Loving Lord, continue to walk with me through this Holy Week journey. Gather me at Your table and fill me with Your grace.
Read Mark 15:33–41
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“What wondrous love is this that led the Lord of bliss, to bear the dreadful curse for my soul?” (Anon.). Reflect on the lyrics of this old Camp Meeting song.
When God acted to save his people from Egypt, he sent darkness. When God acted to save all people from sin and death, the darkness returned. This passage goes from darkness to light, from abandonment to vindication. Mark wishes us to engage fully with the horror of Jesus’ experience—and yet he also points to signs of hope from that day. Jesus, the
living fulfillment of the Scriptures, quotes Scripture at his time of abandonment and as he dies. His cry is real; his loss of the Father is appalling. His chosen cry is from a psalm that begins with an extraordinary prediction of the details of his suffering, but which ends in the vindication of the sufferer. “All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD, and all the families of the nations will bow down before him” (Psa. 22:27). The priests returned to a Temple where the barrier to God’s presence had been torn apart, from top to bottom, as though by divine hands. Despite all the lies at his trial, Jesus’ words about the Temple began to be fulfilled. Our way to the presence of God had been won by the Son’s loss of
the presence of God. When Jesus predicted his death he called it “a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). Unlike most human violence, this torture and death was not meaningless or purposeless. By God’s grace, savage and unjustifiable violence was transformed into the means of salvation for all. When the darkness lifted, a pagan executioner acknowledged “the Son of God” (39). We are more privileged than the centurion. Through Mark we know Jesus’ identity and purpose
to a degree that he could not. On this day we can only bow before the Father in grateful adoration.
What curtain do you feel still separates you from God (38)? When did the crucifixion begin to make a real difference in your life?
“There is great power in his death, yes. We are strongly moved when we stand at Calvary, yes. Sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble…” (Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, 1918–2015).