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 .26.
‘ The leading priests and teachers of the religious law also mocked Jesus. ” He saved others,” they scoffed, ” but he can’t save himself! Let this messiah, this King of Israel , come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the two criminals who were being crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.
Q. What is ironic about the mocking cries of the crowd?
To be involved in behaviour such as mockery, is unbecoming of any religious leader. I wonder if the people shouting actually listened to what they were saying, ” You saved others!” Should that not have been enough for them to see that Jesus was special, innocent. They witnessed His miracles and yet they still wanted more , for Him to prove Himself again. The irony is, that is exactly what He was accomplishing.
‘ When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honours of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners…….” Isaiah 53:11-12
There will be times when you are the only one standing firm, holding fast to your principles, in the face of ridicule and torment and an overwhelming pressure to conform. Often our biggest critics will be those whom we thought were on the same page. Take heart, He knows the weight and He overcame it.
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. 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.
Walk Towards Easter . 20.
Then the high priest asked him, ” Are you the Messiah, the Son of the blessed God?” Jesus said, ” I am, and you will see me, the Son of Man, sitting at God’s right hand in the place of power and coming back on the clouds of heaven.” Mark 14:61-62
Q. Who do you think Jesus was? How do you respond to Jesus’ extraordinary claims about Himself ?
Much debate has raged over the person of Jesus.
Some say He was a fraud,
Some say He never existed , that He is fiction, fairytale or legend,
Others say, ” Oh yes, he lived, he was real, but he was just a man!”
Some say He was mad, and still others that He was a charismatic leader and teacher of His time……but still , just a man!
Those of us who know Him, who walk with Him, talk with Him, and have an personal relationship with Him, whose lives He has changed and whose souls He has rescued, say ” Yes, He is the Son of Man!”
Life testimonies bear witness to His validity, miracles and wonders attest to His name, the redemptive power of His story, a life…His life that altered the course of history………….not just a man……….The Son of God………Jesus our Saviour.