Thanks Be to God
The Cross of Jesus Christ is both the greatest tragedy of the ages and the most glorious victory of earth and heaven. All of creation and the purposes of God from all eternity have moved towards this moment.
The horrific scenes are hard to watch, but the cruel injustice should not make us pity Jesus. He doesn’t want our sympathy—He wants our faith. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. (Read Romans 10:9-10.)
Now in Mark 15, the Sanhedrin had condemned Jesus to die, but only Rome could carry out the execution. Pilate, their Roman connection, was motivated by expediency rather than justice. He knew the charges brought against Jesus were false, but he yielded to the mob and delivered Jesus to be crucified.
Jesus was turned over to brutal soldiers who humiliated and tortured Him. Jesus was a strong, muscular young man, but they beat Him viciously—which is why they needed to pull a man out of the crowd to carry Jesus’ crossbeam. Theirs was more than ordinary human hatred; it was brutal and cruel, revealing the sinful depths of the human heart.
No Gospel writer records the details of the Crucifixion; we only get snapshots. God drew a veil over the scene as if to say, “It’s too horrible.”
Mark gives us the Crucifixion by the clock. The first three hours were from 9 a.m. until 12 noon; the second three hours were from 12 noon to 3 p.m.
Jesus suffered at man’s hands in the first three hours; He suffered for man in the last three hours. In the first three hours, He was dying because of sin; in the second three hours, He was dying for the sin of the world. In those first three hours, sin did all it could to destroy Him; in the second three hours, He made His soul an offering for sin. He paid for the sins of the world by becoming sin for us. He was forsaken of God and yet, even at that time, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself (read 2 Corinthians 5:19). What a paradox!
Then when our salvation was complete, Jesus cried out and gave His last breath. He did not die because the bodily organs refused to function. He dismissed His spirit. This made His death different from ours even in a physical sense.
Jesus died right before the Sabbath began on Friday evening. The Sabbath ended at sundown on Saturday. Now, before dawn on Sunday morning, the same women who were with Jesus at the Cross came to His tomb to anoint Jesus’ body. But they were never able to use their oils and spices because when they got to the tomb, Jesus was gone—He was alive again.
Mary Magdalene lingered at the tomb and was the first one Jesus greeted in His resurrected body. When she told the disciples that Jesus was alive, they didn’t believe her.
Believing that Jesus, in His body, rose from the dead is the heart and core doctrine of what it means to be a Christian. Every sermon in the book of Acts is a message on the Resurrection. The early church talked and thought about it constantly. The message that Jesus rose from the dead electrified a lethargic and sinful generation in the Roman Empire. It turned them upside down, wrong side out, and right side up; and those who believed went out to tell the world about it.
This is the Gospel of action. May we be men and women of action for God!
Jesus Delivered to Pilate
15 And as soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. And they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” 3 And the chief priests accused him of many things. 4 And Pilate again asked him, “Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you.” 5 But Jesus made no further answer, so that Pilate was amazed.
Pilate Delivers Jesus to Be Crucified
6 Now at the feast he used to release for them one prisoner for whom they asked. 7 And among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection, there was a man called Barabbas. 8 And the crowd came up and began to ask Pilate to do as he usually did for them. 9 And he answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release for them Barabbas instead. 12 And Pilate again said to them, “Then what shall I do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 And they cried out again, “Crucify him.” 14 And Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him.” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released for them Barabbas, and having scourged[a] Jesus, he delivered him to be crucified.
Jesus Is Mocked
16 And the soldiers led him away inside the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters),[b] and they called together the whole battalion.[c] 17 And they clothed him in a purple cloak, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on him. 18 And they began to salute him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19 And they were striking his head with a reed and spitting on him and kneeling down in homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. And they led him out to crucify him.
21 And they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. 22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour[d] when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left.[e] 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him.
The Death of Jesus
33 And when the sixth hour[f] had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.[g] 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he[h] breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son[i] of God!”
40 There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.
Jesus Is Buried
42 And when evening had come, since it was the day of Preparation, that is, the day before the Sabbath, 43 Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God, took courage and went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.[j] And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph. 46 And Joseph[k] bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.
16 When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large. 5 And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.
[Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9–20.][a]
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
9 [[Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept. 11 But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it.
Jesus Appears to Two Disciples
12 After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. 13 And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.
The Great Commission
14 Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
19 So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. 20 And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the message by accompanying signs.]]