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Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, According to the Gospel of Mark

Today's Reading:
  • Mark 15:1 - 47
  • Psalm 54:1 - 7
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 15:1 - 47
Jesus was brought before Pilate for permission to be executed.  Pilate could find no fault with Jesus -- Jesus was not a threat to the government, just to the Jewish leaders.  Pilate tried to get the people to release Jesus as the prisoner to be released for Passover, but the people were too riled up by the Jewish leaders to allow that.  Finally, Pilate ordered that Jesus be whipped and then crucified.

Jesus was flogged and mocked.  The guards dressed him in a purple robe and put a crown woven of thorns on top his head.  They pretended to bow to him while at the same time beating him.  Finally the time came for Jesus to be brought to the site of the crucifixion, but by then he was unable to carry his own cross, and a man named Simon was pulled from the crowd to carry it for Jesus.

The time for the crucifixion came.  Jesus was offered wine that was drugged with myrrh but denied it.  He was nailed to the cross at 9 in the morning. Two men, on on each side of Jesus, were crucified at the same time.  The crowd taunted Jesus as he hung there.  Worse, the men on each side of Jesus also taunted him.  It's hard to imagine a crowd around you taunting you as you were dying, how horrible that would feel.  But then to have two people, who were also being put to death in the exact same manner, taunt you also is even worse.  Even in death, those men mocked Jesus and thought they were better than he.

From noon until three darkness covered the entire land and Jesus uttered his last words and took his last breaths at 3:00 pm.  As he died, the curtain in the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.  The guard in charge of watching Jesus then declared that truly, Jesus was the son of God (15:39).

 In Matthew's account of the crucifixion, far more detail was given about what happened when Jesus died.  We were told not only about the curtain, but about the earth shaking, tombs being split apart, and how bodies of godly men and women were raised from the dead (Matthew 51:53).  I was hoping for more detail on those things but didn't get it in this account.  Regardless, for that guard to exclaim that Jesus truly was the son of God after seeing him die, something visible to him (such as earth shaking, etc) had to have happened.

So once again I read about the crucifixion of Jesus, and as I have said before, it pains me to even have to read about it, but the burden that Jesus Christ carried that day was far worse than my small discomfort.  I can't wait until my next reading in Mark -- the resurrection!  I am hoping there is more detail in the resurrection in this account than I got in Matthew's account.  And thank you, Jesus, for dying for MY sins, and for the sins of all, though you knew no sin.

Psalm 54:1 - 7
In this psalm, David's location has been betrayed to his enemies.  David cries out for justice against them, that their evil plans be used against them.  Then David turns to praise for the Lord in anticipation of the Lord's triumph over David's enemies (54:6 -7):
I will sacrifice a voluntary offering to you; I will praise your name, O Lord, for it is good.  For you have rescued me from my troubles and helped me to triumph over my enemies.
What I love about those verses is the complete faith David had.  The Lord hadn't rescued him yet, but still, David had absolute faith that the Lord would rescue him, and praised the Lord in advance of his rescue.  David's faith is a beautiful thing, a perfect reminder that just because the Lord hasn't answered our prayers yet, it does not mean that He won't.  It doesn't mean He has forgotten or forsaken us.  So instead we should faith in the Lord in advance of the answer -- and praise Him accordingly.

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