Lesson 89


The Gospel According to Mark

World English Bible translation

15:24 Crucifying him, they parted his garments among them, casting lots on them, what each should take. 15:25 It was the third hour, and they crucified him. 15:26 The superscription of his accusation was written over him, "THE KING OF THE JEWS." 15:27 With him they crucified two robbers; one on his right hand, and one on his left. 15:28 The Scripture was fulfilled, which says, "He was numbered with transgressors."

15:29 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, and saying, "Ha! You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, 15:30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!"

15:31 Likewise, also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes said, "He saved others. He can't save himself. 15:32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, that we may see and believe him." Those who were crucified with him reproached him.  


Today's Lesson

Jesus had been tried first by the Jews for blaspheme and then by the Romans for insurrection. Pilate had turned Jesus over to the Roman soldiers who used Him for sport, beating and mocking Him. They had dressed Him in a purple garment, the color of royalty, because He had been convicted of attempting to be the king of the Jews. They had made a crown of thorns and placed it on His brow as they mocked Him. Then He had been led out to the place of the skull, Golgotha. It was here that they crucified Him.

 

Crucifixion was one of the most physically excruciating methods of execution ever devised. Before long, hanging on a cross, even taking a breath became a seemingly impossible task. In fact, when people were crucified in the way that Jesus was, they usually died from asphyxiation. The only way to breathe was to try to push up with the legs to relieve the pressure of the weight on the lungs. And when the legs were nailed to the cross through the bones of the legs, pushing up with the legs would have been horribly painful. Later, in order to hasten the death of the prisoners, the Romans would break the legs in order to hasten this death by asphyxiation. Of course, by this time, Jesus was already dead.

 

But the physical horrors of the cross were not the only indignities that Jesus had to suffer. He was crucified between two common thieves and all around Him were his enemies. They mocked Him and jeered at Him while He was hanging on the cross. They said, "He saved others. He can’t save himself." They loudly speculated that if Jesus really was the Christ that He could miraculously come down from the cross. Even the thieves that were crucified with Him reproached Him.

 

Mark paints a picture of the last moments of Jesus' life as a time of absolute dejection. There is not a comforting moment in His last moments in this gospel. There was nothing that would diminish the pain and the isolation of this moment. There He hung, stretch between heaven and earth, abandoned and alone.

 

Have you ever felt completely abandoned by everyone? Can you even begin to imagine the pain and the isolation of the time that Jesus spent hanging on the cross?

 

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