Jesus Came to Die

Jesus came to die—but had no intention of staying dead.

[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]


[Conclusion of the Gospel of Mark]

©1999 D H Friesen

Challenges by Jesus and his cousin John

It is not religious performance and self oriented self- sacrifice that God wants from us

September 19, 1999
MARK 6:7-8:26

O.T. Lesson : Deuteronomy 1:6-8
N.T. Lesson:  Colossians 2:6-19

The Good News [Gospel] is that the Creator of the Universe has personally invaded Planet Earth. That God or some higher being exists has been known for millennia — every society, every culture has had an awareness of divinity.  What to do with it is another matter.  But that he has entered our existence — that He has made himself available and that he is on our side — that is news, Good News!!

It’s exciting, and Mark wants the message out NOW!! God wants to bring about a reconciliation between the holiness of God and the sinfulness of man.      Jesus came to set the pattern for how we can access God’s mercy and grace.  He gathered a dozen men from a cross-section of society and gave them a message and power to do the work necessary to get people to listen and follow.

The introductory event was John the Baptizer preaching in the wilderness challenging people to leave behind their evil and immoral behaviour  because God’s kingdom was coming.  Herod the tetrarch of Galilee [the son of the King Herod who tried to kill the baby Jesus] was fascinated by John and his message, had a problem because john was on his case because  of the immorality of his divorce and remarriage, to Herodias his brothers wife.  Herodias gets a rare opportunity  and engineers John’s untimely death.

Jesus goes on to take up the challenge where John had left off, challenging the religious leaders to put their ‘money where their mouth was’.       Jesus had authenticated his ministry with some rather amazing feats, and the leaders were feeling ‘the heat’ to keep up the image of respectability of religious leadership.  At every step Jesus demonstrates his own integrity and ability, and right to behave as he has.

Where the religious leaders claimed the right to define true spirituality, Jesus turns people back to the Word of God.   “It’s what comes out of a person pollutes; obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealing, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness – all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution” [7:20-23 MSG]

The religious leaders wanted signs and wonders to ‘ooooh’ and ‘aahh’ at but Jesus wanted people to “see’ with their spiritual eyes the truths of the Word of God and put their faith in what he was going to do on Calvary.

It is not religious performance and self oriented self- sacrifice that God wants from us.  God loves you and is at work around you.  He is pursuing a loving relationship with you that’s real and personal.  He is inviting you to join him.  Will You?  Will you accept His Lordship in your life, NO STRINGS ATTACHED?  TODAY?

©1999 D H Friesen