Chapter 49

At the cross (Part B)
Mark 15:23-32 (NKJV)

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23 Then they gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. 24  And when they crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them to determine what every man should take. 25  Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him. 26  And the inscription of His accusation was written above: THE KING OF THE JEWS. 27  With Him they also crucified two robbers, one on His right and the other on His left. 28  So the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “And He was numbered with the transgressors.” 29  And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30  “save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31  Likewise the chief priests also, mocking among themselves with the scribes, said, “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. 32  “Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with Him reviled Him.

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Mark 15:23, 25-26
Desolation

Jesus declines mixed wine and myrrh offered by the soldiers. Able to deaden pain, its main purpose is to drug the victim to stop him struggling while being nailed to the cross. Compassion is absent at Roman executions of murderous criminals. But Jesus needs no drug to stop Him struggling. He has chosen to go to the cross for us.

Those words they crucified Him are amongst the Bible’s most poignant. Here at the third hour—nine o’clock in the morning—the universe’s great Creator, bleeding and battered by His own creation, is splayed out and nailed to a criminal’s cross. The title over Him, THE KING OF THE JEWS, identifies the rejected King who now bears our sins and carries our sorrows. Respect and compassion are missing—just they crucified Him.

Mark 15:24, 27-28
Realisation

A dying man nailed to a cross cannot influence ancient biblical prophecies about Him. But in the case of the eternal Son of God, they are being fulfilled as our sin-bearer hangs there bleeding.

Psalm 22 predicts the hands and feet of Jesus will be pierced, and adds, They divide my garments among them, And for my clothing they cast lots. As Jesus is stripped of His clothing, the soldiers unwittingly fulfil Scripture by dividing His garments among them and by casting lots for His clothing.[1]

Long before Roman crucifixion was invented, Isaiah prophesied[2] that, when dying, Jesus would be numbered with the transgressors as He bore the sin of many. Barabbas’ two criminal accomplices are now crucified on each side of Jesus.

Luke’s Gospel reports one of the two criminals abandoning his blasphemies and crying out to Jesus as he dies beside Him. The other one, sadly, does not.[3] Still, today, some in desperate need of forgiveness turn to Christ, while tragically others refuse to do so.

Mark 15:29-32
Temptation

The ignorant and vile mocking against Jesus continues unabated, gathering momentum. The chief priests’ and scribes’ example as Jewish leaders is vicious and cynical. They taunt a dying Jew, Jesus, with: He saved others; Himself He cannot save. Let the Christ, the King of Israel, descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. Would they like their loved ones to spend their last hours of life like that?

The by-passers follow their venomous example and join in blaspheming Jesus. Those refusing to turn from their sins to God easily parrot the objections and obscenities of others on the broad way to destruction. They repeat the dishonest ‘spin’ of Jesus’ critics about destroying and rebuilding the temple in three days. They also mock Him with come down from the cross. As already noted, even the crucified criminals join in initially, as they speed towards a lost eternity which will make their present passing agonies seem light compared with the eternal punishment awaiting them. God graciously gives a late change of heart to one. He trusts the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, personally pleading Lord, remember me. [4]

The real ‘Temptation of Christ’ must be to come down from the cross. He possesses all the power, authority, and right to do so. Why does He stay nailed there?

‘There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin.
He, only, could unlock the gate of Heaven to let us in.’

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[1]   .  Mark 15:24.
[2]   .  Isaiah 53:12.
[3]   .  Luke 23:39-43.
[4]   .  Luke 23:42.

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Questions on Chapter 49
Mark 15:23-32 At the cross (Part B).

A. Consider the phrase ‘they crucified Him’. Who are ‘they’? How do you react to the Creator God bleeding and dying to become your Saviour?   Mark 15:24-26   Mark 15:1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 13-14, 15, 16, 22-23 Philippians 2:5-11   Acts 20:28

B. What do the fulfilled prophecies of Psalm 22:18 and Isaiah 53:12 teach you about the divine inspiration and factual accuracy of the Bible?   Psalm 22:18   Isaiah 53:12   Acts 13:23-30

C. If Jesus had saved himself by coming down from the cross, who else could He have saved from the punishment for their sins?  By bearing our sins and judgement for those sins on the cross, who can He save now from eternal punishment? Mark 15:29-32   Mark 10:45  1 Timothy 2:6   1 Peter 1:18-19   Isaiah 53:4-6 1 Peter 2:24