As we near the end of the Bible study on the Gospel of Mark, in chapter 15 we see the Crucifixion of Jesus. Like the rest of the book, Mark’s account of Jesus on the Cross is quickly told. There are many details, but they are brief and without drama.
Read Mark 15:1-41.
We see Pilate begin to question the authority of Jesus when He neither responds to the accusations against Him by the Jews nor defends himself. Jesus was allowing Himself to be condemned. All of this made Pilate begin to wonder. Was Jesus who He said He was?
Pilate was a Corrupt Coward
Pilate was well aware that the Jews brought Jesus to him out of envy. He knew the Jews wanted away with Jesus and he wants them to specify the crimes of Jesus. Instead, they only demand His crucifixion. Pilate is now backed into a corner.
For his personal intents and purposes, Pilate abides by their request and Jesus is hung between two thieves. In Mark 15:32, Mark portrays both of these thieves as insulting Jesus. They think He is pathetic and a fraud. The strong, stoic and compassionate Lord with His divine dignity had an effect on one of them, though, before the end. As followers of Christ, we can replicate this by having an effect on people who are looking for Him if we hold our course in following Jesus, if we stay consistent and don’t compromise, if we let our lives back up our words. We can be beacons if our lives reveal our faith.
Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani
Look at Mark 15:34. There’s something phenomenal that I want us to grasp when we read this. Too often when we read over scripture too quickly, small sentences with big meaning fail to impact us. This is one of those verses. I think it is necessary we take a look at it, because it has a message we can apply today to give us strength. It is what I can an “anchor” verse.
It means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus is quoting Psalm 22:1. Today many people fail to make a connection. The religious leaders determined to see Him dead could have grasped this, because He was speaking the Old Testament, which they would have been well versed in. Some thought He was calling to Elijah. Some thought he was thirsty and gave him vinegar to drink.
The fact remains that no one understood. On the cross, Jesus was completely isolated. He was not only cut off from being received by men, but He was cut off from fellowship with God. In essence, God was torn apart, losing part of Himself. This would be the first time that had ever happened and Jesus dreaded the moment. No one understood this. No one could identify with this. Jesus suffered alone.
Sometimes we feel like we suffer alone. If we are trying to live a righteous life, and we are trying to grow in righteousness, we might feel disconnected. But take heart. You will never be as alone as you feel; and you will never be as alone as Jesus on the Cross!
Jesus, the Sacrifice and the Veil
When Jesus cried out at His death, He released His spirit. It was His own doing. Instantly the veil of the Temple was torn from top to bottom, indicating that it was a divine act of God. When Jesus was separated from God, the veil was torn. But God was showing us that the sacrifice of Jesus was acceptable in His sight. Hence, the curtain came down. It no longer separated us from God’s holiness. That means we can have direct access to the Throne of God. Jesus is the bridge making it possible so we no longer need a high priest to get to God! We get direct access. This was a remarkable day in the history of mankind, indeed!
Finally, Read Mark 15:42-47.
Stand up for Jesus
This passage is all about standing up for Jesus. No. He doesn’t need you to. You need you to! If you have faith in Jesus, I hope you have a strong enough backbone to support that faith! We see in this passage a wealthy, prominent man unabashedly unafraid to sacrifice his status, and even his life, going before Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus.
Why does Joseph ask Pilate for the body of Jesus?
He was a member of the Jewish council and familiar with Mosaic Law. If a person was executed, the body had to be buried. The Sabbath was coming up. He needed to make haste to take care of the body before dusk. We know this man was looking for the kingdom of God, and he was thinking if Jesus was truly the Messiah, He certainly did not deserve to be defiled by leaving his body hanging from a tree.
He must have come to the realization that his status, approval and acceptance from man, and all that he possessed was not worth the price of silence. He could not passively comply with the deeds of wicked men. His moral conscious would not stand for it.
Today we often sit comfortably in the pews. We come in; we go out. We comply.
My desire is to see every Christian come to adulthood and reach their full growth and their full potential in Christ. I don’t want us to be like Pilate. I want us all to live bold lives, like Joseph of Arimathaea. I don’t want even one of us to side with wicked men or comply with deeds done in darkness. On spiritual terms, it’s not worth the price of silence.
Written by Jori Sams
Jori Sams is a Christian author and freelance writer with nearly 2000 published pieces on the Internet, with over 1500 being published by Yahoo. Her books are published through Writeious Books. When she isn’t writing, you can usually find her following the sun…