In this part of Mark chapter 15 Jesus the Savior of the world is now hanging on a Roman cross. This was the reason that He came into the world. For several hours the righteous judgment of a Holy God fell upon Jesus because Jesus had become sin for us. Thats the reason that salvation is possible. Thats the reason that you owe everything to Christ if you are saved. As we think about Jesus on the cross, one of the wonderful things to think about are the seven things that Jesus said while He was hanging on the cross. If we looked at all four gospels we would find seven statements made by Christ. Seven times He spoke while He hung there dying for the sins of the world. The Gospel of Mark records just one of those statements, and it is a very important one. You must understand this statement made by Christ if you are going to understand all of the things that Jesus suffered when He took the punishment of sin upon Himself. The Bible says in Mark -34, And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Of all the things that Jesus Christ suffered, this statement tells us which was the greatest. When He was on the cross, He became sin for us. From eternity to eternity He is the Son of God. From one end of the universe to the other, He is the Son of God. Jesus was there at the creation of the world. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus was always one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Their communion and their fellowship had an intimacy that we cannot imagine. Their oneness was so great that Jesus could say, If you see me, you see the Father. This unity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will ever be part of the mystery of godliness into which we can only have a glimpse.
In some mysterious way when Jesus hung on the cross, He was separated from the Father. It is at this point that Jesus paid the price for sin. The holiness of God cannot be united with sin. That is why God came up with a method to provide for our salvation. How can sinful man be allowed into a holy heaven with a holy God? God solved this problem by choosing to give us righteousness freely through Christ. But the righteous judgment of God had to be satisfied and sin had to be punished by God the Judge. When Jesus became sin and when the judgment of the Father fell upon that sin, the bond between Father and Son and Spirit was cut off. The abandonment and loneliness that Jesus felt from men who left Him to die alone was nothing compared to what Jesus suffered when He was cut off from the Father as Jesus hung on the cross. When Jesus suffered this great suffering, He cried out My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
Just think about it. In order to suffer all of the punishment for all of the sins that have ever been committed, Jesus had to suffer the suffering of hell. The righteous judgment of God had to be fulfilled somehow. If I deserve to go to hell because of my sins, but if now I get to go to heaven freely without earning it or deserving it because of Jesus, then that means that Jesus suffered what I should have suffered. It also tells us along with this statement that Christ made, that while Jesus was on the cross He was suffering the torments of hell.
When we think of what hell is like: when we think of the fire and the bottomless pit and the darkness, we are thinking of a horrible place where unfortunately some humans will spend eternity along with the devil and his evil angels. The Bible says in Revelation 20:13-15, And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire. These things are true, but they are not the worst part of hell.
The worst part of hell is being separated from God and from all that is good forever. Jesus tasted this suffering, this horrible separation from the Father, and He cried out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? The punishment for sin is death, not just physical death, but spiritual death. For Jesus to pay the price for sin, He had to suffer spiritual death: separation from the Father.
In this life all humans enjoy blessings from God. The sunshine and the rain fall equally on the evil and on the good. Surely you have learned to be thankful for the good and simple things of life that God gives you and everyone else: fresh air on a beautiful day, the song of a bird, or a drink of cool clear water when you are really thirsty. In this life no one is taken entirely away from the goodness of God. The goodness of God leads us to repentance. But that will not be true in the next life. Those who have not found salvation and forgiveness will find judgment instead, and the worst part of that judgment will be separation from God and all that is good forever. Thank God for what Jesus did for us. If He had not suffered what He suffered on the cross, we would have been separated from God forever.
The Bible says in Mark 15:35-37, And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calls Elijah. And one ran and filled a spunge full with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone: Let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down. And Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost. The last phrase is significant. It says, And Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost. In other words when Jesus died, He chose the time of His death. Death takes place when your spirit leaves your body. Death is not the end of anything. It is simply the spirit leaving the body and going to one of two places. For most of us God determines when we die. He determines when our spirit becomes separated from our body. But in the case of Jesus, He decided Himself because He is God the Son. Once Jesus had suffered for the sins of the world, there was no longer any reason for Him to stay in the world. No man took His life from Him. He laid it down of His own will.
The Bible says in Mark , And the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. Of course, we know that the veil of the temple is what separated the Holy of holies from the rest of the temple. Inside the Holy of holies was represented the presence of God and the glory of God. Only the high priest could enter into the Holy of holies, and he could only go in there once a year. The high priest was kind of a mediator for everyone else, but the average believer could not enter into that closest of all places to God.
Once Jesus died for the sins of the world, all of this changed. The veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom. Because of Jesus now there are no limitations and no restrictions. Hebrews says, Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. You should never have any doubts. Will God receive you, will God listen to you, and can you go into the very presence of God in your mind and in your spirit? Of course, you can. Always, because when Jesus died on the cross, the veil of the temple was rent in two from the top to the bottom.
Mark 15:39 says, And when the centurion, which stood over against him, saw that he so cried out, and gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. This centurion was probably the leader of the band of Roman soldiers that crucified Jesus. No doubt he had crucified many others and watched them as they died in misery and agony. His job was to make sure that the condemned was crucified and to make sure that the condemned died. Thats why the Romans stayed until He died. No one would be permitted to rescue the crucified one.
But his crucifixion was different. This was the Son of God, dying for the sins of the world. As the centurion gazed upon Jesus and considered the person of Jesus and the character of Jesus and the words of Jesus, the centurion cried out, Truly this man was the Son of God. After the death of Christ the first convert to Him was a Gentile, a Roman soldier. Since that time many others have turned their gaze to Jesus and come to the same conclusion, Truly this man was the Son of God. After all, Jesus Himself said, If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.
The Bible says in Mark 15:40-41, There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him; and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem. It says that the women were afar off, but it does not say why. Perhaps they thought it would not be safe to be too close. Perhaps because Jesus hung naked on the cross, they thought it more respectful to be at a distance. But maybe the reason that these women are mentioned at this time of the crucifixion is to show how faithful they were to Christ.
They had been faithful during His ministry. We are told that in
But before the resurrection was the burial. Mark 15:42-45 says, And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, Joseph of Arimathea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. And Pilate marveled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph. When Joseph came and asked Pilate if he could bury the body of Jesus, Pilate marveled that Jesus was already dead. The Romans had been crucifying people for many years. They were experts at it. They knew that crucifixion was a slow and agonizing death and that it often took days for the person to die. This is another reminder of the fact that the life of Jesus was not taken from Him. He gave it up freely when He gave up the ghost once he had been separated from the Father and had suffered spiritual death.
Joseph of Arimathea came and buried the body of Jesus. Jesus was dead. The centurion verified the fact that Jesus was dead. The Romans were experts at crucifixion and they knew when someone was dead. Jesus died for the sins of the world and He was buried. Never forget that when He died, your sins died with Him. Now you are free from death, if you believe in Jesus. You have been given true life: life the way it should be lived. Remember when Jesus said, You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free. That means free from the guilt of sin and free from the negative meaning to death.
It says about Joseph of Arimathea that he was an honorable counselor. By saying that he was a counselor, its referring to the fact that Joseph was probably a member of the Sanhedren, the ruling counsel of religious leaders who had such great authority in the Jewish society of the first century. Most of them were corrupt because they were the ones who originally condemned Jesus. Joseph was an exception. Instead of being corrupt, he was honorable. What Joseph shows is that if you are determined to do the right thing, then you do not have to go along with the crowd. In spite of what others are doing around you, you do not have to go their way or be like them. You could be like Joseph and be honorable in whatever your profession is.
Joseph was an honorable counselor and the Bible also says that he
waited for the
Do you look forward to the coming of the
Copyright; 2003 by Charles
F. (Rick) Creech
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