Daily Bible Reading – 3.31.2021

Rev. Ben Lovell   -  
Daily Bible Reading – 3.31.2021:
Mark 15:21-32 (NIV) – A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!” In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
Pastor Doug’s Comments:
Jesus was so beaten and weakened by the pre-crucifixion torture that he was no longer able to carry his own crossbeam. A man from Cyrene, which was located in present day Libya, was likely in town for Passover and was commandeered to carry the cross. The intended readers, evidently, knew the two sons since Mark included their names in his gospel. Though he surely did not understand the full implications at the time of who’s cross he was carrying, what a honor and privilege was afforded to him! He literally took up the cross of Jesus!
The crucifixion site may have been an abandoned rock quarry. Once arriving Jesus rejected the offer of wine because he had made a vow of abstinence at the Last Supper and desired to remain fully conscious to the bitter end. Instead, he chose to drink the Father’s cup.
The simple description that they crucified him does not convey that it was the most cruel, public, and shameful form of Roman execution. The execution squad had the rights to the victim’s minor possessions so they gambled for them. Mark’s description reminds us of Psalm 22:18 which first-century readers understood as describing David’s suffering when abandoned.
Much has happened in a short amount of time. It is only 9 am when the crucifixion begins. Jesus, who resisted any political overtones to his messiahship, was executed as a political Messiah. A placard citing the basic charge against him as King of the Jews was probably hung around his neck as he departed for the execution site and then placed on the cross.
The word rebel is what Jesus had used earlier of the temple authorities. It can also mean “bandit,” but the earlier reference to a failed uprising suggests it has a more political connotation. Jesus is crucified between those whose methods he rejected. Mark, describing these rebels being on his right and left, ironically echoes James and John’s earlier request for the same spots in his kingdom. However, Jesus’ glory and God’s glory look very different from human aspirations.
If the pain of crucifixion was not enough, the religious leaders, those passing by, and the rebels all taunted Jesus with their insults while he hung there in agony. They mocked the idea that he would be called Messiah and King, for if he were, he should come off the cross and prove it to them.
Questions To Consider/Discuss:
As we did yesterday, may we pause to stay with Jesus in this scene for a few minutes before hurriedly rushing on with our day. What do you want to say to Jesus for what he suffered for you then?