Daily Bible Reading – 4.1.2021

Rev. Ben Lovell   -  
Daily Bible Reading – 4.1.2021:
Mark 15:33-41 (NIV) – At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”
Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!”
Some women were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joseph, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs. Many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem were also there.
Pastor Doug’s Comments:
Jesus has been on the cross for three hours when an unnatural darkness descended signifying God’s judgment. Its three-hour duration put the foolish mockers in their place as it was the first indication that Jesus’ death was far more significant than they had imagined.
Jesus crying out and asking why God had forsaken him was such a horrifying and painful experience that even Jesus felt abandoned. Let those words sink in. Let the gravity of that moment be felt within our souls.
These words were first spoken by David in Psalm 22:1. Maybe, in praying this verse, Jesus was referencing the whole psalm. If this is the case, Jesus prayed the opening words of this lament, when read through to the end, expressed not only bitter despair but also supreme confidence that God would intervene and ultimately vindicate him. However, this in no way diminished the real anguish that Jesus experienced in that moment.
Some misheard what Jesus said so they brought him a sponge of wine vinegar and watched to see if Elijah would come to take him off the cross. This came from the popular belief that Elijah aids those in mortal danger. Also, the one who went to get the wine may have hoped to give Jesus a spurt of energy to enable him to hold out until Elijah arrived.
With another loud cry, Jesus was gone. Those who believed Jesus was the Messiah had their hopes smashed. How utterly crushed they must have been.
The curtain in the temple that separated the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn in two. Since it started from the top, it was a divine action that represented through Jesus we have direct access to God. It was, also, a sign of God’s judgment upon the Temple foreshadowing what would happen some 40 years later when it would be destroyed by the Romans.
There was something about Jesus’ death that caused the Roman centurion overseeing his crucifixion to believe that Jesus was the Son of God. After Julius Caesar was deified, his adopted son, Augustus, became widely known as “son of god.” This soldier transferred the title from the most revered figure in the Roman Empire to a Jew who had just been executed. The opening words of Mark, (the beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God) and this confession directly challenged the claims of emperor worship. Jesus, not Augustus nor any other emperor, is the one and only Savior and Lord.
We have not seen much of the supporting cast of women in Mark, but here they are watching the events unfold. We learn they had faithfully followed Jesus and cared for his needs while in Galilee. They were already doing what Jesus taught over and over for the 12 men to do. What they did not understand, the women did. We discover that many other women had come from Galilee to Jerusalem and were present at Jesus’ crucifixion. This a powerful testimony of the women’s influence and importance in Jesus’ ministry.
But where are the 11 men? Mark makes no mention of them. Does he assume that we would know they were there? Or are they not? The last we have heard of any of them was when Peter denied his Lord and wept bitterly.
Jesus’ crucifixion is filled with rich imagery but, most importantly, it is the way in which we are made righteous before God. Colossians 1:22, “But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—”
Questions To Consider/Discuss:
Do you believe this? Are you counting on Christ’s death on your behalf to be presented to God without blemish and free from accusation? If not, now would be a good time to declare your trust in Jesus alone as your Savior and Lord.