Walk Towards Easter . 29.
‘ And the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. When the Roman officer who stood facing him saw how he died, he exclaimed, ” Truly, this was the Son of God!” Mark 15:338-39
Q. What was the significance of the tearing of the curtain? What do learn about Jesus death from the Roman Officer ?
‘ It is finished ‘…….What was it that so moved the Roman Soldier ,as Jesus took His last breath, to exclaim , ” Truly He was the Son of God!” I’m sure this soldier must have officiated at many crucifixions and witnessed many deaths on the cross, but this one was different. Maybe he saw the enormous load , the burden that Jesus bore, the pain He suffered and the darkness that overshadowed Him. Maybe it was the compassion and forgiveness he showed , regardless of His own suffering , to the criminal placed next to Him. Or did he sense a supernatural peace as Jesus commended His Spirit to His Father. It was the incredible changing power of Grace! , the Roman Soldier praised God !
When the curtain was torn in two, Jesus sacrifice ushered in The New Covenant. No longer was there a separation of the Holy and Most Holy Place in The Temple, no longer do we need the earthly priest to intercede on our behalf. Now we can boldly enter into The Throne Room of Grace
‘ So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it ‘ Ephesians 4:16
Walk Towards Easter . 27.
‘ At noon darkness fell across the whole land until 3 o’clock .’ Mark 15:33
Q. What is the significance of the darkness?
Have you ever experienced a total eclipse of the sun ? That eerie darkness that gradually engulfs the heavens and just as gradually light re-emerges as the sun becomes visible again. It’s not a total darkness but more like the gentle hues of twilight as the sun is only completely obscured for a couple of minutes.
But in those few short minutes the source of our warmth, the light of our day is hidden from our sight as though we were veiled.
Jesus hung on the cross for three hours, three hours in a deep darkness. Three hours He endured a total separation from His Father, as God turned His face and withdrew His presence from His only Son as the weight of all sin rested upon Him. Jesus had walked and talked with His Father since He was a little boy. He was in total communion with God and now He was alone, cut off from heaven.
The anguish which must have enveloped Him is incomprehensible , something we can never understand. And He suffered this in order to release us from the chains that hold us in darkness, so that we might never have to encounter the torment of separation from God.
Grace immeasurable, Grace uncontainable , Grace undeserved , a love that knows no bounds and is available to all who would ask.
His love……is…….amazing .
Walk Towards Easter . 25.
‘ It was 9 o’clock in the morning when the crucifixion took place. A signboard was fastened to the cross above Jesus’ head, announcing the charge against Him. It read; ” The King of the Jews.” Two criminals were crucified with him, their crosses on either side of His. ‘ Mark 15:25-27
Q. How does Jesus compare to the other two men? What was the intent of the sign ?
Jesus was the Rose between two thorns. They placed His cross in the middle, on either side of Him a convicted, guilty criminal. Surrounded by sin, there He hung, perfect and innocent.
‘ All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s path to follow our own. Yet The Lord laid on him the guilt and sin of us all. He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realised that he was dying for their sins- that he was suffering their punishment.” Isaiah 53:6-8
The sign above His head intended as a mockery to His power as King an insult to both Him and the Jewish people. Little did they understand his title was much more than that. Unlike the two criminals who bore the punishment for their own wrongs, He carried the weight and consequence of all of sins for all of time. He uttered not a word in His defence, instead embracing His Father’s plan and choosing us. We who are guilty.
He is ” King of Kings”.
Walk Towards Easter . 24.
‘ They dressed him in a purple robe and made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on His head. Then they saluted, yelling, ” Hail! King of the Jews!” And they beat him on the head with a stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.’ Mark 15:16-19
Q. What motivates the mockers ? Are you ever tempted to mock Jesus ?
They dragged Jesus before a whole battalion of soldiers to mock and abuse him both verbally and physically . Why ? Why would anyone want to do this to another human being ? The mob , bully mentality continued onto the Roman authorities, spreading like a virus. One by one more people stepped in to join the brutalising of an innocent man, almost as if it were a sport. They mocked and humiliated Him until they were tired of their sick game.
I cannot fathom what their motivation must have been , it is foreign to me and my only conclusion is that the enemy of our souls was at the root of it all , spurring them along for his own evil purposes.
Isaiah foretold these events;
‘Who has believed our message? To whom will The Lord reveal His saving power? My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot , sprouting from a root in dry and arid sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. He was despised and rejected- a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised and we did not care. Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! ‘ Isaiah 53:1-5
Jesus’ tormentors were blinded by unbelief, lost in their ignorance. Unable to see that the very man they persecuted was indeed their Saviour.
May our eyes be open that we do not mock Him in looking the other way as He passes by, but instead , we stand up and follow after Him.
Walk Towards Easter. 23.
‘ Pilate asked them, ” what should I do with this man you call the King of the Jews?” They shouted back, ” Crucify him!” ” Why?” Pilate demanded. ” What crime has he committed?” But the crowd only roared the louder, ” Crucify him!”
Q. Why did the crowd respond to Jesus in this way ? How do you feel about this scene ?
But what has He done, how is it that a crowd that not so long ago welcomed Him into the city laying down their coats and palm branches would now be shouting demanding His death? This gentle man who spoke only of love, forgiveness and life, healing their sick and even raising the dead, had committed no crime was now being accused unjustly .
Fear and ignorance will drive people to actions of appalling nature. What we fail to understand or cannot explain we often persecute, ridicule or drive from our presence. Every angry, mobbing crowd has leaders, ones who encourage and fuel the frenzy. Their fear is rooted in envy and jealousy, a concern that their power will be usurped. They place their trust in their own wisdom and self importance. Their perceived power comes from a superiority complex, a false piety and illusion of humbleness.
When visualising this scene my heart is heavy and weighed down at the injustice , a feeling of despair and helplessness, I know , I would not be one of those screaming for His crucifixion. I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude, that He would bear this for me.