The way Christ died and the events following, reiterated that He was truly the Son of God.
Alright, thank you very much. And hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? You doing Alright? I trust so. Bless your heart. I’m fine, thanks. Nice to be back with you.
We’re looking at Mark 15. This beautiful heartbreaking story of the crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ. The last time we got together, we came to that passage that says, “They that passed by railed on Him, wagging their heads and saying, ‘You destroyed the Temple and raised it up in three days, save yourself.’ And also the chief priests mocking among themselves with the scribes said, ‘He saved others, Himself He cannot save, let Him now descend from the cross that we may see and believe.'” You remember the point I made just as we went off the air was that if religion becomes just a job and something which you hope to maintain in order to survive, that was true of these people. Pilate knew, Mark says, that they had delivered Him up for envy. And He was a threat; our Lord Jesus was a threat to them, professionally. He was getting more attention, people believed upon Him. He pointed out the hypocrisy and the faults of the religious leaders of His day. And He was a threat to them, professionally, as well as psychologically and emotionally; heaven knows they were deeply upset. And He was a threat to them, and they wanted to get Him out of the way.
Now, that fact then lead to mockery, as they watched Him there on the cross. And the point I brought out as you recall, pastor, missionary, evangelist, Christian worker, or if you’re working in a secular job in a Christian organization; maybe you’re in the mail room where you’re a filing clerk, or you’re an accountant, or you’re a development man or woman, whatever, but you’re working in the Christian framework let us say. And if that is just your job and you’re trying to protect it, and build your little kingdom, I can guarantee you that you’re gonna end up in mockery. It’s gonna be a mockery. It’s not gonna be the real thing, and people will sense that. Now, what’s the answer to it? The answer is to keep your heart warm and tender toward the Lord Jesus Christ and to remember that the main thing is to be faithful to Him. You don’t have to be successful, but you do have to be faithful. It is counted amongst stewards that a man be found faithful. Would you remember that? Don’t let your concern for success in your religious job, whatever that be, overshadow the great demand for a heart that’s committed to your Blessed Lord. Otherwise, you end up embarrassing others and making a mockery of it yourself.
Well, it says now in verse 33. “When the sixth hour has come there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” From noon ’til 3:00 PM, it was dark. “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice saying, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?'” Now, this is the only cry from the cross, the only one of the seven words from the cross that is recorded by Mark. I wondered about that, and perhaps you have too. But you begin to understand when you realize that the reason for Mark’s record, is to show the Lord Jesus Christ as the Servant of Jehovah. Matthew portrayed Him as the King. Keyword is Kingdom. And the key phrase is, That it might be fulfilled. Luke portrayed Him as, The Son of man. The one who identified with our needs, and heartaches, and sorrows, and sicknesses, and pain. John portrays Him as, The Son of God, the eternal Word. Mark portrays Him as, The Servant. And so the one thing that Mark records as having been spoken by our Lord from the cross is, “My God, why Has Thou forsaken me?” Now, why? Because in that moment, God the Father was looking away from His Son. In order to be the Servant of Jehovah, He had to be identified with the sin of those for whom He was suffering.
Paul says, “God hath made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin. Made Him to be sin for us, He who knew no sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” Peter said, “Christ also hath once suffered for sins; the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God.” “He loved me and gave himself for me,” says Paul. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it. Every place you look at the record concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, you find Him being the Servant of Jehovah who gave Himself for sinners. Christ’s death was for you and me. And in that connection then, a Holy God could not look upon sin. The ancient prophet said, “Behold Thou art of purer eyes than to behold iniquity.” So God the Father turned His face away in that dark moment from His dear Son who was the epitomizing, the summarizing, the essence of the world’s sin, suffering for them. Well, it says, “When Jesus cried with a loud voice and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the Temple was rent in two, from the top to the bottom. And when the centurion which stood over against him saw that he so cried out and gave up the ghost, he said, ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God.'”
Now, you’ve got three records concerning the centurion. This one in Mark, another in Matthew which is a little more detailed, and another in Luke, which simply mentions that the centurion saw what was done. Notice now the elements here; what happened, and what was done, and the cry. You put that together, you begin to understand something of the meaning of that dark hour. Don’t you? Take Matthew’s account. Matthew 27: 50-54. Said, “Our Lord Jesus cried with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. The veil of the temple was rent in two, from top to bottom.” Not bottom to top. That means nobody tore it earthly, God did it. “There was an earthquake. The rocks were rent. The graves were opened and the sleeping saints arose.” Now that is quite a happening. Isn’t it? Our Lord Jesus voluntarily gave up His life. He said to His disciples early on, He said, “No man taketh my life from me. I lay it down of my own, myself.” He’s the only person in all of human history who could, without reference to blowing one’s brains out or whatever, simply dismiss His Spirit. He did it. The job was done. He had been able to say, “It is finished.” Redemption had been accomplished. God’s holiness had been vindicated. The Law had been satisfied. Sinners had been atoned for. And Jesus could say, “It’s all done. It’s finished.” And then He could say, “Father, into Thy hands, I commend my Spirit.” And He could voluntarily, then, dismiss His Spirit.
Now, the centurion watched this. He knew that. See, they had to hasten the death of the other two people who were crucified on either side of our Lord Jesus. I wondered why they would break their legs, a horrible thought. “Suffering enough already,” you would think. And then, come along with a huge maul and strike the side of the legs, so that it would break. But you see, the essence of crucifixion is to suspend the body so that all of the weight of the body is hung upon the two outstretched arms, thus contracting the diaphragm. So that the only way to breathe would be to straighten up those slightly bent knees. See, the victim was crucified with his knees slightly bent, and thus, if he wanted to breathe, he’d have to lift the body with those legs, straighten them out, so that the diaphragm could be relaxed enough for him to breathe. Read this in your own encyclopedia, “Victims of crucifixion died not from loss of blood or from other wounds, but from suffocation because they simply got too exhausted to lift their body one more time and take another breath.” But granted a very strong individual, this process was long, drawn-out. And this was the beginning of the Sabbath.
The Sabbath was approaching. And so they had to hasten the death of these two that were on either side of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, they came and broke those legs. I wince just at the thought of it. Don’t you? Horrible. But that’s how it was. Instead, our Lord Jesus, when the work was done and He could say, “It is finished,” he said, “Father, into Thy hands, I commend my Spirit.” And He dismissed His spirit. It went. The body, then, was dead. The centurion saw that, “That he so cried out and gave up the ghost.” He saw how He died. Then he saw what happened, the earthquake and the rocks torn apart, and the veil of the temple torn apart form top to bottom, and the sleeping saints brought back from the grave. Remarkable happenings. When he saw what was done, and then he said, “Surely, this was the Son of God. Truly, this was the Son of God.”
Now, you and I look at that and we could certainly use it as the same kind of evidence to convince our own hearts. He died as no one ever died, and He suffered as no one ever suffered. And what happened when He died was unique in that that which had separated people from God was now removed. “The veil of the temple was torn, from top to bottom.” Death was vanquished, in that there was a resurrection of numbers of dead people. And the dying person proclaimed that He had finished His work. “When he saw that Jesus so cried out and so died, and when he saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, He said, ‘This was the son of God.'” Every way you look at the Lord Jesus convinces you that He was and is God’s Christ. There isn’t any point at which you are left to doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ is indeed who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do.
If I’m talking to someone this very moment who has never opened your life and heart to the Lord Jesus Christ, do it by faith right now, talk to Him. The Bible says, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord,” out loud, say, “Lord Jesus, come into my heart and save me from my sins and make me a child of God.” You pray that prayer; God will answer it I assure you.
Dear Father, today, grant to us to walk in the light of Thy perfect love and Christ’s wonderful sacrifice, giving our lives for Thee every step, I ask in Jesus name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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