus the Christ, Messiah, that the Jews longed for over the centuries of silence, is DOING just that…sacrificing Himself, so that they would be saved! “We’ll ALL become believers then!”, they mocked, telling Him to come down from the cross to prove His kingship. Really? Guess what? ALL can become believers now that Jesus has died for ALL! Once and for ALL!
God must abandoned His Son in the process of setting us free…for a little while…about 3 days. Why? Because Jesus has taken on all the sin of the world that is and is to come, and God cannot be in the same space as sin. God cannot even look upon sin. So He must look away. But, God has given Jesus the Power as His Son to complete the mission. Jesus defeats sin by taking it all upon Himself, even refusing a pain killer to get this momentous task finished. He dies, taking on all our sin. Your sin. MY sin. ALL sin. Forever.
When it looks as if the evil one has won, Jesus becomes the victor! Forever.
“When the Roman captain standing guard in front of him saw that he had quit breathing, he said, “This has to be the Son of God!”
Yes, Yes, HE IS INDEED!
And there’s more…tomorrow!
Dear Heavenly Father, We read Your Word slowly and thoughtfully and remember what You have truly done for us, driven by a perfect love that is beyond our wildest thinking! You came to save us, to restore us to a wonderful relationship where we walk with You, talk with You, and listen in eagerness to every word in this life until we see You and be with You in our final home. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You are the Son of our Father, God! Heavenly Father, You are God and we are not. May we never forget. We repent.
In Jesus Name, be with us, Amen