Lord, thank You for suffering for my salvation.
Read MARK 15:21–32
The Crucifixion of Jesus
21 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. 22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”). 23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.
25 It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. 26 The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.
27 They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left.  [a] 29 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, 30 come down from the cross and save yourself!” 31 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! 32 Let this Messiah, 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.
Mark 15:28 Some manuscripts include here words similar to Luke 22:37.
Pray for a stillness of contemplation as we arrive at the cross.
When Mark arrives at the cross, he tells the story with a minimum of words and does not concentrate on the horrifying details of a crucifixion. There are two things that seem to have priority for him. One is the fulfillment of the Scriptures, and the other is the continual insults directed at Jesus. The words and actions reflect Psalm 22; in verse 34, exact words from the psalm are quoted by Jesus himself. This reinforces that what is happening to Jesus is not just the random actions of hostile people but according to what God’s ‘power and will had decided beforehand should happen’ (Acts 4:28).
While the psalm assures us of the working out of God’s purposes, we still see the deeds of people responsible for their actions. Simon stands out as the conscripted cross-bearer. The unexpected mention of his sons’ names would indicate that they are known to some of Mark’s readers. It is lovely to think that the family of the forced cross-bearer becomes followers of the crucified. On the positive side we also have the anonymous person who offered the drugged wine to minister to the pain of Jesus. The other characters are the opponents, those taunting Him. The people passing by hurling insults remind us of the treatment of Jerusalem in Lamentations 1:12. Here is the king suffering on behalf of Israel. There is no repentant thief (cf. Luke 23:40–42) in Mark’s story: just more abuse.
The taunt for Jesus to save Himself is ironic. But consider the paradox: rather than Jesus disqualifying Himself as a Savior, it is His disregard of the taunts that will lead to the salvation of everyone who believes, including the taunters. We believe not because He came down from the cross, but because He remained there.
Give thanks for all that Jesus achieved for us by not coming down from the cross.
Lord, Your determination to finish the atonement for us fills us with love for You.