Key Verse 34
“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?’”
Good morning! Welcome to today’s main message, The Cross of Jesus.
How have you enjoyed the conference so far? I really liked last night’s
program, Shepherd Bob’s romantic message, Missionary David Yun’s wonderful
presiding, and the dancing, “Keep the candle burning!” The gospel
of Mark focuses on the facts of Jesus’ suffering. This passage is
what Jesus was talking about when, as we studied yesterday, “He then began
to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected
by the elders, chief priests, and teachers of the law and that he must
be killed…” Jesus’ suffering and death were indeed terrible, so it
is difficult to study in detail. But Jesus’ suffering and death have
tremendous meaning and tremendous power for each of us. MAIN POINT:
The Cross of Jesus is the love of God which broke the power of sin and
death which enslaved us. It was absolutely necessary for our salvation.
It reveals the way in which Jesus became our Christ. I pray that
God may help us to meet our crucified Lord Jesus more personally through
this passage! To begin I want us to sing #141, verse 1 together.
1. The crucifixion of Jesus (16-32)
Look at verse 16. “The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers.” When our passage begins, Pilate, the Roman governor had handed Jesus over to the soldiers to be crucified. Pilate knew that Jesus was innocent (v.10), but the religious leaders stirred up the crowd to shout for Jesus’ crucifixion. According to verse 15 Pilate wanted to satisfy the crowd, so he handed Jesus over to be crucified.
Jesus was already weary because of the all-night trial before the Sanhedrin, but now his physical and emotional suffering abruptly increased. In verse 15 Pilate had Jesus flogged by the soldiers. Mark just says Jesus was flogged. But we know that a Roman flogging means that the clothing on Jesus’ upper body was removed. His arms were stretched above his head, and tied to a pole, and he was whipped until his back was torn open, and the flesh hung in bloody shreds. When the soldiers led Jesus away (16), he was already staggering from the shock and the pain.
Verses 17-20 reveal how the soldiers mocked and tortured Jesus. The whole company of soldiers was gathered together. Because Jesus was sentenced as the King of the Jews, they decorated Jesus like a King of the Jews. They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Once a woman named Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, anointed Jesus’ head with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, expressing her deep love and devotion to Jesus (Mk.14:3). Mary’s love was like the beautiful dancing of the sisters in last night’s program. But at the same spot where Mary’s love had poured out, this time the crown of thorns pierced Jesus’ scalp and forehead and caused the blood to run down his face and head. The beating with the staff caused the thorns to be driven deeper into Jesus’ head, and to crush Jesus’ facial features, such as his nose, cheekbones, as well as lips, which had spoken the word of life to the Samaritan woman and the invalid man. Now the saliva from the soldiers’ spitting mingled with the blood and broken flesh on Jesus’ face. Then the soldiers fell down on their knees and worshipped Jesus. When they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Isaiah 53:3 says, “He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah said, “…WE esteemed him not.” WE included himself and everyone. Isaiah lived hundreds of years before Christ, and we live 2000 years after Christ. So it seems strange to say, “…WE esteemed him not.” To esteem Jesus means to honor and respect and worship Jesus as the Christ. Isaiah’s prophecy reveals that all sinful mankind does not render to Jesus the esteem that he deserves.
Look at verse 21. It says, “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.” Jesus had to carry a 30 or 40-pound beam of his own cross to the place of execution. But Jesus was already weak from loss of blood through all the beating. The soldiers did not want Jesus to die before reaching the crucifixion site, so they grabbed a certain man from Cyrene, Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus. Verse 22 says they brought Jesus to Golgotha, which means the place of the skull. Verse 23 says that at this moment just before crucifixion they offered Jesus wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. This drink would have deadened the pain of crucifixion, but Jesus wanted to be alert, to keep doing the work of God to the end. Jesus had fully accepted the cup of God’s wrath against sin and would drink it to the dregs.
Look at verse 24a. It says, “And they crucified him…” Mark does not describe the details of his crucifixion, but we know more about how Jesus was crucified and the physical pain he suffered. At the place of execution, the soldiers laid the crossbeam flat on the ground and stretched Jesus’ arms apart upon it. Then the soldiers hammered the 7-inch nails through his wrists. The points of the nails went into the vicinity of the median nerve, causing excruciating shocks of pain to radiate through Jesus’ arms. Then Jesus was hung by his nailed wrists from the crossbeam, which was attached to a vertical stake. Jesus’ feet were also nailed to the vertical stake. At this point, there was tremendous strain put on Jesus’ wrists, arms, and shoulders, resulting in dislocation of shoulder and elbow joints. To exhale, Jesus had to push himself up by his feet, causing searing agony from the nail tearing the nerves between the bones of his feet. Only shallow breaths were possible and as time passed, Jesus’ muscles fatigued, carbon dioxide built up in the tissues, and his body was wrenched with severe cramps and spasmodic contractions.
What were Jesus’ executioners doing while he suffered? Verse 24b says, “…Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.” They closed their eyes and hardened their hearts and cast lots to get a little bonus out of the clothes of dying Jesus. They were a picture of fallen men who know nothing and do not think about anything seriously in their lifetime. It is easy to hate those who injure us. But to Jesus the soldiers were like the prodigal son. He loved them and he was shedding his life blood for them. Luke’s gospel records that Jesus prayed for them from the cross, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
Look at verses 25-27. “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.” The third hour was 9 am in the morning. Jesus hung there until he died at about the ninth hour, six hours later. While Jesus hung on the cross in extreme physical agony, his emotional suffering and shame were also unbearable. The charge KING OF THE JEWS was meant to mock Jesus. They crucified Jesus between two common criminals to maximize his shame. Crucifixion was itself a symbol of shame. Jesus’ naked body was displayed publicly before the eyes of his family, relatives, and friends. God created us in his image so it is our nature to seek recognition and honor. No one wants to be exposed to shame. Even criminals cover their faces in front of TV cameras because they don’t want to reveal their shameful faces. Shame is one of the most painful things a human being can bear. But Jesus bore all our shame on the cross. He bore all the shame of our sins. Now we don’t have to hide our secret shameful sins. We can confess them to Jesus and before Jesus’ people and be healed of our shame.
While Jesus was suffering unbearable physical agony and the terrible
shame of the cross, his enemies insulted and mocked him. They had
defeated Jesus, so they rejoiced at Jesus’ pain and taunted Jesus.
Verse 29 says they hurled insults at him, shaking their heads. They
said, “Why don’t you take your power to build the temple in three days
and use it to come down from the cross?” In verse 31 the chief priests
and teachers of the law in the same way mocked Jesus, saying, “He saved
others, but he can’t save himself.” Their words were like arrows
of temptation hurled at Jesus, who did have the power of God to come down
from the cross and destroy all his enemies. But Jesus stayed on the
cross. To become the Messiah, Jesus’ denied his desire to come down
from the cross. In yesterday’s message, Jesus taught his disciples
the way of the cross. It was not just his teaching; but his own lifestyle.
Jesus bore the heaviest cross of all so that our crosses are light in comparison.
Praise Jesus who did not save himself in order to save us!
2. The death of Jesus (33-41)
Let’s read verses 33 and 34 together. “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?’” At noon, the sixth hour by Jewish time, darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. Nature bore witness that the Lord of Creation hung dying and covered his shame, suffering with him. At the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Jesus was silent when he was falsely accused and sentenced. There is no record of Jesus’ cry when he was flogged or nailed. But when God forsook Jesus, Jesus cried out in a LOUD VOICE!
Even on the human level separation from our loved ones is a most painful thing. For Jesus the spiritual pain of separation from God was greater than the terrible ongoing physical and emotional pain. Jesus had suffered all his public life. But he knew that God was always with him. Mark 1:11 says, “And a voice came from heaven: ‘You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well-pleased.’” But at this moment he was cursed on the cross (Gal.3:13). Bearing in himself all the ugly sins of the world, he was forsaken by God and left utterly alone. God punished himself by cutting off his one and only Son Jesus.
The Scriptures reveal that not only do human beings, but God himself feels the pain caused by sin. Our God is a suffering God. Each of our pain and suffering are familiar to him. At the time of the Flood, when the Lord saw how great man’s wickedness had become and that every inclination of his heart was only evil all the time, Genesis 6:6 says, “The Lord was grieved that he had made man and his heart was filled with pain.” God judged mankind with the flood, but sin still remained. Whenever God punished Israel, it was with trembling anger, hoping that they would repent of their sin. But they did not. Luke 19:41 says that as Jesus approached Jerusalem the final time and saw the city he wept over it. Jesus knew the long history of how God’s people had rejected and killed the servants of God. He knew they would kill him and he wept for them. Jesus wept when he visited Martha and Mary and saw how they were crushed by the death of their brother Lazarus. When God thought of mankind under the power of sin and death, his heart was broken. To remain separated from mankind for eternity was more painful to God even than separating from Jesus on the cross. When people see all the evil in this world, they say, “How can we believe in a good God?” But God suffered the consequences of sin with us throughout human history, climaxing in the cross. Jesus’ terrible pain destroyed the power of sin forever. Through his pain Jesus became the Lamb of God who takes away all our sins and guilt (Jn.1:29).
Jesus’ death had tremendous power. Look at verses 37 and 38. “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” The temple was built so that God could dwell among his people. But the curtain separated sinful man from the Holy God. But Jesus shed his blood to cleanse our sins once and for all (Heb.9:26b, 1 Jn.1:7) and the temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom. When we believe, our body itself becomes the temple of the Holy Spirit. We have sweet peace with God and access to his throne of grace to find help in our time of need (Rom.5:1, 2. Heb.4:16).
Let’s read verse 39 together. “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!’” Immediately, the death of Jesus began to change lives. The Roman centurion was in charge of 100 soldiers. He had to harden his heart many times to advance the Roman battle cry, “Victory at any cost!” The pain of the cross would not ordinarily affect him much. But this centurion must have seen and heard what Jesus had done during his trial and crucifixion. He saw nature shudder in acknowledgment at the death of its Lord, and he heard Jesus loud cry of victory before he died. Jesus was quite different from ordinary people. In his experience those who were dying were paralyzed with fear and wanted to live even 10 seconds more. They were filled with sorrow and terror. To his eyes, the religious leaders, Pilate, the soldiers and everyone else looked equal. There was no difference between them. Only Jesus looked different. Jesus looked like the Son of God. So impulsively he confessed, “Surely this man was the Son of God.” It just came out of his heart. How amazing that when the centurion looked up and saw Jesus’ twisted and tortured body he could believe in God and made a confession of faith!
Since this time down through the ages the cross has been changing many
lives. The cross has been standing fast. When Peter first heard
about the cross, he became so afraid that he imitated Satan. But
later he realized that the cross solved his sin problem so he wrote “He
himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to
sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
Peter was changed by the cross of Jesus and began to glory in the cross.
Later there was a monk by the name of Martin Luther. Martin Luther
had a huge guilt complex. Once he spent 6 hours in confession to
is priest, confessing his sins of just one day ago. But by faith
in the cross of Jesus he threw off the chains of guilt. “Righteousness
by faith” became the battle cry of the Protestant Reformation that changed
the course of Christian history.
Our messenger tomorrow, Shepherd Paul Sambuco, is a man of centurion-like spirit. When Shepherd Paul saw Jesus’ death for his sins, his heart became as soft as that of his 4-year old daughter Grace, and he confessed, “Jesus is my Christ.” You will hear his resurrection message tomorrow. As for me, I was self-righteous like the Pharisees. But the cross humbled my proud heart to follow Jesus. I wavered at the thought of my future cross, growing bigger and bigger. But I pray to practice self-denial and accept the cross Jesus offers me in order to follow him. Please pray for our shepherd families and all Baltimore coworkers to carry the cross of Baltimore pioneering. When I look around at the conference, I see many beginning to take up the cross. Msy. Luke Kim is taking up the cross of music director with a pleasant smile and humble directing style—no stick! Shepherds Anthony and Anthony diligently took up the cross of duo-drama to our amazement in the early morning. And last night, to our surprise, many new comer testimony writers confessed their desire for the cross. Indeed, we can see that there is a strange attraction and glory in carrying the cross, not for our glory, but for the glory of our Lord Jesus! May God save us from the easy-going, fruitless generation by enabling us to carry the cross that our Lord Jesus asks us!
Verses 40 and 41 describe some women who were watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. Each woman had a deep love relationship with Jesus through the grace of forgiveness and his teachings. Though they were poor women they cared for Jesus’ needs and for those of his disciples. Most importantly, they followed Jesus to the end. They could never be separated from Jesus. Finally, they stood beneath the cross and cried and cried and cried.
Jesus suffered in every way, physical, emotional, and spiritual.
But his cross was the beginning of a new era in human history. Jesus’
cross opened up the kingdom of God for you and for me. The rugged
cross is the love of God which broke the power of sin and death.
So though we may cry with those precious, faithful women of God, who stood
below the cross, we must also thank God. Hallelujah for the cross!
Tonight we will hear several LT speakers who will thank God for his grace
3. The burial of Jesus (42-47)
Let’s read verses 42 and 43. “It was Preparation Day (that is, the day before the Sabbath). So as evening approached, Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Council, who was himself waiting for the kingdom of God, went boldly to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body.”
Joseph was a wealthy man, but he was not satisfied with the things of this world. He put his hope in the kingdom of God. He believed in Jesus, but had never had the courage to take a stand for Jesus before his peers. When evening came, and Jesus was still hanging on the cross, Joseph made a bold decision. He asked Pilate for Jesus’ body. This was a declaration of his commitment to Jesus. He was no longer a hidden believer.
Verses 46 and 47 say, “So Joseph bought some linen cloth, took down the body, wrapped it in the linen, and placed it in a tomb cut out of rock. Then he rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.” Usually, more time was required for a crucified man to die, so in verse 45 Pilate was surprised to hear that Jesus was dead. He checked it out carefully, then gave Joseph permission to take the body. The fact of Jesus’ death was established. Jesus died to save us from our sins.
In conclusion, the Cross of Jesus is the love of God which broke the
power of sin and death which enslaved us, and opened the glorious kingdom
of God for us. The cross removes all our shame and guilt and sin.
Those who take up the cross and cling to it come to cherish it as their
glory and source of strength. Because of the cross, Apostle Paul
wrote, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels
nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither
height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate
us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Rom.8:38, 39)
Let’s read the key verse 34.