Saves

                                                Mark 15:27-39                      

                                                April 21, 2019

 

27 “And with Him they crucify two thieves; the one on His right hand, and

the other on His left.”  And with Him they crucify two robbers (λησταί - laestai

robbers) - not (κλέπται kleptai - thieves); Luke (Luke 23:32) shows that these

two robbers formed a part of the procession to Calvary; but they were crucified

after our Lord - one on His right hand, and one on His left. We know from Luke

(Luke 23:40) that one of these malefactors was saved; while it would appear that

the other died in his sins. And thus Christ upon His cross, between these two men,

and with the title of King over His head, presented a striking and awful picture of

THE FINAL JUDGMENT! Such is the view of St. Ambrose on Luke 22, and of

St. Augustine, who says," This cross, if you mark it well, was a judgment-seat.

For the Judge being placed in the midst, the one who believed was set free; the

other who reviled Him was condemned; and thus He signified what He will do

with the quick and the dead. Some He will place on His right hand, and some on

his Left" (Augustine, Tract. 31 in S. Johan.).

 

 

                                                Christ Mocked (vs. 16-20)

                                       (Parallel passage:  Matthew 27:27-31)

 

During this awful night and morning our Lord thrice underwent the suffering and

indignity of public and vulgar derision. First before the high priest, at the hands of

the officers and servants of Caiaphas; then again when He was set at naught and

mocked by the brutal soldiery of Herod Antipas; and now yet once more, when Pilate

delivered Him into the keeping of the Roman soldiers, a company of whom were

about to lead Him forth to crucifixion.  Insult was added to insult, and His bitter

cup ran over.

 

  • THE MOCKERS. The whole band or cohort are said to have joined in

            the ribald sport in the Praetorium. What they did, it must be remembered,

            they did largely in ignorance. These Roman legionaries knew nothing of a

            Messiah, and were probably utterly unacquainted with the character and

            career of Him whom Pilate had delivered over to them. Their insensibility to

            human suffering was equal to their indifference to human innocence and

            virtue. (Is it not the same today? -  CY – 2010)  All they knew was that their        

            master (Pilate),  though professedly convinced of Jesus’ blamelessness, was

            yet content to give Him up into their hands to ill treat and to put to a shameful      

            death. We cannot, therefore, wonder at their insolence and cruelty. Yet we

            cannot read the sad story without feelings of shame and of sorrow, as we  

            remember that persons belonging to our race, and sharing our nature, should

            have inflicted such indignities upon “the Holy One and the Just,” (Acts 3:14)     

            upon the world’s Friend and Savior.

 

  • THE MOCKERIES. These were many, base, and repeated.

 

ü      Jesus was invested with a purple robe. Probably this was a military

                        cloak, whose crimson hue might render it an emblem of the imperial

                        purple.  In reality, that purple cloak symbolized the kingdom of

                        the whole world, which Christ was about to receive, and which

                        HE WAS ABOUT TO OBTAIN BY THE SHEDDING OF HIS

                        MOST PRECIOUS BLOOD!

 

ü      He was crowned with a circlet of thorns, another symbol of royalty,

                        doubtless roughly woven from the stem of a prickly shrub.  And

                         plaiting a crown of thorns, they put it on Him. The crown of thorns

                        was in all probability woven from the Zizyphus spina Christi (the

                        nabk of the Arabs), which grows abundantly in Palestine, fringing the

                        banks of the Jordan. This plant would be very suitable for the purpose,

                        having flexible branches, with leaves very much resembling the ivy

                        leaf in their color, and with many sharp thorns. The pain arising from

                        the pressure of these sharp thorns upon the head must have been     

                        excruciating.

 

ü      He was addressed as “King.” Utterly incapable of understanding a

      moral sovereignty, a spiritual sway, these coarse soldiers, to whom

      force was all, insulted the meek and unresisting Sufferer by the use

      of a title which from their lips could be only derisive.

 

ü      He was saluted with the semblance of honor and homage; they “bowed

                        the knee, and worshipped Him.”

 

ü      They smote His sacred head with the scepter-reed. How affecting this

                        treatment! The very fact which should have been Christ’s claim to

                        respect, confidence, and adoration — His royal authority over the                                      

                        conscience and heart of humanity — was turned into a ground of

                        reproach and a matter of reviling.  Who, when He was reviled,

                        reviled not again; when He suffered, He threatened not; but

                        committed Himself to Him that judgeth righteously:  who His

                        own self bare our sins in His own body” – (I Peter 2:23-24).  and

                        did spit upon Him (ἐνέπτυον αὐτῷ - eneptuon auto – spat in to Him).

                        The verb is in the imperfect; they did it again and again.  Thus men

                        treated their Divine and rightful King.  Never was sorrow like His

                        sorrow, and never patience like His   patience.  A salvation procured

                        at such a cost is a salvation of which NONE SHOULD HEAR

                        UNMOVED, and which NONE WHO NEEDS IT SHOULD

                                HESITATE OR DELAY TO ACCEPT.  “Today is the day of

                        salvation……harden not your hearts” – (Hebrews 3:15)

 

  • THE STERN REALITY TO WHICH THE MOCKERY WAS A PRELUDE

      AND A CONTRAST. Knowing what was before the Condemned, decency

      and humanity should have led them to spare Him these insults. But when

      they were over, there was worse to come. The purple was stripped from His

      form; His own garments were placed on Him; the beam of the cross was laid

      upon His shoulders; He was thrust into His place in the rude procession; and

            then was led away to crucifixion.  The silence of our blessed Lord during

            these wanton and aggravated insults is very remarkable, and also the total

            absence of any legal grounds for His condemnation.  (NOTE THE CLASS

            OF JESUS CHRIST – WHAT ELSE WOULD ONE EXPECT

            FROM GOD?)

 

 

                                                The Crucifixion (vs. 21-32)

 

The bigots and the mob have gained their end, and now have their own way with

the Holy One and the Just.” (Acts 3:14) - The power of Rome is brought into the

service of Jewish fanaticism and malice. All evil influences have conspired together.

Now is their hour and the power of darkness. The world’s sin has culminated in the

 rejection of the world’s Savior. All happens as has been foreseen in the counsels of God,

(Acts 4:24-28) and foretold by inspired prophets and by the Son of man Himself.

The Christ of God is crucified.

 

  • THE PREPARATIONS FOR THE CRUCIFIXION. The story is very

            simply told; there is no endeavor to excite feeling by any other means than

            by the clear and artless relation of the facts. But this is enough to awaken

            the sympathy of every mind capable of realizing the injustice of Christ’s

            enemies, and the meekness, compassion, and fortitude of the Sufferer.

 

ü      The bearing of the cross. That Jesus, exhausted by the events of the

      past night and of this morning, by the wakeful hours, the scourging and     

      the insults He had endured, should now be incapable of carrying the         

      instrument of His final sufferings, is natural enough. The soldiers,  

      indisposed themselves to bear the burden, beneath which they see the        

      Sufferer sinking, impress into the service a Cyrenian Israelite, who has       

      come to the Passover now celebrating at Jerusalem, and who has been        

      sleeping in one of the villages near the city, but is on his way to the

      scene of the sacred solemnities. What seems to the soldiers and to the

      mob a degradation, is to become an honorable and happy memory to          

      Simon, whose family is destined in after years to hold a high place in

      the regard of the Christian community, and whose name is henceforth

                        to be linked with that of the Redeemer by this sacred and touching            

                        association.  Tradition says (Cornelius a Lapide) that the cross

                        was fifteen feet long, the transverse limb being eight feet; and that

                        Christ so carried it that the upper portion rested on His shoulder, while

                        the foot of the cross trailed on the ground. When they saw that He was

                        breaking down under the weight of the cross, they laid it on Simon, that

                        they might the more quickly reach the place of crucifixion.

 

ü      The approach to Golgotha. Imagination has filled the void wisely left

      by the evangelists; and the via dolorosa has been marked by “stations,”     

      each of which has been signalized by some episode of suffering, mercy,

      or sympathy. The spot where the execution of the iniquitous sentence

      took place may have been to the north-west of the city, and the name —   

      the place of a skull” — may have been derived from its form,

                        rounded and bare. It needs no fanciful legends to endear a spot so

                        memorable to the heart of Christendom; the pathos of the plain fact

                        is enough. Calvary — “lovely, mournful Calvary” — was the scene

                        of Immanuel’s passion.

 

ü      The offering of myrrh-mingled wine. The compassion of the ladies of

                        Jerusalem is said to have provided a soporific, stupefying, narcotic             

                        draught, to be administered in humanity to the criminals who were             

                        condemned to die a painful and lingering death, it seems to have been

                        in conformity with custom and from motives of sympathy that the

                        draught was offered to Jesus.

 

                                    “Fill high the bowl, and spice it well, and pour

                                    The dews oblivious: for the cross is sharp;

                                                The cross is sharp, and he

                                                Is tenderer than a lamb.”

 

                        His refusal was owing to His determination to accept to the full the

                        lot of undeserved pain and anguish appointed for Him. “Thou wilt

                        feel all, that thou may’st pity all.” He had already exclaimed, “The cup

                        which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)

                        and it would seem that this cup of woe could not be drunk except by

                        the retention of His faculties to the very last. 

 

ü      The parting of His garments. These were the perquisite of the

                        executioners, who divided amongst themselves some of His raiment,

                        and who cast lots for the seamless robe. This was not only the

                        fulfillment of a prediction, but it was an element in the humiliation

                        and self-sacrifice of the Son of man.  “They part His garments

                        among them, casting lots upon them, what each should take” -

                        The outer robe and the tunic would have been removed previously to

                        the crucifixion.  John 19:23-24 goes into details. “They took His

                        garments, and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also

                        the coat: now the coat was without seam, woven from the top

                        throughout….They…..cast lots for it.” On center stage of world

                        history and while Christ dies as the Lamb of God, taking away

                        the sins of the world, MEN GAMBLE?,  and do not men still

                        gamble their souls???? – “Till a dart strike through his liver;

                        as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not it is for HIS

                  LIFE  - (Proverbs 7:23). 

 

  • THE CRUCIFIXION AND ITS ACCOMPANYING CIRCUMSTANCES.

      “They crucified Him” - such is the brief notification of THE MOST

      STUPENDOUS CRIME COMMITTED IN THE HISTORY OF

      MANKIND.   Every circumstance recorded in such a connection is

            worthy of attention.  Jesus is fastened to that cross; His hands and His feet

            are pierced with nails; the cross is hoisted, and with a rude and sudden dash

            it is sunk deep into the earth. There the bleeding Victim hangs, His bones  

            disjointed, His veins broken, His wounds freshened, His skin bruised black

            and blue, His face pale, His strength exhausted; blood flows from His head,

            blood from His hands, blood from His feet, blood from His opened side. There

            He hangs, wounded, tortured, fainting, bleeding, dying. There He hangs upon

            that cursed tree, the passers-by reviling Him and wagging their heads, soldiers      

            mocking Him, rulers deriding Him, malefactors railing on Him, — a fearful           

            fourfold mockery.  This all for our salvation, a plan made from the beginning –

            “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” – (Revelation 13:8)  The

            Lord God saw “the travail of His soul” and was satisfied as Christ bore

            our “iniquities” - (Isaiah 53:11)  Even in heaven the Lamb, in the midst of the     

            throne, as He had been slain, is still the marvel of the universe; while the key-     

            note of the song sung by the redeemed in glory, and ever sounding along the        

            arches of the sky, is, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power,

            and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing,”    

            (Revelation 5:12-14).  What is the solution of all this? We have no doubt, and

            feel no difficulty in giving a decided and definite answer to all questions of the

            sort proposed, for Scripture itself supplies that answer. It is because He “came

            not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a ransom for      

            many (ch. 10:45); it is because He “hath loved us, and hath given Himself

            for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for sweet-smelling savor”

            (Ephesians 5:2) - it is because He bare our sins in His own body on the

            tree” – (I Peter 2:24);  suffering, “the just for the unjust, to bring us to

            God (I Peter 3:18); it is because “He was made sin for us, though He

            knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him” –

            (II Corinthians 5:21); it is because in Him “we have redemption through

            His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

            (Ephesians 1:7)

 

ü      There is a note of time. It was the third hour, i.e. nine o’clock in

      the forenoon. From this we infer how hurried had been the

      proceedings since the break of day, and how prolonged were those            

      sufferings, which did not close until three in the afternoon.

 

ü      There is a memorandum of the superscription. This was the

      accusation, upon which, unproved and misrepresented, Pilate had

      been induced to sanction this legal murder. A King crucified, and

      crucified by His subjects; no wonder that such a crime should be    

      disowned, or rather such a stigma resented, by the priests and elders.         

      When Pilate persisted that the inscription should remain, he bore

      witness unconsciously alike to the spiritual royalty of Jesus and to the        

      criminal rebellion of the leaders of the Jewish nation. The cross was in       

      truth Christ’s earthly throne, the symbol of a world-wide empire. (They

      are everywhere and contemplate and beware of the spirit of those

      modern heathen who would take them down???? – CY – 2010)  He had

      said, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

                        (John 12:32)  Let us learn to glory in that cross, which, from an

                        emblem of shame, has by Christ been transformed into a symbol

                        of salvation!  And the superscription of His accusation was written

                        over, THE KING OF THE JEWS” – (v. 26) -. All the evangelists

                        mention the inscription; but no two of them in precisely the same words.

                        It appears by comparison of them that the whole title was, “This is Jesus

                        of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” In the case of remarkable prisoners

                        the accusation was written on a white tablet, and carried before them as

                        they went to the place of execution. It was then placed over their heads

                        when the cross was erected. John tells us that our Lord’s title was

                        written in three languages — Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. (John 19:20)

                        Such appears to be the proper order of the words, namely, the national,

                        the official, and the common dialect. Mark, writing at Rome, would

                        naturally mention the Latin title.  It is quite possible that the

                        superscription may have varied in the different renderings in which it

                        was given. It is evident from John 19:19-22 that the title was much

                        canvassed by the Jews and the chief priests. The title proclaimed that

                        He was after all a King; and that from henceforth He began to reign

                        from His cross over the Jews.  And therefore Pilate was divinely

                        restrained from making any alteration in the title, so that it should

                        mean anything less than this.

 

ü      There is an account of His companions upon the cross. If anything

      could possibly add to the ignominy of our Savior’s death, it was the          

      society in which He suffered. Barabbas had, indeed, been released;

      but there were two robbers condemned to death, and awaiting the

      execution of their sentence.  Accordingly, advantage was taken of the       

      opportunity to carry out the sentence against the Christ and the

      criminals upon the same occasion. Thus was He “numbered with the        

      transgressors,” (Isaiah 53:12) and an additional stigma attached to Him   

      by His association with the vilest of the vile. No wonder that the

      ignorant and unspiritual made this a ground of reviling against Jesus,

      and of reproach against His followers.

 

  • THE MOCKERY THAT FOLLOWED THE CRUCIFIXION. To add to the

      insults, the jeering, the scoffing, which Jesus had endured during His trials,

      it was permitted that His dying hours should be disturbed, and His dying

      agonies intensified, by the mockery of various classes of His foes.

 

ü      The passers-by railed on Him. With the customary contempt for the

                        fallen and deserted, those passing in and out of the city insulted the

                        Crucified, with gestures of derision and tones of contempt, recalling

                        the language in which He had asserted His authority, and contrasting

                        it with His pitiable condition, terrible sufferings, and apparent

                        helplessness.  And they that passed by railed on Him, wagging

                        their heads” – (vs. 29-30) -   Here was another fulfillment of

                        prophecy, and other aggravation of the misery of Christ. “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 delighteth in Him” (Psalm

                        22:7-8). The torment of crucifixion itself was terrible; but it was a

                        still greater torment to the Crucified to be insulted in His agony.

                        Our Lord may well have had these words in his mind, “They

                        persecute Him whom thou hast smitten, and they tell of the

                        sorrow of those whom thou hast wounded” (Psalm 69:26). They

                        that passed by. Calvary was probably near to one of the

                        thoroughfares leading to the city; so that there would be a continual

                        stream of persons passing to and fro; more especially at this time,

                        when Jerusalem was thronged with visitors. And no doubt the

                        words of the accusation against Him in its incorrect form would

                        pass freely from mouth to mouth,

 

ü      The chief priests and scribes, who had been foremost in effecting His

                        downfall, were prominent in glorying over the work of their hands, and

                        in scoffing at Him upon whom they had wreaked their vengeance. From

                        their lips came the language which, intended to be a reproach, was really,

                         and has ever been deemed, one of the most glorious tributes ever paid to

                        the Redeemer: “He saved others; Himself He cannot save!” (v. 31) –

                        When they asked that He should come down from the cross upon which

                        their malice had raised Him, and professed their willingness upon such

                        evidence to believe in him, we cannot doubt that their words were

                        hollow, vulgar mockery.

 

ü      That no element of misery might be wanting in the Savior’s anguish, it

                        was permitted that the very thieves should join in the raillery with

                        which Jesus was encompassed and tortured. This, indeed, only gives

                        an additional touch of pathos to the story of the penitent thief which

                         Luke tells so exquisitely, and shows, in the brighter colors of contrast,

                        the powerful gentleness and unselfish pity of the dying Savior.  (Luke

                        23:39-43) 

 

Let us learn to glory in that cross, which, from an emblem of shame, has by

Christ been transformed into A SYMBOL OF SALVATION!

 

 

                                                THE DEATH OF JESUS

 

33 “And when the sixth hour was come, there was darkness over the whole land

until the ninth hour.”  And when the sixth hour was come. This would be midday,

twelve o'clock; and the darkness continued until the ninth hour, that is, three o'clock.

This supernatural darkness came when the day is wont to be at its brightest. The

moon was now at the full, so that it could not have been caused by what we call an

eclipse, for when it is full moon the moon cannot intervene between the earth and the

sun. This darkness was doubtless produced by THE IMMEDIATE INTER-

FERENCE OF GOD!  An account of it is given by Phlegon of Tralles, a freedman

of the Emperor Adrian. Euse-bius, in his records of the year A.D. , quotes at length

from Phlegon, who says that, in the fourth year of the 202nd Olympiad, there was

a great and remarkable eclipse of the sun, above any that had happened before.

At the sixth hour the day was turned into the darkness of night, so that stars were

seen in the heaven; and there was a great earthquake in Bithynia, which overthrew

many houses in the city of Nicaea. Phlegon attributes the darkness which he

describes to an eclipse, which was natural enough for him to do. The knowledge

of astronomy was then very imperfect. Phlegon also mentions an earthquake.

This brings his account into very close correspondence with the sacred narrative.

There was darkness over the whole land (ἐφ ὅλην τὴν γῆνeph holaen taen gaen

over the whole land). "Land" is a better rendering than "earth." We are not informed

precisely how far the darkness extended. Dionysius says that he saw this phenomenon

at Heliopolis, in Egypt, and he is reported to have exclaimed, "Either the God of

nature, the Creator, is suffering, or the universe dissolving." St. Cyprian says,

"The sun was constrained to withdraw his rays, and close his eyes, that he might

not be compelled to look upon this crime of the Jews. To the same purpose St.

Chrysostom, "The creature could not bear the wrong done to its Creator. Therefore

the sun withdrew his rays, that he might not behold the deeds of the wicked."

 

34 “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?”  Eloi, Eloi, lama sabacthani? Mark here uses the Aramaic form,

Matthew refers to the original Hebrew. Mark in all probability took his form from

Peter. It seems from hence that our Lord was in the habit of using the vernacular

speech. Why hast thou forsaken me? (εἰς τί με ἐγκατέλιπες eis ti me egkatelipes

into why did you forsake me). This might be rendered, Why didst thou forsake me?

It is generally supposed that our blessed Lord, continually praying upon His cross,

and offering Himself a sacrifice for the sins of the whole world, recited the whole

of the Psalm (22.) of which these are the first words, that He might show Himself

to be the very Being to whom the words refer; so that the Jewish scribes and people

might examine and see the cause why He would not descend from the cross; namely,

because this very psalm showed that it was appointed that He should suffer these

things.

 

35 “And some of them that stood by, when they heard it, said, Behold, He calleth

Elias.”  Notwithstanding the supernatural darkness, there were those who lingered

about the cross. Indeed, the darkness would add greatly to the awfulness of the place.

It was out of that darkness that the voice of Jesus was heard; and inasmuch as Elias,

or Elijah, was believed to hold some relation to the Messiah, it was natural for some

of those who stood by to understand the words to mean that our Lord was actually

calling for Elias.

 

36 “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.”  There is a slight difference here in the narratives. Matthew

(Matthew 27:49) says, "And the rest said, Let be; let us see whether Elijah cometh

to save Him." Here in Mark the words are recorded as having been spoken by him

alone who offered our Lord the vinegar. According to John (John 19:28), the

offering of the vinegar followed immediately upon the words of our Lord, "I thirst."

This drink was not the stupefying potion given to criminals before their crucifixion,

to dull the sense of pain, but the sour wine, the ordinary drink of the soldiers, called

posen. The reed was most probably the long stalk of the hyssop plant. Dr. J. Forbes

Royle, in an elaborate article on the subject, quoted in Smith's 'Dictionary of the

Bible' (vol. 1 p. 846), arrives at the conclusion that the hyssop is none other than

the caper plant, the Arabic name of which, asuf, bears a strong resemblance to the

Hebrew. The plant is the Capparis spinosa of Linnaeus. The apparent difference

between the narratives of Matthew and Mark may be reconciled by weaving in

the narrative of John with those of the synoptists - the "Let be" of the soldiers

in the one case being intended to restrain the individual from offering the wine;

and the "Let be" of the individual, corresponding to our "Wait a moment,"

while he answered our Savior's cry, "I thirst."

 

  37 “And Jesus cried with a loud voice, and gave up the ghost.” 

The three synoptists all mention this cry, which appears to have been something

different from the words which He uttered at or about the time of His death. It

was evidently something supernatural, and was so regarded by the centurion

who stood by; and who had no doubt been accustomed to scenes like these.

Usually the voice fails the dying, more especially when the natural forces have

been weakened by long agony, as in the case of our Lord. It seems, therefore,

the right conclusion that He cried out, just before He expired, by that supernatural

power which His Godhead supplied to Him; and thus He showed that, although He

had gone through all the pains which were sufficient in ordinary cases to produce

death, yet that at length He did not die of necessity, but voluntarily, in accordance

with what He had Himself said, "No one taketh my life from me... I have power

to lay it down, and I have power to take it again" (John 10:18). Victor Antiochanus,

in commenting upon this chapter, says, "By this action the Lord Jesus proved that

He had His whole life, and His death, in His own free power."

                                                                                                       

38 “And the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom.” 

There were two veils - one before the holy place, and the other before the holy of

holies. The holy place was the holiest part of the Temple. This was always kept closed;

nor might any one enter it but the high priest, and that only once in the year, on the day

of expiation. The veil which was rent at our Lord's death was that which was placed

before the holy of holies; it was called the καταπέτασμαkatapetasmacurtain;

veil. The outer veil was called κάλυμμα - kalumma. It was the duty of the officiating

priest, on the evening of the day of preparation, at the hour of evening prayer, which

would correspond to the time of our Lord's death, to enter into the holy place,

where he would of course be between the two curtains, or veils, the outer veil,

or κάλυμμα, and the inner veil, or καταπέτασμα.   It would then be his business

to roll back the κάλυμμα, or outer veil, thus exposing the holy place to the people,

who would be in the outer court. And then and there they would see, to their

amazement, the καραπέτασμα, the inner veil, rent asunder from the top to the

bottom. These veils or curtains, according to Josephus, were each forty cubits in

height and ten in breadth, of great substance, very massive, and richly embroidered

with gold and purple. Now, this rending of the veil signified:

(1)
that the whole of the Jewish dispensation, with its rites and ceremonies,

WAS NOW UNFOLDED BY CHRIST; and that thenceforth the middle wall of

partition was broken down, so that now, not the Jews only, but the Gentiles

also might draw nigh by the blood of Christ.  (Ephesians 2:14) But:

(2)
it further signified that THE WAY TO HEAVEN WAS LAID OPEN BY

THE DEATH OF CHRIST!  "When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death,

thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers." The veil signified that

HEAVEN WAS CLOSED TO ALL,  UNTIL CHRIST BY HIS DEATH RENT

THIS VEIL IN TWAIN, AND LAID OPEN THE WAY! 

 

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.”  And when the centurion, which stood by over against Him (ὁ παρετηκὼς

ἐξ ἐναντίας αὐτοῦ - ho paretaekos ex enantias autouthe one standing by out of

the opposite of Him) saw that He so gave up the ghost. The words, "so cried out,"

are not in the most important authorities. It was the business of the centurion to

watch all that took place, and to see that the sentence was executed. He must

have been standing close under the cross; and there was that in the whole

demeanor of the dying Sufferer, so different from anything that he had ever

witnessed before, that it drew from him the involuntary exclamation, Truly this

man was the Son of God. He had observed Him through those weary hours; he

had noticed the meekness and the dignity of the Sufferer; he had heard those words,

so deeply impressed upon the faith and reverence of Christians, which fell from Him

from time to time as He hung there; and then at last he heard the piercing cry, so

startling, so unexpected, which escaped Him just before He yielded up His spirit;

and he could come to no other conclusion than this, that He was in very deed

God's Son.  It has been supposed by some that this centurion was Longiuus, who

was led by the miracles which accompanied the death of Christ, to acknowledge

Him to be the Son of God, and to be a herald of His resurrection, and was

ultimately himself put to death for the sake of Christ in Cappadocia.

St. Chrysostom repeats the common report, that on account of his faith he

was at last crowned with martyrdom.  (Eternity will tell because there

is a special place for those who have been killed for the kingdom of heaven’s sake –

[Revelation 6:9-11] – CY – 2010)

 

 

 

 

                                                The Death of Jesus (vs. 33-41)

            (Parallel Passages:  Matthew 27:45-56; Luke 23:44-49; John 19:25-37) 

 

Jesus had, in the course of His ministry, raised the dead to life. Three such instances

are recorded in the Gospels; and it is intimated that there were  other cases which have

not been circumstantially related. And now the time came for Himself to die, to

accomplish at Jerusalem the decease He had foreseen (ch. 9:31) and foretold

(Luke 9:31). That He might have avoided this fate is obvious; and He had Himself

declared that no man took His life from Him (John 10:17-18). The time, however,

had arrived for Him  to lay down that life of Himself, in submitting to be,

by wicked hands, crucified and slain.”  (Acts 2:23)

 

 

  • The evangelist relates CIRCUMSTANCES PRECEDING CHRIST’S

            DEATH.

 

ü      The darkness which brooded over the city, and over the whole land,

      for the space of three hours (from 12 until 3 p.m.), was apparently

                        supernatural, and has usually been regarded as a manifest token of             

                        Nature’s sympathy with her Lord. It was an appropriate accompaniment

                         to the sad and awful event that was transpiring.  (One of the names of

                        God in scripture is “El Shaddai”, He who can go against nature – (see

                        Genesis 17 – Names of God – El Shaddai by Nathan Stone

                        this web site – CY – 2010)  The “Light of the world” was in darkness,

                        the Savior was refusing to save Himself, the King of glory was

                        wearing thorns as His crown, and had ascended the cross as His

                        throne. The event referred to in our text is one of many examples of

                        the deep and secret connection existing between the kingdoms of

                        nature and of grace.  This supernatural gloom would increase the 

                        solemnity of the event. As the darkness grew denser, silence would fall

                        on the gibing tongues and every noisy laugh would be stilled; and as

                        the gloom deepened into unearthly night over the busy streets, the

                        open fields, and the sacred temple, many would ask themselves,

                        What meaneth this?” CARELESSNESS AND FLIPPANT

                        SKEPTICISM ARE ALWAYS OUT OF PLACE IN VIEW

                        OF THE CROSS!  This darkness Hid His agony .from the

                         onlookers.   The foes of our Lord were shut out from a scene

                        too sacred for them to witness. Beyond what was necessary,

                        the well-beloved Son should not be exposed to their brutal jeers

                        When the darkness passed away, and the sun shone upon the

                        cross, the returning light was like the bow of promise after the

                        Flood — a sign of peace between man and God, and a pledge of

                        the rainbow round about the throne,” (Revelation 4:3) in the

                        land where all give thanks to God and to the Lamb that was

                        slain.

 

ü      The utterance of desertion and of woe. The dying Savior’s cry has ever

                        been regarded as affording a glance into the innermost, the sacred, the

                        unfathomable mysteries of His soul. Explain it we cannot; disregard it

                        we dare not. Surely, this cannot be regarded as a mere exclamation of

                        distress!  Surely, it cannot have been wrung from the Redeemer by the

                        severity of bodily pain and anguish! It has been well said that the

                        sufferings of His soul were the soul of His sufferings. The only

                        explanation of the cry, “My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” is

                        that furnished by the mental agonies which the world’s Redeemer was

                        enduring, which clouded His sense of the Father’s favor. On the one

                        hand, we cannot suppose this language to have been a mere cry of

                        distress; on the other hand, we cannot conceive that the Father had

                        withdrawn His favor from His well-beloved Son, who was now

                        proving Himself to be obedient unto death, even the death of the

                        cross (Philippians 2:8).  The fact is that the burden of the world’s sins

                        and sorrows pressed like a dense cloud upon His soul, and obscured

                        from His view the shining of the Father’s face. 

 

ü      The ministry of pity. Although at the commencement of the crucifixion

                        Jesus had refused the stupefying draught which had been offered Him,

                        now that He had hung six hours upon the cross He was consumed with

                        an intolerable thirst. The expression of His distressing sensation seems

                        to have followed upon the cry of desertion. A bystander, doubtless in

                        pity, offered Him a sponge filled with the sour wine which was the

                        soldiers’ ordinary drink, and it would seem that He did not now refuse

                        the alleviation offered.  It is not easy to understand who could have so

                        misapprehended His cry as to suppose the dying Sufferer to invoke the

                        ministry of Elijah; though it is easy to believe that some would jeeringly

                        propose to wait for the prophetic intervention.

 

ü      The dying cry. And Jesus uttered a loud voice, and gave up the

      ghost. The three synoptists all mention this cry, which appears to

      have been something different from the words which He uttered at or

      about the time of His death.  It was evidently something supernatural,

      and was so regarded by the centurion who stood by; and who had no

      doubt been accustomed to scenes like these. Usually the voice fails

      the dying, more especially when the natural forces have been weakened

      by long agony, as in the case of our Lord. It seems, therefore, the right      

      conclusion that He cried out, just before He expired, by that supernatural  

      power which His Godhead supplied to Him; and thus He showed that,      

      although He had gone through all the pains which were sufficient in          

      ordinary cases to produce death, yet that at length He did not die of          

      necessity, but voluntarily, in accordance with what He had Himself

      said, “No one taketh my life from me… I have power to lay it

                        down, and I have power to take it again” (John 10:18). Victor

                        Antiochanus, in commenting upon this chapter, says, “By this action

                        the Lord Jesus proved that He had His whole life, and His death, in

                        His own free power.”  Mark gives no words; but from the other

                        Gospels we learn that, immediately before His expiring, Jesus uttered

                        aloud two ever memorable sayings: viz. “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

                        and  Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit!” (Luke 23:46) –

                        It is clear, therefore, that the cry was not an inarticulate utterance of

                        pain. There was an expression of His conviction that His ministry of

                        humiliation was ended, that the purpose of His incarnation was

                        completed, that nothing more remained for Him to do on earth. And

                        in addition to this utterance, which was ministerial, was another,

                        which was personal. As he had said My God,” so now He says

                        Father,” an address which proved His possession of the assurance

                        of His Father’s undiminished and undimmed approval. The hour of

                        agony and dissolution was thus an hour of triumph: Christ’s work

                        was completed, His obedience was perfected, His acceptance was

                        assured, His victory was achieved.

 

  • The evangelist records THE FACT OF CHRIST’S DEATH. How simply is it

      related! — “He gave up His spirit.” In one word is recorded, without

      exaggeration, without a word to heighten the effect, without a comment of

      any kind, THE MOST STUPENDOUS, PATHETIC, AND

      MOMENTOUS EVENT WHICH THIS WORLD HAS WITNESSED.   

      The Being who was “the Life” bowed His head in death. He who, whilst His

      hour was not yet come, had eluded His foes, now submitted to the felon’s

      doom. The Lord of immortality, who was to hold the keys of death and of the

      unseen world, saw and tasted dissolution, though not corruption. He knew,

      though the spectators, friends and foes alike, were ignorant of the fact,

      that His death was destined to be the life of the world. He had foretold

      that, when lifted up from the earth, He should draw all men unto Himself; that

      the grain of wheat should fall into the earth and die, and should bring forth

      much fruit. And the events which have followed have verified the Savior’s

      words. Even those who have no disposition to regard Christ’s character

      and work as supernatural cannot be blind to the fact that the cross has proved

      a tree whose fruits have been for the satisfaction, and whose leaves have

      been for the healing, of the nations. But, to us Christians, the death of Christ

      was the redemption of our souls.

 

                                    “Oh, never, never canst thou know

                                         What then for thee the Savior bore,

                                    The pangs of that mysterious woe

                                         Which wrung his bosom’s inmost core.

 

                                    “Yes, man for man perchance may brave

                                    The horrors of the yawning grave;

                                    And friend for friend, or son for sire,

                                    Undaunted and unmoved expire,

                                    From love, or piety, or pride;

                                    But who can die as Jesus died?”

 

 

  • The evangelist puts upon record CERTAIN CIRCUMSTANCES

            FOLLOWING UPON CHRIST’S DEATH.

 

 

ü      Mention is made of the gaze of some of those who had been, and still

                        were, the faithful friends of Jesus. The mother of the Lord had been

                        led away from the painful scene by the disciple to whose care she had

                        been entrusted by her dying Son (John 19:26-27).  But Mary of

                        Magdala, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and Salome the wife

                        of Zebedee, are mentioned as, with others, lingering at some distance

                        from the cross, and yet within sight of it, to behold the end. Whilst

                        their services could be of use to Him, they had attended His steps and

                        supplied His wants; and now that they could do no more for their

                        beloved and revered Master, they remained near His dying form, to

                        watch with Him, to sympathize with Him to the last, to hear His

                        dying words, to keep Him in sight until the lifeless body should be

                        disposed of, and hidden from them in the earth. Sweet is the thought

                        that, when His disciples forsook Jesus and fled, when He had to endure

                        the anguish caused by the treachery of one, the denial of a second, and

                        the desertion of others, there were devout and attached women who

                        would not leave the sacred spot, or take their eyes from off the

                        hallowed form. Even by human devotion and love Jesus was not utterly

                        forsaken, was not left utterly alone.  Some there were who had proved

                        His kindness, tested His wisdom, profited by His authority during His

                        ministry, whose hearts changed not towards Him in the hour of His

                        darkness, anguish, and woe. Memorable is the ministry of those holy

                        and affectionate women, who are recorded to have been “last at

                        the cross, and earliest at the tomb.”

 

  • Christ’s death is:

 

ü      To sinners the means of salvation. The Lord paid on the cross the

                        ransom-price of the souls of sinful men; He bore our sins; He redeemed

                        us with His precious blood. Here is pardon, healing, and life, for those                               

                        who receive the good tidings with sincere faith.

 

ü      To suppliants the assurance of the gracious answer of Heaven to their

                        prayers. “If God spared not his own Son, but delivered Him up for us

                        all, will He not with Him also freely give us all things?”

                        (Romans 8:32)

 

ü      To struggling souls the inspiration of resistance and endurance, the

                        earnest and pledge of victory. “Our old nature is crucified with Him”

                        (Romans 6:6) - “Reckon ye yourselves dead unto sin.”  (Romans 6:11)

 

ü      To reject Christ is to shut off light from the soul, and become ready

      for the outer darkness. A CHRISTLESS WORLD WAS SET

      FORTH WHEN THE SUN WAS DARKENED.

           

ü      To Christian teachers and preachers the theme of their ministry.

      In this Paul is an example to us all, who exclaimed, “We preach

      Christ crucified  (I Corinthians 1:23) -  “God forbid that I should

      glory,  save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

 

 

Ø      The crucifixion. Crosses were of different sorts and shapes. There was

the crux simplex, or simple cross, which was rather a stake on which the

body was impaled; there was the crux decussator, or St. Andrew’s cross,

in the form of the letter X; there was the crux immissa, or Latin cross, in

the form of a dagger with point downward †; there was the cruz commissa,

in the form of the letter T. On account of the inscription the form of the

cross on which our Lord suffered is generally supposed to have been that

of the third sort. And now we are arrived at the last sad scene in that

shocking drama. Criminals usually carried their cross, or the cross-beams

of it, as they went to execution; hence the term furcifer, or cross-bearer.

Jesus, exhausted by all he had previously endured, and crushed beneath

that heavy cross, sank by the way. Simon, an African Jew, is impressed into

                        the service (ἀγγαρεύουσι aggareuousi - literally, they impress him;

                        they are drafting him), send out a mounted courier, from the mounted

couriers ready to carry the royal dispatches in Persia; then force to do

service, compel) and compelled to carry the Savior’s cross. Jesus is

fastened to that cross; His hands and His feet are pierced with nails; the

cross is hoisted, and with a rude and sudden dash it is sunk deep into the

earth. There the bleeding Victim hangs, His bones disjointed, His veins

broken, His wounds freshened, His skin livid, His face pale, His strength

exhausted; blood flows from His head, blood from His hands, blood from

His feet, blood from his opened side. There He hangs, wounded, tortured,

fainting, bleeding, dying. There He hangs upon that cursed tree, the

passers-by reviling Him and wagging their heads, soldiers mocking Him,

rulers deriding Him, malefactors railing on Him, — a fearful fourfold

mockery. He is offered vinegar and gall (or wine and myrrh, i.e. wine

myrrhed, or made acid), but, in the first instance, will not drink, lest it

should blunt the pain of dying or cloud His faculties; “The cup that my

Father gave me, shall I not drink it?” He suffers the withdrawment of His

heavenly Father’s countenance, and in consequence exclaims, Eloi, Eloi,

lama sabachthani?” — “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” At

length, with a loud voice, He cries out, “It is finished!” and bows His head

in death. We do not marvel at the accompanying circumstances, strange

and marvelous as they were.

 

o        No wonder the sun drew back from the spectacle, and shrouded

      his glorious rays in darkness, rather than gaze on such a scene.

 

o        No wonder that dense darkness settled on the land for three

            long hours.

 

o        No wonder earth trembled and quaked in horror at the foul

            deed that had been done.

 

o        No wonder that rocks rent and graves opened, and the tenants of

      the tomb came forth as though in consternation, shocked at human

      sinfulness, and in sympathy with the heavenly Sufferer.

 

o        No wonder the veil of the temple, strong and thick, is torn in twain

      from top to bottom, for the humanity of the Savior is torn with

      thorns, and smitings, and nails, and spear-thrust; while He is

      pouring out His life unto death.