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Beautiful Cross

Walking with Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  35:25
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There is no death of sin without the death of Christ.
—John Owen
INTRO -
Akoloutheō (“to follow”) is used 17 times in Mark, 25 times in Matthew, 17 times in Luke, and 19 times in John. Although it is used the fewest number of times, per word akoloutheō is a more prominent word in Mark than in the other Gospels because of Mark’s shorter length.
Jesus’ followers lead people to him. Who do you follow?
EST - Today’s text relates the time of Jesus’ death on the cross and its immediate impact.
ESS - Our message reminds us of both the horrors and amazing love of God we see in the cross.
OSS - At the end of this message is opportunity for each of us to reflect on this message and we will allow it to change us.
TRANS - Let’s travel back to that time when Jesus is nailed to and dies on the cross.

What does it say?

Mark 15:24–41 ESV
And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour when they crucified him. And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also women looking on from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. When he was in Galilee, they followed him and ministered to him, and there were also many other women who came up with him to Jerusalem.

What does it mean?

Horrendous Cross

Describe what is involved in Mark’s short statement, “And they crucified Him.”
Crucifixion began approximately 700 years prior.
The historian Herodotus tells us it was a practice of the Medes and Persians.
In the 4BC Alexander the Great introduced it and it’s use spread with the Roman expansion eastward.
The Jews themselves used it as a form of punishment in 2BC crucifying 800 Pharisees who had revolted against Alexander Jannaeus during the inter-testimonial period.
The people were very familiar with this form of punishment.
While impalement usually resulted in instant death, crucifying typically refers to tying or nailing a person.
They’d attach a person to the crossbeam and raise and attach them to the standing pole.
Clearly Jesus’ hands were nailed and Luke suggests that even his feet were nailed.
The punishment was, in part, designed to prevent premature death; time for torture.
An installed seat and/or a footrest on the vertical post allowed the one crucified to breath more easily.
Death could go on for days.
Frequently birds and animals often fed on the victims before they were even dead.
Notable figures of the day noted the punishment as, “that cruel and disgusting penalty” and “worst extreme of the tortures inflicted upon slaves.”
The very word “cross,” it was said, “should be removed from thoughts, eyes, and ears.”

Horrible Custom

Why did the soldiers divide Jesus’ clothes among them?
Dividing the victim of crucifixion’s property was custom.
More than likely the solders didn’t throw dice, but did something like guess how many fingers I’m holding up behind my back.
Psalm 22:18 is explicit in John and in view here:
Psalm 22:18 ESV
they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.
Christians pass on this story phrasing it to take on scriptural overtones.

Holiness Calling

Should Mark 15:28 be included in the Bible? Some manuscripts have it, and others do not.
Verse 28 is not in the most ancient MSS of the NT.
It appears to be added by the influence from Luke 22 where Luke quotes from Isaiah:
Luke 22:37 ESV
For I tell you that this Scripture must be fulfilled in me: ‘And he was numbered with the transgressors.’ For what is written about me has its fulfillment.”
Mark does not typically point out OT fulfillment.
What is the significance of the passage Jesus quotes in Mark 15:34?
Jesus is living out the situation of the righteous suffer of Psalm 22:
Psalm 22:1 ESV
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?
Jesus expressed his feelings in the language of the Bible.
The Jewish practice of citing the first verse of a psalm implies the reciting of the entire psalm.
Psalm ends triumphantly and serenely.
If this is the case, Jesus affirms faith looking beyond the cross.
Some suggest that Jesus cries knowing his separation from the Father.
His expression is one of profound horror knowing of his separation from God.
“Cursed is everyone who hangs on a cross” was a statement familiar to Jesus.
The manner of His death cut him off from the Father.
The darkness declares this same truth.
In this way, the cry is one of unfathomable pain of the real abandonment by the Father.
The sinless Savior, in this way, “becomes a ransom for many.”
Why did some think Jesus was calling for Elijah?
The ignorant onlookers thought Jesus was crying out to Elijah.
They mistook Eloi for Elijah.
Elijah was regarded as the forerunner and helper of the Messiah.
As such, Elijah was considered a deliverer for those in trouble.
So, in saying Jesus cried out for Elijah, they were, in fact, taunting him; perhaps mocking and laughing saying, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”

Humanities Confession

What did the tearing of the temple veil signify?
The Holy Place and the Most Holy Place in the temple were seperated by a curtain.
This is not the curtain in our houses, but one somewhere between 2 to 3 inches thick.
It was torn from the top signifying it was not done by people, but by the hand of God.
Only priests could enter the Most holy place.
By God tearing the curtain signifies that all people can now have access to God through Jesus death.
Jesus’ death is one sacrifice for all sin:
Hebrews 10:12 ESV
But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,
He is the only way for a person to come to God.
John 14:6 ESV
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Remember that a lot of priests converted to Christianity:
Acts 6:7 ESV
And the word of God continued to increase, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests became obedient to the faith.
It’s possible that priests who were in the temple seeing this supernatural tearing of the curtain later converted.
How does the centurion’s confession in Mark 15:39 strengthen the message of Mark’s Gospel?
Instead of the typical Greek language uses in the NT, here the Latin word centurio is used.
Its possible that the Latin word is used to help communicate to the Roman readers.
A centurion, one in charge of 100 soldiers, was in charge of the execution.
Other books tell us his name is Longinus.
Previously in Mark the Jewish leaders unintended confessed Jesus as the Messiah.
The Gentile centurion represents those who later will confess Jesus.
Some say he was impressed by the dignified way Jesus died.
Some say he simply ment Jesus died a divine hero or a great man.
Some question if he could have known anything more about the Jewish God to have ment anything more.
Even if the centurion didn’t experience a full conversion, its possible that he know enough about the God of Judaism to see recognize Jesus was the Son fo God.
The centurion represents the millions of Gentiles who later stand by faith confessing Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God.

What is God asking from people?

Mark’s account is short, but stated well.
1001 Illustrations that Connect Illustration 628: Passing the Lifeline

On January 13, 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed into the Potomac. Ice on the wings prevented the plane from having a successful takeoff. Almost all of the passengers perished. The few that survived struggled in the icy river as rescuers tried to reach them.

Five times a helicopter dropped a rope to save Arland D. Williams Jr. Five times Williams passed the rope to other passengers in worse shape than he was. When the rope was extended to Williams the sixth time, he was too weak to take hold and succumbed to the frigid waters.

His heroism was not rash. Aware that his own strength was fading, he deliberately handed hope to someone else over the space of several minutes. The bridge near where he died has now been named the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge.

Jesus did not rashly give his life for us either. Being a sacrifice for us was his destiny from eternity past. We need only take the lifeline handed to us to be saved by his sacrificial death on the cross.

Killed like a criminal by people he created, Jesus continues to love and save humankind.
Likely, if there, we’d joined in ridiculing Jesus.
Let’s be grateful Jesus followers recalling his sacrifice of love for us.
(Lord’s Supper using 1 Cor 11:23–26, proclaiming Jesus’ death until He returns.)
(End)
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