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Mark 15:21-39 Jesus Is Crucified

Posted by adventbiblestudy on March 30, 2013


Mark 15:21-39 NLTse 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 was fastened to the cross, announcing 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. (33) At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. (34) Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” (35) Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. (36) One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!” (37) Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. (38) And the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. (39) When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!

 

When the Roman guard dressed Jesus, He was thankful for the little relief it brought, but knew the worst lay ahead. Wounds on His back and legs gushed blood as nerves screamed out in pain. Repeated blows to His head left Him with such a concussion, pain from the thorns was secondary to the throbbing caused by His swelling brain. The combination of blood loss and concussion made it difficult to concentrate as Jesus drifted in and out of conscienceness.

 

The Roman commander shouted orders as soldiers placed the cross across the back of each prisoner. The long uphill trek began. The weight of the cross opened wounds on the backs and shoulders of the prisoners. The two criminals with Jesus moaned, groaned, begged, and cursed. Hearing only three voices, the Roman commander turned to check the condition of his prisoners. One glance told him all three were present and accounted for. After a distance the commander heard the distinctive sound of a heavy wooden cross hitting the pavement followed by the sound of a prisoner being whipped. He turned, rode back and watched for a minute before ordering the whipping to stop. “Stop that! If you disable the prisoner, you’ll be carrying that cross.”

 

Jesus tried to keep His concentration. His mind as well as His sight kept going in and out of focus. Although His eyes were covered in blood and sweat, His vision was better than anyone in Jerusalem. Devils gathered around Jesus, the Roman guards, and people along the road. The prisoners were subject to random whippings, being treated like a disobedient animal under a load. Devils entered into guards and bystanders, shouting out jeers, curses, and throwing anything available at guards and prisoners alike. Guards beat back the crowd with spears and whips. They could not remember ever seeing such a scene.

 

Satan himself was observing the scene both on the ground and above. Looking up Satan saw thousands upon thousands of God’s loyal angels watching every detail of the event unfold. Jesus staggered and fell again. Satan saw his opening and approached Jesus. A brilliant flash served as a warning for Satan to keep his distance. Satan knew he could not enter Jesus, as long as He remained sinless. Satan looked for every opportunity to make Jesus fall. Only inches from Jesus. Satan asked Him if the pain was worth it. “Look at the people you are suffering for. Are they worth it? Do they care anything about you?” Satan promised to take the pain away. He also accused God of abandoning Jesus. Satan walked along side Jesus, reminding Him about sights in Heaven, encouraging Jesus to join him to rebuild a piece of Heaven on earth. Satan had a long list of deceptions and didn’t miss a point.

 

Jesus knew temptation well and also how to fight it. Jesus also knew all Heaven looked down, poised to come to His aid with a single word. Jesus prayed for the strength to make it up the hill as Golgotha came into view. Scripture from Isaiah came to mind. Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick. You are battered from head to foot– covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds– without any soothing ointments or bandages. Your country lies in ruins, and your towns are burned. Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes and destroy everything they see. Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard, like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest, like a helpless city under siege. If the LORD of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah. (Isaiah 1:5-9 NLTse).

 

Satan and his devils couldn’t get to Jesus, but the guards were putty in their hands. One of the guards jabbed Jesus in the back with the butt of his spear. Once again Jesus fell to the ground. Again the sound of the cross striking the ground reached the commander’s ears. He rode back to assess the scene. The commander ordered one of the guards to take the cross off Jesus’ back. With the weight off, Jesus rolled to one side, looking up to the sky. A woman darted out from the crowd, lifting Jesus’ head, placing it in her lap. Thrones stuck in her leg as she wiped blood from Jesus’ face. Looking over the crowd, the commander pointed out a passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus‘ cross. Simon hesitated, until the guards threatened him. As soon as Simon lifted the cross, one of the guards lifted Jesus by one arm. Thrones tore through the thigh of the woman helping Him. The commander shouted out orders to proceed as quickly as possible. The situation was deteriorating quickly. He wanted to get the execution over with before matters got completely out of hand. They proceeded up the hill at a hurried pace with Simon carrying the cross and Jesus following close behind. The woman stood in the street watching Jesus climb the hill. There was nothing she could do. Jesus turned His head for a moment. Looking back at her gave Him the strength to walk a few steps closer to the execution site.

 

As they neared the top of the hill the smell was over powering. Seagulls, vultures and other birds of prey sounded an alarm as the crowd drew near to the execution site. The priests covered their mouths and noses with their long sleeves as they gathered near the front of the crowd, their own guards moving people behind them. This was the first time the Roman guard saw such a crowd. At first they were thankful for the help of the temple guard. Soon their mistrust of the temple guard and priests returned as they looked down the hill at the swelling crowd. Nothing could have prepared them for such a demonstration. Other soldiers went about their business as they offered the prisoners wine drugged with myrrh, but Jesus refused it. Then the soldiers nailed Jesus and the others to their crosses. Once again the commander noticed Jesus’ silence as the guards drove nails through His hands and feet then lifted the cross in place.

 

Something was different about this prisoner. He heard the stories about Jesus and heard Him talk a number of times. Looking up at Jesus on the cross brought back some of things Jesus taught. He remembered seeing Jesus on his way to Jerusalem when a man came running up to him, knelt down, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good. But to answer your question, you know the commandments: ‘You must not murder. You must not commit adultery. You must not steal. You must not testify falsely. You must not cheat anyone. Honor your father and mother.'” “Teacher,” the man replied, “I’ve obeyed all these commandments since I was young.” Looking at the man, Jesus felt genuine love for him. “There is still one thing you haven’t done,” he told him. “Go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:17-21 NLTse). The Roman commander thought to himself, “where would this man follow Him? To the cross? What kind of life is that?”

 

Other soldiers divided his clothes and threw dice to decide who would get each piece. The commander looked out over the crowd observing the different groups. He saw another soldier coming up the hill, making his way through the crowd. The commander thought Pilate dispatched a solder to see what the situation was. He thought Pilate must have heard about the crowd gathering at the execution. Instead of reporting, the soldier went straight to Jesus’ cross in the middle, placed a ladder against, climbed and fastened a sign reading, “King of the Jews.” Instantly the high priest demanded the sign be removed. The commander listened to his complaint, turned to look for the solder who placed the sign on the cross only to find he was gone. Thinking over the situation, the commander told Caiaphas he needed an order from Pilate to remove the sign. He knew there was little chance Caiaphas would go to Pilate, and if he did, it reduced the chance of starting a riot.

 

It didn’t take long for the hot sun to begin taking its toll on the prisoners hanging from their crosses. Jesus drifted in and out of consciousness. Passing out for a moment was the only relief He could hope for. He was constantly awakened by people passing by shouting 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. Well then, save yourself and come down from the cross!” Jesus looked up at the sky knowing all Heaven was gathered above watching the plan of salvation unfold. Satan and his devils were busy hurling every insult, promise, and doubt at Jesus in an attempt to break Him. Demons danced with joy as if victory was in their grasp. Satan looked on, quiet for a moment, trying to hide his fear from the devils who followed him. Satan was busy reviewing scripture in his mind. Something seemed wrong. He planned for resistance, but God’s angels didn’t put up the expected fight. How could he accuse God if He didn’t interfere with the plans he laid out? Satan quickly gathered his forces, dispatching them with new orders.

 

The leading priests and teachers of religious law mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 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. All madness broke loose in front of the cross. Satan wanted Jesus to see a world who hated and rejected Him. There was little Satan could do as Jesus looked over the crowd from high up on the cross. Jesus saw groups of His disciples, the people He taught how to love and what a relationship was about as He prepared them for their ministry ahead. Jesus looked at Mary who spend her life savings and more to anoint Him. Then Jesus saw His mother, the one who carried Him, gave birth to Him and loved Him unconditionally. The shock and grief in their eyes showed Jesus the love He was dying for. Blood from wounds on His head once again began to blur His vision.

 

At noon, darkness fell across the whole land until three o’clock. The darkness shocked a lot of people and quieted the crowd. Priests ran through the crowd trying to offer a logical explanation, but could not find one, so they claimed it was a sign of God’s approval, the beginning of a new day bringing blessings for the faithful ones of Israel. Some began to scream which reminded them of the first Passover when God’s avenging angel took the life of all the first born in Egypt. Many ran down the hill to their homes and families, falling over one another in the dark.

 

The Roman guard lite torches and gathered close to the crosses, not knowing what to expect. They waved their torches from side to side with little effect. The darkness was like a wall around them as they listened to shouts and screams from the crowd on the other side. Then at three o’clock Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” Some of the bystanders misunderstood and thought he was calling for the prophet Elijah. One of them ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, holding it up to him on a reed stick so he could drink. “Wait!” he said. “Let’s see whether Elijah comes to take him down!” Then Jesus uttered another loud cry and breathed his last. The earth shook as if it had fallen off its foundation. When the earthquake stopped, the Roman commander looked up at the crosses. It was a miracle they were still standing. Silence fall over the entire city of Jerusalem. At the same moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he had died, he exclaimed, “This man truly was the Son of God!

 

Only a few people at the cross declared Jesus, “the Son of God” and, “The King of the Jews.” It was Pilate and his solders. Why did Pilate and his solders, who represented the government, use Jesus’ title but no one else? The religious leaders denied Jesus’ title. The high priest protested against Jesus’ title when Pilate posted it in writing on the cross. What does that mean? Does it have any bearing on the world today?

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