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A Heart For God: Crucifixion (Mark 15:1-47)

Monday, June 04, 2012

Crucifixion (Mark 15:1-47)

(This is supplement 14 to the #mkbiblechat study taking place every Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Eastern, 6:30 Pacific USA. Pastor Mike is teaching the Gospel of Mark on Twitter. Click here for class schedule and links to the notes. Click here to follow Pastor Mike on Twitter.)


This is Christ's last week of life prior to His trial and crucifixion. He was born to die. (Selah~pause to reflect) The Gospel of Mark can be outlined as follows: 1st 8 chapters ~ "For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve"; 2nd 8 chapters ~ "and to give His life a ransom for many." (Mark 10:45)

Jesus talked in Mark 9:43-48 about the radical-ness required to vanquish sin ~ the likes of which He was the One who was going to submit to it! This is what we have in Mark 15:1-47.


"And early in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes, and the whole Council, immediately held a consultation; and binding Jesus, they led Him away, and delivered Him up to Pilate." (Mark 15:1)

So starts Mark 15. Pilate questions Christ. (Mark 15:2-5) He asks, "Are You the King of the Jews?" Jesus answers, "It is as you say." The God-Man (who never lied or could lie) says it Himself!

And it's the last thing we hear from our Lord in this chapter prior to His question from the cross. (Mark 15:34) Pilate is amazed. (Mark 15:5) So the centurion will be amazed at how Christ "breathes His last," also. (Mark 15:39)

Jesus takes Barabbas' place as Barabbas is released instead. (Mark 15:6-15) It's a picture of Him taking our place. "He made Him (Christ) who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Corinthians 5:21)


"And they began to acclaim Him, 'Hail, King of the Jews!'" (Mark 15:18)

Jesus is dressed in purple, a crown of thorns is pressed down upon His head and He is mocked. (Mark 15:16-20a) The import of this moment is all the more striking when you realize it takes place after the scourging. (Mark 15:15) Many victims often died from the whipping alone. The "spiritual" aspect (versus the physical): This is the King of the universe being treated like this! (Philippians 2:5-11)

Simon of Cyrene enters the picture as Christ is too weak to carry the cross due to the scourging. (Mark 15:20b-21)


Jesus is nailed to the cross. (Mark 15:22-36) Keith Maxwell, a medical doctor in Asheville, North Carolina, writes...
Let's talk about Jesus hanging on the cross. When hanging by their arms, as a crucifixion victim's body weight sags down, their diaphragm (that part of the body that's involved in the breathing process) - the diaphragm functions as a billows. As the diaphragm drops into the abdomen it pulls in air, so someone hanging on the cross had no difficulty whatsoever pulling air into their lungs. The tough part for people hanging on the cross was breathing out.

In order for a crucifixion victim to exhale, they would have to pull up against the spikes with their feet, I want to remind you - here's Jesus hanging on the cross, probably naked in front of the whole city of Jerusalem. I've already described His back to you. Every time he took a breath, that tatted, lacerated and riddled back was dragged and scraped across the splinters and the rough knobs and spikes protruding from the cross.

Each time [Christ] breathed out, each time he uttered a word, he would have to pull up with his arms and push up with his legs. That's why I want to remind you just how precious [His] words from the cross were.

That's why he couldn't say more than three of four words at a time. Because when you talk, you only talk as you breathe out, not as you breathe in. Every world Jesus spoke on the cross was spoken as he was pulling up atainst the nails and dragging his back across the cross.

That's why (this doctor concludes) what the Lord tells us - what he spoke from the cross - is very precious to me, because I know what it cost him and how badly it hurt him [to say it].
"And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?' which is translated, 'My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?'" (Mark 15:34)

Jesus was abandoned (left alone) so that we would never be. And when you feel like you've been forsaken, two things to remember, #1: Christ knows what you're going through (after all, He's been there); and #2: You're not really alone. God will never leave you, nor will He ever forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5c)


Jesus breathes His last. (Mark 15:37) The temple veil is torn in two. (Mark 15:38) The centurion is amazed. (Mark 15:39)

"A heavy curtain hung in front of the Temple room called the Most Holy Place, a place reserved by God for himself. Symbolically, the curtain separated the holy God from sinful people. The room was entered only once a year, on the Day of Atonement, by the high priest as he made a sacrifice to gain forgiveness for the sins of all the people. When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in two, showing that his death for our sins had opened up the way for us to approach our holy God. And it was torn from top to bottom, showing that God had opened the way. Read Hebrews 9:1-28 for a more complete explanation." (NLT 1528)


Joseph of Arimathea gathers up courage to bury the body of Jesus. (Mark 15:42-47)

And it can't end here! How could God write a story with a final chapter like this (let alone about the Holy One)? He just couldn't. The end of the story is appropriate to the blessedness of the life lived. So it is with all who believe in Christ. Our stories will end well ~ much more than well! (1 Corinthians 2:9)


1. The crucifixion of Jesus begins at 9 a.m. (Mark 15:25) It continues through noon. (Mark 15:33a) It reaches its climax at 3 p.m. (Mark 15:33b) when He cries out to God, "Why?" Have you ever asked that question in the midst of trouble? Are you asking it now?

2. Jesus is referred to as "King of the Jews" (or King of Israel) six times in Mark 15. (v. 2, 9, 12, 18, 26, 32) One of the references is during the Roman soldiers' mocking of Him. (Mark 15:16-20) What does Jesus being "King" of a believer's life mean to you?

3. Joseph of Arimathea "gathers up courage" to make request for Christ's body. (Mark 15:43) Tell of a time where you needed courage to do something for God.

4. The centurion is amazed at the death of Jesus. (Mark 15:39) What is it that amazes him?

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