(Use the “Back” button or arrow on your device to return to the Study Index when finished)

68. Mark 15: “The Day the World Ended”

Golden Nursing Center in Mannington, NJ –Evening Service on 11/17/2016

and

South Woods State Prison in Bridgeton, NJ –Men’s Evening Chapel on 11/20/2016

(edited February 2021)

 

This is a tough chapter to bring up or to fully take in. In it we see Jesus apprehended and “in custody.” I must have needed a new look at this part of Christ’s life and, at this point, I can only hope you do, also. Honestly, I would just avoid this section if I could. However, I committed to doing my weekly Bible studies by a sort of lottery, and this is what came up for this week. 

 

Verses 1-3: And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council, and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto them, Thou sayest it. And the chief priests accused him of many things: but he answered nothing.”

Jesus is in a hopeless and “crushing” situation.

 

Verses 4-14: And Pilate asked him again, saying, Answerest thou nothing? behold how many things they witness against thee.  But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled. Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them.  But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him.”

 

Even crooked Pilate, the skilled old Roman politician, couldn’t “cut a deal” for Jesus. He had cut many deals, I‘m sure. But this seems to be even out of Pilot’s hands, though he is supposedly in charge. The Bible tells us that Jesus had been afraid as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. This is what He feared:

 

Christ Degraded

whipped

Verse 15: “And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scourged him, to be crucified.”

 

abused by soldiers

Verses 16-20: And the soldiers led him away into the hall, called Praetorium; and they call together the whole band. And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews! And they smote him on the head with a reed, and did spit upon him, and bowing their knees worshipped him. And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple from him, and put his own clothes on him, and led him out to crucify him.

 

made helpless and weak

Verse 21: “And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by, coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.”

 

disposed of (like garbage)

Verses 22-25: And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received it not. And when they had crucified him, they parted his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take. And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

 

publicly and totally humiliated

Verses 26-32: And the superscription of his accusation was written over, The King Of The Jews. And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left. And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, Save thyself, and come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save. Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.”

 

absolutely abandoned

Verses 33-36: And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani? which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, he calleth Elias. And one ran and filled a spunge full of vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink, saying, Let alone; let us see whether Elias will come to take him down.”

 

finally, Christ dies

Verses 37-38: And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost. And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.”

 

Let’s review exactly who did this to Jesus. It was, we could say, Judas, or the chief priests of Ancient Israel, Pilate, the Roman Solders, the crowds, even Barabbas, and others mention in Scripture. I want to focus for a moment on one of those “others.” It’s you and me. You, me, and every person who has ever sinned. If we’re going to point any fingers here, we have to start with ourselves. At least I know for myself, that is where I place the blame for Christ’s suffering. Right here (pointing to my chest).

 

Even before the Resurrection, Christ’s death began having immediate effects on people and it is still changing and affecting people’s lives today (though perhaps not enough). Let’s look at some examples that are given in here:

 

Comment of a hardened Centurion Soldier:

Verse 39: “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.”

 

Courageous actions of some women who knew Jesus:

Verses 40-41, 47: There were also women looking on afar off: among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome; (Who also, when he was in Galilee, followed him, and ministered unto him;) and many other women which came up with him unto Jerusalem.”

“And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.”

 

A formally fearful man (see John 19:38) takes action :

Verses 42-46: And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath, Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.  And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead. And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.  And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.”

 

A few applications from our study tonight:

I. This chaos was predicted, prophesied, and part of God’s plan for saving mankind after the Fall of Adam and Eve into sin. How much did Jesus suffer? None of us really knows or can know but we do know this, He wasn’t shocked. His suffering is a theme that runs through the Old and New Testaments. Listen as the Apostle Paul quotes several Old Testament statements about what Jesus came to Earth to do, from Paul’s New Testament Letter to the Hebrews:

 

Hebrews 10:5-10

Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.  Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

II. When Jesus stated from the Cross that God had “forsaken” Him, His Hebrew was misunderstood and those who heard Him thought He was calling to the Prophet Elijah (see Matthew 27:46-47). I think, in many ways, He is still being misunderstood today. Jesus is God, and especially on the Cross, He knew He was God. How could He forsake Himself? My current opinion, and that’s all it is, is that He was saying much more than the actual Words He spoke in that moment. And He was addressing all of us today as well as those who were physically present. O, He had been abandoned by Man that’s for sure! And, He did put into words what many of us have thought, if not said out loud, when we have been severely troubled in spirit. But we need to dig deeper here.

His faith wasn’t dead. There, even on that Day and on that Cross, His faith was remained vital. You see, He was actually speaking in a sort of code. And to crack that code you have to go back to the Old Covenant and read Psalm 22. Let’s do that:

 

Psalm 22

“My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my God, I cry in the day time, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted in thee: they trusted, and thou didst deliver them. They cried unto thee, and were delivered: they trusted in thee, and were not confounded. But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, He trusted on the Lord that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.  But thou art he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope when I was upon my mother's breasts. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother's belly. Be not far from me; for trouble is near; for there is none to help. Many bulls have compassed me: strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion. I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death.  For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. But be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog. Save me from the lion's mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.  Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify him; and fear him, all ye the seed of Israel. For he hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; neither hath he hid his face from him; but when he cried unto him, he heard. My praise shall be of thee in the great congregation: I will pay my vows before them that fear him. The meek shall eat and be satisfied: they shall praise the Lord that seek him: your heart shall live for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee.  For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bow before him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.”

 

You see? He wasn’t calling for Elijah. And He wasn’t calling it quits on His Heavenly Father either. He was calling you, beloved. Even when you are broken and spilled out. Calling you, this very day, to press on. What Love, to leave such a message. To encourage weak and confused people like you and me today. And all this at the worst moment of His earthly life. I say again, what Love!

Chaos is not always what it seems. God does not forsake His own, or His Work on the Earth! And His Love continues, even when all we can see, feel, or imagine is chaos.

 

III. Finally, let’s go all the way back (and I’ll move it along for the sake of time) to the title I gave to this study. Why did I call it the “End of the World?” Well, just to throw in the entire kitchen sink tonight, let’s close it out in the Book of Revelation:

 

Revelation 4:

“The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

I guess it’s kind of predictable, right? The believers, and I hope that includes you (and it’s not too late for it to be you, either by the way, if you are willing to give your heart and self to Christ!), these believers in Heaven are just praising and praising God. What a wonderful scene, isn’t it?

However, as we close, what do you imagine the unbelievers might be doing at that point? We’re told that eventually EVERY knee will bow to Christ. But it will no longer be about faith and belief. Jesus will actually be standing right there at the end of the world!

What I’m trying to say is that the initial reaction of unbelievers, once the beginning of the end comes, may be quite hostile. And I mean hostile like never before. I can imagine accusations such as this: “Who are you, God, to judge us?” “How dare you call us children from your distant, lovely, and protected throne?” “You could never understand why we’ve thought what we had to think and done the things we HAD to do down here to survive!” “You’ve no right to judge any of us!”

It may sound crazy, but in truth, hasn’t it already begun? Yet, miraculously, God will have an answer that will stop EVERY mouth and allow the Judgment of this Earth to proceed in Righteousness. And here it is! It’s recorded in the Apostle John’s prophesy, Revelation chapter 5, and with this we close tonight:

 

Revelation 5:

“And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”

 

Thank you all, so much, for your time, your attention, and your patience with me tonight. It is so much appreciated. Let’s pray.

_______________