[Closing off Mark’s Gospel]
OT Lesson Jeremiah 31:31-34
NT Lesson Hebrews 10:5-23
“Behold the LAMB of GOD who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29.
There are some who think that when Jesus came the first time, he came to live and reign, and that the rejection came as a surprise and so his death was not the “real plan”. But that is to make the same mistake that the Jewish leaders and theologians had made. The prophets [see Isa 53 etc.] had written about the “Suffering Servant” but it had been ignored because it was incompatible with their preconceived ideas of what the “Messiah” would do. The prophetic was not predicting what “should happen” but rather warning about what “would happen”. So as the crowds assembled before Pilate that fateful day you have the spectre of Luke 22:3 “Then Satan entered Judas… And Judas went to the chief Priests… and (he) watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them“. The Jewish leaders incite the crowd to make a stand for the Passover choice — Barabbas [a murderer who had been arrested for his part in a coup attempt] or Jesus “The one you call the ‘King of the Jews’“.
The reply: “We want Barabbas….” “What shall I do with the one you call the King of the Jews?” “Crucify him…” they chanted over and over. The Bible says that Pilate decided to do the easiest. He released Barabbas and handed (Jesus) over to be crucified [see Interlinear by Green on Mark 15:15] And so Jesus was rejected:
- His Disciples forsook him at his arrest.
- Passers by hurled insults at him.
- The religious leaders mocked him.
- One of those who was crucified with him heaped insults on him.
- And the ultimate rejection expressed by Jesus of his Father :”My God, My God, Why have you deserted me” (Feeling helpless and abandoned [see Amplified Bible] quoted from Psalms 22:1)
The resolution comes in Mark 15:37, 38. “With a loud cry he breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” The goal of this stage of the rescue of mankind was completed. SIN HAD BEEN PAID IN FULL and the way was now opened up to go directly to God. There were no longer any sacrifices necessary. “We have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” (Hebrews 10:10) Sins’ hold on mankind was broken. We are no longer under obligation to sin.
And from rejection we go to response:
- The Centurion says “This has to be the son of God (Mark 15:39 MSG)
- Joseph of Arimethia and Nicodemas take Jesus’ body and place it in a new tomb.
- His friends come to check on his grave and to continue the embalming process.
“He is not here, He is risen… Go tell his disciples, and Peter“..
Jesus had come to die, but he had no intention of staying dead! He Arose! Triumphant over death and sin and the grave!
The challenge now became a possible reality. Jesus had said, “Who ever desires to come after me, let him deny himself , take up his cross and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it.” [Mark 8:34,35] and in Mark 10:21 “Take up the cross and follow me.”
The Apostle Paul describes the experience like this: “I have been crucified with Christ. My ego is no longer central. It is no longer important that I appear righteous before you or have your good opinion and I am no longer driven to impress God. Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not ‘mine’ but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. [Gal 2:20 MSG]
So, “Go and make disciples far and near marking them by baptism in the three-fold name: Father/Son/Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this… to the end of the age” Matthew 28:19, 20 MSG]
JESUS CAME TO DIE BUT HE HAD NO INTENTIONS OF STAYING THAT WAY
[Conclusion of the Gospel of Mark]
©1999 D H Friesen