A Meaningful Death
Invite the Holy Spirit to be your guide as you consider the events of that first Good Friday.
Read MARK 15:21-39
 A certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus, was passing by on his way in from the country, and they forced him to carry the cross.  They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull).  Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it.  And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  It was the third hour when they crucified him.  The written notice of the charge against him read: THE KING OF THE JEWS.  They crucified two robbers with him, one on his right and one on his left.  Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, “So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days,  come down from the cross and save yourself!”  In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself!  Let this Christ, this King of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.  At the sixth hour darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”-which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of those standing near heard this, they said, “Listen, he’s calling Elijah.”  One man ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,” he said.  With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.  The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.  And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, heard his cry and saw how he died, he said, “Surely this man was the Son of God!” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat evidence do you see of Jesus’ terrible suffering?
Among the many people present at this public execution (24,29,31,32,40), only one is said to have searched for meaning in all he saw and heard (39). What meaning do you find here?
Jesus, whose awesome power had raised the dead (31), willingly submitted to a death the Romans reserved for the worst of criminals, the “dregs of society.” He is pierced, tormented and reviled by Gentile Rome and the Jewish authorities, and he surrenders to it all without complaint (see Isaiah 53:7). The spectators could not understand it (29-32). Of course, if Jesus had done as they suggested (30) he would not be the Messiah Scripture had foretold. The job of the Lord’s Servant was to save others by suffering and dying in their place (see Isa. 53:5).
As the darkness of God’s wrath and judgment descended (33), Jesus faced what we will now never have to face—complete separation from God (34). He paid for the sin that separated us from God, a separation represented by the curtain in the temple (38). Because of the events of that Friday, we are now free to enter into the holy presence of God.
Spend time now enjoying what Jesus has won for you—an intimate relationship with God.
Lord, I’m awed and amazed at what You went through for me and all Your people. I bow in worship.