Mark 15:33-41

Sunday Morning Bible Study

October 16, 2005


We are working our way through the account of Jesus’ death on the cross.  We seen Him stand and be condemned to death. We’ve seen Him beaten.  We’ve seen Him walk to the place of crucifixion, a place called “Calvary”.  He was crucified at 9:00 a.m.

:33-41 Jesus dies

:33 Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.

Something happens to cause it to be dark from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m.

:34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"


Taking our place

Here was Jesus, having lived a perfect life.  Having enjoyed sweet fellowship with God the Father from eternity past.  And now He’s crying out that God had abandoned Him.
It happened because of what Jesus was doing for us.
(Isa 53:4-6 NKJV)  Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. {5} But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. {6} All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
And so, with my sin being heaped upon Jesus, God turns His back on His own son.
When He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane,
(Mat 26:39 NKJV)  …"O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me …”

It was this moment that He wished He didn’t have to go through.  But there was no other way.  He had to die for us.  We could not be saved any other way than through the death of Jesus on the cross.

This is how Jesus makes it possible for us to become right with God. 
He took our place.  He was condemned so I wouldn’t be.


God’s Amazing Word

In the ancient days, the songs God’s people sang came from the Psalms.  And when a worship leader would announce the next song, he didn’t announce the hymn number, he would read out the first line of the Psalm.  For example, if the next song we would sing was Psalm 23, then the worship leader would announce, We will sing, “The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want”.
Not only was Jesus experiencing forsakenness when He cried these words, I believe He was also prompting the people about what was happening.
The words Jesus spoke here are the words of the first line of Psalm 22:
(Psa 22:1 NKJV)  My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?
I think Jesus was prompting the people to go home and look up the 22nd Psalm and find out what was happening.
Psalm 22 was written 1,000 years earlier, by King David.
(Psa 22:7-8 NKJV)  All those who see Me ridicule Me; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, {8} "He trusted in the LORD, let Him rescue Him; Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!"

This is what has just been happening to Jesus on the cross.  But David gets a little more specific and begins to describe things that he himself did not experience …

(Psa 22:14-18 NKJV)  I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me.

When a prisoner’s cross was set up and dropped into the hole in the ground, it was very common for the bones to be popped out of joint. And after Jesus dies, He will be pierced by a spear, and out will come blood and water, showing that He died of a burst heart.

{15} My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death.

Jesus will experience thirst on the cross.

{16} For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;

Pierced hands and feet describe crucifixion.  Yet when David wrote Psalm 22, crucifixion hadn’t even been invented yet. Think about it.

{17} I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. {18} They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

We read last week about how the soldiers cast lots for His clothes.

I believe Jesus was trying to get the world to realize that His death was no accident.  It had been planned long, long ago.
How can I know that the Bible is true?  How do I know that the Bible isn’t just like other famous religious documents?  How can I know that the Christian religion is the correct one?
One of the greatest reasons has to do with the aspect of fulfilled prophecy.

There is no other religious book that has the kinds of incredible, specific, accurate prophecies that the Bible has.

Only God knows the future (Is. 46:9-10).  And from time to time He gives man a peek into the future to let us know that He’s real.

(Isa 46:9-10 NKJV)  Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, {10} Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, 'My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,'

Last Thursday we looked at the incredible prophecy (Eze. 26) concerning the destruction of the ancient city of Tyre, a prophecy that was written long before it happened, yet each specific detail came to pass.

The Bible speaks of Cyrus (Is. 44:28), who would conquer the Babylonians, even mentioning him by name, hundreds of years before he was born, even before the Babylonians became a world empire.

The Bible speaks of the rise of kings and kingdoms in the book of Daniel (Dan. 11), things so specific that for a long time critics thought they were just written after the fact, but we know now they were written hundreds of years before they took place.

One of the greatest themes of Bible prophecy is the coming of the Messiah, the one who would deliver Israel from her enemies.

The Bible predicts the day He would arrive.  It gives us His lineage, His birthplace, the description of His ministry.

It predicts the manner of His death.  It predicts His resurrection.

How could it do all this?  Because the Bible is God’s Word.  God was involved in the writing of this book.

And when the Bible says that we must believe in Jesus in order to be saved, should we take it seriously?  Yes.  When the Bible says that Jesus is going to come back again, should we take that seriously?  Yes.

:35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, "Look, He is calling for Elijah!"

In Hebrew, the name of Elijah sounds very familiar with what Jesus is saying.  They think he must be calling for the great prophet Elijah to come and rescue him.

John tells us (John 19:28) that Jesus had cried out at this point that He was thirsty.

:36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, "Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down."

The drink was a mixture of sour wine or vinegar and water and eggs, an inexpensive beverage which the Roman soldiers were accustomed to drink.

:37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

John tells us the exact words Jesus cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30).  He had done what He came to do.  He died for our sins.

Matthew records that at this time there was a great earthquake, rocks were split (Mat. 27:51), and …

:38 Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.

The first room inside the Jerusalem Temple proper was known as the “Holy Place”.  At the back of the room was a curtain that covered the entrance into the inner sanctum, the room known as the “Holy of Holies”.  It was in this room that at one time the Ark of the Covenant had been kept.  The Ark was supposed to be a sort of model of God’s throne in heaven, and the “Holy of Holies” was to be a picture of God’s throne room.

Yet because God is “holy”, and we are not, nobody except the high priest was allowed to enter into the throne room.  And the high priest could only enter once a year, at Yom Kippur (the day of atonement), when he would go through a special ritual to sprinkle blood before God’s throne as a way of atoning for the sins of the nation.

The veil was what kept mankind from God.

And on the day that Jesus died, when He cried “It is finished”, the veil was torn.  Not from the bottom up, but from the top to the bottom.  God tore the veil.  God had made the way into the Holy of Holies.  God had opened the door to mankind because Jesus gave up His own blood to pay for our sins.  Your ability to know God does not depend on what you do for God, but on what God has done for you.

:39 So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly this Man was the Son of God!"

This grizzled Roman soldier had undoubtedly seen more than a few men hanging on crosses.  But something was different about this one.  Something impressed him about how Jesus died.


Breaking the vessel

Sometimes God wants others to see what’s inside of you
And the only way they’ll see, is if you’re broken.
(1 Pet 4:12-14 NKJV)  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;
Don’t think it strange you’re going through a trial.  You’re not the first person to go through a difficult time.
{13} but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. {14} If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
We usually think of the phrase “when his glory shall be revealed” to refer to the Second Coming of Christ.  But when you look at the context of this passage, I wonder if it isn’t talking about the glory of Jesus being revealed in our brokenness.  Verse 14 says that we can be “happy” because the “spirit of glory” is resting on us, not in the future, but during our trial.
Our sufferings reveal His glory.
Gideon finally had his army down to the size that God wanted.  Three hundred Israelites would be facing 150,000 Midianites.  They had a very unique strategy.  They took clay pots and put torches inside them.  At the sound of the trumpet, they would break the clay pots and let the lights shine.

The light would shine when the clay pots were broken.  We too are clay pots.

(2 Cor 4:7-12 NKJV)  But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. {8} We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; {9} persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; {10} always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. {11} For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. {12} So then death is working in us, but life in you.
I think God allows the clay pots to be broken so people can see the light inside.
Paul talks of being broken but it all works for the sake of others, that Jesus’ life might be shown.
When I’m in a state of being broken, all I usually can think about is “me” and how much pain I’m in.  But perhaps God would want us to think a little past ourselves to realize that He can be using and even wants to be using our brokenness.
Here was Jesus being broken on the cross.  And I think the centurion got a peek at what was inside the clay pot, the centurion got a peek at the Light of the World.
Do you want to be used by God?  Then don’t be surprised when you are hit with trials.  There are centurions watching you.
People aren’t impressed by seeing you sail through life effortlessly.  They are impressed when they see you survive the same kinds of afflictions they go through, and they see the light inside the broken clay pot.

:40 There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome,

Mary Magdalene – Despite what Dan Brown, the author of “The Da Vinci Code”, hints at in his book, Mary Magdalene was not the wife of Jesus. Here’s what we know about Mary Magdalene, from the Bible:

She was a woman that Jesus had helped, he cast seven demons out of her (Mark 16:9; Luke 8:2)

She was one of these women who served Jesus and His disciples.

She was honored by Jesus by being the first person He appeared to after His resurrection (Mark 16:9)

Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses – we know nothing else about this gal.

Salome – (Mat. 27:56) she is the mother of the apostles James and John.

:41 who also followed Him and ministered to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other women who came up with Him to Jerusalem.

many other women – even though Mark doesn’t mention her, we know that Jesus’ own mother, Mary, was also there at the cross.  John (John 19:25) tells us that Jesus entrusted John to looking after His mother.


Godly women

Jesus had many followers.  But the only ones that stayed with Him while He died were the women.  The first person Jesus appeared to after His resurrection was a woman.
God uses women.  Our church is filled with many wonderful, godly women who serve the Lord just like these gals did.  I think that sometimes some of us lunk-head guys could learn a few things about serving Jesus from the gals around us.