Mark – God is On Our Side!
Pain is inevitable in living life here on earth. There are many forms of pain. There is the emotional pain that comes when others mock you, bully you or neglect you. This kind of pain leaves scars on our minds body just like physical pain or abuse can leave on the body. There is the pain of watching someone you love in pain. There is pain from mental abuse that takes years to overcome with a great amount of help from God and the medical community.
As we get older, we experience little nagging pains that send signals to joints and muscles about the limits of these bodies that eventually wear out. We begin to pace ourselves so the pain is not so great. Some of us medicate to “manage” pain. I personally seek to get rid of it, not “manage it” with drugs. Some of us try to avoid pain at all cost, or think we can, by slowing to a stop. But we soon discover that a body in motion stays in motion and a body at rest…well, you know the science, it assumes all it can do is rest.
As I read our familiar passage today, that tells us, only briefly, of the pain our Lord went through for our sin, I can’t imagine it. I cannot wrap my head around it. This is a pain so great the gospel writers could not bring themselves to describe all that the Roman’s did to their victims. Historical documents and medical information gives us a glimpse into what our Lord and others suffered by being literally nailed to a cross.
All the pain that we might experience here on earth cannot compare to the excruciating pain Jesus willing, according to God’s Plan to save us, endured. WILLINGLY is the key word. God willed it. Jesus willingly accepted the mission. Why? Because God’s love for us trumped all the pain His Son would endure. A perfect, without sin, sacrifice for our sin had to be made, once and for all.
Philip Yancy helps us understand…“To some, the image of a pale body glimmering on a dark night whispers of defeat. What good is a God who does not control his Son’s suffering? But another sound can be heard: the shout of a God crying out to human beings, “I LOVE YOU.” Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to – because of us. At Calvary, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice.”
“Any discussion of how pain and suffering fit into God’s scheme ultimately leads back to the cross.”
How deeply can we feel the pain that Jesus went through for us as we read what Mark is telling us? We can’t possibly have empathy for this cruel way to die for most of us have not experienced it for ourselves. Most of us do not know the pain that was so great that a new word had to be invented to describe it…excruciating, which means “on a cross” in Latin.
What we do know about this horrendous way to be tortured is that Jesus didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to go through this. He could have called down thousands upon thousands of angels to stop the insanity. But He did not.
Those who know Him know why. He loves us that much.
Mark 15, NLT
The Soldiers Mock Jesus
16 The soldiers took Jesus into the courtyard of the governor’s headquarters (called the Praetorium) and called out the entire regiment. 17 They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified.
21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) 22 And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means “Place of the Skull”). 23 They offered him wine drugged with myrrh, but he refused it.
24 Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross. They divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. 25 It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26 A sign announced the charge against him. It read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left.
29 The people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. “Ha! Look at you now!” they yelled at him. “You said you were going to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days. 30 Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”
31 The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
“Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!”, mocked the religious leaders who thought they had won. But they were extremely misled, cruel in thought and didn’t care to know that Jesus was their long awaited Messiah. They didn’t understand. Jesus was not about saving Himself…He stayed on that cross to save us.
Believe and be saved. Right now.
Pray; Jesus, I believe that you laid down your life for me. You died and rose again to life because of your love for me. I repent of my sin. Forgive me. I want a new life in You.
In Jesus Name, Amen
What hurt you most, the pain of the cross or the rejection of Your Father who had to turn His face from you until our debt of sin on your body was paid in full? The depth of my gratitude is greater still for knowing the pain you endured for me, my family, our friends, people I don’t know, people I will know. You died for all you created. You took all the mocking, the abuse, the nails, the pain, the jeering by religious leaders. You saved us. Thank you, just thank you. I have no other words except, I love you with all that is in me.
In Jesus Name, Amen. I believe.