Scripture: Mark 15:33-47
We talked about foreshadowing in literature last week. Here is an amazing example. In Genesis 22:2, God asked Abraham to do the unthinkable – to offer his own son Isaac as a sacrifice to God.
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was in the act of offering up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” He considered that God was able even to raise him from the dead, from which, figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”
Abraham trusted God and by faith he believed God could raise Isaac from the dead. If you recall your Sunday School lessons, an angel stopped Abraham and God provided a substitutionary offering – a ram caught in a thicket. That’s a bush with sharp thorns just like Jesus had on his head.
The Son of God was the substitutionary sacrifice who paid the price for sin with his own blood and death on the cross. No other sacrifice would have been enough. Not all the lambs and goats in the world; no other person’s blood would have satisfied God’s wrath and judgement of sin.
Series: The Crown & The Cross
Jesus has been hanging on the cross for three hours – it is now noon and complete darkness covers the land for the next three hours. We know this darkness has to be supernatural. It’s the middle of the day in the middle east. the sun would be directly overhead – it’s not nighttime. The Passover occurs during the full moon, so it cannot be the coincidence of a solar eclipse – where total darkness lasts less than 8 minutes. God brought darkness as a symbol of his judgment on sin.
Son of God
The Roman centurion, an officer over one hundred men, was most likely the head of the execution squad. He was responsible for seeing the victims crucified properly and making sure they died.
V. 39 says when the centurion saw the way Jesus died, he believed and was the first person to honestly say “this man was the Son of God.” The centurion had probably seen hundreds or more die, but there was something different here. The sky turned black, other Gospels tell us there was a violent earthquake, the dead rose from their tombs – but Mark says it was the way Jesus died that caused this hardened soldier to recognize the true God in human flesh.
He was not a religious leader who studied the scriptures and knew all about the promised Messiah. He wasn’t even a Jewish man who longed for the redeemer. He was a gentile who came face to face with Jesus and accepted the truth.
The purposes in all of the details are for the reader to understand that Jesus really died. He was buried. And later that he did indeed come back from the dead.
That is the core of the Gospel in 1 Cor 15:4 “that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,”
Later, in the second century, several gnostic groups tried to claim that jesus only fainted on the cross and that he could not have really died. Others said he switched places with Simon who was crucified instead of Jesus. The facts laid out by Mark confirm from Pilate, the centurion, and the women that it was really Jesus who actually died and rose from the dead. They saw him die, taken down from the cross and carried to the tomb.
Even today, people want to call Jesus a good man, a prophet, but they don’t want to accept that he died and rose again. Believing that changes your life.
Do you know that feeling of being in total darkness? Maybe you feel lost and forsaken today. Maybe your family and friends have left you on your own. Jesus knows exactly how you feel. He was forsaken because he carried your sins on the cross. But he wasn’t a victim of circumstances. He died when he was ready. His blood paid the debt for our sins so we could be forgiven and have peace with God.
Do you believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God? If you do, the response is to repent of your sins, accept his sacrificial death on the cross to save you, and believe that he rose from the dead to give you eternal life. Come talk to me.
At the end of the movie Saving Private Ryan, a now retired old man, James Ryan visits the cemetery at Normandy, and thinking about the men who gave their lives so he could live, he asks his wife “Did I live a good life? Was I a good man?” Ryan wants to know if his life honored their sacrifice. Did he make the most of the second chance he got at living.
If you have already trusted him as your Savior, are you living like you have been saved?
“Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.”
Make a fresh commitment to serving our Savior, honoring his sacrifice on the cross, bringing him all the glory in all that you say and do.
Truly, He is the Son of God!